I’m so glad that I’m behind on a lot of series. Imagine having to wait years before the next book in a series to be released! Not that Divine by Mistake ended on a cliffhanger. It didn’t but there are some books that simply warrant continuation because there is clearly so much story still left to tell. After all, you can’t simply take an ordinary school teacher like Shannon Parker and transport her to the parallel world of Partholon where she finds that she is now the Chosen of the Goddess, Epona, betrothed to the Centaur, ClanFintan and have her triumph over an evil horde and simply have done with “they live happily ever after” now can you? I mean, really!
And so with Divine By Choice we have the continuation of Shannon’s story and also the answer to the question to that was not actually asked in the first book but still demanded an answer. And that was if Shannon was bought to Partholon so that Rhiannon, her counterpart could go come to our world and take Shannon’s place, what exactly was she going to do over here? Well, now that Shannon has fully settled and gladly accepted her role and responsibilities in Partholon, the poor woman is once again pulled through the dimensions back to Earth wherein she finds out exactly what Rhiannon has been up to as well as ClanFintan’s counterpart; Clint.
I’ll say right now that I didn’t quite enjoy this as much as I did Divine By Mistake and would have only given 4.5 stars but I rounded up. There are a couple of reasons for this, the first of which is that the majority of the story takes place in our realm. Well, to be blunt, we live here. In the first book we get explore the new magical realm of Partholon where there are centaurs, castles and goddesses. Okay, so there’s no internet, toothpaste and toilet paper but you can’t have everything. But to be fair, it had to be done else the question of Rhiannon could not have been answered.
The other reason for the half of a mark was what I regard as a needless death of a character. Admittedly, it happened to someone we only actually a few minutes beforehand but given how important they and their Partholon counterpart are in Shannon’s life, they felt very well known. And to be killed of in the way that they were was senseless. It was known how bad the enemy is and what they would stoop to so this death didn’t serve any purpose that I could see. Their reaction to Shannon after experiencing Rhiannon acting as Shannon was important but it should have ended on a happier note.
A word of warning here. There is what is essentially a rape scene in the book. It is not graphic in anyway but it is shown in Rhiannon’s back story. Whilst it is and should be uncomfortable reading, it does feel necessary in explaining why Rhiannon has grown into the being she is. After all, Partholon is a world without trauma counselling and as Shannon herself realises, but for circumstances Shannon and Rhiannon could have been very much alike as they are the same woman.
Gosh, all that negativity makes it sound like I didn’t enjoy the book which is clearly not the case. Shannon Parker is a wonderful heroine, if a little dense at times. For instance, if you have a new husband, have missed your period and certain foods and drink makes you throw up, would you think you had a aneurysm or perhaps a more celebratory reason? Her connection to Epona and the trees of this world was delightful. Bear in mind that less than a year ago, she was a regular woman and now she has divine responsibilities on her shoulders, she is courageous by taking her tasks on when set out by Epona.
Whilst ClanFintan, Alanna, Victoria and Dougal only make short appearances in this book, they make way for Clint, ClanFintan’s counterpart and Shannon’s real father who is a large character himself. And far from being an occasional voice in Shannon’s head, Epona also takes on a much larger role here. Apparently dimensional boundaries don’t mean anything when you’re a divinity.
Does Shannon make it back to her new home of Partholon? Suffice to say that there is a bittersweet resolution that could have only ended the way it did but like the first book their is still so much more to tell. Fortunately, at time of writing, the third book; Divine by Blood continues this wonderful story.