Review of HIS DARK KISS by Eve Silver (see her website)
Zebra Books, November 2006
When her aunts attempt to sell her as mistress to an unattractive man, Emma Parrish decides to take the one option available to her. She'll serve as the governess to young Nicky Craven, son of Lord Anthony Craven. Being a governess certainly sounds like a more attractive job than mistress, but the last several governesses died unexpectedly, and Craven is commonly thought to have murdered his wife. The assortment of misshapen and damaged people who make up Craven's small staff do little to alleviate Emma's concerns--although Nicky is certainly a joy. What really troubles Emma, however, is her body's reaction to Craven. As a bastard, Emma knows only too well what comes of relationships between the nobility and the poor--and there is no way the result can be anything but dreadful. Of course, if Craven really is the monster he appears to be, she might not survive long enough to suffer the fate worse than death.
Almost as soon as she arrives, strange accidents begin. Emma is locked in the ice house--the same ice house where one of the previous governesses fell. Yet Craven refuses to tell her anything.
The longer she spends with Craven and his son, the more torn Emma becomes. She can't reconsile her feelings with Craven for what she knows to be true. He acts like a monster, has human bodies brought to his home, seems indifferent to the deaths of the previous govenesses, yet Emma senses a love beneath his exterior. Could she be fooling herself? When the neighborhood doctor tells her that Craven's late wife almost certainly was murdered--that a simple fall would not have created those injuries, she is more than concerned. When she sees Craven take a knife to his son, she realizes she must have been lying to himself. Despite her love, Craven really is the monster she imagined him to be--and yet, how is that possible?
Author Eve Silver (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of romance by Silver) creates a truly tortured Gothic hero in her novel, HIS DARK KISS. Craven, with his enormous guilt, seems beyond even the salvation that love can bring. When he does talk about himself, he admits to being a monster, urges Emma to stay away from him lest she too fall victim. Yet, through the instrument of his son and his gradually developing feelings for Emma, Silver lets us see the humanity Craven has hidden away so long under the pain he's suffered.
I would like to have seen more motivation for Craven's unwillingness to talk--especially after he had made love with Emma, but HIS DARK KISS is a highly entertaining and well-written Gothic romance.
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