It is a sad thing to say, but for me e-books and print on demand novels are just hard to easily dump in my TBR pile and therefore get pushed to the bottom of my "read now" list. I hate to admit it, but they are also one of the hardest books for me to sit down and read since I hate spending _any_ spare time at my machine and I equally hate printing the books out. So when I got Laura Mills Alcott's novel in an .rft format in my email inbox I was hesitant to begin. Luckily the fates smiled on me one night and I DID begin it, because THE BRIAR AND THE ROSE was one a very good read!
THE BRIAR AND THE ROSE is written in a very old school style. It reminds me of a 70's style gothic mixed with a bit of Heyer Regency flair. The story is loosely based on The Ballad of Barbara Allen and the Irish folktale The Briar and the Rose which goes:
"They buried her 'neath the old church wall,
Seamus's grave was nye her
From Seamus's grave there grew a red rose
From Mairead's grave a briar
They grew and grew up the old church wall
Till they could growe no higher
They lapped and tyed in a true lovers' knot
The rose wrapped 'round the briar"
The books is a pleasant mix of intrigue, romance, and magic. Devan, the Marquess of Castlereagh is dark, intense, and brooding. He has suffered unbearable heartache, and is a fantastically wrought tormented hero. Raven, the woman he will soon love, has lost her memory. Scared and alone, all she has to comfort her are the bittersweet dreams of another life and time.
The author has a clear and concise style of writing that allows the reader to sink into the otherworldly feel of the book. My one complaint is a strictly personal one. At times the characters were too dark and tormented. There were moments where I just wanted to scream "get over it you two!" But as most of you know I am not a "tormented hero" fan.
Bottom Line: THE BRIAR AND THE ROSE is an interesting read. It will be especially riveting to those who love old school Gothic's, and tormented characters who in the end find each other.