In this time travel romp Desire's Edge by Tessa McKay, Kyra and Rafe find themselves living in 16th century England, living and interacting with Henry VIII and his court. Rafe is relegated to the stables and then to shipboard life, Kyra finds herself a favorite of Mary Boleyn and dependent on the patronage of master schemer Sir Thomas Boleyn. While Rafe and Kyra are deeply attracted to each other, circumstances unfortunately force them apart throughout most of the novel.
The Tudor time period offers rich possibilities for a time travel novel, and the description of settings, clothing, and even dialogue in this story by Tessa McKay seem true to the era. What is difficult to discern from the novel is how Kyra and Rafe entered the 16th century. Neither of the characters seems disoriented or troubled by their displacement from the modern era, although their interest in Renaissance fairs does make their comfort in Tudor England believably reasonable.
It is clear that this novel is part of a larger story and, as I read it, I sensed that I was missing some important part of the story that had come before. The novel opens with Kyra recovering and Rafe confined because of incidents that occurred before the story opens and this lends a disorienting feeling to the overall narrative. Likewise, the story ends at a key turning point moment for both Rafe and Kyra with the promise that there is more of their story to come.
As a standalone novel, Desire's Edge proves a rather disjointed read that leaves you wishing you knew the story that came before and wondering about the tale that will come after. So I encourage to pick-up book one, Love's Elixir, first. The third book is Ecstasy's Endgame.
Rafe Harrison is hard to ignore. Handsome, confident and boorish, he is beloved by most everyone at the faire, particularly the women. Even Kyra’s best friend is quick to champion him, much to Kyra’s dismay. Kyra knows little about Rafe, but wisely despises his bravado, his appeal and his slipshod reenactment methods. And when Rafe is implicated in her best friend’s riding accident, she cannot forgive him for his neglect or herself for the unwelcomed sensations he stirs within her.
After tampering with a gypsy potion, Kyra suddenly finds herself and Rafe transported back to sixteenth-century England, and it is nothing like the 1500s back home. It is a dangerous time of court intrigue, French wars and Scottish insurrection, and soon Kyra finds that she must learn to trust the courage and heart of the man she reviles if they are to survive. More importantly, she must learn to trust her own heart as she fights for both her own and Rafe’s survival upon one of the bloodiest battlefields in England—Flodden.