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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-24 18:48
A Dance In Blood Velvet by Freda Warrington (2016 Review)
A Dance In Blood Velvet - Freda Warrington

A Dance In Blood Velvet by Freda Warrington
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Black shadows appear within the Crystal Ring, bringing confusion and fear to those who inhabit it. Charlotte Neville and her lover Karl von Wultendorf find themselves, despite being separated by emotional conflict, deeply embedded in the scheme of three mysterious figures that wish to preform a questionable ceremony.

(WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers.)

The first instalment (A Taste of Blood Wine) of this darkly alluring series captured my heart, in that despite the overly dramatic tone relating to the Neville household, I found the writing itself a literary treasure; atmospherically gothic, intense and beautiful; it appealed to my utmost fondness for vampire romance. What I expected from this volume, was more of the same brilliance, yet instead of entertaining family turmoil, relationship jealously saturated every aspect of each character and unfortunately dulled my enjoyment because of such. I'm all for conflicting emotion, of mistakes being made due to overpowering feelings, yet nearly every event that transpired in this book, was more or less due to jealousy in some form - Ben and Lancelyn, Charlotte and Katerina, Karl and Violette. Perhaps I should've appreciated the fact they were realistic, and like normal people plagued by insecurities, but there's a point I began to roll my eyes at the abundance of selfish behaviour.

A happily-ever-after was not in store for Charlotte and Karl, on the contrary, in fact. They spent most of their time apart, as obstacles seemed to rise in every direction and threaten their attempt at eternal love. I didn't mind this, I actually considered it refreshing that they had to continually fight to make it work. I however believed them both mostly to blame for their unhappiness, and Charlotte became especially intolerable. From being jealous of Katerina whilst she, herself, had the audacity to lust after and stalk Violette, well, what happened to the character I actually liked and felt attached to? And when she planned to turn Violette without even asking for her permission, I was ready to throw the book across the room. The same occurred with the rest of the characters, as well; I didn't particularly feel for any of them.

This isn't to say I believed the entire book a disappointment. Some endearing elements were still present, such as the style of writing and the overall elegance of the story, but it definitely lacked some of its original charm. The plot consisted of two, seemingly separate subplots coming together, pretty much revolving around the (re)birth of Lilith. Religion was further contemplated, yet it remained a mystery if God actually existed. The exact origin of the Crystal Ring was also pondered upon yet again, raising the question of if it relates to scientific or spiritual means. I do wonder if answers will ever come to light, or if it'll remain unexplained. At least the discovery of humans accessing the Crystal Ring was revealed, and the presence of a physic human also added to the conundrum that is Warrington's world.

In conclusion: The self-centred actions of the characters brought bouts of annoyance. I'll certainly continue with this series, but I hope I enjoy further instalments more than this one.

Notable Scene:

"How can I be content to bury myself in dead mythology, after living mythology has revealed itself to me? How can I feel anything for Lamia, succubus, incubus, Lilith and her demon children or all the angels of heaven, when I have met a real being who is richer and stranger than anything on the dry page of a book?"

"Do you want to write me into a book, a thesis?"

"It's tempting, but no, no more than I'd put a bird of prey in a glass cage."

© Red Lace 2016

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/03/24/a-dance-in-blood-velvet-by-freda-warrington-2016-review
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review 2018-03-14 21:00
Was Doing So Well Until the End
The Time of the Hunter's Moon - Victoria Holt

I was hoping that Holt was going to surprise me with this one. Have the sensible heroine just marry the very good man that was standing in front of her. Instead we have the fact that the man had affairs and tried to rape the heroine hand-waved away by saying that she is needed in order for him to change. Bah to that noise. I really did like the plot in this one (there were two of them) and the characters were much more developed than I have found in other Holt books. Holt apes a lot of Gothic romance tropes here, but geez Louise I hated the hero in this one. I wanted him to just fall down a hole and die. There was nothing redeeming about the guy.


"The Time of the Hunter's Moon" by Victoria Holt is  another Gothic romance I can now check off my list. So far the highest rating I have given a Holt book is "Mistress of Mellyn" which I gave five stars. 


The main character in this, Cordelia, when we first meet her, is away at a school to "finish herself." She has been raised by her Aunt Patty and is looking forward to the day she is home permanently and can help her aunt run her own school. When Cordelia and her friend come upon a man in the woods, Cordelia is instantly absorbed with thoughts of him. When she finally returns home for the final time after finishing school she runs into him again and starts to think of him romantically. When he disappears without coming back to see her again she wonders what happened to him. However, she finds out that her aunt has to sell their home and Cordelia finds a position at a school which has her forced to interact with a major force in the village. The hero (I say lightly) is named Jason Verringer and he's a typical Gothic hero. Dark and brooding and just terrible. He attempts to rape the heroine at one point, and is literally shocked she cuts herself to get away from him. And then tells her if not for her, he could change. Bah dude. I wished the whole time that something would fall on his head. 


Cordelia is sensible and smart and I thought had a lot more fire than the recent batch of Holt heroines I have been reading about prior to this one.

The writing was a little too modernish at times, but I think the book is supposed to take place in the late 1800s. I don't know. Holt doesn't include any references that I can think of at the top of my head that I can use to date the book. The flow was actually pretty good until we get towards the end. Then I think Holt suddenly realized she needed to resolve two plot points and didn't do a great job with either of them. 


The ending was not set up very well. We have a mystery finally resolved about one of the male characters we were introduced to earlier in the book, but Holt throws up a couple of paragraphs and counts it as mission accomplished. I noticed with her books she was not that great at tying up loose ends in her books. 



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text 2018-03-14 19:23
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Time of the Hunter's Moon - Victoria Holt

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text 2018-03-14 17:49
Reading progress update: I've read 61%.
The Time of the Hunter's Moon - Victoria Holt

The hero is now threatening to rape the heroine and wants proof that she can give him a son? I seriously hope he is dead by the end of this book. What gets me is that she's still a young woman who was not raised to just go along and be a mistress. He had already has one mistress installed who had a daughter that he's not interested in at all. And of course the wife that died at the beginning that many are whispering he murdered. I hope Cordelia kills this dude.


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text 2018-03-14 15:19
Reading progress update: I've read 51%.
The Time of the Hunter's Moon - Victoria Holt

Onto part 2. I really don't like one of the heroes in this one, Jason Verringer. He reminds me a bit of the character in "On the Night of the Seventh Moon" where the guy is a philandering POS, but the heroine for some inexplicable reason is drawn to him. It doesn't really work in this one since Cordelia is strong-willed and not stupid. The headmistress of the school keeps warning Cordelia to not let one of the students get so fond of her. I am wondering if that is some foreboding that is coming about that?



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