Book Review: Once (Gypsy Fairy Tale #1) by Dana Michelle Burnett
Burnett’s jump-off for her new series is short, sweet, and to the point. It reads as a first book probably should. It sets up the characters and main conflicts with palatable, if not always great, finesse. With a stable start and a compelling leading couple under her belt, her next books promise to only do more to improve the series. Once is a definitely worth a look!
*** This review is spoiler free. Read on with confidence! ***
Once, the first book in Burnett’s Gypsy Fairy Tale series, opens with the death of the protagonist’s grandmother, as the fog rolls in on sleepy Corydon, Indiana. With a cry of “Lock the doors!” and one last shuddering breath, Harmony, our leading lady, is left alone, with a feed store and a failing bank account, in a town where nothing exciting ever happens. Until the carnival comes to town, and with it the Irish travelers who finally shake things up.
Only a fool underestimates the power of an Irish man, with emerald eyes, in the rural country of Indiana, and Burnett is obviously no fool. Though her heroine is not underwhelming, her hero, Kieran, is excellently crafted, from hair to heel. He is charming, handsome, dashing, and willing to break both glass and bone for his lady. My only complaint would be that there isn’t enough of him, but I’ll admit to being a little bit bias.
I thoroughly enjoyed the carnival aspect of Burnett’s story, with the fire eaters and magicians and a big top with a mysterious ring leader. It’s a different sort of magic than I’m used to with romance, but very welcome. Finally, perhaps Burnett’s most fleshed out aspect of her story are the actual people of Corydon. They’re small town folk with even smaller minds and more than once I was reminded of my own lily-white, tiny home town. Though the writing isn’t excellent, Burnett’s story is hardly lacking for authenticity and that is what saves it.
Once does exactly what it sets out to do. It gives you a heroine to root for, an Irishman worth swooning for, and just enough mystery and romance to keep this reader waiting for more. It doesn’t pass with flying colors, but its definitely worth a look!
Death rolls in on the heels of the fog…
As I stood there, looking out the window and listening to her raspy breath, I let the panic and the hopelessness I felt ever since the doctor said that there was nothing else they could do, creep out of the pit of my stomach. It settled in the base of my throat so that I wasn’t sure if I was going to start screaming or if I was going to vomit. I can’t let her die… I can’t let her die…
The circus comes to town…
As the parade moved closer, over the heads and shoulders of those around me, I could see the tall man out front. He was dressed in all black; his salt-and-pepper hair belied his wrinkle free face. He looked from side to side with stunning green eyes, tipping his hat now and then. I shrank back as his eyes met mine. He seemed to slow his snail-like pace even more; he reached up and touched the brim of his hat looking directly at me, and then moved on without ever changing his expression. No one else seemed to notice the exchange and merely clapped as he walked by.
Put on a rasher of bacon and brush up your “Danny Boy,” because the Irish are coming…
When I looked up, he was staring at me with those intense green eyes. I couldn’t speak, all that I could do was take his money and hand him his receipt. He went over to the corner and picked up the two bags of feed as if they weighed nothing, hoisting both up on one shoulder. Stopping at the door, he looked back and gave me one last dazzling smile. “I shall be seeing you, Harmony Jacobson.” I remained behind the counter after he left; my heart was beating so fast I was afraid to move from that spot. Did that really just happen?
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If you liked Once, you should check out Dana Michelle Burnett’s other paranormal romance series, Spiritus (Spiritus, Haunted, Incarnate) and her stand along contemporary romance Two Out of Three. Also, if you’re into circus that pop up overnight and are only open after dark, try Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus.