cover image Well Favored Gentleman

Well Favored Gentleman

Christina Dodd. Avon Books, $7.99 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-380-79090-6

In the early 19th century, the tiny Scottish coastal enclave of Fionnaway is home to both selkies (seals with the ability to assume human form at will) and ""leg walkers"" (humans who coexist under an ancient pact). Ian Fairchild's mother was a selkie, his father a leg walker, but selkie clearly dominates: he's darkly attractive and possesses extraordinary powers. He brings on storms, burrows into the minds of others, and can read their thoughts. Heiress Lacy Alanna McLeod, who plays at being a witch, is no match for Ian. Dodd (A Well Pleasured Lady), a fine stylist who spins a wonderfully drawn-out love scene, is one of those rare writers willing to take chances. Here she has created a hero, whose slow magical seductions can turn unnecessarily predatory (""That's it. Don't make it easy. Make it a war, so I can win""). Like the selkie-ridden waters of Fionnaway, this fairy tale is deep and dark, and perhaps not for everyone. (Mar.)