Book Review: Dark Hero (Reluctant Hero) by Lily Silver

Dark Hero is the first book in the Reluctant Hero series by Lily Silver. Elizabeth is a survivor. Her existence has balanced on the edge of a knife for much of her life--a knife held by her cruel stepfather. Betrayed, kidnapped and more, she awakens on a ship bound for the Indies, in the bed of a stranger claiming to be her husband. Soon the gift of the seer emerges; the ability to see and speak with the dead. A descendant of druids, Elizabeth knows she must hide her strange gifts as her new husband could claim she's insane and commit her to a madhouse. Can Elizabeth trust this Dark Hero conjured from the Gothic romances she once devoured? Donovan survived betrayal, imprisonment and torture. Deception and subterfuge are the weapons used to keep people at a distance. He maintains separate identities--the terrifying Count Rochembeau, a reclusive nobleman rumored to disfigured, and the amiable Mr. O’Rourke, the count's servant. Donovan’s penchant for deception may be his undoing when his bride awakens after her rescue and doesn't know him. As he struggles to rekindle their love, he fears he may be locked in a prison of a different kind; a loveless marriage to a woman who fears him and cannot abide his touch. 

Dark Hero is a Gothic romance with all the expected tropes. There is the abused heroine, who has survived much but is still naive. There is the tortured hero, still hurting but loving and over protective to his lady. There are siblings, secrets, betrayal, and of coarse some ghosts and magic to make things more dramatic and dangerous. My only problem with the book is that sometimes there is just too much. Readers get the complete background of the courtship between Elizabeth and Donovan, so there is no wondering if he is lying. I also felt like there was a little too much focus on Elizabeth being weak or ill as she recovers from the trauma she endures (that you need to read the book to discover). Yes, she has issues, but did she need so many? With seeing ghosts and leaving family, and all else that she had to face did she really need to be so "ill". I did like some of the twists and turns that the story took, but others made me cringe a bit- which were mostly choices Donovan makes in order to protect Elizabeth. In the end, I found myself eager to get back to the book when ever I had to put it down, but occasionally frustrated with the pace and what I saw as unnecessary complications. 

Dark Hero is a solid Gothic romance. It offers everything a fan of the genre is looking for, and then some. I think it also does a good job of introducing the characters that will be the focus of the next two books in the series. I think it just tried to do too much in one book.  

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