A mysterious stranger . . .
Danni Jones believed everything about her past—that she was an unwanted child abandoned by her mother. That she was an outcast set apart by her clairvoyance. That she was alone. Then came the stranger. Dangerously seductive Sean Ballagh appears out of nowhere with a startling story that will challenge everything Danni thought was true.
A lost woman . . .
He claims that Danni’s family has been searching for her ever since she disappeared twenty years ago. He’s come to bring her home to Ireland. But Danni fears there’s more to his story than he dares to reveal. And the only way to find out is by following Sean back in time, to a forgotten past, to a world where nothing is what it seems.
A terrifying legacy . . .
Now, in a land where the mystical and the occult are as vivid as the emerald fields, Danni must rewrite history to save her family, to fight a force more evil than she ever imagined, and to reunite with the one man she was destined for—or live forever in time as nothing more than an ethereal memory, a tragic and haunting beauty…
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Cover Thoughts: Absolutely beautiful. In fact, it reminds me of my favorite artist and painter, Josephine Wall. Also, there's an item of interest on the cover that pertains directly to the story within. The woman's necklace is very important to the plot and while it doesn't resemble the description to the letter, it does portray the overall look very well. To me, when a cover ties with the story, it's a major bonus and because I knew in advance that the cover necklace was important, there was a delightful anticipation when I started the novel for when I would learn its significance.
Single Title/Series: HAUNTING BEAUTY is a single title novel but there will be a follow-up novel releasing in April about the heroine's brother called HAUNTING WARRIOR. See the end of the review for more details.
Why I Read It: Unfortunately I'd become shamefully behind in my pledge to read HAUNTING BEAUTY. Somehow it just got lost in my TBR mountains and when I saw the cover for the soon to be released, HAUNTING WARRIOR, I was compelled to dig out its predecessor. Of course I'm now pounding my head against a hard surface over having waited so long to dive into this fascinating read.
This is a riveting tale. One steeped in lore and magic that whisks the reader on a exhilarating journey from the arid deserts of Arizona to the mystic Isle of Fennore, Ireland. Its a refreshing paranormal read that for genre lovers looking for something new will happily find exactly what they seek with Erin Quinn's HAUNTING BEAUTY.
Danni Jones is a lost and bruised soul who discovers untold strength with the help of the mysterious and undoubtedly sexy, Sean Ballagh. Believing to have been abandoned by her mother when she was a five-year-old, Danni has spent her life trying to claim some measure of belonging with her antique shop and her endearing search to bring old artifacts back together. By reuniting a previously lost chair or saucer with its corresponding dinning or tea set, Danni brings solidarity to an otherwise unsteady world. But her self imposed illusions of resigned contentment are stripped fiercely away when Sean Ballagh reawakens within Danni a fearful power that will lead her unwaveringly towards a fatal destiny.
After living for several years in the foster care system, Danni knows that being special is a very bad thing. It means being rejected and transferred. It means having to live with new families, new environments time and again. Subsequently, Danni has succeeded in suppressing her unique ability to have visions - to see the future and the past - to the point that she can even convince herself that perhaps it was all just a dream. But when Sean Ballagh forces her to have the visions in her adult reality, Danni knows that what was really a time of peace is now over. And when Sean in the flesh arrives on her doorstep the very same day as her vision of him, Danni can't escape the sense of foreboding that creeps soundly into her bones.
Sean is riveted by Danni from the moment he lays eyes on her. A deep seeded yearning that feels ages old, claims his heart and soul bringing forth a very male and very desperate urge to posses her. But Danni doesn't just make Sean's heart beat wildly, she's also the key to an unsolved mystery that has plagued the town of Ballyfionúir for twenty years. Relying on Danni's need to belong, Sean strives to lure her home to Ireland by dangling the very real possibility of reuniting Danni with her family. His hope is that with the reappearance of Danni in Ballyfionúir, his father's name will be cleared of its murder suspicions that have succeeded in tarnishing his family.
Twenty years ago, Danni and her twin brother and mother disappeared but the isle's consensus was that they were murdered by Niall Ballagh, Sean's father. Cathán MacGrath, Laird of Ballyfionúir and Danni's biological father, was the only eye-witness. Unfortunately he arrived too late to prevent the fatal killing spree that resulted in Danni's assumed death along with her mother and brother - their bodies thought to be lost to the raging sea that smashed against the cave where the events took place. Niall was unable to contest the damning allegations due to his subsequent suicide immediately following the disappearances - or deaths - of Cathán's family. If Sean is able to convince Danni to come home, then she becomes obvious proof that her mother fled Ireland with her two children and his father's name can be cleared. But if Niall didn't kill the MacGrath family, then why did Fia MacGrath and her children flee Ireland?
Danni, suspicious and very distrusting by nature, knows that Sean wants something from her but the question is what. Unfortunately Danni will have little time to interrogate him before magic and fate steps in. After putting on a necklace that Sean gives her, claiming that its a very old family heirloom, the two are shockingly swept twenty years into the past to exactly two days prior to the cavern events that would ultimately destroy Danni's future along with her still missing brother and mother. It seems as if Ballyfionúir is determined to unveil the whys and perhaps give Danni the opportunity to save her family.
Confused and wary of their strange predicament of having been thrust twenty years into the past, Danni and Sean find themselves faced with their younger selves and a dangerous mystery. Fortunately one thing is for certain and that is their all consuming passion for one another but even that proves to be threatened by simple distrust. Shunned for twenty years by the townspeople, Sean has built a healthy wall around his heart while Danni has the done the same after having been abandoned by so many people. Yet trust is the very crux to the mystery that threatens them and without it, Danni and Sean will find themselves greeting the clammy hand of death.
HAUNTING BEAUTY is a novel that will leave you pondering way past its end. The mystery betwixt its pages is soaked in blood and fear but its combated by the sheer determination and selflessness of its characters. Also, the complexities of the time line, family tree, and plot twists are wonderfully choreographed leaving very little unresolved at the end. Both Danni and Sean are in the fight of their lives in HB and despite the very integral role of the mystery that's thrown them together, the romance isn't lost or drowned out.
If this review has seemed vague, that's because to reveal more than the few bits that have already been detailed would spoil everything that makes HAUNTING BEAUTY a great read. This is a novel that showcases a promising up and coming paranormal romance author that'll surely be on many an auto-buy list to come. The only thing that prevented this book from claiming an A grade was a few places here and there that could have been clarified to a deeper degree and to bring those things to light would spoil the end. Otherwise, be prepared for an awesome ride.
HAUNTING WARRIOR by Erin Quinn
Release May 4, 2010
A past he couldn’t forget.
Rory McGrath’s life changed the night his father mysteriously vanished after uncovering the secrets of the ancient Book of Fennore. The trauma turned Rory from an innocent boy into a troubled, cynical man. Leaving Ireland, he shunned his family, his heritage—and the very magic that has defined his people for centuries.
A dream he couldn’t ignore.
Then the dreams begin…dreams of an ethereal beauty whose touch is more real that any he’s known. And in these dreams, she has a message—a calling for Rory to return home to a destiny that will take him beyond the realm of anything he imagined.
A woman he couldn’t resist.
Lured to the castle ruins where his father disappeared, Rory is plunged back in time, and into the body of another man—a man betrothed to the very woman of Rory’s dreams. In possession of the secrets of his past, his family, and his identity, her hold on Rory is inescapable. For she is his doom. His salvation. And his destiny.