by Stephanie Burkhart
Katherine Archibald is in search of a grand adventure.
A young woman in late Victorian England, she wants to open up a bookstore in London and travel Europe hunting down rare books. Love isn't on her map.
Enter Matthias Duma. The Hungarian count captures Katherine's attention like no other man before him with his unusual gold-malachite eyes, his exotic features, and his command of the night sky.
After a night of intrigue during Katherine's birthday, she discovers the map does include love in the legend, but will the map lead her to Budapest and the dark, brooding Hungarian she's just met?
Matthias took a step backward to put more space between them as her uncle walked in.
"Ah, Count Duma -- Katherine. I didn't expect to find you here," her uncle said. He was of average height, with salt and pepper hair. Light wrinkles creased his brow. He was a little stout, but he wore his suits with pride.
Katherine cast her eyes downward. "I just came to read."
"It's a lovely day. Why are you inside?"
"I didn't feel like working in the garden today."
"I can come back at another time," said Count Duma.
"Nonsense, Matthias. We have business to discuss."
Matthias nodded his head. Katherine's uncle looked at her. "Perhaps you could read your book in the garden? We'd only distract you with boring talk of contracts and consideration."
"Of course, Uncle."
Count Duma? Her mystery man was a Hungarian count? She lunged for her book, trying to keep her hands active, hoping they didn't show her surprise at finding out he was foreign royalty. She walked past Matthias, grazing his arm. A shot of warmth passed between them. She paused, allowing their eyes to caress each other for a second before heading for the door.
"It was a pleasure meeting you, Miss Archibald," said Count Duma.
She gave a polite, yet silent curtsey, and closed the door behind her. Count Duma stymied her. He teased her, yet he took her seriously. No one else had looked at her with such intense or unusual eyes. They weren't angelic, but wickedly sinful with that yellow-gold glare, reminiscent of a satyr. No one had eyes like that -- eyes that glowed; that could pierce even the darkest night. Count Duma was an intriguing man, and a part of her wondered if she would ever see him again.The Hungarian by Stephanie Burkhart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Hungarian by Stephanie Burkhart is a 2012 Desert Breeze Publishing release. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is the first book in the Budapest Moon series.
This is an unusual werewolf paranormal story with a slight Gothic tone. Katherine is living with her uncle and cousin, Liz when she meets a man named Matthias Duma. The two forge an instant connection as they share an interest in astrology.
Matthias is now a widower and raising his daughter, Emily with the help of his Hungarian staff. But, his English mother-in-law is trying to insert her power over Matthias is a effort to perhaps obtain custody of her granddaughter. Then there is the ever present rivalry with Count Varga and the complicated history between the two men.
This story is not only a love story but a mystery and family drama. Yes, Matthias is a wolf and he will have to let Katherine know about his condition, but he is also a very moody, jealous, and complicated man that Katherine doesn't always understand. The events that led up the death of Matthias' first wife, has him feeling more jealous and threatened than ever when Varga begins to take an interest in Katherine. But, Katherine is no shrinking violet. She knows that in order for them to live their lives in peace, the truth will have to be told, but how will she be able to prove to Varga that he is wrong about Matthias?
Strangely atmospheric with a dark tone, the story reminded me of the old school historical Gothics of the 1970's only with a paranormal slant. Mainly, drama is at the forefront more so than action and the romance is very realistic and true to the time period. Matthias is not the usual hero , but is projected in a masculine way that is old fashioned and also romantic, even if he is difficult to figure out at times. The most important thread in the book involves the rivalry with Vargas and the way Katherine works to discover the truth once and for all. I do wonder if we will see Vargas again in the future. I kind of felt sorry for him.
The book is a slow mover and at times when I felt restless, wanting the pace to speed up just a little, but I think overall this slowness added to the melodrama.
Since this is the first book in the series I am curious to see what will come next. I already have the second book queued up and ready to go. Overall, I think this one might be an acquired taste for some, but it's my kind of Paranormal/Gothic romance. 4 stars
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. After serving 11 years in the US Army she currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate, is addicted to coffee and enjoys early morning walks. She's also an assistant den leader for her son's Cub Scout den and is a Boy Scout mom. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.
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