My first shifter love…
Everyone remembers their first love and I have to share mine – it happened when I went into a bookstore decades ago and tripped over a nice little paperback with a grey horse on the front, rearing up and daring me to pluck it off the shelf and take a look.
I'm talking about "The Grey Horse" by R.A McAvoy , of course.
Here's the official blurb from Amazon:
Set against the colorful and magical backdrop of
The Grey Horse chronicles a time when the Irish people suffered under harsh
English overlords who sought to destroy their culture and way of life. Into the
Irish town of Ireland ,
a magnificent, completely grey stallion appears. The horse brings with him the
promise of better times and magical happenings, for he is actually the
shape-shifted form of Ruairi MacEibhir, journeyed to such a time of danger in
order to win the hand of the woman he loves. Carraroe
I know the blurb sounds pretty lame but at the time it was my first entrance into the magical world of Irish lore and of shifters—and of a sweet love.
Ruairi has come to town to woo a woman who isn't impressed with his shape-shifting skills or the revelation that Ruairi is a puca, a fairy pony. But he's determined to stay the course even if it means being baptized, an event that has to be read to be believed. Add in the usual problems of young love, a village wondering about their new resident and you've got a great story.
I wore out two copies of this paperback because of the flowing words and the beauty of the simple love story. Or should I say, love stories. Because in the middle of Ruairi's courting there's a lovely secondary plot with an older couple who are responsible for Ruairi's cover story and show a simple love that's lasted through time. It was one of the first time I'd seen seniors depicted as not only having a love life and I can say without doubt I think they'll stay with you long after you finish reading the book.
One of the things that I enjoyed, in retrospect, was that Ruairi's magic skill wasn't all that great. He could shift into a horse and do some basic other tricks but he wasn't a wizard nor did he have wild abilities either as a horse or a human. In fact he has a slew of peculiar thoughts and misunderstandings about humans which makes his wooing even more funny. He's not overpowering and more than a little naïve in the ways of humans but isn't afraid to step up when he's needed to right wrongs as he sees them.
This book was written in 1987 and is just as good a read now as it was then and is now available in ebook form. If you're looking for a sweet shifter love story I'd recommend it highly!
So there you go—my first shifter love. Why not tell me who yours was?