Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review: The Brotherhood of the Blood

Be Mine Tonight
Book #1 in The Brotherhood of the Blood
Author: Kathryn Smith
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Release Date: JULY 2006
Publisher: Avon Books
Visit the Author's Website
Available at Indie Bound, Powell's Books, Barnes & Noble
and Amazon

Summary: In the 1300s, six soldiers went into a Templar building searching for treasure. What they found changed them forever, making them vampires – and unlike any other of their kind. The suicide of one of their own and events that followed drove them apart, but six centuries later, an ancient evil conspires to reunite them once more.

I picked up Be Mine Tonight on Amazon a few months ago where it resided on my To Be Read Shelf until I read it this weekend. The first of The Brotherhood of the Blood series, this book features Pru and Chapel, who is one of the brotherhood. It serves as an introduction to the series and the brotherhood. Chapel was the first soldier in the group to become a vampire, and it's been about 600 years since his change when he meets Prudence Ryland in 1899. I loved the character of Pru right from the start. She's witty and rather forward for a young woman of her time, mostly because she's dying and doesn't have time to play games or be overly gracious. It took me a little longer to warm up to Chapel. He's a tortured, brooding man who has lost his sense of humor along the way. Pru tells him:

"What have you done with your time? Spent it mooning over a woman who didn't want you and hiding behind a church that despises you?"

Be Mine Tonight is what I would call a historical paranormal romance. It takes place in the 1800's, so the writing isn't gritty or snarky, but instead the humor is subtle, and the romance anguished. There is a bit of intrigue and adventure as Pru, Chapel and their colleagues search for the Holy Grail or it's antithesis, the Blood Grail.

I read on the author's website that she consulted with her niece, who works in oncology, for the scenes involving Pru's cancer. I can tell that she took special care in writing about her symptoms and her emotional distress in regards to the cancer. It's heartbreaking, yet Pru's strength is amazing as she refuses to give up until the last possible moment, and then she faces her death with grace. If I hadn't already grown to like Chapel, I would have been won over by his care and nurturing of Pru during her sickness.

Be Mine Tonight is foremost a romance with the paranormal elements as an aspect of the story, along with the adventure and suspense. Pru and Chapel's love story is one of hope, and forgiveness above all else. There are sexual elements to the book, though I wouldn't consider it an erotic story. They come with the natural progression of Pru and Chapel's relationship. I don't think the story would have been as intense or heartbreaking without the sex scenes.

I think fans of both historical and paranormal romance will enjoy Be Mine Tonight. It's the first in a series:

Brotherhood of Blood
1. Be Mine Tonight (2006)
2. Night of the Huntress (2007)
3. Taken By the Night (2007)
4. Let the Night Begin (2008)
5. Night After Night (2009)