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Friday, June 3, 2011

Fire of my Heart by Erin Grace

Fire of my Heart by Erin Grace
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (115 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by Poinsettia

When Australian botanist Ellen Quinn travels to her ancestral home in Ireland determined to complete her family tree, she expects quaint villages and a rustic countryside. What she finds are the cold dark walls of Banth Manor and much more than just dusty old books. The manor's handsome, but mysterious, caretaker has captured her imagination…and her heart. As terrifying nightmares and visions of the past threaten to send Ellen to the brink of madness, a shocking truth will put her life in jeopardy.

Rowan O’Connell wasn’t expecting to find a stranger wandering Banth Manor's conservatory. But Ellen is no ordinary trespasser. Though many visitors have come and gone over the years, few stayed long enough to get to know him. Ghosts rarely make a good impression.

Faced with a future more haunting than the past, Ellen would rather sacrifice life itself than lose the man who brings out her deepest desires.

Will Rowan burn in the flames of vengeance forever, or will Ellen’s love extinguish the blaze?

Ellen came to life in my mind from the moment I started reading. She’s a beautiful, intelligent, and successful woman. With everything she has going for her, Ellen has never found someone to settle down with. I think this made Ellen very realistic as many people can relate to her insecurities concerning relationships. Afraid of being hurt, she built a wall around her heart. Everything changes when she meets Rowan. For the first time in her life, she genuinely wants to let a man into her heart. However, Ellen soon discovers that a relationship with Rowan will be more difficult than she ever imagined.

Rowan is a dark and brooding hero. For hundreds of years he’s been condemned to haunt Banth Manor because of the sins of his past. For so long, Rowan has felt nothing but hatred. When Ellen walks into his life, he begins to feel human again. It took me a little while to warm up to Rowan. His manner seemed strange and cold at first. Also the crimes of his past are truly horrific. However, Ellen has a very positive effect on him, and I enjoyed watching him gradually let go of the hatred he’d been holding onto for so long.

I absolutely loved watching Ellen and Rowan get to know each other. Their relationship progresses very quickly, but never feels forced. Ellen is attracted to Rowan from the moment she sees him. Rowan also feels an instant connection. The chemistry between them is amazing and results in some truly steamy, well written love scenes. I also liked that their relationship wasn’t exactly perfect. Ellen and Rowan are both realistic about the obstacles to their romance. This results in some fights fueled by frustration that made my heart ache for the star-crossed lovers.

I do think that some of the secondary characters could have been a bit more developed. While most of the secondary characters were likable, they were mainly stereotypes whose only purpose seemed to be filling space between scenes with Rowan and Ellen. Daniel’s character is the only exception. He is a local who gets to know Ellen and provides some minor conflict in the story. Still his development seemed a bit rough and I would have liked to know more about him and the motivations for his actions. Despite this issue, the tension and passion surrounding Ellen and Rowan’s relationship was so strong that it kept me fully engaged in the story right up to the last page.

I must also comment on the ending of the story. As I read, I had a vague idea of how I thought things between Rowan and Ellen would be resolved, but I never saw Ms. Grace’s ending coming. The ending leaves some things open to interpretation and is definitely bittersweet. It is certainly not the typical happily ever after. Still, the way Ms. Grace ended the story felt realistic and satisfying. However, readers looking for a simple, sweet ending might not enjoy the ending to this story as much as I did.

Fire of my Heart is a captivating love story with and unexpected, unique, and bittersweet ending. I truly enjoyed reading it and recommend it to anyone who enjoys paranormal romance.