A River Enchanted is a slower-paced, highly atmospheric, character-based fantasy set on a magical island inspired by Scottish folklore. I found it a very satisfying, almost cozy read, but if you are looking for something with more action and plot, this is not the book for you.
The book follows four main characters: Jack, a bard who has come home to the island for the first time in over ten years; Adaira, the daughter of the clan leader; Sidra, a healer; and her husband and captain of the guard, Torin. When young girls start going missing, the lives of our four characters start to change and intertwine in new ways than before, and old secrets begin to come to light.
The main plot is what’s going on with the island (the people, the land, and the spirits are all out of balance because of the split between east and west) and the missing girls. There are elements here of romance, too, with Jack and Adaira (childhood nemeses) entering into a marriage of convenience, and with Sidra and Torin finding new purpose in their marriage in a way they haven’t before.
I really liked the atmosphere of the island that Ross created. Things were enchanting and magical in a way that felt half dangerous and half inviting. I really liked seeing how the people on the island coexist with the magic and it’s obvious Ross put a lot of thought into it. I did find the divide between the two halves of the island infuriating. It is pretty obvious we’re working toward a reunited and balance island in the next (and last) book. I don’t mind if it ends predictably, though, as long as I keep getting these same vibes.