Analisa, close to death from an epidemic, is saved by some means she doesn't understand. Swept from her hospital bed to a grand gentleman's house and given every luxury she could want, she wonders why the house's owner, Lord Allesandro de Avallone (Lord Allesandro or Lord Avallone? Ashley seems to think that these titles are the same, though they are not) has given her all this. And why Allesandro avoids her, seeing her only for a few minutes at night and is never around during the day.
And then one night when she's caught in the forest in a rainstorm, she stumbles on his secret lair, finding him close to death after an attack from another vampire. Without giving her any indication of what's going on, he feeds from her in order to live. And from then on, she knows that he is a vampire.
And from then on, this book is pretty much like A Darker Dream, though with the addition of an evil vampire villain and a housekeeper instead of a butler who knows Allesandro's secret. The housekeeper is in love with him - a rival for Analisa? Well, not really, though Ashley tries to make it appear so at one point. But other elements are indeed the same: the vast luxuries, Allesandro's frequent attempts to send Analisa away or to abandon her himself, his frequent attacks of conscience when he is driven by the need to feed on her, his demand that she at least once stay by his side when he sleeps during the day, and so on.
Well, Ashley writes Gothic vampire novels, so it shouldn't really be surprising that there are similarities - though even still, neither this nor A Darker Dream match up to Embrace The Night. I would like to see a novel from Ashley in which the heroine is *not* a naive, innocent and poverty-stricken seventeen-year-old, and in which the gulf between hero and heroine is not exacerbated by his wealth, his intelligence and education and familiarity with the ways of high society. Her heroes do begin to run the risk of appearing like paedophiles.
Finally, this book, we are told, is set in late Victorian times - probably around the 1880s, though this isn't specified. And yet the 'feel' is very much of the Regency period: around the 1800s. The balls, masquerades and Society rules are very much of the Regency (though, Ashley, it was no more than two dances, not three). The period in which this book is set was of the Industrial Revolution: where is the sense that this is a time of new, life-changing inventions? Where are the gas lights that all wealthy people had in their homes by this time, and which were installed in the streets in the posh parts of London? Rail travel was also in its heyday, and the rich rarely travelled by horse-drawn carriage any more. Ashley needs to do a little more research on her period, instead of assuming that 'one size fits all' when it comes to historical England.