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Friday, April 12, 2013

Old Souls by P.A. Lupton


 Sometimes we choose love, but sometimes, fate chooses for us.

Alyssa has started a new job, and from day one, she’s been haunted by dreams of a man she’s never met but can’t seem to forget. Then Alyssa meets her boss and her world comes to a grinding halt. It’s him. But as impossible as that is, things are about to get even stranger.

Mark is a man with secrets. Plagued by guilt and regret, he has spent countless years simply existing. They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, and no one knows that better than him. He’s lost a piece of himself he thought he could never get back. Until the day he met Alyssa for the first time…again.

When unexplainable events occur, the two learn that some actions have consequences so severe that even a powerful love may not overcome them.

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A fascinating novella that introduces us to an alternate version of Earth where magic is real and those who can use it truly exist. The author's take on how it works is unique and fairly original, and I found myself wanting to know more about this world and the various magic users that exist in it. While we do learn quite a bit about it in this book, since the focus is necessarily on Alyssa and Mark and their story I'm sure there is quite a lot that we don't get told.



Alyssa is a modern, independent woman, just starting in her career really, but already highly successful at it. She's landed a key position in a prestigious firm, and unknown to her has caught the boss's eye due to her talent. She catches his eye in other ways the first time they meet, and she shows her mettle by refusing to let him intimidate her. As life begins to take a strange turn on her she freaks out a bit, but then deals with it and sets about trying to learn what she needs to know about her new situation. When an innocent mistake nearly costs her everything, she initially vows to go down fighting, but as she learns more she instead attempts to do the right thing to make amends as best she can, even if it means she has to sacrifice herself or someone she loves to do it.

We don't get to learn quite as much about Mark as I might have liked, though what we do learn about him is entirely favorable. He certainly has alpha male qualities to him, but he tempers them with a genuine respect for Alyssa as a person and he gives her time and space to discover things for herself instead of trying to barge into her life and take over and cramming information down her throat before she's ready for it. Should he maybe have been a little more forthcoming about some things? Sure. But there wasn't really any way he could have predicted what would happen or what the potential consequences would be. He certainly makes mistakes here, but his reasons for doing so are understandable and it's hard to blame him for making the choices that he does.

I liked the pacing in this story, with things being revealed as they needed to be and not before. We're kept wondering for awhile just what is going on as we see Alyssa going about her life for several weeks after her first meeting with Mark, but the waiting-to-know isn't drawn out any more than necessary and the plot and action keeps moving forward at a steady pace. Once it really starts to pick up steam it's off and running and keeps you turning the pages to find out what's going to happen and groaning if you have to put it down for some reason. I have a few quibbles with how it eventually turns out, and while I don't want to spoil anything, I'll just say that I think things are tied up a little too neatly and a little too happily all around and at least one of the happy endings probably shouldn't have been in my opinion, but that's just me. The story as a whole, and particularly the last half of it, is so emotional that I would have preferred the ending to have been more bittersweet than it was and to have involved a little more true sacrifice.

While much is explained during this story about the world and Mark and Alyssa's history, still there are questions left unanswered. As I noted above, I would love to see more of this world, and hope that the author will consider follow-up stories utilizing it and possibly some of the characters seen or mentioned here. Certainly there are enough hints about other stories that could be told. This story is complete in itself though and will appeal to anyone who likes love stories with a bit of magic and the paranormal involved. 4 stars for a very solid and interesting story.

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