Thursday, June 03, 2010

Uncertain Magic by Laura Kinsale

A man damned by suspicion and innuendo

Dreadful rumors swirl around the impoverished Irish lord known as "The Devil Earl". But Faelen Savigar hides a dark secret, for even he doesn't know what dreadful deeds he may be capable of.

A woman cursed by the gift of "sight"

Roderica Delamore fears no man will ever want a wife who can read his every thought and emotion, until she encounters Faelan. As the two find their way to each other against all odds, Roddy becomes determined to save Faelen from his terrifying and mysterious ailment. But will their lvoe end up saving him ... or destroying her?

A breathtaking historical romance filled with poignancy, darkness, love, and an unexpected twist of Gaelic magic…

I am going to have to start this review with a bit of a rant! I really, really don’t like books where the hero refers to the heroine as little girl or little love or anything like that. Unfortunately, the author uses this as an endearment between our hero of this novel, Faelen Savigar, and the heroine,  Roddy Delamore,  and every time he called her that name I wanted to throw the book down and walk away. I was hoping that it would just be in the early part of the book, and that in due course Faelen would grow to see her as more than a little girl, but alas it didn't happen, at least in terms of endearments. To me, it just sounds so condescending and a little bit wrong. 

Now that that is out of the way a bit more about the book. Roddy has always been a little bit different, and she has always been aware that other people look at her a bit askance, a little bit fearful of what it is that is different about her. She can hear the thoughts and feel the emotions of humans and creatures near her. When she is at the races, she feels the pain of a racing horse, knowing that if it keeps on being forced to race it’s heart will give out. The owner of the horse is known as the Devil Earl, including that he murdered his father at a young age. He is a man who lives on the periphery of accepted society, and about whom many rumours swirl. He doesn’t really even trust himself as there are many occasions where he loses days, not knowing where he has been or what he has been doing. Amazingly for Roddy who wants a life away from her parents meaning marriage and children, he is also a man that she can’t get inside the head of, even if she tries, and that makes him attractive to her. She therefore suggest to him that perhaps he could court her.

Whilst her family are initially reluctant to agree to the match, Roddy convinces them that he is indeed the man she wants to marry and they agree. What follows their wedding is danger, intrigue, rebellion and mysticism with its heart in the Irish countryside. Faelen is hoping to rebuild his family’s crumbling estate, but before he can do that, his friend must move on the guns that he has illegally stored at the estate. It is however no easy matter to remove that number of weapons undetected by the English soldiers who are on the lookout for traitors, and feel no sense of injustice by destroying peoples homes and livelihoods in the process. From spectral haunting, to dangerous attempts to free people from jail, this book would seem to have all the ingredients for a cracking good read.

While all of this sounds very dramatic, I had trouble being interested enough in the storyline, and actually felt a bit lost at times as the mystical and then the temporal elements jostled for time at the forefront of the book.
I have liked the books I have read by this author before, but unfortunately this one didn’t work as well for me! Even by the time I got to the end of the book, I wasn't quite sure what at least two of the characters were and how they fitted into the big picture.

Whilst the paranormal elements in this novel were different from a lot of the books that are being released now, I do think that if you have been reading romance for a while you would recognise the style as a more older fashioned type of paranormal, which makes sense give that this book was originally published in 1987.

Thanks to Sourcebooks who provided me with a review copy of this book.

This book counted for the 2010 Pub Challenge, and the Romance Reading Challenge that I am participating in.

Rating 3.5/5


  1. Ah! The 'little girl' stuff drove me insane, too! I forgot to mention that in my review.

    1. Indeed. The 'Little girl' reference made me cringe too. Liked the book. But I found myself often lost in the vast amount of description. And the ending seemed rushed. There were questions that was build throughout the story that were left halfly answered.

  2. i was very interested to see the published date at the end of your post! a H/H has an uncomfortable paranormal gift that is only negated by the other H/H? so very familiar! hello twilight and sookie stackhouse and numerous others!

  3. It sounds like it should have worked -- but the "little girl" thing would have had me putting the book down instead of finishing it.

  4. You know that I really struggle not to finish a book when I start it Beth! There was enough to keep me interested, if only in the hope of growth!

    Lustyreader, I do think that this book harked back to an older, perhaps more gothic, type of paranormal, but that particular idea has definitely been used again over the years.

    Christy, have you tried Susan Carroll's older novels. She has a trilogy set in Cornwall that has this old fashioned paranormal feel to them as well.

  5. Sorry to hear that this one was not a total success for you. I think the diminutive names thing would bother me as well. I do hope your next read is better!!

  6. ...i kind of like the little girl stuff but only if she becomes a strong character by the end. If she's a help me, save me type throughout then I'm not impressed. I kind of like that challenging exchange. I'm sick - I'm sorry!(I still want to read this one. Kinsale's become a must read for me)

  7. you are right, I don't know what Roddy and Faelan were either. I didn't relize this before. Thanks Marg.
    Great review and glad I wasn't the only one that wanted those two words to go away.