Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Mason Cavender and Vienna Blake find themselves locked in a Hatfield and McCoy feud that has ravaged their families for generations. Though the two families originally started out as partners and intermarried, Mason now finds herself struggling as the last of the Cavenders to save what little they have left and Vienna is poised to deliver the death blow that the Blakes have desired for so long. Vienna has held back however because of the impossible attraction she and Mason have felt for each other since they were young. Though they have tried to establish a relationship several times in the past, family animosity always got in the way. This feud definitely has overtones of Romeo and Juliet mixed in with it. The two women desire each other, but don’t trust each other. The problem is they can’t seem to be happy without each other. Both families are haunted by secrets from the past. Secrets that might stand between any happiness Mason and Vienna can share if they aren’t dealt with.
Jennifer Fulton writes a very convincing romance. Her characters are attractive, dynamic and dominate the pages. Although the reader knows they will work out their problems and find a way to be together, the battle between them and the inner working of the family dynamics keep the story interesting. The puzzling part is why this is tagged as paranormal. There are hints of an ancestor’s ghost and one of her dogs that prowl one of the estates, but they play a minor part in the story. Paranormal fans who are expecting an otherworldly presence that affects the progression of the plot will be disappointed. The secrets the families hide play a huge part in what happens, but they’re hardly paranormal. The book would have been just as satisfying to read without the slight references to ghosts, which are more distracting than anything. There are also some plot lines that seem to be unresolved, especially one involving shocking behavior by one of Vienna’s cousins, and the ending seems abrupt. The romance carries the book though.
Dark Garden is a typical Fulton romance, nothing surprising, but a good story. It has a somewhat dark tone to it that gives it a Gothic feeling which should appeal to those fans, but it provides entertaining reading for anyone. Fulton is normally a solid writer and this book reflects that.