At its core this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, though not a direct one. It has a lot of nods to the classic story. More importantly, it's a historical paranormal romance. Miranda Ellis is blessed (or cursed) with the ability to start fires at will--an ability that comes out rather uncontrollably when she's threatened or frightened. Lord Benjamin Archer wheres a mask to hide a mysterious affliction that resulted from a curse years ago. When he meets Miranda in a dark alley, he knows he wants her as his wife, though he's somewhat reluctant to claim her. Nonetheless, they marry. Shortly thereafter, men begin turning up dead--in such a way that Archer appears to be the prime suspect.
For some reason I was anticipating a much meeker heroine than the one I got. Miranda has a strong will and a lot of backbone, with a dark history--she's fought off attackers, stolen to survive, and dealt with a selfish emotionally abusive father. What I really like about her, though, is how she deals with Archer. Once she decides that she likes him, maybe even loves him, she steps right up to try to help him--even when he doesn't want he to. She's bold, but she's not stupid, and she can protect herself.
I enjoyed the fact that the physical aspect of the romance is kind of a slow burn. I like the fact that Archer admires and cares for Miranda, with no expectations of ever getting to "have" her. It makes their relationship sweet, and kind of...pure, I guess. That's not to say that the book is entirely sexless...
It took me awhile to get into this book. I think my main hang up was the lack of explanation as to why Archer wanted to marry Miranda in the first place. We don't really see into his head at this point. The marriage seems rushed and out of nowhere, and it was honestly disorienting.
To top that off, I never fully connected with the paranormal aspect of the story. It's just a bit vague for my taste.