Friday, September 7, 2012

Tragedy of the Virgin Bride by Xavier Edwards

After centuries in the extended family, the old manor — once a castle — looks like it is to finally pass from the family line. For Josephine, this is just the latest tragedy she has had to face and, from her point of view, there is nothing but heartbreak in her future.

All it not as it seems — leaving Josephine struggling with the massive upheaval to her normal routine. Amongst this, she continues to hope for final redemption with her husband.

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A sweet story of a love that was thwarted in the past, and the trials (at least some of them) that the ill-fated lovers have endured in spirit form since their death as they have sought a way to be together again. The location and time periods involved are left rather vague, so it's a little hard to form precise mental images of the setting and characters, though the bulk of the narrative does take place essentially in modern time.

Josephine and Robert were unwillingly separated on their wedding night before they were able to consummate their marriage, and never had the chance to be together again, eventually dying tragic deaths at nearly the same moment, their fingers mere inches away from touching. They have regularly gotten to see one another though when they have been obliged to reenact their deaths each year. The pattern of the reenactments has been changing, however, and more changes are coming that bring them hope that they might finally get to be together somehow, but also threaten to bring never-ending heartache.

The story is short enough that it's difficult to say too much without giving too much away, so I'll leave my remarks on the plot at that. Characterization is, of course, rather thin given that there isn't much time to really get to know the various players very well. The writing pulls you into the story, however, and keeps you bemused and curious to see what will happen next. Will the lovers get to be together finally or is the end that seems to be coming a more dire one? We see everything from Josephine's point of view, and while we may only get a vague sense of her personality, she still is the most developed character, and it's easy to feel sympathy and hope for her plight.

The story is interesting enough to make me wish it had been a bit longer so that I could have gotten to know all the main characters involved a bit better. The premise could certainly have been developed out to novel length probably, though the story would probably have lost a lot of it's ethereal charm with that amount of extra detail added in. As it is, it has as sort of soft-focus, vignette feel to it that gives you the sense of peeking through a slightly misted window to watch a brief but touching story play out that brings a smile to your face before you close the shutter and move on.

A nice little quick read. Recommended for fans of historical romances, ghost stories, paranormal romances, or even just those looking for a bit of light and sweet entertainment for a half hour or so.

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