I saw this book doing the rounds on Instagram, and just had to give it a go. Dark Romance is an acquired taste and some I love, some I absolutely hate, but this one intrigued me.
Translated into English from German (I believe) this novel has a poetic playfulness about it, despite the fact it is darker than 80% cocoa chocolate. There is sweetness, but it is hidden most of the time, as the relationship between Leyla and Dysmas deepens into something destructive and terrible. The sex is brutal and copious, but somehow works.
Anyone with issues pertaining to abusive relationships should approach with caution. Set in the city of Jerusalem in the time Jesus Christ was alive, Leyla seems to be an independent woman, with her own shop selling fragrances, when she meets Dysmas, a rebel, insurgent, and all-round bad guy. The only tenderness Dysmas possesses, he saves for Leyla but in doing so, he lures her down a dark and dangerous path.
If I'm talking in riddles, it's because I don't want to give anything away. This doesn't have a huge complicated plot, but is the story of two obsessive souls, drawn together towards an emotional black hole. There is some repetition, as Leyla reinforces how much Dysmas is coming to mean to her, but this is where the poetic element comes in. It's an an elegant, yet easy read, telling of a love doomed to end in blood and sacrifice.
There are some dark romances which I feel slightly grubby after reading, but this isn't one of them. Maybe it's because of the time it is set, where the streets are dusty and dark, and men are engaged in nefarious deeds in the shadows. Maybe it's the writing, which weaves like the Dance of the Seven Veils through each page. I can't explain it, but Dysmas has carved a place in my heart. I don't want him, but I suppose he will remain for eternity.
Leyla is my reflection of heaven. My angel in my world so dark and evil, my cure for hate and loneliness, the medicine I need for my damn-shattered soul. My sweet little girl is happily sacrificing her life for me, without realizing how evil I am. There is no return for her at all, she'll be dragged down with me eventually. And she only has to do one thing: to be obedient to me, her Master.