Thursday, December 2, 2010
Title: The Dead Travel Fast
Author: Deanna Raybourn
How I read it: Paperback from Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4 Crowns
Synopsis: A husband, a family, a comfortable life: Theodora Lestrange lives in terror of it all...
With a modest inheritance and the three gowns that comprise her entire wardrobe, Theodora leaves Edinburgh - and a disappointed suitor - far behind. She is bound for Rumania, where tales of vampires are still whispered, to visit an old friend and write the book that will bring her true independence.
She arrives at a magnificent, decaying castle in the Carpathains, replete with eccentric inhabitants: the ailing dowager; the troubled steward; her own fearful friend, Cosmina. But all are outstripped in dark glamour by the castle's master, Count Andrei Dragulescu.
Bewildering and bewitching in equal measure, the brooding nobleman ignites Theodora's imagination and awakens passions in her that she can neither deny nor conceal. His allure is superlative, his dominion over the superstitious town, absolute - Theodora may simply be one more person under his sway.
Before her sojourn is ended - or her novel completed - Theodora will have encountered things as strange and terrible as they are seductive. For obsession can prove fatal...and she is in danger of failing prey to more than desire.
My Review: Those of you who are familiar with Deanna Raybourn's work know how she can create a gripping story that easily pulls you in, and this one is no exception. For those who have not yet read her novels, I hope to persuade you to do so as soon as you are able.
When I first heard that Deanna was going to write a novel that did not feature her beloved Lady Julia Grey, I was disappointed to say the least. I should not have allowed myself to doubt her, because this is certainly on par with a Lady Julia novel. While it started off a little more slowly, I soon found myself wrapped up in the characters and unwilling to put the book down. I even once looked over at my empty water glass, and though I was thirsty, I didn't want to take the time to fill it.
True to her style, Deanna manages to keep you reading through an immense build up - are there really vampires and werewolves in this land? Who will their victim be? What is real and what is sprung from myth? No joke - a third of the novel had passed with nothing but legends of the land, yet I was still so tense I had to take small breaks to calm myself.
Count Dragulescu is as mysterious and dangerously sexy as a leading man, and you want to warn Theodora away...mostly so you can have him for yourself! Their romance is forbidden and exciting, one of those slowly moving seductions I love to read about. You never quite know - is he in love with her? Or is he just trying to ensnare her for some overlying evil scheme?
This is a great mystery and romance all wrapped up into one. I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next - both around the castle and between Andrei and Theodora. As an independent woman with a romantic heart, Theodora must make choices that will shape the rest of her life - which may be shorter than she had ever imagined...
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Royal Reviewer Angela Renee at 3:36 PM