Westbow’s description: After the death of her father, Marisa seeks comfort in the woods of Gold Hill. When a mysterious lightning storm suddenly strikes, Marisa is hurled into the ancient alternate dimension of Carnelia where she meets Darian Fiore. With no hope of returning home on her own, Marisa has no other choice but to join Darian on a risky mission to negotiate peace.
This is not fantasy, but romance
I must admit, with the bland cover and the misleading description, I was seduced into reviewing this book because I love fantasy. It started out well. The parallel world concept is really overdone, but it’s handled well in this version. She’s dropped into a world of swords, horses, evil enemies—both human and animal. So far so good.
But after the third (or thirtieth) description of how glancing at Darian causes her whole body to tingle, or warm, or long for, or whatever I became really tired of the teenage emotionalisms and the solid lack of details or events surrounding the very real tale of intrigue, warfare, good versus evil, and all the rest. I could see an excellent story about the battles between the two families, but we never really got there.
However, it’s a good tale
Once I got past the disappointment, the characters got me involved. Again, it was limited to only a few of the primary characters. There was no real description of the culture, politics, economy, or any of the other world-building I expect in a fantasy. But once I relegated the story to a romance, I put up with that. Later, looking at some of the reviews I noticed that this is Cheryl’s first book. For that, it’s really quite good. I came to like the characters enough so that further books by Cheryl are a hopeful prospect to me.
Spiritually: evangelical plus
I know, what does that mean? Well, I’m not sure. God has a different name, but he is our God. A savior, not so much. A loving god who talks with His children, yes—though it is not a common or daily event. However, emotionally and spiritually I knew these characters were true believers. That’s rarely pulled off at all, but it’s fairly well done in this book without any preachiness. It’s actually fairly realistic, and that is a good and rare thing.
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