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World-traveler, blogger, book lover… finding beauty everywhere she looks. Mina De Caro is Italian, born and raised in small-town Southern Italy, close to medieval castles and archeological sites. She is now based in Pennsylvania where she lives with her family, but there are three different countries in the world that she has the pleasure to call home. Mina graduated summa cum laude from the University of Bari in Italy with a Master's Degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures. Visual arts, traveling and her blog Mina’s Bookshelf are her favorite hobbies. With a background as export manager and a wide experience as international sales specialist, the only lands she hasn't had the chance to touch yet are the Artica/Antartica and Oceania. In an era of high-tech gadgets and electronic readers, Mina is very protective of her books, so whatever she is reading follows her around the house… with two little kids you never know when and where a crayon may leave a mark.

Review Of The Demon Lover By Juliet Dark

(Photo Credit: Ballantine Books)

(Photo Credit: Ballantine Books)

Callie MacFay, folklore studies expert and author of a best-selling book about the mythological creature known as incubus, takes a job  as a folklore teacher at the Fairwick College, a charming  academic community located in a secluded area of upstate New York. Her instincts tell her to stay away from that remote place and pursue a career at a more prestigious college in New York City, but, quite inexplicably, something draws her to stay in the picturesque Fairwick, where she will settle down and experience a surprising sense of belonging.

As soon as she moves in her new Victorian house, Callie’s dreams begin to be haunted by a mysterious and seductive man, none other than an incubus. Fed by Callie’s fascination and desire, the demon incarnates in ‘flesh and blood’ poet-scholar Liam Doyle, who will join the Fairwick academic community with the sole purpose of winning the young teacher’s heart. Callie holds herself from diving completely into the emotional depths of her feelings for the demon, but she won’t be able to deny that there is a deep rooted connection between them: some important revelations about Callie’s origins will be unveiled in this novel, but readers will fully understand the entity of those revelations only in the just released sequel The Water Witch.

In The Demon Lover, cross-genre novel penned by literary fiction author Carol Goodman under the pseudonym of Juliet Dark, Gothic and paranormal elements, folklore and literary references give shape to a fantasy world populated by otherworldly and vividly portrayed creatures, disguised as humans and perfectly blended in the academic environment of a colorful college town. While enchanted by the fairytale quality of the picturesque setting and dazzled by the intriguing  characterization of the demon lover, I found the multiple plot lines to distract and detract from what should have been by all means the core of the novel. In an effort to prepare the ground for further installments (a trilogy apparently), the author starts different and loose-ended storylines: in addition to the romantic involvement between the incubus and the folklore teacher, an array of secondary characters takes shape and their mysteries unfold, but none of them will find closure within the final pages of the book.

The Verdict: I was completely captivated by this fantasy, and if you enjoy reading books in a series, I would recommend  it as an introductory read to the recently published The Water Witch, as it will help you understand characters’ back-stories and world structure. Beautifully written in a pleasant and smooth first-person narrative style, The Demon Lover doesn’t fall in the clear-cut category of a paranormal novel, or urban fantasy for that matter. It is rather an enticing and highly imaginative blend of Gothic literature, magic folklore, and romance.

Release Date: December 27, 2011

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Author: Juliet Dark (aka Carol Goodman)

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