By Susannah Sandlin
Editions: audiobook, ebook, paperback
Published June 12th 2012 by Montlake Romance
Genre: Adult PNR
Source: review copy
Following a worldwide pandemic whose vaccine left human blood deadly to vampires, the vampire community is on the verge of starvation and panic. Some have fanned into rural areas, where the vaccine was less prevalent, and are taking unsuspecting humans as blood slaves. Others are simply starving, which for a vampire is worse than death—a raging hunger in a creature too weak to feed.
Immune to these struggles—at first—is Penton, a tiny community in rural Chambers County, Alabama, an abandoned cotton mill town that has been repopulated by charismatic vampire Aidan Murphy, his scathe of 50 vampires, and their willingly bonded humans. Aidan has recruited his people carefully, believing in a peaceful community where the humans are respected and the vampires retain a bit of their humanity.
But an unresolved family feud and the paranoia of the Vampire Tribunal descend on Penton in the form of Aidan’s brother, Owen Murphy. Owen has been issued a death warrant that can only be commuted if he destroys Penton—and Aidan, against whom he’s held a grudge since both were turned vampire in 17th-century Ireland. Owen begins a systematic attack on the town, first killing its doctor, then attacking one of Aidan’s own human familiars
To protect his people, Aidan is forced to go against his principles and kidnap an unvaccinated human doctor—and finds himself falling in love for the first time since the death of his wife in Ireland centuries ago.
Dr. Krystal Harris, forced into a world she never knew existed, must face up to her own abusive past to learn if the feelings she’s developing for her kidnapper are real—or just a warped, supernatural kind of Stockholm Syndrome in which she’s allowing herself to become a victim yet again.
Susannah Sandlin’s REDEMPTION is the first in the Penton Legacy series. Book two, ABSOLUTION, will be out September 18, and book three, OMEGA, on December 18.
~ Author Blurb
About the Author:
Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night! A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch, and always fancied herself living in Cornwall (although she’s never actually been there). Details, details. She also is a fan of Stephen King. The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana. Her novel Redemption won the paranormal romance category in the 2011 Chicago North RWA Fire and Ice contest, and is the first of three in a series that debuts this year.Website/Blog: http://www.susannahsandlin.com
World Building: I loved the world of the novel; the whole idea of the vampire’s dystopian society basically ruled, it wasn’t very hardcore but it was soundly believable. So I loved it. I also loved the Penton community, probably because I’ve studied Community Development I always have a soft spot for functioning communities 😀
Characters: Short description, awesome. I really liked how the vampires were very human in feelings though vampires in nature. They’re not inhuman, not even Owen – though he is pretty high on the negative spectrum of emotion, he has it nonetheless, it makes him a good antagonist -, and you get what’s their deal, what their motivation is. Good character for a lot of characters, loved that.
Plot: Interesting to follow, though I was more concerned with the whole Krys and Aidan arc I won’t lie. I’m a fan of the particular sort of scenario Krys and Aidan had, and I’m not divulging a lot, but suffice to say there were some intense moments in the story and I thoroughly enjoyed them.
Writing: Nice flow, loved the way the scenes came together. There was humor going on, and that always wins points with me. I loved Krys’s voice particularly because of that, and Melissa’s. The Irish pig-farmer stare thing made me laugh out loud each time, haha. It’s a third person narrative with shifting POV, something I wouldn’t normally like that much, I always prefer the first person narrative, but it just worked for me here.
Curb Appeal: Smexeh cover, good blurb. I would get this from the store just based on these two elements, and if I were to skim through a couple of pages I’d get it for sure.
I had a chance on a recent evening to sit down with Aidan Murphy, a master vampire and head of the large scathe, or community, of vampires living in an isolated little Alabama town called Penton. Redemption, the first book of the Penton Legacy series, is Aidan’s story.
Now, I could tell you a lot about Aidan, but he’s usually pretty straight-talking so I’m hoping he’ll open up. Aidan’s an even six feet tall, well built, with broad shoulders and big hands that still carry callouses from his human life as a farmer in Ireland. His chestnut hair is shoulder length but, as usual, is pulled back in a tail. His eyes are an odd color of light blue with hints of green.
He arrives on time, greets me briskly, and plonks himself in a chair on the other side of my desk. He gives me what his human familiar Melissa, behind his back, calls his “Irish pig-farmer stare,” even though he never raised pigs, as far as I know.
What are you most ashamed of?
Not wasting time with the small talk, are you? I’m ashamed of my past, of what happened to my wife and son because of me. I’m ashamed that I can’t get past it and but some things you don’t get over, you know?
What are you most afraid of?
Getting someone else I love killed. Nuff said.
What beliefs would you die for?
I’d die before I let anyone else I love get hurt, but we don’t usually get that chance, do we? They always get hurt. It’s better just to keep love out of the mix.
What three things do you value most?
My wife Abby and son Cavan, and my life in Ireland. But that’s long gone–all of it. So if it’s things I haven’t lost, I guess I’d say Penton and what I’ve built there for my people. My friendships with Mirren and Will and Lucy and Hannah. My human familiars, Mark and Melissa. It’s the people who matter, not the things.
What emotional pain are you afraid to express?
If I’m afraid to express it, what makes you think I want to, like, EXPRESS it? Holy hell, woman. (I sit and stare at him.) *Clams up and gives me another Irish pig-farmer stare.* (Well, this is going well, but he hasn’t flashed fangs at me yet.)
What do you do for a living and why?
I’m a master vampire. That’s pretty much what I do for a living. I have a scathe of about 50 vampires and 125 humans, and through money I’ve made over the years in investments I’ve bought up all of an abandoned mill town in rural Alabama. We all live together there. I guess I’m the mayor (chuckles). The Mayor of Penton. I like it.
What makes you vulnerable?
(Sits a long time and stares at the floor.) Getting emotionally involved. I have people I care about, but Mirren’s the only one who really knows me well. Krystal Harris is pushing all of my buttons, I have to tell you. She’s breaking through some walls I’ve spent a long time building up, and I’m not liking it. Couldn’t you have gotten me a male doctor to kidnap? (Yeah, yeah, blame it on the author.)
What kind of family do you come from?
My human family was a simple Irish farm family in County Cork, Ireland, but I’ve been in America for more than 300 years. My human brother, Owen, was turned vampire at the same time as me. But he is NOT my family, you got that? He lost that right a long time ago.
What are three defining moments from your past that have made you who you are today?
That’s easy, yes? When I was made vampire. When I lost my wife and son. When I took on responsibility for this scathe and moved it to Penton.
Do you have any unusual skills or talents?
I always worked the soil, and it’s still what I do. Sounds pretty damned stupid, but I have a greenhouse that I putter in at night–mostly growing night-blooming flowers. It still makes me feel a part of the world of sunlight. Man, that’s pathetic.
In what ways do you label yourself?
I’m a predator, always fighting to keep the monster inside under control. I hurt the people I love. I don’t feed from the same people I have sex with–that’s an intimacy I just don’t do. It’s better for everybody that way.
What’s the one thing you regret most?
That I didn’t kill my brother Owen three hundred years ago.
What is the one thing you desire most?
Peace. As normal a life as I can have. Making a good place for my people to live. Doesn’t look like that’s happening, does it? I’m outta here. (Stalks out of the room.)
Any questions you want to ask Aidan? I can always call him on his cell. That way, I can’t see the pig-farmer stare.