28 August 2007

Riding the Thunder Review

Riding the Thunder (The Sisters of Colford Hall, Book 2) (Mass Market Paperback) by Deborah Macgillivray (Author)
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Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Love Spell (October 2, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0505526921
ISBN-13: 978-0505526922

A beautiful and stunning novel driven by the strength, compassion and humor of its hero and heroine.
-- Amy Wolff Sorter, author, Soul Obsession

Though a sequel to Deborah Macgillivray's wonderful first novel "Invasion of Falgannon Isle," "Riding The Thunder" is one of those terrific and well-plotted stand-alones which gives the reader a wonderful taste of Clans Mershan and Montgomerie without going into direct repetition of what happened in the first novel.

This time it is urbane, elegant, good-hearted and loyal Jago Mershan who finds himself confounded by and attracted to the personality, charm and strength of one Asha Montgomerie. Jago is sent to the middle of Kentucky by his brother and head of Trident Industries, Desmond Mershan, to try to convince Clan Montgomerie in Kentucky to part with various assets -- to whit, one horse farm run by brother Liam Montgomerie and The Windmill, an old-fashioned diner under the direction of the sensible yet sexy Asha Montgomerie.

But The Windmill isn't just a quaint old diner in Nowheresville Kentucky. It's a Diner with a Past, featuring a jukebox that plays tunes on a whim even when unplugged, dancing spirits when the diner is closed and empty, and a booth that steps out of scene of "The Amityville Horror" whenever patrons sit in it after dark. Then there is the mysterious cat, "Whats-His-Name" who shows up and claims Jago as his own, worming into the masculine heart of that shrewd and urband businessman.

If those things aren't crazy enough, Asha begins having weird visions when Jago enters the picture, and not all are the sexy, wanting-to-be-taken-by-Jago kind. Rather, Asha's visions center around two lovers, Tommy and Laura, who lived during the 1960s and were tragically killed in an auto accident. As she and Jago are drawn together, the visions become stronger, more intense -- and more frightening to both Asha, who experiences them, and Jago, who fears them.

The great thing about Macgillivray's "series" novels is they get better with each release. When it comes to the backdrop, she made a brilliant decision moving the story across the Atlantic from Scotland to middle America. Within that scenario, the reader is treated to a wonderful blending of past and present, with both coming together in a moving climax.

As for the characters, I fell in love with Jago, who struggles between his loyalty to brother Desmond and his growing love for Asha and her way of life. His motivations are crystal clear and his personality so well-drawn, he almost steps out of the book as a living human being. Asha, too, benefits from the careful touch of the author's imagination and writing style. She is a terrifically well-rounded character, applying her wry humor and common sense to many of the situations that occur throughout the book. As this is a Macgillivray tale, there are many interesting situations, many of which are good for laughter on the one hand and contemplation on the other.

Furthermore, Asha and Jago together create sparks. The physical nature of their relationship is highly combustible, making their coming together intensely satisfying. But they share much more than a hankering to get into each others' pants. On the superficial level, both hail from the "Right Side of the Pond," aka the United Kingdom. Yet Asha's love for Kentucky (stemming from her mother's bond with the soil), and Jago's growing appreciation for the surroundings in which he finds himself are simply another link in the chain that brings them together. Mix all of it up with deeply emotional attachment and you have a man and woman that thankfully don't take too long to figure out that they belong together.

"Riding The Thunder" is also held together by a terrific cast of characters including the sexy Liam, whose bumbling attempts at playing "big brother" to the headstrong Asha are good for a chuckle or two. Then there's Netta, one of the waitresses in The Windmill, whose perky and brassy attitude hides deeper emotions. Macgillivray beautifully sets the spark for a romance between Liam and Netta, and this reviewer is looking forward to seeing what comes of it in a future novel.

With "Riding the Thunder," Deborah Macgillivray does what she does best, putting well-developed characters into extraordinary situations and letting their actions speak for themselves. This one was a page-turner that was hard to put down.

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