4.5 stars out of 5
Obsession, possession, or something else? These are the threads that author Linda Acaster so expertly weaves in Torc of Moonlight, the first book in the Celtic Goddess Trilogy. The story revolves about students, Nicholas Blaketon and Alice Linwood and art professor Leonard Harkin. Nick goes to Hull University to play rugby and get girls, that is, until he meets history major, Alice. Alice is a serious and very shy student and keeps herself apart from anything that might resemble a friendship. All she wants to do is find the ancient shrine of the Celtic water goddess, Yslan. As soon as Nick sees Alice in a lecture hall, he is smitten, but it turns into something more like total obsession in knowing and having Alice.
Leonard Harkin is a man haunted by dreams and is on the verge of descending into madness. He believes the nightmares all stem from paintings that he’s done of Alice, paintings that somehow represent so much more. Enter in our last character, that of an ancient Celtic leader, Ogrinius Licinius Vranaun, who is desperate to come back into the land of the living, and he’ll do it anyway he can even if means possessing a human like Nick. The problem is though every time Orginius inhabits Nick’s body, Nick has no memory of what has transpired and believes that everything relates to the wonderful and magical qualities he sees in Alice except for the memory of the tingles he feels when he’s with her.
The author draws you in with her descriptive and lyrical style of writing. You can see, hear and almost feel each scene as it unfolds. They come alive and transport you to the English countryside and the celtic landmarks. I have a minor complaint though—sometimes the descriptions seem to overtake the storylines. I found myself skipping some to get back to the action of the story and for that I have deducted half a star, but that did not take away from the overall enjoyment of the story.
The riveting climax of the story will keep you on the edge of your seat. Is it real or a nightmare? Can you drown in a hallucination? Both Nick and Alice are careening toward their fate, but who is actually in control?