So my mom died Monday, December 17th. No, wait, this review gets better. Really.

My wife and I own hundreds of books. We read voraciously. I have, easily, a dozen books on my nightstand that I am in various stages of reading. I enjoy biographies, sci-fi, epic fantasy, crime drama, literature, just about anything well-written.

And so while in the initial stages of mourning my mother’s passing I truly needed something to transport me away for a bit. So I picked up a book, an Agatha Christie novel. Love her stuff. It was too, I don’t know, familiar? A science-fiction novel I’d been meaning to read was next. I just did not feel taken away or transported. I wanted to be immersed in someplace foreign. I wanted a smooth read, an enchanting tale. I needed to get away for a bit. I glanced at my wife’s dresser. Stacked on it were Cathy Maxwell’s latest two books, Lyon’s Bride and The Scottish Witch. I grabbed Lyon’s Bride, climbed in bed…and was transported. No thoughts of grieving or plans to be made. I was in Scotland, 1632.

Now before I go any further I will disclose that I know Cathy personally. My wife Scarlett and I are friends with her, having met some months previously. I also was familiar with the type of books that she has written so many of. I even breezed through one of them six or eight months ago. My wife had brought home one of Cathy’s books (the first of many). And we had picked up the two Chattan books at a book signing that Cathy was doing a few weeks back, a benefit for the Free Clinic of Powhatan. Those books were just not for me. The genre definitely seems to be aimed at women readers. I love books and reading and writing, and I can appreciate the genre of Romantic Fiction, but as a Man Who Reads, I just was not into that type of literature.

So. There I was, wanting a story to take me away from sadness and worry. A pair of books, inscribed to Scarlett and I, on the dresser. Romantic Historical Fiction. If that couldn’t transport me, what could? So I tried it…and I liked it!

I read the first book in two nights, as I did the second. So now I, like so many others, am anxiously awaiting the conclusion of the trilogy. Because, here’s the thing, the stories are really good! Yes, sure, they have the requisite bodice-ripping (and much, much more than that! Oh my!). But Cathy Maxwell has written a wonderful tale of 19th (and 17th) century England and Scotland. Nobles and fallen gentlefolk, witches, familiars (maybe?) and good triumphing (hopefully) over evil. Love conquering all (still to be seen!). Mysteries to be solved! All written in the smooth, silky style that Cathy has obviously perfected over the course of many books. As a Man Who Reads, I am thoroughly enjoying these tales. They entertain and transport. And that is enough, plenty, for me. Thank you, Cathy Maxwell, for allowing me to travel to a distant time and place and forget my troubles. Now please hurry up and releaseThe Devil’s Heart!

–David Schwartz

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