When Nicole Whitcomb’s car runs off a Colorado mountain road during a blinding snowstorm, she is saved from death by a handsome, fascinating, and enigmatic stranger.
Snowbound with him for days in his beautiful home high in the Rockies, she finds herself powerfully attracted to him. But there are things about him that mystify her, filling her with apprehension. Who is Michael Tyler? Why does he live in such a secluded spot and guard his private life so carefully? What secret—or secrets—is he hiding?
Review of Nocturne: From the desk of Shelley DeWees (The Uprising) …
“Never have I had such an intense relationship with books as when I was a young girl. I raged inside them and lived a double emotional life, half real girl, half inhabitant of a distant world, and I chose book neither because of, nor in spite of, their artistic merit, only for their ability to pull me through the looking glass.”
–Caitlin Flanagan, “What Girls Want: Vampire Novels Illuminate the Complexities of Female Desire”
It’s Saturday afternoon. The rain is lashing against the windows of your bedroom, obscuring your view into the outside world and in turn, hiding yourself from anything beyond your immediate surroundings. A delicious sense of solitude creeps through you, and you know you’ve got all day to sit and soak it up…no job, no husband, no nothing to distract you. Relieved and carefree, you toss yourself on the bed and carefully unfold the book you’ve been waiting to read, the book you’ve been toting around in your bag for weeks or clutching to your chest like some kind of emotional armor. You’re quickly absorbed once again, lying on your stomach with your legs in the air, and hours upon hours of unbroken silence pass before you know it while your brain floats on a cloud of imagination…
Typical Saturday? Maybe in our most magnificent fantasies. Or how about in our memories?
Losing yourself in a book is truly a remarkable thing. The moment when you look at the clock to realize that midnight has come and gone is a special one, not to be taken lightly. That is, of course, until you become conscious of that fact that, yes, you have to be up in 3 hours and to work in 5. And therein lays the problem. Somewhere along the path of growing up we lost the ability to retreat into our heads, forsaking our giggly girl-reader for a woman almost-reader with a car payment and a pension plan. We traded away the gift of reading trashy, poorly written books that take you somewhere else in favor of using our adult scrutiny to decide whether a book was “good.” When you were a girl, a book became “good” simply if it gave you the giddy feeling that 40-something men must get when they get an unexpected glimpse of pornography: “a slingshot back to a world of sensation that, through sheer force of will and dutiful acceptance of life’s fortunes, you thought you had subdued,” says Caitlin Flanagan, author of “What Girls Want: Vampire Novels Illuminate the Complexities of Female Desire.”
Fortunately for us and our shriveled imaginations, it’s never too late to get it back. Thus, I’d like to introduce you to a vampire romance where the characters are predictable and the plot is laughably absurd. The weak woman falls hopelessly in love with a too-perfect man, surrounded by an idyllic setting where gender roles from the 1960’s abound….and no, I’m not talk about that other vampire series. Nocturne, the newest gift from Syrie James, is infinitely better written than that other thing, far better in terms of structure and development but equally silly and delicious.
Nicole Whitcomb, with her lovely red-headed beauty and underdeveloped common sense, drives off the road in a winter storm and is saved by the overly enchanting Michael Tyler. She wakes up in his perfect house among his flawless made-to-attract-her life and…big surprise…falls for him. But wait! He’s a VAMPIRE! What, didn’t you know that? Whoa. Their story unfolds just as you would expect, and the no-I-can’t-yes-you-can banter progresses just as it did in that other novel series. However, the sexual energy builds and the two characters finally succumb to their urges…very well, by the way.
I found myself glued to the pages of this novel, despite its definite installment under the “brain candy” column. A slight glimmer of the teenager I once was showed her face once again, and I dissolved into giggles and gasps like a silly school girl. My adult brain got to take a hiatus for awhile, sipping on margaritas while my imagination hummed into motion, and only shouting in protest at one or two points. It’s not artistic literature, but Nocturne will grip you like books once did, upstairs in your room, hidden away while still in plain sight. It was a unique moment, something that I’m a bit embarrassed to admit (but that must be my overachieving adult side talking).
Excerpt from Nocturne:
Nicole’s heart began to beat erratically. She’d heard scary things about mountain men who’d lived too long in isolated places. Who was this guy? He seemed cultured and spoke very formally, as if he belonged in the Queen’s court or in a palace surrounded by servants.
What was an Englishman doing in this remote corner of the Colorado mountains, unless he was hiding from something? But if he was a killer, surely he would have murdered her already, instead of carefully tending to her wounds. Wouldn’t he?
“You haven’t told me your name,” she said, straining to keep her voice even.
“Haven’t I? I beg your pardon. Michael Tyler.”
“How is it that you live up here? I thought this was national forest land.”
“It is. But there are pockets of private land scattered throughout.”
“Do you live here all year long?”
“By yourself, or …”
“I live alone.”
Her questions seemed to annoy him. He stood up and Nicole sensed that he was about to leave the room. In an effort to lighten the mood—or maybe just to put herself more at ease—she glanced at the grand piano and said with a forced smile, “So I take it it’s either you who plays that piano, or the resident ghost?”
A surprised twinkle lit his blue eyes. He sat back down in his chair with the first hint of a smile. “Definitely the ghost. Watch out for her. She plays at the oddest hours and has been known to leave candles burning in the most unlikely places.”
“A raven-haired beauty. From her clothing and hairstyle, I deduce that she’s from the previous century. Which is strange when you consider that I only built the house ten years ago.”
Nicole laughed. His smile was charming. His accent was so lovely, she could listen to it all day long. Maybe there was nothing to be afraid of after all…” (Read a longer excerpt here.)
- Want to read more of Caitlin Flanagan’s article? Find it here.
- Click on Syrie James’s site and learn more about Nocturne
- The Secret Life of Charlotte Bronte, by Syrie James: A Review
- Syrie James Discusses Her Book, The Secret Life of Charlotte Bronte
- Interview With Syrie James, Author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen