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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven by Jennifer Ivy Walker is the first installment of a planned paranormal romance trilogy set in the times of King Arthur, the fabled High King of England. Issylte is the only heir to the throne of Ireland and at fourteen is just realizing her future role as the Emerald Queen when her father, the king, chooses to remarry in an attempt to ally with the King of Scotland. His new bride, the evil Morag, is determined to rid herself of her problematic stepdaughter, kill the king, and claim the Irish throne as her own. Issylte narrowly escapes the queen’s plot and discovers her latent magical powers, living deep in the Irish forests with a fairy witch who teaches her how to develop her newfound prowess as a healer and a seer. Tristan of Lyoness was the heir to his family’s throne in the Scilly Isles when he witnesses his entire family’s murder by marauding Vikings. Placed with his Uncle Marke, the King of Cornwall, Tristan grows up to be one of the most feared knights of the realm and is proclaimed Marke’s champion and heir. Sent to train with and ultimately join King Arthur as one of the fabled Knights of the Round Table, Tristan meets and befriends Sir Lancelot, Arthur’s premiere knight and champion. Tristan and Issylte embark on separate adventures, little knowing that fate and the Goddess will one day bring them together to rescue their respective kingdoms from the evil Queen Morag, her Viking cohorts, and dark, magical dwarves.
The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven is everything I would expect a novel of Arthurian times to be and more. Author Jennifer Ivy Walker has skillfully taken the world that we generally know through stories of King Arthur and concocted an exciting and wonderfully twisting world of chivalry, romance, battles, and magic. The two distinct and separate strands of the story wind their way beautifully to their obvious conclusion on the island of Avalon where the stage is perfectly set for the next iteration of this fascinating and compelling story. I particularly appreciated the author’s skill in blending the magic and the paranormal with the everyday existence of mere mortals. The battle scenes are realistic and bloody as one would expect in any knight’s tale but the romance and the passion of the characters are developed superbly and will have readers turning pages relentlessly to discover the next thrilling chapter of this story. The story is beautifully set up for the next stage of the journey and one is also left with the feeling that we have not heard the last of some of the characters that are left behind. Camelot, this period of history in Britain, tales of druidic magic, and the “little people” of the forest are shrouded in mysticism and fable, yet this author manages to combine all of these aspects in a thoroughly readable novel that seems plausible and believable. This is a real credit to her and I salute her for this first installment. I will be waiting greedily for the next iteration of this adventure and the further exploits of the characters I have grown to admire and love. I can highly recommend this book as one of the best stories I have read this year.