by Sylvain Reynard
Series: The Florentine #1
Published by: Penguin Random House
Narrator: John Michael Morgan
Length: 13 hours and 35 minutes
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Gabriel series comes a dark, sensual tale of romance in a city shrouded in mystery . . .
Raven Wood spends her days at Florence's Uffizi gallery restoring Renaissance art. But an innocent walk home after an evening with friends changes her life forever. When she intervenes in the senseless beating of a homeless man, his attackers turn on her, dragging her into an alley. Raven is only semiconscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attackers' screams. Mercifully, she blacks out, but not before catching a glimpse of a shadowy figure who whispers to her . . .Cassita vulneratus. When Raven awakes, she is inexplicably changed. Upon returning to the Uffizi, no one recognizes her. More disturbingly, she discovers that she's been absent an entire week. With no recollection of her disappearance, Raven learns that her absence coincides with one of the largest robberies in Uffizi history--the theft of a set of priceless Botticelli illustrations. When the police identify her as their prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence's wealthiest and most elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth. Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets . .
Sylvain Reynard drew me to the audiobook The Raven by the beautiful cover and the promise of a dark sensual tale in a city shrouded in mystery. The first in her new Florentine series set in Florence she delivered an unusual romance with unique characters all set in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and home to the Prince and the underworld.
Five reasons to curl up and listen to The Raven
- The backdrop for Raven is the beautiful city of Florentine Italy with trips to the Uffizi gallery. A set of priceless illustrations from Dante’s Divine Comedy are on display at the gallery where Raven Wood spends her days restoring Renaissance art. Wouldn’t you love that job? Gads, I would love to live there for a few years.
- Raven is a unique heroine. This is the first paranormal I have ever read where the heroine is full-figured, slightly handicap and utterly naïve when it comes to paranormal elements. Yet, she is strong, smart and despite some emotional issues, she does not compromise. I enjoyed her, despite some hangs up. She wakes up healed after losing a week in time. What does Raven concern herself with? Not what happened or how, but whether or not she will be late to work. I was like -What? Excuse me, your old wounds are healed, you’ve dropped weight and you are worried about work? This is her nature though, she has a serious side that made me eye-roll, but then she stood up to beasts, protected the Prince and what can I say but, “Go Raven!”
- The Prince. Yummy darkness…Oh ladies I adored him. He reminded me of Sebastian Ballister from Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels. Unapologetic, strong, demanding and a complete teddy bear when confronted by Raven. Reynard’s take on Vampires within the city, hunters and the hierarchy felt fresh to me. I loved that William (the prince) was dark and yet reached out to save Raven. His back history and uniqueness among his brethren was interesting.
- The romance is not your typical romance. It does not begin as one but slowly evolves as Raven investigates missing artwork and her miraculous recovery and lost time. There is heat and it is sensual, but it was the tender conversations and mundane moments like watching movies that made me swoon. The Prince demanded my attention and I felt myself stopping activity to listen. I needed to understand, feel and get to know this complex vampire. While the romance will continue, Reynard did wrap this up, with just a little tease of what is to come.
- Raven’s missing week, her physical change and prodding have her the main suspect in a police investigation regarding the theft of priceless art around the same time. It looks like an insider job at the Uffizi. Reynard weaved this thread throughout the story, using it to draw characters together and tied it the novella, The Prince (The Florentine, #0.5) that published in January 2015. Fans of the author recommend reading it first. Ooops.
Unique, with a slow unwinding romance and original characters Raven was an enjoyable audio. John Michael Morgan did a nice job as the narrator helping to set the tone, and his portrayal of the Prince endeared him to the listener. Fans of Anna Rice will enjoy the tone and feel of this story.
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