Friday, June 14, 2013

Midnight Enchantment

Nancy Gideon helped to create the subgenre of vampire romance as we know it, beginning with MIDNIGHT KISS (1994). Her sensual love stories set in varied historical periods and locations feature classic supernatural vampires torn between their dark destiny and their love for the human heroines. Although some recurring characters appear in her “Midnight” novels, each can be read on its own.

After the first few “Midnight” books, the series moved from a mass market paperback publisher to a small press (Imajinn). MIDNIGHT ENCHANTMENT (1999) is one of the Imajinn trade paperback novels. Gerard Pasquale, an ancient vampire in 19th-century New Orleans, finds his privacy invaded by a greedy young lawyer. Percy Cristobel blackmails the wealthy Gerard into marrying Percy’s stepsister, Laure. Raped by an abusive former suitor and burdened by the scandal of her family's voodoo heritage, Laure welcomes the chance for refuge in marriage to a man she visualizes as a reclusive invalid. Gerard's virility and his enigmatic nature come as a shock. At first the vampire assumes that Laure shares her stepbrother's mercenary goals, but of course she thaws his cold heart, and the newlyweds soon fall in love. Their relationship is complicated by the discovery that Laure carries her rapist's child, while Percy and one of Laure's own relatives, a power-mad voodoo priestess, conspire to murder the couple.

The unusual variation on the "marriage of convenience" plot grabbed my attention from the beginning. I also enjoyed the concept of a vampire as foster father to a human baby. Although typical of vampire romance heroes from the early 1990s in his self-isolating bitterness and anguish, Gerard is a strong character who, at least, doesn't spend much time feeling sorry for himself. Laure, with her loving compassion and innate magical talent, proves a worthy match for him. Their story evokes echoes of Beauty and the Beast.

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

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