"A very unusual Regency Romance"
The Vampire Viscount is a Regency romance of the short
variety, with a very unusual hero. In his wild youth,
Viscount St. Vire made the tragic mistake of having a
liaison with the wrong woman -- who now goes by the name of
Lady Mercia. The two went their separate ways shortly
thereafter, but Nicholas is now a vampire.
Though he is eternally young, handsome, and desired by
women, Nicholas has grown tired of the existence. He has
lived out natural human life span, and has watch all those
he had loved pass on, the children he had known grow aged.
Though there are advantages to being a vampire, Nicholas is
very much alone. He must spend decades in isolation, lest
others become aware of what he is. He must even pretend to
be his own descendant, to rejoin the world on occasion. He
cannot even keep servants very long, but that is not his
deepest concern. With age vampires lose their ability to
feel sensation and emotion, and eventually become mad. He
has already had to dispose of one such creature.
Not one to idly bemoan his fate, Nicholas has spent most of
his life searching for a cure.
He has scoured the world collecting every tome of spells,
both black and white. At last he believes he has found a
solution. If he can find a virgin willing to be married to
him for one year, he believes the spell can be reversed.
Any willing virgin will do, as Nicholas has no plans to
continue the marriage beyond the one-year period. At any
rate, if the spell fails, he would have to let her go
anyway for she would continue to age, and would undoubtedly
appalled by such a creature as he if she were to discover
He begins a night of gambling searching for an easy mark.
He chooses Lord Farleigh for several reasons. The man is a
drunk, a poor gambler, known to be abusive, annnnnnnd he
has a suitable daughter of marriageable age. Farleigh
plays into Nick's hand as expected, and is agreeable
to "selling" his daughter to pay off his debts.
St. Vire is pleasantly surprised, for the daughter,
Leonore, is lovely both inside and out.
She is willing to accept the marriage in order to make life
better for her mother and younger sister. Neither expects
to find love, but Leonore soon finds Nicholas
irresistible. Nick for his part goes to the trouble to woo
her. He lavishes gifts on her and her family. Nicholas
finds that he cares for Leonore. She would be so easy to
love if he had any feelings or could afford to have
them for her.
Their happiness together is short lived. Mercia is back.
She is beautiful, insane, and she wants Nick back! What
Mercia wants, Mercia gets. She will destroy any obstacle in
her path, especially an inconvenient wife of convenience.
Nick realizes that he is doomed to remain a vampire, for if
he is to protect Leonore, he must give her up. At any rate,
his feigned infidelity with Mercia would shame her, and
undoubtedly drive her away. Either way she will not be
staying with him for the required year. He has lost his
gamble. It is then that he realizes how much he truly loves
Will Leonore be able to see through what appears to be
obvious, and fight for the man she loves? Can Nicholas find
a way to be rid of Mercia without jeopardizing Leonore's
very life? And if so, will he be able to win her back and
will he lose her anyway if "the cure" doesn't work. This
story blends the elements of the two sub genres quite well.
I found both the hero and heroine sympathetic -- a
Copyright © 2000
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted March 24, 2002