Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hidden Currents by Christine Feehan

From afar, Sheriff Jackson Deveau has always loved Elle Drake, the youngest telepath of seven sisters. After a long time away she’s finally returning home to the small coastal village of Sea Haven. But someone has been following Elle, someone who doesn’t want her to make it back. And when Elle fails to arrive, her disappearance strikes fear in the hearts of everyone who loves her. Now it’s left to Jackson to uncover the mystery of Elle’s vanishing, and rescue her from an unseen danger. But Sea Haven is no longer safe for anyone, and it’ll take the powers of all the Drake sisters and their men to survive the coming storm.

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** Warning - this review contains mild (or not so mild) spoilers. **

In many ways, this final volume in the Drake Sisters series is all that you could ask for to tie up a set of books and storylines that have been a magical, heartwarming, and danger-filled ride by turns. By the end of it, all of the sisters have found and committed to their men, most all of the bad guys have been dealt with in one way or another (though perhaps one or two have slipped through the cracks here and there, it's hard to tell), and all of the various storylines are concluded and wrapped up with a big "And they all lived happily ever after" bow. And yet, I at least couldn't help being more than a bit disappointed in some ways at how Ms. Feehan chose to wrap up the series and present Elle and Jackson's story.

We've seen Elle at various times throughout the series, and usually she's been a little spitfire with her temper flaring as bright as her flowing red hair. She's talked about how she has to keep herself under control because she can wield so much power that it's more than a little frightening, even (or especially) to herself, and we've seen some hints of what she could be capable of if she were to truly lose her temper. And yet, for all her power, and despite all of her gifts, she quite easily falls into a trap that she apparently didn't have even an inkling about ahead of time, and she fails to try to do anything to free herself until it's too late. I have little doubt that had she wanted to, had she not let her head be turned by the smooth talking charm of a snake of a man and been too wrapped up in bemoaning to herself the fact that Jackson doesn't want her or her legacy (so she believes at that point), she could have gotten herself free before the trap closed fully around her. But she didn't. And so, instead of a wildly self-assured virago, we end up with a very different Elle in short order, and we never get to fully know Elle as she was before aside from the brief glimpses of her in the earlier books. It's true that she probably needed to be mellowed a bit so that she'd be ready to give Jackson another chance and fully ready to take up the mantle of her legacy as the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, but to bring her so completely to her knees as happens here was a bit extreme in my opinion.

Jackson has been present as a main character from the very beginning, and it was apparent as early as book two that he and Elle were destined to be together. He's been present enough throughout that we've gotten to know him in many ways before now, but we've also really only seen one side of him for the most part - the stalwart man of few words with a dark and violent past who's a force to be reckoned with and then some when it comes to police and military-type maneuvers but who's more than a little stand-offish with others, preferring to keep to himself and remain in the background as much as possible. We finally get to see other sides to him in this book, and learn that he's really a very complicated and multi-faceted man, a lover, a fighter, and a poet, all wrapped up in one. While it was nice discovering these other sides to him throughout the book, still it seemed a bit odd that there hadn't been any hint up until now of some of his talents.

I enjoyed this book, and the action and emotions in it kept me riveted a great deal of the time while reading it, even though many of the emotions and situations here are rather uncomfortable. Ms. Feehan certainly seems to have a good understanding of how the mind of someone who's been the victim of terrible crimes feels, and she portrays the emotional roller-coaster that Elle and Jackson go through during her recovery well. I did feel, however, that the recovery happened far too quickly to be entirely believable. Yes, it's made fairly clear that she hasn't fully recovered yet, and maybe never will - that she'll always have bad moments or days, some that will strike out of nowhere - but overall the sense by the end of the book is that she's largely overcome her trauma in the matter of...a week. Maybe two. True love might be able to conquer all, but even so, it seems a bit of a stretch to believe that a woman who'd been through what Elle had would be so willing, and eager even, to plunge into a full-on, no-holds-barred physical relationship with someone. Even true love has some limits I would think.

Despite the negatives, however, I would recommend this book to those who like their romances mixed with a hefty dose of strife, or who enjoy reading about how characters who have been through Hell not only survive, but learn to thrive again. Also, anyone who's read the rest of the books in the series certainly won't want to skip reading Elle's story, and seeing how all of the sisters finally reach their happily ever afters. If you haven't read the others though, and/or if you don't like books that deal with difficult and painful subjects such as rape and torture and their aftermath, this likely isn't the book for you.

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