"exciting premise weakly handled"

There are supernaturally endowed Guardians who lived amongst the Mundanes, mere mortals. The Guardians each have special talents, and were sworn to protect the Mundanes. Years ago, Gywnne's father, a powerful Guardian took a Mundane to wife. This was not forbidden, but was discouraged because a Guardian man needed an equally strong woman to balance and enhance his powers. As Gwynne grew up in her father's home, she inherited his love for history and lore. When her father died, she was seventeen. Alone in the world, she passively accepts marriage to a man over 50 years older than she. Over fifteen years pass, with Gwynne still working in the library of her childhood home, keeping companionship with her late husband's sister. She's content to pass through life like some hothouse flower.

When Duncan McCrae, the Lord of the Storms, sees Gwynne he knows she is his destiny. Gwynne is a pain to Duncan (and the reader) by her willingness to avoid life. When Duncan makes it clear to her he wants her for his wife, she is shocked and rebuffs him. Gwynne believes she does not have any power and hesitates to welcome a union with such a powerful Guardian.

Duncan accepts Gwynne's mandate to leave her alone and is preparing to depart for his home in Scotland. Gwynne is summoned by the Guardian Council and told she must marry Duncan. Gwynne hesitates, but finally accepts as a member of the Guardian society she must marry Duncan. She is warned that war between Scotland and England is looming, and that Duncan will need her. He is a Scot, but his loyalties lay with Hanoverian rulers in England. This will make his power as a Guardian very pivotal for both countries.

While the premise holds so much promise, the two leads just don't capture the emotions or the heart in true Putney Style. Thunder and Roses and all the Fallen Angels are just so much more than this book. Since it dealt with Scotland, and the lore angle, I REALLY wanted to love this book. It is an enjoyable read, just pale. The whole plot had so much untapped potential. Even the prose was stale - "her waist was so tiny he could span it with both hands"....HOW many times has that overused phrase been trotted out in Historicals? A writer of Putney's strengths and talent should never fall back on something that worn out. And referring to Gwynne's wedding night as being "initiated in the ways of Aphrodite"...(groan)

The second half of the book is much stronger and I was glad to see it picking up and starting to come "alive", but it never overcame the "shallow" emotions of the characters. The novel is a weak effort from one of the most talented writers around. If you are a diehard fan, wait for paperback or get it at the library. This is a series. I still have high hope for the next one, but please more passion in the romance instead of sleepwalking. Putney is truly one of the greatest writers in Romance today. Thunder and Roses and Dancing on the Wind are prime examples of just how evocative her prose is. In this reviewer's opinion, A Kiss of Fate is just not true Putney.

Posted August 13, 2004

Reviewed by Deborah Macgillivray
Posted January 3, 2007


A novel of the Guardians

Laird of an ancient, powerful Scottish clan, Duncan Macrae is committed to ending the ceaseless strife between Scotland and England. But he also has other, secret powers—those of a Guardian, humans with mystical abilities to control nature's forces and see into the hearts of others. And from the moment he encounters the young and independent English widow Gwyneth Owens, his fiery spirit is irrevocably drawn to claim her as his own—a passion that will not only set his loyalty to his land against his sworn Guardian vows, but will also threaten everything he cherishes most.

Though Gwynne's father was a Guardian, she believes that she has inherited only her mother's beauty, not her father's power. Then one kiss from the dangerously alluring Laird of the Macraes ignites a hunger that shakes her to her soul—and reveals visions of a looming catastrophe that threatens England and Scotland both. Only by becoming Duncan's wife, and ultimately betraying the man she loves, can she avert disaster.

As destiny and two mighty nations clash, Gwynne and Duncan must push their powers and passions beyond the most forbidden limits if they are to save their love—and secure the future.

Read an Excerpt


A Kiss of Fate
(Guardians: Book 1)
by Mary Jo Putney

Ballantine Books
July 1, 2004
Available: June 29, 2004
ISBN #0345449169
EAN #9780345449160
352 pages
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Other Books by
Mary Jo Putney

A Distant Magic
Dragon Lovers
The Marriage Spell
Stolen Magic
The Journey Home
Dearly Beloved
The Bartered Bride
Irresitible Forces
Uncommon Vows
Christmas Revels
Twist of Fate
Dancing on the Wind
Christmas Revels
Veils of Silk
The Bartered Bride
The Spiral Path
The China Bride
The Burning Point
Faery Magic

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