Fiction,  Review

#BookReview : Epona (Highlands Series Book 1) by Michelle Dalton #EPONA #Romanticsuspense

Epona (Highlands Series Book 1) by Michelle Dalton

Publication Date : January 15th 2019

Publisher : 3 Umfana Publishers

Genre : Romantic Suspense

Pages : 439

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Can she overcome the trauma of her past and find redemption in the wild Scottish Highlands?

After a horrendous attack on her family farm in South Africa takes the lives of her loved ones and leaves her wounded, her only escape is to leave the country of her birth for the highlands of Scotland and her last living relatives. But Sadie’s life may still be in danger.

Blane Buchan is an Englishmen living in the small highland town of Lairg, seeking a life away from the emptiness of London society and a past he’d rather forget.

When Sadie finds a mysterious blue roan mare, she must use the gift given to her from Epona; Protector of horses. But the mare just might be the one who saves her.

From the mountains of South Africa to the wintery Highland Moors this is a story of redemption, love and the powerful connection between humans and horses.

** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author. ***

Epona was interesting romantic suspense that revolved around Sadie’s loss and her love for horses. It was about trauma, grief, regret, guilt, desolation, greed and vengeance, redemption, a second chance to life and love, and triumph of love over evil.

Writing was vivid, descriptive, and beautiful that captured my attention from the beginning and took me from farming land of South Africa to beautiful Scottish Highland. It was multiple third person narrative from Blane, Agnus, Malcom and mainly from Sadie’s POV.  It was thick with Scottish accent that took me a while to adjust to but gave the story a perfect touch.

Book started with Sadie making anxiety filled trip- after she lost her happiness, loved ones and peace in horrific attack on her family in South Africa- to Lairg, Scotland where her last living relatives, her grandparents, Malcom and Agnus Munro lived. But on arriving, Blane Buchan who lived in neighbouring estate drove her car and her vow to stay away from Men and love into ditch. Life with grandparents was better than she expected but she was struggling with grief, nightmare and mysterious dreams. It was Blane and his blue roan that drew her out of her misery. Sadie had gift with horses that gave her name Epona, Goddess and Protector of horses. Once she gave into her gift and found her connection with horses again, she found a way to live life again but darkness still loomed over her. I was curious to know what happened on that fatal day, who was responsible for such horrible crime, why Sadie felt responsible for what happened, when would she tell her story, how would that affect her and her grandparents, and if she would give life and love a second chance or fate would take away that opportunity.

All characters were complex and realistic. Family dynamic was amazing. I loved Sadie’s grandparents, specially grandmother, Agnus. This aged woman was lovely, wise, smart and supportive throughout the book. I admired her strength and ability to stay calm and friendly even in the worst situation and in company of most detestable person. I loved her for not giving up on Sadie when she was lost in grief and desolation, even when she was being snappy, rude, and cold.

Sadie’s grandfather, Malcom was formidable and admirable. His guilt and regret for keeping his ego and obstinacy towards her son and his family, for not having another chance to reconcile with them, and aching need of redemption was touching. I could feel for this old man and I loved how he made things right by accepting Sadie, supporting and loving her. 

Blane was handsome, accomplished, respectful, humble, caring, and kind person. But he wasn’t as strong as Sadie. I loved his love for animals and how he sought peaceful highland life over crazy, rich city life. He made right decision of leaving Cybil before their marriage and yet I was surprised he fell for her in past life and even after making it clear there was nothing between them, he let her in his estate, and let her venom sting to Sadie. I still don’t believe reasons he gave for that. No man in right mind could let things go so out of hand.

Sadie was amazing character. It was emotional to read her pain and agony over losing her family, nightmares and panic attacks that griped her soul, and suffering of her amputated leg. But she was never weak. She was independent, caring, strong, and brave. I admired her inner strength and resolve even more after knowing her full story. My heart went out to her when she was feeling insecure in crowd and too damaged to be loved. I loved how she kept her dignity and heart safe even though people tried to break her more than once.

Feelings of an amputee, suffering and insecurities were well written. Horrors of what happened to Sadie and what was to come was blood chilling and yet it was amazing to read how much humans can endure and still be capable of love. I enjoyed conversations between characters specially between Sadie and her grandparents. Fantasy elements weren’t heavy but I enjoyed the small story of Celtic goddess, Epona. Sadie’s connection with Blue roan, her love for Malcom’s Spaniel dogs, and how her gift from Epona worked was interesting to read.

Chemistry and romance were good, well balanced with main theme. Spark between Sadie and Blane was there from the beginning but I’m glad it developed slow and gradually. Sadie’s doubt and Blane’s patience made it realistic and lovely to read.  

Except the backstory, all twist and turns were predictable. I could see them coming quiet early but still I enjoyed climax, reading all plans of Cybil and Mrs Learie and how they executed it. After the events of winter ball plot became even darker, tense and sinister. Sadie was amazing in this part and I loved how she came out of tornado of darkness. End was perfect and I loved how things turned out for all the characters.

Why 4 stars-

As I said most of twist and turns were predictable. Moreover, I didn’t like hero and his lack of action for letting Cybil have control over him and Sadie and then being sorry for what happened.

Overall, Epona was intense, dark, heart-wrenching and captivating romantic suspense with strong female character and theme.

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I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about this book and my reviewhave you read this book already or any book by the same author? Which is your favourite book set in Scottish Highlands?

Happy Reading!

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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”


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