Author: Jane Kindred
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Rating: 3.5 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: It takes a con to expose a con. But this con could strip their secrets bare.
Framed for his twin sister’s murder, Sebastian Swift has been kept drugged in a mental institution since age thirteen, aware of only one horrible fact—every night in his dreams, he drowns.
After a freak storm frees him, Sebastian learns the truth. His guardian, Emrys, has been siphoning off his inherited magical power over the waters of Cantre’r Gwaelod—one gruesome vial at a time. And the man’s bastard son, Macsen, has been raised in his place. Determined to find his twin’s killer, Sebastian assumes her identity.
Macsen Finch isn’t about to give up his guise as the young earl—and not just because of the fortune. His cousin’s return from the dead threatens Macsen’s own efforts to undermine his father’s evil plan. Yet he can’t deny his inexplicable attraction to the imposter.
Acting on their mutual desire puts them both at the mercy of a madman’s wrath. To stop Emrys from stealing his power, Sebastian will have to learn how to use it—and whom he can trust.
Review: Sebastian Swift followed a ghost out of the insane asylum to his freedom. Sebastian finds himself surrounded by criminals. That’s okay. Legally, he’s a criminal too. He murdered his sister, August. Or so he’s been told. Sebastian trades sex for a roof over his head and learns how to be a common thief. However, Sebastian isn’t common. A chance encounter with a dress gives Sebastian’s companions an idea. Sebastian is going to pretend to be his own long dead sister, suddenly found, as a con to gain money from his own family. Sebastian happens to know there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. Everyone in Cantre’r Gwaelod thinks Sebastian Swift is in his castle, where he’s supposed to be. Macsen Finch has been pretending to be Sebastian for years. When his cousin August shows up he knows something is going on. Macsen watched his father, Emrys, murder August years ago. When Emrys then welcomes the fake into their lives things get really confusing. This fake knows way too much about the house and Macsen himself. What is his father up to? Macsen is both stunned and horrified when he learns the truth. Things are so much bigger than either Macsen or Sebastian ever dreamed. Macsen and Sebastian begin to have feelings for each other. That complicates things. Both of them want to do the right thing. Emrys just wants power and will do anything to get it.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked this book up. I’ve both enjoyed and really disliked books by Jane Kindred. I ended up finding this book surprisingly light. That’s not to say big and unpleasant things didn’t happen, but no one watched their child get murdered. I enjoyed reading despite the occasional plot hole. I enjoyed the characters enough. It was a relatively mild mannered fantasy, and not everything needs to have a character with deep seated emotional problems, even if they’ve spent years being abused in a mental asylum or suffered emotional and physical abuse throughout their childhood. Was that plausible? Nope. Did I care? Not so much. Sometimes I just want to read a rousing tale and not have to worry about psychological profiles.
A lot of this plot hinges on who knew what when. There is some spoilery information Macsen knew long before the reader knew he knew it. We had Macsen’s POV. He seemed just as confused by August/Sebastian as the rest of his family. If he knew the big spoilery secret he wouldn’t have been confused. We learn about the paranormal aspects of the story in Macsen’s POV. He seemed to be thinking he was pretty surprised and disgusted by what was going on. Yeah, I’m explaining this very poorly and trying to not spoiler and it’s confusing. Sorry. Basically, the overall plot didn’t hold up to a cursory inspection. The attempts to account for that weren’t so great. Personally, I didn’t really care as I felt this was a fun read anyway.
If you are a person who can overlook plot flaws this book is fun. Sometimes that’s all I ask for. This book delivered in that department. There were spooky tunnels, an evil bad guy, and an incredibly poignant moment when Sebastian really feared he’d never see Macsen again. In all honestly I kind of expected a little better from Jane Kindred, but in all fairness I liked reading this book. At the end of the day, for me, it’s about enjoying what I read.