EXCERPT AND REVIEW
the black swans
BY N.W. Moors
the black swans
BY N.W. Moors
Taisie took a deep breath and dove in, breaking through the water cleanly. The further down she went, the colder the water and at a sudden shiver, she rose back to the surface and flipped onto her back, letting her arms and legs splay out and float. She lifted her right hand to her face, looking at the sparkle of the silicon from the water on her skin reflected by the sunlight. It would gradually dry and fall off her skin, but the small pieces of mica would stay on her clothes and in her hair. She wouldn’t be able to wash it off until she got home tomorrow. Well, maybe she’d hike back down tonight if Conn didn’t show up before sundown. She had the flashlight if it got dark and she could take a quick shower at the farm and then stop at his cottage.
There was a splash behind her and she flipped her feet down, turning to see the black swan that had landed on the water. The bird arched his neck, dipping his head down to the water, half turning away from her. But Taisie let out a delighted laugh, and she splashed at the bird. Conn, for surely it was him, backpedaled in the water, as if surprised by the sudden attack, but then tilted his head, black eyes studying her. Suddenly, he flew at her, scooping water at her with his head, drenching her face and shoulders. Then he flew across the pond and turned back to eye her reaction. She sputtered and wiped the water out of her face, then ducked under the water and swam towards him. She exploded back up, splashing water in his direction. He let out a squawk, fluttering his wings, drops of water splashing everywhere.
The girl and the swan glided and dove back and forth, playing and spraying water at each other, not conscious of any oddity in the situation. Finally tiring, Taisie treaded water, taking deep breathes and blowing bubbles out while she watched Conn swim slowly towards her. She reached out and stroked his head, trailing her hand down the arc of his neck through the silky feathers. At first he looked away, as if he could not bear her scrutiny, but bit by bit Conn turned towards her. They stayed in this tableau for a moment, then Taisie took her hand back and lazily swam to the lower lip of the quarry. She climbed out and turned back to say to the swan, “I’m getting cold. I’m going to get dressed. Wait here for a moment.”
Taisie MacDonnell is a young girl, living her life quietly in Antrim, Maine, but a yearly trip to the Cumberland Arts Festival changes everything. A chance encounter with a handsome young member of the band Na Ealai Dubha opens Taisie’s heart to the possibility of love. But doubt soon darkens what should be a happy journey. Conn McLaren turns out to be different from anyone else she’s known … then there are the secrets … and unexplained disappearances. Little does she know that magic and the mysterious black swans that appeared on her lake will play a huge part in unraveling the truth.
I should state at the outset that I’m a huge fan of all things Celtic. It includes dancing, music and mythology. Because of this, THE BLACK SWANS by N.W. Moors had my name all over it. THE BLACK SWANS is an updated version of ‘The Children of Lir’ and, for the most part, N.W. Moors does a nice job in reinventing this story. I loved the characters, the plotting and pacing. As for the concept of swans mating for life? Well, there are few things more evocative than eternal love.
It was a pleasant, enjoyable read. The only place I thought the book fell sort was in the telling. While the writing was well-done, it was overly crimped and stilted throughout. We are dealing with creatures with wings, so I thought that idea might have been applied to the flow a little bit more liberally. The simplistic style used is fine as is the overly formal language and mannerisms of the characters. I think that it all fits in with this being a fairy tale and harkens to a timelessness.
N.W. Moors has a unique voice that I’d like to hear again. There’s a charm imbued within the pages that is undeniable. There’s also an enchantment stirring the embers that is refreshing. All in all, I can recommend THE BLACK SWANS to those that want to be whisked away into a romantic/paranormal fantasy where magic reigns and love conquers all.
Final score: 3.8.
N.W. Moors lives in Portland, Maine, the land of lobster and pine trees. She grew up in Connecticut and retired north(it's nice along the coast in winter). She's a voracious reader and avid traveler - she loves to visit Great Britain and Ireland. Researching trips meant that she tries to learn as much about the area as possible and listen to great Celtic music. She's also a knitter and hiker/walker with two cats(the cats don't walk).
She truly appreciates you sharing this adventure with her. She will continue to write about magic, love, and the small town of Antrim, Maine. Please leave reviews and like her Facebook page or follow her blog or twitter feed for further updates.
THE BLACK SWANS
Taisie MacDonnell is a quiet girl who loves knitting and Celtic music. When a traditional Irish group moves to her small town of Antrim, Maine, she's thrilled. And that the handsome pipe player she met at a fair is one of the band members makes it all the more exciting.
Conn McLaren and his siblings that make up the band, The Black Swans, are wanderers, moving from place to place. They have a secret that they must hide, a curse they have been under for many years, placed on them by the Fae at the behest of their step-mother, Aoife.
Taisie has no idea that becoming involved with Conn, the handsome pipe player, will enmesh her in magic, a centuries-old enchantment and pursuit by the Fae.
This book is a modern retelling of the old Irish story "The Children of Lir"