Take the Sleeping Beauty legend, give it a nifty gender twist, throw in a huge dollop of magic, a lot of sex appeal, and a bit of humor. The result is Silver Rain, a light-hearted and highly entertaining fantasy romp that only stumbles a bit as a romance.
In 1797, Alain Devereaux watches as the love of his life dies in his arms after a tragic accident. Filled with grief and desperation, Alain begs a witch to help bring his Brigette back from death. The witch, although powerful, cannot breathe life back into the dead. Instead she casts a spell that places Alain into a deep sleep and assures him that he will awaken when his Brigette is reborn and ready to accept him. But there is a catch: when Alain awakens he’ll have a mere thirty days to find the reincarnated Brigette and convince her that they are meant to be together. If he fails at this task he will simply cease to exist.
The remainder of the story takes place in the current day. Danielle (Dani) Curtis, a practicing Wiccan, has “inherited” Alain from her ancestors and is none too happy about it. Because she has been forced to watch over him she has been unable to live a normal life and has even had to give up her Olympic dreams. The final blow comes when her fiance dumps her after he learns about the “Sleeping Beau” hiding out in her attic. In a fit of rage Dani picks up a knife and starts swinging it perilously close to Alain’s handsome face. This accidentally severs his magical ties and causes him to wake. Then this arrogant man who has ruined her life demands that she drop everything and help him find his “Brigette” immediately!
Alain is obviously heartbroken and totally clueless about life in the year 2000, so Dani, a kind-hearted soul, ignores his rudeness and agrees to help him find his true love. Alain soon spots Brigette’s look-alike on TV and insists that Dani set up a meeting. Poor Dani – nothing comes easy for her. The woman Alain believes is his Brigette is an up-and-coming starlet named Cate, which makes setting up a meeting very difficult. Dani uses her magic to perform a spell that she hopes will bring Brigette/Cate to them. While she is waiting for her spell to work she spends her days helping Alain adjust to his new world. During this time they grow to care for each other and find themselves trying hard to deny their mutual and powerful attraction, knowing it can only lead to disaster.
This is an amusing fantasy read and is one of the few in Jove’s “Magical Love” line I’ve read that really is filled with magic. And the magic isn’t that silly mumbo-jumbo, nose-twitching, wand-twirling stuff either. The heroine’s rituals and traditions are presented as a natural part of her life and when magic happens it’s entirely believable. Dani also has a smart-mouthed best friend who is a fellow Wiccan with incredible powers of her own, and there is a great old cat who has healing powers. Watching them all interact with an eighteenth-century man complete with eighteenth-century attitudes made for great entertainment.
The actual romance between Dani and Alain, however, doesn’t fare as well as the rest of the plot elements. Oh, it started out just fine – Dani and Alain set the pages on fire and develop a fun banter, and they’re both likable characters – but then Cate enters the picture and Alain becomes too confused for this reader’s comfort. He still wants Dani but begins dating Cate because he believes she is Brigette (she is a dead ringer for his deceased beloved). Because Alain cannot control his hormones and the longing in his heart when Dani is near, he starts to avoid her. The last third focuses on Cate and her various problems as she dates Alain. Someone is out to hurt her and a little mystery ensues. Now you may call me cruel, but after listening to Cate-the-movie-star’s self-centered point of view for far too many pages, I was half-hoping that the evildoers would succeed in doing her harm. Although Alain’s befuddlement during this section was appropriate for the situation, it was also very frustrating for the romantic in me to read.
Despite the romance snafu, Silver Rain works beautifully as an engaging fantasy and ends in a most satisfying manner. Alain’s romantic soul, tragic history, and sexy French accent make him very hard to resist.