Published: January 31st, 2012
Firelight (Darkest London # 1)
By: Kristin Callihan
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.
Miranda Ellis has been dealing with a strange gift since she was a child. It allows her to call forth fire with her mind. It resulted in the accidental and tragic destruction of the warehouse that was her family's livelihood. Now her Father is bitter and plans to wed her to the infamous Lord Benjamin Archer so he can pay off the family debts. Lord Archer is trying to break a curse that has left him disfigured, almost completely alone and on the fringe of polite society. He has been drawn to Miranda's beauty and spirit since he met her three years before while she was disguised a boy and a street urchin. Upon their marriage, Miranda and Archer manage to find passion and are swiftly headed towards being completely in love with each other. She sees beyond the mask he wears, to the man within and he doesn't revile her for her fiery ability. But when people begin to turn up dead, Archer is called into suspicion as the possible murderer. It's up to Miranda to clear his name, help him figure out who the murderer is and break his curse before he's lost to her forever. Will Miranda and Archer be able to have their happily ever after? I enjoyed the Victorian era with a hint of supernatural thrown into it. I was a big fan of Archer from the very beginning of the novel and greatly admired Miranda for her spirit and independence. The slow-build of their romance into something lasting and true was something wondrous to find in a historical romance. That said, the mystery seemed very convoluted for most of the novel, throwing the reader directly into the thick of it with no prior knowledge of the secret club that Archer belonged to, what their goal was or why he was cursed. With absolutely NO backstory, that plotline became somewhat frustrating very quickly. I did appreciate the resolution's creativity and the freshness of Callihan's take on a mashup of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera. One of my favorite side characters was Miranda's sister Daisy, who is totally encouragable. I am looking forward to the rest of the series and recommend this to fans of historical romance and supernatural fiction.
VERDICT: 4.25/5 Stars
*No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores and online.*