“Superb paranormal Victorian romantic suspense“
In 1879 Andromeda Andrews comes to Dartmoor’s End to see her recently married sister Cassie, who wed Sean Killaren. Her arrival upsets the cold war balance between Sean and his twin Alexander as it reminds both of the prophesy curse in which one will kill the other and the “accident” in which the Andrews’ cousin Mary dies at sea near Dartmoor’s End.
Andromeda is attracted to Alexander who cannot hide his bitterness towards Sean. Like Cassie she wants to know more about Mary’s death and the sibling she is falling in love with though also like her sister she fears her beloved is a cruel soulless killer who she has doubts on whether she can trust him with her heart, her life, and her soul.
DARKEST DREAMS, the sequel to the magnificent MIDNIGHT SECRETS is a superb paranormal Victorian romantic suspense thriller with gothic overtones. The story line is action– packed, but as with Cass’ saga, Andromeda is the key to the wonderful plot. Her “sight” skills tell her to run away and towards Alex especially in light of her belief that she is the next Druid sacrifice and he might be the one to perform the ritual. Fans of gothic and paranormal romances will want to read this beguiling tale. ~ Harriet Klausner
Darkest Dreams by Jennifer St. Giles
“Well-told Gothic romance that’s tension-filled and sexy.“
The Andrew sisters descended upon the Cornish coast to uncover their cousin’s murderer. Instead, Cassie fell in love and married Sean Killdarren, a man surrounded in controversy and scandal. Andromeda promises Cassie that she will help her disprove the Killdarren curse that shadows Sean and his twin brother, Alex. The curse prophecy says twin Killdarren brothers are fated to kill one another. Trying to forestall the prediction, the brothers isolate themselves from each other.
Andromeda takes a job with Alex cataloging the artifacts in his castle. Acting as a Trojan horse, Andromeda invades Alex’s home looking for a solution to the curse within the castle. Blessed or cursed, Andromeda has the talent to read peoples’ thoughts. She uses her “gift” hoping to find the answers.
Alex Killdarren, Viscount Blackmoor, lives a lonely isolated life. An accident eight years ago that left his brother permanently injured haunts him. He believes the curse nearly came true. Trying to keep his brother safe, Alex immerses himself in his horse breeding. His title will pass to Sean and his children. Alex will not fulfill the curse’s legacy. His plan goes awry when Andromeda occupies his home and fills his thoughts with uncontrollable lust.
Haunted mansions, abandon ruins and a murder hover over the Killdarrens. The Andrew sisters will need every one of their special gifts to keep the men they love safe.
Ms. St. Giles writes a good Gothic romance, which has evil stalking amid the shadows ready to appear at any time and cause destruction in its wake. Interspersing curses and Druid tales keeps the tension high, while the sexy encounters between Andromeda and Alex heat up the pages.
Andromeda hides a secret. With the touch of her hand she can read another’s thoughts. Journeying to Dartmoor’s End to be with her recently wed sister, Andrie meets Alexander Killdaren, the twin of her brother-in-law. What she sees in Alex’s mind arouses both fear and attraction. Hopelessly drawn to him, Andrie takes a job in his household, cataloguing Killdaren family antiques. Despite the growing attraction, she has an ulterior motive for being there — to find out what really happened at Dartmoor’s End eight years ago, and reunite Alex with his estranged brother, Sean.
But danger is ever present at Dragon’s Cove. Women are being sacrificed to a deadly druid ritual. Along with her sisters, and the other women on the Killdaren Estate, Andromeda sets out to solve the brutal murders. But with her gifts she is bound to be the next victim. And Alex the prime suspect. Can love be strong enough to reveal the truth? And can love unite a rivalry that has been in place for thousands of years?
Darkest Dreams is the second instalment in Jennifer St. Giles’ Killdaren series, and continues where Midnight Secrets left off. This reviewer did not believe Ms St. Giles could outdo the first book, but this proved to be untrue! Darkest Dreams is a sensual, suspenseful, historical romance. One that is guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night.
Both Andrie and Alex hide secrets from their families, carrying the burden with them constantly. When they find solace in each other, the scenes are so emotionally charged that they provide a seductive, erotic feast for the reader. With a fascinating range of secondary characters, this reviewer was pleased to see all of them making an appearance.
If you are looking for a love story that warms the heart, passion that sizzles and a suspenseful who-dun-it, you cannot go wrong with Darkest Dreams. ~ Reviewed in October 2006 by Donna.
Jennifer St. Giles
November 2006, European Historical Romance (1870s [Victorian] England)
Berkley Sensation, $6.99, 320 pages, ISBN 042521303X
Part of a series
My love for romance reading is based on many things, but I must admit that alluring heroes top that list. It seems that I seldom find one of those perfectly desirable heroes these days, but Jennifer St. Giles serves up such a delectable one in her latest release that I fear most other heroes will fall short by comparison for some time to come.
The Dragon’s Curse has held the Killdaren family in its grip for over a thousand years and history has shown that any time twins are born, one twin eventually kills the other. Twins Alexander and Sean Killdaren are living the nightmare after a fight eight years ago between the two ended with Sean crippled from the brothers tumbling over the side of a cliff. Although both live in Dartmoor’s End, they neither speak nor see each other, but their game is one of avoidance, resentment, and a desperate attempt to hamper the curse. Lord Alexander Killdaren, Viscount Blackmoor, is the elder of the two and he chooses to pay his penance for his part in the crippling fight by leaving no legitimate heir, thus allowing the title to pass to Sean and his heirs.
Andrie Andrews lives in Dartmoor’s End with her sister, who recently married Sean Killdaren (Midnight Secrets). However, it is progressively difficult to live with the newly married couple since Andrie sees a lot more of their lives than they realize. Gifted with the ability to read another’s thoughts when she touches them, Andrie knows her gift is increasing and the burden of seeing the thoughts of those around her, despite her efforts to tune them out, is almost too much to bear. Long ago she made the decision to live her life alone without inflicting her gift on another and she knows the time has come to support herself. She believes her knowledge of antiquities and her ability to catalogue them will provide her with the needed income and she seeks to gain local employment. The forbidden twin, Alexander, has a large estate close by filled with such antiquities and Andrie bravely asks him for employment cataloging his artifacts.
In Andrie’s mind, Alexander is the most dynamic person she has ever met, as well as the most intriguing. Added to her intense attraction to him, she has yet to “see” into his mind although she has touched him several times. The added benefit to working in his home is the pact she and Cassie have made to reunite the brothers. Now that Cassie carries Sean’s child, her fear is great that the curse will affect her child as well. Both Andrie and Cassie agree that the brothers must come to the realization that they have the power to stop the curse by refusing to believe in it.
Danger seems to be lurking around every corner, but Andrie and Alexander’s romance remains the primary focus of the story. Although I prefer romances that are character driven and don’t rely on the overused obligatory suspense element, I decided early on to accept this suspense plot and did not begrudge the scenes necessary to support it. I think I have already made clear my favorable opinion of the hero, but allow me to point out that Andrie was a pretty terrific heroine as well. Romance works so much better when you thoroughly like both leads!
In addition to the suspense element, there are numerous secondary characters and a total of four romances, one of which involves Sean and Cassie, whose story was told in the first book of this series. Theirs is not the sickeningly sweet, romance-laden relationship most often seen when past lead couples appear in a sequel, but rather a relationship that remains full of challenges. As the second of a series, Darkest Dreams suffers significantly from ongoing plot descriptions with many pages devoted to past events and character profiles. Before writing this review, I read Midnight Secrets for a better understanding of the entire story and am sorry to say that since it failed to hold my attention, had I had read it first, I may not have picked up this wonderful book. Ultimately, this heavy reliance on the previous book’s events reduced my final grade to the B range. If one is willing to work through the first four chapters, though, this book does perform well as a stand alone.
Although I can’t say I dislike stories written in first person, I can state that I definitely prefer to read the hero’s thoughts. However, first person works quite well here since Alexander’s hidden thoughts enhanced his mysterious sexy persona and when a few of those thoughts were later revealed — whew! — I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. And while Andrie can’t read Alexander’s thoughts, she picks up just enough to add considerable heat to a few of the scenes that may have tempered the first person voice as well.
Two people determined to never marry is a plot device I have read too many times to appreciate it much anymore, but St. Giles’s approach is rather refreshing. And, though there is a very satisfying HEA for Alexander and Andrie, Darkest Dreams most definitely does not end with its final pages. It is obvious that at least one other romance is in the works and you better believe, now that I have processed the background storyline, I will follow it through to the next HEA as well. ~ Lea Hensley