Story Excerpts

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Behold the Dawn: A Review

Still chipping away on my NaNo project, but I thought I'd pop in to say "hi" and leave you with a book review. :)

This was my second book by K.M. Weiland, a fantastic author and writing craft teacher I've been following since I stumbled across her blog/website last year. Her stories can be counted on for high action, adventure, and creative plotting, and honestly, I can't find enough of such authors.

I didn't quite connect with "Behold the Dawn" in the way that I wanted to, and I suspect the culprit to be my personal taste in writing style and Voice. The Medieval Middle-Eastern world captured my imagination, and was a favorite aspect of the story. The characters were developed with skill. The main character does spend some time alone on horseback, traveling, so perhaps my disconnect is rooted in a desire for less thought and more character interaction. I did enjoy this story, perhaps even more than "Dreamlander", as the romance plays a bigger role.

I would recommend "Behold the Dawn" to lovers of action/adventure stories, but knowing from the author's note that she did take the liberty to add fictional events within the historical Crusade, I would suggest that Medieval history buffs read the "Afterword" before the story.

From the back cover:

"Marcus Annan, a tourneyer famed for his prowess on the battlefield, thought he could keep the secrets of his past buried forever. But when a mysterious crippled monk demands Annan help him find justice for the transgressions of sixteen years ago, Annan is forced to leave the tourneys and join the Crusade.

Wounded in battle and hunted by enemies on every side, he rescues an English noblewoman from an infidel prison camp and flees to Constinople. But, try as he might, he cannot elude the past. Amidst the pain and grief of a war he doesn't even believe in, he is forced at last to face long-hidden secrets and sins and to bare his soul to the mercy of a God he thought he had abandoned years ago."

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn: A Review

Tamsen Littlejohn meets with a wealthy plantation owner according to her stepfather's wishes, but when the man's values prove very different from her own and tragedy strikes, she runs. A strange man clad in Indian breechclout and leggings offers to take her deep into the moutains with him, promising to protect her. Can he be trusted? Tamsen takes a chance on Jesse Bird, seeing no other recourse.

I grabbed this one anticipating the exceptional prose and style I experienced while reading "Burning Sky", but in a faster-paced adventure story. I was slightly disapointed, and what I mean by "slightly" is, the author stayed true to the style and Voice she established with her first book, and the joke was on me, for reading it when I wanted a fast-paced action novel.

While there is plenty of adventure, suspenseful chases and escapes (all things I love in fiction), the author writes with an unhurried, lyrical style, varying the action in swells much like a classical music piece. Beautiful work, and I did become engrossed in the story later on, as the romance heats up and Tamsen's pursers catch up with her.

The author's vivid storytelling and exceptional detail brought the 18th century American Frontier to life, along with the fascinating history of a state that never came to be. The characters were amazingly complex and engaging, and I found myself more in love with secondary characters like Charlie Spencer and Cade--not because Tamsen and Jesse aren't striking, but because of the rich personality given to these supporting characters. I loved Tamsen and Jesse. Their romance had a depth and tangible quality I haven't seen often in fiction.

I struggled through the middle, mainly because a preacher's response to Tamsen and Jesse's dilemma came across as unbelievable, given his reputation as a man of of God and a culture that was just beginning to consider love as a basis for marriage. At the end, a mystery's resolution surprised me, but it also jolted, as a simple conversation seemed to cure an intense character of an obsession he'd harbored for months.

A favorite quote: "Jesse Bird was the steadiest of men, and if his face was disconcerting to her now, it was only because it was captivating. And hawk-wild beautiful."

You bet I'll be reading "The Wood's Edge", when it comes out, just not when I'm hankering for an action suspense novel. ;-) The author is a fantastic writer, and the 18th century is one of my favorite time periods. I would recommend "The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn" to readers who enjoy lyrical writing and stories paced to savor, like the works of Laura Frantz.