I gave this book two stars because of the unusual setting for an historical romance. The Black Forest in Germany is a dark, brooding place but it is also extremely awe inspiring and beautiful. Having lived in that area for four years it was very easy to visualize the setting. Everything else about this book just didn't work for me.
For the remainder of this review you will be reading information some may view as spoilers. As far as I can figure out, this story takes place about 1827, no specific date is given. I am positive that expressions and word usage such as "Geez", "eww", "bro" (to denote brother) were not used during this time period. I will admit that I have not done extensive research in this area, but I feel confident I'm much closer to being correct than this author was.
Why did Ms Schwab leave us to make up our own minds concerning Fenris' leg amputation? We know it was missing but was it the full leg as she seems to be saying on page 42 ("Cissy's gaze wandered over his body, over his shabby, dusty clothes, over the twist of his hip that rested the weight on his sound right leg and relieved the wooden left.") or was it an amputation above or below the knee? She never states anything plainly and I think it did matter. If the full leg, how did anyone get the wooden leg to tamper with it so that it broke? If a "peg", why would the valet or Fenris himself not notice it was almost sawn through before he put it on that day? How did anyone have the time it took to saw through the wood? Even the evil brother Leopold would have needed a darn good excuse for being alone with the leg for that length of time! And where was Fenris while all this was going on? This author made the physical disability change in its impact on Fenris to suit her whims. If he needed to move around a lot, it was of minimal impact. If she wanted to portray him in a sympathetic manner, it had a huge impact. Maybe she couldn't figure it out herself, she just used a physical disability to make the plot move forward.
This is billed as a paranormal romance. Where, may I ask, was the paranormal? Was Ms Schwab trying to make us believe the gargoyles talked/communicated with each other? Who, what, when, where, was there a/the wolf? Who/what "pounced" at the end? The aspect of the Wolfenbach Hoard was silly. No other person believed it, why did Leopold? Cissy was certainly a gullible woman to be in her late twenties. And her obsession with fairy tales bordered on the unnatural, in my estimation. But then, I didn't like her anyway!
Celia made me grind my teeth together. She called Fenris, "a total hoddypoll", "an addled-brained daftie", "a bugbear", "a total bird-witted dodo", "a bugaboo" and these were not used as terms of endearment (although by the end of the book they seemed to be used more playfully). Some of these were only used once, others throughout the entire book. I was not amused! Sometimes, when she was angry (which happened quite often) she resorted to "drat" or (my very special favorite) "dratdratdrat". A very mature image, to be sure. If the author wanted her to be mad, let her cuss! She had no hesitancy about Fenris and Leopold using the "f" word or the "c" word to denote a portion of male anatomy so why not let the heroine say "hell" or even "damn" when it would have been perfectly appropriate? Also, Cissy didn't understand why Fenris called attention to his missing leg. Well, what was he supposed to do? It was pretty hard to hide the fact that he was missing some or all of his left leg. How would she have had him not let that show? I found her immature on all sides. Did she make one grown-up decision, ever, after deciding to leave England and go on to Germany? Should she not have found out before she left that there were TWO Wolfenbach brothers? Should she not have discovered if there was ANY unmarried Wolfenbach brother? Should she not have corresponded with the Graf von Wolfenbach before beginning this journey? Immature straight up and down!
Enough. I'm finished. Read it if you want (which, of course, is your choice) but I didn't want anyone to think EVERYBODY liked it.