The Secret Kiss of Darkness by Christina Courtenay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a lovely bit of romantic escapism just what's needed on a dull, wet winters day. Choc-lit publishers have come up with a dual time period romance which doesn't take itself too seriously, has an unusual gentle, fantasy element and everything a good story should have.
In the present time we have a likeable heroine Kayla, engaged to be married who has recently inherited a sum of money she decides to invest in a painting and she trots along to an auction, where she does what I'd be worried I'd do if I attended an auction - finds she's unable to stop bidding on one particular item which isn't even really what she had in mind - it's an old fashioned antique portrait of a man.
Back in eighteenth century Cornwall we meet Jago, a handsome Innkeeper who leads a double life as a smuggler and meets the love of his life Eliza - who just happens to be the wife of his estranged half brother.
The painting is his portrait and it's ownership quite literally changes Kaylas life, it leads to a broken engagement and has her wondering about her sanity when she begins to hear the subject of the painting talking to her. An age old mystery is revealed that she can't help but begin to investigate and this in turn leads her to a beautiful stately home and its occupants, the gorgeous Wes and his daughter Nell with whom she becomes involved in her search for answers to the mystery surrounding her painting.
Pure romance every step of the way, slick writing, original twists and great characters lift it head and shoulders above the norm, an immensely enjoyable and satisfying read from cover to cover.
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