Review of Realm of Darkness by C.F. Dunn

Leah Courtney
A few years ago, I stumbled across the phrase P.A.B.D. on a book review blog. It stands for Post Amazing Book Disorder and refers to that feeling you have when you've finished an amazing book, and you stumble around a bit disoriented as you try to assimilate back into real life. And, of course, any book read after that one can't possibly measure up.

Review of Realm of Darkness

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Every one of the books in The Secret of the Journal series by C.F. Dunn has done this to me. Every one.

I've read and review previously:

Mortal Fire
Death Be Not Proud
Rope of Sand

And now I've read Realm of Darkness.

I'm to the point in the story where I can't give too much description of the book without giving away the story line. But from the book's description:

Emma and Matthew are finally free to marry, but Matthew's secret continues to haunt them.

Emma D'Eresby can look forward to a future with Matthew Lynes. She at last reveals to Matthew the nature of her relationship with Guy Hilliard—her supervisor at Cambridge—and the reason she has found it difficult to forgive him or to trust any other.

Their joy at marrying is short-lived as, to her disgust, Emma discovers that Guy is visiting the United States to attend the history conference at which she is the keynote speaker. Although everyone seems charmed by him, Emma doesn't trust Guy. Worse still, she discovers that Ellie is dating Guy, bringing him within the family fold.

Long-held grudges and wounds surface and it is clear that Guy poses a threat to everything Emma loves.

There are so many things that I loved about this book. It would probably be easier to tell you the few- if any things- I didn't like. But here are a few of my favorite things.

~The characters are so very well developed. The book is written in first person from Emma's point of view. But hers isn't the only character that is so well-developed. All of them are. And these books have a large cast of characters. Now, it helps that this is a series and not a single book. But in every book I think Dunn has done an awesome job helping the reader to get to know the characters.

~The story is so different. I can't spell out too much because I don't want to give spoilers. But this isn't your everyday love story. There's a twist that is done so well that it's believable enough without being trite and too predictable.

~The beginning of the book has a recap of what's happened so far. Chalk it up to the fact that I read sixty to seventy books a year or blame it on the fact that I'm old. If I have to wait more than a month or so for a sequel, I'm forgetting prior books. The author does me a tremendous favor here by giving a recap at the beginning. Although I remembered the basic plot, I found myself nodding and saying "Oh yes, that!" as I read through.

~The romance in the story is just so..romantic. I love a good romance. I love to feel sweet and sappy. But I also love the deep "I'd do anything for you." romances. This, on occasion, is both. But it's mostly deep and thoughtful. It's a poetry and love sonnets sort of romance that you just want to last forever.

In the back of the book, we are promised that the 5th and final book is coming in September 2016. Since we don't have far (it's August 2016 as of this review), I'll probably be holding my breath.

I give this amazing book 5 easy stars- and would give more if my system allowed. You can find it on Kregel here and on Amazon here. You can read a Kindle preview below.

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Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

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