Lisa Cach's sophomore effort is an entertaining story of a gifted healer
who is suspected of being a witch, and the man who becomes bewitched by her
beauty and courage. And if a touching romance were not enough, when was
the last time you read a story featuring a talking raven?
Nathaniel Warrington, the new Baron Ravenall, comes to the village of
Greyfriars and Raven Hall to inspect his new home. He's accompanied by his
whining, supercilious friend Paul, a man nursing an injury to his backside
courtesy of a deceived husband Nathaniel seeks out the village healer to
attend to his friend, and is nonplussed to find a lovely young woman,
rather than the old hag he was expecting.
Valerian Bright is just as alarmed by her reaction to the dark-haired
stranger who so stiffly asks for her help. No doubt he's as uppity as his
late uncle was kind, judging from his mannerisms toward her. That Oscar,
her pet raven, insists on screaming "Eee-diot!" at Nathaniel every time
he's near doesn't make things easier. If she falls for Nathaniel, he'll
break her heart. It's the way of the nobility, isn't it?
Times aren't easy for Valerian and her Aunt Theresa, a woman who has taught
Valerian everything she knows of the healing arts. Valerian has a special
gift, though. If she makes it known, the villagers will be even more
suspicious of her than they already are, and some of them are already
convinced that she's a witch. When some of them act on their suspicions
and Valerian is injured, Nathaniel can no longer deny his feelings for her.
They will have an uphill battle in front of them, what with the malicious
Paul, Nathaniel's own stiff-rumped family, and Valerian's belief that no
man could love her once the truth about her abilities is known. Plus, her
parentage is a shadowy.
Lisa Cach is fast showing herself to be an author of ingenuity when it
comes to plotting and characters. Bewitching the Baron offers two
likable, flawed people who are absolutely right for one another but sure
take the hard road in discovering it. Valerian was delightful; aware that
an affair with Nathaniel is likely to leave her heartbroken, she forges
ahead anyway. Nathaniel can hardly believe his heart. To hell with his
family -- Valerian is the one for him, but how can he convince her? It's
nice to see a hero thwarted at every turn.
As for the sexual tension, these two have it in spades.
The secondary characters, particularly Oscar the bird, rounded out the
story in fine fashion. The only impatience I felt was with Nathaniel's
interaction with his "friend,” Paul. Readers will need to judge this for
themselves. But the story dashes along, carrying the reader with it.
Even the ending is a bit of a surprise, and certainly in keeping with the
characters of the two leads.
Bewitching the Baron is a worthy follow-up to Lisa Cach's debut
book, The Changeling Bride. It's reassuring to know that fresh talent like
this is being allowed to develop. Readers may well find themselves to be
the ones bewitched.