Sometimes you just want a simple romance novel. Instead of finding that here, I got a book that I couldn’t even classify properly. This book has time travel, faeries, Norse gods, shape shifters, and probably the kitchen sink if you look hard enough. The only things it doesn’t have are compelling characters or a strong plot. And I’m pretty sure that I heard somewhere that those were important things to have in a book.
Mayhue has some good simple novels where the characters act realistically and the story is engaging. Unfortunately, this one isn’t like that. Hero Malcolm has done a good deed in the past by saving his former wife and allowing her to live in the future with her Soul Mate. Unfortunately, Malcolm doesn’t know this. He thinks that he arranged Isabella’s escape only to cause her death. But her mother, Elesyria, knows the truth and has come to Malcolm’s keep to reward him for what he has done. Magical Faerie that she is, she has decided that Malcolm deserves the ultimate reward – a lifetime with his Soul Mate.
Meanwhile in Comfort, Wyoming, Dani Dearmon has spent her whole life waiting for the Faeries to take her away from her dreary life. She believes that her life is missing something and that she belongs somewhere else, but she is unsure why she feels this. She has been leaving a dish of milk out for the Faeries in the hopes that they will reward her with something special. Finally one desperate Halloween Night, she sets up some candles and some stones and she makes a wish to the Faeries to take her to where she belongs.
This is where the book takes its first wrong turn. Dani is hurtled back 700 years into the past and neither she nor Malcolm seem to have any problem with this. Of course, it could be because he is the descendant of Viking gods and she has been begging for help from Faeries all her life, but even then you would think they would have some reaction to the news of the time travel. The two not only adjust quickly, but it doesn’t take Dani long to come up with a plan to help Malcolm with the problem of his inquiring younger brother Dermid. She volunteers to pretend to be Malcolm’s fiancée just to keep Dermid occupied. (Yes, even though she had just been hurtled back in time 700 years and saved by a complete stranger. If it seems disjointed, you are right!) They won’t tell him they are engaged; they will try to keep him guessing. All I could think was, just how long was a teenage boy supposed to be fascinated by the mystery of whether his older brother was getting married or not? Considering the fact that the family was battling the oldest brother who was holding their sister hostage, I would think that Dani would have been pretty low on the list of intriguing mysteries, but what do I know. Dermid seemed to be on tenterhooks far longer than I expected.
From very early on Elesyria lets Dani in on the secret that she and Malcolm are Soul Mates. Since Elesyria said they were, apparently that and good sex was all that Dani needed to convince her that they were meant to be. As far as I could see there really wasn’t anything else that was pulling the two of them together. There was instant attraction, yes. But beyond that their personal connection didn’t go very deep. Whatever happened to a hero and heroine being just plain old in love? Why do they need to be Soul Mates? And if you are going to make them Soul Mates, you need to convince me that it is true. There must be a deeper connection than physical attraction. Dani and Malcom didn’t have that.
As the battle between the godlike brothers continues (one can turn into animals, the other can never be killed by a sword) I had to shake my head when the tide is turned by Dani’s suggestion to try to negotiate with the oldest brother Torquil. Really? These men that are the descendants of gods needed Dani to make that suggestion? They never figured that out on their own? If that isn’t bad enough, Dani takes it into her head to save the day and rescue everyone from the evil brother. She makes her plans, overpowers the will of Malcolm’s brother Patrick, puts herself in mortal danger with Torquil, lets the youngest brother escape from his keeper, and caused me to lose all respect for her as a heroine.
Though I have no problem with a simple and sweet romance, I still need to know that the characters are worthy of my time and the story is well written and well thought out. Too often here the heroine makes a ridiculous remark, and all the characters turn to her as though she was a gift from the gods with more intelligence than they could ever hope to acquire. If they listen to her, then it is probably the case. The author worked so hard to make Dani a capable woman that she forgot that the key to a good romance isn’t to make the characters capable, but to make them lovable. Unfortunately, these two fall far from the mark.