Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Veil of Sorrow by Crystal Michallet-Romero

Publisher:            P. D. Publishing

Cecilia Dupuin has had a fortunate life.  Though born an orphan, an anonymous benefactor paid for her to attend an exclusive girls school and now she has been hired to work for a wealthy woman who needs someone to help her record her memoirs.  Cecilia finds herself living in a beautiful chateau with some odd people.  Her employer is a charming elderly woman who has a harrowing tale to tell, but it’s when she meets the true mistress of the mansion that Cecilia comprehends the darkness into which she has stumbled.  Cecilia is forced to confront what she has been told about vampires as opposed to the woman she meets and the woman who loves her.  Ultimately, she must decide how much of their story she wants to be part of.

The Veil of Sorrow is written in the style of the Gothic novel with brooding characters, a suspenseful mood, supernatural events and high emotion.  It departs from the usual formula by making the threatening presence a female, but that’s what makes it lesbian fiction.  The book has a modern aspect in that the vampire is more misunderstood than evil, perhaps too much so.  Cecilia doesn’t seem startled at all to find herself the guest of a vampire and, instead of contemplating fleeing from the situation, she’s more interested in transcribing the stories that are being told to her and getting to know the women.  Although there is an occasional show of the beast, most of the time the vampire and her servants are model citizens.  Part of what draws the reader in is the way that vampirism is handled as so “normal,” comparable to having a chronic illness.  If the reader is a fan of more traditional vampire novels, this one may seem very tame; however, it is a lesbian novel told in a different style and mood.  It’s a couple of hours of escapist reading.

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