Stars: 4 / 5
Once Upon A Castle is a collection of four novellas by famed romantic authors - Nora Roberts, Jill Gregory, Ruth Ryan Langan and Marianne Willman - published in March of 1998. The first novella is titled SpellBound is by my favorite author Nora Roberts. I had been reading a few non-fiction and lengthy fictions past few weeks so I wanted to pick an easy book this time. Hence this novella. Here's the review on the first story in the collection.
Calin Farrell, an established famous and rich photographer, has been having sleepless nights - dreams of a witch and a castle and the evil lurking around. His mother, Sylvia Farrell and father John Farrell have been worried about him and insist on him taking a vacation - worried that his childhood dreams of witches, warriors and wars are coming back. On a whim or a subconscious pull, he goes to Ireland for a vacation. The day he lands, the stormy night, brings all kinds of imaginations in his mind to life. However, he drives thru the storm only to come across a ruined castle on high rocks that pulls him towards it. When nearing it he sees a beautiful cottage at the base of the castle and a woman with flaming red hair runs towards him crushing him with a happy kiss. Who is this woman? Why does she seem familiar yet he doesn't remember meeting her before then? Why was he pulled towards this Castle of Secrets?
Bryna Torrence - the flaming red-haired woman - was disappointed that Calin hadn't remembered her. She needed him to remember her, accept that fact and fight by her side against the evil Alasdair who had been lusting to acquire Bryna and her power for centuries. For the day has come for the final showdown. Will Calin accept the fact about who he was in the past and who he is now? Will he join Bryna in the fight? Will Alasdair come out on top? Or will the couple come out on top? What is the history between Calin and Bryna from the past? Or will Cal think this as a nightmare or a play of his mind that he need a psychiatric treatment again?
Quick read filled with the unbelievable and believable alike taking you away from your couch or bed as you read. Making you live the journey and trials of Calin and Bryna, wanting us to fight along-side them then evil Alasdair. A refreshing and smooth plot for those fast readers and readers who have less time at their hands.
1) The novella reminded me of a much recent series by Nora Roberts, The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, published between 2013 and 2014. In this one of the cousin is Branna O'Dwyer who is also a reincarnation of the first Brannaugh O'Dwyer who was lusted by the evil Cabhan in the past centuries ago and now in this century. Story of magick, reincarnation, of finding true love and how the Cousins overcome the powerful and evil Cabhan is told in three parts (Dark Witch, Shadow Spell and Blood Magick). I am guessing this novella SpellBound has been basis for the series that came almost 20 years later.
2) Grammatical errors: Pg 79 Para 5 - there is an added "her" in the last line which is not necessary.