Romantic and atmospheric, and with elements of witchcraft and Native American legend, Stealing Breath is an exciting story that was far too short for me, and ended leaving me wanting more. Brothwell’s writing flows nicely and the characters were completely engaging, and the dangerous situations that the characters found themselves in made for a compelling read.
Sarah Ross is camping with her friends Amber and Kate when she is awakened early one morning by a child’s voice, calling out for help. Thinking it might be a local girl named Jessica, who has recently gone missing, Sarah sets out after the voice, leaving her friends still asleep in their tent. Her search leads her not to the missing child, but to an old dilapidated house in the woods. Inside she encounters a translucent figure with horrible yellow eyes that tries to take over her body, but she manages to escape by “pushing” it out. Outside the house she runs into a handsome stranger, a man named Evan who helps her back to the campsite. What Evan is doing in the woods, and the strange sensations Sarah feels when he touches her are both mysteries.
Sarah learns from Amber’s mother Paulette that she was attacked by a “Skinwalker,” a malevolent person who collects and feeds off the souls of others by leaving its body and walking around as an apparition. Paulette also informs Sarah that she is an “Indigo Child,” a special and rare human with an indigo aura who represents the next stage of human evolution. Because her “essence” is so special, the Skinwalkers are especially interested in Sarah’s soul. Several events also lead Sarah to believe that Evan, the man with whom she is becoming closer to day by day, is somehow connected to the Skinwalkers. The role he plays and the nefarious people who are trying to destroy both Evan and Sarah are explained in an exciting rush of events that lead up to the novel’s showdown between good and evil.
Brothwell’s story kept me flipping pages quickly. The action is fast and furious throughout most of the book, punctuated by some pretty good romantic scenes. This is, after all, paranormal romance, and it had all the right elements: hot guy, beautiful girl, lots of misunderstandings, and an eventual resolution. The author gives her heroine lots of interesting powers, too. Sarah can feel the emotions of others, and later in the book she discovers that not only can she heal people, but she and Evan have a special power between them whenever they hold hands or touch in some way. Brothwell’s story also includes some interesting historical background on Italian witchcraft and magic, which gives it another layer. The only criticism I have with Stealing Breath is that I felt it could have been better developed in some areas. Some of the revelations happen too quickly and are a bit jarring. For example, Evan and Sarah fall in love and jump into bed together right after they meet, and while I understand that instant attraction happens in the real world, in fiction it’s more interesting when the relationship has time to grow. I was also confused about some of the story elements that were introduced but not expanded upon. A book called the “Key of Solomon” seems to be important, but Brothwell doesn’t go into much detail about it. Likewise, I really wanted more information on the “Indigo Child” and why she is so special. I’m hoping the next book in the series will expand on some of these ideas.
If you are in the mood for romance, mystery and a story with truly terrifying moments, Stealing Breath is a great read.