Victoria Gardella Grantworth is a debutante. She’s a little older than the other debutantes, since she spent the first two seasons of her eligibility in mourning (for her father and grandfather). And rumors abound that her ball will be attended by none other than Phillip de Lacy, the Marquess of Rockley. Handsome and wealthy, he has avoided society and debutante balls before Victoria’s. However, Victoria has other stresses to contend with. She has inherited a talent for the family business, and she is the newest Venator of the Gardella family: she has been chosen to slay vampires. She is aided in her quest by her great-aunt Eustacia, the previous Gardella Venator, Eustacia’s partner Kritanu, and Max, an Italian Venator who doesn’t think Victoria has what it takes to really focus on the job at hand. The novel follows Victoria as she tries to navigate London high society while fulfilling her sacred duty.
A friend recommended The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason by stating that it was like a cross between a Jane Austen novel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As someone who loves both, I had to overcome my usual disdain of mass market romances to order this book. But I did, and I enjoyed the book. It was different than I’d expected it to be, and the comparison to Buffy certainly wasn’t mistaken. Gleason highlights many of the same themes that were prevalent in early seasons of Buffy, in terms of doing her job while maintaining a facade of normalcy.
For me, there was one major problem with the novel: Victoria’s mother and her two best friends. These three women are almost a caricature: nosy, cackling old biddies with one thing on their mind: marrying Victoria off to the marquess. Certainly, there were “matchmaking mamas” eager to marry their daughters off to any eligible member of the ton. But to have three characters constantly together with not an ounce of sense between them was really grating. Oh, they all meant well, but the image formed in my head of these three women made them all quite annoying.
I will be continuing the series, mostly out of idle curiosity. And I’d recommend the book to fans of historical romance and vampire novels; it’s well-written, and the story is good. However, those looking for a more serious read should probably give this book a pass.
Rating: 3 stars
Publisher, ISBN: Signet, 9780451220073