by Robin D. Owens
I remember when Owens introduced her Heart series, way at the beginning of the current paranormal romance subgenre. I loved Heart Mate. It was unique, it was cute (of course, if I weren’t a cat person, I’m sure I would have been less enraptured—but even if you were a dog person, you would have found it charming), and best of all, I COULDN’T PREDICT WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT. (This is a rare and wonderful trait. That’s the problem with too much fiction: too easy to figure out. And the unpredictability of the best fiction or any writing in general is a precious thing indeed.)
And that was a long, long time ago (okay, a couple of decades, but for a lot of people that would be a long, long time ago)(yes, yes, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and all that). Since then, Owens has written 13 or 14 books in the series, one an anthology of Celtan stories, including how the travelers made their way to the planet they settled on. Owens has managed to expand and deepen the history, culture, and society of the Celtans, before they arrived on the planet (they started on Earth, you see)(but that would have been a long time after the dinosaurs ruled the…sorry, I’m getting off the topic).
In the past few stories, Owens has been delving into the topic of lesser-known religions and lower-stratum society sorts, even a cult and killers. In Heart Fire, we have an architect entrusted to the construction of a temple for a religion not of Druidic origins (calling themselves “Cross Folk” or “Intersection of Hope,” so it was interesting to see how the author described this religion), a Druidic priestess who suffered from a mob protesting alternate religions, including being hunted and burned out of her home, bigotry, ambition, and family. That last is a prevalent theme in Owens’ books, but the others are relatively new, and while she’s struggling to work them into the parlance of this paranormal romance, she is comfortable in the world and culture she’s created in Celta, and is doing an excellent job of expanding on them.
COMING UP: If I can figure out how to access it, I have a book on Greek fire waiting for me!