Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Legend of Sarah Latham by Marci Boudreaux

Family reunions can be Hell.

Nearly four hundred years ago, Sarah Latham and William Fuller disappeared without a trace.

Legend has it she was a wicked witch and he was her demon. Legend also has it that whenever a Latham descendent reaches thirty years of age, Sarah comes to drag them to Hell.

Good thing twenty-nine year old Elizabeth Latham doesn’t believe in legends. Or at least she didn’t until she happened upon a woman in the family cemetery who just happened to look an awful lot like the paintings in the local museum.

Elizabeth is determined to stay ground in reality, but her idea of reality is shattered when she realizes Sarah and William have returned. But Elizabeth quickly realizes that Sarah is about as far from wicked as William is from being a demon.

So if Sarah hasn’t been killing generations of Lathams…who has?

Where to Buy

I loved this story. Simply loved it. The characters, the story, pretty much everything about it, except perhaps the length. A part of me would have liked more time with these characters, more chance to get to know some of them better, just...more. And yet in this instance, I think the work as a whole might have suffered had it been extended out very much more.

Despite what the description blurb would have you believe, Sarah is the main POV character here, not Elizabeth. As such, we get to know her the best, for we get to be inside her head from the very beginning, with only some brief glimpses into the others'. Telling the story this way is a large part of what makes it so powerful, for Sarah is a woman of deep emotions, from the enduring love she feels for her family and for William, to the burning rage she feels for those who took her family from her. As the story unfolds, you are pulled into it and can feel all of these powerful things right along with her and you hope against hope that things won't end in tragedy for her.

We don't get much of a sense of what William is like from the initial scenes set in the past, but once it cuts to modern day he becomes almost as vivid as Sarah. While many things about him remain vague, his deep love for Sarah comes through loud and clear, as does his basically gentle and thoughtful nature. His innately calm and caring personality largely masks the more brutal side of his vampiric nature, though we do get to see flashes of that side from time to time, primarily when he and Sarah make their escape at the beginning of the story. Overall though, I'd definitely be willing to deal with his "drinking problem" to have a man like him in my life.

Though the blurb focuses on Elizabeth, we probably learn the least amount about her in the course of the story. Her actions show her to be intelligent, compassionate, and brave, with a good share of Sarah's fierce determination to defend and avenge those she loves. If there were any way in which I wish this story had been a bit longer, it would primarily be so that we could get to know Elizabeth better, perhaps have gotten to know her a bit before Sarah and William come into her life and change it irrevocably. Perhaps at some point we'll get a sequel or prequel story that focuses a bit more on her, for the way in which this one ends certainly indicates there will be more to her story than what we see here.

This is the second short work I have read by this author (the other being The Rebound written under her other pen name Emilia Mancini), and I am once again amazed at her skill with bringing characters to vivid life in a very short space of time. There aren't many authors who can tell a satisfyingly complete story full of richly fleshed out characters in the space of a bit less than 13,000 words, but Ms. Boudreaux/Mancini most certainly has the knack of it. Hers are among the few short stories/novellas I've read in which I never really felt like it was lacking something. Yes, as I've noted above, there are portions of the story that could have been expanded, and a few things that I wish we'd been given more detail about, but overall I think it was wise of her to leave it the way she did. Belaboring this story too much more would have detracted from it, not added.

Fans of paranormal romance will definitely want to give this one a read, though the romance between Sarah and William, while important, isn't necessarily the focus of the story. Because of this, it should also appeal to those who simply enjoy somewhat spooky tales, or stories about immortal and/or paranormal beings as well as those who are looking for romance. 5 glowing stars to a brilliant short story and one that I would highly recommend, and since it is free you really have no excuse not to check it out.

UPDATE 3/8/15: Due to the closure of Musa Publishing, the author has had to self publish this novella to keep it available. I have updated the availability above with the link to the Kindle version on Amazon. It is no longer free, but is only $0.99 so still a great deal and is well worth every penny.

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