When the King decrees that there must be a marriage to join two battling clans that have been at war for years with each other. Emma volunteers herself, even though its her younger sister who is only 8 and very sickly is the one that is agreed upon to marry Dain, who is well known for his battle prowess and fierceness. So her father reluctantly agrees, and so she goes to marry Dain of Penruan. When she first meets Dain, all he wants is to keep her secluded and out of the way, but Emma is having none of it. She is determined to make a good life here, and a reliable wife for Dain, if he would let her. What he doesn't expect is to find that Emma is much more than she claims. He finds her gentleness and beauty instantly grabbing his attention, and even though he wants to trust her, he senses that she is keeping something from him, all the while a fierce desire threatens to consume them both.
Its been quite a while since I have read a book by Flora Speer, but I have been itching to read a somewhat older style romance, and this fits right into that desire. A Passionate Magic is a story that is set in the Medieval era, back to the 1100's, It also has a magical/paranormal aspect to the story as well, one I felt is balanced pretty well into the story.
We begin with Emma over hearing her father and step mother talking about the most latest King's decree for the two feuding families. When she hears that it is her sister to be bartered off as a bride, she volunteers herself. She knows that her sister is no way ready for this assigned marriage. So she goes herself, but she finds herself in a position that she never expected. Dain has made it clear that he doesn't trust her in any way, and that she will have to prove herself, and that his mother will have full reign. Now his mother (a cruel woman) tries to get Emma to leave, but Emma is made of much sterner stuff. She has magical abilities, but she also has a great capacity to heal. We see a slow process of Dain starting to trust Emma, and even though their relationship has some rocky bumps, but there was such a sense of realism and vitality.
I felt that Dain was a very strong character, he had his vulnerabilities but his strengths really outweighed the negatives. I found him very appealing, even though at times I wanted to knock his head with something, he did have his reasons. Although the second half of the book, I thought he was a bit ridiculous in his stubbornness against Emma, but I felt the author did it well enough that it seemed to add a bit more flair to the story. Emma was just a heroine I liked from the beginning. I found her brave and strong willed and not one to easily back down from a fight, but at times she would occasionally back down from one out of respect. I felt that she had a lot of strength in her, and didn't let her magical abilities over power her senses, she had quite a bit of self control. I couldn't help but admire her tenacity and stubbornness to keep up with Dain.
I found Passionate Magic to be a favorite of one of the older type romances. When I was reading this (and boy it didn't take very long ) it reminded me of the days when I first started reading romance, and ten years ago, these were the types of books that were most popular. Now don't get me wrong, I have truly loved the newer romances, but there has always been something about the older authors and their style of writing that gets to me every time. A Magical tale of passion, adventure, intrigue and a sweet love story. A fast paced and thrilling story that will capture its readers.