Held me captive: My review of "Mortal Fire" by C. F. Dunn @clairefdunn

Mortal Fire

Seeking access to a seventeenth-century journal, history Professor Emma D'Eresby leaves England for a  temporary position at a prestigious university in America. Her arrival sparks a flurry of curiosity at her British accent and her surprising area of expertise examining the historical use of torture for the "benefit and salvation of the recipient". She soon catches the eye of several male admirers, one of whose attention grows increasingly disturbing by the day. When Emma is attacked, she is rescued by a doctor, Matthew Lynes, who she finds herself growing to love, a doctor shrouded in mystery, a man who appears to be connected to the past and the truth Emma is seeking to uncover.

Mortal Fire is a book of suspense, of secrets, of unexpected developments, and I was held captive by the tale that Dunn has woven. Emma is a brilliant character, someone who is smart and unique, with an interesting personality that makes you want to spend time getting to know her. I enjoyed the moments of humour sprinkled throughout the book, while the scene where Emma is attacked is utterly chilling. My one criticism of the book is that at times Emma's infatuation with Matthew and her dealings with other admirers felt a bit more juvenile than I would have liked, detracting somewhat from my enjoyment of the character. However, taken as a whole, I greatly enjoyed the book, finding it to be well-written and action-packed, leaving me craving more. 

As with most books in a series, I came to the end with more questions than answers, but with enough hints to what is going on to make me appreciate what the author has accomplished. Mortal Fire is an excellent debut novel, and the author has gained a new follower as I highly anticipate the next book in the series, and the further revealing of Emma's story and that of the mysterious Mathew. 4 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Monarch Books, as distributed by Kregel Publications, for the purposes of this unbiased review.


C. F. Dunn runs a school in North Kent for children with developmental disabilities, dyslexia, autism, and other difficulties.