Julien Rene Durant was once a good man. Born in France, he took the oath as a Jesuit Priest in the 1600s. He dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel. Now, he was a monster surviving off the blood of others; killing for survival even as he wished for nothing other than for his own extinction. After almost four centuries of guilt and hopelessness, he encounters someone who might just be able to rescue the good man trapped within the monster, but will his judgements deny him a second chance?
Mary Ruth Jacobson-Ryan is nothing special; a small town girl stuck in a rut. Married to a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts who turned out not to be the perfect guy she fell in love with before the war, she is desperate for a way out. When things turn from bad to worse, she runs with plans to never look back. She quickly finds, however, that her search for a better future may lead her down a path with no future at all.
Great New Adult Paranormal Romance! I have been a fan of this genre for many, many years, and a lot of the books I have read follow a set pattern, but not this book! It is so refreshingly different! The story opens with Julien, a vampire, sitting in jail. By beginning the book this way, it drew me in, and I was enthralled throughout the book. I wanted to know all of Julien’s story.
Julien was a Jesuit priest in the 1600’s who was turned into a vampire and has spent years living with his affliction, and this is truly how he sees his vampirism. He has lived his life trying to avoid attention, and it’s been a life spent in darkness devoid of color until he meets Ruth. Ruth is a sad character as well; she works the streets as a prostitute after fleeing an abusive husband. When Julien picks Ruth up with the intention of feeding on her, things change for both of them. Their colorless and dark lives develop into one with color and light. As their past catches up with them, can their love survive?
Beyond the Reach of Judgement is incredibly different! Yes, it’s a romance, and I love the romance between Julien and Ruth. It’s so beautiful because the characters are so flawed and sad. But, it’s also a story of good and evil. I saw examples of that throughout the novel. For instance, the author begins every chapter with a quote illustrating that. And, she chooses from a variety of sources from Interview with the Vampire to A Clockwork Orange. I just love Jo Bissell’s way of writing; it’s almost poetic to me, and it draws you in. I have never read a book in which a writer can make you feel such empathy for characters, even the bad ones. I didn’t like Ruth’s ex-husband, but I felt for him because Bissell showed me what he was like before he became an abuser. In my opinion, that is an incredible talent in a writer.
I must warn you…it is a romantic tragedy. HOWEVER, DON’T LET THAT SCARE YOU AWAY! If it does, you really are missing out on an incredible book. It’s so different and unique, and it’s a book that you will remember, I promise! It did end with me scratching my head. I asked myself, “Is this really the end?” She is planning a sequel, and I will definitely be one-clicking it as soon as it releases. Do yourself a favor and read this beautiful book today!
**ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review**
Jo Bissell started writing in middle school with fantasy stories inspired by books such as The Hobbit, and in fact once turned in a journal project written entirely in Dwarfish Ruins. Now, after many years of study, she spends most of her time working as a full time physician caring for hospitalized adults. When she is not writing or doctoring, she enjoys reading, movies, traveling, archery, thrift store shopping, and snowboarding. She currently resides in the Iowa City, IA area with her husband and two cats.
Beyond the Reach of Judgement is Jo Bissell’s first original novel which evolved out of a 2012 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) project. She has previously written works of short fiction, including His Eyes available on Amazon for Kindle, fan-fiction, and poetry. Future planned novels include a sequel to Beyond the Reach of Judgement, other works of urban fantasy and paranormal romances, and a science fiction novel. She continues to participate in NaNoWriMo.