Kathryne Kennedy – “Enchanting the Beast”

28 Nov

GENRE: Romance / Paranormal

SERIES: “Relics of Merlin” series, #3

WHY THIS NOVEL: I noticed it for the cover, then the blurb suggested it was an older woman/younger man romance + it seemed Gothic.

Grimspell castle. With its dark, imposing stone walls, it certainly looked haunted. As a ghost-hunter, Lady Philomena was accustomed to restless spirits. But she found the dark, imposing nature of the castle’s owner far more haunting than any specter. London Society might not approve of shape-shifters such as Sir Nicodemus Wulfson, but firmly-on-the-shelf Philomena rather enjoyed the young baronet’s sudden interest in sniffing around her skirts. She’d even consider giving in to him altogether if not for a murderer on the loose–a beast that might just be Nico himself.

I only noticed after I’d ordered Enchanting the Beast that it’s actually part of a series and book #3 at that. But as far as I can tell, it didn’t matter that I missed the first two novels in this series, at least when judged by my enjoyment of this novel: I liked Enchanting the Beast and Kennedy’s voice. So much that I’m going to buy the other novels in this series and will look if Kennedy published more novels.

Enchanting the Beast does indeed feature an older woman/younger man romance: Philomena is 40, Nicodemus is 27. It’s also set in a Victorian England were magic still exists. Philomena is a ghost hunter and Nicodemus is a shape-shifter. (I just love the characters’ names.)

Shape-shifters are immune to magic and Nicodemus, Nico for short, is skeptical about Philomena’s (Phil) ability to communicate with ghosts. But nevertheless, he hires her to help his brother, Royden, who sees and is haunted by ghosts. Royden visibly suffers and his health deteriorates more and more. Something must be done.

What Nico isn’t skeptical about is his attraction to Philomena. He knows he wants her and even Philomena’s repeated rebuffs (the age difference) don’t deter him. Their romance was a delight to read, especially because Nico honors Philomena’s wishes to stay a gentleman even though his attraction to her grows and grows. I thought that refreshing because, after all, he’s a shape-shifter and in paranormal romances this usually means the beast takes over when it’s attracted to a woman. And even though Nico is as sensitive as a block of wood re ghosts (= he can’t see/feel them), after he believes in Philomena’s ability, he’s there to support her. He’s actually so attuned to Philomena, he knows when a ghost is around.

I liked Philomena. She was reasonable and logical, and she does indeed see and can communicate with ghosts. But because she can’t command them to appear or talk to her, she doesn’t mind faking it when necessary:

It appeared the late Lord Stanhope had chosen not to linger in the physical world.
Which didn’t make one whit of difference to Phil. Lady Stanhope had paid her for some peace of mind, and she would give it to her regardless. (2)

The ghost were sufficiently Gothic and although I had an idea about how the mystery would resolve, the denouement came with a twist to it. There were only two things that I thought needed more explanation:

1) Why did Nico’s brother remain at the castle even after Philomena arrived? She knows that ghosts (usually) are bound to a place and Royden became very ill because of their haunting. Wouldn’t she have thought of sending him away (sooner)?
2) [Spoiler] [highlight to read] Why did the ghosts scare Royden when they actually wanted his help? Was he that easily scared? [/Spoiler]

But these were small niggles and overall, I enjoyed reading Enchanting the Beast a lot.

Verdict: I liked it. (4/5)


4 Responses to “Kathryne Kennedy – “Enchanting the Beast””

  1. Jace Monday, November 30, 2009 at 6:21 am #

    I have the 1st book – Enchanting The Lady – in the TBR for a long time now. Your review makes me want to read it soon. 🙂

  2. Taja Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 9:39 am #

    Jace – I hope you’ll like it. 🙂 I have the first book on my list of books to buy next. I really was pleasantly surprised by this one.

  3. Christine Friday, December 18, 2009 at 8:42 pm #

    I somehow totally missed this review, Taja. I just happened to notice it in your RECENT POSTS list on your sidebar. I think I’d really like this story, too. I’m going to add it to my wish list. 🙂

  4. Taja Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 2:25 pm #

    Christine – well, I liked it enough to order three (!) other novels by Kennedy. I thought it a really nice older woman-younger man story + Nico is yumm.

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