Wednesday, May 12, 2010

ARC Review: Uncertain Magic

Uncertain Magic
Laura Kinsale
Historical Romance/1797/England/Ireland
Sourcebooks/May 2010
Reprint/1st Published by Avon/1987
ARC for Review

From the back cover ~

A man damned by suspicion and innuendo

Dreadful rumors swirl around the impoverished Irish lord known as "The Devil Earl." But Faelan Savigar hides a dark secret, for even he doesn't know what dreadful deeds he may be capable of...

A woman cursed by the gift of "sight"

Roderica Delamore fears no man will ever want a wife who can read his every thought and emotion, until she encounters Faelan. As the two find their way to each other against all odds, Roddy becomes determined to save Faelen from his terrifying and mysterious ailment. But will their love end up saving him...or destroying her? A breathtaking historical romance filled with poignancy, darkness, love, and an unexpected twist of Gaelic magic...

A classic tale from Laura Kinsale. I remember reading this years ago when it was first released. I'm so happy that Sourcebooks will be releasing Ms. Kinsale's backlist so that new readers can enjoy her unique characters and settings.

I immediately liked Roderica or Roddy as she's called. She's extremely wealthy but is kept fairly secluded by her family. It's because of her gift or curse, depending on who you are and how you view it. Roddy can read minds by hearing people's thoughts. So being in a crowded environment can become overwhelming for her. She does feel a special affinity for animals which is what brings her into contact with The Devil Earl.

When Roddy meets Faelen Savigar she is stunned, not by the fact that he is exceedingly handsome in a devilish way, but because she can not hear his thoughts. Nothing. It's an amazing treat for Roddy to be near someone and not be bombarded by their thoughts. She does have ways of toning down the volume but in crowds it can be too much. Or with people she is close to, hearing their most intimate thoughts can be embarrassing. With Faelen, she has none of that. Of course, there are times when Roddy wishes she could hear his thoughts. LOL She is fascinated by him and thinks he is her chance to have a normal life. A life with a husband and children. It's something that she thought was out of her reach because of her curse. Now, there's a chance she can have that.

It seems The Devil Earl is low on funds and needs money to repair his estate in Ireland. When Roddy encourages his attention, letting him know that she wants marriage, he thinks this is the answer to his problems. He proceeds to court her, quickly, since he is also short on time. They marry with some speculation from the gossip mill.

The Devil Earl isn't an innocent and his more recent mistress makes an appearance, putting Roddy on the defense. The woman makes it clear to Roddy what her relationship with Roddy's husband is and there is also Roddy's ability to hear the woman's thoughts. I felt sorry for Roddy when she finds herself doubting her place in Faelan's life. She worried that he would go back to his mistress even after he showed Roddy how much he wanted her. Thankfully, Faelan doesn't prove to be an ass and he really is coming to care very much for Roddy. They spend some time in London but Faelan must get back to Ireland and see to his estate.

Before they head to Ireland, Faelan's mother, Lady Iveragh descends on the newlyweds. She is a real piece of work. You know she's up to trouble and seeing her interactions with Faelan helped me get to know his past better and perhaps why he is so standoffish. Lady Iveragh is adminant that Faelan and Roddy not go to Ireland. She hates it there and is certain that it's no place for Roddy. Another unexpected guest pays a visit. He is Geoffrey, Lord Cashel. He is friends with Faelan but also neighbor to Roddy. She has known him forever and also has a secret crush on him. But he is married to a perfect lady, not one that can hear his every thought. Roddy knew if Geoffrey had ever found out what she could do it would ruin their relationship.

There is a bit of a love triangle going on with Roddy, Faelan and Geoffrey. It's because Faelan suspects his wife is secretly in love with his friend Geoffrey so it creates some tension when the two men are together. The things that Faelan is accused of and whispered about also creates great tension. Geoffrey may consider Faelan his friend but that doesn't mean he thinks Faelan is good enough for Roddy. Or that Roddy is safe with Faelan. Everyone, except Roddy, thinks Faelan is dangerous. The problem is that Faelan suffers memory loss so he can't be sure he didn't commit the things he's accused of.

The magic in the story comes from Ireland and it's history. There are a number of things happening when Roddy and Faelan arrive in Ireland. There is a revolution brewing and while Faelan is trying to stay out of the crossfire, it becomes very difficult to do that. He would rather spend his time getting his estate repaired and building a home for his new wife. During this time strange things start happening to Roddy. She begins to lose time. I found myself fascinated by what might be causing her loss of time. It was very dramatic and Faelan goes into a tailspin when he can't find her. He is falling in love with her and she with him. I found liked them as a couple even with the drama that they couldn't seem to escape.

There is a point where the plot became a bit heavy with the political drama. The danger that Roddy was exposed to because of Faelan's involvement and the subsequent terror they go through, for me went on a bit too long. It does have it's dark moments and I wouldn't consider it a light read. I did enjoy it for it's different setting (Ireland) and the mystical feel of Roddy's ability and the overall magical feel of Ireland. If you're looking for a well written story of love, magic and romance then Uncertain Magic could be the story for you.

Rating: B+


  1. Leslie, I haven't read this book by Kinsale. I thought maybe I had a long time ago, but it doesn't ring a bell. I must look it up! Great review!

  2. Leslie, I love reading from Kinsale, its been a while since I have read anything from hers though!! But I am looking forward to reading this one!!!

  3. I own every Kinsale book but I have yet to read this one. I will have to bump this one up my list.

    This is what Kinsale wrote on her website about UM: "I wrote a paranormal before paranormal was cool..."

    How cute & accurate! :)

  4. Hils ~ it's been a while since it's first release so it took me a little of reading to remember it. I knew I had read it but couldn't remember the details. :)

    LoR ~ Isn't Kinsale's writing wonderful? She likes to put that unique twist on her stories.

    ScorpioM ~ LOL I love that quote and very true!

  5. Argh, the book sounds sooo good!! But I haven't been able to read through one book by Ms Kinsale... so I'm going to wait till I've achieved that first ^_^; Thanks for the review, Leslie!