The eighth book in the Celta series, published November 2009.
Signet D'Marigold's lonely life is shaken when a prophet reveals she is a catalyst for change. But to accept her new life -and the charge of the noble child Avellana- means embracing a danger that may be fatal for them both. Especially when Signet's attraction to her new bodyguard signals a secret enemy sworn to destroy them.
Hmm. I have found this same blurb on three different websites, and it is just wrong.
Signet D’Marigold is the last of her line, living alone in her lovely sentient Residence. Her personal Flair is for cobbling, making shoes and boots, but what her main Flair is, no one knows. Not even the famous testing stones of T’Ash. Today is her 30th nameday, and she is just so lonely. The friend she made a few weeks ago has left Druida after some major changes in her life. As so many others before her. Signet really doesn’t know what to do anymore. She doesn’t think she can handle another disappointment it T’Ash cannot pinpoint her Flair. Then suddenly the young prophet Tinny T’Vine appears, and he knows what she is! Signet is a catalyst, and he desperately needs her services to guide his 5 year old HeartMate through her first Passage. Avellana Hazel tried to fly when she was three years old, which she could not, and has sustained brain damage from the fall out of a second story window. The Healers have done everything the can for her, and now only time will tell if Avellana will survive Passage.
The Hazel Family offers Signet a hefty fee if she can help their little girl survive. Vinnie’s visions are strong and true, and she is their only hope. But as she is living alone, they have also hired the services of the best fighter of Druida, and that is not a Holly, but Cratag Maytree, the head of the guards of T’Hawthorn. Cratag is not from Druida originally, but from a little village in Britain. After a lot of adventuring he wanted Family and a place he belongs, so he set out to find T’Hawthorn, the head of the Family where the Maytrees are a small branch off. He cares very much for HawthornHeir, the young Laev. Cratag is not happy with this job, that his Lord and Head of his Family can send him away that easily. Laev will soon go through his second Passage, and he wants to be there for him. But Cratag soon changes his mind when he meets Signet D’Marigold and the Marigold Residence.
Signet could not have foreseen how much her life would change in a single day. Her Flair is known, T’Ash is astonished by it, and vows he will find the right stone to test her. Her empty Residence is suddenly filled with a FamCat of her own, a man, and a very precocious little girl she loves at sight and Fams of their own. The Residence is also very happy with some more life within its walls. Signets free days are over, as Avellana loves living by a strict schedule. This young miniature adult really needs to be more a child.
Vinnie T’Vine also makes a habit of dropping in, and Cratag soon picks up a training schedule for himself and Laev and Vinnie. And when the first part of the Passage comes for Avellana, Signet is ready to help her. She has been practising with using her Flair now she knows what she should be able to do with it. She can see Flair, and can help the damaged Flair Avellana has to Heal, make new pathways for it. The Hazel Family is really grateful for her help.
Then one day, something horrible happens, and Avellana’s great Flair is revealed. She almost kills everyone in T’Ash Residence when it occurs, but of course she did not know what she was doing. And after that, accidents seem to happen way too often …
I loved this book. This time not a love story between one of the highest GreatLords or Ladies, but between a Commoner and a GentleLady. Cratag has so little Flair, his own Passages where over before he knew it, and he still doesn’t understand much about it, of about other things normal for the Nobility. The relationship between Cratag and Signet grows slowly, even when there is this attraction between them from the start, and even before. Cratag used to watch Signet during the Rituals where they both attended, dreaming perhaps a little about her. Signet soon feels he is her HeartMate, but is of course forbidden to tell him that. He has to come to her, accept their love, in his own time and of his own free will. He sees the different in their status as insurmountable, what does she ever need him for? And he refuses to be a kept man, and not contribute to their relationship, their Household.
There is a secondary storyline about Laev, and how he thinks he has found his HeartMate, but I think that is a scam, the girl is deceiving him just to marry a rich Lord. But well, a young man who thinks himself in love is stubborn and won’t listen to anybody.
I liked getting a closer look on Avellana and especially Vinnie, as he plays such an important part in all the previous books. But I loved Signet, how she is lonely but still an optimist, and her lovely Residence. She doesn’t care about status, she is just in love with Cratag and very happy with him. She takes care about Avellana and Vinnie as well. She is learning to come up for her self, to negotiate a good price for her services, to accept her own Flair and use it.
Cratag also is named in the previous books, a strong and silent and scarred hero. He is a true protector, and will do everything for the ones he loves. He struggles with his sense of self and worth, and I fell for this honourable man who wants nothing more than a Family of his own and a place to belong.
A great book, a lot happens in here, some storylines come together, some new ones are being introduced. Perhaps it took some focus away from the main romance, but I did like the slow pace, the time they took for each other, getting to know the other person, let their love grow.
And I am very curious about the couple in the next book, not a clue as to whom they will be. But I do know, I am going to enjoy the story very much, just like this one.