Friday, 11 May 2012

Review - Dark Shadows: The Salem Branch

Dark Shadows: The Salem Branch
BY: Lara Parker
PUBLISHED IN: First Mass Market Edition 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7653-7002-0
PAGES: 336

    The now human Barnabas Collins is ready to start a new life with his fiancĂ©e Dr. Julia Hoffman, who curried him from the vampire curse set upon him by the witch Angelique. The Old House, which was mostly burnt in the previous novel, is now owned by the mysterious flower child named Antoinette, who is the split image of Angelique. Julia tells him to forget about it, but he can’t forget about all the horror the witch has put him through.

    Barnabas, along with his manservant Willie Loomis, stumbles into the reconstructed Old House and he shockingly finds that the interior is the exact duplicate, as if the fire never occurred. Now he is more than sure that Angelique has returned from the grave. Before leaving, they find a corpse with bite marks on the neck. Is there another vampire in Collinsport?

    Barnabas is determined to find out the truth, which takes him and young David Collins to Salem, where he starts to have doubts about who Antoinette is. He even starts to fall in love with her. Barnabas is soon encountered with the so-called-vampire and is bitten. Now to save the Collins family he may have to return to his curse.

    The narrative throughout Dark Shadows: The Salem Branch switches from Barnabas in 1971 to a witch named Miranda du Val in 1692. Miranda is connected to the Collins from Salem, and is also magically connected to Antoinette and her daughter, Jacqueline. The author Lara Parker obviously has a deep passion for the Dark Shadows characters, as she did play the original Angelique in the series. The book does have that gothic, erotic feel to it, taking place after the events of the television series and after the previous book, Dark Shadows: Angelique’s Descent. I was surprised that she portrayed David as a teenager who experiments with drugs and fools around with Jacqueline. Even Barnabas himself gets high on acid, which seemed to be slightly out of character, but at the time he was falling in love with Antoinette and wasn’t exactly himself. I found the book to be well-written and intriguing. Old and news fans will enjoy returning to Collinsport. I can’t wait to read the third book, Dark Shadows: Wolf Moon Rising, which is being released this October.

About the Author:

Lara Parker played the role of Angelique on Dark Shadows. She grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, attended Vassar College, majored in drama at the University of Iowa, and received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Antioch University in Los Angeles. She lives in Topanga Canyon, California.

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