Legends Lake is a horse, a thoroughbred born and raised in the tall grass of Ireland. He runs like the wind, has a valiant heart, the disposition of a kitten, and in the middle of races, he bolts, leaving the track and jumping fences to get away. To get away from what? Nobody knows.
Alec MacKenna is hired to find out. Alec is a high-profile horse trainer in disgrace and unemployed after punching out his wealthy employer: a lovely mare died as a result of the owner’s greed. When Alec is given a chance to find out what’s wrong with Legends Lake, his future and everything he’s worked for all his life are at stake.
To try and solve the mystery of this glitchy horse, Alec must travel to Ireland where the stallion was bred, to the woman who bred Legends Lake, Kate O’Sullivan. Kate inherited the stud her grandfather established. Her work and her two children make her life complete, especially now that her brute of a husband is out of the house. Cadel O’Sullivan married a pregnant Kate, then proceeded to rape and beat her on their wedding night and many times thereafter. Kate was a battered wife, but the laws in Ireland prohibited her from divorcing him. Eventually, things changed and she did set a divorce in motion, but it takes five years to finalize. Kate has two years left of being a married woman.
Kate’s marital status doesn’t stop Alec from falling for her. She’s beautiful, intelligent, and intriguing. Intriguing because she’s a pagan. She believes in faeries and is an avowed druid. Even though Alec sees Kate work her magic, he doesn’t believe it. But his stepdaughter, Zoe, a confused and unhappy teenager, begins to believe in Kate’s magic and begins to come to terms with her mother’s death and her feelings for her stepfather.
There is a lot of plot and many characters, all of which are melded together very nicely. Ireland is the standout character in this book as its beauty and history and lyrical dialogue are an integral part of the narrative. Alec and Kate’s love story unfolds in a natural way and the reader can easily believe why they would fall in love. The love scenes are very sexy, too. Both characters have tons of baggage and painful pasts, but they are willing nonetheless to take a chance with each other.
Legends Lake is easy to read and enjoy. I did have a couple of quibbles, however. There are many references to the books and characters that preceded this one, so, not having read the other books, I felt like a stranger at a family reunion. Also, there is a heavy emphasis on magic. Not just referenced, but used. Used so much, this book came very close to being a paranormal, what with ghosts and spells and a Lady in the lake who is much like a magical Nessie. The prose comes very close to being purple a couple of times, and disclosure as to what happened to a pivotal character is never explained.
Those cavils are minor but did keep me from grading this book higher. JoAnn Ross’s prose is lovely, especially when it comes to descriptions of Ireland. The setting was not wallpaper, but was a character in and of itself and gave me a solid feel for the space in which this drama unfolds. Kate is a terrific heroine and I liked her very much. I liked Alec, too, but he seemed less complete somehow than Kate. The secondary characters are true to themselves and the three main kid characters are not irritating at all, but really do enhance the story and don’t detract from it, as kiddie characters often do.
Legends Lake is a nice little package. Evocative setting, handsome hero, beautiful heroine, sexy love story, and Ireland. I can most definitely recommend this book, and for those who like the mystical aspects a bit better than I, this one might find its way to your keeper shelf.