Story: A storm was brewing and Rhianna du Montefort knew that nothing good would come of it. Known for her skills with herbs and respected as a Healer, she turned a deaf ear to the hurtful whispers of “witch”. She and her brother, Randall were the sole heirs of their parents’ thriving keep and outlying lands. Even as a child, she rose to the task at hand so long as her brother was beside her.
The problem was that her brother had been missing for nearly six moons. There had been no word of his whereabouts or for that matter if he was dead or alive. Sir Erik Ragnorsen, a high ranking Knight of the Realm known for his prowess on the battle field and his unyielding sense of honor, had been commanded to marry the heir of du Montefort Keep.
What he had heard about her was that she was a witch and a crone, well past the age of marrying. He did not want to marry anyone, let alone a magic wielding hag. Though he petitioned the king to retract the edict, Sir Erik was obliged to comply. With a sick heart and spirit, he would never forsake his honor and would do his duty as bidden by the King. Only upon reaching the du Montefort lands, Erik soon realizes that things were not as he had been told. The crone was nothing more than a young woman; a beautiful one at that.
As for the other, well, Sir Erik could attest that he had quite possibly been bewitched by the raven-haired Lady Rhianna. When Rhianna learns that the storm she had been sensing was really a maelstrom in the form of a man named Erik Ragnorsen, she vows she would not marry him. Upon seeing the blond giant who rivaled the Norse god of Thunder, Thor, she felt her resolve crumbling. Not only that, he had been in her dreams; he was there when she dreamed of her parents’ demise on the seas that stormy night when she was just a child. Erik vows to protect the Lady Rhianna at all costs and his promise will be sorely tested when an evil baron decides to take her for his own. Amid lies and betrayal, Rhianna still dreams of the one who saved her so long ago. Will their love be strong enough to weather the storm that threatens to tear them apart?
Review: I always love to begin a story with desperate action, hooked from the first sentence. Ria Cantrell’s novel did not disappoint me. Her protagonists were fiery, brave, passionate as well as honorable. The magic of the Celtic tradition and ancient arts plays a large part in this story.
Rhianna du Montefort’s willingness to stand for what she believes certainly had me wishing I had a friend like her. She knew she was in danger as well as her Keep, yet she kept working for the betterment of both, even to displease the king in trying to avoid the king’s dictate to marry Sir Erik. She was also a woman who bravely faced her choices. She was intelligent and quick-witted with some huge flaws which got her into trouble a number of times: a fiery temper and sharp tongue. When the two were drawn from her at the same time, she was a force to reckon with. No matter her desire NOT to let Erik into her heart and his desire NOT to marry her, her slowly growing love for Erik and he for her could not be ignored.
We learn what stuff Erik was made of on his travel to Lady Rhianna and the holdings he needed to protect. What he craved in his life was love, the love of a woman and children, as his parents had. All his desires were but dreams for he had to forego what he wanted for what the king asked him to do—to marry this witch. Erik Ragnorsen was a man of every woman’s dreams. He was huge, of Viking proportions, an honorable knight who when told by the king he would marry the spinster of du Montefort, known as a possible sorceress, he swallowed his bile and complied.
His good friend, Drew Bandham, captain of the Elite Guard gave him moral support and had some witted words to alleviate Sir Erik’s pain. He was an interesting character with secrets of his own. He also had the capability to lighten both Sir Erik and Lady Rhianna’s angst and anger. I do believe Drew will have a story of his own.
Rhianna relied upon Andarra’s wisdom (who also had the Sight), the chatelaine of the Keep whom Rhianna had known all her life. She had also become a very good friend. Without parents, Andarra was very much the mother figure.
Another substory in play is between Randall and Janelle—a lovely love story in itself. It provides a richer, deeper plot and greater understanding of what the antagonist, the dark lord of Morcar, was capable of doing.
The story plot was engaging with a persuasive writing style, filled with descriptive passages, amusing scenes, passionate feelings and impossible danger. It was all I enjoy in a good medieval romance story.
About the Author: Ria Cantrell lives with her English rock star husband on the sunny shores of Southwest Florida. When she is not writing, Ria is busy singing and performing with her husband in local venues. She is a classically trained vocalist with a specialty in baroque and early music, but she can “rock” out with the best of them. Her dreams came true when she met her husband Paul in 2010 after speaking to him via internet for nearly three years. They married in May, 2012. Ria would say that their love story was as good as the fictional ones you read and in fact, she may tell it in one of her upcoming books. Ria has always been drawn to the distant past and so it seemed only fitting that Celtic Fury was set on a medieval stage. She began writing at a very young age and one would rarely find her without her trusted notebook scribbling her romantic musings. She hopes you enjoy the Celtic Saga with the Clan MacCollum at the forefront. Look for her prequel, Celtic Tempest, which should be completed by February. Celtic Traveler, is already in the works where the present, past and future collide.