A young woman must prove her noble lineage in order to break a curse in the second installment of Edwards’ (The Farrier’s Daughter, 2014) fantasy/romance series.
After fleeing Castle O’Brien, Alainn wanders the streets of Galway. Though she’s secretly pregnant, openly brokenhearted, and wholly uncertain about what to do next, she’s convinced that she had to leave her lover, Killian, so he could fulfill his destiny to become a great leader. But Killian convinces her to come home and marry him despite the fact that he’s betrothed to another woman—a suitably upper-class and surprisingly likable Scottish lass. Back at Castle O’Brien, Killian’s uncle, the clan’s malevolent and all-powerful chief, forbids a union between his nephew and Alainn. He also knows about her supernatural powers, which must be protected from the grasp of dark spirits, but he promises to leave her alone if she marries another man. As their respective wedding days approach, Alainn and Killian, both hotheaded and sharp-tongued, spar over a misunderstanding. Meanwhile, her friends soon notice that she’s expecting a child. Lady Siobhan, Killian’s kindly aunt, also realizes that Alainn has an uncanny resemblance to the members of her own noble family. Despite the young heroine’s many positive qualities, including unparalleled beauty, intellect, and magical powers including mind-reading and controlling the weather, Edwards shows that she’s also driven by passion rather than logic. This tendency makes Alainn rather slow to comprehend solutions to her problems, such as a curse that’s plagued the O’Brien family for decades. As a result, readers will likely see where the story is going long before its protagonist does, but it’s an action-packed page-turner nonetheless. Alainn and Killian’s sexy romance, as described here, is worth fighting for, even if their dialogue is often over-the-top; for example, while admiring a scenic view, she tells him, in all seriousness, “I have never beheld such an astounding, impressive sight. Apart from seeing you unclothed, of course.” Although it’s set in Ireland during its tumultuous 16th century, this book is more of a romance than a historical. It touches on elements such as Henry VIII and his wives and the impending British conquest, but it does so only in passing.
There’s not a dull moment for this fantasy’s protagonist—no matter whose daughter she is.