Baron mind, he keeps it manly! Get it, "baron mind"! Ha! Okay, okay, I'm done.
But seriously, this novella is the second offering by new writer, Nadja Notariani. And I would like to say for the record, I want one. I am officially placing my order for a dark baron of my own. If he is anything like Gervase Daltrey, I will be an immensely satisfied lady. Immensely.
Gervase Daltrey, Baron of Ayleshind is our dark, brooding hero. Because of some incidents in his past, and his secret work for the crown, he has earned the moniker "Hound of Hell". He manages, in the nick of time, to rescue and wed Lady Mariel Hayes. Saved from the clutches of the nasty Baron Flanders, Mariel wonders if she has really been saved at all. She has heard the rumors of her new husband, and they aren't nice. She also has to deal with her brother-in-law Edward and his worrying wife, Elizabeth. Soon, a series of accidents begin to plague our lovely Mariel, and that sets our Baron in a race to find the who and why before it's too late.
As main characters go, I like Mariel. She stays true, as do they all. She is a quiet and good-natured woman. There are no abrupt personality changes to deal with, thank heavens! She isn't a simpering miss one minute, and a woman of steel the next. She comes to love her Baron because of who, and how, he is with her - despite the rumors and sights to the contrary.
Gervase, is my kind of man. I'm always drawn to the dark and brooding hero, and Daltrey manages to be both without coming off as either a pompous ass or a complete bully. Neither of which are attractive. He manages to let his care, and eventually love, for Mariel show in small ways that don't take away from his masculinity.
Blessedly, Notariani is a writer who doesn't turn her men into simpering misses and her misses into manly men. I know many of you ladies are with me when I say, leave that man alone!! Don't turn him into a drooling "yes man" simply because he had an epiphany of love. It would be like buying the Doberman you've always wanted, then waking up one day to find that said Doberman has turned into a Shih Tzu* simply because he decided you were the bestest Mommy on the planet. Can you say refund? I do.
I have become a fan of Nadja's writing and characters and I hope to see more from her again soon. Perhaps even some sort of sequel to this novella? We shall see.
~ Mina ~
* For the record, Shih Tzus are perfectly lovely little dogs, and no dogs were harmed in the writing of this post.