WHEN DARKNESS LOVES US by Elizabeth Engstrom
Black Leather was my introduction to Elizabeth Engstrom. This erotic thriller had such punch I immediately snatched up all of her books. My excitement doubled when I discovered a reprinting of her first book.
When Darkness Loves Us contains two novellas: When Darkness Loves Us and Beauty Is…. I devoured the book in 2 days—not because novellas are quicker reads, but because I was riveted. Engstrom’s debut proved what I suspected all along, she is a natural writing master. Her characters are bold. They make choices that shove them into corners and force them to risk more. This risk-taking is why I’m a fan, both as a reader and as an aspiring writer.
Reading Engstrom reminds me to push out of my comfort zone as I write. When I read for pleasure she takes me to worlds I never imagine, then rips away all sense of security. For instance, the novellas in When Darkness Loves Us are signature Engstrom—edgy and dark, but within these disturbing tales she somehow manages to lead the reader to believe there is hope for a happy ending. Then the endings twist and the happiness of the characters is questionable.
My initial reaction to the twists was disappointment—but not for long. The endings are true for each of the character’s situations and fully believable. This is the mark of a fierce risk-taker. And I applaud Engstrom for her commitment to telling the story that needs to be told, rather than writing a version that would please the masses. Elizabeth Engstrom may not be for everyone, but if you crave truth with an edge and twisted surprises she may become your new favorite.
Turn out the lights for When Darkness Loves Us.
(Cautionary note: The copy editing in this reprint is poor, but it doesn’t destroy the read.)