Catherine Coulter fans who picked up this book expecting perhaps another visit with a Sherbrooke relative, or a regency romp, received an enormous shock. For die-hard Coulter fans who also have her medieval romances on their shelves, it might not have been quite so surprising, but the enormously strong paranormal element that runs through this book will probably come as a stunning surprise to everyone.
For The Penwyth Curse is quite unlike past Coulter tales. The primary hero and heroine are set in the “present” – the thirteenth century. The secondary hero and heroine are – not. They are located in a time away from time, that has overtones of Druids and Mages, spells, witches and wizards.
As you can see, certainly not your usual Coulter fare. And yet in many ways, it is. The trademark passion between lovers leaps off the pages, and Ms. Coulter presents her unlucky heroine with a to-die-for hero before you can open the castle portcullis. The fact that she’s only eighteen and any fool stupid enough to try and wed her dies a remarkably nasty death before the wedding night simply adds a little spice to the tale. Obviously, our hero survives.
How the point/counterpoint of these two sets of lovers plays out, and the paranormal link that develops across time and space offers a challenging yet passionate read. I have heard several Coulter fans express confusion and some disappointment at this novel – they expected more of her customary elegant romances. Here, I would suggest that possibly the publisher could have offered more to the readers to alert them that this is a departure from the prior genres, a blending of time travel and passions, a merge of medieval and magic that is spellbinding in its own right, and should be read as such. Nevertheless, for readers who want to be whisked into a world of enchantment and desire, Catherine Coulter has once again let her literary talents provide the means. It’s a wonderful way to cross centuries and have some magically exciting romance when you get there.