Last month I read Dark Lover and yesterday/today I whipped through JR Ward’s Lover Eternal. Basic reaction: like! Want next book!
As other have noted, this is a sweet yet intense romance between Rhage, a gorgeous vampire who is cursed with The Beast, and Mary who is battling leukemia. In both Ward’s books, it is the heroine who anchors the book, imo. These are novels of the Black Dagger Brotherhood but I find myself most focused on the heroine and, of course, the romance.
Both Beth and Mary are… Gosh, you know I was going to say ‘strong, vulnerable women’ and that is beginning to sound so cliché for any character. Okay, let’s try again. They are women I connect with as soon as they’re on the page. They struggle with issues that hurt, and refuse to give up the fight and despair. (Beth’s sense of isolation and her assault; Mary’s cancer.) Anyway! I like them.
In Lover Eternal, I’m not crazy over the opening, where we have Butch and the brothers kinda hanging around being buddies. I’m not convinced by the brother interactions—not that I know how long-lived vampires would really interact. But since I like this series and I like Ward, I keep going. We meet Mary (yay!), we meet a vampire who hasn’t turned (John who totally pulls my heartstrings), and then there’s Rhage and Mary’s first meet.
I normally can’t stand when the hero is all over the heroine at first meet. (This is fine if it’s someone else’s fantasy. Since I would freak out, it’s not mine.) But Ward pulls it off. I’m not sure how. Mary does respond sexually but that is not her only response (she’s scared, she’s annoyed) but also Rhage is reacting emotionally to her voice. Anyway, I admired that scene.
I loved the romance. A little too much push and pull near the end where I found I just wanted to set the two of them down and get them to talk. (I had the same reaction to Kinsale’s The Dream Hunter.)
Recommended. I can’t wait for Lover Awakened. I adore love stories of the Rejected One.
Below are some mixed reactions:
Paperback Reader describes Lover Eternal as compelling.
Ward manages to make the connection between Rhage and Mary real and confused and unsure just as actual first meetings can be. Rhage feels something for Mary, but he doesn’t know what. She soothes him.
Dear Author gives Lover Eternal a B.
I like that Rhage struggles with his beast. The idea that the removal of the beast may represent a loss to Rhage even though he despises that part of him added depth to the character. I liked that it was Mary’s voice-the sound, the cadence-that soothed Rhage’s beast so much so that others around him became insignificant.
AAR gives it a C. Jane Jorgenson did not like Mary nearly as well as I did.