However, as most of you know, Emma Holly is my favorite erotica writer, so I knew eventually I would pick it up again.
Last weekend, I read it and its two sequels, Breaking Midnight and Saving Midnight. The three books are essentially one long story with multiple pairings, that came out during a short period. They're set in 1934-1935, which I loved. The story moves from London to Switzerland to Charleston South Carolina to dustbowl Texas in an adventure plot with romance and plenty of erotica.
Holly's brand of vampires are called upyr, and most of her upyr heroes are also shapechangers who can eat regular food while in animal form; for them, blood and biting is more linked to sexual satisfaction than nourishment, though it is nourishment as well.
The main upyr character of the first book is Edmund, who adopted three orphans after WWI and raised them as his children. Those children are now adults, as is his daughter's friend, Estelle, whom he's been in love with for years, after he saved her from being killed by a lightning strike. Edmund being in love with Estelle as a teenager was what made me wince the first time around, more because I feared how it would turn out than anything that actually happens. When their actual romance begins, she is in her early twenties, and has no idea he's been fixated on her for so long.
The plot of the first book revolves around the oldest adopted son, Graham, who's been suborned by enemy upyr to think Edmund is evil. (There's more to it than that, but I'll be brief.) Graham is protective of Estelle and fears Edmund will harm her. At the same time, the two younger adopted siblings, who fight all the time, have discovered how strongly they're attracted to each other sexually and are dealing with that. (They're not blood relations.) There's also some appearances by Nim Wei, the cold and ruthless upyr queen of London, who always has awesome outfits. I want her to have her own book someday, if she could be as cool as the brief glimpses of her we get in this series. Though if the plot followed the usual pattern, she would probably end up with a human and get all emotional about him.
The second book is more about Estelle and the siblings, with the addition of a new character who's a love interest for Graham. The villains are the same as in the first book, with the addition of a new, enigmatic upyr character who's pretty hot. He's Swiss. Yay for Swiss vampire!
The third book is the one that takes place mostly in America, and involves the siblings and the two new characters from the second book as they battle the villains, who by now have gone over the top as they rampage along like Bonnie and Clyde. Edmund and Estelle are more a subplot in this one. It moves really fast and I would have been happy to read another one with the same characters. Nim Wei has a brief but excellent appearance. I want more Nim Wei!
While reading these, I could suddenly empathize more with readers who read my books and think all those sex scenes get in the way of the story. There are a lot of sex scenes, these books being erotica, but since I read all three in one weekend, it did get a bit tiring, and I found myself skimming some of them, despite really liking her writing and the characters. Something for me to remember!