Sarasija (Sara) Mishra has come to Louisiana for a job. He’s never met his actual employer because he was a last minute fill in. Sara didn’t even get an in person or phone interview. However, it’s only a one-year contract and there is quite a salary involved, so he takes a chance. Included in that salary is room, board, and food. It sounds almost too good to be true, and when Sara arrives, he sees that it kind of is. He has to take a boat across a swamp full of alligators to get to the house, and there’s nobody there to welcome him. He begins to wonder what he’s gotten himself into, but then he meets his new boss and his assistant, Nomeah, and is intrigued enough to stick around.
Thaddeus Dupont is a vampire. He lives his life as a Catholic monk. He chants the Liturgy of the Hours, prays, and every now and then, flogs himself as pennance for his sins…or things he believes are sins. He’s surprised to discover his new “assistant” is a man. Turns out, Nomeah saw the name “Sara” and assumed Sarasija is a woman. The reason Thaddeus wants female assistants (Ok…let’s call it like it is…blood donors) is because he’s gay and doesn’t want to be tempted as he’s been taught homosexuality is a sin. Oh. I should also mention another thing about Thaddeus. He hunts down and kills demons.
I have given a lot of thought as to how I want to proceed with this review. There is SO MUCH going on in Vespers, and I don’t think I could go into all the details without giving away a lot of spoilers. I honestly feel like you should read this book without knowing what is happening/coming in advance. I really enjoyed this story. Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt have written an amazing book. They managed to capture the mood and and feeling of New Orleans, the intrigue and mystery behind who summoned the demons, the oftentimes overly strict rules (and yes, guilt) of the Catholic church, and also the actual humor in the face of certain death. Also, they gave us a buddy comedy and a slow burn, kind of sweet and sexy love story.
Thaddeus is attracted to Sara and he wants him. Sara also wants Thaddeus. They dance around each other through a lot of the book, but Thaddeus’s reluctance is explained, and I felt his want, need, and passion even as he was fighting it for all he was worth. The church promised him redemption for his sins (his homosexuality) if he’d hunt and destroy demons. He believes he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. Sara doesn’t understand because he’s Hindu, and Catholicism is completely unknown to him. I really enjoyed watching them fall for each other. It was tender and passionate at the same time, and quite erotic…as vampire stories often are.
There are a lot of background characters, perhaps a little too many, but it didn’t turn me off at all. There are the other monks, the demons, and of course, Nomeah. She’s one tough lady. She knows that Thaddeus is a vampire. Her grandmother was his assistant before her. You might say she was born for the job. She and Sara get along right away, and it’s obvious she has a soft spot for Thaddeus. She’s quick to defend him and to march right into battle against horrible demons and other creatures right alongside him.
I want to quickly mention the humor in Vespers. There were some laugh out loud moments, and that surprised me. Lots of people would assume a story like this would be played out seriously…intense, scary, and maybe a little bit preachy when it came to the monks and the church. Not so. The chemistry betewen Thaddeus, Sara, and Nomeah called to mind, as I said earlier, a buddy comedy movie. I won’t go so far as to call it slapstick, but I really loved these three people together. Along with the laughs, it was obvious they genuinely cared about each other and wanted to protect each other. I found this to be very moving, and I had all sorts of warm fuzzies, especially toward the end.
I am really crazy about this book, and I love that it seems it will be a series because I’m sure there are a lot of demon asses that need kicked! I highly recommend this. It’s a unique take on the traditional vampire love story, and I think there’s something for everyone to enjoy.