To take the heat off of his older brother Holm, Tinne chose to marry Genista. He had no hope of his heartmate, since he'd learned she'd been married to someone else. But, a broken vow of honor by his parents drew a curse over the household, causing the death of Tinne and Genista's child and the demise of their marriage.
When Lahsin Burdock was sold as a wife, three years before she was an adult, to T'Yew (who was three times her age), Tinne had hoped the man would cherish her as he would have himself, were he free to claim his heartmate at adulthood. That was not to be. T'Yew raped her repeatedly (told but not shown in detail), beat her, berated her, and allowed others in his household to abuse and berate her...all in hopes that he would have control of Lahsin and her flair when she matured...and in hopes that she would bear a son for him.
Much of this is rehash of other books in the series. At the opening of Heart Fate, Lahsin has decided to escape T'Yew's estate before she undergoes her second passage to unlock her flair...and before he can cap her flair with suppressing cuffs. Though the sentient residence isn't willing to let her go, Lahsin shatters all of its defensive spells and runs for her life...to First Grove and Balm Heal, a magical garden that only admits those desperate and in need of healing.
Tinne, on the other hand, is informed by Genista that she wants a divorce. Though commoners sometimes divorce, the nobility never has. Though Tinne knows the scandal of the first noble divorce ever on Celta will stain the family for generations, he feels it would be dishonorable to hold Genista to a marriage that is harming them both. Though the testing is intensive and intrusive, he agrees to it and releases her.
It isn't until the aftermath of his divorce ritual that he learns his heartmate is missing and sets out to track her down. Tinne is devastated by the loss of his child and the divorce, traumatized by several other events in his life/the series. Lahsin is devastated by the cruelty shown her by T'Yew. Neither of them wants a new relationship, but Tinne determines to teach Lahsin to defend herself and to help her survive her second passage, so she might repudiate her marriage to T'Yew and be free from harm. But, are heartmates ever that simple?
We're back to Celta, and it feels like only yesterday that I was reading in this world. As always, Robin Owens' writing is vivid, lush and nearly tactile.
Her characters always have a dark edge, and these characters are no exception to the rule. Their pain is stark and heartfelt. The only complaint I have about the characters is how quickly Lahsin made her final decision to accept Tinne. Other than that, right on the money for me.
As usual, the Fams were a joy! It's a great time when you get to see Fams interact with each other and play one-upmanship. This book gives a great dose of that, with Tinne's catFam (Ilexa) and Lahsin's dogFam (Strother) trading barbs. Anyone who owns animals will appreciate the Fam's personalities. I tend to share cute-Fam stories with my kids, as I read.
Robin makes you cry...and makes you laugh so hard you'll startle your own Fams with the outburst. It's a wild ride of emotion and situation.
Like all the books in the series, it's a keeper and a re-read. It's not my favorite, but Robin's characters are all so wonderful, you'll enjoy the glimpses of them in future books. Can't wait to see whose story we get next!