|cover art by Nicola Martinez|
Award-winning western Romance author Paty Jager has taken a turn into fantasy romance with her latest series. Set in her home state of Oregon in the mid-18th century, Spirit of the Mountain tells of daughter of the Nimiipuu chieftain, Wren, as she seeks and finds her weyekin (her guardian spirit), who appears to Wren as a white wolf. But the destiny her guide lays out for her isn’t one she expected or can necessarily stomach, for the Creator has dictated that she be married into an enemy tribe—the feared Blackleg tribe—who have in times past, wreaked much havoc on the peaceful Nimiipuu.
When on a stroll through her beloved mountain’s paths, Wren runs across a lovely white wolf, and thinking it her weyekin come to guide her again, begins pouring out her troubles to it, an impartial listener. But this is no guide, yet it is no ordinary wolf either. No, for it is actually the Spirit of the Mountain, Himiin. The form and duty he’s taken, though he’s proud to do it, has been given to him as a punishment by the Creator, for a death he caused a while back. So it shocks him that Wren would think to stay in his presence, let alone build a friendship with him.
Himiin’s brother and sister council and cajole him, but it’s no use. He feels he must warn her, that all might not be as it seems. He takes human form and the maiden falls as hard for him, as he has for her. Risking one passionate night, and possibly, both their futures. But how can he, a spirit, possibly build a life with Wren, a human, when his first duty is to the mountain and the Nimiipuu, and Wren’s first duty is to build peace between her tribe, and the Blackleg, through marriage to one of the schemers? And how will the Nimiipuu react when they find out the maiden they bargained for, well, isn’t quite as intact as they’d hoped? With an evil spirit on their side, will the Blackleg succeed in destroying the Nimiipuu as they wish?
You’ll have to read to find out.
Spirit of the Mountain (my reading copy of which came from Ms. Jager) gives readers a setting not usually seen in paranormal romance. Paty Jager put a lot of research into this book, and the narrative shows it in the lush settings and mannerisms of her characters. The lore and legends of her home state, and of these native peoples were particularly interesting and the spirits, an interesting bunch. The only drawback to the story was the odd words and names used, but if you’re a longtime reader of fantasy and science fiction, it shouldn’t be too hard to get the hang of. There’s also a pronunciation guide on Ms. Jager’s site if one should need it. Historical notes are also included that point out the history of animosity between these two tribes. Interesting stuff!
My grade for this one? I loved her voice, I loved Himinn and I always enjoy learning something new, so I have to give this one a
All in all, Ms. Jager builds a clever fantasy, here, that will be touched upon again in her forthcoming follow-up, Spirit of the Lake (due out in May from The Wild Rose Press). In the meantime, if you’d like to check out Spirit of the Mountain, it is available in Ebook and paperback from The Wild Rose Press, or Barnesandnoble.com.
If you’d like to learn more about Paty Jager and her works, see her blog here, or her website, here.
(This is also posted at the Examiner if you would please give it a click, here.