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    Book Review: When Twilight Burns by Colleen Gleason
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  • Published: Jul 28th, 2008

Reviewed by Kati Dancy

4.5 stars

gleason_twilightreview.jpgI’ve never made any bones about the fact that I’m a huge fan of Colleen Gleason’s Gardella Vampire Chronicles. There are a lot of reasons for this: they are historical paranormals, which we don’t see a lot of, the heroine, Lady Victoria Gardella Grantworth de Lacy is strong, smart and a natural leader, and Gleason has created one of the most intriguing love triangles in romance.

When we last left our heroine, in the previous book, The Bleeding Dusk, she had sustained a bite from one of the most powerful vampires in the world. She’d been rescued, but whether she’d succumb to the bite, or come back changed was definitely in question. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to tell you that Victoria DOES survive the bite (good news for all of us, since it’s a five book series). In the opening of book four of the series, When Twilight Burns, our heroine has returned to England from Italy and is again ensconced in her deceased husband’s home, St. Heath’s Row. More than that, Victoria has assumed the mantle of Illa Gardella, the head of the Venators, or Vampire Slayers. In this capacity, she is back in England and is on the prowl again for vampires. Beside her is Sebastian Vioget, a deliciously mysterious man, whose loyalty has been in question throughout the series, and Maximillian Pesaro, a former Venator who is both a friend to Victoria, but also among those who can most easily get a rise out of her.

This book is no exception in that it has brought many challenges to Victoria. She has been implicated in a series of deaths in London, because she keeps discovering the bodies. The Venators suspect that a daytime vampire has been created and is committing these murders. As a result, Victoria has managed to catch the attention of a Bow Street Runner named Beamis Goodwin, who is both distasteful and highly suspicious. On top of that, Victoria suspects that the Vampire Queen, Lilith has returned to London and is planning something. And whatever it is, is not going to be good. Plus, her dead husband’s heir has come to England to take his place as Lord Rockley, and her Mamma has marriage aspirations for Victoria and him. Will the Venators be able to act in time to stop Lilith? Will Victoria be able to escape the suspicion of Bow Street? Will Victoria ever choose between the two men in her life, Max and Sebastian? Or could this new man be someone with whom she becomes involved?

Without giving away any spoilers, I can tell you that Victoria‘s adventures continue to be fascinating and action-packed. Gleason is a meticulous researcher, and her books always surround interesting moments in history. When Twilight Burns is set against the backdrop of the Prince Regent’s coronation. It is slyly done, interweaving the elements of the story against the actual history. The reason this series is one of my favorites is that Victoria is a smart, dangerous killer, but also very definitely a woman in her own right. But this is juxtaposed against the social mores of the time. The author has saddled her with an ambitious, social climbing Mamma, who would like nothing more than to see her daughter matched with yet another peer of the realm. Victoria is also surrounded by many beloved secondary characters, some of whom catapult the story forward. As usual in this series, Victoria suffers losses. She suffers — and those around her suffer. But it moves the story ahead, and one is always left with the feeling that while we don’t know what the story has in store for us, the author has a good reason for how the story unfolds.

This book is yet another sterling entry in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles. Colleen Gleason has yet again outdone herself with the continuing adventures of Victoria Gardella Grantworth de Lacy. Although this book could stand alone, I highly recommend that you start with The Rest Falls Away in order to have a fuller reading experience. I can guarantee that you won’t be sorry.

21 Responses to “Book Review: When Twilight Burns by Colleen Gleason”

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  1. Maria Lokken
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 4:30 am

    You’re right – Colleen sure does know how to write a story. I’m happy to hear Victoria ‘survives’! Now I can’t wait to find out who she ends up with — does she choose in this book, or do I have to wait… Oh my goodness, I’m so anxious to tear into this one.

  2. Marisa
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 5:02 am

    OK, this is just too good! I’ve been anticipating this one for a long time. And MK you KNOW which team I’m on. So quick question, without giving anything away, do I get to see more of Sebastian?

    You’re so right, Colleen’s attention to detail and her meticulous research really enhances the books; one of the things I love about them.

  3. Marisa
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 5:03 am

    OH, and MK, ‘could this new man be someone with whom she becomes involved with?” YIKES, fell off my chair when I read that one.

  4. Buffie
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 6:01 am

    Ok, I’ll admit it. I’ve never read a Colleen Gleason book (ducking quickly). I know, I know, I KNOW! I need to remedy that and fast. Between MK, Marisa, and Andrea, I don’t know why I haven’t picked one up yet. This sounds right up my alley. Great review MK!

  5. AndreaW
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 6:19 am

    Fantastic review, MK. I’ve been dying to read your review since I’ve also read When Twilight Burns, and you did a bang up job! I LOVED this book. Ms. Gleason has a very rewarding career ahead of her. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Buffie, I think you’d really enjoy this series. The vampires are the ‘bad guys’ in this one.

  6. MaryKate
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 6:33 am

    Marisa – We see lots and lots of Sebastian, and I have to say, he grew on me. Alot. I’m still the captain of the TEAM MAX cheerleading squad, but I rooted for Sebastian more than ever in this book.

    Buffie, I think you might like this series. I think the most fun part of it is watching Victoria be a lady and a kickass vampire slayer at the same time. I mean, imagine, you’re wearing a gorgeous ball gown, tight corset to cinch your waist and layers and layers of skirts. Where the heck do you put your stake?? It’s a quandry, and one that Colleen addresses in fun and inventive ways.

  7. Helen
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 6:49 am

    I’m sooo excited and cheering up and down that Colleen is giving us more, more, more Sebastian!!! Whoopie!

  8. PJ
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 6:51 am

    Terrific review, MK! I haven’t read Colleen’s books yet either. Part of the problem of having 200+ books in my tbr stash is that I never seem to get to all the awesome authors you continually bring to us. One of these days…

  9. colleen gleason
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 8:07 am

    Hey Kati! Thanks for the fab review. *mwah* Check’s in the mail. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And…did I read that right???? Sebastian grew on you? You were *rooting* for Sebastian? *faints*

    *looks around for a chilly hell*


  10. MaryKate
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 8:17 am

    LOL! Didn’t change the fact that I still want Victoria and Max together, Colleen. I just…felt more for Sebastian that I have in the past.

    Oh! And Maria, yes, by the end of When Twilight Burns, we know who Victoria is going to be with. And that’s all I’ll say about that, since, you know, I want Colleen to still be my friend. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Helen
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 9:32 am

    Colleennnnnnn!!! whoa – fan girl moment! I am totally rooting or Sebastian!!!! I just put my order in at Amazon… now I’m tapping my foot waiting, waiting, waiting….

  12. Maria Lokken
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 9:33 am

    MK – You’re KILLING ME!!!!

    Hi Colleen *BIG WAVES*

  13. AndreaW
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 11:31 am

    Hi, Colleen!! *waves*

  14. colleen gleason
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 12:53 pm

    Hey all!!! *waves back* Can’t wait till next week when the book is actually out and then we can all TALK about it. Kati’s been doing a great job of keeping things vague, but I know she’s got lots to say. LOL.

  15. Helen
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 12:55 pm

    I’m glad Kati kept it vague, I want to savour every paragraph.

  16. MaryKate
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 1:38 pm


    Wha??? Me?? Something to say??? I have no idea what you’re talking about, my friend.

    Just because the thing with the whatsit when Victoria does….you know.

    I really loved that part. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

  17. cyclops8
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 2:41 pm

    Go Team Max.

  18. kristin
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 5:40 pm

    I am almost beside myself with anticipation for this book!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ What more can I say? *Team Sebastian!!!* ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. orannia
    on Jul 29th, 2008
    @ 7:21 pm

    Thank you MK! I STILL haven’t got to the third book yet ๐Ÿ™ I know *sighs* I’ve just been surrounded by non-stop family dramas of late, so reading has been…..very hard. However, I will get to it…I promise (although I don’t think it will affect my opinion on Max ๐Ÿ™‚ Because I’m so far inside the Sebastian camp as to be *blushes* ‘Nuff said ๐Ÿ™‚ What I’m trying to say is that I’m with Marisa – Victoria should end up with Sebastian!

    orannia *who has brought out the Sebastian pom poms again*

  20. Gannon
    on Jul 31st, 2008
    @ 2:08 pm

    Loved this book!!! *waving my Team Max pom poms!*

  21. stargazer
    on Jul 31st, 2008
    @ 8:36 pm

    I love her books!!! Waves* Colleen! Great review…cant wait for the new book.

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