Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 5th, 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: contemporary romance novel, paranormal romance, fantasy, women's fiction, chick lit, magic, witches
Rating: 5 stars
Purchasing link: Amazon
“…a witch with an empty heart…who yearned for something as extraordinary, and yet entirely normal, as love.”
“…a pathological workaholic insomniac with no soul…he needed magic in the most literal sense…”
CRYSTAL COVE by Lisa Kleypas
Justine Hoffman owns and runs Artist's Point, a successful bed-and-breakfast on the Pacific Northwest island of Friday Harbor. Everybody in her community knows that she has been raised in the pagan tradition, but what she has never openly admitted, not even to her cousin and best friend Zoe, is that she is, like her mother, a hereditary witch. After the premature death of her father, Justine had followed her nomadic mother Marigold around the country, and after the constant wandering of her uprooted childhood, Friday Harbor had come to be the closest thing to a home she had ever known. Justine's resentment for the nomadic pattern of their lives and her lack of interest in embracing their craft, has caused a permanent estrangement between her and Marigold: Justine's life on the island, the beautiful surroundings, the ordinary world of her friends and customers provide her now with the warmth and stability her witch mother has never been able to convey. Love is still eluding the young and beautiful innkeeper, though, and always has: in order to guard and protect her daughter's heart from the risk of disappointed love, in fact, Marigold had cast a powerful spell on Justine, condemning her to a lifetime of solitude. Even a witch with an empty heart, who feels more comfortable in the ordinary world of Friday Harbor than among her own kind in a coven, needs a soul-mate. Incredibly enough, her wish will be granted by a handsome but soulless man. Software company tycoon Jason Black is visiting the island to survey a parcel of land where he intends to build a community retreat for education: Jason's and Justine's paths will cross and not by accident. The mysterious billionaire, in fact, has an agenda of his own and a well-guarded secret that will bring them together in a whirlwind of dangerous magic, scorching passion, and death-defying love.
Of the three different takes on magic realism featured in the Friday Harbor series (read my reviews of Rainshadow Road and Dream Lake), this is the one I preferred: Crystal Cove is considerably more soulful and better crafted. It seems that in this fourth installment, Lisa Kleypas has finally found the perfect formula to a more organic combination of romance and paranormal genre. Unlike its prequels, Crystal Cove feels more like a narrative whole, where solid plot, fleshed out characters, and magic element complement and engage each other in that hallmark 'Kleypas' way I've come to love over the years. Sensuality is always an extremely tasteful and emotionally charged feature in Lisa's work, therefore any remarks about her ability to write memorable love scenes may normally sound reduntant...not in this case. Not addressing the 'bondage scene' would be like ignoring the elephant in the room: the -nth use of a dark sexual fantasy, exploited nowadays in an ever growing number of romance novels, has raised a few eyebrows among Kleypas' followers, but in her defense I can tell you that, as the extraordinary storyteller that she is, she found the way to enhance structure and meaning of this sexual ritual, presenting it in a more original fashion...japanese style.