Book: The Raintree Saga by Linda Howard, Linda Winstead Jones, and Beverly Barton

Reviewer: Bethany

Age/Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

Preferred Reading Environment: Curled up next to a roaring fire.

Reading Accoutrements: Hot chocolate w/cinnamon whiskey

Content Notes: The Raintree series includes some content about abuse that may cause distress for some readers. This review does not otherwise address this content.

It’s the week of Thanksgiving and I am super excited for what this holiday will bring! When I was growing up, I was very close with my immediate family. My mom, dad, sister and I spent a lot of time together playing pinochle and eating pretty much anything that could be made quickly so we could get back to the fun and laughter of the game. In honor of the holiday, I thought I’d review a series about another close family: the Raintree saga.

  1. Raintree: Inferno, by Linda Howard
  2. Raintree: Haunted by Linda Winstead Jones
  3. Raintree: Sanctuary, by Beverly Barton
  4. Raintree: Oracle, by Linda Winstead Jones

Dante, king of the Raintree clan and casino owner (it is set in modern times), draws his power to control fire from the sun. His brother, Gideon, can harness electricity and speak to ghosts. His sister, Mercy, is a powerful empath and guardian of the Raintree clan’s home base they call Sanctuary. I love that the siblings, while leading their own very different lives, stay in contact with and protect one another as only siblings can – with a lot of hazing and jokes. As the royal family of the Raintree clan, it falls to them to protect the rest of the clan from rival wizard clans. The Raintree clan defeated their rival, the Ansara clan, two hundred years ago. But the Ansara clan is rising again and the Raintrees must prepare for the coming battle while protecting their clan’s secret. Each book follows one of the royal family through their personal struggles, with an overarching plot leading up to the final battle with the Ansara clan.

These books are part of Harlequin’s Silhouette Nocturne series. They are a line of paranormal romance novels from various authors. I originally found this series because I am a fan of Linda Howard, the author of Dante’s story, Raintree: Inferno. While each of the books is written by a different author, Linda Howard, Linda Winstead Jones, and Beverly Barton reportedly spent four years fleshing out the mythology of Raintree before they started writing. The stories are cohesive, the overarching plot is fluid, and the characters are consistent from story to story. Each book comes from the perspective of the protagonist character and, therefore, the voice is unique from book to book.

The storyline of Raintree is dependent upon the idea that there those among us who are more than human. However, unlike in other paranormal series, the authors did not take steps to expand the paranormal in their stories to shapeshifters, faeries, or vampires. The only ones “more than human” in this setting are wizards who have formed clans and done battle with each other for hundreds of years. Wizards can have a wide range of powers – from telekinesis to precognition, elemental control to mind reading and suggestion. The clans have been formed in order to train young wizards and protect their big, powerful secret. There are wizards who do not belong to a clan and who roam around untrained. These unaffiliated wizards seem to go largely unnoticed by the two clans, which surprised me considering how much they value their secret. None of this is relevant to the storylines, however; it is entirely my overactive brain trying to pull me from my suspension of disbelief.

One of the trickiest parts of writing a paranormal story is introducing as much relevant information about the setting as the author can without overloading the reader. Writing a series, the author also must be careful not to be too repetitive with the information from story to story. This series does a decent job of describing the setting without going overboard or being too redundant. Obviously, there is a lot of information to be presented in the first book, but Howard does a good job of introducing necessary information slowly and with appropriate context.

The Raintree series is a great escapist read. Enjoy the unique setting, tense battles, and characters discovering their destinies. Suspend your disbelief and enter a world of paranormal fantasy, danger, and romance. Just don’t overthink it 😉

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