A Matter of Honor by Ann Gimpel

A Matter of Honor by Ann Gimpel
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (24 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Daisy

Running for her life, a frantic witch finds the man of her dreams. But can she trust him not to betray her?

Hacked at with knives and tossed in the Danube, Melis Andresen’s tormentors are certain she’s dead. But for quick thinking, witchcraft and her training as a healer, she would have been. She’s asleep in a bedraggled heap next to a small fire when a man walks out of the surrounding woods. Though she doesn’t know it at the time, her life is about to change forever.

The premise for this story sold me on this story. It suggests something momentous will follow this mysterious man’s arrival. It begins with a great short sentence, setting a fast pace, then follows with visual scenes of her plight. The environment is well established, full of colour, movement and urgent thought.

Ann Gimpel certainly understands how people think in a “do or die” situation and this comes across. She also has description skills which kept me in the moment of the story throughout, even if, in places, the word choice seemed a touch too modern – ‘It felt too damned good’ as an example.

The issue with the story, comes after Melis is found by her rescuer; her acclimatization to her new environment, as well as her sudden care for the people within it, seemed to come about too fast. There is no time for character development or a slow warming to the new situation. Instead, people are pushed together. The plot continues at a very fast pace, with backstory on the new people being thrust upon the reader with no precursors. This added to my feeling that the ending was unsatisfactory. It did not seem to believably change Melis’ life forever and it did not change it in the non-ordinary way I was expecting.

The romance within A Matter of Honor followed suit, happening at a good pace until suddenly the sexual partners were in a bedroom together with only a few shared kisses as build up. This reduces the impact the budding romance (and resultant sex) could have.

The paranormal could and should be a bigger part of this story but, mainly, I think the story could do with being longer. This is not a fault of the short story format, either. The plot needs time to unravel, for precursors and omens to big events to be established and, most importantly, it needs the rescuer and Melis to form a much deeper bond before the new paranormal element is introduced.

However, Ann Gimpel is a good writer. Her narrative style is not to the point but descriptive, detailing the environment in such a way the reader can escape from this reality into hers. Despite the brevity of this story, it has the makings of something which will stick with a reader and make them wonder about past lives and times. The characters, in themselves, are also realistic and well-rounded. Gimpel has me intrigued with these characters and with her clear ability, and I look forward to reading more of her stories in future.

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