From the blurb:
He takes her for hate. Will he keep her for love?
Sebastian, lord of the tower in the northern high lands, is a proud, bitter man with a dark past. An alchemist and a warrior, he has had lovers but knows he is ugly – experience and betrayal have taught him that. When Melissa, the beautiful, neglected daughter of two old enemies, falls into his possessive hands he is determined to hold her. Why?
As one of the detested and defeated Felix family, Melissa must cling to her courage when she is claimed as a war-prize by the tall, grim Sebastian. Expecting torture and ravishment, she finds instead a peace and sanctuary that she has never known. Treated with kindness for the first time in her life, Melissa begins to blossom.
But there are secrets and old betrayals between them. Sebastian’s abiding jealousy is not easily quelled, especially when someone at the tower seeks to destroy his growing love with Melissa…
As soon as I read the description of this book, I couldn’t wait to start reading. So much emotion and intensity! This book is an absolute gem, so much so that I read it in a single sitting.
First, the setting: dark, wild, rooted in the medieval time. Perfectly executed. The tower seemed so real to me as I read.
Then the story: so much to keep you gripped and wondering, and to pull at the heartstrings. The author expertly sets up mystery, so you are compelled to read on and discover the motives for the characters’ actions, and the idea that ‘someone at the tower seeks to destroy his growing love with Melissa’ had me on the edge of my seat.
How about passion? Well, be still my pounding heart! The love scenes are so beautifully and vividly described, without outweighing the story. I was entirely taken into the world, and loved the passion that built up between them. I especially like how Sebastian respects Melissa, knowing when to be masterful and when to be understanding.
Then the characters themselves, who we get to know well thanks to dual point of view in the book:
Melissa is a very likeable heroine, a mix of innocence and spirit. Her childhood sufferings really moved me, and I was so glad to find her willing to try to make a life for herself with Sebastian and see beyond his prickly exterior. She may be young, but she is mature; so much so that she is willing to probe to find the facts of who exactly her lost parents were.
Sebastian, for me, dominates the book; he is a romantic hero par excellence! A wonderful mix of power and force, courage and brawn, intelligence and, deep down inside, hurt. He reminded me of a hero from classic romance literature, like Heathcliff – not pretty, not always polite, but eminently male. He awoke in me, as in Melissa, that desire to find the truth beyond the mask, the man beyond the weapon-wielding warrior. Most of all, I loved his characterisation as an alchemist, which brings such depth to his character and adds a fascinating dimension.
Finally, it would be remiss of me not to include in this review Lindsay’s fantastic writing style, which makes reading such a pleasure. Her descriptions are just exquisite. For example:
‘Where he was tall and lean and intense, large-jointed and craggy, precise from years of deliberate, often hard-won control, this tiny girl shimmered like a flame. Where his hair was black, dull and fine as silk, hanging straight to his broad shoulders, hers was the color of brimstone and treacle, long heavy ropes of shining curling waves, sunset brown shot through with chestnut.’
In sum, this is a wonderful novella, and well worth reading.
Sebastian the Alchemist and His Captive is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store. I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.