Saturday, July 19, 2014

Book Review: State of Grace, by Elizabeth Davies

State of Grace
(Resurrection, #1)
Elizabeth Davies
Trade Paperback, 250 pages
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platfrom
October 12, 2012
Historical Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Science Fantasy
Source: Purchased from Amazon

Book Synopsis:   When Grace, 27 years old and with only a few months left to live, returns to her home town of Brecon, she is catapulted nearly 1800 years into the past. At first she attributes her hallucinations to her brain tumour, but as the visions become more detailed and closer to the present day, she becomes involved with a certain wickedly handsome and rather inhuman Roman, who has an obsession with blood. Grace is forced to confront her fears when the past begins intruding on the present, and she falls deeper in love with her phantom man. 'Death is only one option.' This is the first novel in the Resurrection trilogy.

My Review

(Reviewer's Note: I received a PDF copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. I liked it so much, I've ordered a print copy from Amazon!)

It's really interesting to see how vampire romance authors have made the vampire mythos their very own by changing and adapting it to make unique stories that will appeal to paranormal romance fans.  Elizabeth Davies is no exception.  In this, the first volume of her Resurrection Trilogy, she has combined a typically Gothic story with the concept of time travel, although Grace, the female protagonist, doesn't use any machine to go back in time. Instead, she travels through a very mysterious process that she immediately attributes to her brain tumor. However, she comes to realize that her 'hallucinations' are very real indeed, and the people she meets during these experiences are also very real.

The full explanation for this unusual form of time travel will, I assume, be forthcoming in one of the sequels of this trilogy. Even  though I don't yet know why Grace is experiencing these hallucinations, or visions, there's no denying that they are totally fascinating and riveting! Because of this, I was able to finish the novel very quickly. Davies simply made her tale  so compelling that I couldn't stop reading, because I just had to know how the characters would be able to get to know each other, given the unpredictable nature of their encounters.

In this first volume, the relationship of Grace, a human, and Roman, a vampire, is only just getting started. She can only be with him when she's suddenly transported back to his time, which is Wales in the Dark Ages. Although Grace is in Wales, too, she lives in the 21st century. 

I had some mixed feelings about Roman at first. I liked that he was very handsome and sexy. However,  he certainly didn't hesitate to take Grace's blood at the beginning of their acquaintance, which made me dislike him. Thankfully, after the first two times he did this, he refused to drink from her again. When Grace asked him why, he admitted that he didn't want to take too much blood from her. That was when I started to warm up to him.

In spite of his immense attractiveness, however, Roman is also intimidating, especially in the beginning. Although he never kills his prey, he makes no apologies for his nature. He's still a predator, with an air of mystery and danger about him.  

I really like Grace. She's very courageous in the face of her illness, insisting on continuing with her life without any coddling from her family. She had been a pilot, so she misses the thrill of the open skies. Still, she  does what she can to capture some of that thrill, even climbing mountains in the darkness, something that I would never attempt in the full light of day. Thus, I really admire her. She also stands up to Roman on more than one occasion, which makes me admire her even more! Of course, being an independently-minded 21st-century woman, she immediately clashes with Roman and his time period, which makes for some very interesting reading.

The relationship between these two begins with mutual amazement and some mistrust, especially as neither can understand the other's language. This difficulty is gradually overcome as they get to know each other better. This is not an easy thing for them, though, as Grace flashes back and forth between  her own  time and Roman's, with no ability to control her intermittent 'trips', which sometimes span centuries. Still, eventually they do begin to communicate, and then to trust each other.

The sex scenes in this novel are, admittedly, a  bit too graphic for my taste, but on the other hand, they're very intense, earthy, and passionate. Grace's desire for Roman, as his for her, is exciting and fiercely romantic. Through their lovemaking, they start to bond emotionally with each other, and this was a beautiful thing to experience!

I liked how Davies gradually built up the romance between her two romantic leads. It was very believable! Once Roman really began to fall for her, his concern for her welfare became a very touching thing. They both began to realize that they needed each other, and that was wonderful! But even before this happened, I was already enjoying this novel immensely! 

The world-building is meticulously detailed; it's evident that Davies has thoroughly researched Roman's time period. I never felt that anything was anachronistic or out of place. The author has created vivid word pictures, not only to describe Grace's present-day world, but that of the 12th century, as well. The people, clothing, food, and social mores -- all were totally believable and authentic.

I especially loved the author's descriptions of the Welsh countryside! Grace lives on a farm full of rolling hills, mountains, and lush grasslands, all beautifully depicted in excellent prose. The author lives in the section of the country she describes so beautifully, and her love for the land is evident in every word.

I really enjoyed this novel, and found it to be a beautiful, well-written romance, with great characterizations and vividly described settings. It's a totally absorbing, addictive read, the perfect escape for any PNR fan! It's so mesmerizing, one immediately gets lost in the novel's world, emerging only when the last page has been turned, and one is, unfortunately, back in the 'real' world.....

I really must get to the following two books in this series as soon as I possibly can; this story is much too compelling, and just totally addictive!


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