Monday Author Meetup is going on hiatus for the summer. Instead, I will post a favorite review (or review excerpt) for one of my books each week, along with an excerpt from that book. Please forgive me for tooting my own horn. This writing business is, well, a business. It’s not enough to write a good book; an author must also market her or his book. I will try to entertain you while also trying to tempt you to buy my books.
Let’s kick off Summer Reviews with a 5-star beauty for Darlin’ Irish (Texas Devlins – Book One).
Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers’ Favorite
A psychic in the American old West is the focus of this interesting novel, the first book of Lyn Horner’s trilogy. A tale of an epic adventure, the book introduces us to two different lives – one is the extraordinary life of Jessie Devlin who inherited a gift of second sight from her Irish Druid ancestors, and the other is the mysterious life of Captain David Taylor who was banished from Texas after fighting in the War Between the States. The two souls are attracted to one another but a shattering battle between good and evil is as imminent as their fateful meeting. Violence gets in their way. Will they end up happily ever after? Or will love fail and they will be gone forever?
A romance-historical novel, “Darlin’ Irish” is undoubtedly a fascinating adult romance story that is worthy of five stars. This novel truly exemplifies the meaning of fantasy. The paranormal element works successfully. It easily becomes the controlling metaphor of the story. Yes, it is more than a romance novel that deals with sexually explicit scenes, some rough language and violent fight scenes. You will get to realize that the characters are very realistic and find yourself relating to their lives although they are far removed from your own. It is how the author relates the experience of these two heroes that look at life with a straight face. The writing is so addicting that you will never want to be disturbed. The conflict of the characters’ relationship can be appalling to the traditional and conservative readers but it is worth it. Real tension in a novel has never been this exciting!
Book Excerpt: PROLOGUE
Chicago; April 1872
“Saints above! Where is it?” Jessie muttered, slowly making her way across the dark, fog-shrouded field. She couldn’t see one blessed thing.
The moon had shown brightly when she left the boarding house, but this irksome blanket of white had rolled in off Lake Michigan when she was halfway here. She’d thought of turning back, but her errand was too urgent.
She shivered in the chilly, moist air. Tugging her shawl tighter about her throat, she stepped cautiously, afraid of slipping on the wet grass or tripping over a snag. Encased in worn leather high-tops, her feet ached with the cold. Not for the first time, the wooden bucket she carried whacked the side of her knee, drawing a pained gasp from her lips.
After blindly crisscrossing the field twice, she was growing frantic when, suddenly, the bucket struck a hard, immovable object. Stopping short, Jessie reached out and touched rough stone beneath her questing fingertips.
“At last!” She’d found the artesian well. Situated within this small clearing on Chicago’s West Side, the well was surrounded by wooden cottages inhabited by working class families much like her own, but she doubted she would meet any of the occupants. Unlike her, they weren’t mad enough to risk their necks in this fog, not for a mere bucket of water. Still, she cautiously listened for any rustle of footsteps in the grass, but heard only the croaking of frogs and the wild hammering of her own heart.
She expelled an uneven breath, wondering if she truly was mad for coming here. This well had never been blessed like those in the old country; surely it held no power. Yet, instinct had driven her here tonight, compelling her to honor the old ways in this, her desperate undertaking.
And why not? Wasn’t she living proof that her mam’s tales of ancient magic were true? Besides, she didn’t dare attempt this at the boardinghouse. Da’s temper would explode like a firecracker if he caught her at it, especially after the row they’d had over supper.
As always, their quarrel concerned her lack of a husband. She had spurned another “foin Irish lad” – the latest in a long line of prospective beaus Da had cajoled into meeting her. Furious over her choosiness, he’d threatened to arrange a marriage for her. It was an old threat, to be sure, but from his determined tone, she’d known he meant it this time. She’d decided then and there that she must act before it was too late. However, now that the moment was upon her, she dreaded what she might learn.
She gnawed her bottom lip. Never before had she deliberately sought one of her visions. They had simply taken hold of her, always as she gazed upon flickering water. She shuddered, recalling one ghastly vision – Chicago engulfed in flames. To her horror, her premonition had proven true last October. Shying away from that terrible memory, she prayed her gift would be kinder tonight. She had to know if he, the man in her nightmarish dreams, truly existed.
“Get on with it then,” she whispered, impatient with her fear.
Trusting the fog to conceal her, she set her bucket down and drew a stubby candle and a lucifer from her skirt pocket. It required three tries before she managed to strike the match on the well and light the candle. Grateful for the light, she placed the candle atop the low wellhead then bent to lift a small bunch of lilacs from the bucket. Drinking in the flowers’ fragrance, she gently laid them aside and set to work pumping water into the bucket. When it was nearly full she positioned it at the base of the well so that the candle flame reflected in the pail’s glistening contents. Finally, she knelt and propped her flower offering against the well.
The cold dew swiftly soaked through her skirt and petticoat, chilling her legs and making her shiver once again, but the lilacs’ sweet scent calmed her. Breathing deep, she gazed at the flickering light in the water and chanted softly,
“Water, water, tell me truly,
Who is the man I shall love duly?
Under the sky, upon the sod,
Show him to me, in the name of God.”
Jessie repeated the incantation in Gaelic, and something shifted inside her, like a hidden door opening. Eyes focused on the candle’s reflection, she gradually lost touch with her surroundings. She no longer felt the cold or smelled the lilacs or heard the frogs. Sight was the only sense left to her, sight that reached out, searching.