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REVIEW

"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 be appalled by such a creature as he if she were to discover the truth.

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 Leonore.

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 recommended read.

April, 2000
Copyright © 2000

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted March 24, 2002

SUMMARY

Being a vampire is okay--you get to stay up all night, women find you irresistable, you're strong, fast, and magic is yours for the taking. But Nicholas, Viscount St. Vire finds all of that means little in the face of impending insanity and the eventual deterioration of his senses. Only the the willing embrace of a virginal young woman can reverse his condition. Who better for his wife-to-be than the impoverished Leonore Farleigh, whose abusive father sells her to St. Vire to pay off gaming debts? Leonore agrees to marry him--how else is she going to save her sister and her mother from their poverty and pain? But she soon finds she's stepped into a marriage of inconvenience… and possible death.

 

The Vampire Viscount
by Karen Harbaugh

Signet
October 1, 1995
ISBN #0451183193
EAN #9780451183194
224 pages
Paperback
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Other Books by
Karen Harbaugh

Dragon Lovers
Dark Enchantment
Night Fires
Playing With Matches
Faery Magic
Cupid's Mistake


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