Having lived a nomadic life of excitement that culminated in the tragic loss of her father and her own freedom, India Ashton craves dullness and security for once in her life. Wanting only to make a quiet home with her closest friends, she finds herself suddenly embroiled in the very mysteries she has long tried to abandon. The mysteries that got her father killed.
But now she discovers he may not be dead after all. A mysterious missive from him pleads for her cooperation in finding the mythical city he has long believed real. Find the city, and she shall find her father - alive. For this purpose, she will join forces with a man she has little trust for. A man who has publicly lambasted her father's theories on more than one occasion, but now seems to have done an about face as he begs her help in translating the diary that will locate the city he once believed a hoax. The man who stirs passions she never felt for another man, against her better judgment. The man she must now betray if she is to save her father.
Although a passionate historian, Ridge could never be described as anything close to bookish. His sturdy build and muscular physique speak of a man who has lived adventure rather than a man who has long dreamed of it. With the discovery of a secret journal, his dreams are about to be made real. Ridge has everything he needs to start his expedition - everything except a translation for the journal. He'll do anything to secure the cooperation of the one person in the world who can decode the valuable diary. And he will enjoy every moment of it...
I enjoy historical romances, but not just any historical romance. I like those with a little something extra to them - stories that break the molds, that redefine the genre, and kick it up a notch. Sharon Long's historicals always manage to deliver just that extra oomph I crave. She treats her historicals as standard historicals, following the social mores of the period her story is set in, the dress, and the customs, but she throws in dash of paranormal or fantasy elements - just enough to make it more interesting, but never so much that it leaves the realm of possibility. Long makes me believe there might actually be a lost city just waiting to be found by the right explorers. At least, she certainly makes me WANT to believe it.
In Beyond the Night, the author brings us a hero reminiscent of a Regency-era Indiana Jones. In fact, I pictured Harrison Ford's visage in Ridge's place more than once - not a bad thing at all! Ridge is extremely intelligent, yet also virile and masculine, maintaining a physique to rival the most outdoorsy man in spite of his more erudite passions. Although he has experienced devastating betrayal by the woman he loved in the past, he retains his capacity for compassion and love, and even trust.
India is the kind of tragic heroine that manages to foster empathy without being annoying or dependent. Despite the many tragedies she has suffered, she has managed to pick herself up after each one, dusting off the trauma like travel dust and beginning anew. We find ourselves longing for her to find peace and happiness, while still finding excitement in the adventure she embarks on. Indeed, India herself can't suppress the excitement she feels as she sets out to prove her father's theories correct and find him alive and well.
The author delivers several `Wow!' moments as long-buried secrets are revealed, relationships are healed, and others begin anew. Beyond the Night is truly something more than `just another historical romance.' If you like your romances with a touch of the fantastic, a lot of adventure, and a great suspense plot, you will not want to skip this book!