Book Review: Caressed by Moonlight by Amanda J. Greene (Rulers of Darkness #1)
First Published: November 29th 2010
Genre: Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance, Vampires
Synopsis (from Goodreads): “One sweet stolen kiss brings them together. But treachery and death threatens to tear them apart…”
Dorian Vlakhos is no ordinary aristocrat. He is a vampire king, who will do anything to save his clan from complete annihilation, before an ancient curse can claim his immortal life.
Penniless and orphaned, Victoria Kingston has nothing to bring to a marriage, yet she must shackle an unsuspecting gentleman into marriage by the end of the month or forfeit her rights as guardian of her younger sister. With the help of her dearest friend, Victoria begins her hunt, and vows to stay far away from the dark, mysterious, Prince Vlakhos.
After meeting the beautifully innocent Miss Kingston, Dorian had to have her. He would do absolutely anything to make Victoria his. One sweet stolen kiss would bring them together while a force, more powerful than any vampire would bind them for all eternity. But treachery, war, and death rule Dorian’s dark world and Victoria would be fortunate to survive.
Generally I try not to judge a book by it’s cover. But I find myself adoring the cover of this book. The beautiful outfits, the tender embrace of the hero and heroine and the gorgeous colours. It all makes for an extremely attractive book cover and one that I was eager to devour. But I find myself asking, “Where’s the paranormal on this cover? Where are the hints to his vampire nature?”
The novel starts off with a beautiful, recently orphaned woman, Miss Victoria Kingston, who is now penniless and relying on her spinster aunt to help her and her sister from ending up on the streets. Evil Aunt Nelly (and even if I could forgive the way she treats Victoria, I could never overlook the way she abused her books by throwing them! She definitely deserves the evil prefixing her name) has despised Victoria since even before her conception, blaming Victoria for her mother’s sins. Instead of caring for the now parentless girls, Nelly sets an ultimatum – Victoria is to be married to a man of means by the end of the month or she shall never see her younger sister again! (cue evil laughter).
The penniless woman seeking marriage to fix her problems is a trope I’ve seen again and again in historical fiction. It seems to be one of their mainstays. However I really enjoyed how Ms Greene approached it. Whilst Victoria would ideally hold out of love and experience the kind of marriage that her parents had and she envied, she is far more practical than that. Victoria’s feisty attitude and her tenacity make her a very likeable heroine. If money is what she needs to keep her aunt’s clutches off her sister, Margaret, then Victoria will find a wealthy man to marry within the month!
Enter Prince Dorian Vlakhos.
From the moment Victoria and Prince Dorian meet, there’s chemistry. Victoria, who from the start has been shown to be a woman on a mission and nothing could sway her from her path, is memorized by the handsome stranger.
“The man turned to face her and she gasped as if she had been struck. he was tall, taller than any man she had ever seen, muscled and thick. Strands of deep brown hair fell across his angelic yet masculine face, her fingers twitched with the desire to brush them away from his magnificent eyes. Those fathoms of blue were like the sea after a tremendous storm, piercing, penetrating, and exotic. His jaw was straight and square, his lips thin and alluring. He was absolutely beautiful, in a dangerous, very masculine way.” (Location 266)
The formally stoic Miss Kingston has some poetry about her? Who knew? 😉
As you can see, the descriptions in this book are incredibly vivid. The Prince is just as stunned by Victoria but his interest in her is not that of marriage material. No, his feelings are of a much more carnal nature.
“I do wish you luck. The sooner you become tired of your marriage bed the sooner you will come to mine.” (Location 381)
His honesty, whilst refreshing, surprised me. Whilst in many historical romances where the hero is somewhat of a rake, I’ve never known one to be quite so upfront in his desires.
The first half of the book is primarily taken up with Victoria, Dorian and their courting. The vampire storyline is very much in the background and whilst I picked up this book wanting to read a paranormal story, I found myself enjoying the Regency romance and I did not dwell on the lack of vampires. The second half of the novel is very much focused on the uprising in Dorian’s vampire kingdom. I enjoyed how Ms. Greene created her world. The story that Dorian told to Victoria was a brilliant way to let the reader in on the history of the Vampire race whilst not detracting from the story.
There is so much I liked about this novel. Victoria is a strong and as independent as a woman can be during those times. She’s intelligent and understanding. There were a few time when I was worried she was going to throw a tantrum but she managed to stay assertive and not turn into a raving prima donna. Dorian surprised me. A character who started off being a bit of a cad and ladies man changed roles and turned into loving family man. I’d reckon there would be many fights between him and Victoria over who was in charge. I loved the side of Dorian that was scared and worried for Victoria – he came so far from the man who we met in the start of the novel.
I loved the romance between Victoria and Dorian. The writing was clever and steamy – just a kiss was enough to make me want to fan myself. And then, when things got a little more intimate… well it was scorching.
I would have liked the vampire aspect of the novel and the historical romance part to have been a bit more merged. I understand that with the novel as it stand it needed to be set out like this but I think there could have been a bit more of Dorian’s vampire nature come out in the first half.
All in all, I really enjoyed this novel and I can’t wait to start reading the next book in the series.
4 out of 5
Purchase book at:
Book Depository (paperback) / Amazon (kindle version) / FishPond (paperback)