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Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Lady of the Storm by Kathryne Kennedy

The Lady of the Storm by Kathryne Kennedy
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (391 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Storm lord’s daughter Cecily Sutton’s powers over sea and sky have put her life at risk. Giles Beaumont is reluctant to protect her, until he falls under her enchanting spell...

If a reader appreciates a book filled with pictures painted with words, and details that animate a world within your mind, then look no further than the amazing book by the talented Ms. Kennedy.

The Lady of the Storm is a book worth spending the time with. I was first introduced to this alternate and fantastical England with The Fire Lord’s Lover. The world building astounded me then and I couldn’t imagine how much more could be added; it was already so rich. Ms. Kennedy had it covered. In this latest adventure, the author introduced me to a new quest, new characters, and new obstacles for the hero and heroine to overcome. I can also assure readers that this is a terrific stand alone read.

Readers of the first book will understand the references to ‘being tested” and know that it’s not a good thing. For those who are visiting for the first time with this story, enough gets shared during character dialogue to understand why it’s to be feared. The explanations of why there is a rebellion are, again, naturally presented in the due course of events.

The author first sets up the relationship between Giles and Cecily by delving into their past and sharing the things that made them the people they are. By the time the tale begins in earnest, I understood the internal conflicts that tore them apart inside, and the external conflict that affected not just them but all of their English countrymen. It’s a fight for independence and reclamation of their life and lands.

Cecily is delightfully stubborn yet is a tender hearted lady. She only allows herself to accept the magic inside of her that helps others or causes no harm. There’s a reason for that and it’s believable. Her magic also gets employed as a tool to move the plot along. I liked how the author molded a young sheltered girl into a woman that’s a force to be reckoned with. The transition was detailed in such a way that I felt like I was shadowing the heroine every step of the way. Cecily inadvertently trained herself for her future and only after reading this book will readers understand what I mean. Magic is the world she was born into, but not all that she knows.

Giles’s character is so sweet. I don’t mean he’s a pansy. I refer to him being a man who fell in love when he was but a kid and didn’t or couldn’t recognize the emotion for what it was. His actions speak loud and clear to what is in his heart. Ms. Kennedy put him through the wringer that sorely tested his resolve and his love by having something happen to him that crushed his spirit. Yet, though his words, harshly and firmly spoken, and his chilling and isolationist silence made his choice clear, his actions eventually speak louder than the storms his lady can call.

I sensed a bit of a Beauty and the Beast theme being interwoven through this fantasy. It’s a classic element and I enjoyed the author’s unique way of breathing new life into an old but treasured storytelling idea. Certainly it’s romantic and emotional and it touched me right where the author intended. It was well written and effective and again proved just how special Cecily was.

The romance is at the heart of this book but it’s tempered with the intrigue, suspense and light drama that the hero and heroine have to deal with before they can reach their happy ever after. The villain wasn’t a specific all encompassing target like it was in the first book. In The Lady of the Storm, there are villains and there are confrontations, bloody ones at that, but this tale is more about Cecily and Giles coming to an understanding about each other in spite of it all. Realizing they love each other in the midst of everything and battling for that love to survive against evil magical odds made for an entertaining read.

Secondary characters play vital roles in helping the hero and heroine get to where they need to be and do what had to be done. Some of them I wanted to toss into a smelly moat and others I wanted to hug. They were all well developed and brought the story into more vivid life. The writing was superb; the author paid close attention to detail without letting the story stagnant and it never gets bogged down. The pace was crisp, the dialogue true to the character’s personalities, and every now and again, a spot of humor and tenderness smoothed away any rough edges.

The Lady of the Storm is another whirlwind ride into the magical chaos that is England – a world that is fascinating as well as dangerous. Thanks to the stellar writing talents of Ms. Kennedy, I have a new series that will be an auto-buy for me. As real as the story seems when I’m in the midst of it, I am so glad no fire demons will actually jump out at me. However, I wouldn’t mind a Giles of my own, without that spooky sword of his, that is. Thank you, Ms. Kennedy, for a wild reading experience and for introducing me to a heroine and hero I enjoyed getting to know.