Firelight (Darkest London #1)
Author: Kristen Callihan
Release Date:29 September 2014 (UK Paperback)
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.
First of all it's a mix of historical and paranormal, which immediately had my attention. I'm also a fan of books that take place in this late Victorian setting. There's just something atmospheric and gothic about it in my mind, which suits the tone of the story rather well. Then there's that element of beauty and the beast between Miranda and Archer. Truly this book had it going before I read the first page.
Miranda is a wonderful heroine. She's strong and can certainly take care of herself, something she's had to prove too often. She has a powerful gift, the power to create and control fire, it's part of who she is but it's also a source of distress for her. I'm also inherently envious of any characters with rich red hair, which she's rocking.
Archer is quite the tormented soul. A foolhardy pursuit in his youth has become Archer's curse, and it has slowly been consuming him over the years. I'm a fan of a tortured hero and Archer definitely fits the bill. He knows that he should just leave Miranda alone but he can't resist the opportunity to take her as his bride. He's blunt, churlish and bitter ,but he yearns for Miranda's fire and the future she represents.
I fricking loved Miranda and Archer's chemistry, they were a wonderful pairing.Whilst Miranda is initially wary of her husband who hides behind masks, soon she burns with desire for him. The two of them truly understand each other and I adored how loyal Miranda was to Archer, even when she didn't know of his secrets.
This is a superbly written book that easily held me captive. I loved the darker tone to the story and the paranormal aspects that are slowly unveiled throughout kept me fascinated. Also if this ending doesn't melt your heart and make you cry buckets, then I don't know what will!
I am so excited to read the rest of the series, especially for the stories of characters introduced here, like Poppy and Daisy (Miranda's sisters). This is the first book I've read from Kristen Callihan, but Firelight has ensured it won't be the last.
*I received a review copy from the publisher, for my honest opinion. Thank you!