I haven’t read a really good vampire romance in a long time, so it was with great anticipation that I began to read Midnight Enchantment. It was an intriguing tale, to say the least, but one with a heroine too flawed to allow me to truly enjoy this book.
In turn of the century New Orleans, smarmy lawyer Percy Cristobel arrives at a suitably dark and decrepit mansion, his heart pounding as he prepares to meet the monster within. His daring plan is to blackmail vampire Gerard Pasquale into marrying Laure, Percy’s stepsister, who has just ended an abusive relationship. Percy is doing this out of greed, and since he doesn’t care about Laure, it doesn’t matter to him if she ends up with her throat ripped open – sooner or later.
Gerard sees no immediate way out of his predicament, and agrees to the marriage. His anger finds a puzzled recipient in Laure, who expected a frail, elderly bridegroom, not the pale stranger whose eyes burn into hers with chilliness. After a shaky beginning, Laure and Gerard become used to one another and he comes to realize how his bride could become his weakness, but once Laure realizes she is pregnant by her abusive former suitor, the plot goes downhill.
When Gerard and Laure do make love, the emotion is one-sided, for Laure is planning to make Gerard believe that he is the father of her child and invokes a spirit to help her seduce her husband. As they ponder a future together, Laure decides to save Gerard’s lost soul through a voodoo ritual led by her (evil) aunt Eulalie. Taking him back to pivotal points in his life, Laure watches as again and again Gerard fails to pull himself from his vampiric fate until not only his soul is lost but also his very existence is in danger.
Friends from the past come to their rescue and Laure gives birth to a boy, but the baby ends up in the hands of Percy and Eulalie. Laure must make the ultimate sacrifice to earn the release of baby Gino, and tricks Gerard into compliance. He eventually figures out her plan and together they try to find a way to free the baby.
I couldn’t help but dislike Laure. She went from being a mousy doormat – used by Percy and other evil relations – to being the tigress who does away with all the enemies she and Gerard face. She never talks to her husband – not to tell him she is pregnant, not to tell him she loves him – and she endangers him by leading him into a voodoo ritual she cannot control. The final straw came at the end of the book when Laure took such pleasure in killing. Her complete change of character wasn’t necessary and it would have been better to see Laure get tougher on her own.
Gerard, however, was easier to like. From the first moment, I felt for him when Percy threatened to reveal his secret. Gerard’s treatment of Laure is understandable, since he has no idea she is unaware of Percy’s evil plan. His gradual acceptance and love for her are also believable. Gerard is tender, kind in his own gothic way; at some point Laure should have realized that she could trust him, that he wouldn’t kick her and her baby out of his house.
It took me a while to figure out how I felt about this book. I liked the setup, although I kept flipping the pages to the back to see what all the voodoo words meant. Gerard was a sweet, tormented hero, but he needed a stronger heroine, one that didn’t weep fifteen different times during the book and one who displayed some common sense.