"A good paranormal historical"

In 1827 Devan feels consumed with grief and guilt because he failed to save his beloved Katherine from the fire. Drink fails to help so unable to cope, Devan flees London for his Irish home. When he arrives in Ireland, Devan sees a ghost as he observes an urchin uncannily resembling Katherine. Devan brings Raven into his home though her tale is peculiar as she suffers from amnesia. In exchange for room and board, Devan asks Raven to tell him if she recalls any of her lost memories. As he watches his guest act, he wonders if he might be the victim of a clever con or the recipient of a second chance at love.

Raven dreams of a life, but it is not her nineteenth century existence. Instead she relives the seventeenth century life of Mairead, the secret lover of aristocrat Seamus. Mairead believed he betrayed their love, so she cursed him, but once she learned the truth failed to free their souls before they died. How their tragedy connects to Raven and Devan requires reading the novel.

The Briar And The Rose is a strong historical paranormal romance that brilliantly uses nineteenth century tidbits (and to a lesser degree from the 1600s) to anchor the otherworldly elements into a warm tale that readers of both sub-genres will relish. Devan and Raven make a delightful couple and through her dreams the audience will see what happened to the secret love between Mairead and Seamus without slowing down the plot. Laura Mills-Alcott provides fans with a memorable story that will make its audience demand more haunting love stories like this one.

Harriet Klausner

Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted November 13, 2003


Based loosely on the old and tragic ballad Barbara Allen. It is set in 1826 England and Ireland.

Devan, Marquess of Castlereagh, has just returned to Dahlingham, his Ireland estate, to mourn Lady Katherine, who died in a great fire the night of the ball at Dakshire - the very night they were to run away to Gretna Green. Raven is a servant, found on the lawn of Dahlingham during his absence, near death. Nursed back to health by another servant, Raven has no memories of her past. Once recovered, she is given employment on the estate, tending to the laundry and the gardens.

Devan first notices Raven, from his library window. He summons the woman to the library, certain that once inspected closely, she will be little more than a shabby imitation of Lady Katherine. But when at last he looks into her eyes of deep lavender-blue, he is certain she can be none other than Katherine - until she speaks, and her thick Irish brogue confirms what his heart had, in reality, already known. Three days later, Devan orders Raven be moved from the servant's quarters to a suite of rooms on the third floor, determined to unlock the mystery of Raven's past and put an end to the disturbing dreams that have plagued him every night since the day she entered his life.

With the face of an angel, the body of Aphrodite and the tongue of a drunken Irishman, he's never met any woman so infuriating... so seductive... so... Realizing he's met his match, something tells him the woman will be his end yet.

From historical Ireland and its mystical legends, to the beau monde and the elegant ballrooms of Regency London, together, Devan and Raven discover the truth of her past, and a passionate love so strong it cannot be denied.


The Briar and the Rose
by Laura Mills-Alcott

Five Star
November 20, 2003
ISBN #1594140898
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