Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I was the first nightmare. I will be the last.”
Haunting Embrace picks up not long where Haunting Desire left off. Meaghen and Áedán were both held captive in the Book of Fennore. Shealy, the heroine of Haunting Desire was instrumental in breaking them free of their prison. Meaghen and Áedán awake to find themselves in the 1950’s on the Isle Of Fennore, unbeknownst to them that they are where it all started. As Meaghan is reunited with her much younger grandmother,she learns some uncomfortable truths about her past and future.
Meaghen is trying to come to terms with time traveling, her emerging powers,and what the Book Of Fennore’s connection is to her family. When she awakens to Áedán in a cavern, she is shocked by the strong connection she feels towards him. Desire sweeps through her, almost crushing her in it’s strength. She knows these are not all her feelings and her confusion towards Áedán and their strengthening connection.
When Áedán wakes, he is shocked to find himself corporal and beginning to feel emotions. A druid who decided to walk his own path that led him from the true path, he created the Book Of Fennore, starting a chain of events no one could have predicted. He is inexplicably drawn to the cavern where he finds Meaghen. He too is shocked by his feelings for her. As he learns of her connection to Fennore and it’s inhabitants, he finds himself slipping back into his anger and mistrust. Áedán never forgave his lover for betraying and entombing him with the Book. Imprisoned for centuries, Áedán sees his past in Meaghen and vows he will never be trapped again.
The past and present collide as Meaghen and Áedán work to understand and untangle the intricate web of deception and lies that will eventually lead to what they experienced in the Book Of Fennore. Their attempts to rewrite history is helped and hindered by their feelings for each other. I enjoyed the intense emotional romance between Áedán and Meaghen. The chemistry between them crackles with each new scene. The Book and Elan’s betrayal slowly stole Áedán’s humanity yet with Meaghen he feels it emerging again. His salvation is her love and trust. You can’t help but feel your heart pinch as you watch this arrogant man struggle to believe in that. Smoldering love scenes only add to the deliciousness of their relationship. This is a love that has spanned time and Ms. Quinn imparts that beautifully.
Meaghen with her quiet strength and intelligence wins your admiration over and over. Consumed by her own baggage, she pushes it all aside as she fights for Áedán, her family, and herself. Not given to emotional grand standing, she is a pillar of strength among the often over emotional men in the book.
I simply adore this series. Ms. Quinn has such a beautiful, lyrical prose to her writing that instantly sets you at ease among the magic and mystics of ancient Ireland. The world building is lush, layered, and wonderfully complicated. Haunting Embrace is a dark emotionally charged epic adventure filled with love, betrayal, forgiveness, and sacrifice. I have always loved time travel stories and this grand adventure does not disappoint. I have been waiting for Ms. Quinn to write this particular story. Since the first installment, Haunting Beauty, we have slowly learned of the powerful entry that created the Book Of Fennore. Brandubh, the Black Raven Druid. Portrayed as a monster of infinite proportions, we learn that Áedán is as much a victim as everyone else. His crimes aren’t vindicated nor excused; he used his power and anger to hurt and destroy many people without a thought or care to his actions, but in here we are granted a deeper, more in depth look at what really happened between him and his lover, Elan, the White of Fennore and what events led up to his imprisonment. We are finally given all the answers to the questions that we have impatiently waited for since Haunting Beauty.
Strong and personable characterization allows us to slip quietly into each person’s thoughts and emotions which allows for a more intimate experience. Old characters add a sense of familiarity to the storyline while new characters help explain and bridge the connection between this book and the previous ones. I enjoyed seeing Jake, Kyle, and Eamonn again and I hope Ms. Quinn will tell their stories in the future. Collen, Meaghen’s grandmother, is a wonderful addition to the storyline with her humor and passion.
The plot is a delicious mixture of intrigue and suspense that left me flying through the pages to see the outcome. Smooth writing and cleverly intertwining sub plots keeps you emerged deep in the story till the end. The ending is a stunning and explosive finish that nicely wraps up the arc without completely ending it. We are teased that this may not be the end as there certain subplots left open. I recommend this to all who enjoy dark emotional PNR with strong tortured heroes and heroines. I do advise that you start from the beginning with this series. While each installment revolves around a central pair of characters and a main conflict, the long reaching arc plays heavily across the board and Ms. Quinn doles out background information with the assumption you have read the previous books.