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Overwrought and Disjointed
on September 4, 2002
I enjoy Christine Feehan's books, but this was not one of her best. To describe it as overwrought would be an understatement. The heroine, Isabella Vernaducci feels "evil" and "chills up her spine" at least twice in every chapter. She breaks down in tears or is near tears regularly. I suppose though, that tears would be warranted since she is stalked, attacked, and/or injured in practically every chapter. Honestly, the beginning of each chapter became a guessing game: "How Will Isabella Get Hurt/Trapped/Attacked This Time?" I don't mind heroines in danger, but this was ridiculous.
Another aspect that hurt this book was lack of clear storytelling. The vagueness of "the curse" for instance. The explanation of why and how it originated was clear enough, but how it worked with the hero, Don DeMarco was not. First, only Isabella can see him as a man (not a beast). Then others can see him that way as long as she touches him. Later he explains that he can sometimes control his own image as a beast or a man. It seemed to change constantly and was unnecessarily confusing.
Also, the time frame for this book was never given, much like in Feehan's other (but unrelated) Italian palazzo book (The Scarletti Curse). It's obviously historical (despite some characters' annoying use of contemporary phrases like "going berserk") but a time period would have been nice.
Christine Feehan is an engaging author, and while the characters in this book were interesting, they couldn't overcome the heavy handed treatment in the book. Feehan seems more in her element with her vampire novels.