“Upon mine death for the blood ye have shed, Every daughter born to ye shall die before it draws breath, to which ye will know pain and worse, I cast unto ye mine blood curse.” ~ Vadoma
Four years after the Blood Curse, Pril of the Peddlers vows to protect her child against the evil men who hunt her. With her clan unaware of the branded girl among them, Pril has to keep the identity of her daughter a secret. When her child is kidnapped, she is forced to ask Merchant runner, Kade Walker, for his help.
Kade Walker needs to find the gypsy child. Blackmailed and pushed beyond his own moral code, he is determined to do whatever it takes. When he comes across the Peddler clan, he is sure the girl is there, however all hope is lost when the gypsies capture him. Time is running out—until Pril makes him an offer he cannot refuse.
Amidst greed, lust, revenge and love, Pril will need to trust Kade. But as the evil nears and doubt creeps in, will she discover that the enemy has been standing next to her all along?
Publisher and Release Date: Imajin Books, October 2014
Time and setting: Colonial America 1723
Genre: Historical/Paranormal with Romantic Elements
Heat Level: 0
Reviewer rating: 3.5 Stars
Review by Vikki
I found myself wondering, through most of this book, what genre it fits in. It has an historical setting and strong paranormal elements (Pril is descended from witches) along with a very slight romance. What it does have is lots of action. In the end, I’d call it more of an adventure/suspense story than anything else.
Pril must hide her adopted daughter, her sister’s child, from the evil ones who want her dead. Her other niece has just been killed, and she knows they will come after Tsura next. She sets a spell around the child to protect her from harm, determined to keep the child alive if it is the last thing she ever does. Tsura is now the Chuvani, the new enchantress, since her true mother was killed four years ago.
Kade Walker approaches Pril’s gypsy camp needing information. When he meets Pril, he immediately believes she is a liar and a fraud. She taunts him by asking him if he is afraid, so he enters her wagon. They get into an argument, Tsura enters the main room and sends a wind so strong that it propels them through the doorway, knocking Kade unconscious and breaking one of Pril’s ribs.
Shortly after this a fire breaks out, and Tsura disappears during the chaos. When some of the other gypsies turn on Pril, she asks Kade to help her find her daughter. But, has she gone from the frying pan into the fire? Kade has secrets and — little does Pril know — they involve her daughter. Will Kade prove to be her savior or her enemy?
The pacing of this story is excellent and kept me turning the pages. The premise is a strong one, and I became vested in the heroine from the first page. and it’s that that kept me reading. Ms Flannery is very good at writing action scenes and pulled me in from the beginning, and the fear Pril feels for Tsura is palpable and intense. I could easily see the heroine’s goal, motivation and conflict.
However, I did not like the hero for much of the book. This is possibly because the author does not fully explain his goal and only alludes to his motivation for a good portion of the story. Now, I did understand his internal conflict, but not the external until much later in the story, and this kept me from becoming as interested in him as I was in the Pril. For around half the story, I viewed Kade as a villain, even though it was clear he would turn out to be the hero.
While this story is entertaining, it is set in the wrong time period as gypsies did not come to America until the early 1850s. Another problem for me is that Ms Flannery mentions that the Salem witch hunts were still fresh in people’s minds, yet they occurred in 1692, thirty-one years earlier. I suppose there would have been people who remembered them, but I doubt they were strong memories. Another issue is that much of her terminology is too modern for the period, and the telegraph machine was not invented until 1837, yet she has one of the characters say he would send a telegram. While some form of telegraphy existed from 1792, it did not exist in America and certainly not in 1723.
I confess, I didn’t like the way that, for much of the book, Kade refers to Pril as Gypsy in a bit of a derogatory manner. Even though the story does have a happy ending, I never could see this couple falling in love with each other.The romance – such as it is – is contrived and thrown into the book haphazardly at best. There is no sexual tension, no longing to be with each other, nothing. Kade and Pril kiss one time and then again at the end – and that’s it. The epilogue for the story does not mention either of the principals. It is there simply to set up the next book in this series.
Nonetheless, I did enjoy most of this book, and I never guessed the identity of the villain – I was completely surprised. If you enjoy stories which involve fantasy and witchcraft with plenty of action, then this may be a book you will want to read, but if you want a fantasy with a romantic love story with factual history, then I would not suggest it.