This book, which was originally intended as a novella, is book 4 in the Innkeeper Chronicles. While it’s not necessary to have read the entire series to fully appreciate this book, it might be helpful to at least have read book three, One Fell Sweep, where Maud and Arland meet for the first time.
Official book description:
Maud Demille is a daughter of Innkeepers—a special group who provide ‘lodging’ to other-planetary visitors—so she knows that a simple life isn’t in the cards. But even Maud could never have anticipated what Fate would throw at her.
Once a wife to a powerful vampire knight, Maud and her young daughter, Helen, were exiled with him for his treachery to the desolate, savage planet of Karhari. Karhari killed her husband, and Maud—completely abandoned by his family—has spent over a year avenging his debts. Rescued by her sister Dina, she’s sworn off all things vampire.
Except… In helping Dina save the world, she met Arland, the Marshal of House Krahr, one of the most powerful vampire houses. One thing led to another and he asked for her hand in marriage. She declined. Arland is not used to hearing the word ‘no;’ and try as she might, Maud can’t just walk away from Arland. It doesn’t help that being human is a lot harder for Maud than being a vampire.
To sort it all out, she accepts his invitation to visit his home planet. House Krahr is extremely influential and Maud knows that a woman—a human, with a very questionable past—who’s turned down a proposal from its most beloved son won’t get a warm reception. Maybe she’s not sure about marrying Arland, but House Krahr isn’t going to decide for her. Maud Demille has never run from a fight, and House Krahr will soon discover that there’s a lot more to Maud than they’re expecting.
As with all the other Innkeeper Chronicles books, this started as a free online serial on Ilona Andrews‘ website. The authors had intended it to be a bonus novella, but it clearly took on a life of its own and by the time they had finished it, it had become a short novel. With the published book, they have added a prologue showing the readers some of Maud’s time on Karhari, and also how she reacted to the potentially world-ending threat that Arland risked his life to twart in the conclusion to One Fell Sweep. To some, it may feel like an unneccessary retread, as it repeats scenes from the previous book – but all of those were told from Dina, Maud’s sister’s POV, and as someone who doesn’t exactly have photographic recall of all the books I read, it was nice to have my memory refreshed (with some pretty kick-ass action sequences, as well).
I feel like with every new Ilona Andrews review I write, I gush and go on about what amazing writers they are and how I am literally willing to hand them my money for absolutely everything they write (sometimes in multiple formats). Yet it’s so incredibly comforting to know that with each new release, I’m going to get something that makes me laugh, makes my heart race, makes me excited and sometimes genuinely touched. I love their dialogue and the family dynamics they always manage to create, even though the families they portray in their various books and series often are wildly different. The children in their stories feel real, never like annoying plot moppets. Helen, Maud’s precocious half-vampire daughter, is a delight.
Full review on my blog.