By: Syrie James
Publisher: Vanguard Press
Publication Date: January 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: January 14, 2011
Syrie James is a writer who has produced some of the most fascinating and well-written works of fiction that have appeared in the last several years. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, which was the first novel that came from this creative mind, was a complete homerun. Her follow-up – The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte was beyond fantastic; and Dracula, My Love was such a refreshing story in the midst of all this ‘vamp’ hoopla, because it told a wonderful love story that lived on in readers’ imaginations. Now, with Nocturne, Ms. James has once again offered a haunting, romantic tale that will leave readers wishing that HER characters were the ones on the big screen.
We begin this tale with Nicole Whitcomb, who is packing up her car and leaving for the airport to return home to her boring job. The weekend had been a blast, being part of her friend’s wedding ceremony that took place on the top of a ski slope was beyonf fun; Nicole had spent the last few days with a smile on her face enjoying the gorgeous snow-covered world with her friends. Although absolutely depressed that she has to leave, she still packs up quickly because the news announces that there’s a horrific storm about to blow through Colorado and Nicole needs to get over the mountain before its too late. As the blizzard arrives, Nicole struggles to see through the huge white flakes that are obscuring everything in her path. Suddenly, an avalanche happens behind her and her car slides off the road, quickly covered by the ice and snow…burying her alive.
A man stands at the top of his driveway watching the accident take place down below. Michael Tyler moved to this mountain specifically to be alone – far away from the outside world. But there’s nothing in him that can allow the driver to perish, so he rescues Nicole from her car and brings her into his normally safe haven. When Nicole wakes and sees the beauty that surrounds her she’s confused and slightly terrified, as her new handsome host offers her a very cold welcome; in fact, his angry eyes and standoffish demeanor are even more frigid than the icy winds beating against the luxurious home.
Nicole finds herself, over the next few days, trying desperately to “warm” Michael’s attitude, yet the more she finds out about him the stranger things become. Michael is a complete enigma. At times he is kind and talks to Nicole through the night about his passion for reading, his illustrious “surprise” career, and the generations of his family that have gone before. Then, almost in the blink of an eye, Michael turns on Nicole and races from the room into his den, slamming the door behind him and shutting her out of his private world. When Nicole stumbles across the truth about Michael, the desperate, passionate feelings that have grown between the couple turn somewhat deadly, and Nicole must fight against the intense fear and a love that’s growing deep inside her soul.
The historical facets of this book are truly interesting, and Michael’s character is beyond charming. He’s not one of those run-o-the-mill handsome men who all women will fall in love with. His emotions run extremely deep, and his past is electrifying to read about. Not to mention this man’s den filled with walls and walls of first editions will make die-hard readers drool. There is one particular scene that readers will always remember no matter how many books they devour from here on out. A lot like the romantic “pottery-making” scene in the movie Ghost, Michael teaches Nicole how to create intricate music boxes, and the love, drama, and beauty that flows between the two characters is almost breathtaking.
Quill Says: If you’ve never read a Syrie James novel you’re missing out. Whether you begin with her odes to Austen, Bronte, Dracula, or Nicole and Michael – you will most assuredly read every word she’s written and become a true fan for all time.