by Lynn Kurland

October 2001
ISBN: 0-425-18197-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Berkley
Mass Market Paperback

There are so many things I can say about this book and most of them are good. So I'll start with the one draw back to this book and get it over with. The one and only flaw I found in this book is that it often leaves the reader confused about some of the characters. Anyone who's read more than one Lynn Kurland book should know that they all, or at least most of them, intertwine so it's normal to see characters return in different stories. The problem here is that because her books involve ghosts or time travel, things get a bit convoluted.

In My Heart Stood Still Ms. Kurland brought back so many of her old characters that I had to keep my collection of her books on my nightstand for reference. I often found myself wishing I had a cheat sheet so that I could look up the connections between the various characters. The genealogy chart that is in the book confuses more than it helps. New readers of Ms. Kurland's work will probably be able to read the book straight through and it will, in fact, probably do nothing more than make them want to go out and buy all of Ms. Kurland's back books so that they too can come to know these characters that so many have come to love. (** A word to all those who are new to the world of Lynn Kurland, My Heart Stood Still has an incredible number of spoilers so if you don't like knowing the ending to your books before you read them then I suggest you read her other books first and save this one for last. **)

My Heart Stood Still is engaging, well written, and well thought out. The premise is that a lady ghost who had never known love in her life finds love after being dead for 600 years. It's understandably difficult for her to deal with. Iolanthe is a great character; I was able to commiserate with her and understand her fears and desires. She was alternately a witty, confident Lady of the manor and a vulnerable, brave young woman who had died for her principles.

Our hero is also a character I was able to get into. Thomas Macleod McKinnon has spent his life seeking out challenges and mastering them and, at the same time, searching for his place in the world. Iolanthe's castle might just be that place he can call home. But before he can settle in, he has to win over Iolanthe and her garrison of ghostly warriors. All the while dealing with three determined preservationists who want a ruined castle to remain a ruined castle, three matchmaking ghosts and the knowledge that not only are ghosts real but, gasp, so is time travel! It's a lot to deal with and Thomas handles it with remarkable aplomb. In fact, this entire book rolls along and is almost effortlessly entertaining. Ms. Kurland truly does make it look easy.

All in all, I enjoyed reading this book and I look forward to Ms. Kurland's next release.

Reviewed in December 2001 by JaToya.

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