The story is set in Tallenmere, a fantasy world where humans, elves, halflings and other races live together. This provides an interesting background to what is essentially a love story between halfling Galadin Trudeaux and high elf Lady Caliphany Aranea, the King’s niece. He had a rough upbringing by pirates who had murdered his parents, and while Cali has all the material things she could want, she has always been oppressed by her bossy father Sirius who wants her to marry the dull Aelendyl and become a mage. Cali has very different ideas.
The prologue introduces us to the two main characters with the third person narration of a traumatic incident in each of their childhoods. From then on the story is told in the first person, hopping between Cali and Galadin as the speaker. This works brilliantlhy, allowing us to learn about the two characters inside and out, and injecting a fresh level of interest. Not that it’s needed. Events move swiftly and excitingly in this story and keep us hooked. There’s conflict between our hero and heroine, long enough to keep us guessing, but not too long that we reach the point of not caring less whether they get together or not! Cali has to face betrayal, turn her back on her family and seize what she wants. Galadin also has to make difficult sacrifices and choices.
Neither character is perfect. Cali has led a spoilt life and it shows at times. But she bungles her magic sometimes and is headstrong and impetuous. Galadin has been a criminal, and he can be stubborn and rude. They’re imperfect enough for us to empathise with.
True love never runs smoothly. Old lovers and interfering families appear and cause havoc, but after many twists and turns the story ends the way we want it to.
The emotions are genuine in this story. The love scenes are touching and exciting. We care about these characters and what happens to them and we’re entertained all the way through. Mysti Parker’s style is light, flowing and easy to read, but never boring. She has a vivid imagination and an eye for detail. This is a smashing story and I look forward to reading more by this author.