As a devoted fan of Erin McCarthy, it was no question I would read My Immortal even though I’m not too happy with that whole vampire thing she’s trying to pull. Now she’s going with a new angle: a darker fantasy romance that counters her humorous contemporaries and vamp books.
Damien du Bourg is a wealthy Louisiana landowner in the late 18th century. Soon after he brings home a wife from France, the selfish, egotistical, Damien makes a deal with a local demon to gain immortality. He keeps his gift and the demons happy by promoting the sin of lust. He has upscale parties at his ancestral plantation house where the bored and rich can do, well, whatever they want. Okay, so much for me to try to say it nicely: he throws all-out orgies on a grand scale.
Present day Louisiana: Marley Turner shows up at Damien’s door looking for her manic sister who’s last known whereabouts place her at one of Damien’s parties. Lizzie, the sister, has been missing for some time now. Since Marley is the mother hen of the family, she feels responsible for finding her and making sure she isn’t laying dead in a ditch somewhere. Her first meeting with Damien sets the tone for the romance. She’s convinced that this hotter than hot man who is constantly batting off women wouldn’t find overweight, mousy Marley attractive in the least. Many a storyline has ventured down this path with better results. Marley’s mental struggle with her appearance is so prominent that even I wasn’t buying Damien’s attraction to her.
Damien does want her, though. He agrees to do what he can to help her track down Lizzie, whom he doesn’t remember, by throwing another party that Marley can attend to look for her. You can do the math: hero + heroine + watching others get lucky = some pretty spicy love scenes. I know I can always expect a lot of spice from Ms. McCarthy.
Marley was an okay gal, Damien I’ll get to later, but what really held this story together and made it hard-to-put-down are the mysteries of Damien’s past, mostly delivered in an emotional letter written by his wife Marie from the 18th century. Segments are scattered throughout the chapters and add the darkness that this book needed.
Marie’s tragic story showed a side of Damien I can’t imagine anyone liking. Seeing exactly who Damien was before and for the short time after his immortal status change was a blow to my estimation of his character. Worse, though, is that there is little in the way of explanation for Damien’s change of character between the past and the present. 18th century Damien stands out more than the man in the present and it was hard to reconcile the two as being the same person. I never liked Damien due to this. It was hard not to remember his past persona.
Marie’s narrative and a nice dose of spice almost balance out my distaste for Damien. Putting the book down was hard simply because of all the mysteries that any person with an ounce of curiosity would want to know. Looking back, though, it left a bad taste in my mouth. And the ending was a complete bafflement. Let’s just say the Head Honcho demon of the Bayou enters the picture for reasons I can’t understand. Just didn’t make sense.
I would say I’m giving up on Erin McCarthy, but I know that isn’t happening, for her last contemporary, You Don’t Know Jack, was great. But even as I eagerly await her next contemporary, I’ll be staying away from the other-worldly.