Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Leap of Faith by Kate Willoughby

TITLE: Leap of Faith
AUTHOR: Kate Willoughby
PUBLISHER: Liquid Silver Books
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 16k)
GENRE: Paranormal erotic romance
COST: $3.99

Kira has been fascinated by her Peruvian heritage her entire life. With the gift bestowed upon her by her grandmother’s death, she can finally afford to visit it as an adult, and sets out on a private “immersion tour.” Things quickly go off the course she expects, however, when her guide abandons her on the path, and she is left to meet up with Amaru on her own. A one-on-one encounter with a man who pushes all her buttons isn’t exactly what she had in mind, but Kira’s willing to go along with the escape. Even though Amaru seems a little out of this world…

This story – either a long short story, or a short novella, depending on how you judge the word count – is a re-release for the author, with a little bit more meat added to its previous existence for this time around with Liquid Silver. I find it curious to go back and read older works by authors I’ve come to adore via their later works. Sometimes, the earlier works are just as wonderful. Others, they hint at the promise to come. Occasionally, I’m very glad I didn’t start with an older work first, because I wonder if I’d ever try them again.

Leap of Faith falls somewhere in the middle. It lacks the humor and sense of playfulness I normally associate with this author, though the romance and sensuality is there in abundance. Kira is a functional heroine, intelligent and big-hearted, while Amaru is one of the most giving alphas I’ve read in a while. It should add up to a sweeping romance, and yet, I find myself a little underwhelmed by it all.

It’s not because of the setting. The Peruvian background is lush and richly realized, providing a welcome retreat from the usual romantic settings. There is never any doubt that the author has done her research, either. Incan details creep organically into the narrative, immersing the reader into the milieu and making the ultimate explanation for Amaru’s circumstances believable.

No, where I stumble is with Kira. She is presented from the start as very down-to-earth, in spite of this fanciful trip of hers, and represents the reader’s contemporary perspective. Yet, the entire experience has a fairy tale quality, all the way down to Amaru’s treatment of her. The juxtaposition of her modern sensibilities with the swiftness of her acceptance is never as smooth as I needed. Explanations are given in the form of references to her grandmother and her grandmother’s stories, but they felt like convenient plot devices rather than a valid justification for why Kira fell into the fantasy as easily as she did. It ended up glossing over any depths for her motivations and made the final test a little too predictable for my tastes.

All things considered, it provided a pleasant enough fantasy to escape for a short while, due in large part to its locale. It just won’t be a very memorable one, in the long run.


7/10 – A swift read, though not necessarily memorable in the end


7/10 – Surprisingly sweet for such an alpha


6/10 – I would have expected a little more skepticism, or at the very least, more depths to why she so readily accepted the fantasy of the situation

Entertainment value

6/10 – A pleasant fantasy, but in spite of its exotic location, a little too forgettable

World building

8/10 – In spite of wanting more on Kira’s background to make her acceptance more believable, the atmosphere and Incan background were rich and vibrant



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