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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Safe Harbor

**** Safe Harbor by Christine Feehan. Contemporary paranormal romance.

This is the 5th story and 4rd full-length novel in the Drake sisters series. The first two were novellas. In order, they're "Magic in the Wind" (in Lover Beware), The Twilight Before Christmas, which for some reason I thought was an anthology, so it's still in my TBR pile, Oceans of Fire (#30), Dangerous Tides, and Safe Harbor.

The seven Drake sisters all have magical abilities. This story focuses on Hannah, who's a supermodel. Though appearing in public is very difficult for her, she pushes herself to do it because she thinks it's what her sisters want and she doesn't want to let them down.

Jonas is a long-time family friend, the local sheriff, and sometime government operative. He's also always been in love with Hannah, but thinks she's too good for him, and hesitates to expose her to the danger of his jobs.

Danger finds her anyway, when a crazed killer attacks her with a knife on national television, as Jonas watches, horrified, from the other side of the country. She's saved by the mysterious Prakenskii, who has powers of his own, and designs on sister Joley.

I very much enjoyed this story. Jonas's tendency to bark orders when he's worried rather than explain his concerns is even more pronounced here--understandably so, since his emotions are out of control. The danger to Hannah and the way the various suspense plots come together were exciting enough to hold my attention.

I loved the emotional aspect, which is where I think this story shines. Jonas demonstrates that beneath the bossy exterior, he truly loves and understands Hannah--in fact, he understands her better than her sisters, and admires her courage in continuing a career that takes so much out of her, even while he's nagging her to quit because he knows she's not happy. Hannah's journey of self-discovery is lovely to see--she finally realizes that her sisters love her for herself and want her to be happy, and she takes responsibility for having hidden her unhappiness to try to please them.

Her post-attack trauma is, of course, what accelerates her growth, and it's very realistically done. She doesn't get over it right away--people don't. And that touches on a societal concern I have about people being expected to recover instantaneously from trauma or grief or whatever. Instead, she recovers gradually, and the reactions between Hannah, her sisters, and Jonas were true and emotional.

My problem with the book was that it could really have used a good editing. The repetition and backstory slowed down the pace to a crawl in spots and seriously interfered with my enjoyment. It's probably better to read this book at a skimming pace--reading to get the gist of the story rather than reading every word. Which is so odd. In some books (#18), Feehan's writing is so lush and rich that not only do I read every word, but I slow down my reading to savor them. This isn't one of those.


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