Sabine (…and the Beast #1)

SabineBy Moira Rogers

Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Author

A curse can erase her from his mind, but never from his heart

After three years at war, the High Lord of the Forest returns to his lands, a victorious wolf leader intent on claiming his mate. Instead Ciar finds an empty bed and a court with no recollection of the woman he loved. Following her long-cold trail proves far easier than facing what awaits him at the end.

Sabine’s first instinct is to beg her beloved to leave. The High Lord’s mother hired a witch to curse Sabine, desperate to wipe the lowborn wolf from her son’s mind. But the spell worked too well, and Sabine has vanished from the thoughts of everyone who sees her. Including her own family.

The edges of his memory already blurring, Ciar and Sabine must race to find a way to reverse the spell. Yet every searing moment together is not enough to stop the curse’s inexorable progress. His only chance is to bind Sabine to him too tightly to be forgotten, before she disappears once and for all.

Product Warnings
This story contains cruel betrayal, destined love, vile curses, smoldering reunions, wicked deeds between wanton shapeshifters and a happily-ever-after worthy of any fairy tale.

Goodreads Summary

Lord Ciar returns from war, victorious and anxious to claim his mate, but no one even knows who she is, let alone where she is.  He finally ends up in the forest where he finds a ramshackle hut barely fit to live in.  The last person he expects to find inside is his beloved Sabine who recoils in horror when he tries to touch her.  She eventually tells him about the curse her mother had a witch put on her, making everyone forget her – especially those who touch her.  She warns Ciar that he’ll forget her just by being with her, but he insists on going with her to find another witch to break the curse – and inevitably, his memories start to fail.

This is a short novella, seemingly made shorter by the amount of things that happen – many good – and number of characters that I’m not sure mattered to the story being introduced.  They may end up in future books and I’ll end up eating my words since I’m not always sure where a Moira Rogers series is headed.

I loved the relationship between Sabine and Ciar.  Within just a handful of pages, even without reading about it specifically, I had the feeling that they had a history and were deeply in love.  Sabine was a beautiful blend of strength, sadness and hope – the first part of the novella was mostly given from her perspective, so it was easy to read her feelings for Ciar.  As the story continued, there was a gradual shift to Ciar as his memories of her left him.

Because this is a novella, there are some sacrifices made for things that I think improved the story.  Rather than spending a lot of time on extended dialogue while they reconnect, it’s done in a sort of shorthand, telling way, assuming that as a reader we’ve already come to believe in the couple’s love – and I definitely had by then.  It left space for time spent inside the heads of Ciar and Sabine, further cementing their personalities and love for each other.  There also was time for a longer love scene which was typical Rogers – super steamy and tender at once.  There was an interesting twist to the way Ciar was able to remember Sabine after they were together – I think it brought the theme of the series into the story nicely.

On the flip side, there were some small things included that I questioned.  It feels like nitpicking, but in a story this short, anything that pulled me from the story and made me think, “what was that for?” mattered a little.  There were just a few times when I wondered if a character needed to be there or if Sabine and Ciar had to be somewhere.  They weren’t enough that I felt really bothered or that I thought were unreasonable – who knows where a character will end up in a series later – but they were there.

My Summary: A question was posed on another blog related to the rating of novellas.  My answer was that I always assume there’s going to be a limited amount of space for character and plot development, but after that I have three criteria – do I care about the characters, is the plot engaging and something I’d want to read in a longer-length form and is the writing good?  This had characters I really liked and believed in, the quality of writing that I always expect from Moira Rogers (meaning excellent) and a plot that had some minor issues but was something I’d be interested in reading in category length.  For a quick romantic fairytale, this worked.

My Rating: B+



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