I first became aware of Robin D. Owens in a writers chat. It was just after she had gained recognition for her first book HEARTMATE. Word of mouth was so good, my curiosity was tweaked. So, naturally, I dashed off to order a copy and read it. Rarely is a first book so full of heart, so brilliantly conceived. Generally, if it is, it falls into the Harper Lee Syndrome of being so perfect the writer cannot achieve that level ever again. So when I was asked to review Robin’s second book, I frankly feared being let down. Instead, I was blown away. She did not achieve that same wonderful magick of HEARTMATE…she surpassed it! HEART THIEF was just that, a complex tale of an outcast, a thief and the Judge whom falls in love with him. The KittyFams were such a draw. I love cats, and Robin gives the KittyFams such life and personalities to her telepathic kitties, not cutesy, but oh so heartwarming. Having so enjoyed her first two works, I was eagerly, but once more cautiously looking forward to the next in the Hearts of Celta series.
HEART DUEL, just does not measure up to the first two, it shines with such amazing emotion.
This time we are treated to two KittyFams, Meserv and Phyll, tom brothers, gifts from T’ash to his friend, Holm Holly (prominent character in the first two books as the heir to House of Holly) and Lark Collinson, a healer from the Houses of Heather and Hawthrone. A wee touch of Romeo and Juliet is the undercurrent to HEART DUEL as the Houses of Holly and Hawthorne are ancient enemies. Lark heals the arrogant, but gorgeous Holm Holly, a man she grew up with, and watched from a far. He was the handsome, brash warrior, she quiet women with a Flair for healing. Both have undergone the three passages and neither saw their Heartmate that set their Flairs free, so both assumed there would not be one for them. Lark married a commoner, also a healer, but he died three years before the tale opens. So it is shocking to Holm to recognize as she heals his wound, that Lark is his Heartmate. Winning her will not be easy. Neither family will welcome their bonding, especially as the long animosity is edging toward open war between the two families. But Holm will let nothing stop him from forming the Heartbond, not even Lark herself.
However, his resolve is tested when his mother is stabbed by a Hawthorne youth, the blade carrying a poison that nearly kills her. As the feud escalates, so does Holm’s determination to win his Heartmate. Only Lark sees the situation as hopeless. Thus, Holm must fashion his Heartgift to win her love.
People who love HEARTMATE and HEART THIEF…will be thrilled with this next entry in the Celta series. Long may Robin D. Owen’s thrill us with her very special talent.