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Monday, August 23, 2010

Again by Diana Murdock

Again by Diana Murdock
Publisher: Smashwords
Genre: Contemporary, Historical
Length: Short Story (143 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Two women, born centuries apart, both accept lives of obligation and responsibility; lives without passion, with men who would claim them for their own. Until, that is, a chain of events complicates things in ways they never imagined, all because of one man’s love for a woman…a love that crosses through centuries to find her again.

Eryn’s dreams reveal Lady Catherine’s life in 1501. At seventeen, Catherine is of marriage age and the suitors are many, but her friend and champion since childhood, Galen, a knight in her father’s service dissuades them all. Catherine’s sister fourteen-year-old Sara is jealous of her older sister and does irreparable damage to many lives. The lecherous Lord Oakley proves to be an abhorrent villain, but the gorgeous merchant Jonathan with the smiling, kind eyes wins the attention of all the women, including Catherine.

Feeling a strong connection with the people in her dreams, Eryn begins to research reincarnation. She finds the premise that that if we don’t master lessons in one lifetime, they will carry over to a later lifetime and that souls often return in groups to get things right. As her dreams continue, she finds she and Lady Catherine have many of the same personality traits and flaws that are self-defeating at times. She begins to work through her present day conflicts, as she is privy to Lady Catherine’s efforts to cope with the emotional upheavals in her life. The parallels of the characters in the sixteenth century and the twenty-first century are intriguing.

In alternating chapters, the author reveals the stories of sixteenth-century Catherine and twenty-first-century Eryn’s lives. Both stories are captivating, but alternating the chapters took away the immediacy of the conflicts in both stories for me. I lost my feeling of concern and had to reconnect time and again. However, as the novel evolves, the characters in Eryn’s present-day story make her struggle to work toward her destiny and her soul mate enthralling. Odd syntax and punctuation slow the reading and the telling rather than showing of the story keeps the reader on the outside at times. However, sharing Eryn’s maturation experience and her deciding to live for herself instead of always subjugating her desires in order to please others is totally rewarding.

Again is full of interesting characters with complex personalities and a ton of emotional issues. Bryce, Eryn’s husband, and Brandi, her best friend, are particularly complicated. They give the story an ominous edginess. Conversely, Jonathan, in Catherine’s story and Shawn in Eryn’s story are fascinating.