Anatole lives on the steep crags of Cornwall, trapped in isolation by his legacy and powers. Surrounded by only a handful of servants and his dogs, he has never ventured far from the thick stone walls of his castle. Now, as part of timeless tradition, Anatole must turn to his former tutor and distant cousin, Septimus Fitzleger, also known as the Bride Finder, a man blessed with the power to find the one woman who is Anatole's destiny.
Madeline Breton is that chosen bride and has come to Cornwall to meet her new husband. I know you are all Anatole St. Leger could ever want, Septimus had told her. And sensible Madeline had begun to dream. But, now that she has reached her strange destination, the dream is diffusing quickly in the shadow of the dark and ominous Castle Leger. Her husband is hardly the gentleman she had envisioned. He looks more like a fierce Celtic warrior, one whose wild, ebony hair and brusque manner hint of stranger, mysterious gifts. What unknown forces are at work at Castle Leger? Why do the servants and the villagers both respect and fear her husband? Anatole knows only too well the legacies that to him have been more curse than gift. But as Madeline embarks on an odyssey both otherworldly and undeniably real, she and her husband fall hopelessly in love - until she also sees the haunting vision of murder in the crystal of the St. Leger sword and vows never to let this dire portent come to pass. Then, into this hypnotic world, a sudden, terrifying enemy emerges to threaten both their lives.
Once every so often a novel comes along that takes your breath away. From its mesmerizing first page to its unforgettable last, Susan Carroll spins a sweeping, spellbinding tale of magic, romance and legend - a beautifully written, utterly gripping epic that illuminates the undying power of love.
Ever since I read the Faire Isle trilogy by this author, I have been intending to read her backlist. So when it was my turn to choose author of the month in the Historical Romance Chat Yahoo group, I chose Susan Carroll, and decided to read the first book in the St Leger trilogy. The main reason for choosing this book was that The Huntress wasn't quite out yet (which I still haven't managed to read) and I wanted to get to her other books in due course anyway.
Straight off the bat, I want to say that I loved this setting - 1800's in a haunted castle in Cornwall - can it be anymore gothic? Add to the setting the fact that the hero is afflicted with a terrible curse, and I am totally there!
When Anatole sends his cousin and bride finder to London to find him a wife he gives him a very strict list of requirements. It's no wonder he didn't recognise his intended because Madeline Breton is pretty much everything he doesn't want in a bride! His dreams have foretold what is to happen and he now can't stop those events from coming to fruition, and it could mean the end of the line for his family!
With a cast of kooky and a little bit spooky characters, lots of paranormal activity (not werewolves and vampires - more ghosts and strange events) and a bit of suspense this was a cracking read.
Of the books that I have read by Susan Carroll so far, I am yet to read a dud. I will definitely be reading more of this trilogy.
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The Eclectic Reader