Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/
Cathy has been reading Beltane by Alys West
Opening with a terrific prologue which grabbed my interest immediately, Beltane has a lot of factors I love in a book – including a handsome druid, magic and Glastonbury, a place I know well and enjoy visiting, so being able to clearly picture the setting was a bonus. The story is set almost entirely in Glastonbury, encompassing the Abbey ruins, beautiful Chalice Well Gardens and the Tor, all atmospheric and mystical places. The flavour of the area is evident throughout and it’s obvious Alys West knows the locale extremely well.
Druid Finn McCloud makes a deadly enemy of spellworker, Maeve Blackwell when he rescues his sister from her clutches. He pays dearly for his mistake and is trapped by Maeve’s power until Zoe Rose arrives at Anam Cara, Maeve’s healing retreat. Zoe is there at the recommendation of her friend, Anna, trying to find inspiration for her work as an illustrator. Zoe can only feel unease and immediate dislike on meeting Maeve, despite Anna’s enthusiasm and praise for the healer.
The characterisation is so good, Finn and Zoe make great protagonists, very appealing and I liked them immediately. They’re realistic, well-rounded and in Finn’s case, gorgeous. Zoe is intrigued by, and attracted to, a carving of the Green Man on a tree in the garden at Anam Cara although other aspects of the retreat unnerve her. Her reactions to the situation she finds herself in, along with the shocking revelations she finds out about herself and Finn, are convincing and unforced.
Maeve, on the other hand, is completely evil, scheming and ruthless. Her karmic wave healing sessions don’t seem to have the effect expected by her guests. Maeve has an agenda and will do whatever it takes. She an excellent antagonist. Winston is a fascinating character as well, and hopefully he will feature a little more in future books.
Alys West has created a wonderfully visual and gripping, fast paced story, with a strong plot full of mystery, magical forces and tension. I love all the threads of the well written storyline and how they’re woven together. I’m looking forward to the next book, finding out what’s in store and how the characters develop.