A sparkling debut fantasy with Celtic tones set on the magical isle of Cadence where two childhood enemies must team up to discover why girls are going missing from their clan.
Enchantments run deep on the magical Isle of Cadence.
The capricious spirits that live there find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home, but that mischief turns to malevolence as girls begin to go missing.
Adaira, heiress of the east, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, enticing them to return the missing girls. But there’s only one bard capable of drawing the spirits forth by song: her childhood enemy, Jack Tamerlaine.
He hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the Mainland university. But as Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than first thought and an older, darker secret lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.
‘An alluring and rich tale, at once a fast-paced mystery and a love story as warm as a hearth’
Ava Reid, bestselling author of The Wolf and the Woodsman
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 77 members
Okay, this book has everything you could possibly want from a book - fantasy, magic, love, family and friends, fighting, action, comedy, music, passion.
One concern with fantasy books is that because it doesn’t have to follow real-world rules or conventions, it can become lost and unruly. But this has one foot in reality and one foot in fantasy, and they complement each other perfectly.
It’s not one of those ‘happily-ever-after’ rom-com books I often find it easy to curl up with, but it produces the same sentiment. It draws you in and you become part of their clan, perfectly safe and cosy. Once you’ve started this, there’s no putting it down until you’ve finished it.
It is so atmospheric and magical but tangible. It’s written so well that you can see yourself climbing the hills, swimming the river, touching the spirits.
It’s so delicious and whilst it’s written in the 21st century, it has the feel of a classical novel about it, one that will inspire audiences to come, and hopefully sit on the shelves next to the likes of C.S Lewis. There’s nothing negative I can say about it, and on a selfish note (because I don’t want to leave the world) I hope there’s more of this story to come.
Such a beautifully written, atmospheric book - A River Enchanted completely blew me away and I couldn't put it down. Definitely one to recommend to everyone I know!
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in order to provide an honest review
This book was a joy to read, everything about it was beautiful, the writing, the setting and the main characters. I feel bereft that it has finished and I cannot wait for the next book in the series.
The story is based on an island, Cadence, that is inhabited by two clans who have been at war for many years, one clan inhabits the east and one the west. The island is full of magic, enchantment and nature and if it wasn't for the tensions between east and west would be idyllic, until girls start going missing from the east. This is the mystery that runs through the book, but is not the only thing to hold the reader's interest, the magic and enchantments and their place in nature is very well handled by the author, and the various, often troubled, relationships are very well developed.
It is a wonderful read, I was able to lose myself in the narrative, I became completely engrossed in the characters and I really couldn't put it down. The sense of place created by the author is stunning, and the depictions of nature and its interactions with the characters was joyful.
I can't wait to see what the future holds for Jack and Adair, Torin and Sidra (my favourite character) and look forward to the next instalments.
Thank you to NetGalley and the Publishers HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction for the eARC in exchange for an honest review
Jack Tamerlaine is summoned back to Cadence, the island of his birth, by a message from his laird with an order: bring your harp. When he arrives there, the island looks the same, but something has changed. Fear is running rampant now that young girls have gone missing, and nobody can seem to find them. When he discovers that the person who summoned him home isn't the laird but his daughter Adaira, his childhood nemesis, Jack must find a way to set aside his lingering resentment to help her find the missing girls.
While this was a near perfect reading experience for me, it's not for everyone. This is a slow paced story with a slow burn romance, and if you aren't into the vibes that this book is trying to sell you, I can absolutely understand that you might be bored. I really loved the vibes, however, and despite the slow pacing of it all, I had trouble putting this book down.
It helps that I find Rebecca Ross's writing absolutely beautiful. Her descriptions of Cadence, the spirits/fae, the people and the food are all stunning. They also made me hungry, so be prepared for that. The only (minor) quibble I have, which is something I noticed in [book:Dreams Lie Beneath|54557816] as well, is her tendency to use names often in dialog, even when it's just two people conversing. But other than that, everything flows beautifully.
I found all the characters interesting and sometimes relatable in different ways. Jack's insecurities, Adaira's need to present a strong front, Torin and Sidra and their struggle to make their relationship stronger--I loved reading about it all. The way the characters reacted emotionally to different situations felt realistic for the most part. Jack and Adaira's relationship undergoes quite a few developments over the course of the story. We see glimpses of them as children, and how the feelings of resentment between them still linger even after they grew up. But there is respect and a hint of affection beneath that, and we get to watch as that grows into something more. Adaira affectionately calls Jack her "old menace", and I think it's a very cute nickname.
The relationship between Torin and Sidra on the other hand is more complex, but just as fascinating. Married for the sake of Torin's child after the death of her mother, theirs is a marriage of convenience and not love, but it is still strong. But when their bond is put to the test, we begin to see fractures as their fears are pushed to the forefront, and watching them work through that felt very satisfying.
The author has an interesting explanation of how and why this book transitioned from YA to adult, and a lot of it has to do with the relationships. I highly recommend reading that for the context it provides.
The setting of Cadence and the magic are what really provide the vibes. It feels very much like somewhere out of an older fantasy. Maybe that's just because of the recent trend to make fae sexy, but I have to say I much prefer this version; otherworldly, based on nature and not at all inclined to be nice to humans.
In short, much like the titular river, I, too, was enchanted by this book.
A River Enchanted is the kind of book you read on a dark winters night, it's beautiful and atmospheric and Ross' lush writing drags you onto the isle of Cadence and refuses to let go. The Isle of Cadence has been split between two clans for as long as anyone can remember. The Tamerlaine's to the East and the Breccan's to the West, constantly at war with one another. Jack Tamerlaine hasn't set foot on the Isle in 10 years, since he was sent to the mainland to study at University, so he is surprised when he receives a letter from is Laird asking him to return home. Once he returns he is even more surprised to learn that the letter didn't come from the Laird himself but his daughter Adaira, Jacks long time nemesis as a child. Young girls have been going missing and Adaira believes the spirits are behind it and, knowing they only answer to the Bard's music, has called Jack back to help. As they work together, they learn that the Spirits do know something of the missing children, but the more they tread down the path, the darker it gets, until they find a secret kept for years that could change the future of Cadence forever.
Told from multiple POV's although Jack and Adaira are at the forefront of the story, A River Enchanted weaves them all together to make for an unforgettable story. Jack is a Tamerlaine by name only. Born a bastard he never felt truly accepted by the clan and saw his mainland training as a kind of banishment. He simply longs for somewhere to belong and it takes him a while before he realises that Cadence is his one true home. He resents having to work with his childhood torturer, but the more time he spends with Adaira the more he realises that in 10 years his feelings and hers may have changed. Adaira is the heiress of the East and, with her fathers growing illness, finds herself taking more and more of the Laird's roles upon herself. She wants nothing more than peace for her people and the safe return of the kidnapped lasses, and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that. Torin is Adaira's cousin and Captain of the East Guard. Linked to the border between the lands he can feel when a Breccan crosses and where, ensuring the safety of the clan. But his job weighs heavy on him, as does the slaughter of Breccan's he has committed, and he wonders whether it is too late to become something else. Sidra is Torin's second wife and step-mother to his daughter Maisie. She likes her life, but longs for something more, she longs for her ever distant husband to return home more often, and she longs to be something more to Maisie than she thinks she deserves, and is willing to admit. The story is peppered through with other POV's that help add to the atmosphere as well as fill in chunks of the story that would otherwise be looked over, and they all play a large part in furthering the plot.
Having spent a good few holidays up in Scotland I can safely say that A River Enchanted nails the atmosphere completely. It can be dark and dangerous but also magical and breathtaking and Ross uses her unique and brilliant magic system to show this. Cadence is almost in a world of it's own, one of the last places in Scotland to remember and revere the Folk. Thanks to a curse put on the clans years ago the Tamerlains of the East live on a bountiful land, in full harmony with the spirits, but their magic comes at a cost. Weavers can weave secrets into Plaid making them near indestructible, Dagger's can be forged with enchantments making them truth-telling, or poisonous to the touch, but in the East enchantments come with a price making the user ill, weak and lessens their life span. In the West, however, their magic would come freely and without consequence, but their crops would grow sparse, their water would run murky and their fires would grow weak.
A River Enchanted is filled with folklore and fairy tales and, thanks to Ross's lush writing style, almost reads like one itself. It's not a fast paced book by any means, more a meandering tale that weaves through different POV's, drip feeding you Scottish Lore as well as little hints as to who exactly has been taking the children and the impact that will eventually have on the story. It's a story that is incredibly hard to put down, not because it's filled with plot twists (although there are a few shockers in there) but more because it just envelops you as a reader, transporting you to Cadence so you can't help but get invested in the characters and their outcomes, and I simply never wanted it to end.
One thing I loved about this book is all the different kinds of romance's that Ross graces us with. Our main romance with Jack and Adaira is a frenemies to lovers, built on a kind of grudging mutual respect and wondrously slow burn. But with Torin and Sidra she shows us a couple already married, but only just ready to love each other as openly as they want, both scared of how the other will react if they veer from the norm and show their true feelings. There's also a kind of forbidden romance that I can't talk too much about but I'm really hoping we will get to see more of it in the second book. But the main thing that runs through them all is respect, some of these characters couldn't be more different: a bard and a heiress, a fighter and a healer, but they respect each other and the roles they play and it just made me fall a little in love with them all.
I think it's safe to say that I loved this book. It contains all of my favourite things: folklore, unforgettable characters, frenemies to lovers romance and atmospheric and lush writing. This is my second book by Ross and I will definitely be searching out her backlist because I have loved everything I've read so far... now the torturous wait for book two!
A River Enchanted is a beautiful story of an island split in two by old grudges. The writing is lyrical and gripping, and although the pacing is slow that fits the story perfectly, and feels exactly right for these characters.
There is a lot of world building in the book, and I felt transported. This is the perfect read for a stormy day - something about it just feels so warm and magical!
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I was granted this book as a wish by the publisher and I am so grateful. It was incredible. The front cover is stunning and I was instantly drawn to it but after the first page it was clear to see the writing was great, the characters were well developed and the storyline was gripping. I couldnt put this book down it was full of magic, love, intrigue, suspense and unpredictability and the ending nearly killed me I have to know what happens. I loved it.
This book drew me in right from the start and had me hooked to the very end!
@beccajross has woven a plaid, much like the ones the characters don, with this intricate and beguiling read! I can't say much without giving too much away but this book filled with Scottish charm was a delight to read and has really gotten me back to the root of the kind of books I like best of all. I can't wait to head back to Cadence because I need to know more, the deep cliffhanger this tale was left on has left gaping chasm that I'm desperate to cross!
Thank you to Netgalley and publishers for this eARC of A River Enchanted
A River Enchanted is a novel which pits magic, love, kidnappings and a bard against the odds.
Jack left his clan years ago for the mainland but is summoned back to the Isle. Upon his return he must join forces with Adaira to save his clan's daughters.
There's plenty of adventure, secrets and truths along the way and nothing is ever plain sailing.
I loved all the characters in A River Enchanted. Sida at first felt a little like second place, but I loved her strength and her "waking" moment when she finally, what felt like she realised her worth. Torrin also started off a a ruggable guard but his woes changed him and I felt like he did have redeeming features which made him more likeable.
I was pleased to see Jack grow as a character too, from the boy who he thought was worthless to the man that had a purpose.
I loved this novel, the writing style and the premise of the story was enthralling and I felt myself fall away with the story. The magic and the history of the spirits and folk were all interesting and I certainly didn't expect some of the twists and turns. I was however left feeling like there was so much more to give at the end - though I guess this will be revealed in book 2,which I can not wait to read.