"This magical tale of love and courage will hold you spellbound!"
Debilitating stage fright puts Madeline Fairbanks' job as
assistant to a deeply private mystery writer in jeopardy
when she cannot even deliver a simple press release. In
addition to her decided lack of style, this new flaw would
spell the end of her employment. However her boss is
willing to make a deal with her. If she can find and obtain
an interview with her reclusive stepfather Cyrus Cromwell
by St. John's Eve, he would agree to overlook her
shortcomings and keep her on.
The decision is not an easy one. There is no love lost
between Madeline and Cyrus, who had disappeared after his
vocally talented wife had a mental breakdown on stage.
Madeline was solely responsible for her mother's treatment
now and really needed her job. Cyrus had been responsible
for her mother's meteoric rise to stardom, and Madeline
suspected, her decline as well. Cyrus the star maker was a
dabbler in the dark arts. Once he had also encouraged
Madeline's love for dance, that was until he'd discovered
she'd been adopted. It was then that her fear of performing
before others had taken root, and it had grown stronger
with each attempt.
Madeline returns home to ponder her decision only to learn
that her rent is about to be raised. Things couldn't get
much worse. Reprieve comes in the form of Isis Montgomery's
aunt Tildy (MORE THAN MAGIC), who asks her to house sit for
her while she's away on a visit. She is told to expect and
entertain a male house guest, a friend of Tildy's who she
assumes will be an elderly bachelor. Instead she gets a
visit from Zayne, the very sensual Minstrel of Kaf, who is
searching for his zaniya. Madeline has learned from
bitter experience not to trust musicians. She was ashamed
at how often she'd mistaken interest in meeting her famous
parents for something more personal.
Zayne is a Djinni and more. He is currently the sole
Minstrel responsible for keeping the balance of harmony on
Kaf. Yet lately some foreign power inside him was battling
his Ma-at for control of his song, causing discord in the
land. Zayne knows he must find his own balance or his world
will succumb to chaos. He believes he knows what is needed.
Although few of the Djinn actually bound themselves to a
soul mate, every Minstrel before him had done so. Still he
had never met a woman who inspired those feelings in him.
He would do a divination to find his very own
zaniya, the woman whose incredible voice would blend
with his own and restore his balance and Kaf's. He is
stunned when his destiny is revealed to be Madeline
Fairbanks, a woman of Terra. How can this be? He had been
warned by his mother never to have dealings with people of
Terra. But she had died without giving him the reason for
her hatred. He is told he will find Madeline in New
Orleans, and approaches Tildy, the aunt of The Protector's
zaniya, Isis, to help him find her. He arrives at
her home to
find Madeline there instead of Tildy, and is awed by her.
In short order he is convinced that she is the one for him,
but she cannot be persuaded to sing for him.
Zayne loses points right with Madeline off the bat when he
uses a truth-speak spell on her to obtain information, but
regains her trust with a promise never to use his ma-at on
her unless she or his world was in danger. Madeline soon
comes to see him for the admirable, multifaceted man he is
and falls in love in spite of the fact that she believes it
can't last. Madeline alone sees him as something more than
the Minstrel and Zayne in turn loves her only for herself.
He agrees to help her find Cyrus. He is determined to make
the man pay for his crimes against Madeline and her mother,
but becomes really confused when he hears Madeline's voice
for the first time, singing alone in the shower. She could
not carry a tune!
How could this woman who held his heart and soul in his
hands not be his intended zaniya? His heart couldn't
accept that even for Kaf. He would find another way to
restore harmony on his world. Surprisingly just having
Madeline by his side seems to tame the raging tumult inside
of him. Somehow she did give him the balance he needed. He
had not been wrong about her. When every lead to Cyrus
fizzles, Zayne's wondrous music and song become the bait to
draw the star maker out.
It is exactly the opportunity Cyrus has been waiting for.
He had once hoped that Madeline's mother would draw a
Djinni to Terra. He had been told that only one of her line
could do so. However it was not Zayne's voice he coveted
but his power. It seems he'd underestimated Madeline, but
she could still be made useful.
What happens next is a tale of greed and of sacrifice, and
ultimate courage. Both Madeline and Zayne will be forced to
make grim choices. They will face their most terrible fears
and find that there is nothing so awful as losing each
This story is one which any reader could relate to.
Everyone has had to conquer fear at one time or another.
Most often it is love that helps us find the courage to do
so. The latter part of this tale frequently had me in tears
as each lover searched their soul, and made critical
sacrifices for the sake of their beloved. SPELLBOUND is a
suspenseful, passionate tale, of love, compromise,
forgiveness, and strength. Ms. Nance has crafted another
truly romantic otherworldly romance. I highly recommend you
read this book and each of its predecessors.
Copyright © 2003
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted May 5, 2003