Gabriel is the first book in the Elven Chronicles series by new author M.A. Abraham. I read this book initially because a friend had showed me an excerpt on it and I was most definitely intrigued. Fortunately Ms. Abraham was generous enough to send me an ARC...
As with many books that are the beginning a series there is much world building going on. Initially Ms Abraham stumbles a bit as she introduces both the characters and the world to us.. BUT once she brings all the characters together her stride smooths out and we are led on a path of wonder. Gabriel is a charming tale of accepting one’s destiny, learning to love and finding one’s place in the world, all wrapped up in a delightfully whimsical story.
We first meet our heroine Eden, as she is tracking the villains who kidnapped her mother and many women from the village. I am not sure if this particular part of the story was just to showcase Eden’s skills or if she has plans to use the reasons for the kidnapping in future stories, I hope the latter as it was intriguing. Eden, is a strong woman, with a special connection to the woods.. She can walk almost unseen within the forest. She is a loyal loving daughter who values her family and her community. But most of all she values her independence.
Gabriel *sigh* oh yeah, Ms Abraham has given us a swoonworthy hero. He is a leader by nature and occupation. The leader of the Elven army, having successfully brought them through years of war. He is used to being in charge and for people to do what he says when he says. Eden literally falls into his arms upon their first meeting and as soon as their eyes meet both of them know that they have reached the other half of their souls.
In the Elven community, this is the way they find their mates. It is an instant knowing.. of course our stubborn Hero and Heroine have to complicate things. Gabriel insists on being in charge, on ordering Eden’s compliance and having her do things his way. *snort* That went over really well, NOT.. Eden may have given him the chance right off the bat had his high handedness not forced to follow instead of offering her the respect she is due.
The battle between these two escalates until they reach the center of the Elven territory and it is discovered that Eden is more than just good in the woods. She has a calling to heal them. She is almost compelled to heal all forms of plant life but most especially the ancient, sentient trees. As she grows into her powers and struggles with her personal feelings Eden also finds ways to heal some connections in the people around her.
Eden is not alone in her desire to deal with her personal feelings for Gabriel, he too must learn to compromise. If he wants his soul mate he must earn the right to call her his. He must learn how to accept her for who and what she is. This goes both ways.
Their struggle to learn each other is wrapped up in a wonderful story of a race recovering from wars that lasted for generations, a nation divided by one man’s mistake and another’s pride. A family accepting that some are less than perfect and that there is more to them than what they may seem.
I was so into this story I almost screamed when it ended.. I kept trying to turn another page.. just one more.. and then of course another and another. I can not wait for Ms. Abraham’s next story in her wonderful Elven Chronicles and sincerely recommend this book. I think as she becomes more secure in her writing we will find that she will become a name in the Fantasy Romance genre..