Dark Warrior

The Irish Devil

Irish Hope

Love Me Forever

Magical Memories

Magical Moments

The Bewitching Twin
by Donna Fletcher
(Avon, $5.99, PG) ISBN 006-075783-3
In the sequel to The Daring Twin, Fletcher has written an engaging tale of love, definitely a strong character study, with little action and a plot that is built on secrets that are late to be revealed. But it works well enough to be enjoyable thus prompting me to give The Bewitching Twin a recommendation.

Aliss, of the Blackshaw clan, is kidnapped in the night and taken to an island away from her Scottish home. She is a healer and her skills are needed by the clan of The Wolf. Aliss bargains, however, and gains the agreement that she will be returned home after her work is done. Little does she know that she is actually in the middle of a plan for ransom and revenge.

Rogan is the chieftain of the Wolf clan, having inherited from his father. This clan is really a mishmash of people who were unwanted or kicked out of their homes. Over the years, they have formed an alliance and look to Rogan to lead them to safety and a new home. Rogan wants to attain the Island of Nor, an uninhabited island that his mother had told him was his inheritance. However, the island is in the hands of the Hellwyk clan under Tarr. Tarr is the hero of The Daring Twin, and Aliss is the twin sister to his wife, Fiona. Roganís plan is to ransom Aliss for the right to Nor.

But Aliss is a beauty and has a heart of gold to match. Her life as a healer has allowed her to put others before her own needs and she is deeply caring. When she finds a village filled with ill people, she is determined to find the cause and thus the cure. Rogan is enchanted and finds himself falling for her. She too falls for him, despite the fact that he kidnapped her. Being unaware of the ransom plot, she soon finds herself in love. Since she is the second half of an ancient prophecy that dictates she must marry soon, she offers to marry Rogan. It is only after they are married that Aliss learns of Roganís deception, causing a misunderstanding that requires them to work to repair the damage to the trust they had developed. There is more mystery to uncover that could impact their life together too.

Not having read the first book did not detract from Aliss and Roganís story. Aliss is an independent woman; although it is often mentioned that this is a new trait for her. She is easy to love and while caring, she is sensible and knowledgeable. She doubts herself often, but then realizes that she may need to step back and take a different view. The multiple dimensions to her character allowed her to engage the reader into her story.

Rogan is a chieftain that can be seen in many tales set in the early 1500ís, yet he too has many dimensions. He has experienced love before and seeks it again following the death of his first wife in childbirth. He has secrets which forge his plans, but they are not really developed as emotions that are the reason for his lifeís mission causing the depth of the plots to be a little forced and out of the blue when they are divulged. But there is a lot to like about Rogan. He loves everything about Aliss and realizes that her need to heal is one of the strongest attractions. This allows him to be protective while accepting of her need to be her own woman. I enjoyed his strength and his humanity, but I have to note that his awareness of maintaining his manliness while letting Aliss be a power in her own right seemed slightly ahead of his time.

Unlike The Dark Warrior, which I found to be a keeper, this mystery did not carry the story. The mystery here seemed periphery and almost inconsequential except to provide the discord between the couple. The strength was the love story. Rogan wooed Aliss and there was a lot of romance in the air, giving the story a feel of a fairy tale with some tender and energetic love scenes. The style of the author maintained balance in the romance and allowed the reader to be engaged even when noting some of the shortfalls of the novel. Historical detail and setting is not one of the strong points. But a clear understanding of the sense of family within a clan comes through in the relationships both Aliss and Rogan form and in the secondary characters that make up the clan.

For an enjoyable medieval, The Bewitching Twin is a good tale for those who like their romance surrounded by a hint of history. Rogan and Aliss enhance the tale and the romance is the key, delighting the reader even while being aware of the deficits.

--Shirley Lyons

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