In the prologue, we learn that long ago seven elves opened the gate between Elfhame and the human world, divided England into seven sovereign territories, and treated the humans as their personal slaves. They mated with humans, creating hybrid humans with magical powers; however if a child showed any potential magic that could be used to defeat one of the elven lords, the child was destroyed. This brings us to our heroine, Cecily.
Cecily is the half-human daughter of Lord Breden of Dewhame, one of the elven lords, but she has been hidden from her father and protected by the Rebellion for her entire life. When Lord Breden’s armies attack Cecily’s village, she is forced to use her powerful water magic to defeat the soldiers.
Giles Beaumont has a bit of elven in him as well. He is a loyal member of the Rebellion who as played the village blacksmith for 9 years while secretly protecting Cecily. When she uses her powers, Giles reveals his true identity to Cecily, and they leave at once to find out what happened to Cecily’s adoptive father (and fellow Rebellion member).
Ms. Kennedy does a marvelous job generating a fanciful rewrite of Georgian England, integrating her own creations into this historical setting. The combination of the fae-based mythology and the English countryside made for a delightful read. Although a little predictable at times, the story was exciting and adventurous.
Cecily and Giles have great passion for one another, each hiding it from the other for many years. Due to circumstances, neither were willing to express his/her true desires until Giles thinks he has lost Cecily forever. Once this happens, their passion ignites and they are ready to marry and live happily ever after. I have to admit I was a bit put off by their sudden and immediate attitude changes, but I suppose since they had all those years of unrequited love, they were ready to explode.
Of course, things don’t go so smoothly and the pair have to deal with many hurdles to find peace. Giles “sacrifices” his love for Cecily when he feels her future is doomed with him... doing what he feels is best for her (even though she disagrees). I’m never a big fan of this type storyline; however, I like that although Cecily realizes what is going on, she continues on with her life rather than trying to continually change Giles’ mind.
The hero and heroine finally reconcile near the conclusion, and the story picks up pace to climax with a fairly exciting scene involving a dragon. As the story ended, I felt like there was unfinished business for both our main couple and a few minor characters that were introduced within the story. I hope that Giles and Cecily have a future helping the rebellion and would like to know what happens next. I look forward to read the next book in the series, The Lord of Illusion, coming February 2012.
3.5 stars: Liked it a lot - recommend (B+)