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A woman with an unspeakable past
Olivia Brightmore didn’t know what to expect when she took a position to teach at Englefiend School, an academy for “gifted” children. But it wasn’t having to rescue a young girl who levitated to the ceiling. Or battling a dark mystery in the surrounding woods. And nothing could have prepared her for Dr. Gareth St. John…
A man with exceptional talent
He knew all about her history and scrutinized her every move because of it. But there was more than suspicion lurking in those luscious green eyes. Even with all the strange occurrences at the school, the most unsettling of all is the attraction pulling Olivia and Gareth together with a force that cannot be denied.
I’ve been reading every historical paranormal romances I can get my hands on (I’m taking recommendations if you have any!), and since I’d already read Isabel Cooper’s No Proper Lady and loved it, I greedily began Lessons After Dark. The part I liked is how Cooper’s rural school for the extraordinary is a lot like both Professor X’s school in the X-Men comics as well as Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. Like in those other stories, a group of misfit young adults arrive at the school for help controlling their supernatural abilities. I only wish either there were fewer students or Cooper worked harder at distinguishing them because, even at the end, I couldn’t tell which boy or girl was which. The hero and heroine, however, are beautifully drawn and are a lot of fun.
This was a wonderfully written historical paranormal, though not as good as No Proper Lady, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes superheroes, mutants, and wizards.
1762. James Sherbourne, Earl of Whitney, is a gambling man. Not for the money. But for the thrill, the danger–and the company: Whit has become one of the infamous Hellraisers, losing himself in the chase for adventure and pleasure with his four closest friends.
Which was how Whit found himself in a gypsy encampment, betting against a lovely Romani girl. Zora Grey’s smoky voice and sharp tongue entrance Whit nearly as much as her clever hands–watching them handle cards inspires thoughts of another kind. . .
Zora can’t explain her attraction to the careless blue-eyed Whit. She also can’t stop him and his Hellraisers from a fiendish curse: the power to grant their own hearts’ desires, to chase their pleasures from the merely debauched to the truly diabolical. And if Zora can’t save Whit, she still has to escape him. . .
I read this book because I was interested in writing a historical paranormal, so I was very invested in how the author wrote her novel. Though I’m not a fan of gypsies, and the heroine Zora is a gypsy fortune teller, I really liked the first few chapters. I thought Archer had creative ideas about curses, devils, and invisible captives. My favorite part was how Whit could fit Zora in his pocket. It was a very magical and imaginative beginning.
The problem I have is, by the 50% mark the hero and heroine have overcome both the external and internal obstacles to their continued happiness. They were in lust (if not in love) and committed to each other. At that point, I felt like the story was over and I wasn’t interested in reading any further. I really wish Archer had structured the story in a way that kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire novel because I enjoyed her writing and her ideas.
If you’re interested in a dark and fun historical paranormal, I would recommend reading at least part of this book as a great example of the genre.
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