Sourcebooks Casablanca, $6.99, ISBN 978-1-4022-1394-6
Paranormal Romance, 2008
The Wild Sight refers to our hero Donovan O’Shea’s unusual ability to get a brief “living through” of an event that happened in the past related to any object that he touches. It’s not a pleasant experience, these flashbacks to the past of his, but Donovan just has to dabble in archeology. Some people like living on the edge, I suppose. This story also has a subtitle (An Irish Tale of Deadly Deeds and Forbidden Love). Don’t let the “forbidden love” part fool you into thinking that Loucinda McGary wants to be the new VC Andrews – sure, the heroine believes that Donovan may be her half-brother, but you know he can’t be who she thinks he is or the poor author will never live this one down during Christmas parties five years from now.
This story takes place in – where else? – Ireland and I have to say, the author really knows and loves the place because the scenery in this story is beautiful. Like a “Wish you were here, really!” postcard, come to think of it. Our heroine Rylie Powell is at a difficult phase in her life, the kind that every woman in such stories experiences before falling in love with a hot hunk that introduces her to red hot passion. Feeling all alone in the world, she decides to seek out the father that she never knew. Armed with some clues left by her late mother, she arrives at the pub co-owned by Donovan, looking for her father. Who also happens to be his father. Donovan, needless to say, is not amused by the suggestion that his father may be a bigamist who has lied all this while to his family about the other family that he had on the side. However, a dead body found at a dig site will soon bring about a series of events that lead Donovan and Rylie into a paranormal mystery that involves their families’ dark secrets and even some magic.
The Wild Sight is Loucinda McGary’s debut published romance novel, I believe, and as much as I hate to say this, this one does feel like a debut effort. The problem that I have with this book is that the story itself is far better than the actual execution of the story. The plot is fine – it has some interesting twists and turns to make things most interesting indeed. However, this book suffers from slow pacing and conversations that come off more like stilted exposition meant for the reader. The characters are okay – they communicate when they have to and they don’t do anything too particularly stupid in the process. But the romance isn’t built up well. The author plunges her characters straight into what seems like instantaneous lust and I never really get the impression that the characters are in love.
But what really gets to me is Ms McGary’s tendency to describe things way too much in this story. Her characters don’t just speak, they giggle, chortle, snort, swore, reply, gasp, and more. It does seem that pretty much every word created to describe the act of making a sound using one’s mouth is used in this story. If Ms McGary isn’t doing her one-woman thesaurus road show, she’s busy describing what her characters are doing while they are speaking. Eyebrows rise, fists are clenched tightly, and deep breath is slowly exhaled. Ms McGary does this in every paragraph that has a character in conversation. Here’s a short but typical example from the story:
“There’ll be a sight more than me here disturbing him,” he retorted, hands clenched tightly at his sides.
“Not today, there won’t,” the nurse declared. “Now out with the pair of you.”
“Please, ma’am,” Rylie’s voice squeaked like a small child’s. “May I just have a minute with Mr. O’Shea – Dermot O’Shea?”
The nurse gave her a skeptical look. “Are you a relation?”
Rylie drew a deep breath and her chins jutted out in defiance, “I’m his daughter.”
Ms McGary does this every time her characters open their mouths. It is as if she doesn’t trust me to infer what her characters are feeling, so she has to describe every grit of the teeth and every rise and fall of a character’s voice. While I have no problem with this if the author does it in moderation, she goes overboard here. The end result is a constant flurry of physical and facial actions every time the characters decide to open their mouths – it is as if the characters are so animated and excitable that they belong more in a cartoon or a something.
To sum things up, I have personally no problems with the characters or the storyline here. Were not for the technical aspects of the story that bother me, I would have enjoyed this story more. It is a pity, really, that no one has told Ms McGary during the road to publication of this book that her characters are possibly being way too animated for their own good.