Divine By Mistake was a remarkable way to end the year on a reading high. For a start, it’s only the second fantasy that I’ve read with a woman as the main character. I’ve read plenty of urban fantasies where this is the case and whilst this does start off in our world, it’s not long before it shifts completely. Even though it’s the second it is still unique, at least to me, because the only other; the wonderful Polgara the Sorceress was more a companion piece to an existing series and was written by a man with admitted input from his wife.
This may not seem like much but it’s my opinion that this gives certain things different emphasis. Whilst a male author might have their characters take a bath would they also mention the scent of the oils used? I think not. But I digress.
As I stated, Divine By Mistake starts in our world where Shannon Parker, a thirty something teacher from Oklahoma is attending an auction where fate seems to step in and practically hands her a pot that coincidentally seems to have a picture of herself on it. Before she knows what’s happening, Shannon is transported to the world of Partholon where she is known as Rhiannon, the representative of Epona. Yes, the actual Epona, Celtic goddess, adopted by Romans.
The shocks just keep coming though when she finds out that she, or at least Rhiannon is to be hand fasted to the oddly named ClanFintan, shaman of his people and centaur to boot. Just as she’s wrapping her head around all of that, it’s not long before she is confronted by an outbreak of disease and an invasion by winged demons known as Fomorians.
It’s impossible not to like Shannon as she begins to come to terms with her unique situation and how suited it turns out she is for her new position. She is hindered by her obvious lack of knowledge about the new world and the fact that the real Rhiannon was something of a spoiled brat of the Caligula kind. Shannon, or Rhea as she comes to be known is funny, kind and compassionate and thanks to the disease and demon sees horrors that are just plain icky.
One comment I will make is that some books I read are somewhat semi-autobiographical in nature in that it’s apparent how much knowledge the author knows about a subject so it came as no surprise when reading P.C. Casts bio’ that she was indeed a teacher from Oklahoma with a love of horses. Surprisingly it doesn’t say whether she knows any centaurs. Hmm. Oh well.
Despite the length of the book, it was a really quick and enjoyable read and turned out to be a pleasant surprise given that I think I ordered these (this and two of the followups) because they were on special offer. I actually can’t wait to dive back into the world of Partholon and see what happens next!