|bodice ripper material? or gothic romance? or psycho madness? or all?|
The Demon Lover by Victoria Holt
First published 1982
Personal reading copy
Burton Book Review Rating: 3 to 3.5 stars
When Kate Collison, to help her ailing father, completes his portrait of the powerful Baron de Centeville, her only thought is to be a dutiful daughter. But when the Baron presents her to Parisian society as the painter, Kate finds herself basking in the recognition . . . until she discovers that the Baron has plans for her — shocking plans that will change her life unless she can fight the Baron with his own weapons . . .
I was reading this for a group read when I found that I wasn’t really reading this fast enough, which means perhaps it wasn’t that great. Or I’m being a finicky/picky/bored/tired reader or any combo thereof. Who knows, but I do know I am tired of being disappointed by Jean Plaidy/Victoria Holt/Phillippa Carr whoever she is pretending to be at the moment of the publication of whatever zillionth book she was writing.
It’s a strange story — gothicky in a way, but mostly, cringe-worthy. Not cringe-worthy in a good way where you are on the edge of the seat wondering what is lurking around the corner, but more like wow what a creepy thing that is sorta sick/mental and perhaps I need to distance myself from the weirdness. The Baron is a strange man, and Kate is seduced in a way even while she knows he is so cringe-worthy. But there were other characters too that were a little odd and added depth to the story. Being told in first person by Kate did get tiresome halfway through, and while her character didn’t change too much by the end I was able to put up with her wearisome traits.
I don’t want to get too much into the plot line since there is one dramatic event that the whole book revolves around; the same event that other reviewers had given away (& thus spoiled the story for me as well). The last three chapters made the whole thing worthwhile, as it tidied up most of the plot lines but still kinda weirded me out. Which stays in tune with the rest of the book at least. I did say “oh, my God!” in an amazed sort of way as I turned the last page.