Friday, March 29, 2013

New Review: Kimberly Cates’s LILY FAIR – Early Irish Medieval with a Prophecy

I am a huge fan of Kimberly Cates and I have loved her Irish historical romances; most recently I reviewed NIGHTWYLDE as a "keeper." But just so her fans know, this story is a bit slower in developing, even though Cates’ writing is as good as ever. It also seemed a bit long in the telling though there is a great ending. As there is no date given, I cannot give a precise setting except to say it’s early medieval Ireland.         

While her mother was pregnant, a Druid made a prophecy that the child, Caitlin of the Lilies, would one day destroy their Irish chieftain, Crom the Ever Truthful. In a very human irony, Crom is anything but truthful. Though he wanted to destroy the babe, he did not because Caitlin’s father was the powerful spear caster Fintan MacShane, endowed with fairy magic that made his every spear throw hit its target even though he was blind. Instead, Crom put the girl child into an abbey planning to kill her when she was grown.

Twenty years later, Niall of the Seven Betrayals, Crom’s faithful warrior, is sent to remove the young woman from the abbey—and to kill her. Niall, who is aware of the prophecy, must choose between an oath made to the abbess to protect the young woman and following his king’s order—the last test to restore his honor among his people.

Both Caitlin and Niall are in for some big surprises as Niall decides not to kill Caitlin but instead takes her to his family’s estate, Castle Daire--a castle that is crumbling despite his chieftain's representations.

Cates, as always, paints a vivid picture of her characters. Caitlin, the innocent, becomes the brave young woman so like her father, the spear thrower. And Niall discovers he really is like his father—a father he only learns too late was faithful and true. The story is detailed and historically puts you deep in Ireland’s past when the Christian faith and paganism coexisted.

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