I received this audiobook for review from the publisher. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.
This is the second book in the Sisters of the Heart series. I recently reviewed the first in the series, Water Bound. In case you missed that review, this series revolves around six women who meet during grief counselling and are all victims of violent crimes. The women are drawn to each other and decide to jointly purchase a 130-acre farm in Sea Haven, where they share the responsibility of taking care of the property in addition to pursuing their own interests. They work to restore the farm so that it is operational, and each of them receives five acres to herself. They all work together in building each other's homes. Each of the women also has a psychic gift: They all appear to be bound to an element. Their love for each other also binds them together. Although they may not be related by blood, their affinity for each other binds them in their hearts.
When the story starts off, another Prakenskii brother - Stefan - is in jail. He is working undercover to collect information from Jean-Claude La Roux, an infamous crime lord. La Roux stole a microchip from the Russian government, and it contains sensitive information regarding the country's defence system. Stefan's mission is to find the microchip and return it safety.
Stefan's handler has agreed to pull him out of jail, but not before he has informed La Roux of his planned "escape." Once La Roux sees that his cellmate's break-out is a success, Stefan believes that La Roux will take the bait when approached by a guard in a few weeks to aid in his escape.
La Roux is obsessed with a woman whose photographs are pasted all over the cell walls. When La Roux escapes, Stefan thinks that he will head directly for the beautiful woman in the photos, otherwise known as Judith Henderson who lives in Sea Haven. Staring at the photos of this woman for the past two months, Stefan has developed a little obsession of his own!
Judith is the daughter of a Japanese mother and an American father. She has the psychic gift of reading auras. She sees colours surrounding people, and she can get a feel for what kind of person someone is by their aura. She also is a "spirit element," and her ability strengthens or amplifies the psychic gifts of her sisters.
Judith is an accomplished painter and conservator of rare paintings. She also makes kaleidoscopes, which have won international awards.
When Stefan shows up in Sea Haven, he assumes the identity of Thomas Vincent. He immediately shares an attraction with the usually-reserved Judith. Stefan feels that his presence in Sea Haven is two-fold: Firstly, to keep tabs on Judith while waiting for La Roux to show up; and, secondly, to draw out Stefan's brother, Lev Prakenskii (aka Levi Hammond) who was featured in the first book in the series, Water Bound.
Like Lev, Stefan has some psychic gifts of his own. He has telekinetic abilities, and he seems to be unaffected by Judith's stronger emotions which she normally keeps under control around everyone else. This allows Judith to feel more like her true self around Stefan, without having to worry about downplaying her emotions around him.
I found the storyline explaining the connection between Judith and La Roux to be very interesting. What I really enjoyed about this book was the tie to the first book. I loved Lev & Rikki, and I enjoyed learning more about how their relationship has developed since Water Bound ended. Sometimes with sequels or books that are part of a series, the author fails to include previous couples in future installments and you never hear about them again! I was happy to see that both Lev and Rikki still played a vital role in Spirit Bound.
Feehan brings a lot of sizzle to the story, but I didn't fall in love with Stefan the way that I did with Lev. For a large part of the story, Stefan is deceiving Judith which probably affected my ability to embrace them as a genuine couple. There is one part of the story that involves animal abuse, which I find extremely distasteful. I am a huge animal-lover, so I hate reading about this. The scene is brief, and it does fill the reader with revulsion for the person who committed the act which I presume was Feehan's intention, but, still...I could have done without it.
I was initially disappointed that this audiobook was not narrated by Angela Brazil, who narrated Water Bound. Rather, it is narrated by Don Harvey, who is a new-to-me narrator. I wondered how the narration would be with a male voice, but I quickly realized that this story is very much told from Stefan's perspective. Therefore, Harvey's narration actually suits this particular story. I liked his French accent for La Roux, but I wish there would have been more vocal distinction made between the characters, particularly between Judith and her sisters who all seemed to sound very much alike.
Overall, I really enjoyed Spirit Bound but not as much as Water Bound. However, this series has turned me into a Feehan fan! I really must learn more about the Prakenskii brothers, so I'm going to now go back and read Feehan's Drake Sisters series from which this series is spun-off. It will keep me busy until the next installment in the Sisters of the Heart series, which I look forward to!
MY RATING: 4 stars! I really enjoyed it and would recommend it!! Thanks to Penguin Audio for the opportunity to review this audiobook!