Review: William by Claire Cray

The story of William and Merrick continues in this sequel to the spellbinding bestseller Merrick.

In the summer of 1799, young William Lacy watched his carefree life go up in smoke when a night of mischief landed him in shackles. Beaten, jailed, and sentenced to a long apprenticeship in the dreary woods of upstate New York, William was braced for the worst.

But he wasn’t prepared to fall in love with his master, a renowned and reclusive apothecary — a man — by the name of Silas Merrick. And he damn well never expected Merrick to be a blasted vampire.

Now, nearly one year after that summer of mystery, longing and unspeakable pleasure, William is still waiting to begin the future with Merrick he was promised. But it’s not easy becoming a vampire. Not only has Merrick become more secretive than ever about his nature and his past, but his feud with the beautiful and ruthless vampire Theo raises ever more troubling questions about the dark world William is about to enter.

William is determined to unravel the mysteries and find his happily ever after. But to do it, he must resolve Merrick’s doubts for himself. Can there be love and joy in this life of death and darkness? And will Merrick ever learn to open his heart?

Set in New York and Boston several months after the events of Claire Cray’s bestseller Merrick, William is another haunting, sensual story of love and desire in the shadows…and the adaptability of the human spirit.

Merrick, the first book about the vampire and his apprentice, was an enjoyable read for me, and I was looking forward to the continuation of their story, so I couldn't let it go when the request came in to BMBR to review it. So glad I picked up!  What a treat this was.

The first thing I noticed was the sense of melancholy that permeated the story in the beginning. It showed in William's conflicted, bittersweet feelings and in his friend Jeremy's concern and protectiveness.  William's last moments with Jeremy made me so sad, I was spinning tales in my head of Jeremy being with Theo so William and Jeremy would always have that special friendship.

There was a lot of showing here...with words that gave the story a strong sense of time and place, small details that set me firmly in place next to William, but it was the words that showed how the characters were feeling that I really loved. 
The words left a bitter taste in my mouth. For all I loved Merrick, I was not yet free of shame.
Here the formal veneer began to flake away, and with each word I felt a most exquisite confidence gathering in my breast.

William's voice was so well done, consistently revealing his personality through his thoughts and dialogue. Young, impatient, determined, and a little bit afraid.  He had me empathizing with his frustrated self but also grinning at his observations, especially his thoughts about Theo.
Theo sat on the edge of the chaise in his usual manner, his slender limbs arranged as though posed for a portrait. Insufferable Prat in Repose.
I wanted to strangle him. And how gleefully he stoked my fury, flirting with the coffee-man while I was forced to fume in silence!
Oh! And
With Theo, every movement was performed with the elegant glee of a Harlequin.
 I loved seeing Theo through William's eyes. Together, they were so entertaining. I won't quote examples of their banter because it belongs in the context of the story, but know that it was delightful.

But enough of William and Theo, no matter my fondness for the pair.  William's focus was on Merrick and his insistence on delaying William's turning.
 I was terrified that he despised me for it, and that this was the real reason for his lengthening absences—not mercy, not reluctance, but resentment.
While he waited, William ached for Merrick, but in Merrick's note to him, we saw the feeling was mutual. is difficult even to write you, as the very act only sharpens your absence.
After the long (in William's eyes) wait, the turning was a bit anticlimactic, but I liked the dreamlike scene even as it all seemed too easy.  I expected a more painful change, a more difficult transition.  It was all joy and excitement, though, as William adjusted to his new self and Merrick finally relaxed and enjoyed their changed relationship.   The author did a good job describing the heightened senses William experienced. A lot of introspection followed, and the pacing slowed, but my interest was still kept.

When Merrick and William came together as vampires, it was steamy, but tender.  No more holding back on Merrick's part.  I thought the prose edged toward purple and felt excessive in a few places, but it was a great scene overall.

I found humor in William's observances of the humans surrounding him.  Especially in one instance where his thirst competed with his appreciation for a finely knotted cravat and his reluctance to mess it up.  And Merrick showed glimpses of humor with dry quips that had me grinning. When he shared his story, though, the grinning stopped, and my heart ached for him.

Although I loved William and Merrick together,  I wanted more tension, or humor, or something, not just the sweet, almost polite love that followed William's turning.  The story itself also became more...gentle. It was sweet, with a touch of sadness and a bit of humor, but nothing really happened. Other than learning about Merrick's past, it was all about William's adjustment...not enough plot for that many pages. 

Even so, I very much enjoyed their beautiful love story and would love to read more of William and Merrick...and Theo!

Side Note:
While this is a sequel to 'Merrick', the author does a nice job of bringing the reader up to date if they haven't read the first book.  I'd recommend reading it anyway, if only for the delicious tension between the MCs as they get to know each other.

Find more info on Goodreads!

Note: A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. 

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