Sarah Alexander has just moved to Salem, after spending the past ten years in Los Angeles. Divorced and looking to start over, she picks the one place that has always intrigued her. She figures while making Salem her new home, she can take the time to research that mysterious ancestor that died during the witch trials in 1692. While adjusting to her new surroundings, she finds herself somewhat familiar with some of the historic buildings throughout the town, even though she'd never been here before, especially the tall gabled white house on the hill.
The familiarity with historical Salem isn't the only thing that Sarah has to deal with. She's also haunted by horrific nightmares that make no sense, of faceless men and chains choking her. While she was used to these terrifying nightmares happening while she lived in LA, they have become increasingly worse now that she was in Salem. The only bright spot, the nights when she has the dreams of the faceless man with the golden halo of hair who happens to look an awful lot like a certain English professor a the university.
James Wentworth has spent the last 319 years stuck in the past. Stuck missing his wife, who died while imprisioned as being a witch, and riddled with guilt that he wasn't able to do anything to save her. He's spent the last 319 years learning how to get his humanity back and controlling the baser needs of a vampire. You see, he was unwillingly changed into a vampire a few days before his wife's death. He was left to his own devices to figure out how a vampire was to live. It took some time, but he managed to overcome those vampiric instincts and become a semblance of the man he once was.
But his life is thrown into a tailspin when a woman stops in front of his house and he mistakes her for his dead wife, Elisabeth. While he realizes his mistake, he begins to realize that there was a reason Sarah Alexander was brought to Salem. Maybe, if he hopes long enough, he might just get that second chance with this soul mate.
I didn't know what to expect with this book, but I was presently surprised at how much I liked it. James, as an older "Edward" type character, plays against the typical stereotype for vampires and proves that they can have some humanity. He does tend to go over board on thinking through his every action, but as stated later in the story, he's acting as he did when he was a human. Which makes you believe that if there was good in you to begin with, that good can overcome whatever adversary (or immortal monster) you may face.
Sarah, our older "Bella" did at times seem like the one more willing to throw caution to the wind (she tried to kiss James in one scene and he fled to his car), but she also wasn't easily scare, despite her horrible nightmares. Even after finding out what James was, it only took her a couple of hours to figure out she was wrong and go running after him. She decided it was better to be with James as he was, than be with a regular mortal man.
Sure, you'll spend time comparing this story to Twilight, but it does have it's differences that make it stand above. I loved the historical references to the Salem Witch Trials. It tied everything together and showed you how given everything James (and subsequently Sarah) went through during that time could have jaded them in a way that completely understandable. It was only when Sarah told James he needed to forgive the past that I think they were able to have that happily ever after.