Author: Kristen Callihan (author website)
Release Date: Feb. 1st 2012 by Grand Central Publishing
Age Group: Adult
I’ve been excited about Kristen Callihan’s genre-bending Firelight for months, ever since reading about its sale on literary agent Kristen Nelson’s blog. It didn’t disappoint. Firelight is, like Gail Carriger’s Soulless, hard to define. A delicious mix of paranormal, gaslight and historical-romance, it defies classification. A mysterious, sexually-charged and suspense-filled tale, I couldn’t put this book down. Callihan owes me a good night’s sleep.
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.
Set it in gas lamp-era Victorian London, we meet one half of our dynamic duo slipping through the night, on route to commit murder. He’s distracted when he shadows a young boy, making sure he makes it safely home. Well, as it turns out, the young boy Lord Benjamin Archer encounters is anything but—and hardly defenseless. Miranda ‘Pan’ Ellis is many things—including the daughter of the man Archer was on his way to kill. As the two spar in the foggy night, they share an instant attraction, and quickly part ways...
Three years later, the dread-Lord Archer returns to England to claim Miranda as his bride. Little does she know the masked, brute of a man she’s to marry is the mysterious stranger she encountered in the London’s dark alleyways years before, and never quite forgot. The two are quickly married, and against all odds, fall in love. But both are keeping deep, dark secrets… the least of which is what’s hiding behind Archer’s mask.
I was excited to read Firelight from the get-go. I expected something similar to the aforementioned Soulless, but while the two share a number of commonalities, they’re very different creatures. While Soulless is an unashamedly absurdist tale, Firelight forgoes the slapstick and is a far darker, edgier story.
Miranda is a seriously fabulous heroine. Brave, quick-witted and intelligent, the girl is fierce. Forced into thievery to keep her and her once-wealthy father off the streets, she holds an enormous capacity for love and kindness, despite the abuses she’s suffered in her short 20-odd years. She’s neither a damsel-in-distress nor a totally invincible tomboy. She’s a balanced mix of both... she can defend herself in any situation. She holds a very dark secret; one that will keep her safe in any situation, but using it costs her a great deal. While strong and defiant, she has a certain emotional fragility at times that makes her relatable. I loved this girl.
Archer is tall, dark, huge and handsome... and an utter enigma. The truth of his curse, and the reason for his mask, is revealed in tiny pieces throughout the story, and despite a riveting mystery driving the plot of the book, it was the question of his identity that kept me utterly rapt. The sexual tension between Miranda and Archer is palpable, and it’s backed up with a growing love between the two that felt so profound and genuine it made my insides ache.
The VerdictI was taken aback by just how utterly compelling Firelight was. Combining fairytale-like qualities with a melting-hot romance, it’s the characters in this book, and their developing relationship, that kept me turning pages into the wee hours of the morning. This is a romance novel at its smoking-hot best, combined with a riveting mystery, to make a delightful, page-turner of a read.
Books in This Series:
- Firelight (Feb. 1st 2012)
- Moonglow (August 1st 2012)
- Winterblaze (March 2013)