Captives of the Night, by Loretta Chase

>> Tuesday, November 09, 2004

As is often the case with rereads, one inspires another, and rereading Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels made me want to reread Captives of the Night, which stars two characters featured in LoS and I practically didn't remember.

Nine years earlier, lovely Leila Beaumont's criminal father died mysteriously. And now her cruel, profligate husband has been murdered--with innocent Leila suspected of the crime. Determined to uncover the truth, no matter how unpleasant, the beautiful portrait painter turns to the enigmatic Comte d'Esmond for help--a mesmerizingly handsome stranger who carefully hides an identity that would shock her . . . and a past that inextricably intertwines with her own. And though danger unites them, it is desire that chains their hearts--as d'Esmond's virility and bold, sensuous touch enflame Leila's blood . . . and draw her into the most irresistible intrigue of all: passionate love.
The only problem with reading this so close to Lord of Scoundrels was that I was expecting something just as good, especially because I'd been so intrigued by d'Esmond and Leila. I got something excellent, yes, though not as great as I was hoping for. Still, this was a very enjoyable B+.

Both Leila and Esmond were fascinating characters. I very much enjoyed Ismal, the dangerous man with the face of an angel. There's just something so good about a hero who is usually lethal, but who would never dream of hurting one hair on the head of the woman he loves. I loved the way he was so enigmatic to everyone, but couldn't help revealing himself to Leila. There was a little bit too much backstory to him, though. Chase did a good job in recounting the events from The Lion's Daughter, but it was so much that it took me out of the story, plus, I kind of felt I never got to know the whole Ismal, that I was just reading the second half of his character development. I wish I'd read TL'sD, but I'm afraid it very hard to find.

Leila was a great character, too, no "perfect" martyr heroine, but a strong woman with a real temper and who was nobody's fool. She didn't allow Esmond to manipulate and handle her as he usually manipulated and handled everyone else.

The mystery here was interesting, and I never came close to guessing what exactly had happened. It struck a good balance with the romance, enhancing it, not overwhelming it.

All in all, an excellent book, perfect if one is looking for something a bit different from the norm.


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