13570854Fans of J.R. Ward’s series the Black Dagger Brotherhood have been looking forward to this book for a long time.  Here, we find Qhuinn, a vampire with mismatched eyes, disowned by his family for his ‘deformity’, beaten almost to death because he was different, and taken in by the brothers at long last gets the love of his life here in Lover at Last.  And for those who follow the series, I think we all know who that is.

Now Lover at Last follows the predicable course of romance novels and Ward’s writing style, but I must give her mad kudos for what she did here.

Qhuinn is a vampire in denial for years about his own sexuality.  He did anything on two legs walking, but of course he wasn’t gay.  He was bi or at least bi-curious.  He had many reasons for not accepting who he was.  Most of them made sense, but they all stemmed from one source that I think most of us can relate to: fear of rejection.  Qhuinn had so many turn from him in his life, he feared giving anyone even one more reason to do so.

What I want to congratulate Ward for is being not only willing but able to step outside of the realm of ‘normal’ romance and write a story about a homosexual couple.  I’ve yet to really see a book in romance that deals with this outside of the erotica section, never mind one written by a female author AND part of a series geared towards a female audience.  I’m sure someone, somewhere has done this before, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it so as far as I’m concerned it’s new and interesting.

Oh, and she also decides to toss mixed family dynamics in there for added flavor.  Qhuinn hooks up with his lover, all while he has a baby of convenience with a female living in the same house as him.  Makes Lover at Last all kinds of things, but never boring.

Coming up, The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.

6837103When a white servant girl violates the order of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the worst and best in the people she has come to call her family. Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.

Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.