ISBN# (10) 0-451-22169-9/(13) 978-0-451-22169-8
Signet Eclipse/Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014
Rating: 4 cups
Mariel St. Just lives off the coast of Brittany in the year 1789. France is experiencing political unrest, crops have failed, the fish are no longer plentiful and people are starving. Mariel and her very pregnant sister distract themselves by having Mariel relate the final prophecy of their Seer mother. This prophecy spoke of a golden god who would come in a time when they truly needed him, and help them. When Mariel sees this very god sailing away and unwilling to turn back, she uses her special gift to follow him home.
Trystan l’Enforcer is more than he seems. Born and bred on the hidden magical island of Aelynn, it is his power that keeps the island hidden from the outside world. In fact, his entire island is full of such gifted people. When he sees Mariel waving frantically from the shore, even though he would like to turn back and talk to her, he knows he must go home and marry Lissandra, one of the island’s seers, and take his rightful place on the island’s council.
However, Aelynn and the gods have other ideas, and when it becomes apparent that Mariel has special gifts of her own, all hell breaks loose. When Aelynn’s sacred altar declares that Mariel is Trystan’s amacara or soul mate things become even more confused. Mariel has no intention of going through with the ceremony, especially when she discovers it means Trystan can still marry Lissandra. Instead she takes a chalice she finds, and swims back to her home where she sells it to feed not only herself and Francine, but her neighbors, too. She does not realize that by removing this chalice that is a sacred relic, she has thrust not only Trystan but the entire island into danger. Will Trystan be able to reconcile his culture with how he feels about Mariel? Will Mariel accept Trystan and go through with the ceremony? Will they survive her country’s turmoil?
Mystic Guardian is a wonderful book that weaves fantasy and history in a delightful fashion. Ms. Rice takes the reader into the minds of the characters in such a way that it is very easy to relate to them, even the almost god-like in their abilities, Aelynners. However, I could also easily understand how Mariel felt with her strange gifts and the alienation because she could do things that no one else could. I savored reading about Trystan and Mariel dancing around each other and their feelings; the constant tug-of-war, and how everything is resolved in the end. The island of Aelynn is well explained, and the author employs some very creative world building with regards to it. Mariel’s relationship to the sea and legends of mermaids and sirens are creatively woven together as well. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy their historical romance with a fantastical twist.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books