I received a copy of this book via Lola’s Blog Tours in exchange for a fair and impartial review
Forever Hers by Caroline Cairn is the first in the Spirits of Saoradh series. This story focuses on Holly and Blayne. We open with a funeral for Maxim, a man who practically raised Holly when her own father abandoned his family. There’s more to Max than even Holly knew, and when an elderly lady named Adelaide shows up to give Holly a special box Max left for her, strange things begin happening.
Max was a Keeper for special boxes that hold spirits of Saoradh. Keepers deliver boxes to chosen humans, and bind the human and spirit together. Once bound, the spirit must obey the human, and must grant wishes so long as they fall within certain parameters. Wishes cannot draw undue attention for one.
Spirits have a host of rules they must obey, and if they transgress, the Judge and the Punisher pay them a visit. It is the hope of Keeper and Judge that the spirit can find redemption in the hands of their human, but neither can really help the bonded pair, and a spirit may have many humans before that happens.
Fun stuff: this was a quick read. It flowed well, and the characters had appropriate depth. Romance of any flavour is rare for me to read, but I quite enjoyed this book. I loved the interactions between Holly and Blayne when they were first getting used to one another. I also really liked Adelaide and Kade, even after I learned Kade’s secret. Adelaide comes across as an absent-minded old lady, but she’s far shrewder than she appears.
I love the phrasing to be found scattered through this novel, like gems to be collected and savoured. It’s word-painting at its finest. Ex- ‘Further away, the waves were shattering in millions of white, thunderous tears, the current cruel and implacable.’
Water seems to be a big theme. From rain to ocean, there are numerous mentions, and very special connections with Blayne. This seemed very appropriate. Water in motion is cleansing; water is a visceral, vivid physical representation of our inner emotions. It seems to be in relation to Holly’s feelings, uncertainties, hopes.
Not so fun stuff- Blayne seems so sad, to have once been human and now bound in a box as a spirit, and handed over to a human ‘caretaker’ for whom he must grant wishes. It smacks too much of slavery to me and I was desperate to know why. That ‘why’ turns out to be an integral part of the story, so I got the gratification of an answer. Still, my heart hurt for Blayne, to be in such a situation.
On a different note, the manuscript could benefit from another proofing. Not many errors though, and not too noticeable. Certainly not enough to have detracted from my enjoyment. Big thing- calling the cottages by name, not always capitalising the word cottage, or by making the first name possessive. Whale Cottage- Whale cottage- Whale’s cottage. Also, at wedding, when Blayne is exploring, there is a sentence starting with ‘His curiosity picked…’ Homophone error, should be piqued.
I highly recommend Cairn’s Forever Hers if you enjoy paranormal romance.
Excerpt from Forever Hers
Holly went straight to her bedroom and fell on her bed. She lay motionless for a while, staring at the ceiling, mind blank, the ache still digging at her. She grazed the wood with her fingertips, her eyelids getting heavier and heavier. A sudden thump woke her from her torpor.
“Damn it.” She straightened herself to see her court shoe had come off her foot and fallen on the pristine, white wooden floor, scattering bits of mud all around. Holly’s shoulders slumped as she realized her shoes had smeared dried up soil everywhere she’d walked. Better sweep the lot up before clean freak Isobel told her off. She hauled herself up with little grace and put her shoe back on. She placed the box on top of her chest of drawers before she dragged herself downstairs. Armed with a broom, she swept the kitchen, the stairs, and then her bedroom. She was about to fetch the dustpan and the brush when her corner vision caught something that made her halt. Frowning, she approached Max’s wooden cube.
It had a marking on it.
How was it possible? Both she and her mother had examined it thoroughly earlier, and there was no inscription of any kind. She touched the black symbol. It was smooth against the wood, as if it had been printed, rather than engraved. Holly rotated the box, scrutinizing each side. No, no other marking. She put it back on her chest of drawers, and her lips fastened in a bewildered pout. A black triquetra inside a circle made out of chains. Very strange symbol indeed. She pushed hard on it, part of her wishing that somehow, it would trigger something. Nothing happened. She scratched her temple. Okay, still no opening. But still, this new black mark was pretty cool. No wonder Adelaide had called it magic. Maybe it was activated through a certain temperature? She’d have to show her mother; she was bound to be impressed.
She turned around to pick up the broom she had propped against the wall earlier, and her heart stopped.
There was a man on her bed.