Regency London - a dizzying whirl of balls and young ladies pursued by charming men.Publisher: Mira, March 2011
But the Woodmore sisters are hunted by a more sinister breed: Lucifer's own.
Voss, also known as Viscount Dewhurst, relishes the sensual pleasures immortality affords. A member of the Dracule - a cabal of powerful, secretive noblemen marked with a talisman that reveals their bartered souls - the mercenary Voss has remained carefully neutral...until Angelica.
Angelica Woodmore possesses the Sight, an ability invaluable to both sides of a looming war among the Dracule. Her very scent envelops Voss in a scarlet fog of hunger - for her body and blood. But he is utterly unprepared for the new desire that overcomes him - to protect her.
Genre: Historical, Regency Romance
Single Title/Series: THE VAMPIRE VOSS is Book One in The Regency Draculia Series.
Cover Thoughts: I love that its incredibly unique amongst the rainbow of colors generally featured on Regency Romance covers. It has this exotic edge that immediately draws you to it. Honestly, everything about this look calls to my paranormal love. Love it! And bonus, all the subsequent series installments mimic this same enticing look.
Origin: I requested and received THE VAMPIRE VOSS from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
It's all about me when it comes to one hundred and forty-eight year old Viscount Dewhurst, better known as Voss. Back from the colonies and ready to resume his rightful place as the now and once again young London Viscount, Voss wastes little time before embedding himself with both the local Draculia and the ton. A very exclusive club, the Draculia have only sworn allegiance to one: Lucifer. All stemming from the same ancestral tree commencing with Vlad the Impaler, each brethren vampire accepted his curse in a dream and now each walk through life immortal.
In the world of rich and titled gentlemen, some collect art, some collect wine, some collect women, and sometimes there are those gentlemen that collect all three. Voss? He collects secrets. Some of these secrets he'll sell to the highest and undiscriminated bidder and others, more importantly one single collection of secrets, Voss keeps entirely for himself and purely for his own amusement. In this paranormal world, each Dracule or vampire has a uniquely individual weakness that if discovered, could spell that vampire's doom. Are the Draculia immortal? Yes. Are they able to defy a beheading, a wooden stake to the heart, or sunlight? No. In addition, each vampire has their own personal bringer of death that can be anything ranging from the absurdly generic like silver, or something more obtuse like a rare hothouse flower. For years Voss has collected these weaknesses amongst his brethren, coyly showcasing his power when need be. And now, in addition to perpetuating his century long and amusing annoyance against the Earl of Corvindale, Voss also seeks the earl's ward who's rumored to have the Sight and all the juicy secrets he hopes to seductively pillage.
While there's nothing new or unique about her older brother vacating his younger sisters for weeks or sometimes months at a time, placing Angelica Woodmore and her older sister Maia under the care of the Earl of Corvindale's guardianship certainly is very much unlike Chas. Not knowing where their brother is or whether or not he's alive, Angelica and Maia try their best to go about their normal life. However, normal is relative for Angelica. Having been cursed with the Sight, Angelica can determine from any artifact when that artifact's owner will die. Having spent years learning to control her visions, Angelica now sells them to the young women in society, helping them with their marriage choices. But something new has transpired or rather developed. Angelica is now having dreams of death and she recognizes the man dying in her recent dream at a ball. How was she to know that by doing what she felt was an obligated duty and telling this man of his death that she would incur the undivided attention of another man who's attention, heretofore, has been firmly focused on himself.
Voss's infatuation with Angelica, while slow to start, is soon steam rolling out of control along with his ability to reign in his more baser and ravenous needs for her blood. Also, for the first time Voss finds himself in the role of protector. He's not the only one after the Woodmore sisters. Their brother Chas has become mixed up with a very deadly and rival faction of the London Draculia: Cezar Moldavi and his minions of Made vampires - vampires not created directly by Lucifer. Moldavi will stop at nothing to find Chas and the Woodmore sisters are the most expedient means of accomplishing his goal. Battling not only countless attacks from Moldavi's vamps but his own vicious need for Angelica, Voss does what he can to keep her safe from both fronts while also preserving the trust that he's painstakingly cultivated. But Voss is coming to rapid and alarming conclusion: he doesn't ever want to hurt Angelica nor steal her secrets for his own personal gain. For once, Voss is determined to take care of someone other than himself.
Angelica may appear the proper society miss on the outside but on the inside, she's quite rebellious, unfashionably straightforward and blunt. She's also, thankfully, not a dim-witted, too-stupid-to-live heroine having made an early peace with death after being forced to endure its darkness since she was old enough to understand its meaning. When faced with the proof that vampires exist, she's rather repulsed and rightfully terrified but never out of sorts. Angelica takes things with stride while also being quick and sound of mind to fight back when it's her own death possibly on the line. What she can't take is lies and Voss is an oh so smooth liar. His betrayal of not disclosing that he too is in fact a vampire sets back their romance quite forcefully but his unyielding determination to keep Angelica safe makes for a very dangerous infatuation that her heart can't refuse.
Delightfully charismatic and self absorbed, Voss is sheer force bulldozing across the page, overshadowing the pragmatic Angelica on more than one occasion. He's debonair and skillfully charming in addition to the fact that the man has it easy on almost all accounts when it comes to getting what he wants, especially from the ladies. And if there's resistance, well he'll simply use his irresistible thrall to smooth his selfish way.
For 148 years, Voss has thought only of himself and it's more than difficult to break a man of that kind of aged habit. But Angelica poses two incredibly life altering thoughts for Voss that effectively change everything. One, she forces him to recognize the routine of his life and the fact that as an immortal, he'll face the same endless days of shallow entertainment forever. And two, for the first time in 148 years, Voss thinks of not only death, but his own death. Upon these realizations, Voss discovers his life for the emptiness it truly is and it's only in this moment that he makes the choice to do something not for himself, but for another.
My Final Thoughts:
THE VAMPIRE VOSS was a most welcome and pleasurable surprise. True, the novel starts slow and rather disenchanting but as it picks up speed, so did this reader's interest. First, I'll admit to having a thang for self absorbed heroes. The incredible fascination they have with themselves is blinding when that same infatuation falls upon their heroines and Voss and Angelica are no exception. Voss's selfishness, however, is almost a demon in an of itself for it works to taint his budding relationship with Angelica countless times. While I hate to tarnish the book, there are several scenes where Voss sleeps with other women but the man is 148 years old; his wild habits won't be brought to heel quickly. Not only that, his Dracule nature is embedded within this very selfishness and it drives him to commit unheroic acts. I was able to reconcile myself with Voss's "infidelities" as a romance hero because his journey toward the end is endearing and more importantly, its believable.
Angelica, sadly, pales in comparison to Voss but I must say that she is most unique when viewed out from beneath Voss's glowing aura. Likely to be the sole paranormal romance heroine to not find the sucking of blood erotic, Angelica's repulsion of Voss more than instigates him to change, it gave a new feel to paranormal romance. Colleen Gleason's vampires, while most are not overly cruel, their Dracule nature is a burden to them all, a painful one at times even. It's a dark faucet of their nature that is a flaw rather than a virtue. Honestly, it was an interesting dichotomy. But to get back to Voss and Angelica, I enjoyed the pairing. Angelica served to heal Voss and for that, I found her perfect for her role.
Finally, this world of the Draculia is an interesting one and unique amongst paranormal romance which is saying something. For one, the Regency setting not only engages paranormal and historical romance lovers alike, but viewing the cruel world of the Draculia against the tittering backdrop of the London ton, makes for a wonderful dichotomy for it engages an awesome push and pull between propriety and hedonism. Plus, the history of the Dracule is interesting and again, it makes it unique amongst paranormal romance. Suffice it to say that this read stands out and I'm looking forward to whatever new and unveiled surprises that are sure to be had in the following two series installments.
For paranormal AND historical romance lovers, THE VAMPIRE VOSS will be a satisfying indulgence that will surely leave you hungering for more. Enjoy!
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