|Taken By Storm is a good romance, but there are some things missing: a sense of time and a lot of action. Donna Fletcher’s stories are generally one bound up in her characters and this one is no different. If you get past some of the obvious devices used to get to the end, you will find this one entertaining.
Storm is a wanted criminal, having a reputation for rescuing men, women and children from corrupt imprisonment. She leads a band of men and has a price on her head. Her home is in the forests, with descriptions of homes in the trees and rope swings that bring to mind the setting in the Robin Hood movie with Kevin Costner. Storm is, in actuality, a peasant girl who watched her husband Daniel go to prison because he could not pay his taxes on their farm. He died in her arms when her attempt at rescue was too late. She hates the man who imprisoned him and now goes about seeking revenge by freeing others. The man she hates is Lord Balford.
One night she rescues a man named Burke Longton, an American who is in Scotland seeking the identity of his long-lost brother. Burke is rich, but his money is on his ship in the harbor. He hires Storm and her band to help her find Cullen, who it is believed has been imprisoned and is being held for the highest ransom. It is said he stole something of value from Lord Balford and may even be accused of treason. He is headed for the highest security prison there is.
As it turns out, Cullen had the misfortune of falling in love with Balford’s daughter Alaina. When Balford discovered their plans to run off to marry, he ordered Cullen charged and Alaina to marry another. The story revolves around Storm and Burke’s search for Cullen and their burgeoning relationship. Burke realizes early on that he is attracted to Storm and actually quite impressed with her. He is determined to convince her to marry him and return to America, to his ranch in the Dakota Territory. Storm, however, has lost hope of a normal life. She is certain that she will continue to help as many people as she can until she is caught, at which time she expects she will be tortured and starved to death.
Her men and their families follow her and protect her. They are good men, who have had brushes with the law, at a time when “the law” was the word of the land barons. Most times, those barons were not good men, but evil, looking out for their greed and power only.
The story moves along and is laced with bits of adventure and searching for clues, while the majority of the time it is engaged in discussions between Burke and Storm or with the two of them ruminating in their minds over they just discussed. This lack of action detracted from the story. However, this bantering and ruminating was an effective way of showing the progression of their passion and their love for each other. This was the saving grace of the story.
The fact that the time frame is never given is a major distraction. At times it felt like the story was set in the 1600’s and at times, much later. My guess is the 1800’s since Burke is a rancher in the Dakota Territory and has good mines, etc. The ending seemed a little rushed and definitely sets up a sequel with one of the characters.
If you are a Donna Fletcher fan, you will probably find Taken By Storm to your liking, because it is written in her style, with snappy dialogue and bantering between characters. If you a true fan of “historical” novels, this is not the one for you to pick. Luckily for the reader, despite its shortcomings, there is a good romance hidden in the pages.