Be Mine Tonight by Kathryn Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book made me cry like a baby towards the end. It reminded me of what it was like to lose my father to cancer. It reminded me of the vicious hatred I have for that disease, and the message of this book hit home with increased potency because of seeing my father succumb to this disease, and how Pru suffered in this way.
Yet it was a wonderful book to read. It had the elements of a traditional vampire story that I love. Good versus evil is a part of this story, but Ms. Smith poses a question that gave me food for thought. Was Chapel evil merely because he was a vampire? Was he a monster and an abomination just because he had to take the blood of humans to live? Or, like Professor Broome asks in Hellboy, 'What is the measure of a man?' Like Hellboy, Chapel is a creature of the night, born from what is considered evil. But fundamentally, like Hellboy, he makes a choice not to be evil. And this defines who he is ultimately.
This story has a lot of lessons for me. It also speaks of living one's life to the fullest, a lesson I still need to work on. Through the eyes of Pru, a woman doomed to die young by her disease, I was shown to see that life is so precious that it is important to grab at every experience of value to us with both hands.
She was tough on Chapel for what she considered him wasting hundreds of years brooding and feeling sorry for himself. It seemed harsh, but she was right. He was tormenting himself for his part in his love Marie's suicide. Tormenting himself wrongly, I believe. His past love had made a choice. We all make choices. And it's not fair for us to hold ourselves accontable for the choices that others make. I love the scene where she calls Marie, Chapel's long deceased love, a 'cow.' That was classic and really true. Pru knew that a woman in love should look past the surface and to the man beneath, although Marie could only see the beast. Granted Marie lived in a time where the church had a stranglehold over reason and a strict and narrow view of black and white. Yet, Marie didn't try at all to see what Chapel was, her beloved.
Chapel could not see the goodness inside of himself, and from the beginning, it is clear that Chapel is a very good man. I am a lover of antiheroes and dark heroes, and there is no darkness in this hero. He might be a vampire. He might have killed in the past. He might have a raving thirst that he has to control, but in his heart, this man made a choice to do right, and he didn't stray from that path. Simply put, I loved Chapel. He frustrated me in his insistence not to change Pru into a vampire, but I could understand from his frame of reference (of many years indoctrinated by the church) that he was an abomination likely damned to hell. He loved Pru far too much to allow that to happen to her. I never, ever doubted his love for Pru.
Chapel had to go on a journey of enlightment and although Pru, his friend and companion priest Molyneux, Marcus, the young archaeologist looking for the Holy Grail to save Pru's life, and her father Thomas, urged him along to see himself clearly, he had to learn to look inside his heart and see the truth for himself. I liked the message about faith, and how what we believe personally, and how we know God intimately is much more important than what a group or a church might have us believe. And lastly, the messages about forgiving oneself and accepting that God's gifts may come in a different form than what we are expecting.
This book broke my heart reading about Pru's progression in her cancer, but I truly enjoyed the beautiful relationship between her and Chapel. There is a little bit of adventure, but the true joy of this story is the blossoming love betwee Pru and Chapel, and its power to save them both.
This is going in my top favorites from the delightful Kathryn Smith. She is an authoress who knows how to write a beautiful and poignant love story. I really appreciate how she took the vampire myth and gave it so much life and skillfully interwined it with a moving and delectable romance.
View all my reviews >>