REVIEW: A Rapture of Centuries by Jessica Shin
Dear Ms. Shin,
When I read the blurb for your book “A Rapture of Centuries,” I knew I’d be dealing with a hero who somehow has stayed alive for, well, centuries. I wasn’t sure exactly how but I prayed he wouldn’t turn out to be yet another vampire. If I had seen the cover for the book, I’d have had a better idea of what was going on here. In a way the cover is sort of a spoiler and I kind of liked not knowing where you were headed with the story until we, and the heroine, finally find out later in the book.
IRS Agent Noelle Parrish knows how to keep business and pleasure separate. When the death of her latest audit subject leaves her to complete her work with his nephew and sole heir, Antonio Cristobal, she’s only worried about making it back home in time for her 30th birthday bash.
But the seductive and powerful Antonio turns out to be a code section the IRS never addressed, and he’s more than rule-abiding Noelle can resist. Despite her best efforts to stay on task, she is caught up in his secretive and passionate world. Trapped at the Cristobal mansion by a massive snowstorm, Noelle discovers an unnerving fact about the centuries-long line of Cristobal men– they are all the same man.
Determined to unravel the secret of his unnaturally long life, Noelle is catapulted into a battle that has been brewing for six centuries. Two rivals will fight to the death over this secret, and the winner will decide Noelle’s fate.
I enjoyed the atmosphere and sexual tension you build during the story. It has kind of a “gothic” feel to it: out of the way large house, wealthy man, something weird going on, heroine all alone and up against things she doesn’t understand, snowstorm isolating them all, etc. The pacing was very well done. As short as it is, you make good use of your word count — up until last bit nothing felt rushed and I felt like I was getting plenty of information.
The suspense is also well done — you give us hints of what might be going on but are no red flags waving to draw attention to things nor are there hidden facts suddenly whipped out from nowhere. The sex is hot yet not kinky, out of place or intrusive (well, maybe last scene before showdown was gratuitous).
I loved Noelle’s “conscience” ragging her to not pry, snoop or get involved and thought the expose scene was well done. It helps my belief that Noelle’s got enough skepticism, disbelief yet grudging acceptance of what she’s seen and has proof of — the letters, pictures, century of handwritten documents. Yet wasn’t all that was pretty much out in the open? Would it make sense for someone with that big a secret to hide not to hide some of this evidence, to change his handwriting a little, his appearance some? He’s had a long time to work out how to stay out of the public eye, fly below the radar for Noelle to work it out very quickly. And how could villain not find Antonio until then? It’s not as if he’s been trying to hide himself and has used the same last name. Why did villain wait
You can purchase “A Rapture of Centuries” at Cerridwen Press.