DIVINE by MISTAKE
Divine by Mistake is the first book in P.C. Cast’s Divine series featuring Shannon Parker and Clanfintan set in the mythical world of Partholon. With the release of the first book in 2001, the Divine series is the adult companion to PC’s YA (Young Adult) Partholon novels including Elphame’s Choice and Brighid’s Quest. Many of you will recognize P.C Cast. She co-authors the House of Night novels with her daughter, Kristin.
Shannon Parker, a 30 something English teacher from Tulsa, Oklahoma sets out on the last day of the school year to attend an estate auction featuring unique and strange antiquities. Little does she know, she is about to be swept into a magical world of centaurs, Goddesses, muse nymphs, shamans and the evil Fomorians.
With her sights set on a strange Celtic vase embossed with her image, Shannon faces off in a bidding war for the urn that seems to generate an intriguing force, a compulsion to be owned. But, while driving home, Shannon suddenly becomes ill when the vase emits an energy field that causes her to crash her car, then waking up in a world of castles and mirror images of everyone she knows.
Shannon wakes to finds herself in Partholon, in the role of Lady Rhiannon, High Priestess and beloved of the Goddess Epona, and betrothed to Clanfintan, a Shaman and shapeshifting centaur. Rhiannon’s slave Alanna, and soon to be best friend of Shannon, explains that she is the identical likeness of the Lady Rhiannon, who has used a magic wall of fire and crossed the divide between worlds, to escape her handfasting with Clanfintan. But Shannon soon realizes that Rhiannon was no lady. She was a sexually promiscuous and self-centred woman who despised and mistreated everyone around her, except her father. And Clanfintan was not the only thing she was escaping, but an escalating war between the people of Partholon and an evil, unlike anything seen by humans.
Shannon’s gift of the ‘magic sleep’ sends her dreaming of worlds and events happening all around, that will send her on a trek to rescue Rhiannon’s father and save the people of Partholon from Nuada and the bird-like creatures known as Fomorians. Along the way, Shannon must make amends for Rhiannon’s past behavior, including her horrific treatment of Clanfintan, which allows the couple to get ‘re-acquainted’ and fall in love. But their love relationship is not without a few problems. Clantfintan’s ability to shapeshift into human is constrained by time and energy, so the newly mated couple must adapt to each other’s needs.
Shannon’s use of modern-day Oklahoma English and her ability to tell stories of adventure and love, adds to the allure of the new Lady Rhiannon. But a case of mistrust and hatred between the Lady Rhiannon and Alanna’s beloved fiancé Carolan, results in her confessing her true identity to her closest companions, including her new husband, Clanfintan. Acceptance of his new mate and a realization that their world is better without Rhiannon, the centaurs embark on a quest to stop the advance of the Fomorians and prevent a potential disaster. With an outbreak of smallpox rendering many of the humans too ill to fight, Shannon must assist Carolan with the sick and dying. Because Shannon had been vaccinated against smallpox back in Oklahoma, she is immune to the effects of the smallpox and becomes a valuable asset in the war against the outbreaks.
The confrontation with Nuada and the Fomorians fast approaches, and to stem the tide of invasion, Clanfintan and his centaur warriors escort Shannon and an army of humans away from Partholon to the Temple of the Muses, only to find, another outbreak of smallpox. But the invading Fomorians are not immune to the disease and their numbers are soon tainted and weakened. Fighting to save the life of his beloved Shannon, Clanfintan destroys Nuada in a fight to the death, when Nuada stakes a claim against the Lady Rhiannon.
Divine by Mistake is the introduction to the Divine Trilogy (excluding an ebook Divine Beginnings). It is filled with magical creatures including male and female centaurs, a love story, humorous anecdotes and Oklahoman idioms. Shannon’s true friends in Partholon are the identical images of the people in her life back home, including everyone she loves in both worlds, but doesn’t yet know. I found this series by mistake. I recognized the author P.C. Cast from her writings in the House of Night series. I enjoyed Divine by Mistake, as well as the next in the series Divine by Choice and Divine by Blood. Divine by Choice offers new revelations and answers many questions about her life back home, and Divine by Blood showcases the next generation of Partholon’s royalty.