published May 4th 2010 by Sourcebooks Casablanca (first published March 2nd 1987) detailsPaperback, 512 pages
Rumors of ruined maidens, coldblooded duels, swindles, and murder swirl around the impoverished 'Devil Earl.' But Faelan Savigar hides an even darker secret. Roderica Delamore longs for a normal life but fears she'll end up mad or suicidal like the forebears from whom she inherited her "gift" of sensing others thoughts and emotions. As the two find their way to each other against all odds, Roddy's growing love for Faelen may end up saving him or destroying her…Earlier this year, I reviewed Laura Kinsale's Lessons in French, so I had a bit of an idea of what to expect. Or at least I thought I did. In starting Uncertain Magic, I didn't feel that same initial pull as I did with my first Kinsale experience. But Uncertain Magic is a pretty meaty read so I kept going, hoping to get more from it.
A breathtaking historical romance filled with poignancy, darkness, love, and an unexpected twist of Gaelic magic…
I think my issue here was the likeability of the main characters. They both came across as standoffish, which can be off-putting for the reader. Roddy and Faelan are brought together quickly, each for their own reasons, and married. I was expecting the romance, or the achieving of it to be the central part of the story and I suppose to some degree it was, just in a different way than I'd imagined. And in the end, I liked this approach. It's good when an author can mix things up a bit.
With the marriage out of the way almost immediately, I was unsure where the rest of the story would take me. Roddy's special talent and Faelan's mysterious past are repeatedly mentioned but Kinsale waits till the bitter end to reveal the truths. Reaching this point though is achieved through the background of battles between the Irish Protestants and Catholics.
Having grown up with this history (mine was from the Scottish view point, but still similar), I had some insights into how bad the blood could be between these arch-rivals. But Kinsale always manages to teach me a thing or two that I didn't know, for instance how the land of Catholic families was divided after the death of its patriarch versus Protestant land owners (I've always thought of the Irish as being more Catholic, but it seems this was not always the case.)
I grew to enjoy the characters but found the paranormal aspects of the story a bit tedious and confusing at times. Overall, a decent read, especially if you like your romance with a twist of history.