The Rest Falls Away

by Colleen Gleason

I’m not a huge fan of the Regency period, and especially not a fan of Regency romances. All those demure teas and heaving bosoms tend to cause a lot of eye-rolling around here. When an author takes the time to visit my blog, however, and pitch her own work, without being at all arrogant, but just being another blogger, I take note. Colleen Gleason left a comment here a few weeks back, and even though the period her Gardella Vampire Hunter series is set in is not my favorite, I’m a sucker for bloodsuckers being offed by spunky heroines, so HAD to check out her work.

The Rest Falls Away introduces us to Victoria Gardella Grantworth, debutante (though a little older than the other young women coming out that year, due to family issues), and the latest to be called to the family tradition of vampire hunting. In this – being chosen rather than doing the choosing – she is not unlike the more modern Buffy, whom the author herself notes is an influence.

What follows, once Victoria takes up her stake and commits to her destiny, is not bodice ripping (a little slow unbuttoning, perhaps…) or bosom heaving, but a realistic presentation of what a female action hero would have had to deal with if living in such a time. Skirts not meant for running and fighting, pants not acceptable on the female form, sleeves meant to be frothy rather than fitted…fashion alone is a major issue, and not just in terms of where one can hide a stake.

There is, of course, requisite romance with Phillip, the Marquess of Rockley, and – as always happens when one of the characters is a hero – romance is not a reward as much as yet another thing to be balanced and protected, or pushed aside when a life must be saved.

Gleason’s characters all ring true, even those like Sebastian the owner of the vamp-friendly bar who are a bit over the top, and her plot moves at a comfortable pace. Maybe I was inspired in part by the season – I’m writing this review having just given the last of my candy to a stray trick-or-treater, after all – but not only could I not put this book down, I’m already a third of the way through the sequel.

You’ll note Ms. Gleason’s presence in my blogroll. You’d do well to include her works on your shelves.