Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Para-Portage of Emily by Muffy Wilson, Liza Reviews


AUTHOR: Muffy Wilson

GENRE: Paranormal Romance

Emily Macque, a young, beautiful junior partner in her father's law firm, is but a heartbeat away from love or destiny. Duty brings Emily to a frozen Island estate two-hundred and fifty miles north of Chicago. Devotion requires she delve into the property history to settle an estate probate. Death lures her into the arms of the shadows seduction created by the flickering light and dark shadows.

What flames the timeless passions spanning the decades? Love, desire or obsession?

Colin Jorgenson, once a Great Lakes mariner, is a strong man haunted by love and loss. How long will he return each night, gripped by desire, hoping to find the woman he has loved for a century?

Beneath the pristine Island beauty, passions hungered, lingered in the ardent darkness. His passions, fueled by decades of loneliness and longing, could no longer be denied. Will they face eternity together or love in secret as dark things are to be loved between the shadows and the soul?

A few short weeks ago, when Bob Macque’s law partner, John Matheson died, he sent his daughter Emily to his partner’s Island estate, two hundred and fifty miles north of Chicago, to handle his probate, personal affairs and summer estate—and to rest. This was a vacation area known to many in the Midwest as ‘North of the Tension Line’ for the calming effects of the country air and simple life. Emily, also a partner in the firm, at once believed the trip to be an intrusion in her schedule, but knew someone had to go and she did need the rest.

Emily had been just recently diagnosed with a serious heart condition which threatened her life. She was forced to slow down, reduce the stress in her life and lead an uncomplicated lifestyle or she could do irreparable damage to her heart or her body—including paralysis or even death. With the death of Uncle John, the demands of the firm were significant on Emily’s father but he put her health above all else. He felt the trip to the Island property had to be done to probate John’s business and personal affairs and, as it was important to the firm, he felt confident that sending Emily was the best course of action. She could still feel useful to the firm, probate John’s estate and rest while she worked in a pristine country estate tucked away on a remote Island nestled between Lake Michigan and Green Bay.

The only threat to Emily would be crossing ‘Death’s Door’ on the car ferry.

It was a monotonous drive alone for a woman, and while she was reluctant to leave her father burdened with the added workload at the firm, she agreed to go and take her dog, Barkley, as company. The long drive was tedious, the prospect of taking a car ferry unnerving although not a threat, and staying alone in an unfamiliar estate after a death was slightly unsettling. She wondered if the experience would do more harm to her nerves than good. But…

She needed to go. She had to go.

Unbeknownst to Emily, she was to discover the shadows created by light and dark. Furthermore, she would discover she liked it there. She had been in control of her destiny until then, but no longer. The fact was Emily would become a prisoner of the shadow’s seduction…

Emily followed Sarah’s directions to the house. The landscape along the drive to the house was pristine, white and strikingly beautiful. The only sound was of her tires on the icy gravel of the roadway, crunching and breaking under the assault of her car. The unspoiled surroundings and quiet seclusion were charming and it all began a seduction of Emily. She peered around every corner, interested in what she would behold, in whatever she might discover. She came upon the nearly hidden driveway, so hidden she was not sure she was at the right place.

But then—she saw the maiden’s statue mounted on one of the trees set back from the road. “Mariner’s Maiden”, as her Uncle often fondly referred to his summer getaway, was nestled in a small deep-water cove behind a natural break-wall of limestone rock. This has to be it, she thought. It was mounted securely on the tree trunk to mark the driveway for its rare visitors.

The maiden had a flowing blue-green skirt, ankle length to her bare feet. Beneath her skirt of blue were once white slips of petticoats, which gave her skirt fullness. She wore a short, tight red three-button vest, scalloped just under her full breasts, with very narrow straps over a pirate’s full, white blossomed undergarment that bloused with grand sleeves and tightened widely around the wrists. The shirt had slipped off her left shoulder, exposing the creamy rising flesh of her full round breast, only slightly worn by the weather. Women of this time more often than not did not wear a separate blouse but an ankle length, or a tiny bit shorter, under-dress over which they wore their vests or outer corsets. To allow the string looped neckline to be so loose that one shoulder would become bare was the origin of the term “a loose woman”, not maidenly at all.

But ships’ carvers were wont to break the rules, to suit the whims of the crewmen, not those of the ship owner or his wife. The maritime woodcarver who had created this beauty had lovingly etched every nuance and curve of her form. Her auburn hair was forced back in billowy locks down her back, presumably by the wind upon the imagined bow of the ship. She shielded her eyes, once bright and emerald, with her flat, right hand, raised over her brow so she could see clearly dead ahead. In her left hand, she held a large shell, spiral in appearance. It was a conch. The Maiden protected the ship through the waters during day or night and rain or fog. With her keen eyes alert for the ship’s safety, she would blow the conch as warning to other vessels in the area.

Or so Emily’s uncle said. He always called her, “The Maiden”. Perhaps he had been secretly in love with her; he always smiled when he spoke of her. Emily smiled now, too.

It was all very romantic, as she thought of her uncle, and turned down the driveway. Barkley was alerted to the change in the vehicle’s direction and the scenery. The driveway was quite a long, winding drive, covered in gravel and icy clay that crunched under the weight of her car. The drive, as it wove a path through the surrounding wooded forest in a bed of underbrush, ground cover and wild ferns, was blanketed by a soft white layer of melting snow. It was eerily dark at this early afternoon time of day. The towering trees of pine and birch cast a natural cover of shadows. The property, remote and nestled in this lovely forested area, smelled of woodsy moss and damp sea air.

She wondered about the wildlife—birds, bears and raccoons, most surely deer—but none were in evidence. They would no doubt make themselves visible as they foraged later in the day. It was so quiet, except for the sound of her tires and motor. Too quiet. The noise from her engine drowned out any country sounds—yet maybe there were none. She thought she would be afraid, coming here alone, but she was not afraid at all, just anxious. It was unnervingly peaceful.

Emily looked down at Barkley in her lap and scratched him behind the ears, as he stretched to the window with the changing speed of the car and the banquet of new forest smells around him. With a deep sigh, she admitted to herself she felt surprisingly calmed and comforted—protected even—by the Maiden.

This is a difficult book for me to review. I’m not sorry I read it, it was worth reading. In fact, through three quarters of the book, I thought it fabulous, one of the best I’ve read this year. The author writes beautifully—a delight to read.

So what happened? Two things: First there is far more minutely detailed sex than I like. But I understand that a lot of readers like precise sex scenes, so I never ding a book for having detailed sex. So this book was still headed home with a five star until the very ending. I reread the ending several times and every time I had the same feeling of disappointment, but not because the writer chose a different direction than I expected. Honestly, I love to be surprised. My problem was the author had set up an alternative possibility which I had latched upon, and then she abruptly dropped that line for another at the very end of the book. For me, even after reading the actual ending three times, I remained dissatisfied with the transition.

Thus, I can only give this book a 4 star. It’s beautifully written with fabulous characters. I just felt let down with the end.  But who is to say? You may love the surprise ending. So my advice is to read this book and find out for yourself. 


Muffy, author of provocative romance about love, sex, hope and passion, was born in Texas to traditional parents. With two older brothers, she was the youngest, the family "princess," indulged and pampered. Her father was a career Colonel and pilot in the U.S. Air Force which required the family to travel extensively. Muffy spent her formative years in Europe and 'came of age' in France which forged her joie de vivre and love for books, writing and education.

Married and living in the tropical paradise of SW Florida along the Gulf Coast, Muffy dabbles in real estate, writes and enjoys life in the sun with her husband and wee Havanese pup, Burt.

~ Live, Laugh, Love with Passion

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