Lord Taliesin Solitaire is over two hundred years old; he is an albino vampire and sorcerer living in twenty-first century Wales. Taliesin is guarded, having lost the two people he has ever been in love with. Clover was a member of the Seelie Court and the mother of his daughter, Feather, but their relationship was doomed and while she was banished, Tali was cursed to be mute.
The memory of his second love, Christophe, still haunts Taliesin and the reminder of Christophe’s betrayal is constant because he was the one to turn Taliesin.
Pesha is a Romani prince with latent mage powers. Pesha is frequently abused by his brothers, both sexually and physically, and it is from one of these attacks that Taliesin saves him. Pesha stays in Taliesin’s castle during his recovery and the relationship between him and the Mulo develops, but his fear of returning to his compania grows. Pesha knows his father will exile him, not only for being gay, but also for not working or failing to follow the Romani’s strict lifestyle.
Taliesin not only offers Pesha love, comfort, and a chance to harness his magical powers, but an opportunity to be reunited with his mother, if Pesha can escape Merripen and his other brothers, who are only intent on causing him harm.
Sleight of Heart is the first book I have read by Aisling Mancy and I was impressed by the author’s rich storytelling and strong character building. Pesha and Taliesin are very different and Mancy clearly separates them by using language.
Although Taliesin is mute, he is able to communicate telepathically with both Feather and Pesha. His narrative is thoughtful, intelligent, and conventional. On the other hand, Pesha uses the Romani vernacular and his speech can be stilted and abrasive. However, Mancy combines the two styles throughout his story and I appreciated the fact that this remains consistent.
Both Pesha and Taliesin evolve throughout the course of Sleight of Heart because of their feelings for each other. We understand that these are two characters who are stronger together, emotionally and magically, and I was enthralled by them and their development.
Mancy never allows the reader to forget the sleight of heart that has happened to both Pesha and Taliesin and although it is easy to become absorbed into their fairy-tale love, we are aware that outside threats do exist.
The sexual scenes between Taliesin and Pesha are full of intensity and passion, but Mancy ensures that these arise naturally with the flow of the plot, rather than being forced to add sizzle to the story.
Sleight of Heart is one of the best written and imaginative paranormal stories I have read recently. It is full of romance, danger, and surprises (just wait till you meet Sax!). I give it a solid recommendation for anyone looking for their next great read.