** spoiler alert **
Two things attracted me to this book. 1) The gorgeous cover. 2) The fact that I was looking for fairy tale inspired romance novels.
First, I really loved the idea of the book. A gothic romance with raven shifters woven into the story of Bluebeard. Really loved the idea. Based on the cover and the blurb, I could just picture Lord Ruhk Hayle and his mysterious secret being related to being a raven shifter as opposed to being related to dead wives in the closet.
Unfortunately, what I was hoping for isn't what this book turned out to be. The fact that he is a raven shifter is revealed to his bride on their wedding night, and there actually are dead wives in the closet. The story also lacked the creepy mood that a Bluebeard-inspired tale should have.
It was kind of short, more novella-length than novel-length, and despite the fact that Samhain has it labeled as Historical Romance and Paranormal Romance, the proportion of sex to story was far more than I was hoping or expecting would be there. The majority of the book was steamy as opposed to story-related. Had the story been labeled with Samhain's "Red Hots!" label, I would have expected that, but it wasn't. Granted, for the most part the author does not use crude language and uses more...historical appropriate descriptions, and maybe that's why it wasn't labeled in that way, but come on. When the major plot point is that Lord Hayle's family made a deal with a lusty demon named Bluebeard in order to be immortal and be able to shift into raven form, the price is that the Alpha of the family sacrifice his wife to the demon's lust (so he can basically fuck her to death) once she's conceived an heir, the demon lures the wife into his secret door through lust compulsions, and the only way to keep the demon contained behind his door is for the Alpha of the family to have regular sex in the same room with the door, I don't personally consider that a romance novel because it leaves no time for relationship development or, you know, romance.
Sadly, a disappointment for me, but others who are looking for a more erotic romance may enjoy it. There's a free short story on the author's website that is a follow-up to this story that anyone interested may want to try out first.
Technical notes: I bought the e-book from MyBookStoreAndMore and downloaded the .epub version. The formatting was just fine, and I didn't notice any typos or formatting issues.