Apr 5, 2011
THE PAGAN & THE PEN BOOK REVIEWS
Title: Beltaine’s Song, Book Two: Dark Goddess Trilogy
Author: Kelley Heckart
Publisher: Awe Struck Publishing
Genre: Historical Romance/Paranormal Fantasy
Length: 250 pgs.
Reviewed By: Madeline Smoot
Writing Ability: 4
About the Book:
Now king and queen of the powerful kingdom of Dal Riata, Aedan and Domelch have more than just Cailleach’s wrath to contend with. Aedan struggles with being a king and being a husband. Domelch struggles with her beliefs, trying to be the Christian woman Aedan wed, but her heart still thrums with the voices of old gods. They must battle earthly foes—enemy kings and traitorous allies. For the first time, the arrival of spring heralds the sound of a harsh battle horn as their foes close in. Through all this turmoil, can their love survive?
Gartnait, the first-born son of Aedan and Domelch, has lived in secrecy most of his young life to escape Cailleach’s wrath. Fostered in Fortriu, he has earned his first mark of manhood and on his way to becoming a formidable warrior. He grapples with the awakening of his true destiny and the meaning of the appearance of a beautiful maiden in spring only he can see. Does she mean to harm him? For him, spring brings with it the promise of new love and the thrilling sound of the battle horn, putting those he cares about in danger.
Aedan and Domelch traverse a world of battles and intrigues on Aedan’s journey to become king of Dal Riata. While he and his allies succeed they also have other obstacles including Cailleach’s wrath and deceit among his allies. Along with all of the outward struggles Domelch questions her conversion to Christianity. Her former being and pagan beliefs lick at the shadows threatening to consume her.
Garinait, Aedan and Domelch’s son and heir, is a footnote in a larger tapestry of a treacherous world. Hidden away for the better part of his life he searches for answers from both the monks and a goddess only he can see.
The story of Aedan and Domelch has the potential to be much more than it currently is, which seems to leave the reader feeling a bit flat. While this is the middle of the trilogy it does not give enough background of the world for the reader who has not read the first book. The love and battle scenes are rushed without leaving time for emotion or real reaction from the participants.
The deceit and reactions to the underhanded nature of the conspirators is written masterfully and with enough detail to get a sense of the atmosphere in the room, however even here the reactions are not realistic enough.
Overall this story went a bit flat without breathing any life into the characters or the situations that should have made it a modern classic. The author’s talents were wasted in this venture; however with some nurturing of technique she could be one to watch in the future. Unfortunately, this book needs to be sent back to the drawing board.
Pagan Elements: touches on pagan religions, goddesses