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Saturday, February 10, 2007


****½ Captivated by Nora Roberts. Contemporary paranormal romance. Re-read.

This is the first book in the series about the magical Donovan family. It was written in 1992, for Silhouette. Which has quite a bit to do with my feelings about it. I don't always succeed, but I always try to judge a book (or a movie or whatever) by how well it sets out to do what I think it was trying to do. In other words, I try not to criticize comedies because they're not tear-jerkers.

Captivated is a short (250 pages in the original, though the reissue presumably has fewer words per page because it's expanded to 298 pages), light paranormal romance written at a time when paranormals weren't as popular as they are now. It's ridiculous to compare it to one of her 500+ page romantic suspense novels written 10 years later.

*deep breath* I've really got to stop reading the Amazon reviews before writing my own.

Nash Kirkland is a screenwriter of horror movies. He wants to write about a witch in his next movie, so he figures he'll research self-proclaimed "witch" Morgana Donovan.

Except that Morgana's the last thing he expected--the real thing, and someone he finds himself falling in love with.

I'm a little annoyed with the back cover blurb (another reason not to read blurbs) that, in both editions, talks about Nash wondering whether he was really in love or if she'd bewitched him. That doesn't happen until near the end of the book, which in my opinion, makes it a spoiler. What's worse, though, is that the real story is much more interesting than that.

As a writer of fantastic tales, Nash knows better than anyone that there's no such thing as magic. The real story is about Nash learning to believe in the unbelievable. And it's a lovely story.

Both Nash and Morgana were very appealing to me--they both accepted things as they were, and were logical, practical, non-judgmental people. Well, Nash didn't quite accept the magic, but that's because he knew there was no such thing. When he started to believe, he accepted it.

How someone reacts to the existence of the magical is one of the most interesting facets of paranormal romance or contemporary fantasy for me, but it doesn't always have the focus I'd like. This story does it very well. I could believe in Nash's practical skepticism, and I could believe in his gradual acceptance. It's how I'd like to think I'd react in his place.


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