Saturday, July 3, 2010

Wolves and Dragons

Baryon 116 has been sent to Pete to put up on the web. Send me an email and I'll email you a copy.

Tall, Dark, and Wolfish
Lydia Dare
Sourcebooks, May 4 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402236952

In 1816 Edinburgh, Caitrin the seer warns her coven friend Elspeth Campbell that the man with beast is coming for her. While her three other coven sisters worry about her, Elspeth says the man is probably her father whom she never met.

In London Lord Benjamin Westfield is concerned that for the first time since puberty he failed to change during the full moon. Not wanting to deal with his two older brothers, he turns to Major Forester who suggests he see a healer. Reluctantly and concealing what he does from his sibling by pretending to visit friend Alec MacQuade, Benjamin heads to Edinburgh to ask an old hag Elspeth Campbell to help him.

At the Ferguson gala, Alec escorts Caitrin while he arranges for Benjamin to take Elspeth. Caitrin recognizes Benjamin as the beast from her vision. When Elspeth’s beloved grandfather dies, he is there for her. He learns the woman he seeks is her late mother. As they fall in love, each knows they must reveal their innermost secret; he as the wolf and she as the witch.

The second Westfield Regency fantasy romance (see Ben’s brother Simon in Certain Wolfish Charm) is an engaging tale that sub-genre readers will enjoy. The support is a powerful group with fans hoping for more stories especially that of Alec and Caitrin as well as the third Westfield sibling. The lead couple is a terrific pairing of star-crossed lovers summed up nicely by Ben’s other brother Will when he muses her friends might burn his coach in a pique; as the question remains can a wolf and a witch dare to find happiness together? Harriet Klausner

The Dragon's Secret
Donna MacQuigg
Five Star, May 19 2010, $25.95
ISBN: 9781594148682

In 975 Wales, Sayrid the sorceress saw a vision of Viking warrior Kyran and his warriors defeat King Aswyn of Dragon's Head and his army not far from her cottage in the Mystical Forest. Soon after his actual triumph, he leaves the battlefield to seek a small brook he remembers from his childhood before Aswyn betrayed Kyran’s father. He is attacked and injured before someone in the woods shoots his adversary with an arrow.

Sayrid killed his attacker and heals his wounds while insisting he is just a noble barbarian. After Kyran takes over Dragon's Head, the witch Brynn joins neighboring King Oddrun, who had been Aswyn’s partner, in a scheme to overthrow the new overlord. Sayrid believes Kyran is another despot so she is cautious with him though he shares in common the same amulet with her. As the hedge witch and the conqueror fight their feelings, their love is the first step of an ancient prophecy.

This is an exciting Dark Ages romantic fantasy that is fun to read but never quite anchors the era or the romance. Kyran is the Ancient Ones’ destined champion though he prefers to just win back what was taken from his father by treachery and punishing those who committed the seditious acts. Sayrid is an even more suspicious individual as she distrusts everyone especially the latest conqueror who reads her thoughts and enters her dreams. Sub-genre fans will enjoy their escapes as the fated duo learning The Dragon’s Secret. Harriet Klausner

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