The Curse Keepers is set around the fabled Lost Colony of Roanoke (1588) where 400 years ago, an entire village and its people just disappeared into thin air. There have been plenty theories going around as to where the actual Roanoke settlers disappeared to. The people of Roanoke simply left the settlement behind and moved on; the whole population of Roanoke Island was killed by a disease; the village was destroyed by a severe storm such as a hurricane; the people of Roanoke decided to leave Roanoke Island to live with the Natives; or the colonists were killed by the Native Americans. Since the English were more interested in their own histories, and not the Natives who they replaced, we will probably never know the reality of what happened to the 100 settlers who lived there.
The Curse Keepers story is told in the first POV by Elinor Dare Lancaster, a direct descendant of Ananias Dare. In Swank's version of what really happened to the Colony of Roanoke, she makes up a curse that was created by a Croatan Indian Manteo and the Son-in-Law of the governor of Virginia Ananias Dare to lock away rival tribes. Instead, the curse captured gods and demons and locked them away. For 400 years, there have been Curse Keepers preventing the gods, and demons from escaping into our world.
"Are you a witch, Ellie Lancaster? Have you cast a spell to entrance me? Or are you an angel sent to save my soul?" Collin from the ARC of The Curse Keepers.
Ellie, along with Collin Daily, are so called Curse Keepers from separate lines with roots that go back to the Colony. When they meet, not only does strange things start to happen like dead birds showing up on Ellie's doorstep, but Ellie is forced into believing that the curse is real after trying hard to put it behind her after a hardship loss when she was 8 years old. Now, Ellie stands in the way of preventing the demons from escaping and sucking the Manitou (the spiritual and fundamental life force) out of every living creature when the gates to the Algonquian named hell Popogusso are opened.
"Don't trust me, Ellie. You can't trust me." Words have never been spoken so honestly by a character, and yet, when Collin says them to Ellie, she summarily dismisses them because they are fundamentally connected, and she is a naive woman who refused to believe in the curse for so long, that she forgot the importance of being a Curse Keeper or the part she is supposed to play. I found hard to like Ellie at times. I found myself cringing at how hard she fell for Collin's bullcrap, and lies, and failed to look at the situation without falling for everything he tells her. I wanted Ellie to be more brave, and kickass, and not take crap from those who for some reason or the other, have an absolute obsession with obtaining her.
Collin's character is pretty much exactly what you expect from him to be. He has a very questionable past. He hangs around with undesirable people who gravitate towards Ellie when she stumbles upon things she should have avoided in the first place because she refuses to listen. He is truthful, to a point, when he tells her NOT TO TRUST her, but manages to swindle her into doing exactly what was laid out for him. He is also utterly frustrating in that he goes against his own path to protect Ellie when she needs it the most, and above all, he left me with a broken heart when all is said and done.
I sincerely appreciate it when authors do their due diligence in researching actual settings, and using factual people when telling their stories. Authors can, and do add their own two cents into the stories plot-line like adding fictional characters like Ellie Lancaster & Collin Daily, or changing the name of places that actually exist in real life to make the story even more interesting for the reader to grasp.
I will be reading the next book in the series since I already have it loaded on my Kindle. Here is hoping that we get a much more desirable and kickass Ellie.
Author - Denise Grover Swank
Title - The Curse Keepers (Curse Keepers # 1)
Published by 47 North
Released: November 19, 2013
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Format: Ebook 312 pages