Monday, September 17, 2012

Mortal Fire by C. F. Dunn

Emma D'Eresby is a professor of history at Cambridge, following in her grandfather's profession. She specializes in the history of torture. Her grandfather had studied an obscure seventeenth-century journal and had left her a portion of the journal he had copied. She is obsessed with being able to study the journal in its entirety.
The opportunity comes when she is offered a post at an exclusive university in Maine. This university has the journal in the library's rare manuscript collection so Emma leaves Cambridge to take the year long post.
Life for Emma becomes complicated as a colleague attempts matchmaking. Then there are brutal attacks on women she thinks might be the work of a sinister English professor. And most distracting of all is her growing attraction to Dr. Matthew Lyons, a handsome yet secretive man.

This novel is Dunn's debut entry into the genre of paranormal romance. While the novel takes place in America at an exclusive university in Maine, the writing style is British. If you like P. D. James or Elizabeth George, as I do, you'll like this book. If you want a novel that moves at a fast pace, this may not be the one for you.
There is definitely the paranormal, or supernatural, element in this novel. As the story progresses, the evil element builds. But there is a “good guy,” too, with abilities beyond that of regular humans.
The Christianity in this novel follows after the British style. It is not the evangelical, church going, kind of Christianity we expect in American novels. There is definitely a sense of good and evil, and Emma is squarely on the God side of the battle.

One warning. This book is the first in The Secret of the Journal series (chapter one of the sequel is included in this book). Usually, each book in a series is pretty much self contained and can be enjoyed on its own (especially the first in a series). That is not the case with this book. There are loads of loose ends left hanging at this book's completion. This novel could well have been described as “Part One” of the series, giving one the warning that only part of the story is told in this novel. Much more must come in the next novel to make full sense of this one.

If you like to read the kind of novel that will get the hair standing on your neck, read this one. But be prepared to wait for the sequel to finish the story!

C. F. Dunn runs a school in North Kent for children with developmental disabilities, dyslexia, autism, and other difficulties. She draws on her degree in history and a career in literacy development to create romantic thrillers with a historical twist. Find out more about her at

Kregel Publications, 359 pages.

Watch the video trailer here.
Read an excerpt from the book here.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Kregel Publications for the purpose of this review.

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