Sunday, August 28, 2011

Supernatural Cures: A Review of Be Mine Tonight by Kathryn Smith

I've been skimming through Be Mine Tonight by Kathryn Smith, trying to figure out what it is that drew me to her series and why I gave up on it. I quickly remembered how uncomfortable this book was. Let me say right up front: I'm a cancer survivor, and as such am perhaps a bit sensitive to the use of cancer  to create drama in books. I've seen heroes and heroines who are patients or survivors, and the author captures their emotional journey in such a way that the book is brilliant. Then there's this book. Well, on with the review. MINOR SPOILERS.

The Plot: Chapel became a vampire when he drank from a mystical cup known as the Blood Grail, having mistaken it for the Holy Grail. Six hundred years later, in the year 1899, Pru Ryeland is searching for the Holy Grail in hopes of curing her terminal illness. Chapel fears that what she will actually find is the Blood Grail and that she will become cursed as he believes he is cursed. But as he begins to fall in love with Pru, his belief in his own soul-less nature is challenged.

The use of history and mythology is fun, interesting, and well put together. The time period and setting is rich and unique, and in fact is one of the few things that sets this book apart from other paranormal books. Chapel is a surprisingly sexy, if somewhat frustrating character. He is loyal, determined, and fun. His love for Pru is heartbreaking.

The Problems: First of all, Pru's terminal illness is-it's never given an exact name, so I assume uterine cancer-the biggest plot point/conflict in the book. We expect her to be saved, obviously, whether she finds the Holy Grail or becomes a vampire. But it takes THE ENTIRE BOOK. We are forced to watch Chapel hem, haw, and struggle with his own self-pity while the love of his life suffers unnecessary pain. I

And Pru's cancer is a seriously painful one. I don't know how well Smith researched the disease but I happen to know from what I've witnessed that 1)Even early stage cancer patients are often exhausted, suffer from easy bruising, and tend to have compromised immune systems, and 2) The physical reality of advanced uterine cancer does not usually allow for any kind of comfortable sexual relationship. So the fact that Pru is so active right up until the very end is seriously problematic.

In the end, I felt like the illness was treated as an artificial ticking clock to force the hero to work out his "issues". I didn't care for that concept, and I didn't care for the resolution. But, obviously my reservations with this book are more to do with my own experiences than with the flaws of the book itself. I would (very cautiously) recommend this book to those who like historical paranormal, with a dose of religious mythology. 3 stars.


  1. Hmm...I've had my eye on this one for awhile but I didn't realize the story focused so much around her being sick. I don't know if I like that. I mean, it's a reality that happens, but I read to escape reality so that's kind of turning me off to it. Also, like you said, it's doubtful that she would be as sexually active in this situation.

    Great review, this actually is making me think twice about diving into this one.

    ♥ Sarah @ I'm Loving Books

  2. Sarah, as I said I'm maybe a tad sensitive to the issue--for another reader, the illness might not be such a hot button. There are some books where the use of cancer doesn't bother me, and it actually becomes something I can relate to. For example, the heroine of Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward has leukemia. It is used as a plot device, but Ward does a better job with it.


Thoughtful comments are appreciated! I always respond to them, and I usually return the favor! Happy reading!

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