The Last Highlander

Once Upon a Kiss

As Claire Delacroix:

The Damsel

My Lady's Desire

The Princess

Love Potion #9 by Claire Cross
(Jove, $5.99, R) ISBN 0-515-12529-6
Love Potion # 9 doesn't have much substance, but there's a fine sense of humor evident in the characterizations and the story line. Certainly this tale's surprising ending is very amusing.

For over five hundred years, Lilith has been living on one night of love. Parted by a hangman's noose, her lover swore he would return to her. Lilith sought and found the key to immortality and has been patiently waiting for her soul mate to find his way back to her.

However on the 579th anniversary of her lover's death, Lilith's patience runs out -- 578 years of celibacy has taken its toll. Lilith conjures a love potion to bring her lover to her door. And when her new neighbor, Mitch Davison, knocks on her door, he receives a warmer welcome than any man in his wildest dreams should expect.

Lilith's a bit upset that Mitch doesn't remember what they once were to one another but she's willing to give him time to recall their love. When Lilith isn't charming Mitch, she's charming his family, which includes a five-year-old son, a toddler daughter and Mitch's loving but interfering stepmother.

Mitch thinks Lilith is a kook, but a very sexy kook. Unfortunately, his ex-wife has left Mitch wary of love and those that espouse it as a way of life. For Lilith, love is her life and her livelihood. She's a fortune-teller of love; one look into a person's eyes and Lilith can tell that person where they will find their soul mate.

A journalist, Mitch is more than a little skeptical about Lilith's vocation. And after his stepmother tells him she's taking a cruise to find her true love, on Lilith's advice, Mitch decides to investigate Lilith, thoroughly.

Even by the standards of fantasy romance the premise for Love Potion #9 is absurd, but there's no doubt that it tickles the funny bone. At times, this tale doesn't seem to have enough substance to keep it going and the characters are completely one-dimensional. Then again, the surprise ending is wonderfully ironic and provides an amusing and entertaining twist to the finale.

So if you're looking for some very light fantasy fare with a large dose of the absurd, you might consider adding Love Potion #9 to your summer reading list.

--Judith Flavell

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