Entwined (Darkest London #3.5)
Published: Nov. 5, 2013 (Forever)
Purchase at: Amazon
Review Source: Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by: Jo
Rating (out of 5): 5 stars
A London brawl has resulted in sixteen-year-old Lady Luella Moran being betrothed to Aidan Evernight, a concept she is less than thrilled by. She decides to write to him, voicing her opinions on arranged marriages in the hope of dissuading him.
Aidan has no desire to marry but, as the first born, a marriage of convenience arranged (and ordered) by his father seems like Aidan’s only option. When Aidan receives Luella’s first letter he begs his younger brother Eamon to respond (as Aidan) in an effort to change her mind. Eamon has grown up shunned by their father and feared by those in the village because of his red hair and extraordinary ability but has always been close to his brother, so he grudgingly agrees.
Luella never expect their correspondence to grow, over several years, into her most significant relationship. When tragedy strikes however, and she finds herself at the Evernight house, Aidan is nothing like the eloquent and teasing man she has come to know and possibly love.
Set in the somewhat isolated Irish countryside, there is a wonderful gothic feel to the Entwined. In this bleak and foreboding mansion, tragedy and secrets lie round every corner. I loved the intellectually biting, yet witty letter exchanges between Eamon and Lu at the beginning, even if she does think she’s falling for a different man. Lu is full of adolescent verve at the start but matures into a sharp and capable heroine. Eamon may be big and burly but he is heartbreakingly noble and shy (he also gets all shirtless and blacksmithy… Sigh).
The connection between Eamon and Lu is deep; even when she thinks she is in love when Aidan, she can’t help gravitating toward his brother. Once again Kristen Callihan (like with all her Darkest London books) has reduced me to a flushed Victorian lady fanning herself at the smallest, and most chaste, of touches. Don’t get me wrong, there is some steamy in this novella, but the time period and Callihan’s writing makes the (mostly) hands off build-up equally delicious to read.
Set nearly sixty years before, I did wonder how these characters linked in with the main Darkest London world. However, there is a sneaky scene at the end that connects up all the dots. Whilst the fantasy element isn’t as prevalent as previous installments, I loved the mystery and concept once it was revealed. There were so many twists in this novella, I couldn’t turn the page fast enough. Huge secrets and revelations cause the characters to struggle in being completely honest with one another or to feel worthy of being loved. There were so many obstacles for this pair, I didn’t even know if it was possible to overcome them all, but I was definitely rooting for them.
If you’re wondering about starting this series, I think Entwined would be a great taster. As it is set so many years before, it provides some backstory without too the much in the way of spoilers for the current full-length novels. It showcases Callihan’s talents for not only writing swoon inducing romance and intriguing fantasy elements but also sharp and feisty characters, hero and heroines alike.
Sexual Content: Sex