If you found a man who satisfied you in almost every way imaginable… who watched movies you liked just so he could understand you better… who made sacrifices just to be who you wanted him to be… would you begrudge him being an incubus?
Title: The Demon Lover: A Novel (Fairwick Trilogy Book 1)
Author: Juliet Dark
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Available on Amazon in paperback, Kindle, audiobook and MP3 CD editions. You can find it at other online and offline booksellers, as well.
Summary of The Demon Lover
When Callie McFay lands a job teaching at Fairwick College, she finds herself in a rare dilemma: Accept her dream lover for what he is…or reject him as a demon.
Let’s step back a moment. Callie was raised by archeologists interested in ancient Celtic customs who engendered in her a love of Gothic romance, folktales, and legends. She has transformed this girlish hobby into a career and has just released a very popular book called The Sex Lives of the Demon Lovers. Because of her expertise, Fairwick College hires her for their folklore department.
The day she arrives, she finds a large Victorian house that she impulsively buys… and then the dreams start. A man, made of moonlight and shadow, seduces her, night after scintillating night. And there is something familiar about him. He reminds her of the prince she used to dream about as a child.
She soon discovers he’s not just a dream. He’s an incubus that has haunted this house for a long time. But more than that… Fairwick’s Dean is a witch, the Dean’s girlfriend is a Brownie, and the rest of the staff is filled with all sorts of paranormal creatures, such as vampires, the Queen of Faerie and a succubus. But that’s not the biggest surprise… Callie herself is part faerie.
By coming to Fairwick, New York, Callie has stumbled into a world that is more dangerous than it would appear on the surface. In the forest is the doorway to faerie and, on occasion, immigrants both friendly and not are apt to come through.
Just so we’re on the same page, both an incubus and a succubus are basically the same–they feed on the sexual energy of their victims while they sleep. The incubus is male and preys upon women; the succubus is female and preys upon males.
The book is written by Juliet Dark, a pen name of award-winning and critically acclaimed literary suspense writer Carol Goodman.
What Worked for Me
The Demon Lover in many ways follows the mold of a Gothic paranormal romance. You have your heroine living in a cavernous house. You have the dark, mysterious man who becomes her lover. There is a young woman facing a family curse, caused by the misdoings of a father. And you have a cast of supernatural creatures.
But it goes beyond that.
The author’s background in literary suspense shines through. The novel, at its core, is both a romance and a mystery-suspense story. There are red herrings and multiple mysteries. There are characters who have hidden agendas…not all of which are revealed by the novel’s end. (You’ll have to read the sequel for those.) And Callie finds herself having to keep secrets she never would have anticipated.
Like most romance novels, there are plenty of sex scenes in The Demon Lover…but they are not over the top and always drive the plot forward. The story has an ebb and flow that lets you relax between “edge of your seat” moments. I found this blend much more engaging than I was expecting. I’ve never been much into romance novels, so this book’s other genre influences made it a much more entertaining read.
What Didn’t Work for Me
OK, this may sound weird, but I could have done with fewer, and less graphic, sex scenes. I found all the other parts of the novel far more engaging. I understand that when one of your main characters is an incubus, you need to have some sex. However, I think it would have been just as effective for the story if they were more nuanced and subtle. The author could have hinted at what was going on and let the reader’s imagination fill in the sordid details.
The Demon Lover is a perfect book for reading in a big comfy chair with a roaring fire nearby, a soft, fuzzy blanket wrapped about your legs. Whether you like Gothic romance, paranormal mystery or an interesting read rooted in folklore, this novel is sure to please.
Score for The Demon Lover: 3 Palm Trees out of 5 Possible
NOTE: Although I received this book free to review, that did not affect my opinion of the book. Read past reviews of books I’ve received for free and you’ll know I don’t hold my punches.