28 August 2009

Review: Erin Quinn - Haunting Beauty

~click on the cover to buy a copy~

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (August 4, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425228177
ISBN-13: 978-0425228173


Danni always believed she was an abandoned child. Then the seductive Sean Ballogh appears out of nowhere with a startling story challenging everything Danni thought was true. He claims that Danni’s family has been searching for her ever since she disappeared twenty years ago. He’s come to bring her home to Ireland. Now, Danni must rewrite history to save her family, to fight a force more evil than she ever imagined, and to reunite herself with the man she was destined for—or risk living forever in time as nothing more than an ethereal memory, a tragic and haunting beauty.

The lives of two people are forever altered due to the course of events in a night long ago. What once was, shattered that night, and two people began an extraordinary journey to find out what happened that night.

A book deeply rooted in the Irish lore is connected to the people living in Ballyfionúir. Its true origins unknown, its place unknown but its dark power is undeniable.

My imagination received an incredible work-out upon reading HAUNTING BEAUTY. This is not a story that is easily read or easy to put down. To give you a fair warning; Haunting Beauty kept me mesmerized and on my qui vive with ever turn of the page! The mystery encompassed me with its high-octane twists and turns that I did not see coming. In the center of this dynamic story are two people, Danni Jones and Sean Ballagh, they surprised me in many ways and from the first page I was so very intrigued by their personalities.

The magnetic pull this book had on me never faltered for one second. Through Danni’s mystical ability I got to witness murder, passion, danger and tragedy. Questions came up in my mind faster than Erin Quinn, or the story, wanted to answer and I craved to find out how it was all interconnected. There are two major triggers in this book that kept me this succumbed to the story. One, family secrets which I always find exciting to unravel and two, a couple who are as mysterious as they are compelling in their personalities.

Now Sean Ballagh is not your average hero of a book. Of course he has the Irish charm, is rugged, passionate and handsome but there are unexplainable things that mystify his character. He is one of those characters you have to read about in the book to fully understand him. He exudes a natural male virility but it is not what stands out for me. It is his depth of mind and soul, it’s his world of pain he tries to shoulder, it’s his determination to see the course of events changed once more and the realization of the truth that pulls at my strings so much.

Danni, if there is one character who made a deep impression on me then it was Danni. She leads this story with an inquiring mind and courage to boot without coming off as super woman. Fear and doubt make her very human and through every choice she makes she learns and grows. At times her actions gave me heart-in-throat moments but I love that effect in this tale. Because of her abilities and the concept of this story I really needed to keep my focus on what she did and the dialogues she had with various other characters.

The islands inhabitants are concentrated to the ancient Ballagh and MacGrath families. Each plays a key part in the larger scheme of events. Rory, Fia and Cathán MacGrath but also Colleen and Niall Ballagh, father to the main protagonist, Sean, are dynamic and add to the overall authenticity of the island. I didn’t need much more characters to tell this tale, they alone already established an eerie feeling of untold secrets and endless possibilities.

The focal point in this story lies within the plot and mystery which is gradually unraveling before my eyes. It is a layered and engaging to find out the why and the whodunnit of it all. The pace fitted the story like a glove, attention to detail in backdrop and emotions of the characters enhanced the, for lack of a better word, haunting feeling. The romance between Sean and Danni is delicately intertwined within the larger overall story. First and foremost the events of that faithful night drive every action of Danni and Sean as their feelings change and grow with each chapter. It makes the ending so high-stake but above all laced with fear, hope and everlasting love.

Everything aims towards that night where so much of the current troubles originate from. With the stories’ progress the plot thickens, various characters are introduced and some play a key part in that night that I never would’ve guessed. The intricate plot thrives on Irish lore but most of all brings an island to life that is steeped in old and forgotten magic, a bit scary and captivating all at ones. The prose of Erin Quinn lends itself well to stage such settings as shivers crawl up and down my spine when truths unfurl itself.

The tone of the story is perhaps an acquired taste but one that definitely fits the story. It adds to the mystical atmospheric backdrop and the sense of imminent danger. I was immersed in this story, ensorcelled by its lore, the island but above all the characters who tell such a heart wrenching tale of loss and their path to change their lives for the better. Erin Quinn will show you a mystical Ireland that is grittier, darker and allows love to transcend and shine with a force of two people destined to love one another.

HAUNTING BEAUTY is one amazing road which Sean and Danni have to travel to gain a chance for a new beginning.

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  1. I was at the bookstore yesterday but forgot my list - this was one of the books I wanted to buy!! Must go back and get this one....

  2. I got this book last week. Then I read a few reviews that weren't so great. But I'll take your word for it as a good read :) and read it soon.

  3. Fabulous review Leontine! I just received my copy in the mail yesterday. It'll be a bit before I can read it but based on your experience, I can't wait to dive in!

    Have a great weekend!

    ;) VFG

  4. Hi Patti, did you get so distracted by all the hunk-a-liscious covers??

    Hi Elain, I saw KB's review on amazon.com but haven't stumbled on anyone else's review. If you don't like the vibe of the story or perhaps the characters it will be hard. For me it worked very well and look forward to book two Haunting Warrior.

    Hi VFG, We all have our TRP that screams at us LOL You'll get to this book eventually, I have no doubt about it :)

  5. This book does sound good! I might have to give it a try.
    I love your blog, by the way! :)

  6. Hmm..I have heard of some that did not finish, but more reviews along the line of yours. I think I will give this one a try. Nice review!

  7. I really like the sound of this one, and by your review, I'm definitely going to give this one a shot. Thanks!

  8. Amazing review! Wow, I wish I could write reviews as captivating as yours. Leontine, you make me want to get this book and see what's underneath that beautiful book cover.

  9. Wonderful review Leontine.
    I do want to read this book, the cover looks so serene and I like what I am hearing about it


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