Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Vampire Lover by Charlotte Lamb


Charlotte Lamb is a name I see bandied around a lot among the old skool romance community. Most of her books aren't in print anymore but VAMPIRE LOVER was one of the few that happened to be, and I'd heard it was craaaaaAAAAAAAaaazy. So obviously, I had to get it.

Clare works in property and when a film director named Denzil Black comes to her sleepy English town and wants to buy the rotting gothic manor that's been on the market for years, she takes an instant dislike to him. Who is this dude, cruising around with her anemic-looking friend, acting like he literally owns the place? Who cares if he makes sexy vampire movies that make Clare feel some kind of way? Who cares that she has mysterious dreams about him where he bites her neck?

Well, Clare happens to care. Very, very much.


This is kind of like if Bella from TWILIGHT was even more prudish and also had psychopathic tendencies. Clare is convinced that Denzil is an emotional vampire who is doing something to make the women in his life sickly and crazy, so she sets out on a mission to stalk him and also meddle in the life of her younger sister, Lucy, who seems to be attracted to Denzil-- and Clare can't have that!

The sheer lengths this woman went to to get her way were honestly hilarious. And she's so judgemental. When she tricks Lucy into thinking that Denzil isn't interested in her, even though it devastates her younger sister, she actually tells her sister that "he's out of her league" and the only reason he would have wanted to put her in his movie was to sleep with her. WOW. And she thinks she's doing Lucy a favor, shipping her off to her fiance in Africa, who took the job against her wishes. WOW.

But the best part is that, to get Denzil out of the way for her machinations, she drugs him and then handcuffs him to his bed-- and then for some reason, this captivity makes her decide to get her dub-con on. After molesting him while he's unconscious and even licking his blood, she then forces herself on him as soon as he wakes up and then CLIMBS OFF BEFORE HE FINISHES. And then she just leaves, so she can deliver her sister the "you were just a dumb talentless fool" line before going back to Denzil, still tied up mind, and freeing him, only to have the tables turn. And apparently this is Denzil's very specific kink because he finishes what she started (handcuffs and all) and then declares his love.

I can't with this book. This might be one of the craziest old skools I've ever read, especially with the femme dom role-reversal. The only two vintage books I can think of that did that were Laura Kinsale's SHADOWHEART and Johanna Lindsey's PRISONER OF MY DESIRE. The heroine is seriously so evil and unlikable but I actually kind of liked her as a heroine just because I had no idea what she was going to do next. And the is/isn't Denzil a vampire plot actually was really entertaining. It kind of reminded me of the old episodes of Dark Shadows that I forced my dad to watch with me, where it's just soapy and melodramatic and cheesy. I mean, gosh, the guy even has a thing for bats.

I don't know if I loved or hated what I just read, so I'm giving it a 3.

3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars

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