- The Vampire's Relic, by Gillian St. Kevern
The Vampire's Relic, by Gillian St. Kevern
Actresses Hester Wilson and Kitty O’Hara have taken some strange gigs in their careers, but their latest is something else. The aptly named Lord Cross has hired them to investigate the disappearance of Leighton, his secretary. Kitty’s convinced this opportunity will secure their fortunes. Hester’s not sure. The more she hears about Leighton, the more skeptical she becomes. It’s the 1870s, after all. Who in their right mind believes in vampires, let alone voluntarily hunts them?
Countess Kohary, Vanda de Szigethy, is beautiful, charming, secretive—and cursed. Wherever she goes, sickness and dead bodies follow. Cross believes she has a hand in Leighton’s disappearance, but when Hester takes a position in Vanda’s household, she discovers a woman fighting the cruel legacy of her late husband. Vanda’s desperate struggle wins Hester’s admiration, even as her strange beauty casts an almost hypnotic spell. Is Vanda victim or vampire? Can Hester discover the truth in time to save Leighton? And what will it take to end the vampire’s legacy for good?
If you want a sinister plot, characters you can't turn your back on, and an atmosphere so creepy that you jump at the slightest creak, then this is the book for you. While every book in the Read by Candlelight series is a page-turner, an addictive read, with engaging characters and a brilliantly creepy plot, The Vampire's Relic takes us back to Stoker's classic fear-inducing, heart-pounding creeping horror. The kind that creeps up on you and takes you by surprise when you least expect it. Then, when you think the coast is clear....WHAM! Another plot twist.
Though I was apprehensive that I wouldn't be as sucked into the story as usual, because FF isn't really a genre I'm familiar with, there was no cause for worry. The characters were just as engaging as every other novel in this series. The plot just as terrifyingly realistic, and plausible (for the world created by the author) and my skin is still crawling. While I wanted to read this story for Pip and Cross, I actually fell hard for Hester and Vanda. They were just as charismatic as every other lead in this series, with the same chemistry and affection. They tugged at my heart. There was no sexy stuff, just like with some of the other books. Nothing beyond some on page kissing.
It was really nice to see a strong female lead, who had strength, a force of will, who fought against the confinements of her era, and still wanted to fit in and be loved. Who still doubted, hesitated, and wanted to make people happy. To be that person she was supposed to be, as society dictated, but under her own terms. Then to see Hester grow and blossom with self confidence was beautiful. Her friendship with Kitty was sweet and a true opposites-attract kind of friendship. It was nice to see those softer moments when they took care of each other, but also how they argued and snapped at each other like sisters do.
Similarly, I loved how Vanda was at times cold and sharp, then at others soft and warm. For me, they were a total mirror to Pip and Cross, so it was perfect that they were all together in the same story.
I know it's wrong, but I was actually really intrigued by Ignaz, and I wouldn't say to no a story about him. Especially if it included a certain someone I can't mention. Even a little short ditty to satisfy my craving would be awesome.
Add on the plot twist of all plot twists, at the end, AND the bonus of knowing there's going to be another book soon, AND that Epilogue...and it's another incredible hit.
““Egypt,” Pip repeated speculatively. “You know, I’ve always wanted a mummy.”