I'm always happy to welcome Nancy Northcott back to The Romance Dish. Nancy was here earlier this week as a guest reviewer but she joins us today to blog about her newest story, Sentinel. A novella in Nancy's Light Mage Wars series, Sentinel is a wonderful prequel to her debut book, Renegade. (read Janga's review of Sentinel here and PJ's review of Renegade here) This contemporary fantasy series, set in modern-day Georgia, has pulled me completely into the complex and fascinating world of Nancy Northcott's creation. I highly recommend these books.
Welcome back, Nancy! Please tell us about Sentinel.
Secrets and Lies
How far would you go to protect someone you loved if you believed that person were wrongly accused of a crime? How much deceit is justified to penetrate a family’s veil of secrecy and apprehend a mass murderer?
These are the questions at the heart of my new contemporary fantasy romance, Sentinel. The heroine, Caroline Dare, has a brother, Griffin, who was once a shining example of all a mage should be. Until he killed a councilor in a room full of witnesses. He has supposedly killed other mages since.
Yet Caro and her parents believe there must be another explanation for his actions, no matter how bad the situation looks. Because no one will believe them if they speak up in his defense, they maintain a united front of silence in the face of all queries, opinions, and hints.
Reporter Rick Moore, also a mage, believes the Dare family must be shielding Griffin. Mages are capable of magically locating and watching anyone who isn’t behind a magical screen. There’s no way Griffin Dare could’ve maintained such a screen 24/7 for the three years since he went rogue. Mage power is limited and requires periodic renewal, and the deputy reeves, the mage equivalents of US Marshalls, searched for him around the clock for weeks. He couldn’t have eluded them without help, and the logical candidates are his family.
Rick’s freelance job as an arts reporter gets him into Caroline’s first showing of her tapestries. Although she is blind, she has the magical ability to sense color by touch. Her work blows his preconceptions out of the water, but he still has a job to do. He tries to get an interview with Caro, who reluctantly rebuffs him despite the attraction between them. She has learned that no good comes of dealing with reporters.
When a critic questions her ability to create her tapestries because of her blindness, she turns to Rick for PR help. As they work together to protect her reputation, the attraction between them grows, but their secrets and his lies stand between them.
Rick’s father was wrongly accused of a magical crime, and the accusation ruined family’s lives. If he can get the goods on Griffin Dare, his editor at MageWire.com, the leading news source for mages in the southeastern US, will push for an investigation into his father’s case. But of course Rick can’t tell Caro that, or she won’t open up to him, won’t give him what he needs to clear his father’s name.
At the same time, the fact that he’s lying to her bothers him more every time they’re together, especially when he begins to have his own doubts about her brother’s guilt. The more he cares for her, the more her stonewalling about Griffin bothers him, and not only because of his story.
The truth eventually comes out, as it has a way of doing, and Rick’s lies may have destroyed his relationship with Caro forever.
Have you read other romances or seen TV shows or movies where one character pretends to be something he or she is not? If so, tell us a bit about it.
One commenter today will receive either a Kindle download or a paperback copy of Sentinel.
One commenter today will receive either a Kindle download or a paperback copy of Sentinel.
In "Never Seduce a Scot" by Maya Banks, the main heroine Eveline pretends to be "touched", unable to understand other people, when really an accident left her deaf and just unable to hear. But because it got her out of an unwanted marriage, she kept the act. It's a really touching story, you really feel for the girl! And when she finally tells someone about it...well, of course, the hero always has to save the day ;)ReplyDelete
Oh! Forgot to mention that even though she can't hear, she actually taught herself to read lips! So as long as she's directly looking at the person, and they don't talk too fast, she knows exactly what's being said!Delete
Nicole, I like Maya Banks's books, but I'm not familiar with that one. It sounds great. I love a smart heroine.Delete
Nicole, I've not heard of this book, but I am going to look it up! I am almost 60% deaf in my left ear and this premise intrigues me. Thank you for mentioning it.Delete
It was ages ago, so I can't remember the title or author, but the heroine pretended to be a man, a soldier. She was not a camp follower, but actually looking for her husband who had gone missing. I must see if I can chase this up. It was a fantastic read.ReplyDelete
Mary, it sounds intriguing. There have been women who pretended to be men to serve in the military, too. I was reading about one the other day--Deborah Sampson, I think it was.Delete
I'm horrible at remembering names but I've read more than one book where the heroine dresses as a man in order to do things she couldn't otherwise do. Always a fun scenario, especially when found out by the hero.ReplyDelete
Catslady, I enjoy those, too. I recently read a book with a female character cross-dressing, but I don't want to name it because it's a new release and I'd rather not spoil it.Delete
Hiya Dishies! Hiya Nancy! Happy Easter to all who sail in the Romance Dish! Gorgeous weather here - it usually rains at Easter here in Queensland.ReplyDelete
Nancy, congratulations on the release of Sentinel. Sounds fabulous! What an intriguing idea of a blind artist.
Had to laugh - nearly ALL of my books involve someone pretending to be who they're not. It was a bit of a shock when I looked back recently and realized quite how often that particular theme pops up. I'm not quite sure why that false identity thing hits such a chord with me but clearly it does!
Anna, now that you mention it, I realize that you do have quite a few pretenders among your heroes and heroines. One could argue that we all wear masks to some degree or other, and some characters seriously need them. For me, the fun begins when the mask starts feeling like an obstacle rather than a tool.Delete
Oh, absolutely. And also when the other person starts peeping beneath the mask and things don't add up. Love that slow discovery and the difference between appearance and reality, heart versus head.Delete
I think you just nailed why false identities strike a chord with you. :-)Delete
Think you might be right!Delete
Nancy, it is so lovely to have you at TRD as a guest today! I enjoy your posts on here, FB, and RB. (I'm not stalking you.) ;) Congrats on the release of Sentinel! Woohoo! I cannot think of any specific story where the main H or h has pretended to be someone else. I know I've read this premise before, just not having anything come to mind. I like that story line because, as Anna mentioned, it shows the heart and the real love between two persons, especially one that might be of the uppercrust of society who wants to be loved for him- or herself.ReplyDelete
BTW, your photo is lovely!!
Deb, thanks! I'm delighted to have Sentinel out and to be working on Warrior, Will's book. I like my photo, too, and am grateful to Cassondra for taking it and to her and Jeanne for doing the makeup. It's nice to know you enjoy my posts.Delete
The theme of aristocrats or wealthy men and women wanting to be loved for themselves is always a good one. Warrior has a bit of that in it, too, because I do like that theme.
Hi, Nancy! I'm popping in between birthday party preparations to say CONGRATULATIONS on your newest release! It sounds wonderful!ReplyDelete
I love books where the hero "appears" to be a reckless rogue, but uses that façade to hide the fact that he's a spy. ;-)
Thanks Andrea! Sounds as though you have a busy weekend.Delete
I love those stories, too. They're sort of reminiscent of Batman--playboy millionaire who's secretly the Caped Crusader.
Hi PJ and hi Nancy!ReplyDelete
Nancy, you know I love this series, and I absolutely adore Rick and Caro's story. I think it's a staple of contemporary romantic suspense--the pretense of being someone you're not. Even so, I think it goes deeper in that in ALL romance, there's always a mask at first. And the story is about letting go of the mask and risking someone seeing who you really are. So the answer to the question is a huge YES, from my point of view.
That said, the posing as something other than what you are---those often make for the hardest falls--and then the sweetest redemption at the end of the story.
I love the emotional growth that both of these characters experience.
It's really interesting to me in this context because I was just speaking with a man I know who loves to read. He reads everything, though he had not read much straight romance. On my suggestion he read two romance novels. After the second one, he was all up in arms because the story felt unfinished to him. He pointed at a diffferent culprit--the lack of visible comeuppance for the bad guy (it was a romantic suspense and the bad guy died off screen). What interested me so much was that the same story always felt unfinished to ME also, but I pointed at the lack of "come to Jesus" moment for the hero after he had doubted the heroine WAY too late in the story. As we compared notes, it was clear to me that the mask, the unveiling, and the emotional growth in a story are everything to me. I think that's why Rick and Caro appealed so much to me. Nancy, you packed a LOT of story into those pages. I love it.
Cassondra, thanks! I'm so glad you enjoyed the story. Your friend's perspective is interesting I also like to see the villain's comeuppance. It's important to me to see that payoff, but I think most romance readers care more about the emotional payoff. I hope Rick and Caro delivered that.Delete
Congrats to Nancy on her series!! How have I missed this :) Definitely going to be running over to Amazon to check them out. I love the intrigue of pretense! I love the conflict it creates and then seeing how they can redeem themselves or the situation. LOL.. I've got end of the week mud brain and can't think of anything other than Miss Congeniality... probably cuz I'm watching it right now. Thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
Erin, thanks! Sorry I missed you last night.Delete
I agree, pretense is a great way to generate conflict. I love Miss Congeniality! It's a great movie.
The first thing that came to mind was the movie TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA with Clint Eastwood and Shirley MacLaine. Both are not what they appear or claim to be. He is an army scout pretending to be a cowboy. She is a prostitute pretending to be a nun.ReplyDelete
I have found paranormal books very interesting. There is such a wide variety of worlds,, characters, situations, etc. within the sub-genre. It has been fun sampling the many different stories. the LIGHT MAGE WARS sounds like an interesting series.
Pat, thank you! Sorry I missed you last night.Delete
You know, I've heard that movie called a classic, but I've never seen it. That setup sounds great, though. Now that you've reminded me of it, I should check it out.
It is a lot of fun. The actor-character fit is perfect. It is nice to not have the spoiler knowing she isn't really a nun, but it is still a good movie. I shouldn't have been up as late as I was. It tends to be the only time I can usually get to the computer.Delete
LibraryPat, that sounds hilarious! Of course, Sister Act was a variation of that "pretending to be a nun" idea too, and made me laugh. Very interesting idea, Nancy, and of course, makes for great reads! I think that there are a lot of stories where one character assumes that the other is a nanny/teacher/football player/handyman... whatever, and then there isn't a graceful way to say, "Oops--think you made a mistake!" which leads to entertaining misunderstandings. Or sometimes it leads to anguish, when one relegates the other to the friend-zone when that's the last place s/he wants to be...ReplyDelete