Written by: Elaine Moore
Dark Desires is the first book in Moore’s “Dark Madonna” trilogy. Victoria McKay is a girl of Celtic bloodline in Scotland, some – never fully revealed – centuries ago. She has the power to read the future and that is what draws vampire Johann Nikolai Valfrey to her. He desires to make her his bride, and through his blood his slave, so that he might harness that power.
He does, indeed, seduce her and, just before her marriage to him, she dies – as far as her family are concerned. Of course her death is by his hand, or more accurately his fang and three nights later she rises as a vampire and Valfrey spirits the new risen vampire away. At first their life together seems idyllic, he ensures that she is educated in languages and writing, but eventually the cracks show and her innate goodness, fighting the beast within her, and his inherent evil become apparent.
She eventually escapes him, her inner-strength proving stronger than the pull of his blood, heading to the new world of the Americas, but his shadow is always haunting her - a dark menace in the depths of her consciousness.
The book sees them in France, Spain at the time of the inquisition, Africa and of course Victoria’s time in a young America. The vampires are fairly much the normal mythological fare; they have telepathic/hypnotic powers, they are confined to the night, they can shapeshift, they have superhuman strength, silver burns their flesh etc. There seemed to be no effect upon them from holy objects. I did like the concept that simply loving, physically, a human would slowly kill that human, their desires burning so bright that it would age the frail human flesh.
The book has a romance edge to it, but I never really found myself getting into the story, nor the characters. There is nothing inherently wrong with the novel, the writing seemed competent enough and yet the characters never engaged me. Whether this was the fault of the book or myself I couldn’t really say. However, I will say that often I will devour books, I will sit up into the small hours of the morning unable to put a book, that has captured me, down. In this case the book, which is a slim volume, took several weeks to read and it was because I kept putting it down and not returning to it.
I am sure that there is plenty in this book to a reader who wants a more romantic view of the vampire and certainly would probably get much out of it if they could connect with the characters in a way I did not.
However, for myself I’m afraid I can only score this at 5 out of 10, stating that I found it an average, but ultimately forgettable, read.