REVIEW: THE SECRET KISS OF DARKNESS – CHRISTINA COURTENAY

A richly woven tapestry of dark secrets, dangerous temptation and everlasting love, The Secret Kiss of Darkness is a spellbinding time-slip novel from the pen of multi award-winning author Christina Courtenay.

Kayla Sinclair knew that she should have been sensible and invested the money she had inherited from an old aunt into something practical and useful. However, when she goes to an auction and finds herself bewitched by a striking portrait of a handsome eighteenth century smuggler, she throws caution to the wind and nearly bankrupts herself by buying the unusual painting. Despite her fiance’s ire that she wasted so much money on a ridiculous portrait, Kayla is not about to send it back – especially as she finds herself intrigued by the brooding man in the painting whose eyes seem to follow her around her living room. Kayla is determined to discover more about the man whose face has begun to haunt her thoughts and dreams – and it seems like she’s in luck when, one fine day, the gorgeous smuggler introduces himself as Jago Kerswell and begs her to reunite him with his one true love, Lady Eliza Marcombe…

In eighteenth century Devon, Jago Kerswell might have had noble blood pumping in his veins, but he has always known that he was no gentleman. Born on the wrong side of the blanket, Jago was the son of a a beautiful gypsy woman and the arrogant Lord Marcombe, who had always refused to acknowledge his illegitimate child in public. Having always been determined to make something of himself, Jago was the owner of a successful tavern and dabbled in smuggled goods, alongside many of the people who lived in the village. Jago always made sure that he shared the spoils of his expeditions with his fellow neighbors, but when he claps eyes on Eliza, his brother’s beautiful new bride, he vows not to share the woman who has stolen his heart with anybody else! Yet Jago and Eliza know that theirs is a love that must never be discovered…

Captivated by this passionate love story, Kayla decides to drive to Devon where she finds herself on a quest to right the wrongs of the past and break the spell that has condemned Jago to an eternity of loneliness and regret. Yet, little does Kayla realize that she is about to come face to face with her destiny – in the shape of the devastatingly attractive Wesley Marcombe, a descendant of Jago’s!

After the acrimonious break-up of his marriage, Wesley had vowed to keep his heart under lock and key and never get involved with another woman ever again. But Kayla has managed to get under his skin and breach the impenetrable walls which he had built around himself. However, is Wesley prepared to run the risk of putting his heart on the line for a second time? Or will a formidable enemy, with a thirst of revenge, ruin his second chance at love?

Kayla’s quest to reunite Jago and Eliza soon ends up putting her in irrevocable danger. Will she end up losing the man she has grown to love just when happiness is within reach?

The Secret Kiss of Darkness is a phenomenal tale of old ghosts, treacherous magic and love lost and found that I found absolutely impossible to put down. It is no coincidence that Christina Courtenay keeps winning prizes for her novels – she is an outstanding storyteller with an extraordinary gift for bringing any period in history to vivid and colorful life and creating a world full of passion, danger and excitement that sweeps readers along and keeps them enthralled from beginning to end!

In The Secret Kiss of Darkness, readers are treated to two powerful, compelling and poignant love stories that are deliciously spiced with nail-biting intrigue, terrifying suspense and heart-pounding passion. Kayla and Eliza are two wonderfully diverse heroines whose strength, courage and dignity will endear them to readers and Jago and Wesley are absolutely wonderful heroes no woman will be able to resist!

A fantastic time-slip novel that continues to cement Christina Courtenay’s position as one of the most exciting writers of romantic fiction writing today, The Secret Kiss of Darkness is another first-rate read readers will not want to miss!