Patti O'Shea's novel, Eternal Flame, grabbed me from the start. Published by Dorchester's Love Spell line, this book is classified as a Futuristic Romance. I enjoy stories with a paranormal twist, but, I am not usually drawn to the fantasy genre. Nonetheless, I always give an author, and their story, a chance, because what I really enjoy is good writing. And, I believe Patti has convinced me to wander down the fantasy aisle at the bookstores.
Eternal Flame begins by introducing you to three key characters - the hero, the heroine and a good friend. Patti's futuristic world was very believable. I loved that the characters were actually born on Earth, and now inhabit another planet as part of a military mission. The heroine, uncovers a plot by a group of thieves who plan to steal some historic archives, and she goes to investigate; with the protective hero hot on her heels, you just know trouble lies ahead! As I frantically turned the pages to see what adventure awaited these characters, but was stunned with a plot twist, when something happens to one of them and all of this by the end of Chapter One!!!
In fantasy stories the author also has the task of creating a make-believe world in which her characters live. Patti managed this extraordinarily well. Her characters were very "human" amidst the futuristic setting, so I could relate to them and easily imagine their world. I didn't feel confused with having to remember everything about the setting, along with the characters and plot. Things were a bit more "space age" (people being transported back and forth between planets) and the rules were just a bit different on this planet, but, humans are still humans, although a bit advanced.
And, what romance reader doesn't enjoy a story about "soul mates" who knew each other in a previous lifetime and find each other in their present incarnation? This was a great way to establish an existing connection between the hero and heroine, a reason they are automatically drawn together, their past revealed as dreams and events trigger the memories. Nice way to reveal their past.
A good part of the story took place inside a pyramid, where the hero and heroine were captives trying to escape in time to report to the authorities evidence of valuable archives being stolen. While in the pyramid, the romance develops, and our heroine recalls her past life memories, when she was a High Priestess and actually lived in the pyramid. It's very difficult to find time to explore an intimate relationship when you are being hunted by people with guns, but the pyramid was a perfect place to get "lost" and I especially loved the paranormal elements Patti used in the story...I mean, how else could they open the secret passageways inside the pyramid?
Patti successfully wove back story and current events together, with lots of surprising moments, and tight suspenseful scenes. I highly recommend this book.