Inveterate, incurable readaholic, who blogs about books and what's in 'em. If readaholism is a deadly disease, no problem. Couldn't imagine a better way to go.
For a variety of reasons, I accept very few review requests, but when author Elizabeth Davies offered me The Spirit Guide , I could not resist its promise of history, romance, and otherworldliness. My instincts served me well. I finished this book in the flash of an eye, as the story and its characters pulled me in from the very first page, and never set me free until the very end.
It’s no secret I love history, and British history is probably my favorite. This story begins in the midst of the death and destruction of war. Hey, it’s British history…nothing unexpected there. But what is unexpected is that as Seren tends to the wounded and dying soldiers, all around her she sees the spirits of those who’ve succumbed to their injuries.
Now, I am not really a paranormal kind of girl, especially when things start getting too out there. What I loved about The Spirit Guide was its believability…its almost normal, natural world feel. Set amidst the fear of witches and Black Magic, Seren and her powers fit, feel possible, rather than feeling fantastical and freakish. As with all paranormal, it does call for a suspension of belief in parts, but it wasn’t too much of stretch for me.
While its heart is a love story, this book is much more…the story of a woman locked in a loveless marriage, who views her gift as a curse, who is afraid to be herself, and who must make a life under difficult circumstances feeling she has no control. For all that Seren lives in the 12th century, she and some of the themes speak to modern life.
Ms. Davies’ characters are vivid, alive, and robust. Her writing paints them with feeling and multi-dimensionality. I particularly appreciated being kept guessing about Vaughan, Seren’s father-in-law. Is he evil incarnate…or not?, I kept pondering. From Vaughan, to Seren’s husband, to her husband’s mistress: all had layers which made the story intriguing and kept me wondering.
There really is nothing not to like about this read, but I will mention two slight disappointments. My first wish for this book would have been to learn more about Vaughan and his past. Because he was such a dichotomy and so central to the story, once I finished the book, I found myself pondering what made him as he was and what was his end game? What did he hope to achieve finally?
And, my second wish for the book? Head on over to the companion post What’s in a Name? to find out.
Still, these insignificances did almost nothing to dim my happiness while reading this book. I loved it.