Desert Isle Keeper
The Night Drifter
The Night Drifter is one of the most unique romance novels I have ever stumbled across. It’s a story of man who falls in love with a woman’s soul before he falls in lust with her body. It’s also a story of a woman who falls in love with a man she can’t touch. Yes, it’s a bit corny in places, but if you’re looking for a grown-up version of a Disney fairy tale, this is the book to read.
Lance St. Leger has the ability to drift outside of his body, appearing as a ghost while his body rests far away. On the night of a Midsummer festival, when he is dressed as a knight, he loses his family sword, which is rumored to be imbued with magical powers. He leaves his body to search for it and, in the process, runs into Lady Rosalind Carlyon, a young widow desperately in need of a hero to save her from a life of mourning. In order to humor Rosalind, and to keep his powers secret, Lance tells her that he is the ghost of Sir Lancelot du lac, forced to wander the earth until he finds Exalibur.
Rosalind falls in love with Lancelot immediately but, with Lance, it’s a different story. Back in his body, he’s subjected to the lusts of a normal man and he can’t help acting like the rake that he is. Matters are only made worse when circumstances force Rosalind and Lance to marry, sending Rosalind into a series of daily adventures with her lustful husband and nightly walks with her chivalrous knight.
With a plot like this, some authors would be tempted to slide into slapstick humor – making Lance rush back and forth between his two guises, constantly trying to be in several places at once. Instead, Carroll makes Lance more of a tortured hero. The only reason he continues the Lancelot charade is because his rocky past has led him to believe that he isn’t worthy of Rosalind’s love. By posing as her “perfect” man, he can give her some happiness, and spend time with her in the process. It also sets up a situation where Lance, in the persona of Lancelot, can’t touch his bride and, in the persona of Lance, she won’t touch him. As a result, the characters get to know each other emotionally while the sexual tension builds to an incredible peak. When Lance and Rosalind finally do make love, the prose gets a little lavender, but the love between the young couple is obvious. I was almost ready to cheer for them.
The story of Lance and Rosalind is beautiful, but the secondary characters alone would be enough reason to read the book. Each character practically pops out of the page in living color. Without giving away too much of the plot, I can safely say that this is the only time I have ever reached for my hankies when reading about the death of a secondary character.
This book is the sequel to The Bride Finder, but it is easily read on its own. However, once you start reading about the St. Leger family, it’s hard to stop. I’ve already started The Bride Finder and I’m hoping that Carroll will follow up The Night Drifter with a book about Lance’s sisters, his twin brother Val, or his friend Rafe. Like any good fairy tale, this story leaves you satisfied, but curious about what happens after the happily ever after.