ARC Review: Immortal Surrender by Claire Ashgrove

ARC Review: Immortal Surrender by Claire AshgroveImmortal Surrender by Claire Ashgrove

Series: The Curse of the Templars #2
Genres: Paranormal Romance
on September 25, 2012
Pages: 401
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-half-stars  

Some books you just really anticipate because of the wonderful job the author did when penning the first one.  I had no fears that the sequel would not live up to the anticipation either and I am pleased to report that I was right.

For those who have not read the first book, Immortal Hope, I caution you that there may be some mild spoilers in my review so read on at your own risk. Yes, that was a broad hint that these books need to be read in order.  The first book gives the detailed back history to the Templar knights’ history, their curse, the promise of the seraphs, the presence of the angels, the nature of the evil they fight and even the modern workings of the Temple.  Reading this one first would leave you lost and confused like the side affects of some allergy meds.

Immortal Surrender jumps into the action almost immediately.  Dr. Noelle Keane is a scientist who dates historic objects.  She is a true blue scientist who rejects all matters of faith and only believes in that which her rational mind and five senses can tell her.  She has just dated a rare religious cloth that is thought to be part of a shroud of Christ.  Now she must escort it back to its home in Spain where she will share her findings with Father Phanael.  Her friend, Gabriel, who is retired from doing similar work, still keeps his hand in the pie by bringing her artifacts to study and date.  He is also one who believes in the religious significance of all the items he brings her.  This time, he is adamant that she is in danger and bends her arm into accepting bodyguards.  Being a little resentful, Noelle is determined to prove that she can care for the shroud so she pulls a switch and hides it in her purse letting Lucan, one of the guards take the fake satchel to the airport- a move that will later have far-reaching consequences.  Noelle is accompanied by Gabriel’s other guard, Farran, to her apartment to shower and change before heading to the airport.  Farran is the most masculine, handsome man she has ever seen and he makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with her.

Farran de Clare wants nothing to do with the woman he has been saddled with and only seeks to discharge his duties quickly so he can get back to the fight against the demons.  Women are nothing but liars and seducers for their own gain he has learned the hard way.  It gets worse for Farran when he discovers soon after a demon attack on their vehicle that not only is Noelle a seraph (women who are descended from angels with the ability to take away the darkness in the knight who is their match), but she is his personal seraph.  Farran is repulsed at the idea of binding himself to another woman.  He will take Noelle to the Temple, she will swear the oath, he will receive her light, and then they will part.  At least that’s his plan, but we all know what happens with the best laid (or shall I say mislaid) plans of men-

The story is exciting on two fronts.  The battle with Azazel, his demons, and the fallen knights still rages as they seek to gather all the powerful religious artifacts, hunt down the Seraphs and war against the weakening knights.  There are a few fierce conflicts between the two factions throughout the book.  There was also that intriguing group of conspirators who are working toward some hidden objective within the Knights’ group and then there is the problem of Tane who is still around and seeking to redeem himself for the actions from the first book.  And if that is not enough, there is still the disappearance of Anne’s twin that remains unresolved.

But the largest portion of the plot is dedicated to the personal conflict and tug o’ war attraction being waged between Farran and Noelle.  Normally, I am not entertained by a relationship that blows hot and cold and doesn’t seem to progress very much, but this one is one of the exceptions to the rule because the reasons behind the struggles between Farran and Noelle make sense and would cause a tension between hiding vulnerabilities behind withdrawal and the desire to reach out to have what they really want.  Now that is not to say that I didn’t grow frustrated a few times with their misunderstandings and miscommunications.  I have to cut them some slack because several times their attempts to talk and reach out to each other were interrupted.

The two main characters, on the surface, would not seem to be a good fit.  Farran is a man with rough edges and only has skills in waging war.  Noelle is a scientist and a woman that most men give no notice too.  But it’s below the surface where the connection is made.  Noelle is strong under the layers of doubt and innocence.  Farran is gentle and vulnerable under his strength.  I could not wait for the moment that they made their peace and declared themselves.

And as in the last book, it all comes down to a grand climactic scene that leaves you reading with baited breath when the hero is on the point of death and succumbing to darkness along with the endangered heroine in the face of mighty evil set to win out.

Wonderful read for those who enjoy paranormal romance involving angels, demons, and a new take on the Knights Templar lore.

Thanks go to Net Galley for providing this requested book for review purposes.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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