Friday, May 27, 2011

Angel at Dawn by Emma Holly

In the late 50's and early 60's, Nim Wei, a female Upyr, decided to go into filmmaking, specifically in Hollywood. To make her film a success, she needs the help of one of her children, an Upyr named Christian Durand, who she made back in the Renaissance. But Christian isn't happy about being made a vampire/Upyr. He only did it to avenge his men who his father killed. Back then, he was a mercenary, the son of a mercenary as well, and his father wanted Christian to follow in his footsteps, but at the same time, he never wanted to be supplanted by his son.

Now, Christian lives on his own on a ranch he owns in Texas. Nim Wei doesn't want Christian to turn her down, so she brings her assistant, Grace, to try to convince Christian to come to Hollywood and make a movie with her. Christian finds himself attracted to Grace, for she reminds him of another Grace, a woman who came to him like a ghost when he was human and who was supposed to save him. Save him from what, she had no idea, but when she suddenly disappeared, he fell into Nim Wei's clutches, and he saw that as her abandoning him. Ever since, he's held a grudge against that Grace, who suddenly abandoned him when he needed her love and support the most.

But, finding himself attracted to Grace, he finally agrees to make the film just to be near her. He travels to Hollywood with his ranch foreman, a man named Roy. He knows that Grace has actually done most of the writing on the film he is to make, and to be honest, the thought of having her at his beck and call is not an unpleasant one. But he also knows she is almost exactly the same as the woman he thought of as his angel, and when she appears not to know him, he wonders if she is lying about not knowing him and not remembering what happened. The longer he is around her, though, the more he finds himself being able to forget that she left him in the past, and just enjoying their relationship in the here and now.

But there are troubles on the film that have nothing to do with Christian and Nim Wei (now known as Naomi) being vampires. Or does it? Someone is trying to kill the film by killing the young actors who are taking part in it, and Christian, being one of them, is also under attack. Who is it trying to kill him off, and do they know anything about vampires, or is it just someone who doesn't want the film to be made, for some reason? And when the killer targets Grace, can he keep the woman he is beginning to love again safe, or will her possible death drive him back down into the pit of self-hatred and despair it took him centuries to crawl out of the first time? And will Grace ever remember meeting this young man that she loves, and why did she leave him that first time?

I have to admit, that at the time I read this book, I hadn't read the one before it, which was a prequel to this one. So all I knew was what the story told me about the two characters and how they met- not much. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because this book can stand on its own. I never felt like I was missing much simply because I hadn't read the prequel book. This story fiowed and worked on its own even as Christian remembered and pined for the love he had lost.

Grace, too, is her own person, almost completely self-made. The child of an abusive father (whose last rampage put her in the hospital near death and which was the cause of her spirit going back to meet Christian in the first place), she left home soon after she recovered and worked to make it on her own before she was tapped by Naomi Wei to be her assistant. Grace is somewhat flummoxed by her attraction to Christian, and although she can't remember meeting him, sometimes she feels like she should know him, and they have to work together to protect the film from those who would bring it down while they rediscover their love for each other.

At the end, when she accepts who and what Christian is, and she explains why she wasn't able to return to him, the explanation made me smile happily, as did their rekindled love. I really enjoyed reading this book. The story captured and held my interest, from how Christian was able to deal with the restrictions of filming, right up to the end, when the film was premiered in front of the cast and crew, and I loved the happy ending with Grace. I will definitely read more by this author and in this series. It's just too good not to. Highly recommended.

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