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Review: Consecrated Ground – Virginia Black

Consecrated Ground - Virginia Black

Genre: Paranormal

LGBTQ+ Category: Lesbian

Reviewer: Beáta

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About The Book

Consecrated Ground is a multiracial lesbian paranormal tour de force that will leave you wary of the shadows and absolutely breathless.

Like her father before her, Joan Matthews is a witch. For generations, their family of binder witches has protected Calvert, Oregon from vampires by strengthening the land with spellcraft. Pushing back against tradition, Joan defied her father and left town to become a war witch, one who fights the monsters hand-to-hand. But when her father dies, Joan returns to find her hometown assailed by a vampire lord’s endless attacks—and the answers lie with the one woman who chose a rival over Joan.

Leigh Phan once believed her heart was safe and her future was set. When Joan left town, Leigh’s choices led to ruin and unintended consequences. Now Leigh harbors a dark secret forcing her to live a moment-to-moment existence. Her only hope of survival lies in trusting the war witch who left her behind.

Now it’s up to Joan to fight for a town she left behind, while Leigh faces a destiny she never imagined was possible. With Calvert on the brink of total destruction, Joan and Leigh join forces and face inconvenient truths in order to save their town—and each other.

The Review

Consecrated Ground is set in a world where normal humans are in a constant fight against vampires. There are different ways that different places handle this situation. Big cities tend to have an agreement where the inhabitants voluntarily donate their blood in exchange for being left alone, while small towns are much more openly terrorized by vampires trying to gain power.

Witches are real, and have an important political position in the leadership of the towns. There are two kinds, binder witches who form a deep magical connection to the land and use it to protect it, and war witches, who travel around and help out against active attacks.

Joan Matthews is a war witch, coming from a long line of binding witches. She went against all tradition when, instead of training to be her father’s heir, she left her home town and went out to seek adventure. In doing so, she left behind everything she knew and the people she loved, most importantly her father and her girlfriend, Leigh Phan.

Years later, Joan returns for her father’s the funeral, only to find her hometown changed. It is under siege from a new vampire lord, and the people are losing more and more ground. As Joan tries to help, she quickly realizes that there is something bigger going on. And that something has to do with Leigh, who has been living with Joan’s father for a while now, and who has her own terrible secret.

Consecrated Ground is very well-written, with strong worldbuilding, prose and plot. It’s very atmospheric, as we watch the semi-deserted town slowly dying while being cut off from the world and the enemy is closing in.

Joan and Leigh are both great characters, and they have strong chemistry. This is not a love that slowly awakens again – it’s one that never died, even though both women have seriously hurt each other in the past and don’t see how they can get beyond those old wounds. The other characters are significantly less fleshed out, but that doesn’t make their internal power struggles any less interesting.

As far as queerness goes, this book offers us a very strong interracial lesbian romance, set within a bigger story about vampires laying siege to a town. There are no mentions of homophobia or the bigger queer community – the characters “just happen to be gay”.

Consecrated Ground is Virginia Black’s first novel, and, while it is a good stand-alone, it also reads like a potential first part of the series. Should that be the case, I would be very happy to read the rest, too. If not, then I’m looking forward to seeing what this author comes up with next. I have a feeling that it is going to be good.

The Reviewer

Beáta Fülöp is an aspiring filmmaker and writer. She identifies as aromantic and asexual, and has an autistic Special Interest in the representation of minorities. One day, she will use this knowledge in her own stories. Until then, she is happy to sit here and give her opinion on other people’s hard work.

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