LENOBIA’S VOW by PC & Kristin Cast-a review
Release Date: Jan 2012
LENOBIA’S VOW is the 2nd story in PC and Kristin Cast’s House of Night novella series. Each novella delves into the background and younger lives of the resident professors and vampyres at the current day House of Night. Dragon’s Oath was the first storyline, followed by Lenobia’s Vow and in July 2012, the release of Neferet’s Curse. As with most novellas, the story is both quick and easy, but the information into the past lives and loves, is always welcome.
It is 1788 and Lenobia Whitehall is the 16 year old bastard daughter of Baron D’Auvergne. She and her mother work as servants on her father’s estate. When her half-sister Cecile suddenly dies, her mother risks everything to send her only daughter away. Forcing Lenobia to assume the identity of her dead sister, Lenobia becomes one of the ‘fille a la casquette’-known historically as casket girl, refers to one of the women brought from France to the French colonies of Louisiana to marry.
When Lenobia arrives at port to board the sailing ship Minerva, she is stunned, when Bishop Charles, the parish priest who has eyes only for Lenobia, is granted passage on the same ship. The Bishop has an evil reputation, one filled with sudden and terrifying injuries and deaths, especially by fire. But word about his dalliances had reached Rome, and as suspected, the Holy Father has sent Charles to his new parish in the Louisiana, hoping to curtail the rumors about his ‘demonic’ personality.
Throughout the 8-week voyage, Lenobia remains secluded in her cabin, feigning sea sick, fearing Father Charles will recognize her as an imposter. But cabin fever forces her to wander through the cargo area, where she meets a young ‘mulatto’ servant named Martin, who tends the horses on board. Martin is the bastard son of a rich New Orleans merchant and his black slave, and has accompanied his father’s prized geldings homeward. But as a man of mixed race, he is unable to marry or enter into a relationship with a white woman, but the heart knows NO color, and Martin and Lenobia (or Cecile) quickly fall in love.
Upon return from one of her visits with Martin, Lenobia is discovered by Father Charles, who reveals her identity as a bastard child, and demands that she be put into his care. But Sister Madeleine, the girl’s chaperone, recognizes that something isn’t right with Father Charles. Sister Madeleine, admonishes Charles, but not before she takes Lenobia under her wing. When Martin realizes that Lenobia has not been truthful about her identity , the young woman must come clean with her story.
But soon, everyone onboard, recognizes that Father Charles has eyes for Lenobia, and the crew does their best to keep her safe. When Charles realizes that his attempts to keep Lenobia to himself have been thwarted, he takes revenge on all those who stand in his way.
Upon arrival in Louisiana, Lenobia is suddenly ill, but a visitor, a Tracker for the House of Night name Medusa, tells her that she has been chosen as one of the daughters of the goddess Nyx, and has been marked as a fledgling vampyre. Father Charles recognizes the vampyre and vows retribution. Martin pledges his protection to Lenobia, and vows to be her consort when she reaches full status as a HON vampire. But Charles exacts revenge and in the end, Lenovba vows, that she will never love another man as long as she lives.
Lenobia’s Vow is a short story, that explains the circumstances of Lenobia’s life. As the resident House of Night horse-trainer, Lenobia’s affinity with animals was recognized early on her voyage to the New World. Like all vampyres at the House of Night, each has an affinity, something that is special to each. Lenobia’s Vow is a sad reminder, about the history of slavery and racism in the 18th century, and the power of the Catholic church over their followers. Although they say love conquers all, love cannot stop the evil that was bred into the minds of the time. I have a great affinity for prequels, as long as they are interesting and impart information about the characters we know and love, and Lenobia’s Vow is another wonderful prequel.
READING ORDER: House of Night Novellas
1. Dragon’s Oath
2. Lenobia’s Vow
3. Neferet’s Curse (July 2012)
Review by Sandy