Review by Toni Sweeney
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
Beth Leighton moved to Scotland to marry the love of her life. Then he betrays her and she is fatally shot. The Archangel Remiel interferes, and she awakes to find herself in 18th century England. Alive but confused and lost, she wants to go home, despite meeting a roguish and handsome highwayman.
Christopher “Kit” Locke is haunted by his past mistakes and lives on danger’s edge, not caring if he lives or dies, leaving that choice to Fate. Intrigued by the spirited Beth, he is drawn from his spiraling descent and enlisted to help steal an evil artifact, the Viper’s Eye, a demonic soul-stealing jewel.
When the stone seeks Kit’s soul, can Beth’s love keep him from falling victim to the Viper’s Eye or will she lose Kit to Hell’s fire?
Let me start off by saying I DON’T like time travel stories because they are generally so futile in nature. Angels aren’t high on my list, either. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get on to Forged in Fire.
Conclusion: I enjoyed it!
Since I missed out on Book 1, the beginning is a bit confusing but once we get into the time travel part, it eases up and becomes a fine “highwayman comes a-riding” tale. As usual, Beth is the feisty twenty-first century woman at odds with the chauvinistic past. She rarely loses her ability to use modern slang and thoroughly confound her rescuer, Kit, with both words and actions. Christopher “Kit” Locke, the erstwhile hero, immediately captured my attention because of his vague similarity to another highway named Kit in another novel with which I’m familiar. This Kit is the illegitimate son of a nobleman, raised by his father, and running away from home because of his guilt in a boyish escapade resulting in the death of his father’s heir. Kit now makes his living robbing coaches, and waiting for Death to claim him for the crime he believes he committed against his father.
When he meets Beth, she has, in the present, just been shot to death by thief and murderer Alex MacKenzie. Instead of dying, she’s whisked into the past and dropped at the scene of Kit’s latest theft. He rescues her and the fun begins.
The goal of Kit’s robbery is the Viper’s Eye, a fabulous opal having the power to heal and more…it’s also the property of the demon Astaroth who uses it to gain men’s souls. The jewel was being transported to Edmond, Lord Renweard, to save his dying daughter, his only surviving child. Edmond will do anything, up to and including murder, to save Anna, and does, continually.
When Beth discovers a hunky blacksmith named Remy who reveals he’s an Archangel who saved her life so she could prevent Edmond from obtaining the Viper’s Eye, she finds herself on a heavenly quest in which Kit’s life and soul is played against her remaining in the wrong century forever.
In spite of my above statement, I did enjoy this story. There’s enough historicity to give it an accurate feel. Once we get the setting up of the plot out of the way, the story moves along rapidly. There’s little background exposition for those who haven’t read Book 1 and that’s a minus mark, but it doesn’t matter once Beth is firmly settled in the eighteenth century and alternately fighting with, and fighting for, Kit. Their back and forth badinage is a pleasure to read because we all know where it’s heading and getting there is half the fun.
Edmond is a villain whose heart starts out not altogether black, though he’s doing the wrong things for the right reasons. I always have a soft spot for the bad guy and I’d like to have seen a little more of him in scenes in which he was doing something other than plotting and killing.
Nevertheless, this is a good story, with interesting characters. The scene between Archangel Remiel and demon Astaroth, though short, is an enjoyable one. There’s nothing that can enliven a story like two supernatural being trading insults and toying with each other about the hero and heroine’s fates.
All in all, Forged in Fire is an enjoyable, well-written novel. Because it isn’t a stand-alone, it will encourage the reader to seek out Book 1 and Book 3 to complete his enjoyment of the complete cycle.