Blog Book Tour | “Ice Whispers: Book 1 of the Hidden Hills Saga” by K. Willow

Posted Wednesday, 14 October, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 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 the “The Hidden Hills Saga” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of “Ice Whispers” the first book in the series direct from the author K. Willow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

I love reading Southern Lit:

I have been reading Southern Lit for several decades now, as I appreciate reading stories set in the South for both historical and contemporary stories. Southern Gothic runs close to my wanderings in Southern Lit as the two tend to walk together inasmuch as they are completely separate from each other. What I appreciate the most about Southern Lit are the courageous stories of the men and women who overcame their adversities and their difficulties in ways that truly champion the spirit of humanity.

You’ll find a variety of stories set in the South being featured on my blog, as I gravitate towards this section of literature quite often. Tara Conklin’s The House Girl left a strong impression on me for her convicting narrative and her ability to knit the heart of her characters so true to their spirit as to allow us to become emphatically tied to their plight. (review) Christina Baker Kline writes the psychological and emotional tides of her characters quite well as read in Sweet Water. (review) For socioeconomic disparity and gutting realistic narrative set against actual events,  the duo of Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly left me pensively reposed after reading The Tilted World. (review) My heart nearly broke whilst reading Balm due to the soulful prose writ by Dolen Perkins-Valdez (review); only to become properly shattered whilst caught into the emotional eclipse Katy Simpson Smith gave me in The Story of Land and Sea. (review)

The entreat I took inside To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was a feast for my senses as Andra Watkins has styled her own Southern Lit flavour to bend genres to her will. (review) When it comes to slavery and the Underground Railroad, (outside of Conklin’s prose) I felt Coopey endeared the heart of those who felt the harsh punishments were deeply against humanity within the pages of Redfield Farm. (review)

Imagine my delight in finding a Self Pub author who is creating a series set in the antebellum South who is creating her own niche for this type of story; putting a darker spin on the traditional tales set here and keeping in step with the backdrop we already appreciate.

Blog Book Tour | “Ice Whispers: Book 1 of the Hidden Hills Saga” by K. WillowIce Whispers
by K. Willow
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Slavery of a different kind, beyond physical chains, leads to a different type of escape . . .

Marissa Kristofferson can taste freedom. Her long years of suffering at the hands of her sadistic husband, Lance, are coming to an end as he lies dying. But she is stunned when he reveals the contents of his will and what she must do to keep Kristofferson Plantation, and how he plans to keep her bound to him even beyond the grave.

The beautiful slave Lolley has always envied Marissa’s life, and after learning that the master has also ordered her freed after his death, she is determined to reach for the life she wants by becoming the mistress of Marissa’s son, Shane, though she does not realize the lengths Marissa will go to to prevent the match, or the far-reaching consequences that will follow.

And Shelby, the plain and dutiful slave of free blacks, is unwittingly caught in the shocking drama that unfolds as a family is torn apart. Used as a pawn in a game of rivalry, deception, and betrayal, hers is a fight for survival while attempting to remain true to herself.

Three women—so very different but each carrying dark secrets that are closely intertwined, caught in a world between slave and free, a world which is becoming more fragile and precarious as war threatens and alliances shift, and each harboring seemingly impossible dreams of a better future.

In this first book of a dark historical saga, K. Willow paints a lush, emotional portrait of scandal, murder, injustice, and the ties that bind in the antebellum South.

Genres: Historical Fiction, Southern Lit


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781502953797

Series: The Hidden Hills Saga,


Published by Self Published

on 21st November 2014

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 276

Self Published Author via CreateSpace & BookBaby
Available Formats: Paperback & Ebook

About K. Willow

K. Willow

K. Willow is a novelist and award-winning writer with a background in television, film, theatre, and soap operas. She writes dark historical and urban fantasy and lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband.

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Hidden Hills is the setting; the plantation is where the drama revolves:

Willow has started a series set at a plantation within the proximity of Hidden Hills, of which by observation is within range of Charleston. It is here where she sets her characters and her saga to have the foundation laid for the ensuing novels that will follow Ice Whispers. Hidden Hills is aptly named as there are a heap of hidden secrets whispering around the willows and shade trees as their are stars in the heavens! It’s quite an interesting set-up where nary a character is immune to one of the bubbling controversies that are bubbling to the surface, save Aggie. (or at least thus far)

In this place, perception is paramount above all else (as in most Southern Lit stories, the classes are sharply writ and reflected against each other; the same as they are in Victorian or Regency stories) and if someone takes an unfortunate step out of where they are slated to belong, the upturning effect could be quite devastating. There are darker shades of reflection on how women are treated (both slave and free) and how certain men treat their wives without compassion for their well-being.

My review of Ice Whispers:

We are privy to a private conversation between a dying man and his kin where his revelations of his plans for his plantation are anything but typical. His wife, married young and without freedoms of her own to live independent from his control, Marissa swallows fear and nearly chokes on the revelation of her ill-gotten husband’s bequeaths of inheritance. His son is full of celebration but for the wrong reasons, as his oats are not yet sowed and his thoughts are wayward from honour. The one person Marissa cannot tolerate in her world (outside of her husband) is the one person her husband is bent on having her tethered too after his last breath.

Quite the tides of change happening all at once – as Aggie (a house slave) has a daughter (Lolley) who for whichever reason has a personality that would be classified as a shrewd prune. Her loyalty is questionable and her motives are secretively hidden behind the veil she masks her face inside to the outside world. Unreadable and an uncertainty about her intentions, I felt sympathic towards Aggie as she took Lolley to live with the Franklins. In a towne as small as Hidden Hills, the Franklins are making a name for themselves as a free-black family who are self-sufficient in their trade of business. Except to say the secrets of their house are as daunting as the plantation owners! No one is truly who they appear to be on the surface and I think the undercurrent of the sociology of Willow’s characters is meant to examine the greater scope of the darker shades of humanity.

Shelby has been within the Franklin household the longest and as her back-story is revealled you can start to see a threading of insight Willow has been knitting into her novel. She has taken honest accounts of what slaves faced and lived with as they went through their duties to their masters whilst giving them the honour of telling their story in their own ways. I appreciated how Shelby is a bit off-putting at first, because you don’t know what is motivating her; the same to be said with Lolley except with Lolley it’s self-centeredness not self-preservation. Shelby’s story-line is one of the more heartening ones to read because she was at such a tender age when she came into service. She has had her own hopes for her future which Lolley dismisses out of hand due to how she distances herself from the other girl; almost as if she feels her station is above her rather than on equal ground.

I’m not sure if I would classify this as ‘dark historical fiction’ as much as I would say it’s an evolving dramatic story about the choices people make that can effectively alter other people’s lives of whom they may or may not be as concerned about as their own. It’s a strong story about how the choices you make can have collateral damage on another person’s life especially if your casting your whims on a world that is not yet prepared to embrace the life you’ve chosen to lead.

Ice Whispers has a strong secondary cast and the central leads are so into themselves they cannot see past their own wants and needs. For me, personally, I was very moved by how Willow told the story and how she centered Shelby right into the middle of the fray that was exploding around her; as it spoke volumes towards who had the better heart between the two women.

K. Willow has a natural voice for Southern Lit:

You can tell the wordsmiths who appreciate their research and the conveyance of thought into crafting their stories as they are the ones like Willow who have written such a curiously realistic novel that you nearly forsake fact for fiction. She has settled into a voiced spirit of the South, a living lifeline of that time and era where no one was truly safe nor free; depending on the circumstances of their marriage or station. She carries with those echoes from the past, a truism of how life was shaped and forged out of the situations where tolerance and compassion were not always co-partners in harmony.

Rounding the edges of the drama that is slowly budding up to a climax, is the things left unsaid and the words which are overheard by ears not meant to hear them. Ice Whispers tucks itself inside the psychological threads of it’s character’s internal thoughts whilst giving the reader a lot of intersecting details which correlate to the whole of the story.

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The Virtual Road Map for “The Hidden Hills Saga” can be found here:

{ click-through to follow the tour & find more reader’s impressions! } This review was delayed due to lightning storms which caused a variety of technical issues which left me offline for the greater portion of late August through mid September, which is why I had to re-schedule my review. After I re-scheduled my tour stop I took ill and therefore my review was postponed until today }

Ice Whispers Blog Tour via HFVBTs

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See what I am hosting next on my Bookish Events page!

I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments on behalf of this review. Especially if you read the novel or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst bloggers who picked up the same novel to read on a blog tour.

Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Ice Whispers”, book synopsis, author photograph of K. Willow, author biography, the tour host badge & were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

I’m a social read | I tweet as I read:

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 Wednesday, 14 October, 2015 by jorielov in 19th Century, African-American History, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Psychological Abuse, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Small Towne USA, The Deep South, Vulgarity in Literature




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