Author: Jenni Boyd
Opening line: “…Her hand trembled as she turned the doorknob, her punishment would be severe if discovered in the room, but it was what she came to see which frightened her most…”
Blurb: When a servant girl called Natalia sneaks into a room to find a mirror her whole world changes, in fact her very existence is threatened and her only chance of survival lies in the hands of an old gypsy woman, but to find the woman Natalia must embark on a dangerous journey through the deep woods. Natalia discovers the people of the forest are like no other she has seen before, especially the handsome Besnik. Unfortunately he, as the other gypsies, shows a great hatred towards her at the mere mention of her name; she has been blamed for the terrible curse they live under. Natalia must now set off on another journey to find her true parents and try and free the gypsies from their incarceration in the deep woods. Her only hope of finding her parents is through the aid of a young gypsy boy who possesses a special gift. As the web of deceit gradually unravels, Natalia uncovers a shocking secret, one which was never to be revealed. Can Besnik overcome his hatred of her and come to her rescue?
My thoughts: NATALIA is a sweet story but don’t be misled by the romance tag, this story has an edge, and poor Natalia has to overcome a heap of hurdles to get to her happy ending. The romance is there, but doesn’t get going until the middle of the story, and then is really a support story until almost the very end when it comes into its own. Despite being kidnapped, abused, burned, beaten, drugged and ravished Natalia manages to retain her niceness and innocence. She is kind-hearted and sweet and maybe a little bit too trusting, she does fight for right though and has great tenacity in achieving her goal. I found myself flicking the pages as I was eager to see how it was all going to turn out. Plenty of twists and turns – and working out who was nice and who was nasty. At least one of the nasty ones took me by surprise as they were outwardly nice, and seemingly trying to do their best by Natalia – but in the end did some bad, bad things. My favourite character was Jasper the black stallion – my only criticism to the whole story is that I didn’t find out what happened to Jasper after the stableman took him off to save his life – did he get saved – or not? I cried anyway – just to be on the safe side! Fortunately for the state of my sanity there is definitely a happy ever after for Natalia – which she really deserved after everything she went through. If you like adventure stories with just a light touch of romance then I recommend this story. I would happily read more of Jenni Boyd’s books
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C – Above average. Was very readable and I really liked it but was easily able to put it down and walk away for a while.
With thanks to the author for my copy to read and review.