LoveSpell, $5.50, ISBN 0-505-52368-X
Paranormal Romance, 2000
Nathaniel Warrington, the new Baron of Ravenall, is exiled to his country home after a tragic debacle involving a middle-class woman and her death. Vowing never to fool with a woman’s heart again, he and his buddy Paul heads off to Ravenall for some quiet moments.
Not only do they meet Oscar, a raven who calls everybody Eee-diot, they meet Valerian Bright who can heal people with her touch. Nate and Valerian feel firecrackers setting off between them, but how about class differences? And Nate’s past heartbreak? And the villagers who keep giving Val trouble for being a “witch”, those ungrateful morons? And how about Val’s secret past?
There are many intriguing elements in Bewitching the Baron, such as the fact that Val descended from a line of healers who are mistresses to rich powerful men. Val and Nate’s relationship can be heartrending in their poignancy.
Can be, that is. For some reason I can’t really get into the story. It is as if the whole landscape of Bewitching the Baron is covered with ice sleet – I don’t know why, but there’s this psychological distance between me and the main characters. I have no idea how or why this could happen, but I have a hard time getting involved in the story.
It could be because of Val’s and Nate’s baggage. Val, especially, is so selfless and martyr-like to the sheep-like villagers who treat her like dirt after they had what they needed from her that I just want to shake her. Life’s not fun being a martyr, you know. Val, go kick some butt and show some obnoxious dumb rednecks the finger. Do a Carrie! She is always so giving yet always in trouble, Nate is forever helping her. Oscar’s Eee-diot starts to sound like a prophecy after a while.
And Nate, he is hurt. And hurt and hurt and hurt for what seemed like an eternity.
Hence Bewitching the Baron is like a beautiful yet eerie landscape of winter. It’s nice to look at, hypnotic and entrancing. But everything’s barren and there is little warmth or joy to be found most of the time.