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Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Flashback

From September 2002:

The Devil of Kilmartin by Laurin Wittig. Historical romance.

This isn't the first heroine we've read recently who had healing powers, but in this case, more is made of it. Interesting that we've been seeing more books lately with a hint of psychic abilities or occurrences added to 'regular' stories--that is, not in specifically paranormal books.

I had a little trouble understanding Elena at first---why she would refuse to help Symon. It seems like usually when I read about a heroine with healing powers, she can't stand to see anyone in pain and is compelled to help even if the person doesn't want help. Then I looked at how she was treated, and I understood. She'd had to learn to suppress her natural compassion because she'd been forced to use her gifts to keep a war going, and only for that. And Symon was demanding her help, so she was trying to protect herself by resisting. Also, she didn't want to verify her identity for fear she'd be used again, and this time against her own people.

I did have some sympathy for the young Donal, but none for who he'd made himself: Dougal. Taking men into battle, getting them wounded over, forcing Elena to heal them, then taking them back into battle---over and over again---that's just evil. He's treating the men & Elena as inanimate weapons, all to get back at the Lachlan clan for not welcoming him with open arms.

Yes, I can understand his resentment, but it's hardly unexpected that he wouldn't become chief of the clan---bastard sons usually didn't, even if they were older, did they?

I did think of poison right away, and for about 3/4 of the book, I suspected Ranald. I kept thinking that Symon was being naive for trusting his brother, who thought he'd lead the clan better. Even when I found out Ranald hadn't started talking about being a better leader until after Symon's first attack of 'madness', I thought Ranald had been thinking about it before & induced the madness to give some credence to his claim. I can be a wee bit stubborn when I think I have something figured out. Even when I suspected their father had been murdered, rather than killed in the battle, I thought it was Ranald. And I suspected Elena's father had been murdered as well, but didn't put 2 & 2 together until the very end of the book. I'm usually much better than this at figuring things out.

I think the think I liked most about this book was that Symon's strength complemented Elena's. When she was healing and Symon held her and added his strength to hers, and then when she was healing him at the end & their love gave her the added strength needed to heal him. Literally, the 'power of love'.

Forgive my rambling this morning--I'm afraid I'm not making a great deal of sense. Monday morning, dontchaknow.

Anyway, a wonderful story, Laurin! Thanks so much!
You can read the entire thread, including a conversation with the author, here.

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