Tiger's CurseSpring 2011 Fiction
Weeks after graduating from high school, Kelsey Hayes is jobless and uncertain about her future. But when she lands a temporary job with a traveling circus, everything changes. Kelsey is assigned to the tiger. He’s a beautiful animal, curiously docile with mesmerizing eyes that she’s drawn to immediately. That’s probably because the eyes belong to Ren, a rich and handsome prince with his own jet, staff and luxurious estates to boot. Ren is trapped in a curse. For 300 years he has lived as a tiger for all but 30 minutes a day. Kelsey is his ticket out.
Tiger’s Curse is a sprawling, luscious, meaty gem of a book. A romantic fantasy, the story toggles between an ancient India richly draped in custom and culture – and contemporary Western Oregon, author Colleen Houck’s home ground. Houck shifts deftly between the disparate settings – capturing both the ordinariness of Salem and its outlying small towns, and the exotic beauty of India. There are shamans and goddesses, talismans and amulets, magical caves and lush forests – this is a true escape.
Kelsey is an endearing heroine, a typical teenage girl with the angst, insecurity and bad hair days that go with that, but she also possesses wisdom beyond her years. On her own after losing her parents in a car accident, Kelsey is ripe for self-empowering adventure and the strong arms of a dreamy prince. She finds them both on a breath-taking journey.
Houck did her research – from the detailed mythology to her descriptions of opulent meals and rich images of jungles and countryside, she draws a very vivid portrait of India. (And, as an added bonus, dresses her heroine in fabulous clothes!)
Warning: Tiger’s Curse ends in a frustrating cliffhanger. I recommend having its sequel – Tiger’s Quest – close at hand.