First of I want to mention the use of adverbs by this author. Before, in my time before these particular words offended my delicate sensibilities, I would use them will nilly without rhyme or reason. While they have uses, the overabundance of them (to me) seems a vain attempt at gaining a word count and nothing more.
I cite this example from this book:
Nicoletta gasped, her entire body leaping to life, blood surging through her hotly, unexpectedly—and completely unacceptably. She was trembling too hard to move away from him, and, in any case, his fingers still shackled her arm. “I insist you return me to my home. This is very wrong.”
I had to read this paragraph twice and just looking at it, it begs for a rewrite.
Christine Feehan is a likeable author. I’m a casual fan to her Carpathian novels and find the stories compelling. It’s a type of romance novel that breaks from the norm of a weak willed woman in need of a brooding male. Still a hang up of women are virgins and males are all out sluts for the most part but I suppose that in the ‘romantic’ world, that’s the norm. Snicker.
In this book, I see interesting characters never blossoming into deep and involved. The plot is a thin veil and the characters are supposed to hold my attention span to prevent me from seeing this. It doesn’t work at all.
I find female MC Nicoletta to be boorish. She has a unique ability to heal and runs around without shoes. She pines for the hills when she’s swept away by Giovanni Scarletti by some Bride Pact of sorts and forced to marry him. Okay this I can see but this all revolves a land that is fictitious but has Italian roots by the sparse use of the language throughout. Alliances with Spain (not touching Italy) and Austria (it does) but this is a distant background subplot that is never touched on in-depth. Granted, the main story circles around the dimwit Nicoletta so in some respects, it should be in the background. I just don’t care for intrigue to be swept under the rug.
The Scarletti males are a jealous lot and are ‘allegedly’ cursed. Women die in their palazzo and everyone assumes the worst instead of, you know, seeking the truth. It takes Nicoletta to do this because she’s, um, defiant and a free spirit and… oh she’s just fucking annoying, okay? In the end she’s all up on “OMG! I almost figured it out!”. Maybe she has ADD or something. She sees the clue and then a butterfly flits in front of her. No, she’s not blonde though it’s a good thing the author makes a point of naming her hair color (black) several times in the book to remind me.
I see the forest but it consists of a toadstool and a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. The story is Nicoletta being a healer along with another old hag who hides her abilities to save her from being burned as a witch. Then Don Scarletti, who has spied on Nicoletta for some time, takes her as a bride. A little bit of ‘is he using me?’ from the once virgin Nicoletta to ‘oh I trust him so everyone shut up’ to ‘I’m going to find out what’s wrong with this fucked up place’. Throw in a dash how she lifted the gloom with her laughter and you’ve got 300 of the 375 pages. I wished I was making that up. Take in the account that I read these kinds of novels for the ‘steam’ factor and it still falls flat.
I just couldn’t get involved in these characters or feel for them. The sense of danger never grabs me. I’m just glad reading it is over. I’m not recommending this one at all.