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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Twilight Over Moldavia by Stephanie Burkhart

Twilight Over Moldavia by Stephanie Burkhart
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (140 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Review by Poinsettia

Romanian unification is on the horizon. Prince Stefan Sigmaringen travels to Ploiesti, Carpathia. He's to be promised in marriage to the Crown Princes Caroline, a spirited young lady who prefers riding horses and archery to embroidery and dancing.

Despite Stefan's initial apprehension, he discovers that his intended is a pleasant surprise with a caring heart. He also learns a strange man named Timon has an unnatural interest in him.

Two years later, Stefan and Caroline are officially engaged. To Stefan's horror he overhears his mother confessing to a dangerous secret – she cursed him in order to conceive him and Stefan owes his body to Timon. There is a condition to overcome the curse, but Stefan will have to draw on all his courage and inner strength to confront the werewolf who desires to posses his soul. Stefan feels it isn't fair to fall in love with Caroline with a foul enchantment hanging over his head. Dare Caroline break the blood bonds of the curse with her love?

Stefan and Caroline are in a race against time to overcome the curse before Stefan’s eighteenth birthday, but with Timon tripping them up at every opportunity, will they be able to win the race?

I was excited to begin reading Twilight Over Moldavia. Ever since I read the first book in the series, The Wolf’s Torment, I had eagerly been anticipating the next installment. Once I began reading, I was delighted to discover a wonderful new generation of characters to carry on the Moldavian Moon series. Even though this is the second book in the series, the story can certainly be enjoyed on its own. However, if readers want a greater understanding of the emotional turmoil that led Stefan’s mother to curse him I recommend they read book one first.

Stefan embodies all the traits of a great hero. He’s warm, caring, loyal, and strong enough to face whatever life throws at him. Like his father, Stefan matured at a very young age. Though he's not even twenty, Stefan has been groomed to unify and rule Romania. It's a lot for such a young person to handle, but Stefan bears it very well. In fact, I would say that Stefan is just a little too perfect. He hardly ever gets angry or argues with anyone. Even when he learns that he's been cursed, his reaction is very controlled. I think if there had been a chink or two in Stefan’s armor, he would have felt more realistic.

Caroline is certainly the woman for Stefan. With her love of the outdoors and her slightly wild ways, she's the perfect complement to Stefan’s careful control. I found her personality refreshing. She has spirit, and her determination to protect those she cares about was commendable. Caroline demonstrated a great deal of strength when she discovered that Stefan had been cursed by a werewolf. She could have walked away from it all, but she didn’t. Instead, she stood by Stefan and used all her power as a witch to defend him. I also loved how Caroline treated Jane and Louise, her ladies. Rather than looking on them as servants, Caroline treated them with respect and forged true and lasting friendships with both women.

It was truly a pleasure watching Stefan and Caroline grow as a couple. There was a certain harmony in watching them work together in order to develop their powers. They also have amazing chemistry. Every time they touch, sparks fly. Ms. Burkhart did an excellent job of building the sexual tension between Stefan and Caroline. When they finally acted on their deep feelings for each other, the resulting love scene was very moving.

Timon is a villain in the truest sense of the word. He is extremely selfish and ruthless. If Stefan breaks the curse, Timon is determined to claim him. Every time Stefan and Caroline turn around, Timon is there lurking in the shadows. As the story progressed, Timon’s attacks became bolder and more frequent. This really added a sense of urgency to Stefan and Caroline’s situation that had me racing to the end of the book.

The final showdown between Stefan and Timon was definitely intense and action packed with both sides fighting fiercely. There were also a couple of big secrets that were brought to light, and I had a bit of an idea of how some things would play out. However, I was completely unprepared for the heroic and ultimately tragic actions committed by one character in order to save Stefan’s life. Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I read that scene.

Twilight Over Moldavia is even better than the first book in the series. It is an excellent story filled with just the right balance of romance, magic, and danger. Stefan and Caroline’s story certainly has a happy and satisfying ending, but the epilogue opens up a whole new story line. I’m already looking forward to the next book in this exciting series.