Beauty of the Mist

The Dreamer

Flame

 
The Enchantress by May McGoldrick
(Onyx, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-451-19719-4
***
There are many readers who will never read the books in a series out of order and for very good reason. Jumping in in the middle or at the end can be a problem when it comes to understanding the storyline and the characters. However, sometimes - like when your editor assigns you a book - entering in media res is unavoidable. Then, your enjoyment of the story depends on the authorsí ability to integrate the backstory into the current novel. I have a feeling that most of the problems I had with The Enchantress resulted from the fact that I had not read The Dreamer first.

It took me a long time to get into this story, to get caught up in the characters and the plot. Once I was finally engaged, I enjoyed the romance of Laura Percy and William Ross, Laird of Blackfearn.

Laura Percy is one of three daughters of an English nobleman who has been arrested and executed by King Henry VIII for refusing to sign the Oath of Supremacy. Their Scots mother, Nicola Erskine Percy, had arranged for each daughter to flee to a different part of Scotland. The daughters are in danger because the Percies are the guardians of the Treasure of Tiberius and greedy men want to capture them to get their hands on these riches.

The Enchantress opens with William Rossí ďabductionĒ of Laura Percy. In fact, William is on her side. She had been supposed to seek refuge in the convent under the control of Williamís brother, but had never arrived. Upon discovering her whereabouts, Gilbert had sent the laird to bring her to the proper convent. However, Laura does not realize that Williamís purpose is benign and conks him on the head with a rock. Thus begins their relationship.

William and Laura undergo numerous adventures before they arrive safely. They spar and kiss their way back to Gilbert, and then William charges off, leaving Laura. Gilbert sees in Laura the answer to his prayers. William has been laird of the clan for two years, since his elder brother and his sister-in-law were killed in an accident. But William, an impetuous fellow with a dark secret, has not really taken charge of the clanís affairs. Laura, who lives to plan and organize things, is the very person to take charge of William and help him meet his responsibilities. So Gilbert decides to play matchmaker.

Gilbert convinces Laura to visit Blackfearn Castle because Williamís seven year old niece is being sent to her fatherís old home. Miriam needs to find a warm welcome and Laura is just the person to get the household in order before the child arrives. William is not happy with his brotherís plan. He doesnít want this woman who has gotten under his skin anywhere around. But how can he resisted enchantment?

Thus, we have a romance of opposites, of ying and yang. It works quite well. William carries a load of guilt that he has to overcome before he can accept his role as laird and Laura needs the excitement that William can bring to her life. Watching the two try to avoid the inevitable and finally succumb is quite enjoyable.

As long as the story focused on William and Laura, I was fine. But I must admit that I was a bit confused and perplexed when the authors introduced the villains and/or the other group who are seeking the Treasure of Tiberius. I was never completely sure who these guys are or what they are up to. As I indicated above, this may have something to do with the fact that I didnít read The Dreamer.

So despite the enjoyable romance, I must rate this book simply as acceptable. Perhaps those who have read the first installment in the series will enjoy it more than I did.

--Jean Mason


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