Reading level: Adult
Genre: Paranormal romance
Paperback: 320 pages
Release date: August 2, 2011
Reviewed by: Jenn
Source: FSB Associates / Vanguard Press
From international bestselling author Syrie James comes a haunting and deeply romantic story of forbidden love that will steal your heart and never let you go.
When Nicole Whitcomb’s car runs off a Colorado mountain road during a blinding snowstorm, she is saved from death by a handsome, fascinating, and enigmatic stranger. Snowbound with him for days in his beautiful home high in the Rockies, she finds herself powerfully attracted to him. But there are things about him that mystify her, filling her with apprehension.
Who is Michael Tyler? Why does he live alone in such a secluded spot and guard his private life so carefully? What secret—or secrets—is he hiding? Nicole has secrets of her own and a past she is running from—but Michael understands her better than anyone she has ever known. Soon, she is falling as deeply in love with him as he is with her—a profoundly meaningful experience that is destined to change their lives forever.
As the sexual tension between them builds, however, the clues mount up. When Nicole learns her host’s terrifying secret, there is nowhere for her to run but into the blizzard raging outside, and Michael may be the only one who can save her life.
This is the first book that I’ve read by Syrie James. I’ve heard good things about her work and I was looking forward to reading Nocturne. I’m pleased to report that Nocturne is a satisfying slice of paranormal romance.
Oddly enough, what stands out most about Nocturne to me is the fact that there are really only two characters in the entire novel, if you don’t count animals (which I don’t here because they’re regular animals not super awesome sidekicks like Kevin Hearne’s Oberon). It didn’t really strike me until towards the end of the novel but the book really is all about Nicole and Michael and their interactions. Thankfully, Nicole and Michael are good characters, so I didn’t mind that there were no secondary folks in the story. Michael does the tortured thing well, striving to avoid temptation and hide the fact that he’s a vampire, while Nicole is a sweet but guarded young woman. I was particularly fond of Nicole because she’s bright (aside from driving out in a snow storm) and charming. I like that it didn’t take her forever to figure out that Michael was a vampire, because I was worried that that aspect of the story would take over the book. She’s also a bit mysterious since there are things in her past she doesn’t talk about, though she tries very hard to get to know Michael. Michael was a little bit harder to get to know, probably because most of the book is told from Nicole’s point of view. He’s very clever, and it shows in the fact that he’s devised so many different ways of hiding his vampirism.
What I didn’t like about them is the fact that they seemed a little too perfect for each other. Don’t get me wrong, I love romance stories and the fact that you’re typically on your way to a Happily Ever After when you pick up a book from the romance section. But I don’t think that the characters need to have the exact same set of interests. Some overlap is often necessary for the story to feel real but I didn’t like the fact that Nicole and Michael just happen to have the same hobbies: piano, gardening, reading. It made their story seem contrived, which was unfortunate since I really enjoyed watching them get to know one another.
It’s impossible to talk about Nocturne without wanting to talk about the ending. To avoid spoilers, I’m not going to be explicit but I will say that I was surprised by the ending. It grounded the novel in a way I didn’t expect and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it. So much of Nocturne fed into the romance formula that I was truly taken aback when things deviated, so much so that I kept flipping through thinking there had to be another chapter. But I do love that Syrie James took a chance and adding something less rote into the story, because it made the story so much stronger.