Posted in: AztecLady Reviews
Tags:Broken Heart, paranormal romance, vampires
The third title in the Broken Heart, Oklahoma paranormal romantic comedy series (and that’s a mouthful, no?) set in the small town of Broken Heart, Because Your Vampire Said So is my first novel by Ms Bardsley. The series is written in first person, with each novel narrated by its heroine. The series revolves around the single mothers in town, all of whom were turned into vampires during the events of the first book, I’m The Vampire, That’s Why.
In this installment, we learn more about the history of vampires, through short chapters taken from the memoirs of Ruadan, the first vampire and creator of the other six Ancients. These chapters are written by his son, Lorcan, and are quite different, both in tone and content, from the rest of the novel.
Here is the back cover blurb:
When you’re immortal, being a mom won’t kill you—it will only make you stronger.
Not just anyone can visit Broken Heart, Oklahoma, especially since all the single moms—like me, Patsy Donahue—have been turned into vampires. I’m forever forty, but looking younger than my years, thanks to my new (un)lifestyle.
And even though most of my customers have skipped town, I still manage to keep my hair salon up and running because of the lycanthropes prowling around. They know how important good grooming is—especially a certain rogue shape-shifter who is as sexy as he is deadly. Now, if only I could put a leash on my wild teenage son. He’s up to his neck in danger. The stress would kill me if I wasn’t already dead. But my maternal instincts are still alive and kicking, so no one better mess with my flesh and blood.
I don’t like the blurb. At all. (Thanks to the blurb, I thought for a whole chapter that the hero was Darrius instead of Gabriel.) Feel free to ignore it.
Patsy’s life has been set upside down, as has the life of most of the town’s residents. She is feeling it more than many others perhaps, because she is trying to cope with her son Wilson’s difficult adolescence, on top of trying to stay on the good side of the vampire/lycanthrope Consortium and safe from whatever weird creature is attacking the other single moms in town.
Then this gorgeous werewolf shows up, both to protect her and to claim her for his mate. Gabriel happens to be a lycan/vamp or vamp/lycan—the only one born that way—and there happens to be a prophecy involving a change of the guard, wherein the Ancients ‘retire’ from governing and passing the authority to the Queen of both paraspecies. A Queen you say? Why yes, one Patricia Donahue, single mom and beautician of Broken Heart.
Oh and did I mention that not all the Ancients are on board with this plan?
Add ghosts, faeries, demons, caves, and a visit to the sewers, and hijinks, obviously, ensue.
Now, anyone who has been reading my reviews knows that I have a difficult time with romantic comedy and with first person narrative, so I’m glad to say that I enjoyed Because Your Vampire Said So. Patsy’s voice is very chatty and informal, full of idioms and personal references, which allow Ms Bardsley to fill in the newcomer on the town’s recent past—at least to an extent. Me being me, I wanted more specific answers to a few questions. (Yes, I realize that I should have started at the beginning of the series, and in my defense, I thought I was. Until, you know, I realized I wasn’t.)
There is a campy quality to the writing—something reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer—that prevents the reader from taking Patsy, and the events happening around her, too seriously. After all, she doesn’t take herself too seriously, why should we?
(Love the repeated use of the word “discombobulated”, by the way. Something about that word just makes me smile.)
I particularly like Patsy’s reaction to her friends’ surprise at the idea that she could be this prophesied queen. A bit of, “well, I know I’m not a Nobel Prize but I ain’t chopped liver either, people” and “I don’t get no respect” in a funny, light, mix.
This is a really good thing for two very different reasons. On the one hand, the paranormal elements are easier to enjoy because the reader spends less time over analyzing what’s happening. You are just going along for the ride instead of, oh I don’t know, obsessing over the one or two instances of broken internal consistency. (Not that I am doing that. Not me. Nope.) On the other hand, it makes the serious aspect of the novel easier to take—being a single mother to a teenager can, indeed, drive a sane person to insanity, if not addiction. And if the teen himself has problems with addiction… well, let’s say it could make for a depressing read. Ms Bardsley’s approach makes it much easier to go with the flow, knowing things will get better eventually.
There is poignancy in how Patsy views, and feels about, her relationship with her son. Her awareness, and guilt, over how his father’s alcoholism and their divorce have negatively affected Wilson’s view of life and of her. Her feelings of impotence as she sees this boy she loved become a surly entity seemingly hell-bent on self destruction. Her struggle with the knowledge that, sooner or later, you have to let your kids go—whether they’ve grown up or just grown older.
On the relationship front, we have the matter of trust—self reliance vs having someone shoulder your burdens with you. Facing one’s emotional baggage in the midst of a crisis that threatens… well, not the entire world, but your world, it takes some inner strength. And did I mention the prophecy? I mean, does this gorgeous guy wants her for herself or because of what she’s supposed to become? Given her track record, you can see why she wouldn’t jump head first, no?
While I do wish I had read the first two novels in the Broken Heart, Oklahoma series, this one stands well enough on its own as a funny, quick, light read. The next title, Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home, releases on November 4th, and I should be posting a review for it shortly after.
7.5 out of 10