Review: Spellbound anthology

Spellbound by Claire Delacroix, Jane Charles and Claudia Dain
Series: The Haunting of Castle Keyvnor (# 4)
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Ava Stone Inc
Pages: 280
Source: book provided by the 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.

SPELLBOUND, The Haunting of Castle Keyvnor includes:

Claire Delacroix’s Something Wicked This Way Comes
Seven years ago, Sophia Brisbane lost everything—her father, her brother, her family fortune—but worse, was rejected by the man she loved. She’s determined not to yearn for the past and its pleasures—until she encounters Lucien de Roye again. Although he knew Sophia could never be his own, Lucien vowed to retrieve her squandered inheritance—even wagering his very soul to a demon. When Sophia learns what he has done, no force on heaven or earth will convince her to let him pay the demon’s due, no matter what the cost to herself.

Jane Charles’s Her Gypsy Lord
Lady Charlotte Beck craves just one little adventure, which is nearly impossible as her older brothers are the most diligent of chaperones. However, when her family is summoned to Castle Keyvnor for the reading of her great-uncle’s will, Charlotte can hardly contain her excitement. Ghosts, magic and gypsies seem to be the ingredients to the adventure she’s been searching for. However when she meets Adam Vail in the nearby gypsy camp, it may be another adventure all together that calls to her soul…if she can survive Castle Keyvnor and one very murderous ghost.

Claudia Dain’s Lady Ghost and Lord Death: A Love Story
Hal Mort, Viscount Blackwater, visits Keyvnor Castle in the company of friends and atop his new stallion. How was he to know that ghosts awaited him? Hal does not believe in ghosts. Unfortunately for Hal, the ghosts take an interest in him. One ghost wants to see him married to the lovely Lady Morgan. Another ghost is just as determined to see him slip the noose. As the ghosts work their supernatural magic, Hal can’t determine if the intense attraction he feels for Morgan is coming from him or from them. And after a few magical kisses, he’s not sure he cares.


Review:  The three stories in Spellbound 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 but also a lot of ghostly activity.  Spellbound continues with stories from Vexed, Bedeviled and Mystified, the first three 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 even those that don’t believe in ghosts and magic seem to in these stories. The twelve stories in the series surround the reading of the late earl’s 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 each book and gives closure to what the stories are about.

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Claire Delacroix is a little different since the prologue begins in London in 1811 whereas the first chapter begins in London in 1804 and then switches to 1811 and the castle.  There were quite a few twists and turns to the story as well as a darkness since Lucien sold his sold to the devil, literally!   This is Sophia and Lucien’s story and the promise he made her seven years before and the life she escaped from.  There is a very different ending than I predicted but not enough closure.  An epilogue would have given me the closure I was looking for.  I have not previously read books by Delacroix or her alter-ego Deborah Cooke.

Her Gypsy Lord by Jane Charles was one of my favorite books in the series with lots of gypsies but also a malevolent ghost who has it in for Lady Charlotte because of whom she looks like!  Adam, half gypsy and half peer, and Charlotte have an instant attraction that’s combustible.  He and her brothers try to protect her from the evil surrounding her with his grandmother’s help.  His grandmother gave her a talisman that she made especially for her when Charlotte went to have her fortune read.  Charlotte loves adventures and she sees a future with Adam as one adventure after another!  There are family and friends, ghosts, the gypsies, magic, smuggling, compromise, loving and love.  There is nice closure and a happily ever after.  Charles is another new to me author and I will be adding some of her books to my always growing TBR piles.

Lady Ghost and Lord Death: A Love Story by Claudia Dain has ghosts, Nell and Roland, involving themselves in matchmaking with Lady Morgan, one of the new earl’s daughters, and Viscount Blackwater.  The ghosts have their own battles going since they’ve been together more than three hundred years but were only lovers and never married.  They seem to have lover’s quarrels even when they are matchmaking and especially when near Morgan and Hal.  Hal understands what is happening around him with the ghosts but Morgan does not want to give credence to them and doesn’t believe in ghosts.  There was some closure but not enough and the story seemed to end abruptly.  An epilogue would have helped give the closure I needed along with the happily ever after that was only alluded to.  Dain is an author I know of but have not read any of her books.  I hope to rectify that in the future and see if there’s better closure.

Favorite Quotes:  Something Wicked This Way Comes by Claire Delacroix
“Tea,” Mr. Morris said firmly.  “Is seldom any trouble to prepare and is often quite welcome.”  He gave Mrs. Bray a look that sent her scurrying and Sophia couldn’t completely suppress her smile.

Her Gypsy Lord by Jane Charles
He couldn’t really blame her, but if Tyrell could get her here, he could get to her anywhere.

Lady Ghost and Lord Death: A Love Story by Claudia Dain
Hal swallowed, looked out to sea for a moment, then turned and patted his horse on the neck.  He said, “No, Lady Ghost.  I cannot hear you.  I cannot see you.  I deny your existence.  I do not believe in ghosts.”