The Curse Keepers (Curse Keeper #1) by Denise Grover Swank
Published November 19, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance
The wall between our world and that of vengeful spirits has protected humanity for more than 400 years. It’s about to come crashing down.
Ellie Lancaster has lived her whole life by the site of the mysterious Lost Colony of Roanoke, the Virginia settlement that vanished without a trace around 1590. Only the descendants of the two men who banished the spirits of an enemy tribe from the material realm know what really happened to the colony. Ellie is one of those descendants—a Curse Keeper. Her father took pains to teach her what he knew of the curse and the responsibilities of its guardians. He taught her that if the two Curse Keepers ever meet, the curse will be lifted, the gate will open, and the raging Native American spirits will be unleashed to seek their revenge.
Despite her father’s seriousness, Ellie has always taken the legend for a harmless fairy tale. Until she meets the darkly handsome, but downright infuriating, Collin Dailey and realizes everything she was told is true. For when they meet, it’s like the air is sucked from the room. Collin’s presence is electrifying… and it’s not just attraction Ellie feels, but the inexorable pull toward her destiny. The prophecy is real, and now Ellie and Collin must battle supernatural forces and their loathing—and passion—for each other to set things right.
The Curse Keepers are all that stand between the world and its destruction.
After reading the book’s description and discovering the setting was in my native state of NC, I just knew it was going to be one I liked, and it turned out to be even better than I expected.
This book appealed to me on so many different levels:
The Setting/History/Native American Myths
The Outer Banks of North Carolina holds a special place in my heart and is one of my favorite places to vacation, and Swank sets the story in Manteo on the small tourist island of Roanoke, NC. Growing up in N.C., I was very familiar with the history and mysterious disappearance of Roanoke’s lost colony. Even after all of these years, there is still much speculation about what really happened to the remaining colonists after John White returned from England three years later to find the settlement had been abandoned.
Swank provides her own unusual theory about the lost colony by weaving its history into a very creative fictitious plot involving Native American mythology, magic, and the supernatural.
She has created a complex plot centered around two descendants, Ellie and Collin, connected to the colony and their secret responsibility to guard the gate separating the earthly and spiritual worlds. The storyline is engaging and kept me enthralled during the entire book, which I figuratively devoured in one day.
When Ellie and Collin meet in the first chapter of the book, the tension between them is palpable and Ellie’s visceral reaction to Collin is what hooked me.
Ellie has no idea their first encounter has just set in motion a series of events that will endanger her life and threaten the future of humanity. Now the clock is ticking, and time is running out for Ellie who must accept the responsibilities given to her as a Curse Keeper and take the necessary measures to close the gate to keep angry, vengeful gods and spirits from entering the earthly realm. The problem? Ellie has no clue what she’s supposed to do and is forced to rely upon, Collin, the second Curse Keeper whom she finds both infuriating and desirable to help her survive the next seven days.
Ellie is the protagonist, and the entire story is told from her POV, which is effective in building suspense since readers only get her limited viewpoint, and when secrets and revelations come to light, I was just as shocked as she as her world spins out of control right up to the very end.
…that all those stories her father told her about being a Curse Keeper are true, and now she needs to become the protector she is destined to be. However, when Ellie does finally get in the game and accept her magical gifts, she is a woman to be reckoned with, and she really steps up to earn my admiration and respect.
Ellie is a gutsy young woman who has the gumption to stand up to the arrogant, drop-dead gorgeous Collin, who tries to intimidate her at every turn throughout the first half of the book. She has the attitude and the snark to put him in his place when he deserves it. Their witty banter and bickering are engaging and at times downright hilarious. Even in the midst of danger and despair, Ellie finds ways to lighten the somberness of the situation and ease the tension.
He’s a man with his own agenda and will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. He even tells Ellie not to trust him, even though he seems to always have her best interests at heart. Ellie wavers back and forth over just how much she can trust Collin and early on is so suspicious of his motives, she doesn’t want to let him out of her sight.
Collin is a mysterious man with many secrets, only some of which are revealed in this first book.
The chemistry between Ellie and Collin is potent, especially when they link their magic together. Swank gradually builds the sexual tension between them until it becomes clear that it isn’t if they will get together, but when.
“Are you an angel or enchantress, Ellie Lancaster?”
I kissed him long and slow, nipping his lower lip and licking behind it. “I’m whichever you want me to be.”
“You must be an enchantress. You have me under your spell.”
He kissed me this time, making my pulse rise.
“And what does that make you?” I teased.
The end of the book is intense, shocking, and left me greedy for the next installment! This is a series I will most certainly continue to follow.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley to review for an honest opinion. The quotes used are taken from a pre-published copy and may be changed or omitted in the published version.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.
You can find out more about Denise and her other books at: www.denisegroverswank.com.
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeniseGroverSwank
THE CURSE KEEPERS Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17894256-the-curse-keepers?ac=1
Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4921525.Denise_Grover_Swank
The History of The Lost Colony:
“What Happened to the ‘Lost Colony’ of Roanoke?”
“New Clue to Mystery of lost Roanoke Colony (FOX NEWS)
The Lost Colony Theater Performance:
If you have the opportunity to visit North Carolina’s Outer Banks, consider seeing the The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama –a fascinating, informative performance that brings The Lost Colony’s history to life.