Firelight (Darkest London #1) by Kristen Callihan
Publication date: 31 January 2012 by Grand Central Publishing
Category: Adult Historical Romance/Paranormal Supsense
Keywords: Paranormal, romance, suspense, gothic, London, fire
Format: Mass market paperback, eBook
Source: e-ARC received from Netgalley
Once the flames are ignited . . .
Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.
They will burn for eternity . . .
Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.
Firelight is the thrilling and passionate debut novel from Kristen Callihan. The first book in her Darkest London series, Firelight is what would happen if a historical romance and paranormal mystery got together and had a book baby. An exciting, romantic, sensual and captivating (so many adjectives!) story that you won’t want to put down.
Set in Gothic London in the 1800s, Callihan does a great job of creating an atmospheric and mysterious setting for her story. Born with a gift of fire, Miranda has hidden her true self her entire life, afraid of what might happen if her secret is revealed or the devastation that could occur if she ever lost control of her power. Archer comes across Miranda in an alley one dark evening and witnesses her boldness in the face of danger. Taken by her beauty and strength, he vows to come back for her. When her returns to London years later, Archer makes Miranda’s father an offer he cannot refuse and she becomes his wife.
I fell in love with Archer and Miranda! They are both fantastically well drawn and complex characters. Both cursed in their own ways, they are forced to hide their true selves from society. However, they each find a counterpoint in the other, a person who understands them and accepts them for who they are. With Archer, Miranda’s power becomes her strength and she is able to see past Archer’s curse to the man inside.
Arch is perfect as the devilishly mysterious Duke. A cross between the perfect English gentleman and the marauding bandit, he’s charming but also moody and arrogant. There’s also an inherent sadness to him, brought on by years of isolation. I loved the vulnerable moments he had with Miranda. At first, Archer thinks he’ll be able to marry but also keep his wife at arm’s length. But Miranda is no wilting wallflower and won’t stand for a husband who keeps too many secrets. I loved how fearless and brave Miranda was. Even without her power, she is formidable fighter. With it, she’s a force of nature. Her red hair matches her fiery personality and she is also extremely loyal and clever.
The chemistry between Archer and Miranda was red hot! Their heated arguments and playful exchanges had me blushing and wanting more. But their connection is more than just a physical attraction and I loved watching them get to know each other and start to trust each other with their secrets. The weakest part of the book for me was the murder mystery/serial killer. I actually figured out who the killer was pretty early on, but I did like how everything ends up coming full circle.
It’s hard to categorize this book. Historical romance, suspense, fantasy, mystery - it’s all of those things and more. A truly original and surprising story, I fell in love with this world and the characters in it. This is one of my favorite reads so far this year. I am dying to read Book 2, Moonglow, which comes out in August. To tide myself over, I bought the short prequel to Firelight, Ember, available as an ebook. Do yourself a favor and pick yourself up a copy of Firelight NOW. You won’t be sorry. :)
P.S. - Keep an eye out for a giveaway of this book soon. We love it and want to share it with our readers. :)