Blog Book Tour | “To Ride A White Horse” by Pamela Ford An evoking nautical #histfic which enriches your spirit simply by the tangible ache you have in your heart as you devour it’s pages.

Posted Tuesday, 2 June, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on “To Ride A White Horse” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Pamela Ford, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

A Note on the Cover Art Design:

What makes the cover design for To Ride A White Horse so epic is the convergence of the two halves of the whole – you have two leading characters opposite of the horse and the horse itself is rising up in such a dramatic pose! The woman’s eyes are downcast and unseen whereas the sturdy gaze of the man and the intensity of his stare eludes to a larger whole. It is quite an evoking cover to place on a historical romance novel, but this novel’s premise is anything but typical. It was the premise itself which had such a strong sense of urgency to be read that gave me the most wicked anticipation to see it arrive by Post!

As I like to listen to music as a back-drop to my readings as I blog:

I can definitely say I am appreciating the Classical Music selections on, as I have ducked inside the Renaissance and Classical Folk channels of music to serve as ambiance behind my readings of ‘To Ride A White Horse” as the undertone of the selections matched well with the evoking drama within the novel. Some of the selections felt a bit Irish by inspiration, even though I am most certain they were not of Irish origin (at least not all save a few), but there are similarities within music and for me, it felt quite natural to have this running in the background as I devoured the words and blogged my ruminations. Although the selections on both channels were not of my own choosing more times than naught it felt the music playing in the background were serving a greater purpose – a soundscape of this novel if you will. I shall not soon forget how aptly in-tune the selections were with the drama and the angst as it played out across the pages.

Blog Book Tour | “To Ride A White Horse” by Pamela Ford An evoking nautical #histfic which enriches your spirit simply by the tangible ache you have in your heart as you devour it’s pages.To Ride A White Horse
by Pamela Ford
Source: Author via TLC Book Tours

Ireland 1846. The potato crop has failed for the second year in a row and Ireland is in famine. When Kathleen Deacey’s fiancé doesn’t return from a summer working in the Newfoundland fisheries, she faces a devastating choice—leave Ireland to find work or risk dying there. Despising the English for refusing to help Ireland, she crosses the Atlantic, determined to save her family and find her fiancé.

But her journey doesn’t go as planned and she ends up in America, forced to accept the help of an English whaling captain, Jack Montgomery, to survive. As Jack helps her search for her fiancé and fight to save her family and country, she must confront her own prejudices and make another devastating choice—remain loyal to her country or follow her heart.

A love story inspired by actual events, To Ride a White Horse is a historical saga of hope, loyalty, the strength of the human spirit, and the power of love.

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0-9905942-1-5

Published by Aine Press

on 3rd January, 2015

Format: Paperback

Pages: 374

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published By: Aine Press

[Aine was the Queen of the Faeries in Irish mythology, the Goddess of wealth and summer]

as revealled to me as the inspiration on behalf of her company by the author

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #ToRideAWhiteHorse


About Pamela Ford

Pamela FordPamela Ford is the award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She grew up watching old movies, blissfully sighing over the romance; and reading sci-fi and adventure novels, vicariously living the action. The combination probably explains why the books she writes are romantic, happily-ever-afters with plenty of fast-paced plot.

After graduating from college with a degree in Advertising, Pam merrily set off to earn a living, searching for that perfect career as she became a graphic designer, print buyer, waitress, pantyhose sales rep, public relations specialist, copywriter, freelance writer - and finally author. Pam has won numerous awards including the Booksellers Best and the Laurel Wreath, and is a two-time Golden Heart Finalist. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and children.

A legend of an entrance into the novel:

Ireland has it’s own homespun lore and legends surrounding it’s ancestral histories, and those histories are in-part the main reasons why I was drawn into Ireland’s historical past. At first as an observer who hoped she’d one day realise she was part Irish (which thankfully she later did find out to be true!) as even the music of the Emerald Isle drew her into it’s graceful notes of ancient tones of sage. The ballads of the Celtics and the musical scores of their musicians both classical and modern, have such an evocation of the human spirit; of a natural connection to the land and to the heart of our journey whilst we walk Earth.

Their folklore and legends are part of the continuance of re-awakening my own Irish spirit I have earmarked off for future hours, but to find a novel beset by inspiration on behalf of one of the legends was quite a charming fit to find myself soaking inside. It explains the legend behind the white horse and the deeper meaning of it’s truth of being seen. It’s a strong message about hope, love, loss, and the enduring knowledge of where time and love are not bounded to each other but exist on their own individual planes. It’s a strong start to a story which is grounded in a premise whose breadth of insight into one woman’s harrowing path towards understanding the true nature and power of her own love became alarmingly centered.

My review of To Ride A White Horse:

You can ascertain the horror of the potato famine out of historical research, but when the era of time is set against the back-drop of a historical novel, and given the grace to alight in the imagination of Ms Ford, a reader can draw a steady breath of insight into that carnal vein of frustration of how farmers and families alike knew their doomed fate had returnt as soon as the stench of their destroyed crops had ferreted it’s way into their nostrils. The vivid imagery and the primal reaction of a country felt ill-forsaken by it’s neigbhour (in this case England) is keenly wrought out of narrative that gives new measure and light on a situation wrought out of an impossible situation.

As we set sail with Kathleen to a future in Canada forged out of desperation and a willingness to seek out the truth of where her beloved had gone; we start to see just how strong Kathleen’s courage is to champion through the hardships which come with such grit of strength. She’s not one to buckle out of adversity, nor is she one to refuse to bend out of her faith at the first sign of an impossible situation that leads to no true resolution. Out of the throes of a horrid storm, she ends up on a whaling ship with a Captain Jack whose temper is quelled by a newfound compassion for a woman he never felt would be able to get him to rise into his sensitive nature. The details of the whaling ship are apt for the era and Ford does the reader a kindness in owning to the truth of the whaling trade without crossing the line to the repulsiveness of it for readers who have sensitive hears; mine included. I appreciated the overview of the ship’s necessities but with a pulled back reflection of what simply was their daily trade and a greater focus on the men, including the reactions of how the Captain felt on having Kathleen aboard.

The imagery doesn’t leave much to the imagination for sure, but it is tempered with Kathleen’s own thoughts on the situation which for me felt beneficial because it transferred what was happening at sea into a juxtaposition against Kathleen’s own fate and the fate of her beloved family left back in Ireland. She felt a direct connection to the whales and how the plight of the whales reflected the plight of Irish. I am thinking this allegory is why the whaling trade might have been picked for this story — the transpositions are incredibly laced with truth and a deeper level of meaning. It was a trade that was able to provide for those who hadn’t another way to survive, even if between their century and my own; I took a different view of the trade itself.

Kathleen remains true to her conviction of securing a future for her family, even whilst she’s cast out to the neverending search for whales of which will ensure her freedom; to gain exit from a whaling ship is to fulfill the mission of the ship. Her faith and her belief that she will have the time needed to create a mark of change for her family has a stirring effect on Captain Jack, but more to the point, it’s her resilience and her defiant confidence. Her beliefs both in the mystical (of her Irish heritage) and the spiritual are now far removed from anyone else he has encountered, and thus, she presents a bit of a challenge for him to circumvent.

Kathleen by her own merits, is growing into a new version of herself, where daring bravery intermixes with a moxie that owns to her lineage but was given to her in the height of uncertainty. She leans on her faith as much as she tries to recollect the soothing words of her dear Mum; words which are harmonic in their reasoning, poetic in their verse, and call back to the ancients for wisdom not always wanted by man. Nettling out affirmations in Gaelic whilst seeing sea shanties being kicked up to the heel steps of fiddles was quite the bliss to find inside To Ride A White Horse as mythology and lore are interlaced directly into the narrative voice of where the characters overlay into the narrator’s gentle nudging of where this story is guiding us to move forward.

One of the most beautiful portions of this story’s grace is the differences in how the characters are speaking, as Kathleen is very much an Irish bourne lass, who sees the world through a particular lens countered against the harsher mirror of Captain Jack’s hard-won life at sea. His heritage is English, and the discrepancies of both their worlds come true to face as each has to accept the faults, the limits, and the truth of each of their own paths. For me, I could nearly proffer Kathleen a bit of tea or a hearty Irish meal for a ready conversation if only to hear her speak aloud the words which made me smile throughout the novel. It is a nod of gratitude I give to Ford to allow Kathleen to speak in her native tongue and to speak in a way which was directly reflective of her heritage. This is historical fiction rooted in realism and it’s the kind I have a keen preference for reading.

As the history intercepts with the fiction, we take up flight against the outcry of support for Ireland – a country cast-off and destitute against any hope to survive. This story arches back and forth against the famine and the after effects of indifference; where hope could have spawned support only a small flicker of light now rains against the oblivion of fate. As Kathleen tries to make her way in the New World, her countrymen are losing their battle against time and what befalls a man who has nothing left but their faith. Sustenance for the spirit but not enough to save the body. It’s a sad and eloquent portrait of how the strength of a people were shattered by prejudice and an incapacity for compassion.

The best of stories weave a heart of joy
into the ending chapters which wink out a smirk of a laugh
upon the reader for seeing how a seed of change is as close as a breath of life.

Reflecting on the historical evocation of Pamela Ford:

I hadn’t realised she was a Harlequin Romance author until I was writing up my review as I somehow let that bit of knowledge slip past me whilst I was joining the blog tour. The keen part for me is that I have a soft spot of appreciation for Harlequin (for the well-known imprints such as Mira and the saving of Heartsong Presents) authors because many of the writers who start with Harlequin (of whom I am well read) have taken flight on their own accords or moved forward with other publishers, aligning their writerly pursuits into genres and choices of narrative that keep in step with my own literary wanderings. It is always quite a wicked joy of discovery when I find one of them coming into their own outside the Harlequin umbrella, and even though my path did not cross with Ford’s until this moment, it still felt wicked sweet to celebrate this new stage of her literary pursuits!

As I had lightly mentioned in my review, the whaling trade of the 19th Century (and of different centuries before and after) brought to the surface my own thoughts and feelings about the lines men crossed to turn a profit. When it comes to the historical past, I am a bit more lenient with my tolerances because it was a different life back then, and a different word-view than the one of modern times starting within the 20th Century (from whence I was bourne). To criticise the men of the 19th against the knowledge I gained in the 20th would do them a disservice which is why I did not talk about those differences but approach this narrative as a historical piece befit it’s time, setting, and with that honouring the lives of the men who lived on the sea by the sea.

It was not just for whalers, but for fishermen, lobstermen, and other trades which percured a living out of the sea and allowed the men to bring back a fair trade (or perhaps a small living trade more likely) to sustain themselves or their families. It was not for the weak – of heart, mind, and spirit – nor was it a life to be taken without courage, to set off without much knowledge of seafaring life nor of the trade in which they were employed, was such a risk of their lives before even embarking out of the docks. To find a writer such as Pamela Ford who writes intrinsically about the realities of the men as equal match to Sherryl Caulfield’s epic opener of the Iceberg Trilogy (also set between sea and Canada) is an impressive find as a book blogger whose heart is deeply attached to the sea and to guttingly honest historical fiction.

Both women have created their own personal niche for this part of the world, anchoured by love and adversity they have found a way to write a new standard for compelling nautical fiction which gives a new voice to the sea and to the men who dare to earn a living off it’s resources. Yet, both give us so much more than seafaring story – they entomb their novels with a clarity of the human spirit and a humanistic approach to writing stories where your own spirit feels tethered to the lead characters. It’s though-provoking, it’s stimulating and it’s the kind of stories you want to wick out the gaslights by reading page after page until the very last word has entered your imagination and buoyancy has returnt to your being.

Another writer who captured my attention for a romance on the high seas directly aboard ship was Zana Bell who had such a way as Ford does to convey the thoughts and passion of a man and woman brought together by unusual circumstances and due to the confined space of a ship at sea find an attraction they never thought they’d feel for each other. I am finding my heart is yearning for more high seas epics and the writers I am reading are satisfying the curiosity I have for stories which evoke passion and tension in equal measure. Methinks the next novel which might tempt me to become bewitched by the high seas could be Courtenay’s Trade Winds. Time shall let out.

It isn’t oft I find myself enchanted by Irish characters who are not lighting up a novel by Julie Lessman, of whom gave my heart a wanton ache to find other Irish families to rally behind. It’s a blessing I’ve been able to expand my readings and my collection of stories to new writers who endeavour to uplift the Irish with such a positive legacy of characters. I, fear, my beloved O’ Connor clan in Boston now has a full brood of Irish cousins in the Deacey’s to join them! What wicked joy finding two Irish families to give me such heart lifting joy to read!

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Reader Interactive Question:
What do you find the most alluring about The Canadian Maritimes, the lives of the Irish from the 19th Century, and life on the high seas!? What sweeps you away into a dramatic historical fiction wrought out of the historical past with such a heart-filled realistic tale that provokes your own heart to become entwined into the story!? Is it the characters, the setting, or the arc of where the story leads!?

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “To Ride A White Horse”, book synopsis, author photograph of Pamela Ford, author biography and the tour badge were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Tuesday, 2 June, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Folklore and Mythology, Historical Fiction, History, Indie Author, Ireland, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Literary Fiction, Literature of Ireland, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Newfoundland, Realistic Fiction, TLC Book Tours

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2 responses to “Blog Book Tour | “To Ride A White Horse” by Pamela Ford An evoking nautical #histfic which enriches your spirit simply by the tangible ache you have in your heart as you devour it’s pages.

    • Hallo, Hallo Heather!

      Ooh, I do as well! :) I have loved stories set in Ireland for a long, long time now. This was partially why I loved the story within the film “P.S. I Love You” – which now has a sequel to be released (need to finally read the stories!). I also have a direct connection to Ireland through ancestry myself – though I wish I could pin it down a bit more in regards to ‘where’ in Ireland our roots are located. Sadly they didn’t use a lot of middle names and everyone seemed to have the same first/last so that complicates it rather severely! :(

      I hope you’ve had the chance to get a copy of this novel – I felt it was such an original read and I was truly surprised when I went to follow-up with the author to see if she had more Historicals published that she went in a different direction. I am not sure if she ever released more #HistFic but I felt she was such a natural at telling these kinds of stories, I was hoping there might be more of them one day. This was another favourite discovery of mine whilst I hosted for TLC!

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