Divine by Mistake

Divine by Mistake

by P. C. Cast

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Overview

It’s the beginning of summer break, and high school English teacher Shannon Parker is ready to relax poolside with some red wine and a good book. She’s friggin’ earned it! But first—a little shopping, a la fancy estate auction.

Surrounded by old folks and even older artifacts, Shannon never expects to find something that shocks her down to her very core: an ancient vase, complete with a beautiful painting of a goddess that looks just like her. And just as she’s stealing away with her seriously suspicious purchase, she’s magically thrown into the world of Partholon, where not only has she taken the place of Rhiannon, Goddess Incarnate and Epona’s Chosen, but she’s due to be married to a surly (but oh-so-handsome) High Shaman centaur, ClanFintan.

But serving as Epona’s Chosen isn’t just luxury baths and buff horse-guys. A dark power grows in the wastelands to the north, and Rhiannon will need much more than just the favor of Epona to protect the land—and the man—she’s grown to love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781982616359
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Publication date: 08/27/2019
Series: Partholon Series , #1
Sales rank: 343,664
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

P. C. Cast is a #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today bestselling author whose novels have been awarded the prestigious Oklahoma Book Award, as well as the Prism Award, Laurel Wreath, Holt Medallion, and more.

Read an Excerpt

Finally, on my way. My Mustang felt sweet as it zipped down the nearly empty highway. Why is it that cars seem to drive best when they're freshly washed? Leaning down, I popped a CD into the player, skipped forward to track 6 and began singing at the top of my very tone-deaf lungs with Eponine about the futility of love. As the next song keyed up, I swung around a slow-moving Chevy and yelled, "God, I love being a teacher!"

It was the first day of June, and the summer stretched before me, pristine and virginal.

"All those days of sleeping in to go!"

Just saying it aloud made me happy. In my ten years of teaching I've noticed that teachers tend to have a bad habit of talking to themselves. I hypothesize that this is because we talk for a living, and we feel safe speaking our feelings aloud. Or it could be that most of us, especially the high school teacher variety, are just weird as shit.

Only the slightly insane would choose a career teaching teenagers. I can just see my best girlfriend Suzanna's face screw up and the involuntary shudder move down her spine as I relate the latest trials and tribulations of the high school English classroom.

"God, Sha, they're so…so…hormone filled. Eew!"

Suzanna is a typical college professor snob, but I love her anyway. She just doesn't appreciate the many and varied opportunities for humorous interludes that teenagers provide on a daily basis.

Jean Valjean's dynamic tenor interrupted my musings, bringing me back to Oklahoma I–44 East and June 1.

"Yep, this is it—the life of a high school English teacher with a sense of humor. Doomed to having no money but plenty of comedicfodder. Oh, crap, there's my exit!"

Luckily my little Mustang could take the hard, fast right onto US–412. The sign said Locust Grove 22 miles. I drove half with my knee and half with my hand while I fumbled to unfold the auction flyer that held my written directions. Somewhere about midway between Locust Grove (what an awful name for a town) and Siloam Springs there should be a big sign that pointed to a side road till another sign, another side road, and so forth, until I came to the Unique Estate Auction— Unusual Items—All Offers Considered—All Must Go.

"Well, I certainly like weird old stuff. And I really like weird old cheap stuff."

My students say my classroom is like a bizarre time warp. My walls and cabinets are filled with everything from prints by Waterhouse to posters of Mighty Mouse and hanging Star Trek Enterprise models, along with an almost scary number of wind chimes (they're good chi).

And that's just my classroom. They should see my condo. Guess they really wouldn't be surprised. Except at home I'm a neat freak. My classroom is always in a perpetual state of disarray. I can't seem to find anything if everything is found. Whatever the hell that means.

"I've got to stop cussing!" Saying it out loud would, hopefully, reinforce the idea. Kind of a twist on the Pavlov's dog theory. I keep saying it; it will begin to happen.

"I can't take you today, Javert." Flick! Off went Les Misérables. On goes the jazz station out of Tulsa. It's cool that I could pick it up way out in the boonies.

The sign read Locust Grove City Limits. So I slowed down, blinked, and the town was gone. Well, maybe it was nominally bigger than a blink. And I stayed slowed down. Time to stop and smell the green of Green Country. Oklahoma in early summer is an amazing display of color and texture. I went to college at the University of Illinois, and it always annoyed me that people talked about Oklahoma like it was a red dust bowl. Or some black-and-white scene of misery from The Grapes of Wrath. When I tried to tell the college gang that Oklahoma was really known as "Green Country" they would scoff and look at me as if they thought I'd eaten too many tumbleweeds or punched too many cows.

I passed through the tiny town of Leach (another unfortunate name) and topped a rise in the road. Oklahoma stretched before me, suddenly looking untamed in its beauty. I like to imagine a time when these roads were just paths, and civilization hadn't been so sure of itself. It must have been exciting to be alive then— not exciting like facing the principal after he has just heard from a parent who is upset about me calling Guinevere a slut—but exciting in a rugged, perhaps-we-won't-bathe-or-brush-our-teeth and we-kill-our-own-food-and-tote-our-own-water kind of way. Ugh. On second thought… It's delicious to dream about the days of cowboys or knights or dragons, and I will admit to an obsession with poets of the Romantic era and literature set, well, way back when (technical English teacher term). But reality reminds me that in actuality they did without penicillin and Crest. As my kids would say, "What's up with that?"

"There it is! Turnoff number one, as in a road sign, not to be confused with the blind date who comes to your door in navy blue double-knit trousers and a receding hairline."

UNIQUE ESTATE AUCTION AHEAD and an arrow, which pointed down a side road to my left.

This road was much less traveled (poetic pun intended). Kind of a sorry little two-laner with potholes and deep gravel shoulders. But it twisted and rolled in a pretty way and "To Grandmother's house we go" hummed through my mind. I tried in vain to remember the rest of the song for the next several miles.

UNIQUE ESTATE AUCTION AHEAD and another arrow. Another side-side road. This one more gravel, less two lane, than the other. Well, maybe the out-of-the-wayness of the estate would serve to dissuade the antique dealers, whom I considered the bane of every broke auction-goer. The jazz station faded out, which was actually fine because the Grandmother's House song had also faded from my internal radio— and been replaced with the theme to The Beverly Hillbillies (these words I did remember all of, which I found vaguely disturbing).

Speaking of hillbillies, I hadn't seen many houses. Hmmm…maybe the "estate" was really an old ranch house, smack in the middle of what used to be a real ranch owned by some Bonanzaesque rich folks. Now they've all died off and the land would be subdivided into neat little housing divisions so upper-middle-class folks could commute to…well, wherever. I call that job security for me. Upper-middle-class folks always have the prerequisite 2.5 kids, plus an additional 1.5 kid (from a previous marriage). And those kids gotta pass English to graduate from high school. God bless America.

Over a crook and a rise in the "road" loomed what I had been imagining as an old ranch house. "Holy shit! It's the House of Usher!" (Summer was definitely not the time to work on the cussing thing.) I slowed. Yep—there was another sign: UNIQUE ESTATE AUCTION, planted next to the gravel trail leading to the estate. A few cars, but mostly trucks (it is Oklahoma) were parked on what at one time was obviously a beautifully maintained front… I don't know… what the hell do you call something like that…it stretched on and on…yard seemed too simple a word. Grounds. That sounded better. Lots of grass. The drive was lined with big trees, as in Gone with the Wind, minus the weeping moss.

I realized I was gawking because an old guy dressed in black slacks and a high-necked white cotton shirt was waving me in with one of those handheld orange flashlight things, and his face had an irritated "stop gawking and drive, lady" look on it. As I pulled up next to him, he motioned for me to roll my window down.

"Afternoon, miss." He bent slightly at the waist and peered into my window. A fetid rush of air brought his words into my air-conditioned interior and killed my initial joy at being called "miss," which is definitely younger sounding than "ma'am." He was taller than I first thought, and his face was heavily lined, as if he had worked outside in the elements most of his life, but his complexion was a sickly sallow color.

Good God! It was the daddy from Children of the Corn.

"Afternoon. Sure is warm today." I tried to be pleasant.

"Yes, miss." Ugh—that smell again. "Please pull forward onto The Green. The auction will begin promptly at two."

"Uh, thanks." I tried to smile as I rolled the window up and moved to follow his pointed directions. What was that smell? Like something dead. Well, he was awfully pale; perhaps he wasn't well. That would account for the smell and the fact that he was wearing long sleeves in June, and I was a seriously hateful bitch to call the poor old guy Children of the Corn's daddy. And the front yard is called The Green. Learn something new every day! I said to myself with a grimace. Clichés are the bane of educated mankind.

Before I turned off the car, I took my required several minutes (a man once told me he could always tell how attractive a woman was by how long it took her to get out of a car— I try to take a longgg time) to reapply my lipstick. I also took a minute to scope out the house. Scratch that—mansion.

My first impression held. This place seriously conjured images of Poe and Hawthorne. It was humongous, in a sprawling, Victorian-type of way. I'm usually drawn to unusual old homes, but not so with this one. I tipped my sunglasses down my nose to get a better view. It looked odd. It took a moment to figure out why, then it hit me—it looked as if it had been built in several different parts. The basic building was roughly a huge square, but added on to this square were two different porches, one rectangular with steps leading up to the entrance in a grandiose, sweeping manner. Not twenty feet down from the first porch was a second, rounded gazebo-like structure just, well, stuck on to the front of the building, complete with latticework and gnarly-looking roses. A large turret room was attached to one side of the building, like a cancerous growth, and a slope-roofed wing emerged from the opposite end of the structure. The whole thing was painted an awful shade of gray, and it was cracked and crinkled, like an old smoker's skin.

"There should really be some unique items to be had here." Muttering to myself, I got ready to tear my eyes away from Usher's abode when a shiver tickled down my spine. A thick cloud passed in front of the sun and the "walking on my grave" feeling hit me like a bad dream. Is it late? It seems to me that the light darkens. My English teacher mind plucked the quote from Medea. Greek tragedy, replete with revenge, betrayal and death. Seemed, in an inopportune way, appropriate.

"Jeesh, get a grip, Parker!" Ridiculous—I needed to shake out of my gruesome mode, and get into my junk-shopping mode.

Oklahoma heat was waiting to embrace me with its humid arms as I stepped out of the car and clicked the lock on my keypad. Set up around the side of the house was a large table with a line of assorted auction-goers milling about it. I figured that was the sign-in table and headed that way, keeping part of my attention on the various piles of "stuff" that began stretching from the side yard around and disappearing into the rear of the grounds. My palms were already all atingle at the thought of digging through those heaped boxes. But first the sign-in.

"Whew! I should've put this hunk of hair up in a ponytail!" I was making neighborly small talk with the matron in front of me in line.

"Yup." She fanned herself with one of the UNIQUE AUCTION flyers, and her eyes slid from my already frizzing and sweaty hair, down past my white silk tank top, which slid just over the waist of my very hip (and short) khaki Gap skirt, to my long (and very bare) legs. "Ugf." She made a sound like a hen expelling an egg, and I guessed that was the end of my attempt at neighborly conversation.

"This place sure looks like it should have some interesting stuff for sale." I valiantly tried a second attempt at conversing, this time with the receding hairline behind me.

"Yes, I couldn't agree more." The hairline fidgeted, blinking sweat out of his eyes. "I heard that they will be auctioning several pieces of Depression Era glass, and just knew I had to make the trek. I find American glasswork fascinating, don't you?" By this time his squinty little eyes had found my cleavage, and it was obvious that glass wasn't all he found fascinating.

"Mmm, hmm, glass is cool." I stepped forward. It was the matron's turn to get her ticket, but she was so busy watching the hairline watch me that she could hardly give the registrar her info.

"Actually," he leaned way into my Personal Space, "I'm in the middle of editing a wonderfully informative coffee table book on the origins of Depression Era art and how to distinguish the difference between authentic pieces and facsimiles."

"Oh, that's, um, nice." He was still in my Personal Space and I tried inching forward, obviously crowding the matron, who was still standing in line pinning her auction number to her Depression Era bosom.

"I would be happy to offer you my expertise if you find any pieces you are interested in bidding on. I would hate to see such a lovely young lady taken advantage of…." His voice cracked and he nervously dabbed the sweat off his upper lip with a folded handkerchief. I noticed the yellowed stains shadowing his pits. Guess that button-down oxford was just a little too warm for this trek.

"I'll be sure to let you know if I need you." My turn, thank God.

"Name, please." I could sense hairline's ears growing to catch the answer.

"Shannon Parker."

"Ms. Parker, your number is 074. Please fill out your address next to the 074 slot. Keep the number with you at all times, the auctioneer will refer to your number if you purchase an item. When you have made all your purchases, simply give the cashier your number and she will present you with your bill."

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Divine by Mistake (Devine Series) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 250 reviews.
AJourneyOfBooks More than 1 year ago
Having been a fan of P.C. and Kristen Cast's House of Night series, I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about trying out any of P.C. Cast's other books. For the most part, I love the House of Night series - would I feel the same way about her other books? While I do try to read many of my books in an objective format that allows me to see the good parts in each individual piece, I was afraid that if I became disenchanted with Cast's adult books, it might ruin her young adult ones for me as well. I am pleased to announce that I should have just thrown my worry to the ground and squished it under my shoe. While definitely having a different feel to them than the House of Night books do, the Goddess of Partholon books are turning out to be pretty spectacular. The first in the series, DIVINE BY MISTAKE follows Shannon Parker, a school teacher loving the freedom of summer break, as she discovers an ancient vase that will turn her world upside down - literally. Where there were once cars, there are now horses. Jeans and a cashmere sweater? Nope, let's try a lovely wrapped piece of silk and some strappy sandals. I'll admit that the beginning of the book was a little hard to get into. I almost put it down to take a break, but decided to keep on going. You'll remember that I said the same thing about Stephenie Meyer's The Host. The beginning was slow but the rest of the book was phenomenal. In this case, it seemed like the beginning of DIVINE BY MISTAKE almost went by a little too quickly. Some things didn't seem fully explained and other didn't make sense. I had to ignore my mind as it tried to figure out the spatial aspect of the story as it didn't always seem like the shapes and sizes of things in the story were described the same as the way they were used. Once I was able to get past this, however, I realized what a great book this really is. If there is anything new I have discovered about P.C. Cast's writing it's that this author is incredibly funny. The House of Night series can be humorous, but in general Zoey and her posse follow a fairly dark path. While there were certainly very dark and very graphic scenes in DIVINE BY MISTAKE, Ms. Cast was able to throw quite a bit of humor in their to lighten up the mood of the book. I can honestly say that Shannon is one of my favorite characters in the stories I have read thus far this year. The author has imbued her with a sense of humor, a modern personality that clashes beautifully with the old-fashioned world she has been transported to, and a set of quirks that just make her adorable. While we're discussing wonderful characters, let's visit ClanFintan, shall we. I can honestly say that I had never read a story that included any form of romance between a centaur and a human. I didn't know how it would work and it if would be weird, but the way Ms. Cast created her world and the way she developed her characters made this aspect of the story one of the best. ClanFintan is like any tall, dark, and handsome man we dream of. Only difference is that he has the hindquarters of a horse. What could be better for those of us that never grew out of our princess and horse-lover phase? The author's descriptions of ClanFintan, his mannerisms, and the personality she gives him really helped to make this one heck of a book.
Charmedfairy More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, it was a funny & fun easy read. I don't know that I would call this a "teen" book but as an adult I thought it was great. The heroine is a 35 year old, under paid, over worked, sarcastic, wine drinkin school teacher with a string of bad relationships. So as a 35 year old sarcastic, wine drinkin', bad realtionship magnet I most deffinately identify. I would like to live in partholon as long as there is t.p. & wine! Oh and the horse bites! Read it & you will get that comment :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down! It was not only really funny but aslo romantic. Read it you will not regret it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What is the order of the series? I want to know so i can read as i wait for hidden to come out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thirty something high school English teacher Shannon Parker stops at an auction sale where she notices a vase containing a portrait of her on it. She wins the bid with a ridiculously low price tag due to a mysteriously appearing crack inside the vase. On her way home, Shannon is transported from her vehicle to a luxurious temple where her friend Suzanna calls her Lady. She soon learns that the vase was a portal that her ¿twin¿ the High Priestess of Epona Rhiannon used for them to switch places Suzanna is actually Rhiannon¿s slave Alanna. --- Centaur ClanFintan arrives with his ¿horsies¿ to demand Rhiannon complete the hand-fastening ceremony that would have them married for a year. Shannon goes through the ceremony, but refuses to take any lip (or other body part) from a man built at least down there like a thoroughbred. Instead she treats him and others the same way she taught teenage hormonal maniacs in Oklahoma. As the transplanted Shannon and the shapeshifting centaur fall in love, she tells him who she is while they team up to battle the malevolent Famorians, demonic vampire like evil creatures and to prevent the real Rhiannon from returning. --- The first ¿Goddess¿ book is a fun to read mythological romance because the different species of legend seem genuine and the strong heroine is ready to do battle in this case on behalf of her new society and her beloved against her ¿twin¿ and the Famorians using the techniques honed in teaching wars with teenagers. This tale is amusing mostly due to Shannon¿s observations and quips yet it has its¿ serious moments too (for instance the worshipped Goddess learns that teachers are treated with economic contempt). Though the heroine adjusts too easily, fantasy romance fans will cast about seeking the remaining delightful Goddess tales. --- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous 6 months ago
I wonderful book read the series before but had to retread
SmplexlyRee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, I was utterly disappointed with this series of books. The synopsis on the back of the book, with its promise of high fantasy and centaurs and Epona, a world with a somewhat medieval feel ¿ why, that¿s right up my alley and really had me hooked. The book¿s protagonist, Shannon, is meant to be a thirty-five year old woman. However, the majority of the time she acts like a spoiled, whiny teenager. Now imagine having to sit and listen to said spoiled, whiny teenager through 500+ pages. Yes, folks, Shannon is the narrator.What really got me, however, was the writing. I tried very hard to get passed the obnoxious and immature sounding voice of the narrator, but the short, choppy sentences and simplistic vocabulary really just made it impossible for me to fall in love with the story. What made that even more unbearable to me is that Shannon is supposedly a High School English teacher!Kudos, though, to anyone who can churn out that many words, get it published, and make money off of it. In that regard, it¿s a win.I read all three of the series (Divine by Mistake, Divine by Choice, Divine by Blood) in a weekend¿and I will never read them again.
Salander on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought the idea of this book sounded quite good ¿ I¿m all for medieval type worlds and centaurs and enemies and castles and so I was pretty sold on the blurb on the back of the book. But I found the main character fairly annoying, and given she was the one telling the story, it was quite a drawback. She was supposed to be 35, but rarely ever seemed it throughout the book. The narrative was definitely more teenage-esque. She was also incredibly laid back about being switched into another world and there was almost no panic on her part, or disbelief, or anything that would¿ve made it remotely credible. She even handled the `handfasting¿ (wedding) to a centaur - centaur! - with barely an eyelash flicker whereas most women would¿ve totally freaked.the.heck.out. But then again we¿re led to believe that Shannon (the protagonist) is truly the beloved and chosen of Epona (medieval-type world¿s goddess) and therefore, able to adjust and adapt on a whim. Which seems a -lame- way to avoid having to deal with a realistic reaction to being transported into another world.The author tries hard to establish Shannon as being different to Rhiannon (who orchestrated the switch and now resides in `our¿ world in Shannon¿s place) and that Rhiannon was pretty much, a world class bi*ch and Shannon is much fairer, more sympathetic, a better choice to be the chosen vessel of Epona. While Shannon certainly lacked Rhiannon's inherently nasty and selfish streak, she didn't really strike me as a believable choice for pretty much what equatedsto a high priestess of a goddess. The book does have its good points ¿ ClanFintan, the centaur handfasted to the Chosen of Epona (Rhiannon originally, now Shannon) was quite endearing. The vampire-like enemy threatening them were believably eerie. But overall, I was pretty disappointed. From all I¿ve read, praise wise, about this author, I expected better writing. Instead a lot of the time it felt like I was reading the English Creative Writing assignment of a horse mad 15yr old with a fascination with the Narnia novels.
apmullaly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up thinking it would be a harmless read. I enjoy many of the cast away in time, another world, etc. type books and this one looked like it could be entertaining. Boy I was wrong. The characters were cardboard, the storyline was mediocre, but the worst was the action. It was terrible. If you are going to write a fantasy, sword and bow kind of adventure at least know what you are talking about. Ms. Cast has her centaurs using crossbows a bizarre choice of weaponry for a half horse people (longbows would have been bad but I could have dealt with it that, compound horse bow would have made actual sense) and then had the centaurs shooting those crossbows so rapidly, I thought they must have had clips.Maybe its because I wasn't expecting a romance novel (I didnt realize Luna was a romance print) but the action components were so bad it just drove me crazy. Further the romance itself was crappy. If I didn't force myself to finish everything I start, I would have never finished this book.All in all a bad book that I could not recommend to anyone.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Shannon works as a high-school teacher and finds herself at an estate sale and attracted to an urn with a depiction of Epona that looks very much like her. Shortly after buying it she finds herself in another world where she's the high priestess of Epona, about to marry a centaur and finding that there's a war brewing with the evil, vampiric Formorians.It's not bad but there are places where it just didn't gel properly for me. For the most part I was very interested in finding out what happened and what happened next but there were some places that I just had to wonder why that scene or battle was there as it didn't really seem to serve a purpose.Not a bad read but felt a bit weak in places.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read this book quite a few years ago when it first came out, but I decided to read it again. I rarely re-read a book but I found myself thinking of and missing these characters. The second time around, this is still one of the best-loved of any story I have ever read. Stephanie Clanahan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First series I actually laughed out loud, covered my mouth in disbelief and cry...really cry. You will fall in love with these characters.Must must must read.
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Could not put this book down! Its a great read, it has great charecters! I fell inlove with main man.
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cindylb More than 1 year ago
Good book
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