I’m a big fan of Michelle Boule’s Turning Creek series. It’s quite the departure from my usual historical romance reads, but it brings together two genres that have a special place in my heart. Her unlikely pairing of fantasy and history makes for surprisingly refreshing romance with an undercurrent of mystery. It’s a style that I love and falls squarely in my comfort reading camp. So take out your favorite blanket, pour yourself your best loved brew, and get ready to fall in love.
Boule brings Greek mythology to the mountains of 19th century Colorado, where a trio of Harpy sisters–Petra, Marina, and Dora–have made their home. Turning Creek is teeming with remnants, humans who are descendants of figures, gods, and demigods in Greek myth. The first book in this series, Lightning in the Dark, is world-building at its best, introducing the Harpy sisters and the major players in Turning Creek. Although I highly recommend picking up Lightning, it’s not a necessary precursor to enjoying Storm in the Mountains, the latest entry to the Turning Creek universe.
Storm centers on my favorite harpy sister, Marina, and her friends-to-lovers relationship with the Turning Creek sheriff, Reed. I love brash, brassy broads in romance novels (a la Lady Danbury and Lady Irvine) and Marina fits the bill. This whiskey-drinking, knife-slinging, plain-speaking beauty is a harpy through and through. Nothing makes her happier than a good fight and a good drink, but when Sherrif Reed asks her to use her Harpy powers to work alongside him as deputy, Marina suddenly finds herself protecting Turning Creek’s remnants and humans alike. Reed is an honorable man, but he’s still, well, a man (and quite the eligible bachelor about town). Despite her rough edges, Reed sees the good in Marina: her kindness towards children, her loyalty to her sisters, and her capacity for love. When remnant women start disappearing in Turning Creek, Reed and Marina are brought closer together in their effort to protect the town they both call home.
There is nothing I appreciate more in a romance novel than good hero-heroine banter, and Boule brings it in Storm. Marina and Reed are in constant verbal-sparring mode and I LOVED IT. They’re clearly friends who enjoy one another’s company, but in their merciless teasing they reveal the underlying current of attraction that sparks between them. Every time Reed called Marina Sparrow I just about died of happiness. I could have read the two of them trying to push one another’s buttons for hundreds of pages. The slow build of their romance was fantastic, and I found myself anxiously awaiting the moment when they could just be together. Boule brings a bit more heat to Storm than she did to Lightning, and it absolutely fits Marina’s tempestuous nature and Reed’s occasional bursts of temper.
I thought the driving force of the narrative–the disappearances of remnant women–was just the right amount of plot to facilitate Marina and Reed’s changing relationship. It presented a great opportunity for Boule to insert her encyclopedic knowledge of Greek mythology and totally made my inner-nerd-girl squeal with glee. Hydras and sphinxes and three-headed dogs! Hooray! All of my favorite harpy sisters and remnants from Lightning made an appearance in Storm, but the focus was always on Reed, Marina and the sacrifices we make for love. I found this book to be–at times–bit darker than its predecessor, but Boule deftly balances the violence and mystery with a wonderfully witty romance.
I tore through Storm in a day and half, chuckling, gasping, and nail-biting the entire time. I cannot wait to continue reading my way through Turning Creek.
Rating: A, because I love a gal who loves a good whiskey.