Series: Darkest London #2
Genres: Historical, Paranormal Romance
Published by Grand Central Publishing on February 26, 2013
Reviewed by: Julia
Sex scenes, references to rape.
Once blissfully in love . . .
Poppy Lane is keeping secrets. Her powerful gift has earned her membership in the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals, but she must keep both her ability and her alliance with the Society from her husband, Winston. Yet when Winston is brutally attacked by a werewolf, Poppy's secrets are revealed, leaving Winston's trust in her as broken as his body. Now Poppy will do anything to win back his affections . . .
Their relationship is now put to the ultimate test.
Winston Lane soon regains his physical strength but his face and heart still bear the scars of the vicious attack. Drawn into the darkest depths of London, Winston must fight an evil demon that wants to take away the last hope of reconciliation with his wife. As a former police inspector, Winston has intelligence and logic on his side. But it will take the strength of Poppy's love for him to defeat the forces that threaten to tear them apart.
WINTERBLAZE is a complex story, as evidenced by the fact that it took me a a few chapters to feel entirely caught up despite having read read Darkest London books 1 and 2. This orientation was a pleasure, however, as it was accompanied by the witty and sensual introduction of Poppy and Win, a formerly happy married couple, as the hero and heroine.
I was dying to read more about this married couple in the aftermath of the devastating events in book 2, and unfortunately, it is just that interest in Poppy and Win's history that makes certain elements of their story less exciting for me. With so many secret lives and magically altered memories, some of the more far fetched aspects of the plot didn't spark an emotional response for me. The main conflict in their marriage stems from Poppy's secret life, and giving Win his own secret was a disappointment when I wanted these two characters to come back to each other from an uneven playing field (forgiveness is most interesting for it's own sake, rather than quid pro quo). Even worse, the avalanche of changes made Poppy and Win as good as strangers, making WINTERBLAZE much more the usual romance "strangers with chemistry" than I had hoped to find.
All of the prior Darkest London books featured a fair amount of magical plot surprises throwing a wrench into things, but that mechanism didn't work as well for me in WINTERBLAZE. Expecting the romance to hinge entirely on character, Win and Poppy's reconciliation focuses on physical chemistry and magical events. The nature of these events prevents seeing them (or us) from seeing them coming, which means there was very little of the pleasant anticipation that can accompany a mystery.
These minor disappointments on both a magic and a romantic front add up to 3 bats instead of 4, but this is still a good Paranormal Romance on its own (and a superior series). Though this particular story didn't sweep me off my feet, I'm already poised to pre-order the next Darkest London story, just so I can see more of Jack Taylor and a certain mysterious Ghost in the Machine.
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