Humans have personified the great forces of nature since mankind (and womankind) first created fire. The winds howling outside of those early cave-dwellings must have seemed like gods…and so some of the world’s most fascinating and enduring myths were born.
Zephyrus, the west wind, Eurus the East Wind and Notus, the South Wind are three of these, but the greatest and most feared is Boreas, the North Wind. Boreas is feared because the North Wind brings Winter.
In North of Need, the first of Laura Kaye’s Hearts of the Anemoi series, Megan Snow has gone north to face the heart of winter alone. Megan believes that she needs to face Christmas, and the second anniversary of her young husband’s death, alone. Alone in the isolated cabin where they shared their love, and their all too few Christmases.
Out of a need to escape the confines of the cabin, the walls that are closing in, Megan goes out into the snow and builds a snow man, and a snow woman, and last, a snow child. Finished, she stares at her handiwork, and realizes what she has unconsciously done. She’s built a vision in snow of what she can never have in real life–the Snow Family. Her husband is dead and she is alone.
Megan breaks down and sobs, wrapping her arms around the snowman, her tears fusing her to its solid snow body. Tearing herself away leaves a snow burn on her cheek.
Stumbling into the cabin after her emotional storm, Megan crashes into sleep as a blizzard descends on the isolated area. She wakes to find a man on her doorstep. She doesn’t want to give up her grief-stricken isolation, but the man will freeze to death before he reaches the next cabin, if he can even find another shelter in the white-out. She must take the stranger in, and hope for the best.
What she finds even more strange is that the man on her doorstep has no shoes, but is wearing the clothes that she used to “dress” the snowman.
Owen Winters is the snowman. And he will be again, if Megan doesn’t grab this chance at love. Owen is one of the Anemoi, one of those primal forces, an agent of the North Wind. And he has one precious chance, a few brief days, to convince Megan to fall in love with him.
The West Wind is coming, bringing the thaw. When the snow thaws, Owen will be gone, unless Megan can commit to him first. But love in the face of death is the one thing that Megan fears above all. She’s loved and lost before, and she’s not in the least bit sure it’s better than never having loved at all.
Will Megan’s heart thaw first, or will the snow?
Escape Rating A: Now I understand what all the fuss was about! Besides the fact that the use of Greek mythology was awesome (Boreas hasn’t been this much fun since he was used as Bigby Wolf’s father in Fables) the metaphor of winter for grief was done just right. It’s a trope that can easily be overplayed, but Kaye went just far enough, and then turned it on its head by having Owen and Megan have so much fun in their winter sports. For Owen, wintertime equals playtime, and he makes Megan see it too.
Owen has a much harder time getting Megan to trust him, especially when he starts by understandably not revealing his true nature. But his courtship, and the building of their frienship, is what makes the story so incredibly good. It helps that the romance part of this paranormal romance is both sweet and hot.
West of Want, book 2 of Hearts of the Anemoi, is coming on July 10, 2012 (excerpts and swag giveaway post here). Book 3, South of Surrender, not until December, 2012. For the grand finale, East of Ecstasy, I’m going to have to wait until April 2013. Just in time for my next birthday.