Editorial Review: Vengefully Yours by J. Rose Black
Vengefully Yours, by J. Rose Black, is a collection of six short stories, with a darkly romantic feel throughout the book. The settings and characters change in each story, but there’s an overall theme of men caught up in their pasts, with complicated relationships and often dark, dangerous experiences.
The stories offer interesting small details to set the scene, whether that’s a smoky nightclub or a swanky party, for the character-driven dramas that unfold. There are definitely steamy scenes in these romantic storylines, with a focus on the dramatic and intense connection between characters. The tension of two people with obvious attraction who can’t be together, or who can’t have a future together, is a compelling hook. Our heroes are unique characters, facing different personal challenges, with a noir mood throughout the book. Each story unfolds with tough, often silent men and the beautiful, complicated women in their lives. The author tells diverse stories in this collection but returns to themes of attraction and even obsession.
If there’s anything to criticize about this collection, it’s mostly that the short story format doesn’t always allow enough time to fully resolve these character arcs. A few of the endings felt a bit too abrupt, perhaps because any of these could be expanded into a full novel.
Looking at a few individual stories, Angel of La Seine is full of that appealing noir ambiance, with shadows, unstated objectives, and layered intrigue. Here, readers will experience the noir era and setting for a short but twisty drama. This intriguing story sets the tone and overall feeling for the whole collection, and it’s wrapped up at the end with Dawn at La Seine.
The setting shifts to a more modern world for In the Dead of Night. We have a complicated man haunted by a captivating woman from his past. In each story in this collection, we see how the events of a character’s past come back to haunt them, even if they try to move on and ignore it. This theme occurs again and again in this collection, asking readers if we can ever escape our pasts.
I think I’ve said “noir” and “complicated” too many times, so I need to add that there’s an overall feeling of hopefulness in these stories. Yes, there are dark and bleak pasts, but it’s not an entirely dark world. In many cases, the world is full of promise, for those who can escape the past and connect with the right person.
The Nightmare, later in the collection, offers a new, unique visit to the beloved Sherlock Holmes mythos. Here, Dr. Watson’s daughter plays a key role in the mystery, and Maxen and Avaline’s relationship feels real. This might be my favorite, adding a mystery and an appealing setting to this collection. The author describes these scenes with lovely, familiar details, but without feeling like a parody.
Overall, the short stories of Vengefully Yours successfully blend intrigue with romance, introducing complicated characters in just a few pages. This is a readable, engaging collection for romance lovers, but none of these felt like a predictable romance.