Charlotte Boyett-Compo


Amber Quill Press, Jan 2003
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood


For Bronwyn and Sean, meeting in grade school, it is an instant attraction that will be love for life. Girl and boy both have a budding beauty, but the main thing they have in common is, their fathers both have dangerous tempers. Bronwyn is a doctor’s daughter, Sean lives hopelessly far to the wrong side of the tracks. The very thought of such a friendship sends Dr. McGregor into a rage. When they are old enough for their sexual temptation to be noticed, Bronwyn’s father forbids them to meet again, paying Sean off to stay away. Too late. Bronwyn’s parents drug her and carry her into hiding. There she bears a child, which is taken from her and given up for adoption.

In her convent prison, Bronwyn attracts the attention of a Darkwind, a shapeshifting being whose antagonism toward various other non-human species pulls Bronwyn into the middle of a war. Sean, with his love torn from him and his life already shattered, learns he was born with a vampire/werewolf parasite inside him. This makes him vulnerable to being forcibly recruited into the same conflict now terrorizing Bronwyn. Sean must do horrible things and try not to become horrible himself.

Throughout her childhood Bronnie has been a struggling pawn, driven only by the need for her Seannie. But there comes a time when Bronwyn, a professional adult, can face psychopathic killers without flinching. She is determined to set her own course in life, no matter what the obstacles – and they are many and very strange. One might wonder why Bronwyn is in love for life with a man who seems to be in a permanent full-blown fury. Especially one might wonder why she is willing to bear children who will all be infected with a tyrannical parasite.

In BLACKWIND, agony has found a home. It starts with a sadistic priest getting off on beating Sean. Sean quivers from the rages of his father, Bronwyn cowers under the anger of hers. The book wallows with pleasurable anguish in the suffering of unjust punishments by our child heroes, and in terrors they are helpless to combat. This atmosphere abates to a degree in the second half, which focuses on the grown-up Bronwyn. Instead, it is fed by the helpless rage of her lover in his blood hunger. Pain returns with a vengeance in the person of slave owner Ski’Ah. The narrative savors her attempts first to seduce Bronwyn’s man and then to torture him to death.

In this book suffused with twisted sexuality, there are only two true sex scenes. They are explosive, and actually based in love. In my opinion these two sections are the best things in the book. In the main, the prose is fevered and overblown. See what I mean:

"’Aye, Tymothy,’ Dorrie moaned, shuddering violently. Her hands were trembling as she untwisted the tie on the loaf of bread."
"A wild torment drove through his body, bringing a scream of animal suffering to his lips."
"’You must atone for your sins,’ she snarled, digging her nails into her palms."
"She longed to inhale the fragrance of his burning flesh and to revel in the howls of his agony as flames devoured his filthy body."
I think I’ve made my point. I’m obliged to mention that BLACKWIND has won the Word Weaving Award For Excellence and the Love Romances Golden Rose Award for Best Vampire. It is rated R by the publisher, but really requires an X rating for the sado-masochism.

Jan 2003 Review Originally Published by WOR


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