Review: Bound in Flame by Katherine Kayne


Letty Lang is a suffragist of the most fearless kind, with a bullwhip, big plans, and ancient power she doesn’t understand. Will a fast horse and a stubborn man derail her dreams?

Banished to boarding school to tame her wild temper, Leticia Lili‘uokalani Lang sails home to Hawaii, bringing her devotion to animals with her. She’ll be among the first female veterinarians in history—most remarkable in 1909 when women still cannot vote.

With one mad leap into the ocean to save a horse, Letty sets another destiny in motion. She is a mākāhā, a Gate to the healing fires of the land, her beloved ‘aina. Letty must fight to harness the ancient power that lives within her, fueled by her connection to the islands. But the price of power is steep. Her inner flame burns hot—hot enough that her kisses can actually kill, a precarious inconvenience since the horse’s owner, Timothy Rowley, lights another kind of fire.

Can Letty learn to master her power to have a chance at life and love? Or is the danger of the flame too great

My Review:

I won this book a few weeks ago in a Goodreads Giveaway. I thought the setting sounded interesting, as I haven’t read many historical stories set in Hawaii. That and the mythical elements intrigued me.

Bound in Flame is a wonderful series debut. Part historical, part fantasy, it tells the story of Letty, a woman who is training to be a veterinarian. Letty is a strong and unique protagonist. She is a free-spirited and outgoing suffragist, and her love for animals knows no bounds. Letty is also impulsive, rash, and hot-tempered at times. I love that, even though she has mystical elements, Letty is still realistically depicted.

When Letty leaps into the ocean to save a horse, she finds out more about herself than she ever expected. She is a mākāhā, a Gate to the healing fires of the land. Letty must learn how to harness this new and ancient power before it destroys all she holds dear.

This book features strong, courageous women who are ahead of their time. Letty, Princess K, Letty’s godmother and more show an admirable amount of strength and resilience.

The story is a fantasy based on and in Hawaii with interesting references to early twentieth-century Hawaiian history and folklore. I love this aspect of the book and think this is what separates it from other historical romances. The setting and history is one that is not often explored, and the use of it to advance and deepen the plot is clever.

Furthermore, the imagery is amazing and creates vivid images of the beauty of the Hawaiian setting. Lush landscapes, beautiful ranches, cowboys, hula dancers, princesses, wild animals, savory food, sacred ceremonies and traditions, mystical folklore and more permeate this novel and build a beautifully dynamic world.


Favorite Parts:

  • the strong female characters
  • the vivid imagery
  • the mythical elements


Readers who enjoy unique fiction with strong and unique female protagonists will enjoy this story. People who like magical realism and are interested in learning more about Hawaiian history and lore will find this story fascinating.

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