Author: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1978
Hardback 248 pages
Le Comte de Saint-Germain - cultured, well-traveled, articulate, elegant, learned, honorable, an alchemist, and a man of many secrets - he is a mystery to the court of Louis XV. For Madelaine de Montalia, making her debut in society, he is as fascinating as he is enigmatic, an admiration he returns. But others are interested in her as well. The dark folly of her father's youth exposes her to danger that only someone of Saint-Germain's vast experience can comprehend or repulse. In this first book of the Saint-Germain cycle, Saint-Germain establishes himself as the compassionate hero whose adventures span continents and millennia.
I had written down the title of a book, and when I looked it up I discovered it was part of a series. Further research led me to the author's website, where I discovered there are over 20 books in the Saint-Germain series, each taking place in a historical time period or setting that I would enjoy reading. Being the nerd I am, I had to start at the beginning, and Hotel Transylvania is the first book in the series.
This story takes place in the fall of 1743 in Paris, France. All of the characters are of the peerage, therefore social etiquette of the period, dress, manners and activities provide the backdrop for the story. Saint-Germain is a vampire, but the reader only notices this fact when he happens to appear by someones side out of the blue, or when one remarks on his penetrating gaze. His vampire tendencies seem like odd habits of his character, especially how he doesn't like to eat or drink around others. Since the characters are aristocratic, and they themselves can be odd, no one questions Saint-Germain. The women and most of the men like him for he is very considerate and a wonderful conversationalist. Saint-Germain just happens to harbor a secret.
Our heroine, the lovely Madelaine, is not like most young women of her day. She is well educated, reads books, and speaks her mind quite often, which has proven difficult for her family to find her a husband. Therefore, when she meets Saint-Germain, they find in each other someone who meets their desires. For Saint-Germain it is a beautiful love of his life, who he is drawn to, and for Madelaine, someone who speaks and treats her like an intelligent woman.
As a matter of fact, Saint-Germain's being a vampire is finally stated in the novel within a conversation between he and Madelaine. Saint-Germain says something to effect of, "When you have lived over 500 years like me..." and Madelaine accepts his explanation readily, not with screams, disgust, or shock. This section made me laugh a little, and I had to read it twice to make sure I comprehended everything.
As the relationship between Saint-Germain and Madelaine progresses, the evil or mysterious forces and their activities also comes to light. The book moves rather quickly, and Yarbro explains her parameters for Saint-Germain's vampire side throughout the story, leading one to assume future books are in the works. Saint-Germain is a very likable character and his vampireness (?word?) is a facet of his character, like being jovial or good at fencing.
All in all I enjoyed this book. This book has a little bit of love, with some mystery and suspense thrown in. The main characters are very likable and enjoyable, and I'm interested to learn what happens in the next book. You see, there are some unresolved things at the end of this book, so I need to know how it plays out.
My Rating: 4.25/5
Challenges: Library Challenge 2009