If you haven’t already, you can read my interview with author T.J. Bennett here.
Title: Dark Angel: A Gothic Fairy Tale
Author: T.J. Bennett
Genre: Paranormal historical romance
Format read: ebook
Dark Angel: A Gothic Fairy Tale definitely delivers on its promises. It has the dark part down pat: a mysterious island which is shrouded in mists, a brooding hero who is unaccountably absent during the day, and a feisty heroine who constantly feels as if she is being watched. Add to that a mysterious black beast, a graveyard of tiny white crosses, and an entire island of characters apparently unaffected by the passage of time, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a spooky, atmospheric read.
Catherine Briton is a widow with dark secrets of her own. Her husband and only child died during an illness which she herself managed to recover from, and she cannot forgive herself for it. As a result she has dedicated the rest of her life to serving the needs of others, first soldiers on the battlefield and then the unfortunate inhabitants of her Benevolent Home for Disadvantaged Children. It is while on a mission to save that home that her ship is wrecked, and she, the only survivor of the disaster, is left for dead on an island that shouldn’t exist.
The Master of the Dark Island, or Ynys Nos, as its inhabitants call it, is a Gothic hero in the vein of Jane Eyre‘s Mr. Rochester. Gerard’s secret is much more frightening than a mere crazy wife locked up in the attic though, and Catherine is alternately attracted to him and stubbornly resistant to his charms. Their chemistry is sizzling, though Catherine, like any strong Gothic heroine, is not at all content to let her mysterious hero stay a mystery for long. Neither is she willing to stay confined to the castle as he requests–she insists on going out on her own in search of the truth of Ynys Nos.
Some of that truth she does indeed find; others remain a mystery to the end….
It was difficult to put this creepy, atmospheric read down–even though the plot is fairly slow-moving, the story never felt as if it was dragging. On the contrary, the pages practically turned themselves. There are a lot of spooky clues and details to pick up on as you go, and more than a few surprises as well. There is a definite Beauty and the Beast vibe going on here–even down to the detail of the fabulous library within the castle (which of course is the most crucial part of the Beauty and the Beast story, right?).
Overall, I loved this book and cannot wait to read more from this author. My only complaint is with the ending–it is fairly abrupt, and tends a bit toward the info-dump end of the spectrum. I would have liked to have seen the conclusion unfold more gradually as the rest of the story had. Still, this is one story that had me completely engrossed, and looking forward to Ms. Bennett’s next offering!
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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