Uncertain Magicby Laura Kinsale
Laura Kinsale, a former geologist, is the New York Times bestselling author of Flowers from the Storm, The Prince of Midnight, and Seize the Fire. She and her husband divide their time between Santa Fe/em>/em>/em>/strong>
A breathtaking historical romance filled with poignancy, darkness, love, and an unexpected twist of Gaelic magic…
Laura Kinsale, a former geologist, is the New York Times bestselling author of Flowers from the Storm, The Prince of Midnight, and Seize the Fire. She and her husband divide their time between Santa Fe and Dallas.
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- 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
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Newmarket Heath, 1797
Roderica Delamore clutched hard at the billowing silk folds of her father's pavilion as the horses came pounding down the turf. The blood-bay stallion was in the lead, a flash of living fire, pulling away from the challenger with each ground-eating stride as the crowd's rumble gathered to a piercing howl. The noise and emotion rose up around Roddy like a breaking wave, beating at her, drowning her, crushing the barriers that she'd built in her mind. Her cursed gift laid her open to everything, the sound, the sight, the combined aggression and excitement of ten thousand screaming spectators. The intensity of emotion threatened to overwhelm her, and she tore the silk with her twisting fingers as she sought madly for some way to block it out.
Her parents had been right-she should never have come. She should have stayed home on the quiet Yorkshire estate where her father raised his blooded running stock, safe in the country solitude. She was not ready for this; she'd had no concept of what it would be like to suffer the full force of her talent in the grip of a hysterical crowd. In desperation she narrowed her concentration to the animals, pushing away the tide of human feeling with terrific effort.
The trick worked. The impact of the crowd faded and changed, becoming a background roar of sound as Roddy let herself be sucked into the mind of the stallion in the lead, the bright bay, whose will and power filled her like a flood of molten fire. Her world became the world of the racehorse: the taste of copper and foam, the smell of sweat and crushed grass and hot wind; stretching, seeking, ears flicked back to the thunder of the challenger, eyes focused on the terrain ahead, reaching and reaching and reaching forward-
The sudden pain struck her as if it were her own. It shot down the stallion's left foreleg, and he broke stride for one fraction of a second, sending the jockey's live weight forward onto the horse's shoulders. The whip flashed, not hitting, but the brandishment was enough. The stallion sprang ahead. The pain increased. It grew, spreading across the animal's chest and striking into his neck and right leg. Still he ran, defying it, his stallion's mind set in aggression and pride-stay ahead, stay ahead, damn the pain-while Roddy pressed her fists to her mouth and bit down until her knuckles bled with vicarious agony.
In a back corner of her mind she was aware of fear, a human dread of the moment when the great beast would collapse and take down his jockey and the challenger behind in a savage tangle of flesh and hooves. She'd felt this kind of pain before, at home, when an exhausted gelding had collapsed of heart failure after a twenty-mile race between parish steeples. It was death, close and dreadful, and yet the stallion drove on, opening the lead. His stride lengthened, his black-tipped legs devouring turf like the rhythmic spokes of a giant wheel. As he neared the finish, the crowd noise rose to a crescendo. The pair flashed by Roddy. She was screaming, too, hardly aware of the tears that streamed down her cheeks for the animal's pain and courage, for the will that carried him past the finish a full length ahead of his rival, for the spirit that made him toss his head and fight the restraining hand of his jockey when every single step was anguish. She broke from her hiding place in the pavilion, in the rough stableboy's clothes and the cap she'd worn to conceal her bright blond curls, and pushed with unfeminine force through the mob that closed in on the victor.
She reached the stallion just as the silk-clad jockey swung off. A groom ran forward to take the puffing animal's bridle; his hand clashed with Roddy's as they both lunged. Roddy's fingers closed first and she tore the reins away.
"Yo!" he shouted amid the din, and made a move to yank them back.
Roddy screamed, "Don't move him!" forgetting entirely she was supposed to be a boy.
"He'll die if you move him now!"
"Are ye crazed?" the groom cried. Roddy stumbled under his shove, then gritted her teeth and held her ground.
The stallion stood still beside her, awash in pain. He lowered his head, giving in to weakness for the first time, and at that motion the protests of the groom faded momentarily. But the man's pride was aroused now, his authority questioned. Roddy felt the stallion begin to tremble in delayed reaction. The groom made another grab for the reins. He captured them, pushing Roddy aside as he led the horse forward.
The stallion faltered, and went to his knees. All around, a dismayed cry flew up, and then a cheer as the horse clambered back to all fours. Roddy gave the groom a savage look. She felt the man's antagonism, sharp and quick as a stabbing knife in the wash of emotion from the crowd. She knew before he did it that he was going to drag the horse forward again. "Damn you! Don't-" she shouted, and found herself cut short by another voice that sliced across the noise.
"Leave it, Patrick. Let him stand."
Roddy stiffened, unused to being taken by surprise. She did not turn toward the newcomer-that was habit-but opened her special gift to his mind, expecting to pluck out a name and identity before she even saw his face. Instead, she found only blankness.
That jolted her. She focused her gift more sharply. But the other remained a silence, a void, as disconcerting as the space where a newly lost tooth should have been.
A bubble of panic rose to her throat. For the first time in her life, Roddy felt herself reaching out instead of turning away, probing for emotion or thought instead of rejecting it. When finally she turned, it was as if she could not quite see the man beside her; only a vague figure, tall and elegant in a black coat and doeskin breeches. She spared a single glance up into his face. His features came into focus with a sudden, wrenching clarity. He stood quite still amid the clamor, watching her intently, his eyes a startling blue beneath thick black lashes- light against dark, like the bright evening sky behind stark silhouettes. The expression on his fiercely carved face was closed, set in lines impossible to read. She blinked stupidly and gaped, like a person set down in a foreign country, unable to cope with an unknown tongue.
The silence spread to the watching throng, the real silence, the one her ears heard instead of her mind. Shouts and talk faded into hush. And in the crowd-thoughts behind the silence she found a name.
Her eyes widened. She looked quickly toward the stranger from under her lashes.
Saints preserve us.
Iveragh. The Devil Earl of Ireland.
Meet the Author
Laura Kinsale is the award‑winning and New York Times–bestselling author of The Shadow and the Star, Seize the Fire, The Prince of Midnight, Flowers From the Storm, For My Lady’s Heart, and The Dream Hunter. She and her husband divide their time between Santa Fe and Dallas. Shadowheart won the Romance Writers of America Rita Award for best long historical romance of 2004. Kinsale also won best romance novel of 1990 for Prince of Midnight. Kinsale was 1987–1988 Career Achievement Award Winner from Romantic Times Magazine. She was also Regency Historical Romance 2004 Career Achievement Award Winner from Romantic Times Magazine and the Innovative Historical Romance 1994 RRA Awards Nominee for Best Historical Romance Author.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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When I was a teen in the 80s, I devoured romance novels, and this one was my very favorite. I loved the mysticism of it, the strength of both characters and the way she developed the love triangle. It didn't fit the normal pattern of historical romances of the time. Today, I saw this addtion at the Barnes and Noble in my home town, and I cried! I thought it was out of print. It immediately took me back to being 16 and fascinated by the world of fairy tale romance. This book is a great escape and well worth the read.
this was not her best work. this book was very busy and confusing. too many things going on and way too many charactures.
i love this book and am delighted that b& n have made it available.i read this book years ago when it first came out, lost it and found it again.when i moved i lost it again...now here it is....wow!
Both hero and heroine underwhelming, plot involving fairy magic and Irish rebeliion equally so.. only high point is the pet pig.
Roderica Delamore has been gifted with the ability to feel and experience the emotions of everyone around her, both in humans and animals, which she oftentimes feels is more of a curse than a blessing. She fears that she will never experience love or have a family, until she meets The Devil Earl, who seems to be the one person that she cannot "feel", so she offers him her fortune in the hopes of having an amicable marriage of convenience with the dream of a loving relationship. Faelan, The Devil Earl, is a brooding and haunted hero who believes the worst of himself and decides to throw caution to the wind at an early age and earn the title he has been given. His past and his memories surrounding the death of his father have led him and the Ton to believe that he murdered his father. His guilt drives him to lead a life of reckless abandon, until he finds Roddy. She becomes his desperate chance to save his soul as well as his Irish estate. Their journey to love takes them from the English countryside, to the hustle and bustle of London, and finally to the wilds of the Irish estate that had been abandoned and neglected where they find themselves embroiled an Irish revolt against English rule, as well as Faery magic. Roddy and Fealan's story is rich in emotion, love and experiences that I loved from beginning to the end. I loved UNCERTAIN MAGIC! It's not a new release, rather a re-release of the same title previously published in 1987. I found it interesting that it felt like a book that was written decades ago, not because it seems dated, but because the plot is much more expansive than romance novels that are currently being published. It's approximately 455 pages, whereas most romances today are usually no more than 350 pages (if that), and I think that allowed the author much more freedom to explore the hero and heroines love story in much more depth with many twists and turns that me guessing right up until the end. I would have given it a perfect 5.0 stars, but I thought the ending was a little weak after the magic of the rest of the story. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical romance....with just a touch of magic. Favorite Pivotal Moment (the heroine is gifted with the ability to read peoples minds, which has been a blessing and a curse, and until this moment has never been able to read her husbands mind) "He was not the Devil Earl--he was only a man, and he needed her. Wanted her. Let her look at him and see into his soul laid bare and still loved her, with a fierceness that made her want to laugh and cry at once. The way he saw her....she never would have guessed: her strangeness he thought beautiful; her obstinance he called courage; her childish whims were joy and laughter to him, who had never known innocent laughter before." p. 477-478 Overall: 4.50 stars Sensuality level: 3.0 (while the love scenes are not lengthy or as detailed as romances currently published, our hero is a very passionate man)
If you've never read a Laura Kinsale novel, read one. Now. I'd heard how wonderful her historical romances were, but, somehow, I never got around to reading one. What a mistake. UNCERTAIN MAGIC is a vivid, atmospheric tale of deceptive appearances, high stakes, and wrenching emotion. Set in late Georgian England and Ireland, the novel adds Irish magic and mystery to a can't-put-down, sweeping drama of two misfits who find their fit with each other. Roderica can read minds. The constant intrusion of others' thoughts is so painful, she fears she will never wed--until she encounters Faelan, "The Devil Earl", the only man whose mind is opaque to her power. Faelan needs money to resurrect his impoverished estate. Roderica has a large dowry. Without telling him of her unusual ability, she encourages him to seek her hand in marriage. Faelan harbors his own secrets. Is he really the devil, as his nickname implies? Against the terror and tumult of the doomed 1798 Irish rebellion, Roderica and Faelan, afraid to trust each other, risk their love, their sanity, and their very lives. UNCERTAIN MAGIC was first published in 1987 and time hasn't diminished the power and appeal of this early paranormal. I especially like that Ms. Kinsale has written two of my favorite characters, the strong heroine and the wronged, decent hero. UNCERTAIN MAGIC is a keeper. I look forward to my next Laura Kinsale novel. ARC provided by Sourcebooks
My Synopsis: Uncertain Magic by Laura Kinsale Roddy can't decide if her "talent" is a gift or a curse. Being able to read the minds of every living creature around her, may sound like fun, but for Roddy it can be overwhelming. When Roddy meets, the "Devil Earl", Faelan Savigar she is shocked to realize that she cannot hear anything from him. Roddy realizes that this may be her only chance at a normal life. Who wants to marry a wife who can read their every thought? But the Lord of Iveragh has secrets of his own. His reputation precedes him and Roddy's family worries for her safety. When Roddy and Faelan marry, Roddy assumes it will be a marriage of convenience. Faelan needs her money to save his estate in Ireland and she wants to marry and have children. But, does she dare hope that the stories of Lord Iveragh are only rumors? Is it possible that he could love her and no other? Faelan has been plagued by bouts with what he calls "lost time", from his childhood. He just doesn't remember! His deep secrets threaten to ruin their happiness. Will Roddy's gift be able to save him from his aliment or will it destroy him? My Thoughts: Ireland is a land of mist and magic. Laura Kinsale draws on the legends and fairy tales of Ireland to bring Uncertain Magic to life. Uncertain Magic is a re-issue from 1987, and was Laura Kinsale's second novel. In 1987 the genre of "paranormal" romance didn't exist. This novel was a forerunner to the explosion of books we are now seeing with "magical" themes. Whether is be vampires and werewolves or more subtle elements like Roddy's gift of reading minds, paranormal romances have taken the book community by storm. In Uncertain Magic, Laura Kinsale uses characters that uncommon. They aren't your average Lord and Lady. Roderica's, character is torn between believing her 'talent' is a gift or a curse. She desperately wants to find love, but believes it is beyond her ability because no one wants to be with someone who lays them bare and vulnerable. Faelan's character is the strong and silent type, but we soon learn it is because he fears himself more than anything else. Both characters are have faults, but that makes them all the more accessible. We as readers, want to see them overcome their fears and find love. I really liked the way, Kinsale used point of view in this book. The story is primarily told from Roddy's perspective. We don't get to see what's going on Faelan's mind until the very end of the book. Though we are able to glean a lot from his actions we can't see him clearly and that adds a lot of mystery to his character. I think this is a very powerful tool in the writer's arsenal
Both Faelen and Roderica have their share of secrets. Faelen isn't exactly a gentleman but Roderica finds him fascinating. She has the power to read the thoughts of others, well, except when it comes to Faelen. He is in need of money and it just so happens that Roderica is willing to share hers with him in exchange for marriage. This wasn't one of my favorite books, but it did have some fun elements. I liked that it incorporated a little bit of everything. There were moments when it was downright hilarious and others that were touching.
Couldn't even finish this! Ugh!
Uncertain Magic is a fun regency romance with a full complement of villains. The romantic lead, Faelan Savigar, the "Devil Earl," has a dangerous reputation and dark moods. While his reputation would lead most women to avoid him, Roderica Delamore isn't like most other women. She has a gift of being able to see what is actually there - she isn't tempted away or fooled by the fae. Somehow she sees the good in the Devil Earl and she's able to draw out his better nature. Not everyone is happy for the two lovers. They come across danger and opposition soon enough. When Roderica and the Earl try to stand true to each other and their love, it seems like everything will work against them. Uncertain Magic is a lovely historical romance -- full of ups and downs, excitement and romance. It's the sort of historical romance that's perfect for a lazy day in the park or a rainy day at home. ISBN-10: 1402237022 - Mass Market Paperback Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (May 4, 2010), 385 pages. Review copy provided by the publisher.
Funny how people can have such differing opinions. This is one of my favorite books ever, yes it has some weaknesses but very special moments!