From the back of the book:
Winter Musgrave wakes one day to the realization that her memories are mere fragments: glimpses of her childhood, snatches of her time on Wall Street, and little else. No lover, no happy family . . . as if she’s just been going through the motions of living.
Shocked to discover that her life seems to have slipped away, Winter fears that she is going mad. But what sort of madness causes the doors and windows of her home to unlock and open while she sleeps and makes mirrors crack and vases shatter when she gets angry?
Desperate, Winter seeks help at the Bidney Institute for Psychic Research and learns that she had once been a member of a magickal Circle – one that left something behind, something that is hunting Winter and her friends.
To free herself and her friends, Winter must gather the scattered remnants of her Circle. It won’t be easy, not with one friend newly slain by evil magics and Winter’s old love, Hunter Greyson, long missing.
Grey calls to Winter in her dreams, begging her to find him . . . but how can she search for a man she can barely remember?
So… I didn’t actually realize that this was the second book in a series until I was part way through reading it. And then there wasn’t an ending that isn’t a cliffhanger requiring the reader to grab the next one. This could, quite effectively, be a stand-alone novel. It’s so unusual and refreshing to find this in any single installment in a series, and I loved this fact!
I picked up this book because it has been so freaking long since I had read anything by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and I once went through such a MZB phase. I think I read all of her Avalon books within the span of a couple of months. I really need to revisit these books!
This book really made me remember how much I love MZB’s writing style, how what she writes flows so gracefully. Just reading the descriptions of places was so enjoyable and completely built the whole world so thoroughly. Loved every second about it.
I think the one thing I didn’t like about this novel was that it was slightly dated – the story takes place 14 years after the main characters graduated (in 1982), and they’re all in their mid-30′s. Rather wish a specific year hadn’t been actually mentioned for when they actually graduated, as I wouldn’t have actually wanted to figure out how old they would be today, which then tinged the whole book with a mid 1990′s image in my mind. Unfortunately, my hyper sensitivity to the actual time period drew away slightly from my full enjoyment of the story.
What I really enjoyed about this novel, and which I think helped get the pace of the novel going right away, was the fact that we were learning who Winter Musgrave is while she was learning it. Having the story begin with Winter not remembering the past few years of her life made for a very interesting beginning and allowed us to jump into the story with her.
Other characters in the book are all quite well developed as well, and as much as I liked Winter, I wish we got to see her interact more with the other characters. Especially Truth, who is apparently a main character in another book in this series. Maybe I will need to delve more into this series just to spend some more time with her.
The Bottom Line
Thoroughly enjoyed reacquainting myself with Marion Zimmer Bradley’s works. I really enjoyed this book, but am not sure if I will be reading the rest of the series or if I will be treating this as a standalone novel.