The Devil and Dayna Dalton

A Bulwark Anthology (Book 9)

Romance - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
128 Pages
Reviewed on 10/04/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

The Devil and Dayna Dalton: A Bulwark Anthology (Book 9) is a short novella from the pen of author Brit Lunden. Dayna Dalton is known as what we might colloquially call “trailer trash”. She grew up in Bulwark, Georgia and like her mother had gained an unfair (in her case) reputation as the town slut. From an early age, Dayna had designs on the gorgeous Clay Finnes but all through high school, Clay seemed impervious to her charms, placing her fairly and squarely in the “friend zone” or the “sister zone”. Unable to achieve her ambitions of a life with Clay, Dayna managed to escape the incestuous small-town atmosphere of Bulwark and attend Georgetown University on a full scholarship where she studied journalism. Just as Dayna’s career was beginning to take off, she loyally returned to Bulwark to take care of her mother who suffered a cancer scare. Now a reporter on the local Bulwark newspaper, she is still drawn to Clay Finnes, now the town’s sheriff but also now married, with a child. Realizing she can never have Clay, Dayna runs through a coterie of men, never quite finding the love and care she craves, until strange things begin to happen in Bulwark.

I’m not a big fan of novellas, as I like the characters to develop and grow over the length of a novel. However, for The Devil and Dayna Dalton, I’m prepared to make an exception. Author Brit Lunden has given us a complex character in Dayna Dalton who, having run the gamut of the worst in relationships, is ready, willing and able to give herself utterly and totally to the man who steals her heart… and what a man he is! The paranormal feel to the novella coupled with the author’s vivid and breathtaking descriptions of the people and the environment of Bulwark was a true bonus to this story. The story flows and, yes, I was a little annoyed when it ended so quickly but Lunden has given me a thirst and desire to read more of her work and indeed more about this fascinating female lead she has created. I loved the way she so accurately portrayed the dynamic between the public and private persona of Dayna Dalton. Written off virtually from the day she was born, Dayna has the spirit and the intelligence to rise above people’s perceptions of who she is and, most importantly, not care what people think of her. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read and one I can highly recommend, especially if you love strong, female leads as I do and the paranormal touch doesn’t hurt at all.

K.C. Finn

The Devil and Dayna Dalton is a work of romantic fiction with tense paranormal moments and was penned by author Brit Lunden. In the ninth book in the Bulwark Anthology, we find ourselves back in Georgia, in the little town where very strange things have been happening for a very long time indeed. We find Dayna Dalton, the daughter of the rebellious Becky, stuck in the perpetual motion of a humdrum life that is not of her choosing. She’s a reporter with no reputation of note and has been in love with Sheriff Finnes, a happily married man, for as long as she can remember. But love may be waiting in the dark, strange corners of Bulwark if Dayna knows where to look.

It was wonderful to come back to the tense world of author Brit Lunden’s Bulwark after a long absence, and I was glad to see that Lunden has lost none of her flair for tension, creepy moments and deep, emotive humans who are seeking solace in a very dark world. It’s easy to connect with the hapless Dayna at once, who wants so much more from life but cannot get it. I was also thrilled to see the return of Sheriff Clay Finnes from this new perspective and to follow his storyline in relation to the other Bulwark stories I have read. Overall, The Devil and Dayna Dalton takes a sharp twist on the small town paranormal tale, blending complex emotional content and sexual situations with that creepy, edge-of-horror feeling that Lunden does so very well.

Lisa McCombs

Dayna Dalton, a journalist in search of a dynamic story, is trapped in the mundane town of Bulwark, writing town gossip and fluffy nonsense. Why can't her boss see the intriguing possibilities of mysterious wolf sightings in the area? And why, oh why, does she continue to be approached by all the losers in town? Dangerous Dayna Dalton is a magnet for undesirables. Don’t they realize that she only has eyes for Clay Finnes, the town sheriff? Of course, Clay is married but Dayna’s loose moral resume does not include the label of home wrecker. And then there is her neighbor and town know-it-all Mrs. Sweetpea, who is anything but sweet. Mrs. Sweetpea has always been strange, but lately, her strangeness has increased, along with the odd happenings in town. Dayna’s reports of three large gray wolves are scoffed at. She seems to be the only person to have seen these creatures. When Dayna succumbs to the allure of an additional mystery - a man in a cape - she begins to doubt her sanity. She knows it’s serious when her addiction to Clay begins to wane.

The Devil and Dayna Dalton, by Brit Lunden, is a dark fantasy full of surprising twists that make this novel a combination of genres. Regardless of the intended Gothic, biblical, paranormal, or mythological themes, The Devil and Dayna Dalton is, in the end, a romance surrounded by vivid imagery and substantiated with well-developed characters. In the words of the author, “this story started one way and ended up going in a totally different direction.” The same can be said of the reading experience. Part of Lunden’s Bulwark Anthology, The Devil and Dayna Dalton will hold you captivated until the last page.

Edith Wairimu

The Devil and Dayna Dalton by Brit Lunden, the ninth book in the Bulwark Anthology, follows Dayna Dalton as she returns to her hometown in Bulwark, Georgia from Washington, DC. Dayna’s life is a shadow of what she had dreamed it would be. Caught up in a chain of unhealthy relationships, Dayna painfully faces the reality of how low her life has sunk. But the real pain emanates from loving a man she can never have. Clay Finnes, now the sheriff of the town, is a married man but Dayna cannot shake off the attraction she has always felt for him. She is also tired of trying to prove that she is not like her mother whose reputation in Bulwark overshadows Dayna’s real character. As secrets begin to emerge, Dayna gets answers to lingering questions she has carried with her for years.

Set in a small town, the work comprises just enough characters whose eccentricity makes the story engaging. Dayna lives in constant judgment of the town’s people. Though she tries to break free from their perception, she keeps sinking further. Dayna is a relatable character whose struggle to dissociate herself from condemnation only tightens the grip of heartache and pain around her. The supernatural aspects of the story blend easily with the storyline as they answer many questions regarding the main character. They also add gripping suspense to the work. The Devil and Dayna Dalton: A Bulwark Anthology by Brit Lunden is a fascinating read that carries a compelling lesson.

Ruffina Oserio

Set in Bulwark, Georgia, The Devil and Dayna Dalton is the ninth book in A Bulwark Anthology by Brit Lunden. The author captures the realities that punctuate the normal lives of people and allows readers great visuals of where the story takes place. Reporter Dayna Dalton is a gifted woman who lacks one thing: love. And when we talk of complicated relationships, she attracts such relationships. Sheriff Clay Finnes, one “fine specimen of a man” with strong shoulders that look like a wall, has her attention and she is in love with him. The only problem is that “Clay Finnes was as untouchable as the stars,” a married man with a strong sense of morality. Can she find the courage to go beyond conventions and pursue her heart? The twist is so surprisingly exciting that it is mind-blowing.

The Devil and Dayna Dalton is a romance with complex and sophisticated characters, a female protagonist that echoes the reality of many hearts. The conflict is skillfully developed, exploring the emotional depth of the characters. Dayna Dalton is a well-developed character, a strong woman who reflects one of the common worries of most successful women — finding love. It is interesting to watch her struggle with thoughts and feelings for a man who belongs to someone else, and the author keeps it real. I love a great opening and when it comes in the form of vivid description, I am carried away. This is just what happened with this novel. Brit Lunden has a way with words and she describes scenes in a way that makes it very easy for readers to imagine. The stream of consciousness is wonderfully done, used as a tool to allow readers to connect with the deepest emotions of the characters. The Devil and Dayna Dalton is a great read for fans of romance and well-written novels.