Awaiting the Night
Two mysterious Russian Counts converge on a dark night in an archaic German city, both seeking a lost artifact. This intriguing opening of Awaiting the Night held great promise, so with enthusiasm I worked through all of the foreign titles and unfamiliar names, and with patience spent the time to understand the roles the many characters played. Finally, and with resignation, I realized I also had to grasp the characters and storyline from the previous book in this series. By the time I was able to actually sink my teeth in the story, I was tired and unsure if I had any enthusiasm left to continue.
Count Kazimir Dimitre Vasilov is consumed with the need to find an ancient chalice that holds great power over the one who possesses it before it falls into the hands of his former friend, Count Gavril Sevastjan Roschkov. Once he has it in his possession, he will use its fabled power constructively, rather than witnessing the destruction it will surely evoke in the wrong hands.
Melisande (Meli) Davidovich has lived happily in Wolfram Castle for the past two years since witnessing the brutal murder of her mother and grandmother. The castle and the family living within have kindly provided her with strength, shelter, and protection from danger. But lately, since the departure of Count Wolfram and his wife, the castle seems cold and unfriendly, as though the warm spirit of the place chooses to spurn her.
When Vasilov first sees Meli, it is as though an arrow has pierced his heart and a shiver of presentiment trills down his spine. He immediately knows that she is more than she appears to be while she, in turn, puzzles at the heavy pulse in her throat and the flush of heat she feels as his steady gaze holds hers. After this passage, I eagerly waited for further romantic developments between these two because I just knew there was much more going on here than a simple physical attraction, but alas, the plot was much too mysterious to allow for many insights into the reasons behind this overwhelming attraction. Just as I started to understand a few of the rather intriguing intricacies behind their romance, I found myself fighting disappointment because it had taken so long.
Meli delights in the company of Christoph and his sister, Charlotte, the nephew and niece of Count Nikolas von Wolfram from Awaiting the Moon. I became quite entranced with Christoph’s character. He discovers that he loves to run like the wind in the woods and as he does, a peace slips into his soul that eases the weight of his many responsibilities. He’s experiencing a change he doesn’t understand, but, since this is a werewolf tale, the reader need not worry a minute. One thing that he does know, however, is that he loves the beautiful, elusive Meli and has since he first saw her two years ago. Convinced that he isn’t good enough for her, he keeps his admiration to himself. Christoph has the aura of a future hero all around him.
Meli has more problems than a sense of unease within the castle. Confusing dreams featuring wolves haunt her and she feels someone is watching her each time she leaves the castle to gather her healing herbs. But it is her father who is the biggest source of trouble. Recovering from a severe beating at the hands of some Russians, his recovery seems to be slow and Meli can’t help but remember that he’s always had some conniving ways and is, in fact, a habitual liar. Now that the two Russian counts have arrived, he suddenly wants to return to Russia, a country she has never considered home, and insists that she accompany him.
Awaiting the Night is a mystery, pure and simple, and a bit too good at its purpose since there is little in the book that is not a mystery. I imagine working harder at following the story than I wanted left me sensitive to irritating plot elements such as an annoyingly sweet, gentle heroine who everyone loves and will surely save the day, as well as supposedly heroic men floundering one after the other and refusing to let their secrets go no matter what (and therefore causing more than one big misunderstanding among them). Add to the mix one jarring TSTL moment provided by the heroine that is pivotal to the entire story at the half way point and I felt myself floundering.
As I continued reading, I had this overwhelming desire to skim because I wanted to finish this book – quickly. Telling myself that I only needed to get all the facts in a row, I started this book three times in as many months and, unfortunately, had to force myself to finish. All along I kept reminding myself that this really was some good writing and the plot, when I could determine a little what was happening, did seem fresh and original. I wanted it to work – I worked hard for it to work – but in the end, it didn’t.