After three long years, Connie Brockway has written another historical romance, with the promise of more to come, as well as more contemporaries. As one who mourned the loss of her unique historical voice I say, “Huzzah!” So Enchanting has a similar feeling to her wonderful Bridal Season, and while it is not quite up there with her classics, it is still a very fine romance with full-bodied characters and plenty of laughs.
Fanny has a “gift,” though she feels it is a curse: Animals sense and react to her emotions. When she was a child, tragedy struck. She was angry with her older brother and the estate’s dogs, sensing that anger, attacked him, leaving him permanently injured. Since then, she has tried to tamp down her emotions, longing to be “normal.” When she was 16 she eloped with a sham spiritualist who was interested in using her gift to defraud customers. Five years later, she is disgraced and then widowed when her husband is exposed as a fraud by Greyson Sheffield.
Grey watched, helpless, as his bereaved father beggared the family estate by paying a series of spiritualists to contact his dead wife and daughter, only to die a broken, lost man. Grey has made it his life’s work to expose the charlatans who prey on others’ grief and even holds a position with the Crown’s Prosecutor gathering evidence against such fraud. While Fanny escaped prosecution when her husband was exposed, Grey never forgot her ethereal beauty.
Fanny has spent the six years since her husband’s death as a governess/companion to Amelie. Amelie’s father was a neighbor during Fanny’s youth and knows of her “gift.” He believes her to be the perfect person to help his 12 year old daughter who is at the center of poltergeist activity. They remove to Little Firkin in the Scottish Highlands for Amelie’s safety and, with the passage of a few years, the poltergeist phenomena ceases. When Amelie’s father dies, his will states that, if she is alive and well when she turns 21, the inhabitants of Little Firkin will all receive a large legacy. With such motivation, the town is very proud and protective of “their witch” and all goes smoothly – until Greyson Sheffield and his handsome young nephew Hayden arrive in town.
Grey and Fanny had an instant attraction all those years ago, and now that they are spending much time together, they are surprised to find that there is an intellectual and emotional rapport as well. Amelie and Hayden fall instantly in love and are in raptures as only the young can be – much to Fanny and Grey’s mutual eye-rolling impatience. They are both blunt, no-nonsense kind of people and appreciate that in each other even while their young charges are appalled at their lack of romance. But beneath the roiling attraction is Grey’s suspicion that Fanny is a fraud who must be working some angle for profit, and Fanny’s fear of Grey learning of her “gift,” for she knows he would disdain it – and her.
There is a lot of humor in So Enchanting, much of it deriving from Grey’s complete lack of manners and couth, the inhabitants of Little Firkin and Grammy Beadle – a neighboring “witch” who periodically challenges Amelie to spell-casting duels. I did feel that things got a bit bogged down in the middle, but all four of our leads are so much fun to spend time with, that this is a minor complaint. Welcome back to historical romance, Connie Brockway – you’ve been missed!