For the Taking by Lilian Darcy
(Silh. Rom. #1620, $3.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-19620-2
For the Taking is the final book in the four-book (each with a different author) mini-series called "A Tale of the Sea." Both the hero and heroien are intriguing characters, but the story suffers because not enough background is revealed about Loucanís past to really understand his choices. Not having read the previous books, I felt like I just did not have enough information to fully enjoy the story.

Lassa Morgan owns a tea shop and art gallery in Australia. At thirty-three, she has been alone since the death thirteen years earlier of her Aunt Catherine. She keeps her distance from most people because she has a secret she must keep. She is a mer (as in mermaid) princess. Her real name is Thalassa and she and her nanny had fled from the mer land of Pacifica when she was eight after her mother was killed during a civil war in the mer kingdom. Her father, the king, sent each of his four children to different places to protect them.

Loucan is the son of the leader of the opposing faction. For many years, he lived on land and explored the world of land people. After a tragedy in that life, he returned to Pacifica and is trying to reunite the two sides. He remembers when his family and Lassa's family were friends. He wants to find her for two reasons. First, he needs to find her portion of the four-part key needed to open the repository of mer knowledge her father locked away at the start of the war. Second, he wants to convince her to join him in a political marriage to unite both sides of the conflict and to lessen the power of the original instigator, Joran.

Lassa is very reluctant to even talk with Loucan because of very bad memories she has of the conflict. He uses her desire to learn about her siblings and her yearning for the sea to try and convince her to join him. Both of these desires, plus the awakening desire she has for Loucan, are just too hard to resist.

Lassa is fairly straightforward about her feelings. Years of denying most of herself have made her cautious, but when she decides to go forward, she keeps going. Loucan, however, claims to be honest with her, but informs her of part of his feelings and plans way too late to uphold that claim. His motivation for pulling back from Lassa never rings true.

The glimpses of the mer world are fascinating. I wish more of the story had been told from there. The meeting with Lassaís siblings also lacked enough detail to be fully satisfying. There is just not enough depth.

If you have been following the series, you will probably want to read the final book. If, however, you are just interested in the mermaid aspect of the story, I would suggest reading Alice at Heart by Deborah Smith instead.

--B. Kathy Leitle

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