A novel sees a husband search for his abducted wife in 17th-century Ireland and Scotland.
Sir Ailin Drummond and Sarah Evangeline Hale were hand-tied together as infants, intended for marriage. Nearly 20 years later, in 1625, the couple’s lives in the Loch Lomond area of Scotland have brought “many hardships and many joys.” Angel, as Sarah is known, is a beacon of light and generosity among all who know her. Ailin, sadly, takes her for granted, drinking too much and enjoying the attention of other women. One night, workers in Drummond castle who are loyal to the jealous wastrel Ivan McCampbell kidnap Angel. She’s sent by ship to Belfast, raped repeatedly the entire way, and then sold into slavery. On the Moryson plantation, she survives because of her determination to help heal her fellow slaves. She also draws strength from the concept of anam cara (Gaelic for soul friend) that she shares with Ailin, emphasized by the way his physical prowess complements her skill in the healing arts. Angel is also descended from the British warrior queen Boadecia. The rumor that she possesses the queen’s braided gold torque has likewise set Ivan’s scheming mistress, Mairi, against the couple. In this historical fantasy, Veazey (Full Circle, 2012) explores the intersection of Christianity and paganism in an era when witchcraft remained punishable by death and women were considered chattel. Ailin questions the notion of war and considers life as a “good, honorable, and respectful being” the “best honor he could give back to his Creator,” regardless of the deity’s other worshipers. Readers should be swept along by Veazey’s fluid prose, only to realize there is hardly any dialogue, resulting in lots of telling rather than showing. Her ideas, however, sprout crisply from the page, like the concept that “magic is what we are all looking for, but if you try to hold it and name it and describe it, you will lose it.” The conclusion at the enchanted Ceidi Fields feels orchestrated rather than occurring organically, but a chilling final image readies fans for the sequel.
Love—and the patience of a loyal wife—conquers all in this intriguing historical fantasy.