Firelight by Kristen Callihan
Published by Forever (Hatchette Book Group), 2012
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. 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.
I so enjoyed this book--I had been reading a lot of positive reviews for it along with the other books in the Darker London series and knew I had to check it out for myself. I am so glad that I did!
Miranda Ellis is a strong woman who has had a lot to deal with--her gift (or curse depending on how she views it) of creating fire has caused her some real grief, she inadvertantly burned down a warehouse housing a lot of goods her father was using in his business causing a reverse in their fortunes that led her to a life of petty theft. In addition, one of her best friends and her first love, can't handle dealing with the reality of her abilities and leaves her at the alter as well. Her father, who is not a nice man, emotionally berates Miranda for losing control and finds fault in most everything that she does. Miranda would do a lot to get out from under his thumb.
Benjamin Archer hides his face behind masks, just as he hides his past from all but those closest to him. He sees Miranda one evening and vows to make her his. Three years later, he is finally in the position to do so and does all that he can to see that she is made comfortable in his life--knowing that he will be hiding a large part of himself from her, both literally and figuratively. Despite all of the things that Benjamin is determined not to share with Miranda, he really does want a wife to love and care for...he is just not sure how to do that while still protecting them both from the consequences of getting too close.
Watching these two fall for each other and slowly open themselves up was beautiful. I very much enjoyed their interactions together--they are level headed people who know that life is not all lollipops and angels. They are trying to do their best to deal with the cards that they have been dealt. They are both so worried about how the other might react to their "idiosyncracies" (although that word is not quite right as they are both dealing with some serious issues) that they fall into a two-steps-forward-one-step-back pattern that was both realistic and frustrating. The great thing, though, was that the reader was not the only one frustrated...Benjamin and Miranda both had to deal with confusion and frustration as they tried to get their relationship to a place where they could both be happy.
I don't want to give too much away, as this really is a story best uncovered by the reader...but trust me when I tell you that it is definitely one worth reading!
This book rates a 4.5/5.
I borrowed this book from my local public library.