Title: Oak & Misletoe
Author: J.Z.N. McCauley
A Druid Curse, A Prophesied Love, A Consuming Vengeance…
Catherine Green, along with her twin sister and older brother, travels to Ireland on a college graduation trip. Her vacation takes a permanent turn when she lands her dream job at an art and history museum on her beloved Emerald Isle. She meets a handsome stranger named Bowen, an expert of sorts on local ancient studies. Though their first meetings are turbulent at best, Catherine finds herself drawn to him.
Unaware that she is the key to breaking a hidden curse, Catherine unleashes the evil madman Conall and his druid followers, imprisoned since ancient times. Tragedy and loss ensue, sprouting within Catherine the deep seeds of rage that thrust her onto the damaging path of vengeance. Confused by the enigma that is Bowen, his mixed signals, and her own feelings, she is swept away with him on an unexpected journey surrounded by myth and long-forgotten knowledge. In order to stop the evil plans of Conall and his reunified army, Catherine must entwine her fate with peril. Her survival is trivial to her as long as Conall dies. She’ll do whatever it takes.
Oak & Misletoe is a new adult novel about Druids, Celtic myth, and coming of age. J.Z.N. McCauley did an excellent job of intertwining current events with fantasy and the past, and I was intrigued by how she was able to create a contemporary cast of characters, but was also able to make fantasy become believable and alive.
McCauley’s novel is a perfect book for anyone looking into Celtic mythology simply because it connects mythology to modern life, and it makes it understandable. I also always look for strong, female protagonists in fantasy/adventure novels, and I couldn’t have asked for a better heroine than Cathleen Green. She is one of the best characters that I have read who develops so much in such a short novel. Cathleen begins as a shy, naive woman but ends up being a powerhouse who takes on evil forces and tries to make everything right. She is super woman, and she is an excellent role model for readers in this age group. McCauley didn’t dwell on physical aspects of the characters, and I think that this helped me as a reader to connect to the characters in the way that I saw them.
I particularly liked the beautiful descriptions in this novel of Ireland and the mythology that is part of the country. I could see the landscape for myself, and reading the pages was like me traveling to Ireland myself. McCauley was able to portray to the reader a beautiful setting with an intriguing plot to fill it, and I felt myself falling into McCauley’s beautiful words as I read on.
Even though I was not fond of the romance in this novel due to the fact that it came off as cliche, I did like learning about the different legends of Ireland itself. It is a great novel to help you escape to another place and time, and I would highly recommend it as a beautiful, fall read.
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