The Dream Catcher: Dancing for the Devil Trilogy, Book One

Written by Marie Laval
Review by Mary Fisk

November 1847. Disgraced soldier Bruce McGunn has returned to his ancestral home at Cape Wrath in the far north of Scotland. In desperate need of funds to save the estate from falling into the hands of his family’s enemies, the McRaes, he takes drastic action when a storm forces the ship carrying Cameron McRae’s new bride to seek shelter in the harbour. French-born Rose is not best pleased, having received an uncomplimentary account of her host from her new husband, and even less so when she discovers she is to be his hostage rather than a guest.

This slender page-turner begins by ticking all the right boxes – a family feud between the McGunns and the McRaes, a saturnine, damaged hero (with a social conscience), and a sparky heroine, unconventionally raised in Algeria. There’s a remote, cliff-top mansion, hostile locals, a couple of murders and a possible whiff of the supernatural as well as the fizzing sexual tension between Bruce and Rose – but then, what a disappointment!

What we have here feels more like a third of a longer book than the first part of a trilogy. It ends on a cliff-hanger with none of the plot elements resolved and a few more thrown into the mix at the last minute. If this was a magazine serial, then I would happily have waited until the following week for the next instalment – as it was, this reviewer was left feeling frustrated and short-changed. I don’t know if it was the publisher’s decision to split a longer novel into three parts. If so, it has misfired – which is a pity, because the story started off with such promise.