Review: Mystified anthology

Mystified by Renee Bernard, Jerrica Knight-Catania, Erica Monroe
Series: The Haunting of Castle Keyvnor (# 3)
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Ava Stone Inc
Pages: 299
Source: book provided by thr author for review



In regards to the Matter of the un-entailed Estate of the late-Jonathan Hambly, 10th Earl of Banfield, be advised that your attendance is urgently required at the reading of his lordship’s Last Will & Testament, to take place on November 1st of this year at Castle Keyvnor in Bocka Morrow, Cornwall.
Mr. Timothy Hunt, Esq.

When the late-Earl of Banfield’s distant relations descend upon Bocka Morrow, they’ll find gypsies, witches, pixies, smugglers, and one very haunted castle. And if they’re lucky, they might just fall in love while they’re there.

MYSTIFIED, The Haunting of Castle Keyvnor includes:

Renee Bernard’s The Sweetest Curse
Blade Hambly believes in three things: logic, science and the notion that if a man just keeps his eyes forward, he is unlikely to be tripped up by the past. But how does a man keep his thoughts cool and focused when he meets a young woman like Miss Elethea Fairfax? A woman who heals with the touch of her hands, who talks to the air and radiates magic with every other-worldly fluttering of her eyelashes? What does a man of science do when the woman he is falling in love with is a witch?

Jerrica Knight-Catania’s Possessed by the Stranger
Lady Samantha Priske can hardly wait to make herself scarce in the allegedly haunted residence of her late great uncle, the Earl of Banfield. And when she meets a handsome stranger who is blessedly not a relation, she finds herself flirting uncharacteristically with him. Chadwick Kendall isn’t thrilled to be at Castle Keyvnor for the blasted will reading. His father is dying, and he’d rather be by his side. But Chad finds something at Castle Keyvnor far more valuable than anything the earl could have left for him: A beautiful redhead, whom he must convince to be his bride.

Erica Monroe’s The Mad Countess
Theodore Lockwood, Earl of Ashbrooke, has been in love with his best friend, Lady Claire Deering, for as long as he can remember. Claire too harbors a secret desire for him—but a witch cursed her family with madness, and she’s terrified she’ll only hurt him if they act on their feelings. When a will reading at a mysterious castle in Cornwall brings them both together, they’ll work to break her family’s curse…and find true love.



Review:  The three stories in Mystified all have the Castle Keyvnor located in Bocka Morrow in Cornwall, England in the forefront of each story along with the death of the current earl.  Mystified nicely continues with all new stories from Vexed and Bedeviled, the first two books in the series, concerning some of the same characters and circumstances as well as others we meet.  The castle is considered to be haunted by many and is definitely gloomy and foreboding with lots of rooms and even four turrets, spiraling staircases without any handrails, as well as lots of stone and gardens. The stories surround the reading of the will which is why everyone is visiting the castle whether they want to be there or not.  The stories are short and very quick reads with well defined characters and plots that left me wanting more. The Earl’s Will is at the back of the book and gives closure to what the stories are about. There’s only one remaining book in the series, Spellbound.

The Mad Countess by Erica Monroe is Claire’s story because madness runs in her family or does it?  Claire lives her life not knowing when the madness will strike her as it did her mother and aunt.  But is that any way to live?  She doesn’t plan on a future since she expects to be hospitalized and die young.  The nickname she’s been given is the Mad Daughter which struck terror in my heart for others to be so cruel.  Teddy is an earl and loves to research things.  He and Claire were childhood friends but neither ever spoke of their true feelings. Now that they are unexpectedly thrown together at the castle their feelings are unleashed but is it for naught?  A trip to town plays a significant role in the story along with some of the townspeople.  There was an unexpected happily ever after along with nice closure due to the epilogue that takes place one year after the reading of the will.  Monroe is a new to me author and I look forward to reading more of her books.

Possessed by the Stranger by Jerrica Knight-Catania has Chad and Samantha at its core and both were enjoyable characters that definitely had their work cut out for them.  It didn’t help that Chad didn’t reveal his true background but made Sam think he was a commoner and not a peer which wouldn’t fit into her parent’s plans for her marriage.  Talk about miscommunication! There were quite a few twists and turns to the story and I didn’t always like how Samantha treated Chad – hot one minute and cold the next which could stretch on for a day or two.  Samantha’s brother, Toby, was involved in the storyline and gave a bit of comedic relief.  There was a happily ever after in the offing but the story needed an epilogue because of the abrupt ending which didn’t give me the closure I hoped for.  Knight-Catania is a new to me author and I look forward to reading more of her books and hope there’s better closure.

The Sweetest Curse by Renee Bernard is the only story that hasn’t taken place at least in some part at the castle.  It has Elethea Fairfax, daughter of the town’s doctor but also the granddaughter of Maevis, the wisest of the witches in the Circle, front and center.  Her father doesn’t practice magic – he’s a doctor and a scientist – and is not always happy that his daughter does.  But when he needs her help because he can’t be in two places at once he seems okay with it but never gives her credit for her actions or work.  She helps heal Blade Hambly who gets very sick on the way to the castle for the reading of the will when their paths unexpectedly cross at the Mermaid’s Kiss in town where his driver stops to rest his horses not knowing that Blade is ill.  When Elethea and Blade meet there’s an instant attraction although since he’s delirious with a high fever he thinks she’s an angel.  When their paths continue to cross they get to know each other a little better.  There are curses, magic and getting to know you better chats.  There is some closure but an epilogue would have been great as in many of the other stories.  There’s a happily ever after in the offing.  Bernard is a new to me author and I look forward to reading her historical romances.

Favorite Quotes:  The Mad Countess by Erica Monroe
“Well, that explains the guard,” Teddy muttered under his breath, with the calmness in the face of logic-shattering circumstances only he could muster.  “Your dead aunt is not so dead.  Will wonders never cease in this bloody castle.”

Possessed by the Stranger by Jerrica Knight-Catania
Now Toby looked like the young boy he was, what with his eyes so very round in his face.  “What did you hear?” he whispered, as if he desperately wanted to know and didn’t want to know at the same time and with equal fervor.

The Sweetest Curse by Renee Bernard
Elethea had been raised between them, between both worlds and both points of view and did her best to serve as a bridge and a path to peace.