by Susan Spencer Paul

August 2005
ISBN: 0-312-93387-8
Reviewer Graphic Button St. Martin`s Press
Mass Market Paperback

Long ago, a few families of magical powers left their sanctuary in rustic Wales and assimilated themselves into English nobility. Known among themselves as the Families, they learned how to conceal their true gifts, amass both wealth and power, and deftly play the game of politics. And while they assume the requirements of the ton, they also answer to the powerful Guardians and Council of Elders. While breaking the tonís rules means scandal, abusing their power causes more dire consequences.

Niclas Seymour has been suffering the effects of a blood curse for the past three years. Since blood was shed because he had used his talent for knowing the thoughts and emotions of others, the Guardians have exacted their price. Not only does Niclas deeply mourn the suicide of his friend, but now he is slowly slipping into madness, cursed to walk the night, never knowing rest. Once societyís darling, a handsome Corinthian on every guest list, he wanders the streets, racking his exhausted brain in hopes that he will find the key to breaking the curse. Even his cousin, Lord Graymar, the most powerful wizard in Europe, has been unsuccessful in finding the key.

The Linleys are known for their stubbornness. Alice Linley proved this to be true years ago when she married a wild Welsh nobleman. Now widowed, she has been involved with her neighbor Baron Tylluan for a number of years. Surprisingly it is the baron, Ffinian Seymour, who is clamoring to wed. He has made it very clear that the ceremony will take place, even if he has to force Alice to the altar. Her family in England is deeply troubled. Lady Julia Linley has arranged to travel to Wales in the care of Lord Graymar, in hopes of rescuing Alice from Castle Tylluan and the baronís demands. Niclas hopes to take Lord Graymarís place. Doing this service for the Linleys, especially since it involves a member of his own family, may just break the curse. The hard part will be to convince Lady Julia and her aunt that he is the best man for the job.

Author Susan Spencer Paul has traveled down a new path with her complex and entertaining book. She has created a unique vision of English nobility in which a few families hid their true gifts beneath generations of political and social power. Her fascinating characters promise future stories filled with a wide variety of mystical abilities. Touch of Night will appeal to every reader who likes historical romance. It is refreshing to have a magical aspect rather than vampiric or lycanthropic. This subgenre has been overlooked by many paranormal authors, but appears to have an enthusiastic audience. This book will merely whet their appetites. The good news is that the next book, Touch of Passion, is already en route.

Reviewed in July 2005 by Paula.

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