Stroke of Enticement by Nalini Singh
Is it sad that I’m posting on Christmas Day? (Um, that was a rhetorical question). Since many of us are celebrating Christmas, I thought it only fitting to talk about a Christmas-themed book.
Stroke of Enticement is the first story in the anthology The Magical Christmas Cat, and it’s the second novella set in Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series. I loved the previous novella, Beat of Temptation, so I had very high expectations for this one. While enjoyable, Stroke of Enticement didn’t quite reach the sames heights for me.
In Stroke of Enticement, we meet two new characters, Annie and Zach. A near-fatal childhood accident has had a lifelong impact on Annie, the most significant of which is her mother’s insistence on treating Annie as fragile. A leopard changeling with soldier rank isn’t exactly on her mother’s list of acceptable boyfriends for Annie. At the same time, Annie has difficulty imagining that she can have the kind of love she dreams of–an enduring love that won’t fizzle out and turn into a trap as her parents’ marriage has become.
Part of the reason that Beat of Temptation worked so well for me was that the main characters already knew each other well, so it wasn’t difficult to imagine that they could resolve their issues in a novella. Stroke of Enticement has to cover Annie and Zach being introduced, getting to know each other, and overcoming their conflicts, all in less than 90 pages. It might have been possible to do this convincingly, but Annie has so many different little issues–her appearance, her physical ability, her mother’s protectiveness, her own mistrust of Zach’s feelings–that instead of feeling very definite highs and lows in her emotional arc, I just felt a few bumps that didn’t seem to pose much of an obstacle at all. I would have preferred that the story focused on one issue and explored that thoroughly. I also didn’t feel as though Zach had much of a conflict.
Stroke of Enticement is a stand alone novella in the Psy/Changeling world. It’s an okay story, but if you want a taste of Singh’s best writing, I’d recommend trying Beat of Temptation instead. That said, I haven’t read the rest of this anthology. The three other authors are new to me, and I think I’ll leave them for next year as part of a reading challenge that I plan to undertake.
On a personal note, if you’re celebrating Christmas–or indeed any other occasion during this holiday season–I hope you and your family have a wonderful, blessed weekend. And if you celebrate Christmas in the spiritual sense, you might be interested to hear this version of O Come, O Come Emmanuel. It’s just haunting and solemn and lovely. I found it via My Friend Amy’s post from this year’s Blog Advent Tour.
Where you can buy this book
AUSTRALIA: Dymocks | Ever After | Fishpond | Galaxy | Intrigue | Rendezvous | Romance Direct | Romantic Reflections | Siren | More (no online catalogue) Psst … where are these stores?
DIGITAL BOOKS: Dymocks | Amazon Kindle
WORLDWIDE: Amazon US | Amazon UK