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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Celtic Sacrifice by Sheryl Brennan



Celtic Sacrifice by Sheryl Brennan
Publisher: Underdog Press
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: Full (263 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 3 Books
Reviewed by Heather

Do you know how to make the gods laugh, Ceana? Tell them of your plans….”

When members of the O’Connor clan come to claim Ceana O’Hagan on her eighteenth birthday, she believes her destiny is clear: to marry Cian O’Connor, become a druid priestess, and restore the mystic powers of a long-lost ancestor.

But the path becomes muddy when a mysterious stranger captures Ceana’s heart, setting an alternate course of events into motion. Dangling within the chasms of religion, duty, and newly discovered emotions, will Ceana’s desire to fulfill her tribal obligations force her to give up the love of Cian, her country, and her culture, or will she refuse to become the Celtic Sacrifice, the English Crown demands?

This is a two-fold tale of an epic struggle – Ireland against Elizabeth I’s English invasion, and ancient Druidism vs infant Christianity. Celtic Sacrifice weaves the tale of two women, both druidesses, and their destinies. The heroine Ceara is the daughter of a chieftain, a renowned healer and budding seeress. Kelly is a Druid priestess destined to replace the High Priestess one day. Ceara is a woman who cares deeply for her family, her clan, and her land. Ceara is plagued by mysterious prophetic visions. Her fate lies with one of two men, and the fate of her people rests with her choice. Like all of us, she worries for those she loves. For anyone who’s struggled with the immortal question, “Did I make the right choice?” this is a tale not to be missed.

This is not your typical romance. Ceara is the main heroine, and her POV scenes are in first person, but Kelly gets equal time, albeit in third person. The in-and-out flow between the two POVs can be distracting. The reader is left wondering who Ceara’s ultimate hero will be – the handsome druid Cian or the mysterious warrior Patrick. That question is not answered until the end. The author weaves a fascinating portrayal of the druid customs, holidays, and ceremonies – to the point of overshadowing the characters. This reader wondered at the point of Kelly’s POV, as it ultimately vanishes unfinished. Her connection to Ceara is never fully explained. I liked the mystery of “whom will Ceara choose?” as both heroes were fully drawn, with valid motivations. The characters were fully developed, like real people who lived long ago.

This story had an epic feel to it, like it continued on after the last page. The characters were people you really wanted to succeed and be happy. Celtic Sacrifice was a wonderful portrayal of a turbulent time in Irish history and the people who lived and died in it. People who believed in something greater than themselves. If you like your stories to contain more than just two people falling in love, books with high stakes, then this is the story for you!

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