Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book Review: A Whisper of Eternity

A Whisper of Eternity
Author: Amanda Ashley
Mass Market Paperback
384 pages
Published by Zebra, February 1, 2004
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Vampire Romance





Reviewer's Notes:  I originally posted this review on Goodreads, on February 15, 2010.  Well, it was about time I posted it here!  Since I recently re-read the book, though, I decided to revise the review, adding more details in the process. 

Thanks to my second reading, I have realized that this wonderful romance deserves a higher rating.  Thus, I have now given it five stars!


Amanda Ashley is the pseudonym of Madeline Baker, a writer of historical romances.  She also writes paranormal romances -- mostly about vampires -- under the Ashley name.   Her vampire novels are characterized by being very sweetly romantic.  I especially like the fact that she does not write very graphic sex scenes, nor does she use a lot of profanity, unlike so many romance writers out there. 

This novel is enchantingly romantic, as are all of Ashley’s books.  In no time at all, the reader is pulled into the story, gliding through the author’s beautifully detailed dream…

The book’s cover hauntingly depicts the general tone of the novel; we see a house on a cliff, with the sea nearby, while the young female protagonist quietly stares at the scene.  This presents a definitely Gothic, romantic, scenario.  The very first two sentences in the book bear this out:  “Nightingale House perched near the edge of a high, rocky cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  The first time Tracy Warner saw the house, she thought it was the most beautiful place she had ever seen.”

The idea of a house with a name reminds me of the great 19th-century Charlotte Bronte romance, Jane Eyre, as well as Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.  It’s a very British tradition, one I dearly love!  The name Ashley chose for this house is poetic, and she completes the metaphor by referring to the house as being “perched” on the cliff.

Dominic St. John is a vampire, while Tracy is the human woman he has irrevocably fallen in love with. He will simply have no other.  She must be his, and to this end, he has embarked on a seemingly eternal quest, for he has pursued her through the centuries, in one incarnation after another. 

In her present life, Tracy is an artist who paints landscapes and seascapes privately commissioned by wealthy clients for their homes or offices.  She purchases Nightingale House, located near the village of Sea Cliff, in California, on impulse, using her grandfather’s inheritance to do so.  She herself is mystified as to why she feels such a strong urge to own this house….  The reason becomes clear as the story progresses.  Her soul has felt drawn to Dominic’s, although of course she is not aware of this on a conscious level. 

Dominic and Tracy meet one moonlit night, while she’s walking by herself on her private beach, and he is returning from a feeding in a nearby city.  While apprehensive at first on encountering a male stranger under such circumstances, she then allows him to walk her home, and, just as impulsively as she bought the house, invites him to dinner.  He suggests a movie instead.  Thus their beautiful tale begins….

The focus of the book steadfastly remains on their love.  Tracy has so far rejected Dominic's offer of "The Dark Gift". He has long wanted her to become a vampire like himself, so that they will no longer be separated every time she dies.  Lifetime after lifetime, however, she has refused to join the ranks of the undead, driving Dominic to the brink of despair.

Further conflict appears in the form of Petrina, a vampire who, like Dominic, was created by Kitana, the oldest vampire of them all, and Bryan, a human young man who has a crush on Tracy.  His soul tie with her is a rather surprising one.   Tracy earns Petrina’s jealous enmity, and Dominic must fight to retain control of Sea Cliff, which is his territory.  This is no easy task, as his preference for Tracy has aroused Petrina's raging hatred.  She will stop at nothing to kill him.

Added to this, and threading throughout the novel, is Tracy's fear of becoming a vampire.  She has, after all, steadfastly denied Dominic's plea to allow him to "turn her" for centuries.  Toward the end of the book, however, she starts to wonder if it might not be better for her to share Dominic's life completely.  Will she finally give in to his desperate pleas, and become one of the undead?  The reader is left in suspense almost until the very end of the novel, when Tracy's inner torment is finally resolved.

The idea of a man searching for, and finding, his soul mate, lifetime after lifetime, is an incredibly romantic one! It is so touching to see how devoted and loving Dominic is toward Tracy, whom he has known for centuries, under different guises and different names. He loves her soul, and it is her soul that draws him to her, and her to him, time after time.

I was surprised to find that, in this second reading, I could hardly put the book down!  In fact, I enjoyed it even more than I did the first time!  Furthermore, I was especially happy about the way Ashley stayed true to the beautifully illustrated theme -- true love is not only patient, but time-spanning, as well.










2 comments:

  1. Oh, good! I'm totally with you on the profanity sex thing...I try to avoid it too. I prefer my romances sweet rather than animalistic (some people do write that way) This looks good that way...and I love that last line of yours...so beautiful! (sniffs)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Ani! Yes, some authors write sex scenes that are blatantly pornographic, and sprinkle profanity throughout their novels. I HATE that! This is one of the reasons I'm reading more and more young adult books now. However, not all YA books are clean. I finished "Marked", the first book in the House of Night series, a few days ago, and was very disappointed to find profanity, as well as the mention of oral sex, in it. UGH.

    Thankfully, Amanda Ashley doesn't do this sort of thing, even though her books are targeted to adults. She's therefore one of my favorite authors!!

    Thanks for the visit and the comment, especially the last sentence of it! : )

    ReplyDelete

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