A magical tale spun in the Regency Era, in the early 1800's. A tale that will make you believe in fate and that you can play a hand at determining how it can come to pass. A tale for all women who believe in seeing their fate as they desire.Gwenyth is the Witch of Kerrow, a seer and nursemaid. Since her youth has been haunted, thanks to her gift called Sight, by the destiny which awaits any man she falls in love with. She believes her gods have set her fate, she is determined to not marry as the grief she would feel would be too much for her. However, her yearning for a daughter to carry on the Kerrow magic and healers weighs heavily on her mind. Her fate was already laid out on her tapestry in comfortable colors and she was happy in her cottage doing the local healing and birthing. Things begin to change when her brother, Jago drops an injured man off for her to care for. Little did she know how he would affect her. Qwenyth is a strong willed and determined woman who knows where her heart lies and is determined to show fate she won't let it determine her future husbands fate before she can avert it and the grief it would cause her. As she progresses she learns what love is and that some risks need to be taken to get what your heart really wants and that fate is not set in stone, but based on choices we make and how we carry on the path set forth.
Captain Rafe Fleming is a smuggler who has left his family in the wake of the disgrace and the punishment he endured for a crime he didn't commit. He is washed ashore after his ship the Cormorant is wrecked. As he comes to realize little about where he is and who is caring for him she at first didn't see Gwenyth, as he believes most witches to be older, more hunches and aged, only to find a young woman in the peak of her life. As she cares for him he begins to plan his life to return to the civilized society and take up his life with a wife of his own. As he heals and spends time with Qwenyth he comes to see her differently and tries to persuade her that her feelings are deeper than she lets on. And he doesn't realize, until its nearly too late that what he really wanted was with him all along.
Gwenyth is determined to have a child, and Rafe to find a suitable wife in society in his home of Bodliam. He feels with Gwenyth's Sight he can find a wife who can love him for who he is and not for his roguish good looks or money. She feels he may be the one to give her the daughter she so desperately needs, under the guise of being his betroved. They strike a rather strange bargain to obtain what they both want. As she makes the choice to help Rafe and leaves the confines of her small cottage she begins to question her feelings and the absurdity of the bargain. In Bodlaim she meets his family who look at her as an unsuitable wife, especially for a man of society who needs a wife who can keep him in respectable eyes. Even with Gwenyth there, his family keeps her at arms length, and she can sense their true thoughts and feelings.
They come to meet the woman who once burned and hurt Rafe in his youth, Anabel. She is vindictive little wench to put it nicely, and she is determined to have Rafe for herself since he has returned. She is eagerly welcomed into Rafe's family as the two are brought together. Gwenyth sees Anabel's true thoughts and desires and knows that she is wrong for him, but will give him a society wife. She also realized the true depth of her feelings for Rafe and reality and fate are one in the same. Things get quickly out of hand and she is eager to return home. This actually helps them as they are both trying to keep their bargain intact, but their stoked fire of love is hard to put out. It is only near the end that both realize their desires ans reconcile things.
The ending is the part where everything comes together in a way that is truly fitting for both. I can't give it away as it is truly a marvel in and of itself. I was crying reading as the events unfolded and everything came to a truly crashing end. I was thrilled and pulled into this story as we see how Rafe handles being thrown back into society where he realizes his heart no longer yearns to be and Gwenyth finds her true feelings. There is so much chemistry and magic with Rafe and Qwenyth and seeing them get through thick and thin.
Alix Rickloff does a superb job of weaving a true tale of fate and love. All the characters are highly developed and come across in their own voices. I found myself wanting to read it more and more as the story went on. I give this a 4 of 5 for her highly developed characters and the inspiring plot she weaves.