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Book Review
Overall: 6
Sensuality: 3
Historical Element: 8

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This is a romance community member review

Review for Lord of Fire
Author: Emma Merritt
Date of Review: 02/04/13
Reviewed by: Sparky Patches

Reviewer Comments: Lord of Fire, Emma Merritt's first book in The Lord and Ladies Quartet, was a book full of possibilities: {1} the possibility of exciting action and adventure scenes featuring the extremely hunky, powerful highland chieftain, {2} the possibility of deep, heartfelt emotion as the former slave, now a strong-willed widow came to terms with her attraction to the barbarian, and {3} the possibility of an intensely suspenseful, dynamic story. E.M. did an incredible job of immediately drawing great interest in the characters as she introduced them and began developing their personalities, but the story failed to keep the reader enthralled so this book was just too put-down-able. But, it was also finish-able -- E.M. inspired enough interest that it was necessary to keep reading the book to see how the author was going to unknot the threads of the story that she began tying to prevent the hero and heroine from having a relationship.

The book opens in 625 A.D. when the half Pict, half Scot powerful Highland warrior, Malcolm mac Duncan, walks through the Village of Wybornsbaer in the Norse Kingdom of Southerland on the Northern Coast of Scotland. E.M. knew just what romance readers wanted: to see a blatantly masculine, hard-muscled, ruggedly handsome Highlander through the eyes of Jarvia, who had been drawn to this gorgeous hunk of alpha male since she first saw him four years ago. But then the story took a bit of a dive when Jarvia, in her determination to rule her own destiny, told herself that she would never act on that attraction.

By page 76, Jarvia's constant, long, drawn-out thought processes about how drawn she was to the big, bad Highlander, but was determined not to give in to her physical reactions to him began to get tiresome. Malcolm had come to Wybornsbaer to tell the devious and dishonorable King Wyborn and Queen Adelaide that their daughter, Hilda, his wife of four years, had turned traitor, consorted with Highland rebels, then committed suicide, taking not only her own life, but also the life of their child, Malcolm's possible heir.

As E.M. begins to weave the tangled threads of the story into a cohesive fabric, she fails to richly develop the personality of her characters (instead spending more time having Jarvia moon over the well-built Malcolm). The story would have been better served had E.M. given readers a picture of Jarvia's history.

Having been published in January 1994, it was no surprise that the love scenes between Malcolm and Jarvia were filled with Jarvia's thoughts rather than entertaining readers with sizzling, heated, graphically descriptive encounters. Malcolm displayed his seductive skills quite readily, and Jarvia's emotions began getting in the way of her efforts to keep Malcolm at arms-length as they found themselves insatiable for the other.

E.M. finally inspired great interest and suspense to keep one reading after Malcolm and Jarvia were married and headed to Malcolm's home in the highlands. Secondary characters were introduced that began to explain why there was such unrest and rebellion happening in the highlands. E.M. began to give brief insights into the characters that surrounded Malcolm and Jarvia but did not give them well-developed personalities so they would began to feel like real people, intricately woven into the fabric of the story.

One thing that was a major disappointment in this book about a powerful highland warrior is the lack of action adventure scenes featuring the prowess of this mighty warlord. Even at the end of the book when E.M. presents herself with the wonderful opportunity of writing an exciting scene where Jarvia and Malcolm traverse the Chamber of Fire, E.M. fails to deliver excitement. Instead the author concentrates on the emotional aspect of the situation by having the villagers line up to wish Jarvia good fortune before she enters the Chamber of Fire. That might have been acceptable, except that when Malcolm rushes in to rescue his beloved wife, he, too, manages to make it to the end of the chamber without once displaying his phenomenal skills.

In essence, Lord of Fire was an enjoyable read, but it is definitely not a must read. While the plot eventually became intriguing and drew interest, E.M. failed to develop the deep emotional connection to her hero and heroine that are necessary requirements for an outstanding read.

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