"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Descent into Dust by Jacqueline Lepore

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Summary: Widowed Emma Andrews fears she is going mad but instead discovers she was born to be a vampire hunter in Victorian England.

The original Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Charles Dickens.

Widowed Emma Andrews is at a house party with her sister and cousin. After visiting her niece Henrietta, she thinks she sees a man in the room. All of Emma’s life has been spent guarding against the madness that drove her mother to her death, so Emma tells no one, fearing that she too is going mad. She hears voices, and sees things and is terrified of losing her mind or hurting her family.

Valerian Fox, also a visitor to Emma’s cousin’s house, follows Emma and Henrietta on their walks around the country estate. Emma believes he is stalking them, but finds out he is actually protecting them. There’s a secret that he won’t share with her, but perhaps Emma is not mad after all. When Emma is caught alone in the stable, she killed six snakes with three jabs of a pitchfork, surprising herself.

Mr. Fox finally tells Emma she is a Dhampir, a Vampire Hunter, given extraordinary ability to fight vampires. Together, Emma and Mr. Fox kill the vampire’s minions. Emma is caught in her niece’s room late at night and tells the truth – that a vampire has been stalking Henrietta. Emma is believed mad and is kicked out and instead goes to France to study all she can about vampires.

Emma secretly returns to fight for Henrietta’s soul and instead finds herself fighting a greater evil than she can imagine. Emma is welcomed back into the bosom of her family. When she presses her uncle for more information about her mother, Emma discovers that her mother was not mad, but instead was the victim of a vampire, fighting her bloodlust while trying to raise a child. Her mother is not actually dead, but ran away long ago in order to keep Emma safe. Emma’s next novel, and next adventure, will focus on her search for her mother.

The writing style is Gothic, but it fit the mood and the theme. An enjoyable read.

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