Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Secret Kiss of Darkness (Marcombe Hall #1) by Christina Courtenay

Book Blurb:

Must forbidden love end in heartbreak?

Kayla Sinclair knows she’s in big trouble when she almost bankrupts herself to buy a life-size portrait of a mysterious eighteenth century man at an auction.

Jago Kerswell, inn-keeper and smuggler, knows there is danger in those stolen moments with Lady Eliza Marcombe, but he’ll take any risk to be with her.

Over two centuries separate Kayla and Jago, but when Kayla’s jealous fiancé presents her with an ultimatum, and Jago and Eliza’s affair is tragically discovered, their lives become inextricably linked thanks to a gypsy’s spell. Kayla finds herself on a quest that could heal the past, but what she cannot foresee is the danger in her own future.

Will Kayla find heartache or happiness?

My Review:

I loved the unique, intriguing plot of The Secret Kiss of Darkness by Christina Courtenay!  I really liked how Christina managed to smoothly go back and forth from centuries past to the present time with relevanced to the plot, tying it all together so well.  It was so interesting - especially the different perspectives from past to present, and seeing how much society has evolved over the years through the lens of the characters.  With her great writing style, characters and plot she kept me mesmerized!  

An unexpected catalyst from the past prompts Kayla to make a lot of changes in her life.  Modern day heroine Kayla goes through an enlightening and heart felt journey in The Secret Kiss of Darkness.  I really liked getting to know her character and watching her growth.  Christina made me feel like I really knew Kayla.  On her journey, the past helps bring Kayla to Wes, his daughter Nell, and Marcombe Manor.  As Kayla digs deeper into not only her past but Wes's family's past, the three of them begin to form a strong bond.  I liked how Wes and Kayla got to know each other and a romantic relationship slowly developed.  Both have been hurt in the past, and I wondered if they'd open their hearts up to each other eventually and take a chance on happiness together, or if when Kayla finds her answers she would move on.  Unexpected events occur, and trying to do the right thing, Kayla jumps to a lot of conclusions about other people's feelings.  Christina draws the plot out very well, always keeping things interesting, unique, and mesmerizing!

I really enjoyed the extraordinary way that Christina weaves in the story of past lovers Jago and Eliza, and how she made them part of Kayls and Wes's present.  Christina has a great way of making me care for all of these characters.  

I felt very involved in Kayla's numerous quests, and the supernatural touches just seemed natural to the plot.  I feel like Christina did this just right.  The feelings of the characters and their behaviors are realistic, and the connection between them all really jumps off the pages.  The very believable aspects to the plot made the supernatural work well in The Secret Kiss of Darkness.  The suspenseful parts of the plot added some mystery, danger, and kept me interested.  All of the characters have a lot going on in their lives, but the flow of the book is good and the writing strong, so it all works very well.

This is my first book by Christina Courtenay but it will definitely not be my last!  With secrets, forbidden love and the what if's, The Secret Kiss of Darkness was an entertaining, enchanting romance that captivated me!  I'd highly recommend The Secret Kiss of won't want to put it down!

5/5 super stars!

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