Captive Heart - Sarah McKerrigan

I have always adored stories with independent, sword-swinging female characters, and was thrilled when I came across the trilogy written by Sarah McKerrigan. The first book, Lady Danger, tells the story of the eldest of three sisters - a mature, deliberate woman who strives to defend her family while falling in love with a worthy knight. She looks out for her two younger sisters.

Now, in this new tale, you hear the second sister's story - the wild, impetuous one.

I love the literary device of having these stories interweave. In Lady Danger, you hear bits and pieces of what is happening to Helena and Colin. They are "off stage" most of the time. In this book, you now get to hear what was going on, and learn more details about the overall storyline. It really does help to read Lady Danger first, so that the situations and characters are familiar to you.

I wondered how much I would really relate to Helena after reading Lady Danger. While Deirdre (the eldest sister) really appeals strongly to me, I shared her exasperation with Helena. Helena never thought first, would dive into dangerous situations and drag others with her. Colin feels exactly the same way - but of course he is also drawn to her impetuous nature.

The plotting is great, and I love the intricate worlds that are created. The personalities are both nicely developed and also quite different than those of the first book. Sarah isn't just churning out "book after book" with cookie-cutter heroes and heroines - they are very unique people. Again, for me, as much as I hate to admit it, I'd rather read variations of Lady Danger every year for the rest of my life :) Those characters really were powerful to me. I don't relate as well to reckless not-thinking main characters. But I realize that's my personality. I'm sure others will adore Helena and her act-first trait.

If I have any complaint, it's that the dialogue is an odd mix of modern slang and "Forsooths" which make it seem like a renaissance fair with costumed actors. You do tend to fall into the rhythm of that soon enough, though.

Highly recommended - and be sure to keep an eye out for the final book in the trilogy, about the youngest sister!

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