Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Angel of Blythe Hall

Author: Darci Hannah
Pages: 512
First Published: July 2011
Genre: Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Romance
First Line: "Like a tenacious weed, the memory of that sunny spring eleven years ago, in the year of our Lord 1481, still haunts the recesses of my mind."

Synopsis: Prepared to lay claim to her family’s magnificent ancestral fortress in the Scottish border country, Lady Isabeau Blythe is determined to restore her noble family’s good name and reclaim these stunning, strife-torn lands. But even the headstrong Isabeau’s firm sense of reality is shaken by the inexplicable allure of Blythe Hall, an entrancing castle haunted by dark secrets—and otherworldly creatures of light and desire.

Isabeau’s arrival sets in motion an epic power struggle: a ferocious fight for Scotland, her family, and her heart. Taunted and tempted by a sinister rogue knight, Sir George, who covets her land and her love, and trapped in the madness of her charismatic brother, Julius, who seeks power of unearthly origin, Isabeau can only surrender to the wild visions of the remarkable man she inexplicably longs for. With a bloodthirsty army amassing outside her gates, Isabeau summons help from Gabriel, the elusive man of her dreams. But does this alluring man possess the secrets of the castle and her destiny? (Synopsis from

My Thoughts: When I read the synopsis of the book I was intrigued.  Truth be told I picked up this book at the library based on the picture on the front, the description on the back cover and the fact that it was set in Scotland.  Mmmm, men in kilts!
Unfortunately, the description and what I read in the book didn't mesh.  Yes, it followed the general synopsis but it took an odd turn.  I began the book thinking it was going to be a Scottish border tale.  You know the kind.   Strong men on horseback in kilts defending their country while falling in love with the strong-minded woman who has just entered his life.  I've read more than my fair share of that kind 'historical fiction with a splash of romance' and there's a reason why.  I like them.  They're not hard to follow, they have decent storylines and who among us doesn't melt at the thought of a Scottish brogue.  {**Mmmmmmelt**}

Unfortunately (or is it surprisingly?) what I got wasn't a good old romp along the Scottish border but a historical fiction/paranormal romance with a pretty cheesy aftertaste.  I love a good cheese ... just not in my romances. 

For the romance aspect there was no lead up to Isabeau's romance with Gabriel.  It's so sudden and unexplained that it was hard to buy.  One minute she doesn't believe this guy is real and literally the next day she can't keep her hands off him.  Not buying it.  Ease me into the romance!  I have to believe it if I'm going to buy it.

I think what surprised me the most was how the mystical/paranormal element of the story didn't mesh with the historical part of the book.  It felt like the book started like a historical fiction read but then this mystical angel element was added and it threw it all off balance.  When this mystical element was first introduced I had to reread a passage because I thought I was mistaken about where the author was going with the storyline.

Overall, just an ok read.  Let's just say that I was never on the edge of my seat with suspense.   The characters were clich├ęd, rather dull and everyone was just too darn gorgeous.  I think it would have been better if the author would have stuck to one or two genres.  Adding the third genre made the book confusing and took a lot of the momentum from what would have been a good read.   

 My Rating: 1.5/5 stars


TheBookGirl said...

Hmm. Seems as though this was a little bit all over the place...I don't go much for paranormal, and am not much for the "cheese" factor, lol. Hope your next read is a better one.

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Oh BookGirl, the book I read after this one was worse (see my review of The Botticelli Secret). I have suddenly lost my book mojo. I'm open to suggestions!! :)

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