Desert Isle Keeper
Legend of the Sorcerer
It may be cliched, but enthralling is the best word I can use to describe the latest book by Donna Kauffman. I finished this one in less than 24 hours, stopping only to sleep last night. If you’re a fan of anything with even a hint of wizardry in it, this is the book for you.
Jordy Decker is a sculptor of whimsical creatures such as dragons and fairies. After a two-year-long court battle with her former best friend and business partner, Jordy has lost her artistic muse. She goes on vacation in the Florida Keys to find it, but what what she finds instead is a handsome man and trouble. Malacai (Cai) L’Baan is a famous, reclusive author of fantasy books. His latest work, a series about the mythical Dark Pearl, has inspired a rather ardent fan who believes the pearl is real and that she and Cai are destined for each other. In order to prove her “devotion”, this woman has kidnapped other women, abused them, taken pictures and mailed the photos to Cai to prove her love.
Let me say it again: this book grabbed my attention and didn’t let me go. Jordy is a great heroine. Her search for her lost artistic inspiration and her fears that she won’t find it are very real, and will resonate with anyone who works in a creative field. Jordy is a very passionate woman – about her work and about causes in which she believes. Her passion for causes makes her turn around and head back to the Keys when she discovers pictures of an abused woman, meant for Cai and given to her by mistake. She also stands firmly by Malacai when he needs her, and he is grateful for her strength.
Malacai is an intense hero. He lives on an island with only two people for company: his grandfather, Alfred, and Alfred’s assistant, Dilys. While Cai thinks his life is just as he wants it, the events in this book all shake up his comfortable litle world. The strong attraction and closeness he feels for Jordy make him experience emotions he doesn’t normally feel. Cai must face some truths about Alfred that make him examine his life even further. And finally Cai reaches out even more because of his concern about the abused woman in the pictures.
The instant attraction between Jordy and Cai is believable because each has a passionate personality and because each has been virtually isolated for so long. When the sparks ignite, the instant attraction seems perfectly natural. The threads of fantasy that Kauffman weaves into the story also make the instant attraction between Jordy and Cai believable.
The search for the Dark Pearl and Margaron, the obsessed fan, as well as the history of Cai’s family weave in a bit of Arthurian legend, but the legendary parallels between Cai’s story and the legendary one do not become too obvious. Alfred is a wonderful secondary character, who reminded me a bit of Yoda, and I became very attached to him. I loved the stories he told Jordy and Cai and it is his belief in them that lets them find what they need. For Jordy, it is her lost artistic inspiration. For Cai, it is a belief in things he can’t see.
The resolution to the obsessed fan is also satisfying, but her threat that it doesn’t end with her leaves me hopeful there might be another L’Baan book in the works. I sure hope so because I hated closing the book and leaving these characters. Any book that grabbed me like this one did, with characters and a mystery that I liked so much, is one that I will reread. That makes it a keeper for me, and I hope it’s one for you, too.