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Friday, April 29, 2011

The Importance of Being Emily by Robyn Bachar

The Importance of Being Emily by Robyn Bachar
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (56 Pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Holly

Magic, matchmaking and murder...

Lord Willowbrook’s spring ball is supposed to be a magical celebration, but Miss Emily Wright is bored. The only outlet allowed for her magic is matchmaking—for others, not herself. Why bother? The only man she wants, Michael Black, is a man she can never have.

Suddenly the guests are abuzz with news of a young sorceress found drained of blood in the parlor. The mystery calls to her, and since she is the only available seer in all England, she jumps at the chance to prove herself.

Michael has spent his life preparing for his ritual death, when he will join the Order of St. Jerome as an immortal chronicler. Now that dream hangs in the balance, his mentor accused of the murder. Worse, gentle Emily, the woman he silently loves, is walking into a world of horrors beyond her imagination.

Torn between duty to the order and desire to keep her safe, Michael fights his growing need for a love that can never be his. All the while the real killer stalks the shadows of Willowbrook Hall, homing in on the next victim.

The Importance of Being Emily by Robyn Bachar is an intriguing glimpse into earlier times, when women were expected to be genteel and reserved.

It is a time when women, even women of magic, are expected to fill certain roles. As a seer, Emily uses her magic for matchmaking, though she wants much more from life. It’s ironic that she has matched her younger sisters with soul mates, while Emily, the eldest of the sisters, remains single.

At the party celebrating the vernal equinox, everyone is shocked by the murder of one of the young ladies, Miss Amelia Morgan. As a seer, Emily has an insatiable curiosity, and offers her services to try and solve the crime. Although many in attendance believe they have already caught the perpetrator, Emily isn’t convinced of his guilt.

They believe she was the victim of a necromancer, or vampire, but none are at the party. There is, however, a chronicler and his apprentice, and these are known to be drinkers of blood. Complicating matters, Emily has a vision of her soul mate, and it is someone she can never have. He is Michael Black, a librarian and the apprentice to the chronicler accused of the crime.

After some brief investigation, Emily and Michael come to the conclusion that Mr. Simon St. Jerome, Michael’s mentor, has been accused, but is innocent of the terrible crime. They suspect that someone at the party has secretly turned to the darker side of magic, and become a master necromancer. Can Emily and Michael work together to clear St. Jerome’s name? Can they ignore the growing attraction between them, knowing they can never be together? Or can they discover a way to the happy ever after they believe is lost to them?

This is an interesting world, filled with magic and mystery, and Ms. Bachar has written a delightful romance, mixed with suspense and danger. The characters are all well defined, and multi faceted, and the book, though short, is a very satisfying experience.

Emily is a strong willed, intelligent young woman. She is a little bored with her life, and wants to do more than just use her magic to make matches. With the murder, she blossoms, and is able to use her gift and visions to do much more. She has secretly loved Michael Black for some time, knowing that she can never have him, as he is destined to become a chronicler, and is shocked to discover that he is her one true soul mate. I liked Emily, for her independent spirit, her superb intelligence, and her fearless nature.

Michael Black is a librarian, apprenticed to become a chronicler after his ‘death’. He is strong, loyal and extremely handsome. But Michael has a secret, one he has kept to himself for a while: he loves Miss Emily Wright, and has for some time. But like Emily, he sees no way for them to be together. So when given the chance to work along side her to help clear his mentor’s name, he is delighted to do so. I like Michael, although I do believe he could have found out more about his future responsibilities before believing all was lost.

The mystery of who the real killer is unfolds at the perfect pace for this short book. I enjoyed watching the romance between Emily and Michael blossom, and I was delighted to see Emily try to fight for the man she wants. I smiled at her jealousy of the mentor who she felt was taking what should be hers, even as she tries to clear his name to make Michael happy. And as the romance between these two would be lovers explodes into heated passion, the story opens up to possibilities not explored before now. There are several surprises in this one, and they add greatly to the overall reading experience.

There is a marvelous and surprising conclusion to this one, and I highly recommend it to all who love mystery, magic and heat.