Saturday 22 June 2019

#BookReview — A Torch In His Heart (The Wanderer #1) by Anna Belfrage #timeslip #paranormal #romance @abelfrageauthor

A Torch In His Heart
 (The Wanderer #1)
By Anna Belfrage

In the long lost ancient past, two men fought over the girl with eyes like the Bosporus under a summer sky. It ended badly. She died. They died. 

Since then, they have all tumbled through time, reborn over and over again. Now they are all here, in the same place, the same time and what began so long ago must finally come to an end. 

Ask Helle Madsen what she thinks about reincarnation and she’ll laugh in your face. Besides, Helle has other stuff to handle, what with her new, exciting job in London and her drop-dead but seriously sinister boss, Sam Woolf. And then one day Jason Morris walks into her life and despite never having clapped eyes on him before, she recognises him immediately. Very weird. Even more weird is the fact that Sam and Jason clearly hate each other’s guts. Helle’s life is about to become extremely complicated and far too exciting.

“You know why I’m here,” Jason said. “I’m here for her...”

Three thousand years ago, Jason Morris lost the only woman he had ever loved. It was an agony like none he had ever experienced, it had torn at his soul and irrevocably broken his heart. He longed for death so the pain would stop. But for Jason, death was no escape. By the cruel hand of fate, he is on an endless loop of birth and death as he searches for his lost love through the ages.

However, Jason is not the only one who is on this endless cycle. The man who raped, tortured and murdered his beloved all those years ago is also on the same seemingly infinite journey. Sam Woolf has never forgotten, nor has he forgiven Jason. Time has not diminished his hatred. It has instead fanned the fire into a raging inferno. Helle was supposed to be his. She had deserved everything he had done to her and more for daring to choose a Wanderer over him.

Helle is determined to make a good impression on her first day working at Woolf & Partners. However, when she meets Sam Woolf her every instinct screams to run and never look back. Woolf looks at her as if she is something to eat and paralyses her with fear every time she looks into his eyes. However, she needs this job and the opportunities it could bring.

Jason has spent too many years and too many lives looking for Helle. Now that he has found her, he will do everything in his power to vanquish Woolf once and for all. This time he and Helle will have the life that was so cruelly snatched from them three thousand years ago.

Helle Madsen did not know why she knew Jason’s name or why he seemed so very familiar. But with him, she feels safe. With him, she feels loved. Moreover, as she comes to the shocking realisation that the dreams that haunt her nights are, in fact, memories, Helle cannot rebuke the truth that is standing right in front of her. If she wants to live, then Sam Woolf must die. It is time to stop running from the past. It is time to embrace it…

When the book slipped from my hand as I read the last sentence, only one word came to mind. “Wow!” A Torch In His Heart (The Wanderer #1) by Anna Belfrage is not only an intensely gripping story that spans over three thousand years, but it is also profoundly moving, wonderfully evocative and totally absorbing. The hours flew by as I lost myself in one of the greatest time-slip romantic journeys that I think I have been on this year. From the opening sentence, I was utterly enchanted, and by the end of the book, I was reaching for the Kleenex and crying out in anguish.

Belfrage presents her reader with two highly appealing protagonists. Jason’s story is utterly heartbreaking. In each life, by the age of 12 years old, he remembers who he was and all of the experiences that he has lived. He dedicates each life to finding Helle in the hope that he can protect her from Samion, Prince of Kolchis (Sam Woolf). However, each life brings a different set of challenges and yet, many times, Jason wanders the world without ever finding her. However, this time, it is different. Jason can sense her presence, and he is determined to do everything in his power to keep her safe. I absolutely adored Jason. He is genuine, loving and very human in the telling. In fact, that is a trait throughout this book. Belfrage creates incredibly believable characters, and they react to situations in a very human way. Jason’s nervousness at introducing himself to Helle, was incredibly sweet, his determination to keep her safe melted my heart. His character is beautifully drawn and so very compelling that I found it very difficult to put down this book. Never has a novel begged so much to be read in one sitting as A Torch In His Heart.

Like Jason, Helle is a fabulous protagonist. Her confusion as to what on earth was going on, kept me turning those pages well into the night. Unlike Jason and Woolf, Helle thinks that the dreams she has are just that, dreams. It is only later that she realises that these dreams are memories, and because of this, she does not listen to her gut-instinct with regards to Woolf. Woolf is highly unappealing and scares the life out of her. However, she is blind to the real danger of the man, and it isn’t until she meets Jason that things start to fall into place, although she has a terrible time accepting the truth of her situation, and even when she does she has moments of doubts, as would anyone in her situation.

The antagonist of this tale is, of course, Sam Woolf. He is vile, both in thought and mind. This book is very much a darkness and light story with him portrayed in the darkest of terms. Woolf is incredibly powerful, manipulative, and cruel. He is determined to get his own way, and he does not care what he has to do to achieve his aims. Woolf is exceedingly dangerous but also very intelligent and devious. To defeat such a foe will not be without considerable challenges, and Belfrage certainly does not make it easy for her protagonists. They live in constant fear of him. I loathed him from the beginning, but his obsessive determination certainly drove this story forward.

A Torch In His Heart is very much a time-slip novel. Although the majority of the story is set in the modern world, all of the back story is set in the ancient one. Both are rich and vibrant in the telling. The historical detailing of the ancient world has to be commended. It is wonderfully portrayed and rich in historical accuracy. It was interesting to witness the change the different eras had on all of the characters, but especially with regards to Woolf. Woolf’s ability to adapt and to embrace the dark underworld of modern life drove home how deplorable his character truly is. He is just awful, which I should imagine is precisely what Belfrage intended her readers to feel about him.

Despite the danger and the immediate threat to life, A Torch in His Heart is romantic and oh so sensual. The level of sensuality really suited this story. It is filled with passion, whether that be love or hate and the fact that both protagonists know that each hour could be their last together made their desperation for each other understandable. I think Belfrage got the balance between this compelling story and the love scenes just right.

A lot happens in this book, and there are many twists and turns — enough to keep a reader up all night! I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, and I cannot wait to get my hands on book #2 of what promises to be an unforgettable series.

If you are looking for a passionate, enthralling and unforgettable love story filled with danger and heat, then A Torch In His Heart by Anna Belfrage is the book for you.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club

Pick up your copy of
A Torch in His Heart
 (The Wanderer #1)

Anna Belfrage

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.  She has recently released the first in a new series, The Wanderer. This time, she steps out of her normal historical context and A Torch in His Heart is with a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense with paranormal and time-slip ingredients.

Find out more about Anna by visiting her website, or herAmazon page.

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See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx