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)