In “Desire Me”, Robyn DeHart has done a wonderful job creating a cast of characters, in a time a place that draws the imagination. Sabine lost her mother when she was still young and was raised by her aunts in a small village in order to keep their real identity a secret. There are small pockets of these villages throughout England where the inhabitants keep to themselves and remain hidden as some of the last decedents of the original inhabitants of Atlantis. As the rumors and signs of the prophesy increase Sabine and her Aunts move to London to open a shop. Here they will hide in plain sight and use the very thing that set them apart, the elixir, in a crème for ladies skin. This will keep their nemesis from finding them easily.
Sabine has to learn how to fit in, and she also has to find a way to know more about the fabled map of Atlantis, in order to learn more of the legend. Her origin puts her at risk but she must remain strong, and for some reason she feels that it is up to her to save her Aunts from exposure and to help them get in touch with the other guardians.
Her Aunt Agnes, the guardian, is a wonderful character, in the guardianship she is the healer. She is elderly but quite lively and very likable. Throughout the story we find out new and unique things about her that create such a yearning, I wanted her for my own family. She had a forbidden love from her youth that was forever in her heart. The love is so heartfelt and genuine it is a shock to find it also so forbidden. Her sisters Lydia and Calliope have their own idiosyncrasies and make for an interesting and fun group of characters. They are as close as friends as they are sisters and each rally around when any threat should occur. I was quite amused during one episode and could actually visualize it when they showed up, one with an old pistol and the other with a fireplace poker. They certainly have certain panache.
Our jaunty and extremely handsome hero of the piece, Maxwell Barrett is also the Marquis of Lindberg. He also belongs to a group called Solomon’s, a selective and secretive group of treasure hunters. Max/s whole life has revolved around proving that Atlantis really existed. At the tender age of seventeen he risked his life and found buried deep in a cave, an actual map of the fabled land. Off and on throughout his life he had been approached about the map, but his visit from Sabine was most unique and piqued his curiosity. He is very astute and incredibly intelligent so he is not fooled by her naivety when questioning him on the map. He is very attracted to her for her beauty but also finds her aloofness a challenge.
Spencer Cole, the chosen, is the nemesis of this story, and Robyn has created a character that is steeped in evil and easy to hate. He is oily and elusive believing his own hype while he stalks and murders members of the Queens guard. He considers himself above reproach and the murders as necessary to create the world as he was meant to rule.
The inhabitants of Atlantis have now started escaping their beautiful but doomed homeland. As the destruction continues, three ships leave port each carrying one of the guardians of the elixir, the nectar of Atlantis, understood by some to be the possible fountain of youth. Somehow the ships are separated and as landfall is reached so begin the separate settlements of the last of the remaining people of Atlantis. As years pass into decades and then to centuries, the tales and lore, as well as the guardianships are passed down in order to keep the hope of Atlantis alive. The guardianship is passed from father to son until the most recent guardianship known as the healers. This guardian did not have male offspring and so the guardianship was passed on to the first female in history.
Sabine Tobias is the daughter of that female guardian, and while not chosen by her village as the next guardian, her Aunt was chosen instead, she has taken on the challenge of saving the rest of her race. The signs have come that the guardians are under attack and that the elixir will be stolen to create an unbeatable army, an army that will take over the world. The prophesy makes mention of a weapon, the dove, which will save the world. It is this weapon that Sabine plans on finding. In order to get more information she needs to see the map of Atlantis rumored to be in the hands of Maxwell Barrett, the Marquis of Lindberg. She starts a madcap masquerade to try and relieve him of the map. Max is intrigued and is determined to find more about this beautiful and very elusive woman. As they work at cross purposes, each trying to outguess and outmaneuver the other, they do not realize they are being pulled into a dangerous game. And as murder and madness surrounds them they have to decide what is important.
This is a well written story of love and betrayal, where faith in humanity can overcome evil intentions.
Desire Me (The Legend Hunters)