#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “The Fire of Winter” by D.K. Marley a unique spin re-delving into the canon of “MacBeth”!

Posted Saturday, 10 August, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

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Acquired Book By:

I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring.

It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.

I received a complimentary of “The Fire of Winter” direct from the author D.K. Marley, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why this story appealled to me & how I arrived inside the chapters:

I have a short history involving MacBeth – as it was the play of choice for seniors who took a year to study Shakespeare whilst I was in high school whilst it was also the subject of an after canon re-telling audiobook I previously reviewed. I didn’t get to study the Bard in school but I did get to help the seniors pass their exams as a sophomore who only read one full page layout of the play and intuited enough from that layout to take them through their exams. The conversation that led afterwards with their teacher is one of my fondest memories as she couldn’t quite sort out how they all came to the same conclusions and yet didn’t have an entry point in their defended statements of how they arrived at those answers. Smiles. Sometimes school can surprise you and beat the droll-drums.

Similarly, to my readings of “Sign of the White Foal” – I had plans to do a sequencing of reading ahead of diving into “The Fire of Winter”: I had planned to read two Non-Fiction releases – Wisdom of the Middle Ages & Wisdom of the Renaissance – whilst I wanted to dig back into “The Lost Queen” as well – to have this lovely immersion experience in cross-relating stories and subjects of interest. *However!* – instead my week was wrecked by plumbers, a migraine & more life woes than a girl can shake a stick at in apt frustration! Be as it were – I had to reschedule my review & the interview I am hosting with this author in order to give myself a bit of time to rest & cover the energies I needed to properly read the novel.

When you haven’t a way of reaching your books & your blog, you just have to hope and pray the hours you have after the chaos recedes allows you enough serenity to ‘catch up’ and find the blissitude you had before the chaos overtook your readerly hours! At least, this is how I re-directed my heart and mind as I read “The Fire of Winter” in the early morning hours of Saturday as a chase-up to posting my review before lunch was ready to serve.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “The Fire of Winter” by D.K. Marley a unique spin re-delving into the canon of “MacBeth”!The Fire of Winter
by D.K. Marley
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

She is known as Lady Macbeth.
What leads her down the path of murder?
What secrets fire her destiny?

Gruah, granddaughter of King Cìnéad III of the Royal Clan Alpin, marries two men in less than six months, one she loves and one she hates; one in secret, the other arranged by the High King of Scotland. At the age of eighteen, she lays her palm upon the ancient stone of Scone and sees her destiny as Queen of Scotland, and she vows to do whatever necessary to see her true love, Macbeth macFindlaech, beside her on the throne.

Amid the fiery times and heated onslaughts from Denmark and England, as the rule of Scotland hangs in the balance, Gruah seeks to win the throne and bring revenge upon the monsters of her childhood, no matter the cost or amount of blood tainting her own hands; yet, an unexpected meeting with the King called the Confessor causes her to question her bloody path and doubt her once blazing pagan faith. Will she find redemption or has the blood of her past fire-branded her soul?

The story weaves the play by William Shakespeare with the actual history of Macbeth and his Queen in 11th-century Scotland.

“…a woman’s story at a winter’s fire…”
(Macbeth, Act III, Scene IV)

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1724914965

Also by this author: The Fire of Winter (Interview)

Genres: After Canons, Classical Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical-Fantasy, Re-telling &/or Sequel


Published by White Rabbit Publishing

on 1st June, 2019

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 355

Published by: White Rabbit Publishing

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
as well as #Shakespearean and #MacBeth

Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

About D.K. Marley

DK Marley

D. K. Marley is a historical fiction writer specializing in Shakespearean themes. Her grandmother, an English Literature teacher, gave her a volume of Shakespeare’s plays when she was eleven, inspiring DK to delve further into the rich Elizabethan language.

Eleven years ago she began the research leading to the publication of her first novel “Blood and Ink,” an epic tale of lost dreams, spurned love, jealousy and deception in Tudor England as the two men, William Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe, fight for one name and the famous works now known as the Shakespeare Folio.

She is an avid Shakespearean / Marlowan, a member of the Marlowe Society, the Shakespeare Fellowship and a signer of the Declaration of Intent for the Shakespeare Authorship Debate. She has traveled to England three times for intensive research and debate workshops and is a graduate of the intense training workshop “The Writer’s Retreat Workshop” founded by Gary Provost and hosted by Jason Sitzes. She lives in Georgia with her husband and a Scottish Terriers named Maggie and Buster.

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why I ‘let go’ of the glossary & who’s who whilst reading:

Being I had a limited time window to read The Fire of Winter due to reasons I’ve already disclosed in the top anchour of this review – I decided to approach this novel in the same vein I had Sign of the White Foal; rather than reading it after refreshing my memory about MacBeth as I had done with an audiobook after canon in the past.

I must say, when it comes to the Picts, I seem to be encountering them quite frequently lately! I seem to be moving into a new niche of Historical Fiction; one which has taken me a bit by surprise, but at the heart of which inspires me because it reaches backwards into a portion of my own ancestral lines and thereby enriches the readerly experience as I try to imagine what my ancestors might have been like through the characters I’ve been discovering. The interesting bit though is how I seem to be journeying into similar worlds – where either Shakespeare, the Gaelic or the Scots and/or the Anglo-Saxons are involved. Reading is a wicked fascinating adventure and I am appreciating this new route of the historic path I am carving out to traverse!

my review of the fire of winter:

If you want to settle your reader into the heart of the scene rather immediately after she opens your novel, I think when it comes to opening paragraphs DK Marley takes the ultimate star award for dramatic entrances! Not only do you gather the emotional rooting of this scene – partially built against the purity of rage and anger; as clearly the woman whose allowing men to die by flame and fire isn’t concerned with their dangerous demise but rather, the freedom (or so it appears) their death shall yield to her as a result of their premature deaths. This doesn’t outright surprise me because raids, unexpected coups and power re-alignments were quite common during this particular century as those who wished for power didn’t go about it diplomatically; rather, they plundered it off the lands of others, stole it outright or found ways to circumvent the ethical divides between the ruling class and pirating your destiny out of a world rife with war.

Gruah is a woman caught in a circumstance not of her own choosing – if you follow that thread you’d find she was ready to embrace a life with a man she desired to be with rather than one she was forced to remain enchained. The interesting bit here though is how Marley handles the scene as she doesn’t let us see the remorse of her character (not that I felt she had any to yield) nor does she give her time to apologise for her impulsive actions (again, I didn’t feel that was plausible!) – no, instead, she presents her just as she were – her faults surfacing with malice whilst carrying a gleaming glow of self-satisfaction. This was a woman who knew what she wanted, how she would achieve it and dare anyone to tell her differently. She leaves her mark and her mark is by fire and sword.

As Gruah grows in her hatred towards her newly wed husband forced on her by her father – an exchange of alliance and power; nothing more – she begins to emerge as Lady MacBeth. The woman who would turn her heart to stone if it meant finding her own internal power to eradicate the ills done against her – as you find her plotting her revenges even as she takes her first steps into her new marriage. Of course, she is already “MacBeth” in both honour and declared love; married to Lord MacBeth in secret and yet, secreted from that truth due to the alignment of strife to overtake her father’s and the King’s wishes on her behalf. I was curious about what changed the woman’s right to choose her own spouse – as it was mentioned briefly that they used to be able to make those choices outside the purview of the men; where their own destiny was once their own and not owned by others who did as they willed whether or not it was consented or accepted. In that regard, there are a lot of contemporary issues for women’s rights penetrating through MacBeth’s struggle to find the right action to fuse with her words; as her wrath was always spoken but its the actions she needs to take which take longer to formulate.

We already know how it ends but it is how she progressed from the start of her marriage to the scenes wicking to life in the Prologue which arch us forward to a moment where Lady MacBeth is fully in her element of fire and cursed fame where we tuck closer to this journey she undertook in lieu of throwing the gauntlet down early-on and declaring her freedom from this misery before it took root. That is the telling bit I felt – of how she chose to take the harder path, decidedly to yield her more time to contemplate what she could do to those who acted against her but I also felt it would re-fuell her intense rationing of mind to inflict more harm than the foulest she had felt herself. Pain it seemed was MacBeth’s ally and truest strength of contest – she would rather see others curl against their own weaknesses and suffer a tenfold than to simply let them walk. She was calculating in many ways if you contemplate it enough to see how with her wings clipped so early-on in life, she morphed into a different creature altogether. If anything, I felt she used men as much as men used her – the gains differed but the ending results were the same – she wanted to prove her point and prove her will as much as they did themselves.

The hardest part though is when you learn the truth of her past – of how what was taken from her ought never have happened and this is where Marley brings back the cause and effect of how women have little recourse and right to claim aide when they need it most. Although the scenes are plainly stated, Marley pulled back a bit here – to let Lord MacBeth tuck close to Lady MacBeth and let her emotions purge through her rather than have her rehash everything a child shouldn’t have had to endure whilst as an adult, he opted instead to give her compassion and the sympathy she was righted to be given all those years prior. In that once instance, Lord MacBeth understood Gruah in a way no one else did.

Outside of Gruah and Lord MacBeth’s paths to follow, we also see the life of the Pict’s and the ways in which this part of Scottish history was slain through with bloodshed in order to pave the route towards exchanging one heir of power for another. You get to preview the conversations and the interactions of how those who had power and those who ached after it were attempting to move themselves closer to their goals. These men did not have honour nor did they have justice in their souls; they would rather take than give and what they took it was at the loss of what they left in their wakes. They were not honourable men and what they did whilst they were in battle and outside of it is not the life of gentleman but rather the bullies of both war and women.

It was here where Marley explored what would happen if Lady MacBeth had enough time to plot and twist the fates of everyone in the fray of fight towards securing a Scotland whose claim to power was secured through both heirs and marriages of bloodlines. You can see how she had to become cunningly strong because without that internal strength how else would she have attacked at a moment of opportunity?

It is a hard novel to read in many regards because of how it descends and rises through the pacing of the play – including the fall of madness in Lord MacBeth. There is violence yes, as these are not people who opt for diplomacy to solve their problems, they’d rather take to the sword and see who is the better of combatants than to use talk to diffuse their differences. There are scenes which are hard to read just due to what they involve but at the heart of the novel is the life of MacBeth; both the husband and the wife. You get to re-examine what motivated them, what sparked the love between them and what ultimately drove them apart – you see those moments they shared together and how they perceived of their future by secret plotting.

The most powerful part of the story is the conclusion – where Lady MacBeth has a final say about what is meant to be remembered about herself. In that confession, you peer close to her soul and her heart; you see into her the truthfulness of her actions and the ways in which she felt she had to act in order to secure her own destiny. The difficulties of those choices however had consequences that do not wait to rest on a mind hardened by the actions of a woman who was aflame with murderous intentions to accomplish the deeds she first felt would define her and secure her future. You had to contemplate if she had the option to re-live it, what would she choose and what would she change; if anything? Or was it all pre-destined and her life lived out just as it was meant?

on the historical & Macbethian styling of d.k. marley:

Marley has written an historical novel rife with conflict and the secrets which never stay in the past but which re-rise in the future when they are meant to be known. Her Lady MacBeth is a woman who is attempting to right the wrongs against her by taking action as an adult when she couldn’t act as a child. It is a story of redemption but also, of self-sacrifice as in this version of MacBeth you understand better what anchoured her to the darker roots of her faith and how the Earthen Spirituality she shared with her Mum was the only grounding foundation she had to battle against the horrors of her youth.

Marley also broaches the current topics of women’s rights, domestic violence against women and the suffering hours of being victims of sexual violence as children. She moves instinctively through the actions of the present and counters it with the recollected memories of the past to where you can overlay the past with the present and understand how everyone is on this collision course to where fate, life and death are interchanging their roles. It is a story that is fuelled by revenge but it is also a story of injustice and the purity of true love which seeks to rise through the ashes and lay claim to the purity of how love when it is freely given is a freedom of its own.

Small Fly in the Ointment:

Marley has a knack for the horrors of battle and the depictions that go with them; there are different scenes which might be harder to read for those who are not used to war dramas but even for myself, I had to gloss over quite a few as I honestly could have held less descriptions in those moments than the exacting details we were given. I understood their inclusions, as it befit the scenes but for me personally, I just could have done with a bit ‘less’ than ‘more’.

Outside of that small note of content issues – I felt this novel was a close examination of “MacBeth” and the ways in which the characters of a play can inspire a historical drama.

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On why I love listening to musical scores, soundscapes, overtures & lyrical ballards as I read:

On a night where it was hard to just focus and find a way to re-adjust back into reading after such a chaotic week, I turnt to Spotify as music helps me ‘tune in’ to books when I have a bit too much on my mind – I didn’t know what music would anchour me properly into “The Fire of Winter” – took a chance on Summer Acoustic and have been finding the randomness of those selections to befit the style of narrative DK Marley has writ!

The selections are soulful, slow and smooth – lyrically inspiring and offered a great backdrop as I soaked into the world of MacBeth and this after canon Historical Fiction.

I wonder which kinds of soundscapes my readers & fellow bookish spirits love listen to as they soak into a novel they’ve been itching to read? I sometimes try to tempt the story with a soundscape I feel ‘fits’ the heart of the story itself – other times, I play round with the choices on Spotify til I find the ‘one’ that sparks & resonates with the characters and/or the author’s style – tonight, though, what a lovely random surprise fit!

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTFollow the Virtual Road Map

as you visit others participating:

As this particular one has a bookaway along the route:

The Fire of Winter blog tour via HFVBTs
 I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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Reading this story contributed to a few of my 2019 reading challenges:

2019 HistFic Reading Challenge banner created by Jorie in Canva.

2019 New Release Challenge created by mylimabeandesigns.com for unconventionalbookworms.com and is used with permission.

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “The Fire of Winter”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of D.K. Marley, the tour host badge and HFVBTs badge were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. 2019 New Release Challenge badge provided by unconventionalbookworms.com and is used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #SaturdaysAreBookish banner, Historical Fiction Reading Challenge banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

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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 Saturday, 10 August, 2019 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 11th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, After the Canon, Anglo-Saxon History, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book for University Study, Bookish Discussions, Britian, Cosy Horror, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, England, Good vs. Evil, Heroic Bloodshed, Heroic Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Literature for Boys, Men's Fiction, Military Fiction, Re-Told Tales, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Spin-Off Authors, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Sword & Scorcery, Vulgarity in Literature, Warfare & Power Realignment




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