Lynsay Sands

An Argeneau vampire novel

Gollancz (2010)

ISBN: 978-0-575-09384-3

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely

The Argeneau vampire series sit squarely at the “paranormal romance” end of the supernatural scale. Set in a world identical to our own – except for the existence of a smallish number of vampires who live hidden from most of the world, who mostly don’t kill people, who mostly live ordinary, if very long, lives – these books follow the romantic adventures of the Argeneau family. Other novels have seen the relationships of brothers Etienne and Lucern (with the first book, chronologically, being that of sister Lissianna), and this one finishes off the siblings with Bastien’s story. There are then another eight books that follow, which is fabulous for fans of the world and the characters, because the secondary characters all get a turn! It’s classic romance stuff, such as Johanna Lindsay did with many of her books (the Malory-Anderson series particularly springs to mind) and the fantastic Delanys series by Iris Johansen, Kay Hooper and Fayrene Preston – great family sagas spanning multiple books.

Terri Simpson is looking forward to spending time with her editor cousin Kate before Kate marries Lucern Argeneau, but an editing crisis means Kate and Lucern disappear inter-city, leaving Terri to stay in New York with a bunch of strangers: Lucern’s darkly handsome brother, Bastien; flamboyant cousin Vincent; and Kate’s colleague, the injured Chris. Of course, with the happy couple out of town, wedding planner problems ensue, and, coupled with the trouble caused by Bastien and Vincent’s rather delicate eating habits, Terri is thrown in the deep end. But Bastien and Terri are drawn together, and find themselves enjoying the time thrust on them by chance. But can Terri overcome her past and simply look forward to a new future, and can she come to terms with the truth about Bastien?

There has to be a story behind the publication of this series, as while these 2009/2010 editions are from Gollancz, some of the books were previously published in 2004. The non-chronological publication schedule is interesting too, because reading out of order means you already know the outcome of the events of earlier books (although, being romance, there’s not too many surprises really!).

There is nothing ground-breaking about Tall, Dark and Hungry, or any of the Argeneau novels, but they are easy, candy-floss reads that let you just switch off and enjoy. Typically romance-structured, there are miscommunications and misdirections that cause problems for the main couple, but the happy ending is assured. Recommended for someone looking for a progression from regular romance into paranormal – this book doesn’t stray far from the boundaries!