Ties That Bind by Keena Kincaid
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Book Title: Ties That Bind
Author: Keena Kincaid
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: Dec 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60154-619-7
Pages: 374
Genre: Historical
Series: Book 2, Druids of Duncarnoch
Available In: E-book and Print
CRR Heat Level: Sophisticated
Reviewer: Stephanie
Review Score: 5 Wings

Kincaid crafts a romance that will hold the reader spellbound with Ties That Bind.  Set in Henry II’s Plantagenet court, Aedan ap Owen is the king’s minstrel, sent to Carlisle to investigate a series of relics that have been recently stolen.  When Aedan encounters his previous love, Tess, he realizes the quest to find the stolen relics has become that much more complicated.

The novel opens with Aedan receiving a relic from Queen Eleanor with a message to give it to her man when Aedan arrives in Carlisle.  Upon meeting with Richard, the Earl of Carlisle, Aedan learns that his former love, Tess, is now the widowed Lady of Bridswell.  Aedan gives the relic to the queen’s man, but soon learns that things aren’t what they seem, and people who should be trustworthy aren’t.  Aedan makes friends with a knight, William, and his adopted sister, Ami.  Aedan also rekindles the love he has for Tess when the two have an impromptu encounter at a local inn.  When Aedan discovers Tess’s fiancé, Robert of Hexham, has evil intentions for the relics, he tries to stop Hexham.  When Hexham unleashes the dark secret of the relics, will it rob Aedan of what he’s always desired - Tess?

Kincaid’s opening catches the reader’s attention and doesn’t let  go.  Her writing is sharp and the plot is tight, with several twists and turns that will surprise the reader, including a secret Tess keeps from Aedan. Kincaid’s characters are rich and well developed.  Aedan leads a wanderer’s life as a court minstrel, but he’s loyal and true to his beliefs, traits of an admirable hero.  He’s kind and caring with children, and through his Sidhe talents, even animals are mindful of him.  His love for Tess has never died.  The passionate reigniting of their love is heartwarming for the reader.  Tess is a well layered character, showing great strength at times and tender vulnerabilities.   Kincaid’s voice is lyrical, capturing the romantic feel of the early Plantagenet reign. She blends the supernatural myths of Rome’s lingering influence and early Christianity well.  The love scenes are tasteful and would be considered “sophisticated” for CRR.  Overall, Ties That Bind is a magical discovery of a love that lasts a lifetime. 


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