Merrian's Reviews > The Druid Stone

The Druid Stone by Heidi Belleau
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Aug 01, 2012

really liked it
Read in June, 2012

I won an ARC from the authors in a competition based on their Cruce De Caminos short story which introduces Sean and the experiences that have shaped him. Sean is one of the leads in The Druid Stone. You don't need to have read Cruce De Caminos but it does make reading The Druid Stone richer.

I have read four stories by these authors now which possibly makes me a fangrrl. I enjoy their voices and the way their stories have an edge of gothic horror to them even when that isn't an explicitly upfront part of their books. I have been thinking about this and feel that for me, this gothicness makes the risks that the characters are exposed too very real.

Everything is at stake for Cormac and Sean in the Druid Stone, their relationship, their lives, people they care about, the world as we know it. Sean is cursed and in desperation seeks out Cormac one of the last Druids in Ireland. Cormac is burnt out and sad, he has lost someone he loved. Nowadays he works hard, helps in his sister's shop and has lots of great but non-commital sex. When Sean comes to him, Cormac is at first reluctant to help or connect with him. There is humour between Cormac and Sean and in the face of events. The story is not grim even though it is violent. I think Sean saves Cormac from that grimmness. In Cormac's role as Druid, terrible and hard choices have to be made and they are a cumulative burden to his psyche. Sean is a nice guy, he is honourable. I was glad to read this about him because in the Cruce De Caminos short story he had been thrown away by his family and society. Despite what had been done to him he had not lost himself.

Cormac has a tattoo of a triskelion on his forearm. I ended up feeling that this three legged spiral was also a metaphor for the story structure. Events forced both Sean and Cormac to spiral over old and painful past wounds, their own and others. They moved backwards and forwards through time and the parallel Sidhe worlds. The ugly past history of Ireland's war for independence and the consequent civil war entwine with the mythic past to create the present situation. I thought the story wears all this background and history lightly although it does make for a complex plot and interesting relationships. This is a story to be read attentively and it does justice to the viscious hard edged creatures of Irelands mythos. there is nothing twee in this story.

The Druid Stone is a paranormal romance and Sean and Cormac's coming together as a couple is of equal importance to the resolving of the curse. I really liked that sorting out the curse and surviving the dangers they faced didn't automatically mean that the relationship was signed off. Our guys had to make things work with their real lives spread over one continent and an island with an ocean between them. To me this meant they really chose to be together not that events forced them into coupledom. That distinction is important for me in trusting the HEA.
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