"Owen spins perfection yet again!"
I first became aware of Robin D. Owens book HEARTMATE in a
writers chat. Everyone was congratulating her on winning
the Golden Heart -- the Romance Writers of America's award
for first time writers. It's rare a new writer, especially
in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy sub-genre of Romance, can come
through with such a strong story. Small wonder it caused
such word-of-mouth recommendations. It takes a very strong
talent to conceive this off-Earth world and make it
believable. Well, she did. When a first book is that much a
success, so full of heart, the writer then faces the Harper
Lee Syndrome (To Kill a Mockingbird). Lee's book was
perfect, yet she never wrote another one. So, when Owen's
second book HEART THIEF came out, I girded myself for
disappointment, but hoped for the best. She amazingly
delivered not a book that was as good, but one that
surpassed it. Having already established the world of
Celta, the premise, rules and the foundation for Heartmates
and a world defined by magic, Owens was able to concentrate
on the people. HEART THIEF was a complex tale of an
outcast, a thief and the judge with whom he falls in love.
It stole my heart. Okay, she pulled the Hat Trick, but can
she keep doing it? The answer: Yes!
In HEART DUEL time we are treated to two KittyFams, Meserv
and Phyll, tom brothers, gifts from T'ash to his friend,
Holm Holly (prominent character in the first two books as
the heir to House of Holly) and Lark Collinson, a healer
from the Houses of Heather and Hawthorne. The plot line has
a wee touch of Romeo and Juliet woven in as the
undercurrent to HEART DUEL, as the Great Houses of Holly
and Hawthorne are ancient enemies. Lark's Flair is the gift
of healing. She heals the arrogant, but gorgeous Holm
Holly, a man she grew up with, and has watched from a far.
She'd married a commoner, some considered beneath her. He
was a great healer, shared her interests, if not the great
passion as a Heartmate would. So, she never considers
someone like Holm would look at her now she is a widow.
Holm was the handsome, brash warrior, she quiet woman with
a Flair for healing. Both had undergone the three rites
passages, and neither of them saw their Heartmate that set
their Flairs free. Thus, both assumed there would never be
that special bond for them. Lark, a widow of three years,
is shocked to see Holms attraction. As she heals him, Holm
comes to recognize Lark is his Heartmate. He also
understands winning her and convincing his family will take
some doing, especially when bound by the strict rules in
claiming a Heartmate. Added to the problem - neither family
will welcome their bonding. Holm's determination to win
Lark is exacerbated when the long simmering animosity
between the two Great Houses suddenly flares into open
warfare. Even so, Holm will let nothing stop him from
forming the Heartbond, not even Lark herself.
However, his resolve is tested when his mother is stabbed
by a Hawthorne youth, the blade carrying a poison that
nearly kills her. As the feud escalates, so does Holm's
determination to win his Heartmate. Though Lark views the
situation as hopeless, Holm knows he will fashion his
Heartgift to win her love. Lark should never discount the
meddlesome FamKitties and their ability to know what is
right for their people!
Everyone who loved HEARTMATE and HEART THIEF will be
delighted with this next entry in the Celta series. There
is only one thing wrong with Owen's very original tales.
They are too slow in coming!
Posted August 17, 2004
Reviewed by Deborah Macgillivray
Posted November 22, 2006