Well, I’m excited to be taking part in my first blog-tour. I’ve never done this before, but I made a resolution this year to start promoting other authors, and this is a great way to start. It’s also a great book to start with.
But first things first, I must add a quick confession. When I volunteered, I had no idea this book was not fantasy. I thought it was fantasy for the first I don’t know how many chapters. Then I looked on Goodreads and saw people calling it historical fiction. Oops.
|The dreamy cover.|
So, this is not a genre I typically read. Keep that in mind. If you’re an avid historical fiction reader, you’ll probably have different tastes and different opinions about this book. But maybe it’s valuable, or at least interesting to see it through the eyes of somebody who’s more of a speculative junkie. So here we go.
But first, the synopsis
Eighteen year old Izzy's limited world begins to feel cramped after she completes her self-appointed book dare. After reading two-hundred and fifty books, a thought that had been once tucked away as tightly as the books on her library shelves becomes too irresistible to ignore...Who am I?
Memory loss prohibits Izzy from remembering her life before age seven when she was suffered a terrible trauma that left her with intense physical scars. Jonathan Gudwyne and his head housekeeper rescued Izzy and took her in as their own, but who did she belong to before they took her in?
Crippling panic keeps Izzy from wandering beyond the stables but Tubs, the Gudwyne's young stable boy, encourages Izzy to go beyond the property's rock wall into a world that promises possible answers but also great danger. A scorched castle in the woods and its mysterious cellar filled with secrets sets Izzy on a path to the New World, where she will not only have to face her own terror but face the people responsible for her scars.
It is here, in the untamed wilds of the seventeenth century that she finds love and a home in the most of unexpected of places.
Things I liked
· Nature. This story places a great deal of value and emphasis on nature, which for me is always a plus. I loved the descriptions of natural settings, especially once we got to the New World. This outdoorsy aspect of the setting also led naturally to some great details on survival and hunting, which I also love. Survival stories always bring out the grit and determination in characters, which is something I find very satisfying, as a reader.
· The U. P. If I were to move somewhere else in the US, it would very likely be the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. My family has vacationed there every Fall for almost all my life. I was delighted to find myself there in a work of fiction. It makes for a beautiful, and to me very familiar backdrop. I definitely share Lash’s passion for that area.
· Native Americans Yes. I love how she handled the Native American aspect of this story. It was woven in seamlessly and gave the story it’s flavor. The best thing was, the Native American characters were just that—actual characters. They weren’t token bitter sob-story props or faceless savages. They were actual people with actual souls, quirks, aspirations, relationships. I read a few books featuring Native Americans earlier in life, and they always seemed to focus on the differences between them and the White Man, not the humanness of both. This was inspiring. I want to see more of this!
· Reconciliation I will always take a story about forgiveness and healing. This is a major theme in WWaAP. It’s explored on many levels between characters and between larger groups of people. In the secular world, reconciliation between races is almost a taboo. People shy away from acknowledging that it is the only way scars ever heal. This book doesn’t do that. The people in this story have all been wounded and broken be each other. No, forgiveness doesn’t make the pain or the scars go away instantly, but it is the only hope. The characters are learning to act on that in their broken relationships.
· Plot twists/amnesia Okay, so where there is amnesia, there will be plot-twists. This is honestly what attracted me to this book. The story is a series of revelations about the main character’s painful and traumatic past. It deals with how she chooses to handle them as the memories return. This kept me reading, even when I wasn’t otherwise particularly engaged.
· Non-romantic relationships Guys, this story focused on a lot of different relationship dynamics and guess what? Some of them were not romantic. This is awesome. More like this, please. There are so many different ways people relate to each other and all too often authors neglect them for Friend, Enemy, Love Interest. There’s so much more to work with, and Lash took the time to look deeply at many different pairings of characters and explore their dynamics. Yes.
Things I didn’t like
· Pacing issues The first half seems a little slow. There were a few chapters that didn’t seem all that important to the story. Sometimes I got a little bogged down in descriptions of clothes and flowers and biscuits. But then again, like I said, historical romance is not my genre by any means, so my expectations are likely a bit off.
· Emotional monotony Okay, so this is something that really gets me, though other people might not notice. I have trouble getting into a book that is basically dead serious the whole time. There is a lot of crying in this book. It makes sense, situations are very serious and often painful. But for me, it actually makes it so I care a lot less about the characters’ pain when I rarely see them laughing, joking and just generally on top of their game. It’s harder to connect for me when characters are in emotional turmoil most of the time.
· Characters a bit predictable You’ve got your motherly housekeeper who is, of course rather stout, and fond of flowers, you’ve got your handsome protective love interest what love interest what are you talking about? With his secret scars. Then there’s the adorable little boy with freckles and bouncing red curls who somehow doesn’t seem all of thirteen at all. Oh, and the competition—the stiff pale lady who wants to marry the love interest what love interest for his money. There was a lot of very strong characterization in this book, don’t get me wrong, it was done quite well. I just wished I hadn’t seen them so many times before.
· Certain situations and subjects One thing I don’t understand is why some authors have to write about throwing up multiple times within a book. I mean, this is your story, you can decide weather you want to include things like that. Even if it isn’t at all graphic (it wasn’t in this case) I honestly start skimming when people start getting sick. There was even a story in the authors note at the end. She for some reason felt the need to tell us about the only time she remembers throwing up. Which naturally makes me resentful, since I can remember approximately fifty times myself…. Everything makes me sick, man. I also prefer to avoid the subject of cannibalism, if possible. (Again, not graphic, but it’s lingered on for a bit too long for my uh…taste.)
And Kind of a Pro/Con
· Very personal I’m kind of intimidated by stories that are closely linked to an author’s own deep pain and past trials. I want to see a story objectively and going into it with a lot of the authors’ backstory makes me a bit uncomfortable doing that. I tend to sort of freak out when I find a biographical author’s note in the back of a novel.
But on the other hand, this is going to be different for other people. For some I imagine this will deepen your understanding and appreciation of the story. Writing a novel can be a great way to heal and a great way to share the healing with many others who have faced similar battles.
It’s a story worth reading, aside from my issues with it. It definitely deserves an audience of avid historical readers who love stories of faith, forgiveness, and healing. It’s an honest look at the secrets we keep and the things we carry alone that we were meant to carry together. If you love a story that’s a mix of inspiration, romance, legend, and a splash of adventure, try White Wolf and Ash Princess.
About the Author
About the Author
Tammy lives in Lower Michigan with her husband and her three children. Izzy's home in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (Munising) is where she and her family enjoy exploring. Tammy enjoys hiking, kayaking, beach wandering, "hunting" for birch bark and hopes to someday find a porcupine quill. White Wolf and the Ash Princess is her first novel. She is published in Keys for Kids and has been in children's ministry for over twenty years.
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/tamlash5
- Pinterest: http://pinterest/tamlash5
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/TammyLash5
Oh, and there’s also a giveaway. Just enter it, ‘kay?