REVIEW: The Lost Enchantress by Patricia Coughlin
Dear Ms. Coughlin:
Although you have been writing romance for some time, I confess to not having read you before, or if I have read a book of yours, I don’t recall it. I wasn’t initially interested in The Lost Enchantress but when so many in our Berkley Giveaway pinpointed your book as the ARC they wanted to win, it prompted me to pick up my own copy of this book (given to me by Berkley, FTC disclaimer).
Eve Lockhart is a successful tv reporter in Providence. She comes from a long line of women who have been imbued with magic but after an incantation that results in a tragedy, Eve has turned her back on magic. She’s spent the rest of her life trying to be normal and suppressing her innate magical abilities.
Gabriel Hazard is a man on a mission. He has been the victim of a curse and his search for a release from this curse has brought him to Providence. He buys Eve’s old house and then one night at an auction realizes that Eve might be the key to the removal of the curse.
Reality bends to desire. That’s the core of Eve’s magic. Her magic is in her blood, inherited. She does not need to draw on the power of the earth or ley lines or the like. She calls it up from within making her power stronger than that of an ordinary wizard. The suppression of this power, matched with something in Hazard, results in Eve generating accidental magic that she is not even aware of performing. It’s not entirely clear how or why Eve can do magic. Sometimes, like at the auction, she just needs to will it so. Othertimes, she needs the protective circle or artifacts.
At a charity auction, she is gripped with the desire to bid upon a pendant. She gets into a bidding war with Gabriel and when he would bid higher than she, she turns to him and wills him not to raise his paddle. With this unknown exertion of magic, Eve changes the course of her life and Gabriel’s.
I thought that pace at which Eve and Gabriel’s attraction moved was nice. Eve didn’t immediately fall in love with Gabriel but recognized that he was someone that she could and wanted to fall in love with. This story is largely Eve’s. Gabriel is almost a placeholder, moving the plot along, providing a foil to Eve’s acceptance of her burgeoning magic. Gabriel is tall, dark and handsome when the book calls for it and he is full of information about prophecies and magic when it is convenient.
A bit too much of the story is told to us in info dumps and I particularly did not like the way the story was introduced which was a prologue in the first person (the rest of the story is told in third person). I wanted the story either to be all first person or all third person.
I’m not much for witch/magic stories but this one was charming. It helped that Eve and Gabriel were likeable characters. This success of this story for an individual reader depends largely on a reader’s ability to accept prophecy and destiny tropes. C+