I grew up reading historical romance novels, so I’m always love finding ones that also include the paranormal element. When I heard of Coleen Gleason’s Gardella Vampire series, they immediately caught my attention. It took me awhile, but I finally got my hands on the Rest Falls Away, the first novel in this series, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it.
We’re introduced to Victoria Gardella Grantsworth, who is getting ready for her first débutante ball. She is coming out in society and as she is preparing, she learns of another debut she is about to make. Her family has a legacy that has endured for centuries and it all revolves around vampires. They are Venators and they hunt to kill those offspring of Judas Iscariot who are bent on destroying mankind.
Gleason’s vampire mythos is much like that of the movie Dracula 2000; however, the first vampire wasn’t Judas, but his daughter, Lilith, who he turned into a vampire after he was damned by the devil.. The premise isn’t all that new, but it’s still unique in the fact that we’re watching the story unfold in Regency England. At least I think it’s the regency era, I’m not entirely sure since there isn’t any dates mentioned. Regardless, I had no problem getting into the story as Gleason spins the environment in a way that doesn’t draw the reader to those features, but they are there to enhance the story. We’re focused on the character of Victoria Gardella Grantsworth and the decisions she must make as she begins to move in the ton and learning the ropes of being a Venator. I have to say, I am impressed with the development of Victoria. She goes through many emotions as she learns to be a Venator and she has to make a few tough decisions – for instance, does she marry the man she has fallen in love with, even though he can never know about her Venator status? The roller coaster ride she goes through allows her character to mature faster without using any silly gimmicks or writer creativity.
The plot itself of the Rest Falls Away works for the novel. It’s not too flashy, where the heroine needs to be a kick ass fighter or excellent at magic; but instead, it flows around the circumstances Victoria finds herself in. While it’s not action packed, there is still enough action that it keeps the reader interested in what is going to happen next. We know the vampires are planning something, but the subtle way they go about it is kind of refreshing.
Overall, I have to say that I truly enjoyed the Rest Falls Away and I am continuing on with the series. One thing I am curious about is the relationship between Max and Victoria. Max is another Venator who has come to London to help with the vampire problem. Throughout the entire novel, I kept getting this sense that Max starts to develop feelings for Victoria, but since she was engaged to another man, he was being the perfect gentleman and being a complete ass about it. Not an ass in a bad way, but not very giving when it came to teamwork (hopefully you know what I mean). With the conclusion as it is, I’m left with the feeling that something could happen in the future. With that said, I’m off to start Rises the Night, the second novel, to see if I’m right.