Reviewed by: Amy
Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars
Denise Grover Swank takes the mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke and puts her own spin on the history. In The Curse Keepers, 400 years ago a battle between good and evil forced the gates between the spirit and real world to be closed. Should the gate ever open it would release havoc in the world we know. Two families have carried the secret to closing the gate for generations.
Ever since Ellie was a little girl her father has been teaching her about her destiny as a Curse Keeper. After a terrible tragedy took her mother from her, Ellie repressed all memory of the teachings. She then refused to learn anything else dealing with being the Curse Keeper blaming that part of herself for taking her mother away. Later on, when her father starts to show signs of Alzheimer’s, Ellie thinks it’s just as well that she leaves that part of her life behind, chalking it up to superstition until one handsome and infuriating Collin Dailey walks into her life.
The instant Collin walks into the restaurant where Ellie works she knows there’s something different about him. Many would say it’s his good looks, but what tips Ellie off is the depletion of air from the room. It’s when they touch hands that the true consequences of their meeting are revealed, for Collin is the other Curse Keeper, and when the two Curse Keepers meet for the first time, it causes the gates to open.
Collin and Ellie have an attraction to one another right from the start. Ellie doesn’t hide the fact that she’s attracted to him, but Collin is also very arrogant and Ellie knows he’s keeping things from her. I liked the back and forth between the two. Collin clearly has something he’s not telling Ellie and this reason also causes him to deny he’s attracted to her. The sexual tension was done really well; I just wish it would have lasted longer. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with drawing out the inevitable.
With only seven days to close the gate, the book flows at a pretty quick pace. It all seems pretty simple, just performing a ceremony, but with Ellie’s lack of knowledge about being a Curse Keeper and Collin’s affinity for trouble following him everywhere, they are sidetracked from their goal quite often. Regardless, these diversions never felt out of place and they flowed quite nicely with the main conflict.
Ellie’s refusal to learn anything about her destiny, until she’s forced to, was a little irritating. This lack of knowledge makes her completely dependent upon Collin, and the fact that Ellie can’t completely trust him should make putting her future in his hands a little unsettling. Even when she knew things had changed and the gate had been opened she still tried to cling to the idea that being a Curse Keeper was just a myth. I don’t know how much more proof you need than an angry spirit showing up on your doorstep.
I enjoyed The Curse Keepers, particularly the Native American mythology, but I felt at times like there was too much information thrown out at once, causing confusion over who was actually good and who was evil. Hopefully, all the world building aside will leave the next book a little clearer. By the end Ellie took command of her birthright and I’m very interested to see what she will do with the new knowledge.
Sexual content: Sex; Intense hand-holding