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Review: Catriona

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Catriona
Author: Jeanette Baker 
Release Date: August 1, 2011
Publisher: Sourcebook Casablanca
ISBN: #978-1402255861
Genre: Paranormal/Historical Romance
Format(s): Paperback (385 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
Catriona…
Kate Sutherland always felt out of place in brash and modern Southern California. But when she comes to her ancestral home in the Shetland Islands to seek a mystical guide who may shed light on her true heritage, she is caught between the present day and visions of a life from five centuries past….
A fiery young woman of royal English blood, Catriona Wells is determined to save her family from the deadly political clashes of 15th-century Britain. But Cat’s cunning is no match for Scottish border lord Patrick MacKendrick. When this powerful warrior betroths her against her will, Cat must decide whether she dares to love him–and to trust him with lives that are more precious to her than her own.
What G & U are talking about:
Catriona is a standalone novel that claims to mix paranormal with historical romance.  Based on the description, Una and Gikany feel let down.  As we have previously stated, we are not contemporary romance people.  We also are very picky when it comes to historical romance (Gikany more so than Una).  Gikany and Una prefer the element of the paranormal in our romance stories.  With Catriona we thought we would be getting a good mix.  We didn’t.
The most glaring issue we found is the main character, Kate, suffers from and gives the reader, whiplash.  She is on or off, hot or cold.  She takes a stance and then without much pressure, she’ll just switch.  This flashing back and forth was very unrealistic.   The interactions between Kate and her modern day love interest extenuate this.  We really wish Niall had just walked away, he deserved better and she would deserve the heartache from losing him.  It is very difficult to walk in the main character’s shoes when you wish she would just disappear.
Another major issue is the transitions between the historic portion and the contemporary.  They are not smooth for the most part and depending on the reader’s perspective can be just summed up as a huge dream.  This “twice-lived” paranormal element is just a bunch of woo-woo; she dreamed it all in an effort to explain her “emo-ness.” In fact, Una found herself wanting to skip over the modern day portions so she could get back to the historical storyline.  
However, Cat and Patrick’s story was very captivating.  The characters in the historical storyline were well characterized and felt so real.   Their story played out very well and, although predictable at times, it was engaging and enthralling.  It feels that maybe the author concentrated her efforts in this storyline, which is why the other storyline felt flat and unnecessary.
Una and Gikany feel that the novel would have been far better if we just had the historical romance.  That is where the major action and adventure occurred in the novel and the most suspense took place.  We felt there was some characterization lacking on one of the enemies in the book, if Ms. Baker had given us more of the back-story and left out the modern-day, twice-lived storyline it would have been much better.   
Their Rating:

Finished it – take it or leave it (C)


  • Unfortunately, every read can’t provide that A+ experience.

  • Una

    Exactly, Angela. What Gikany and I have discovered is that it’s healthy for us to read stuff we don’t care for. Some books have surprised us and some have let us down. But by always giving something a try, we continue to hone our tastes. I think this book may appeal to the more fluffy romantic/historical romance buffs out there, but for us it wasn’t. Also, I think getting a “non-follower” perspective can be good for both writer and readers.

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