Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Charm Stone by Donna Kauffman



Book Description:
When it comes to love...

When expert surfer Josie Griffin has a rare wipeout, she’s shocked to discover that a real-life treasure chest is to blame--one that contains a necklace hung with the biggest stone she’s ever seen. But that’s nothing compared to the shock she gets when she places the jewel around her neck. Instantly a mysterious little kilted man appears to inform her that the charm has betrothed her to an eighteenth-century Scottish laird! It’s not that Josie has anything against handsome lairds--or older men. But three hundred plus years may be stretching things a bit. After all, she has a career to consider. And besides, she’s sure the effects of her concussion will be wearing off any minute--until the minutes turn to hours...then days...

A little charm goes a long way

The spirit of Connal MacNeil has been waiting centuries for his betrothed to appear on Scotland’s roaring shores. Josie’s arrival with the MacNeil charm stone is his dream come true. Her passion is a fiery match to his own--and her powerful body is perfect for bearing the heir he plans. He bargained his soul for this last chance at prosperity, and he won’t take no for an answer. Unfortunately the lass doesn’t quite understand that destiny has bound them for all eternity. In fact, she seems determined to deny him at every turn--when she isn’t busy with her foolhardy need to go wave hunting.

But it doesn’t take long for other, more earthly MacNeil charms to take hold. For Josie is only human--and Connal has waited long enough for the love affair of his lifetime to finally begin....


When I first read the description of this book, I thought, hmm, this sort of sounds fun, "Gidget meets an 18th century Scottish warrior", but it wound up being much more than that. Josie is no Gidget. She's 26 years old, a woman with intellect, an artist who works with her father, Big Griff, designing surfboards that are prized and sold around the world on the internet. She also happens to be an expert surfer, residing in South Carolina. An interesting and different premise for a heroine.

One day while surfing, Josie gets clunked in the head by a sea chest in the ocean. She opens the chest and inside she finds an ornate and very old looking necklace. Intrigued, she tries it on and lo and behold this kilted Scottish elf pops up and introduces himself to her as the "Guardian of the Stone." At first, she thinks she must have really cracked her head and is hallucinating, but she can't seem to get rid of him. He pops in and out of her life trying to convince her that it's her Destiny to go to Scotland with him and become the MacNeil chief's bride and bear him a male heir. She thinks he's crazy and tries to ignore him and deny the whole thing.

But destiny does step in for Josie, and before she knows it, she's in Scotland in Glenmuir, this little Scottish isle that has seen better days. This turns out to be the former MacNeil lands. But, there are almost no MacNeil's left, and before long, she becomes friends with many of the islanders, most of whom are senior citizens but they become avid surfing enthusiasts! She teaches them how to surf, and it was kind of cute and bizarre at the same time.

In addition to the eccentric and spry inhabitants of the island, she also meets the enigmatic and brooding MacNeil laird she is destined for, Connal MacNeil. Tall, virile, handsome, every inch the Scottish warrior, there is one drawback with him. He's a ghost. Still, he can partake of earthly delights if he wants. *wiggles eyebrows* Josie tries to deny him as much as she can, but he soon becomes irresistible and they begin a love affair. Yet, it's not your typical affair. No one can see him but her and there's the pesky problem of "how do you have a relationship with a 300 year old ghost?" Still, it was amusing and sexy at times, except for the fact that Connal is hell bent on fulfilling this promise he made long ago to "the Gods" to produce an heir so that his clan can live on. Whoever is the wearer of the stone is to be his bride and mother of his "bairn." Josie doesn't want to have a baby, but she doesn't mind her close encounters with Connal either. Does she fall in love with his ghost? Can a ghost fall in love with a mortal woman? Still, this whole dilemma about conceiving a baby and Connal's pact that once he gets her pregnant, he can rest in peace and no longer haunt the village of Glenmuir was bothersome. It dragged the story down and at times it was convoluted and hard to grasp.

Still, I enjoyed this little book, it was cute and picturesque and I liked the villagers Josie becomes friends with and I was spurred on to finish it to see if Josie and Connal fall in love and I really wondered how it would all end up. How can she be happy with a ghost? One of my favorite movies is "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" with Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney. I love that kind of storyline, and this had some similarities to it, with the added bonus that the hero and heroine can actually get it on together (unlike in the movie.) If you like contemporary romances in addition to Scottish highlanders, then you might enjoy this book very much. The writing was well done, funny at times and believable (despite the fantastical elements), although there wasn't a whole lot of depth in the characterizations, but enough to make everyone interesting and move the story forward. A cute, light read that got me in the mood for the beach this summer!

3.5/5

6 comments:

booklineandsinker said...

i haven't really read much of this genre...but the premise is catchy! i love time travel books and might have to check this one out. thanks for the review...

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

booklineandsinker - give it a try, it wasn't bad! Thanks for commenting!

Lea said...

This sounds like a fun read Julie! I liked your original "Gidget" analogy! lol

Thanks to your thorough review, this is a book I may well pick up sometime for a fun read.

Warm Regards
L

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Lea, thanks, I thought it sounded different and bought it to read on my iTouch while working out. The whole surfing in Scotland scenario was just so different and I'm a sucker for this kind of storyline involving ghosts and romancing a mortal woman. *grin*

Blodeuedd said...

Love it, but at the same time, a ghost? Does that mean he dies later for real :( Maybe if I know there is a HEA ;)

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Blodeuedd - oh yes, it's definitely a HEA - it's a romance afterall! In fact, I really loved the end!

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