Author: Lisa Kleypas
Narrator: Tanya Eby
Series: Friday Harbor, #4
Release date: February 5th 2013
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Audio CD, 9 hours
Buy: Brilliance Audio
Justine Hoffman has made a comfortable life for herself on the island of Friday Harbor. She is the proprietor of a successful boutique hotel, and she has the safe, predictable life she has always wanted. Growing up with her flighty, nomadic mother, Marigold, has instilled in her a deep longing for stability. But in spite of everything Justine has achieved, there is still something missing. Love. And after years of waiting and dreaming, she is willing to do whatever it takes to change her destiny. What Justine soon discovers is that someone cast a spell on her when she was born, with the result that she will never find her soul mate. Determined to change her fate, Justine finds a way to break the enchantment, never dreaming of the dangerous complications that will follow. And when Justine meets the mysterious Jason Black, she accidentally unleashes a storm of desire and danger that threatens everything she holds dear...because Jason has secrets of his own, and he wants more from her than fate will ever allow. Bestselling Kleypas proves that she has perfected her recipe for emotionally nourishing, richly rewarding love stories.?
Crystal Cove is the fourth book in Lisa Kleypas’ Friday Harbor series, the first paranormal series in her rather extensive bibliography. People more familiar with Kleypas’ work seem to dislike this series, but I enjoyed the first three books. They were just cute, feel-good, forgettable reads, perfect for rainy Sundays.
Justine is a hereditary witch, and a powerful one at that, but she doesn’t want to join her mother’s coven. Instead, she bought a small inn and she’s running it happily with her cousin Zoe. Justine is mostly happy with her life, but she misses the only thing she’s never had – love. Jason Black is a half-Japanese millionaire, an extremely driven and extremely successful businessman. But he needs the one thing money can’t buy –a soul. To get it, he needs to steal a powerful witch’s grimoire, and Justine seems like the perfect choice. Neither of them counts on falling in love, but once they do, another problem arises. Because of something called the witch’s bane, no witch has ever been able to keep the man she loves. They always die within months.
I found it odd that the issue of Jason’s soullessness was never properly addressed. It was an essential part of the story, and yet we never did find out how it came to be. Was he born without a soul or did something happen to him later? In fact, a great many things about Jason weren’t explained and I never understood him, despite the addition of his point of view.
On top of that, I didn’t understand what brought them together in the first place. It makes sense that Justine was drawn to him, but the entire process of falling in love was somehow glazed over. Consequently, I was never really invested in their relationship, nor did I feel anxious about their happily ever after. In fact, when Jason did something he wasn’t supposed to and Justine forgave him, I was disappointed that he didn’t have to work for it at all.
With a half-Japanese character, Kleypas explored shibaru, Japanese rope bondage. Allow me to put this into context: Kleypas’ romances are usually of the hot-and-sweet variety (sweet being the key word here), and she writes characters that fit this type of story. Bondage of any kind simply doesn’t work, and Japanese bondage – more a form of art than anything else – was, to be entirely honest, slightly ridiculous.
The narrator, Tanya Eby, is a perfect choice for this type of book. Her voice has a very pleasant, calming quality. Above all, I enjoyed the Arkansas accent she used for Priscilla – it was well-done and endlessly amusing. Eby saved this book for me – given my lack of connection with Justine and Jason, I probably would have dropped it halfway through, but Eby’s entertaining narration kept me going.
I doubt I’ll even bother picking up Lightning Bay, the next book in this series. Instead, I’ll probably find some of Kleypas’s older contemporary books and hopefully figure out why she has so many loyal fans.