4.5 Stars for story, 3.5 for editing
As you may know, I have been meeting a lot of indie and small publishing house authors this year. Thanks to my friend Sarah Buhrman, the Author Goddess herself, I have been introduced to many talented storytellers. One of those authors is Rebekah Dodson. She’s got a way with telling a story that grabs you without being too intense. Rebekah’s had several novellas and novels published over the last couple of years. She’s rather prolific. Her Curse of Lanval series is an example of current works. She’s put out three novellas so far in that series and the final chapter is due out later this year.
Mirrors, the first novella in the series, introduces you to the first of several key characters in the story. Gill and his older sister Jules. Without telling you too much of the story, Gill is a randy college student who works as a paramedic to pay his way through college. His sister Jules is a med student at another school. They wind up making an emergency family trip with their parents to rural France when a close family member dies. But really, who wants to stay stuck with family all trip when you are in France?
After the funeral they decide to explore the castle of a decent ancestor that Jules discovered – a painting of him reveals that Gill is a dead ringer for him. While exploring the chapel of the castle Jules sees a mirror hidden in the shadows and next thing you know – BOOM! They are not in the early 21st Century anymore.
In Marie, the second installment in this romantic historical alternate history (I don’t know what else to call it?), they find themselves in the middle ages. They are still in France, still in the castle. But things are really messed up.
Arrows come flying through the small windows, narrowly missing the siblings. A soldier comes staggering in, severely wounded. Gill jumps to the rescue, or so he hopes. His paramedic instincts kicking in.
A lovely royal woman enters the picture along with a young squire. They rush the siblings and the injured man out of the chapel and flee on horse back to another keep. The patient doesn’t make it, unfortunately. The royal woman, understandably upset, wants nothing to do with Gill and his failed medicine, or is it magic?
Oddly, though, Gill looks very much like the dead man. A conspiracy develops to pass him off as the fallen soldier, who is heir to the throne of England and France. With the help of a mysterious courtier, Marie, Gill and Jules are able to understand what is going on and keep themselves remotely safe. But they must travel to England so that Gill, in the guise of the fallen noble, can take the crown and secure the throne for future generations.
Of course, this is where the romance comes in. Gill has a lustful attraction to his intended queen, but something more seems to be developing with lovely and mysterious Marie. Something he has never felt before. Could this be what love feels like?
That brings us to the third chapter of the story, Magic. In England, Gill faces the fact that he is in a different century when he has to witness the sham trial and sentencing of a witch. His queen orders the old woman to be burned at the stake. (Allowing for poetic license and creativity, I will forgive Rebekah the error of a witch burning in England. None ever occurred in England. Witches were hung in the Isles.)
This greatly concerns Gill. For two, maybe three reasons. His own medicine, that he has used multiple times in front of Marie and his queen, could be seen as magic. His sister is a lesbian, another thing that is abhorrent to the times (some things change VERY slowly), and his new love – Marie – isn’t all that she seems to be. What magic lies in the hands of his beautiful Marie and what trials must he, his sister, and the court face in these difficult times? You’ll have to read the books to find out!
Merlin, the fourth and final chapter in this saga, is set to come out later this summer. I am eagerly anticipating its release so that I can finish reading this gripping tale of romance, love, and magic that has crossed through time. Perhaps this final book will explain how Gill can look some much like his ancestor and why his family doesn’t really talk about that connection to the royal courts of France and England.
If you’d like to get all three at once and get caught up on the saga before Merlin comes out, Amazon has begun series. No real discount on the purchase, but much easier to click the buy now button once than three times!
From an editor’s perspective, and with all due respect to both Rebekah and her editor, C.L. Cannon, this collection of stories could use some help. The story is great. Fast paced, and really keeps you want to read. But the minor grammatical and spelling errors can be a bit of a bother. I know I can be picky with my grammar and spelling. And I know that no one is perfect – if you’ve read my own books you can see that I am not perfect. It is just that some of the errors were glaring, at least in my eyes.
I would love to see Rebekah re-release these three novellas at a later date with further editing being done. I’m sure that once all four books out, she and C.L. can take a bit more time to do a line by line edit and make everything as perfect as possible.
On a side note, C.L. Cannon is also an indie author. I’ve not take the opportunity to read any of her works yet. She also did the cover designs for Curse of Lanval.