My Rating: 3.5/5
Author: Arial Burnz
Title: Midnight Conquest: Book 1
Masked in a Gypsy guise, Broderick MacDougal hides his vampiric identity while seeking to destroy the man who slaughtered his family. When an old Clan rival ensnares Broderick in a trap using an enticing widow, he is compelled to discover if she is bait or an accomplice, and the cinnamon-haired beauty is his next conquest.
Widow of an abusive husband, Davina Stewart-Russell clings to the only image that gave her strength during those dark times–the Gypsy rogue who stole her heart as a youth. After nine years, she is finally face-to-face with him again, but reality clashes with fantasy as she is confronted with Broderick’s passionate pursuit.
When Davina’s past returns to haunt her, Broderick is forced to reveal a dark secret worse than anything Davina thought possible. The challenge before them has fatal risks and neither of them is prepared for the sacrifices expected for the sake of eternal love.
Reader Advisory: This story contains explicit love scenes, described using graphic and direct language. This story also contains explicit, nail-biting scenes of violence and domestic abuse. (Don’t worry…the bad guys get it in the end!)
Midnight Conquest begins with how Broderick becomes a vampire. The reader is given a brief glimpse on why he consented to this path and who were involved. We also meet Davina as a young girl. When the gypsies come to town, she has her fortune read by Broderick. Although her future was not predicted to be a happy one, she becomes infatuated with the gypsy, and this gets her through the dark times ahead. Moving forward, Davina is older and in an abusive marriage. For those who are concerned about reading domestic violence (as I know some reader are), there really isn’t much “live” action written. Rather, it is reflected upon – such as bruising. There is more of a psychological abuse in the beginning. (I will say, however, that there is violence in the book – especially at the end.) Eventually, her husband (and her father and brother) go to fight and die in battle. Within a year, they gypsies come through again, and this time Broderick is with them. Will Davina’s young girlish fantasy break? Will she find out about his dark blood drinking secret? Will Broderick bring an old family feud to Davina’s doorstep?
The story is written in third person mainly following Davina and Broderick. Davina, as mentioned above, has had an abusive marriage. Her trust in love is fragile, even after her husband’s passing. She misses her brother and father, as well. No one seems to want to talk about them due to grief. Broderick had also lost his family but to a clan dispute. He now prepares and hunts the one man responsible for his family’s death. On the other side of things, Broderick is straightforward with his intentions and seductions to Davina. Although he has the ability to read minds (especially while feeding), Davina’s mind is harder to read – but not impossible. This was not explained why in the book. Perhaps it has to do with her trouble past and blocking things mentally? Broderick is an alpha male. There was an obvious attraction between the two, but I would have liked to see a little more development in the relationship beside sexual appeal. Besides looks/arousal and common deaths in the family, what else did they see in each other that would cement their relationship? This part was skimmed over, in my opinion. The husband was one-dimensional in the story, but the other “bad” guy turned out to be more dimensional. [I am vague due to spoilers.] I did like Amice, the old gypsy woman who also works as a fortune teller.
The story was interesting. I admit I was hesitant with the domestic violence, but I was fine as I read it. There were some twists along the way – two of which I did not see coming. The one secret revealed in the story seemed out of place, which made me wonder why it was put there. However, by the end of the book, I noticed the connection. The ending leaves off for another book to follow but does not stop in the middle of climax. Character histories are included throughout the book, but I would have liked to learn a little more about how the council (vampire, that is) works.
Overall, I liked the book. If you like vampires and paranormal historical fiction, then you might want to give this book a try.
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