A River Enchanted (Elements of Cadence #1) by Rebecca Ross

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Beautifully told, atmospheric, pacing slow


I enjoyed A River Enchanted, it’s beautifully written, full of atmosphere, the setting is lovely and the mythical elements woven into the fabric of the island are interesting.  I would at the same time point out though that the story moves quite slowly and although this focuses on two separate couples and their relationships I wouldn’t say the chemistry sizzles for either.

As the story begins we meet Jack Tamerlaine.  Jack has been absent from his home on the island of Cadence for many years.  He was sent away to study music and his success and career at the university prevented his return (although lets just say he wasn’t particularly anxious to visit).  He has now been summoned back, he presumes by his Laird, and reluctantly returns to discover that young girls from the clan are mysteriously disappearing.

I think firstly I should set the scene.  Cadence has two rival clans.  One of these prospers due to the homage they pay the spirits and the other takes what they need during night time raids.  The island has a rich history and is magical in more ways than one.  The spirits play a part in the story, being charmed by the music provided by Jack.  The island itself is enchanted and the landscape can change at a glance with mountains and locks mysteriously forming or disappearing.  The two clans are separated by an enchanted river which doesn’t so much stop them from crossing as acts as an alert to the presence of others and on top of this one only has to whisper into the wind for it to be carried to the ears of those across the island.

The main characters here are Jack and his childhood nemesis Adaira who is the heiress to the clan and Torin and his wife Sidra (the captain of the guard and island healer respectively).  Both these relationships are different in style.  The first is an enemy to lovers style romance, the second a marriage that is floundering a little primarily due to lack of communication.  I actually liked the characters well enough but I wouldn’t say that I was enamoured with either relationship.  For me they both lacked that certain something that makes me interested in the romance.  As it is that side of the story fell flat for me and left me more interested in the island itself and the mystery of the disappearing girls.

In terms of the plot I think there were intriguing elements here – I certainly didn’t see the eventual twist although I did pick up certain elements along the way that I won’t discuss here.  I do find myself perplexed by certain issues though which I would love to talk about more but can’t do so here due to spoilers.

My main criticisms are the pacing – which definitely slowed my reading down considerably, and I’m torn between the writing, which I very much enjoyed and my desire to actually feel like the story was moving forward.  There’s also the fact that this feels like a romantic fantasy and the two relationships involved are very much central to the overall focus, sometimes to the detriment of the mystery of the disappearing girls which resulted in a certain lack of tension or any sort of urgency with regards to their safety, coupled with the fact that I found the romance elements to be a little lacking in chemistry.  I think, for me, this read a little more like YA although it is marketed as an adult fantasy.

That being said, I think this is a stress free read, easy to get along with and enjoyable in many respects.

I received a copy through Netgalley courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 3.5 of 5 stars


5 Responses to “A River Enchanted (Elements of Cadence #1) by Rebecca Ross”

  1. WordsAndPeace

    Sounds really good, thanks for your great review

  2. Tammy

    This wasn’t really on my radar so I haven’t read any other reviews. I think the slow pace would be a negative for me, especially these days when I’m having trouble focusing, lol. But it does sound like there are plenty of great elements.

    • @lynnsbooks

      To be fair I think that this will be well loved, it has this whole Gabaldon outlander feel with all the Scottish references, and there are two separate romances taking place – which are slightly more central than I’d realised, but yes, it does move a little slowly and feels like it could have been slightly reduced.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Booking Ahead/Weekly Wrap Up | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross […]

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