by Jayne Castle

October 1996
ISBN: 0-671-02143-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Pocket Books
Mass Market Paperback

Jayne Castle (aka Jayne Ann Krentz) has created a brand new world for this romance. Although the concept of blending science fiction with romance might seem alien to some (OK I apologize for the atrocious pun) this planet is similar enough to Earth to give readers points of familiarity, while adding some delightful differences to give the plot a distinct sizzle. On this world, named St. Helens by its original founders, humans have changed to include paranormal capabilities. Some develop "talents" enabling them to do quite amazing things; others become "prisms" who have the ability to focus paranormal talent into effective skills. As in any good romance, one is useless without the other, and the protagonists, prism Amaryllis Lark and mega-talent Lucas Trent are destined for each other right from the start!

The setting, with its interesting blend of West Coast names and slightly off-world props (coff-tea in New Seattle, anyone?) may be unusual, but the love story it frames is vintage Krentz. Tough guy Lucas Trent, just back from an archaeological dig needs a prism - proper, opinionated Amaryllis Lark fits the bill. Their skills blend seamlessly but of course their personalities clash, and both are aware of their sensual attraction.

This is where Krentz earns her reputation as a top romance writer. The progression of a love affair in her novels is painted with an amazingly skillful brush - it is incredibly easy to share the experiences of her lovers and to enjoy with them the first sparks of passion and the growing awareness of their physical and psychological attraction. It helps that both Lucas and Amaryllis are likeable characters, their actions are believable and their motivations clear. Clearly, Amaryllis has no qualms about following her principles and, equally clearly, Lucas is going to follow Amaryllis into the adventure. They are surrounded by interesting secondary characters and the plot takes readers into a world where the power of the mind can create ecstasy or savagery.

Often reviewers will comment on the predictability of plots, and although there is not an overwhelming need to find out "whodunit" in this book, the ending is satisfying and true to its nature. Amaryllis is the first of three novels set on St. Helens - Orchid and Zinnia round out the series.

Reviewed in July 2001 by Celia.

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