Five Stars, Low Language, Low Violence, Moderate Romance, Nichole Van

Soul Mates

I don’t believe in soul mates. I know how can a romantic like myself confess to not believe in “the one”. It’s almost a paradox. I do believe that there are people out there that bring out your best self and can make you you’re most happy. However, I see it as more of a choice we make than cosmic fate.

Nichole Van wrote a series entitled “House of Oak”. The last book of the series is entitled Outshine and came out in April of this year.

The premise of the series is this, “Time is a vast cosmic sea, where each life exists as rippling circles on its surface, past and future being eternally present. And occasionally, one expanding ring tangles with that of another, linking two lives together even though separated by centuries.” …which seemed a little too mystic soul mates hokey to me, but I gave the first book a try. Loved it!

The series didn’t change my opinion on soul mates, but I adored all the books, and I’ll tell you why.

Nichole has a very intelligent voice in her writing. A mature intellectual voice that has you believing that time portals and cosmic circles are in fact, just that, actuality. She writes her characters thoughts and dialogue with such wit and humor that it throws the mystical back at you. You realize half way through their debate that you’re defending things you didn’t think were real. That is writing at it’s best.

Most of the series takes shifts between the present day and the 1800’s. You would assume that such a jump would get confusing, but Nichole shifts so effortlessly between the two time periods in dialect, sense and setting that you feel the inner shift yourself as the characters travel through time. In addition each character is portrayed so uniquely that even their varying responses to suddenly finding themselves in a new era are fascinating. They reflect in detail the personalities she’s prescribed to them.

Though we have differing opinions of the whole soul mate thing, I had to appreciate the way she wrote the romance. She uses this line in Divine (book 2), “After all this time, she finally saw the person he had always been.” It resonated with me. I don’t believe that love changes us fundamentally. If you are with someone hoping to change them, good luck with that. Love doesn’t change, it both softens and amplifies. Love strips away masks and sets us free to be our best selves. Each relationship in this series was a stunning portrait of this.

The other theme running through her series that left an impression on me is the idea that Happily Ever after isn’t a state of never ending bliss. “Joy and pain are just two sides of the same coin” is an oft repeated line in all the books. You  see exquisite joy and tremendous sorrow and deeply feel them all.

A series that surprised me, touched me, had me laughing out loud and even eventually come to have compassion for and fall in love with the pompous jerk is a must read. –N.C.

PS- You can read about Miss Belle Heartstone (from Refine -book 3) in the Timeless Regency Collection Spring in Hyde Park.




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