Fifteen hundred years ago, Serenity Cardea took the life of the only vampire she ever regretted killing—Henry, her sister’s husband. With her sister brutally murdered, Serenity had little choice but to grant Henry the only request he had: death. Centuries later, Serenity is no closer to discovering who betrayed them or instigated the massacre of her brothers and sisters.
The vampires want dominance—over their food, the other races . . . the world. To get it, they’ve systematically hunted down and slaughtered the only ones standing in their way. The Keepers.
As a Keeper, Serenity is tasked with protecting the delicate balance between the creatures of the world: Vampire, Witch, Were, and Human. Her kind exists to ensure that no single race sways the balance, dooming the world to destruction.
They’re on the brink of extinction, with no sign of return. Now only two remain, and Serenity’s last brother is facing death, leaving her standing alone against a never-ending tide of vampires, all wanting one thing: power.
Then she meets Ray Synclair, a history professor in training with a passion for centuries past, and the harsh reality of her limited time comes crashing down on her. He is her weakness. His mortality is the countdown on Serenity’s life, and with each passing second, it comes closer to the end, for both of them.
She must uncover the secrets of her people’s past and find out who betrayed them—and who is still doing so—before it’s too late.
Serenity’s days are numbered, and Ray will be drawn into a world of myth and legend, where just being alive is enough to get him hunted down.
Because the only way to kill a Keeper is to kill their partner . . .
I have a real fondness for the paranormal/fantasy genre and I always welcome the different things authors come up with…new ways of writing about old things. Michelle Birbeck puts her own unique spin on a world that is inhabited by humans, vampires, Weres, and witches. Of course the humans don’t realize the other beings are a part of their mortal world. But for me the real heart of this novel is the love story it contains.
The story begins in London in 1940.
Serenity is a Keeper…those that protect humans from the other creatures… who are not necessarily the hero’s in this tale btw. She and her “brother” William are the last of their kind, and they have a certain immortality until they find their soul mate. William has already found his, and Serenity seems to be under the notion that it won’t ever happen to her. Then she goes to a charitable auction and meets Ray. As soon as she looks in his eyes she knows he’s the one meant for her. Of course she doesn’t want to admit this to herself, so she writes to her brother and asks his opinion. By the time Williams answer arrives she already knows what she at first feared. Ray is the one.
As she comes to grip with the knowledge her fear turns into acceptance and she finds herself in love for the first time in her very long life. Ray is instantly drawn to her as well. Then comes the task that Serenity dreads. Before she can continue the relationship she must tell Ray what she is and what a life with her will mean. Will he be able to believe and accept what she tells him? Will he go running off…unable or unwilling to face the danger a life together means?
One of my favorite lines in the book comes when Serenity explains to Ray about her life, and how the aging process begins to work again once one of her kind finds their mate … “As your heart beats, so does mine. When your heart sleeps, so will mine.”
What follows is a sweet love story as Ray and Serenity get to know each other better, and they begin making plans for a wedding when disaster strikes. Serenity is lured away when William and his family are attacked, and it is revealed who the betrayer of the Keeper’s are. What she does with the knowledge is surprising. Will it come back to haunt her later?
When she returns home to a London that is in shambles from the war she suffers a unimaginable blow…Ray is gone. She is told that he died…a casualty of one of the bombing raids, yet she knows that it can’t be true. If he were dead…she would be too. Where did he go? Why did he leave? How will she go on?
She lives the next 30 years in an agony only those who have lost the loves of their life will understand…existing rather than living. As I was reading this part of the book, feeling very sad I wondered if Serenity would find him by the end. Whenever I read a book that’s part of an ongoing series and the featured couple are separated I always pray that the author doesn’t keep them apart for the rest of the book. Thankfully, Ms. Birbeck spares us too long a wait.
So…why the heck did Ray leave?!? Will Serenity remain the last of her kind?!? You’ll have to read the book to find out the answer to that question.
Here’s what I loved:
The relationship Serenity has with her family…especially Helen and Jayne was very endearing, and something I’d like to see more of in stories I read. Many times in Romance novels the heroine has no close relationships with other women… No girlfriends to share the joys and sorrows of their relationship with, or mothers, sisters, grandmothers that they can confide in. I was very pleased with how Ms. Birbeck included these in this book.
The relationship between Ray and Serenity was fabulous. There are some sexual scenes, but they aren’t overly graphic at all. I would describe them as lovely rather than hawt.
I liked the second half of the book better than the first. I was more engaged and connected, and I felt that the story telling, writing, and pacing improved as the book went on. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the first half of the book, but that it got better and better as I went along.
Will I continue on to book two in the series? Yes.
My rating for The Last Keeper by Michelle Birbeck is a solid 3.5 hearts