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Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Magic Stone by Marie Sterbenz

The Magic Stone by Marie Sterbenz
Publisher: Wild Horse Press
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: Short (134 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 3.5 books
Review by Snapdragon

Siobhan is a master craftswoman, creating intricate miniatures from Connemara marble. When Brendan sees her exquisite work, he is determined to sell the pieces throughout the area.

In the midst of their business transaction, Siobhan comes to the realization that Brendan stays in her thoughts more often than he should. Determined to only marry a warrior, she does her best to avoid him at all costs.

Brendan, however, is not satisfied to let things lie. He's determined to show Siobhan how right they are for each other. He knows his kisses light her on fire. Now he needs her to understand that he is not merely a merchant, but is skilled with a sword. While he is capable of fighting against the best, he chooses a quieter life,where taking the life of another is not a requirement of day to day living.

Will Siobhan open up to him, allowing him to show her how wonderful they can be together? Or will her ideas of only marrying a man who is a warrior stand in their way?

‘The Magic Stone’ is set in Medieval Ireland, and features a quick tempered heroine, Siobhan, and a witty, likable hero, Brendan. Their meeting is fortuitous – but their temperaments hardly seem to make them suitable. The first thing you note is what the handsome Brendan is not because Siobhan, who comes from a courageous and famed fighting lineage, notes that Brendan, a merchant, is not a brave man-at-arms.

It doesn’t help that first off, he happens on her when she’s in the midst of extricating herself from a mud-puddle, so her embarrassment doesn’t lend to any attraction. He’s also too witty and only too happy to get her goat.

Siobhan has some less-than admirable traits…but her dedication to her art sets her apart from the woman of her time. She is a thinker, and strong-minded to boot. Brendan’s perseverance seems to annoy her, although it might just flatter her, as well. Brendan, although he’s warned about Siobahn’s opinions and temper, insists he finds her challenging and interesting. The quirky characters here really make this story worth reading – even secondary characters have points that prove interesting. At times the dialogue is a bit stilted or unrealistic, and there are the odd slow, or predictable moments. A certain wordiness slows the action, particularly at the opening.

The historical setting is largely a charming backdrop – this love story might have happened anywhere. However, Sterbenz achieves a tone and mostly maintains a pace throughout, that lend to the sense of time and place. Worth reading – 3.5 books