Jack Tamerlaine hasn't stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack's childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard's music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.
An elegant fantasy novel of homecoming and mystery. With its lyrical prose and tight world building, this story is both modern and timeless ... Ross has created a world both rich and wonderful ... The island is full of so much magic, so many feuds and stories—enough that capturing them all in one novel,...seems a difficult task. But somehow Ross succeeds, guiding readers through the intricate warp and weft of the island and its traditions and creating a brilliant tapestry full of mystery and wonder. And while Ross does revel in world building, she doesn’t tell her story at a remove. The four characters that the book centers on...are vibrant and fully realized, keeping the myth-making quality of the book at bay and instead grounding the story in these characters’ heartaches and fears, their desires and attractions. A sublime mix of romance, intrigue and myth, A River Enchanted is a stunning addition to the canon of Celtic-inspired fantasy.
The land is lovingly and enchantingly described from the moment Jack first sets eyes on it ... The world feels busy and lived-in. There is a strong cast of supporting characters with enough backstory and presence to feel real ... If there is one thing the book struggles with, it’s Jack’s character development ... Rather than grapple with the events that force Jack to reevaluate his beliefs and life, the narrative simply skips the pesky self-reflection stage in favor of moving forward with the plot ... Nevertheless, A River Enchanted is a charming adult debut full of magic, intrigue, and romance that is sure to appeal to readers who enjoy folkloric fantasy and myths. Rebecca Ross succeeds in weaving together themes of family, loyalty, and betrayal to create a believable world where fairies exist, ghosts occasionally offer parenting advice, and music has the power to reach the spirits.