With her adoptive parents gone, her schooling finished, and the internship at the hospital which had provided her employment going to another student, Callie Mason is now at a crossroads in her life. Wanting to use her nursing skills to help people, she accepts an offer to join a medical team that is heading for a remote area of Canada to work with the aboriginal Woodland Cree tribe. When her plane goes down in bad weather, Callie is the only survivor. She is rescued and cared for by Kane Akashdeep, a handsome but seemingly aloof Cree man. Kane and his friends were also able to salvage Callie's luggage and medical supplies from the crash site, so once she is recovered, Callie continues with her mission, opening up the medical clinic in their little village.
As Callie meets the other Cree people in the area, unexpected things begin to happen to her. It seems that more than one of the local young men has his eye on Callie as a potential girlfriend, but she can't stop thinking about Kane. An older woman also seems to recognize Callie and thinks that she may have ties to their tribal group. It seems that a twist of fate has landed Callie in a place where everything she thought was true has now become a lie. As she works her way through accepting a new life she never could have dreamed existed, will Callie and Kane be able to admit their feelings for one another before it's too late?
Wings of Fate is a sweet paranormal romance, but its genre isn't readily apparent based on the cover blurb. This wasn't really a problem for me, as I enjoy paranormal stories, but those who don't would probably prefer to know ahead of time even though the supernatural element was kind of a part of the initial mystery. Mysterious genre notwithstanding, I had a very difficult time rating Wings of Fate. There were things about it that I definitely thought could have been better, but at the same time, I still generally enjoyed it in spite of the flaws. There were certain things about both the writing and the story, which on the surface, are elements I typically don't care for, but strangely, was able to mostly overlook anyway. The first of these was a more passive writing style which almost never works for me at all. While it did make the story rather slow-paced and wasn't always conducive to immersing myself in the moment, I think that there are a couple reasons I wasn't as bothered by it here as I normally would be. One is that when paired with the first-person points of view, it made the novel seem more like a memoir than a fictional tale. Being a reader who usually enjoys autobiographical stories, I think this unusual melding of styles held a strange appeal for me. The other thing would be the dialog which for the most part, had a natural flow and was pretty strong, so it helped to supplement the more passive narrative. I was also rather oddly taken by the perspective alternating between the hero and heroine. I've only read one other book like this, but surprisingly it wasn't that difficult to make the jumps back and forth between the two characters heads. The only complaint I would have about this is that sometimes when the author changed the point of view, she also went back in time to reiterate the last few events from the opposite perspective, which in my opinion, seemed unnecessarily repetitive. Another thing I almost never like are love triangles. Admittedly, the early parts of the one found in Wings of Fate did make me a little uncomfortable, because I knew a really great guy was going to be left out in the cold. However, as the story went on, I wasn't as bothered by it, because the "third wheel" bowed out very graciously and found an HEA of his own. Lastly, I was a bit disappointed that Kane and Callie didn't have stronger reasons for falling in love (it just seemed to happen with little rhyme or reason), yet I could sense their emotional connection later in the story. Overall, I would say that Wings of Fate left me rather baffled as to why I liked it, but in spite of my puzzlement, I'm glad I did.
Kane and Callie were very nice people, but I really wish the author had dug a little deeper with the characterizations. Even though I was getting their first-person perspective throughout the entire book, I'm not quite sure I came away from reading it with the feeling that I really knew them. I liked Kane and Callie, but they were rather one-dimensional characters. Kane works in the logging industry during the summer, and hangs around the Cree village during the winter, doing what, I'm not quite sure. He takes care of his cabin, runs the woods alone or with his friends, and takes part in the tribal traditions, but other than that he doesn't seem to have much of a life. Callie is a nurse who travels to Canada with a medical team to work with the Cree people, but the rest of the aid workers are killed in a tragic plane crash, leaving her alone in a remote area and completely reliant on the Crees. This somewhat mirrors the rest of her life where she spent her first four years in foster care before being adopted. However, her adoptive parents recently passed away in a car accident, essentially leaving her alone except for the elderly lady with whom she lives. She has no reason to question her background until Kane rescues her from the plane crash, and slowly the things she thought she knew about herself begin to unravel.
I like that Callie was able to find love and build a new life for herself after finding out the truth about her heritage, but everything just fell into place a little too perfectly to suit me. There was very little conflict. What existed was primarily of an internal nature, such as Kane and Callie having difficulty expressing their feeling for one another, but I didn't feel like I understood the "whys" of their issues and then they were overcome fairly easily. As for outside forces, there really weren't any. As I mentioned earlier, the love triangle dissolved pretty easily. Callie was also accepted by everyone with open arms, and while I liked the welcoming family atmosphere that was built, life is just never this flawless, so my mind had a hard time wrapping itself around everything that was happening even though I knew it was just a fantasy. I think I simply need at least some small dose of reality along with the idealism, otherwise it feels like little more than an illusion.
I had a few other smaller but no less important issues with the book. It definitely needed some work on the editing. I found numerous small errors, such as missing, incorrect or misspelled words; incorrect or missing punctuation; incomplete or run-on sentences. Fairly minor things in and of themselves, but when taken as a whole, a bit distracting. There were also a few continuity errors, one of which threw me for a moment during the love scene, when the hero and heroine went from foreplay to consummation without ever getting undressed, but then woke up naked later. This one and only love scene was very mild and nuanced, but a line or two simply stating that they took their clothes off at some point could have been added without making it any more explicit (maybe the author just forgot?). I also have to say that the cast of this book, particularly Callie, must be the most hygienic romance novel characters I've ever read, as they are constantly taking showers.;-) Wings of Fate is also a very sweet love story, sometimes almost to the point of being saccharine. Unlike some readers, I'm normally quite tolerant of gentler stories, in fact I usually love them, but this one was skating perilously close to even my limits, mainly because everything and everyone is just too perfect.
Wings of Fate is certainly not like any other paranormal romance I've read. There is no darkness, no intense angst, and no battles against evil forces. The characters simply are what they are, and enjoy being that way. In fact, one of the areas in which T. M. Hobbs excels is in her descriptions of them running wild in their animal form. I could just sense the pull they felt to get outdoors and the freedom and exhilaration they experienced when they let themselves go in that way.
As readers can probably tell by now, my feelings about Wings of Fate are very mixed and complicated to the point that I'm not even sure I understand them. In spite of its flaws, I can still honestly say that I liked the story, and yet even after typing up this review, I still can't say precisely why, as the many logical and technical reasons I shouldn't, seem to be stacked against it. The story was nice and it was different, but not to the point that I feel compelled to rave about it. I think this is one of those books that readers would have to try for themselves and form their own opinions, as my feelings about it, even more than a week after reading it, are still rather muddled. I don't think any book has ever left me at quite such a loss for words to explain my thoughts on it, and I'm not entirely certain if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Perhaps it is simply meant to forever be one of the "great mysteries of the universe.";-)
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House, in exchange for my review.
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