The Carnelian Legacy, by Cheryl Koevoet
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/WestBow Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
I have from time to time noted my fondness for hidden prince stories, and my enjoyment of stories where people are fish out of water and struggling to find out where they truly belong. This books fits squarely within that tradition, as a young woman mourning the death of her father is sent via a vortex to another world where she is immediately caught up in intense and complicated drama. I’ll go into the plot shortly, but I would like to comment a bit first about the way that this novel seeks to appeal largely to a female audience–this is a fantasy novel clearly for the Regency set, it even gives a nod to Jane Austen. What girl who didn’t fit in wouldn’t want to see herself as important, see herself as being beautiful enough to have multiple men interested in her and important enough to help decide the destiny of the world? This is a book that is written to help girls realize that they are princesses, something that is quite common among books written for a female audience .
While reading this novel, I got the feeling that while it was fairly familiar ground, for the most part, it was pleasing to read. The novel clearly had a strong Christian message, with some strong comments about divine providence as well as the need to protect oneself from despair and to choose one’s mate wisely. There is some pseudoscience involved that seeks to allow for a sort of travel between different layers of existence on the same land, which allows for the apparently Oregon-based author to give some sort of familiar grounding to the plot, and those who enjoy traveling Oregon will likely know very well the sort of scenes being envisioned here. It was precisely the sort of scenery that would make for an excellent filmed adaptation, although that would likely require this particular volume to have a lot more fans than it does at present. This is certainly genre fiction, but it is competently done and if you like your fantasy heavily laden with romance and some political elements, this makes for enjoyable reading for those who come across this book.
One more aspect about this book should be commented on at some length as well. This book is the first part of a series of novels; I don’t know how long the novels are or if any other novels in the series are completed yet. At the end of this novel there is a situation that is set up that clearly requires a resolution. The initial question of identity is solved, and there is a romantic moment that ought to be satisfying to most of the novel’s readers, but the situation the characters are in is one that still has a high degree of tension. The novel is written, in other words, like a contemporary screenplay that is angling for being the first part of a franchise, and those who dislike the obvious attempts at leaving the tension ramped up for sequels will dislike the way this novel is written in such a fashion. That said, it’s an enjoyable novel if you know what you’re getting into, and it will certainly help the hours pass by pleasantly enough for most readers not to be bothered by its obvious sequel bait.
 See, for example: