When Callie interviews for a professor position open at the secluded Fairwick College in rural upstate New York, she doesn’t think she’s going to take the job. But one look at the house of her dreams has her leaving behind city life. However, all too soon it seems the dreams the house inspires might really be nightmares. Get a taste of Juliet Dark’s The Demon Lover in today’s Dish!
Morgan: The first thing that struck me about The Demon Lover is the gorgeous cover. The haunting woods, the lone woman with a beautiful royal blue dress, the dark birds of portent. Love it!
Whitney: The cover art definitely lets the reader know that they are going to delve into the paranormal, but what was unexpected, at least for me, was how contemporary this book felt.
Morgan: I agree! I think that was mainly due to the fact that Callie, our heroine, is so young. Recently out of graduate school, she is still in her twenties and looking for a career. And while she doesn’t use slang or anything (which I know is a pet peeve of yours), her voice has energy to it.
Whitney: Other than making me feel totally inadequate — I mean the girl is younger than me and not only has she published a popular non-fiction novel, just landed a position as a college professor — this was a heroine I really liked. And she tells her story in first person.
Morgan: However, even with Callie narrating her own story, I never felt like I really got to know her. She is awfully guarded, which I usually don’t mind this when the character has a good reason to be reserved, but it seemed like Callie has lived a charmed life. She is smart and well educated. She has good friends and a long-term boyfriend...
Whitney: Don’t forget that she is just now learning that she has elven blood and coming into her powers.
Morgan: See! That only proves my point. A charmed life, I tell you.
Whitney: Well, her parents did die when she was a child, so it hasn’t been all good. But these days she is certainly on a very positive path. When we meet Callie she is on a job interview for a teaching position in a small college town in the Northeast. After just a few days in Fairwick, Callie’s makes her decision to relocate to the sleepy town and buy the mysterious house that she is drawn to.
Morgan: Even though Callie is a city girl, this move doesn’t faze her. And I think I’d do the same thing in her shoes. I mean this house comes with some friendly, if a little bit weird, neighbors, mysterious woods, and, the best part, a full library.
Whitney: Callie is a writer. Dangling all of those books at her is like offering a spa day with a year of free manicures to go with it!
Morgan: And to make the deal even better, several of the volumes in the library are original manuscripts and diaries from Dahlia LaMotte, Callie’s favorite author. Callie quickly decides to investigate these papers and make them the subject of her next non fiction book.
Whitney: And for those looking for the paranormal flair promised on the cover — it just so happens that the scenes in Dahlia’s diaries start to coincide with Callie’s dreams.
Morgan: This isn’t the first time Callie has had weird dreams. When she was younger, she imagined that a “magical prince” visited her at night to help her cope with the death of her parents. But as Callie grew older these dreams got more … explicit.
Whitney: That’s putting it mildly! Her dreams are downright erotic.
Morgan: Hey, she’s had a long distance relationship with her boyfriend for years. You can’t fault her for her overactive imagination.
Whitney: But Callie isn’t making this strange up. This demon lover is real.
Morgan: And unbeknownst to Callie, this demon is siphoning off her life force. He’s an incubus, which is kind of like a vampire but instead of taking blood, he takes energy. It is bad enough when he comes to Callie in her dreams, but then the demon becomes corporeal and the real trouble begins.
Whitney: She definitely needs help and needs it fast. Thankfully Callie’s offbeat, yet caring, colleagues at Fairwick College give her a crash course on demon banishing.
Morgan: Ah, yes. The witches, elves and other assorted supernatural beings that call Fairwick home. It will come to no surprise to anyone that the school is populated with some very interesting creatures. From the burly, but good-natured Frank Delmarco to the school’s dean, Elizabeth Book, the quirks that come with their powers made these characters come to life.
Whitney: Yeah, but perhaps the author was a little too on the nose when she named them. I mean we have Callie’s roommate Phoenix and fellow teacher Casper. Even Callie herself has the last name McFay. It’s certainly not a stretch that these people come straight from myth.
Morgan: But one thing you can say about them is that the other professors at Fairwick are relatively harmless (even the chilling elf queen isn’t going to actually hurt anyone … at least not without provocation). But this is not the truth about Callie’s nightly visitor.
Whitney: Just like any incubus worth his salt, the demon lover spends his time trying to seduce Callie. And succeeding. As Dean Book says, “That’s the problem with incubi — they’re all libido.”
Morgan: Yeah, she also says that what makes demon lovers so dangerous is that they are so handsome.
Whitney: But Callie doesn’t fall for the demon’s good looks and pretty words. She’s busy trying to settle in and focus on her new job. Not only does she have several students that need special attention, Callie is also very focused on her academic writing. And on top of all of that, she’s got a boyfriend in California ...
Morgan: For me, the everyday issues that Callie deals with really ground the story.
Whitney: I know! With such a supernatural plot like this (and some very eccentric characters) this tale could have easily spun out of control. Instead, it’s this fantastic tale that falls somewhere between urban fantasy, paranormal fiction and contemporary romance (if indeed you can have a romance with a demon). But because of the way that Callie pragmatically deals with what happens to her, even the craziest events seem normal. Grounded really is the perfect word for it.
Morgan: Callie stays focused on what is important to her and she is also amazingly practical. Her demon lover tries to talk her into giving in to him all allow him to take her spirit, but Callie is uninterested in his dangerous games. She’s no weak woman ready to do his bidding without a thought. She tells him: “Love comes and goes in my experience. I wouldn’t bet my life on it.”
Whitney: Which is exactly why there is such an interesting ending (or should I say "open ending") to this story. I certainly did not expect it.
Morgan: I don’t want to give everything away, but I will say with all of these issues, it is not surprising that all of Callie’s problems can be solved in one book.
Whitney: And I don’t think I’m the only one who can’t wait to get the next in the series.
You can get your copy of The Demon Lover in stores now. Come back next week for Whitney and Elisa’s Dish on Melissa Meyer’s debut YA, Cinder.