Review: Bound by Night- Amanda Ashley

Title: Bound by Night
Author: Amanda Ashley
Series: Bound - Book 21
Release Date: August, 2011
Publisher: Kensington      
Genre: Paranormal Romance 
Rating: 4 Hoots
Reviewer: Vicci 

Once featured in a horror movie, the crumbling Wolfram estate is said to be haunted by ghosts, witches, and worse. But Elena doesn't believe a word of it—until she spends the night and wakes up in the arms of a compelling stranger. . .

Tall, dark, and disturbingly handsome, Drake is the most beautiful man Elena has ever seen. For centuries, he has lived alone, and Elena is the first woman to enter his lair—and survive. And Drake is the first man to touch her heart and soul. By the time she discovers who he really is—and what he craves—it's too late. Blood lust has turned to love, and Elena is deeply under Drake's spell. But forever comes at a price for each of them. . . (Goodreads)

Bound by Night book 1 in the Bound series by Amanda Ashely, is a delightful romantic vampire novel that brings to mind classic tales of vampires of earlier romance novels. 

Unlike typical romantic vampire novel's, Bound by Night is primarily set in the brick and mortar facade of a castle, the Wolfram. Its rolling estates, turrets and secret compartments conveys an old world feeling as the story-unfolds. Similar to the fabled Beauty and the Beast tale, the castle hold many secrets and few dare to tread upon its boundaries. That is until Elena Knightsbridge flees to its safety one cold dark night.

This is my first Amanda Ashely novel and I can say that I really enjoyed her unhurried approach to Elena and Drake's romantic entanglements.  Instead of a quick succumbing to Drake's vampiric allure, their relationship establishes an easy, natural rhythm sans any other worldly influences. Ms. Ashley successfully establishes a time line with the inclusion of a prologue, detailing Drake's fascination with Castle Wolfram. 

Elena is your typical girl caught in an undesirable circumstance following the death of her parents. It's sad to think that even in our reality there are still places where a woman is considered "Property" within in some cultures. A reader will empathize with Elena plight as she flees the confines of her Uncle's subjugation. The pace in which she accepts the things she is unable to control may be another matter. While I can appreciate her need to adapt to a given situations, I think she may have been a little to eager to accept Drake's help. Her unwillingness to delve too deeply into his motivations for helping her. His constant absence belays her credibility some as a believable character.

While I do believe that Drake's initially assistance to Elena was only to further his own needs and desires, I gained a great amount of respect for him as the book progressed. His chivalrous attitude towards her marriage proposal and his unflinching desire to protect her from all whom would see her harmed are admirable. Although his stark hatred of his father seemed unfathomable, after several conversations between the two, a reader will understand fully the nature of the conflict.   

Romantically speaking, Bound by Night is light and sweet. While there is a measure of heat between Elena and Drake, it is less intense and much more subtle than your typical vampire liaisons.  The book manages to take a reader to the threshold of the two actually engaging in sex and does not fully explore the encounter; something that may leave some reader clamoring for a more.   

As with any story worth reading there must be conflicts to be resolved and futures to cemented; Bound by Night is no different.  Ms. Ashley has fashioned a world where humans are sheep and drones. Vampires live in Covens ruled by a master vampire.  The idea of a community of vampires that works for the sustaining health of the coven adds a layer of humanity to a less the human culture.   If you are looking for a sweet, traditional vampire romance from the old days of Harlequin Romance, then look no further.  I enjoyed this tale and look forward to book 2 Bound by Blood.

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