London, 1881 Once the flames are ignited . . . Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman. They will burn for eternity . . . Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.
Comment: After so much buzz about this book in some places I usually visit, I've decided to get it and read it.
Lord Archer wants to marry because he thinks it's time to have a wife and a son but his reasons for choosing that particular bride are his own. Miranda Ellis accepts the marriage proposal because she wants to finally be free of her father and of what he forced her to do to help the family finances.
I liked the whole idea of Beauty and the Beast theme, that he was hiding his face because he feared what other might say and this was what first caught my attention. I'm happy with the way this fact was treated in the story and to a certain point the why of it. However, in the end we discover Archer's secret and why he hides and although the whole story behind it it's something not seen very often even in paranormals much less historicals, still part of me was a bit ehh about it. I mean, it's interesting why, it fit the story and the atmosphere created, but to me, personally, it was a bit of a letdown. I won't spoiler it but I thought what he was hiding was a different kind of disfigurement.
Then there's the heroine. She feels guilty because part of the blame for her family's financial status is hers but her father never forgave her and she does things as penance for it (not prostitution) and her father keeps looking at her like it's all her fault even though she had been 10 at the time a fire she caused destroyed her father's warehouse. So, she sees the marriage as the end of her penance although one could say that by marrying an ugly man she wasn't really getting free of penitence in a way...but from the start things aren't what they seem to those two.
Step by step that start to understand and accept each other and it's beautiful to see them fall in love and even better when they declare themselves to the other. Beautiful love declarations in this book.
There are many (important) secondary characters. I found them to be pertinent to the storyline and their presence wasn't simply to fulfill space. As a matter of fact, some will definitely show up the following book coming out in August.
The writing is good I think, I easily read the story and it wasn't boring or repetitive and the author's style seemed fine. Her characters have flaws and things I don't particularly enjoyed reading but that's fine. I also liked that her villain didn't have an active voice until the very end.
In the end I liked the book yes, I'll read more. It's actually a nice story apart from a small detail, well actually a big one considering the plot, but it's fine, it's just my personal taste that didn't like it that much, it's not a real issue in the story.