Monday, September 24, 2007

My Immortal - Erin McCarthy


My Immortal
Erin McCarthy
Jove

Paranormal Romance

In 1790, Damien du Bourg, bored with his staid plantation life in Louisiana after living in the French court of Louis and Marie, makes a bargain with a demon. He wishes for immortality and he gets it, at a price. The demon who granted his request, Rosa, embodies greed and lust. Damien must spend the rest of eternity bringing new converts to her. Realizing too late that this bargain comes with terrible strings attached, Damien attempts to gain some kind of redemption by denying himself sex for over a century.

Two hundred-plus years later, Marley Turner, a schoolteacher, is on a summer retreat at a convent. She’s felt a vague sense of dissatisfaction with her life, and hopes that quiet contemplation will bring answers. Just before leaving the convent, she gets a months-old email from her younger sister, Lizzie. Lizzie is the wild child of the family, throwing herself recklessly into love and adventure. The email says that Lizzie has met a man, Damien, who is everything she wants; and she is determined to marry him.

When Marley is unable to contact Lizzie, she decides to follow the clues in the email and start at Damien’s plantation. The place is quite well known locally for the ‘sex parties’ hosted by the owner. Marley, determined to find her sister, continues. When Damien and Marley meet, Damien is shocked. For the first time in more than a century, he finds himself truly attracted to everything about a woman. But he knows that, if she stays with him, she’ll belong to the demon, too.

Fans of Erin McCarthy’s previous novels, be warned: this is not a light, comedic story. There are some seriously dark things happening here. Marley learns of Damien’s past by reading letters his wife left, and by discussions with those who know. These scenes are very well written and compelling, showing a real depth of character for all those involved. The only drawback is that the reader experiences these things, as does Marley, through second and third party accounts. We never really get to see it happen, and that’s disappointing.

I have no idea if the author intended this or not, but there’s a very clear madonna/whore dividing line for the women in this book. The women who are “bad” are sexual. The women who are “good” are not. That’s kind of disturbing for a book aimed at women. On the other hand, this may just be an accidental by-product of a book that explores forgiveness and possible redemption in very dark surroundings. The author perfectly evokes each time and place; and the characters are real originals. There’s great potential here for a series, and I hope that’s in the works.

Rating: 7
September 2007
ISBN# 978-0-515-14348-5 (paperback)

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