Historical Fiction can be brilliantly entertaining but glaringly inaccurate. Or it can be precise to a pin but dull as ditch water. However, when a stHistorical Fiction can be brilliantly entertaining but glaringly inaccurate. Or it can be precise to a pin but dull as ditch water. However, when a story is both well-researched and a tells a vivid, breathing story, magic happens. Such was the case with Ella Wood. I was so captivated by the world and characters, that I read it practically in one sitting.
I want to somehow articulate what I loved about this book, but I'm afraid I won't do it justice. This book is so much more than a period story, a romance, or a thrilling, suspenseful account of impending war. It may be fiction, but it is truth.
Michelle Isenhoff took on the dual world and perspective of slaves and their owners in a very brave and real way. She was not afraid to let some of her white slave owners be human and good. She showed us that they were passionate and loyal to their political convictions, that they believed in God and loved each other, and that while there were brutal, evil people involved in the institution of slavery, there were also warm, loving and charitable people. But while reading this, the whole time, you know how wrong slavery is. You see the ignorance and willful blindness of the slave owners even while you become engaged in their lives. Then you see the main character Emily Preston slowly awake to an awareness of what is wrong.
As Emily comes to this realization over time and through experiences, Isenhoff begins to reveal the slaves in Emily's world with depth and candor. You see their courage, their stoic endurance against injustice and inhumanity, their fear, their anger, their jealousies and their warmth as you realize they could love their owners and be protective and affectionate towards them. And slowly, ever so slowly, you begin to see that they dream of a different, impossible world where no one separates their family, beats them for displeasing them, forces them to toil for someone else's advantage, or denies them respect, education, and freedom. But dreams such as those are terrifying and dangerous and must be buried at all costs.
This is where I must stop myself before I give away too much of the story as I sing it's praises. I focused my review on what impressed me most, but there is so much more to this story. The characters are believable and well rounded, the descriptions are vivid but not heavy, and the story is full of all the drama, fun, and challenges of life circa 1860. Take my advice and clear your schedule before you read it. You're not going to want to do anything else....more
It is always fun to dive into another world, and this story was no exception. This particular one blends fantasy elements of magic, spells, and fairyIt is always fun to dive into another world, and this story was no exception. This particular one blends fantasy elements of magic, spells, and fairy tales with aliens, portals, and human origin. Quite an undertaking. On top of this, Bradford undertakes the soul mate thing. I have to admit I was worried about that.
Much to my relief, Caedan and Ryanne were literally drawn together with magic and attraction, but their relationship developed throughout the story. And believe me, it's not a smooth path. Caedan's emotions and actions were all over the place, as were Ryanne's sometimes. It gave a kind of jerky sensation rather than a smooth narrative, but it was exactly suited for the story that was being told. It's always interesting when the story makes you feel things that are a reflection of what the characters feel. But thank goodness, being soul mates meant that they were meant to improve and help each other in their weaknesses. It made the whole thing work for me. Especially since these two lovebirds were beautifully imperfect.
I'm a big time romance fan, so I love it when I find a clean romance to enjoy. If I was going to say anything that the author could have done better though, it would be that there could have been a better balance between the romance and the rest of the story. Bradford created a whole new world that seemed really interesting, and I would have loved to spend more time in it. I also would have liked to get a better idea of how Caedan's people interacted with the humans, and what mark they made on our world. We get hints of it, but that only made me want to know more.
I believe this was written a stand alone novel. It is certainly a complete story with a satisfying ending. However, since I would like to explore this world more, I would be happy to see another story, perhaps with some new characters in the starring role and Caedan and Ryanne as major players. ...more
I'm not a hard core zombie fan, but I have fun with it. One of my favorite songs is "The Zombie Song" by Stephanie Mabey. Kinda cutesy gruesome. So, tI'm not a hard core zombie fan, but I have fun with it. One of my favorite songs is "The Zombie Song" by Stephanie Mabey. Kinda cutesy gruesome. So, this book seemed right up my alley. And it was, but it was better than I expected. It was just utterly entertaining and deep at the same time. The characters were well drawn, the plot had a vibrant, twisting life of its own, and I loved the premise behind the story. Yep, I enjoyed this one a lot! ...more
I want to start by saying that I love the title. It's truly beautiful and relevant for the theme of this story. Titles are so tricky. This one is perfI want to start by saying that I love the title. It's truly beautiful and relevant for the theme of this story. Titles are so tricky. This one is perfect.
In the story, Ellie, or Eleanor, has gone through the very traumatic ordeal of losing her mom and is burdened by the weight of how she may have contributed to her mother's fatal decision. She is taken in by her mom's sister, Violet, who lives on an idyllic island a ferry ride and a bit away from Seattle. There she is given space and support to help her through her grieving process. Ellie eventually becomes part of a circle of friends and is quickly dragged into more drama than she ever wanted to deal with. Fortunately for her, her friendship with Will in particular, is just what she needed to help her open up and deal with her wounds. And that's good, because the past is going to catch up with her here where her mother grew up, and it carries new heartaches for her to face.
All in all, I'm glad I read this book. It was a good change from the plethora of books with girls who have had horrible things happen to them, but only suffer until their perfect soul mate comes along and makes them happy again. There was real depth to this one - an understanding that bad things happen and we just have to get through them somehow because they don't ever go away. There is, however, healing and happiness with time.