By MA Grant
Discovering Elizabeth Marie Pope’s The Perilous Gard when I was in fourth grade was a dangerous business. Technically it wasn’t my book; it belonged to my older sister, who had an uncanny knack for remembering all the books in her room’s library and exactly where she had placed them. However, the allure of Fairy Folk and an intelligent heroine was too strong to resist.
I stole the book from her and hid it under my mattress when I wasn’t actively reading it. I’m positive she knew what I was up to, being in high school and all. I guess she just knew that it was too good a book to deny me.
And, oh my word, was it ever the story I’d been craving! Kate Sutton was—in my nine year-old opinion—me circa 1558. She wasn’t pretty. She wasn’t good at playing the social games of the English court. But she was smart and stubborn and brave. Brave enough to face off against the Queen of the Fairy Folk to save a young man who would never in a million years fall in love with her.
She was everything I hoped to be.
The book not only helped develop my love for novels with a romantic thread woven deep into their plots, but also my growing love for Celtic lore. My nana’s stories of my Irish great-grandma who read tea leaves to my mother when she was a little girl, the books of myths and stories I found at the library, and my family’s amused support of my obsession with old ballads spawned some of my earliest—and ugliest—attempts at stories. Every time I couldn’t get that perfect angst, that hint of the mysterious and paranormal, I would find another book and study the stories again.
The Perilous Gard reminded me that even the most fantastical and magical stories should be grounded in reality. Fantasies are so much more potent when they happen in your mundane moments. The true enchantment doesn’t lie in the goblin king’s offer of the world, but his hope that the heroine may accept it; not in the werewolf’s curse, but in his attempts to live a normal life despite it.
And every Halloween when other people think of slasher films, haunted houses, and ghosts, I remember the ballad of Tam Lin, the Fairy Folk, the travelling dead, and that true love can defeat even the darkest of enemies.
MA Grant is fortunate to live in the rugged beauty of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. She’s believed in happy endings and true love since she was very young. She writes well-crafted, fast-paced, emotional adventures in both paranormal romance and futuristic romance.
Flynn Sinclair understands pack loyalty — for years as his Alpha father’s enforcer, he has done things in the name of duty that he can’t ever forget. But the vast expanse of Alaska offers him a peace he’s never known. Alone, removed from pack life, he can focus on his research and try to forget his life before.
But duty has a way of inviting itself in, and Flynn finds himself doing two reckless things in one week: leaving the safety of Alaska to save his brother Connor’s life, and unwittingly falling in love with Evie Thompson, a woman who doesn’t deserve to be drawn into his terrifying world.
Connor carries news of their father’s descent into madness, and it looks like neither geography nor Flynn’s attempts at disengagement will put off a confrontation. Flynn had finally begun to believe that he might deserve something good in his life — something like Evie — but to move forward in the light, he must first reconcile with the dark.
The wars to establish the Republic are over. The families of the Ton have risen from the blood and ashes to claim the new aristocracy. Their prodigal son, First Lieutenant Alexander Cade, is the Lawmen Academy’s youngest and most successful graduate. However, his muddied bloodlines force his exile to the Northern Wastes, the last unclaimed territory of the Republic.
Lailian scout Natalia Volkova knows that her survival in a rebel labour camp rests entirely on her iron will and killing prowess. Her fierce quest for freedom is tempered by only one thing: conflicting memories of the young Republic lieutenant who helped liberate her camp, and then returned to the fold of her people’s oppressors. She never expects that their paths will cross again – under very different circumstances.
Cade’s honour limits his choices to one: take his band of specialised Lawmen into the Wastes, and protect it and its people. There, he meets Talia, a tough, resilient refugee who holds little respect for the Republic and its laws. But as a deathly outbreak leads to a desperate race for a cure, Talia and Cade will find themselves on uncertain ground: What is right is not always obvious, and what is honourable is not always right.