I have read a couple of titles from Danica Winters, each mixed a bit of reality and fantasy to come to the story. In the first of her Irish Travellers series, the mix of Ireland, paranormal, culture and a dash of a romantic interest all combine in
Once a Gypsy
Settings for stories often come with an implied atmosphere, and none sets the stage for the unexplained as well as Ireland. With a rich history and flexible influences from legend and druid lore, to add legends of the Travellers (gypsies) enriches the story wonderfully.
Helena is an Irish Traveller, burdened with the desire to ‘be more’ than her culture accepts, she’s struggling to keep the family together while her father is imprisoned for beating her sister’s now husband, a non-gypsy. With a mother deep in drink, a recalcitrant and mouthy teen sister and a lovely little brother to care for, she’s anxious for her father’s return, hoping for normalcy.
On his release, Helena’s father is offered a position as handyman at Adare Manor, with one caveat, Helena must join him. Through the story, we meet Graham, the stepson of the owner, and his attraction for Helena is apparent. Bit by bit, the manor’s need for Helena and her newly discovered powers of fortelling and healing are revealed. An amplifier for things spiritual, the manor also concealed a codex: a handcrafted version of the bible with extra books from Solomon as well as several passages of questionable, or even black magic. The influences of the codex and the price paid for the use of the magic have brought Graham to desperation. His need for Helena to master her gifts and help those afflicted are foremost in his mind.
While I applaud Winters’ storytelling, and the character of Helena was wonderful – full of desires and wishes that alternately tempted and scared her witless, there wasn’t a consistent influx of the secondary story (Graham and the ‘infirmary’), nor was Graham’s attraction developed enough for me to believe in his feelings beyond a ‘need’ for Helena. Intriguing, with plenty of input from Irish and Traveller lore, the story was more relevant for me as a story of Helena’s journey. Her struggles with the expectations, her desire for schooling and the ability to rely on herself, not a man, and her own growth. An interesting and solidly presented first in the series, more suited to readers looking for a bit of fantasy in a contemporary story.
Title: Once a Gypsy
Author: Danica Winters
Series: Irish Traveller #1
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy, Irish, Paranormal, Romantic Elements
Published by: Diversion Books
Published on: 1 November, 2016
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
Thrilling and romantic, Once a Gypsy starts a brand new series from award-winning author Danica Winters.
Helena has always struggled to fit in with her Irish Traveller family. It’s not just her opposition to getting married or her determination to attend university; Helena also has one talent that sets her apart from the rest of her clan―the gift of the Forshaw, the ability to see the future.
Graham is the groundskeeper at a manor in Adare, Ireland. Though the estate appears idyllic, it holds dark secrets, and despite his own supernatural gifts, Graham can’t solve Adare Manor’s problems by himself. Desperate for help, Graham seeks out a last resort: Helena, whose skills are far greater than even she knows.
When he promises to teach her to control her powers, Helena resists, afraid both of the damage her abilities might do and her increasing attraction to the handsome groundskeeper. Her entire way of life is at risk: Any involvement, especially romantic, with non-Travellers like Graham is forbidden. But Helena’s future is anything but certain, and fate has other plans for her family, her powers, and her relationship with Graham.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: