Category: Diary Accountment of Life

#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. Laugheed

Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I am launching a new weekly featured concentration of book reviews on Jorie Loves A Story which celebrates my love and passion for the historical past! For those of whom are regular readers and visitors to my blog, you’ll denote a dedicated passion for reading Historical Fiction (and all the lovely segues of thematic therein) – I am a time traveller of the historical past every chance I get to disappear into a new era and/or century of exploration. There isn’t a time period I haven’t enjoyed ruminating over since [2013] and there are a heap of lovely timescapes I’ve yet to encounter.

This feature was inspired by the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve yet to experience and the beauty of feeling interconnected to History through the representation of the past through the narratives being writ by today’s Historical Fiction authors. It is to those authors I owe a debt of gratitude for enlightening my bookish mind and my readerly heart with realistic characters, illuminating portals of living history and a purposeful intent on giving each of us a strong representation of ‘life’ which should never become dismissed, forgotten or erased.

I am beginning this feature with the sequel to a beloved historical novel I first read in [2013] – it was one of the first ARCs I received and it was the first year I was a book blogger though it was through a connection outside my life as a blogger. I am celebrating K.B. Laugheed’s literature to kick-off this feature and hopefully will inspire my followers to take this new weekly journey with me into the stories which are beckoning to read their narrative depths and find the words in which to express the thoughts I experienced as I read.

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Acquired Book By: In [2013] I was still participating in the Early Reviewer programme via Book Browse wherein I received an ARC for “The Spirit Keeper” – a new Historical Fiction narrative which sought to break boundaries of its genre and which captured me heart and soul as I read it. It was an emotionally gutting read, a historical reckoning of a story and it left me ruminatively curious about what the ‘next’ chapter of this extraordinary character’s life would be in the sequel. 

I decided to write an expanded review on my blog for my own edification after having contributed my Early Reviewer review to Book Browse – it was one of the few times I was able to do this even though there are a few other ARCs I received from Book Browse I’d like to still blog about in the near future which fittingly have more to be said on their behalf from my readerly experience.

Likewise, I also reached out to the author directly shortly after I posted my review in September of 2013; remember dear hearts, I launched my blog live on the 6th of August, 2013 – so this expanded review became one of the first officially celebrated novels of Jorie Loves A Story in the beginning of finding my writerly voice and my bookish presence in the book blogosphere. It pre-dated hosting blog tours and working with publishers, publicists and authors directly.

Although I remained in contact with the author a bit over the years – simply checking the status on the sequel or offering encouraging thoughts on writing it – I don’t consider this a conflict of interest as to be honest, it was not constant contact and we weren’t in contact on a regular basis nor did we touch base each year since 2013.

When I received an email from Ms Laugheed this past December, 2018 – to say I was pleasantly gobsmacked to have heard from her after a long absence of communication is putting it mildly! I was overjoyed – more for her than for me – as she was announcing the sequel was being published! She decided at long last to go the Indie route towards  publication and I was full of joy and happiness for her as this was a very long and dedicated route back to publishing a sequel I believed in as a reader (and there are others like me out there) but of which I wasn’t sure if any of us would get a chance to embrace it in published form.

Thereby, I did not hesitate to respond to her request to accept this new novel for review consideration – the only thing which delayed my entrance into its chapters was my five week Winter virus (from before Christmas to the early weeks of January, 2019) and my three successive migraines (from mid-January to early February). I read this immediately after recovering from my third migraine and was thrilled I could finally attach my mind and heart round the continuing journey of Katie and Hector!

I received a complimentary copy of “The Gift of the Seer” by the author K.B. Laugheed in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Re-visiting “The Spirit Keeper”

My original motivation to read the novel: I wanted to partake in her journey untoward becoming one man’s living vision of ‘a creature of fire and ice’ and to see if they could fulfill each other’s destinies therein. It is such a curious proposition, to be taken by force from one’s own family, and re-positioned into a life, by which, you’re in complete unfamiliar territory, amongst people who speak a different tongue than your own, and by your own wits, have to determine how to survive. I was curious by how she was going to effectively change her life and heart; and to what end she must do so! This felt to me like a piece of Magical Realism wrapped up inside a Historical Fiction, rooted into the conscience of the American Frontier! I was besotted with the plot, and needed to read it to ascertain what the story truly was about! The Spirit Keeper spoke to me, as a book I needed to read rather than merely a book I wanted to read! I listen to my intuition in other words!

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Ms Laugheed advised me to re-read “The Spirit Keeper” ahead of reading “The Gift of the Seer” – what I hadn’t the heart to tell her is my copy of the novel is packed as most of my personal library has been packed for the last four years. I couldn’t sort out which box it is held within if I had a compass as I literally have quite the expansive library being stored right now. This is one key reason why I can’t always re-read the novels I’m reviewing – as I only have a handful of books I’ve reviewed the past few years unpacked and shelved – most of which, are first or seconds in series, awaiting new releases to where I can turn back to and re-read a bit ahead of delving into the next installment. I did have The Spirit Keeper prominently shelved for quite a few years after it was released – it was only recently I had to make the hard choice to pack it away for safe keeping til I can restore my library back to rights.

Therefore, I did what any other book blogger would do in this situation – I borrowed a well-loved copy from my local library and as I re-entered the story, I was quite shocked by what I discovered! I hadn’t forgotten as much as I was expecting, too! I re-read the opening bridge of the novel – re-visiting how Katie was taken from her family, the traumatic transitioning into life with the Spirit Keeper and Hector as much as re-aligning in my mind the era this series is set and the mannerisms of how the story is told. As Ms Laugheed has a very distinctive style of historical story-telling; it is one reason I was hugged so dearly close into the story originally.

Secondly, as I noticed a lot of readerly flashbacks moving through my mind’s eye after that particular re-visitation – I immediately flipped to the last quarter of the novel, resumed as if I hadn’t been absent from this story for :six: long years and re-lived the concluding chapters, as fresh as dew on recently mowed grass. I seriously was re-captured by what was left behind for my eyes and heart to find – thereby, I knew with certainty I was prepared as I ever could be to re-enter Katie and Hector’s world.

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For those of you who might never have had the pleasure of joy reading this novel, let me select a few quotations from my original review – both from what I shared with Book Browse after first reading the ARC and what I expounded upon on Jorie Loves A Story thereafter.

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The inertia of reality that besots you as soon as you enter into the world of The Spirit Keeper, is quite a hard bullet to bite, because before you can wrap your eyes and heart around what your visually aware of, your niched into the story! I credit this to the author, as Laugheed endeavours you to jump straight out of your comfort zone, wholly free-falling into a brutal, raw, and untamed section of the American Frontier in the mid-1700s and take a quest towards unraveling the complexities of building a new life in a foreign land. The thematics that are entrenched in the story parlay an exposition on language, translation, and sense of being. She readily elevates our awareness that our words can draw an impact that is not always aware to us, but like the life paths we are walking, we are not always in charge of their meaning or purpose of use.

I will lament, that if you’re a reader who begs off for lighter faire, you might want to caution yourself, as within Chapter One, the author does not hold back on the grim realities of what it was like in the 1700s when an Indian War Party descended upon a settler’s family.

The beauty of the outside world envelopes you from the jump-start, as the open wilderness is the footing for setting this story outside the reach of our known world. Even for those of us who are akin to the natural environment and the inhabitants therein, there is still so much of that world that is readily just outside our scope, outside our understanding. The Native Americans who are on the forefront of the story, evoke a cultural education into accepting stark differences of living, as much as embracing traditions that hold merit  (such as the menstrual huts for women).

Flickerments of “Medicine Man” (the motion picture) streamed through my mind, as did “Dances with Wolves” (the motion picture), as in each story, those who only spoke English, learnt to adapt and to live amongst the natives by which they found themselves belonging too better than their own kind. I am drawn into stories that attach us to whole new cultures, traditions, religions, and walks of life. Stories that etch into our imaginations a wholly new world, where there are similarities, but otherwise, as we dip into their narratives, we find ourselves in a foreign land, attempting to understand what we cannot yet conceive possible.

An incredible journey of self-preservation, fortitude of spirit, and overwhelming grief: I was not quite prepared for the journey that Katie, Syawa, and Hector embark upon! It wasn’t so much the long distances that they must traverse through rough hewn terrain, but rather, they are each going through a personal, intimate, internal journey concurrent to their outward journey towards the men’s originating homeland! Each is carrying secrets of their own experiences, and in Katie’s instance, her life is muddled and blighted with far more devastation than anyone could ill-afford possible to a seventeen year old young lady!

Her lot in life has been tempered by abuse and misguided notions of love, unto where she has encouraged a naïve sense of the living world, and has grown an ignorance of how right a life can be lived! I grieved for her and bleed emotions with her recollections of past memories,.. memories that were nearly too hard to bare and to ruminatively lay pause upon. It is through Syawa’s gentleness and effective way of easing her out of her shell, that she truly started to see who she was and who she could be. I only wish I could pronounce Syawa’s name, as I feel as guilty she does in her own story, about the misunderstandings that evolve out of not understanding language and meaning of words, phrases, or names outside our own native tongues!

Language & Translation: the Invisible Barriers we never foresee: Laugheed paints a clear window towards our greatest struggle in accepting and understanding each other, as we present ourselves to each other in our conversations! Each inflection of tone, voice, and the words we use to explain ourselves, can lead us down a path of misunderstanding and of misalignment in what we are attempting to represent as our thoughts, hopes, dreams, and passions. Throughout the story, we are seeing the story as a first-hand account of a diary the protagonist is writing to assert her own history back in her life, as she’s amongst those who do not understand the necessity of having a living history or a story to be told of one’s heritage. She values her experiences, her struggles of faith, and the lessons she is ought being taught as she walks forward into her future. She hasn’t had the easiest of lives, but she isn’t going to allow herself to wallow in the situations she could never effectively change, but rather, pull out a strength deep from within her, to carry her through the tribulations that she was certain were still to come.

Whilst she’s (Katie O’ Toole) recounting her days in her diary, I mused about how this differed from the diary of Robinson Crusoe as it contained more of her essence, her internal quagmire of thoughts, and the irrevocable distraught by which she plagued herself with for most of her arduous journey towards Syawa and Hector’s homeland. From the moment I read the opening page, by which the author departed a precognitive knowledge of how the story might transform as you read the words, I was left with a museful pre-occupation of how that would transpire, and further still, of one particular scene that I had presumed was forgotten within the re-writes and draughts, leading up to publication! However, this falls perfectly into this category of observation about ‘language and translation’, about how what we first perceive to be just and truth, can altogether change and alter, either by the different perception we’ve learnt through experience OR through reading a book that is quite unlike another! This book truly lives up to the proportions of what Laugheed mentions at the start gate: the words transcend their own meaning as you etch closer to the ending, the whole of the story is much larger than the sum of the parts as they are revealed!

In this way,  she is giving each of us to turn on our heels, the gross misconception of how we drink in words, knowledge, and observational data. The reader is very much at the heart of this story, and I think, is as central as Katie’s voice in re-telling her own history. What is humbling too, is how as our knowledge expands, the words that were once lost on us, as being completely irreverent suddenly take on new meanings, as they now evoke an ’emotion’, a ‘resolution’, or a ‘truth’ we did not understand previously. An Irish girl cast out into the wilderness of the wild frontier, with two Indian’s as her sole guides and protectors, makes for a curious precept initially, but it’s how they interact with each other, during the everyday hours, that Laugheed excels in not disappointing her reader! She never makes their interactions dull or predictable, because she has woven their personalities into the core of how they interact with each other! You pick up little character traits that come to play a larger part of the story as it threads through its climax, but inside these key portals of frontier life in campsites and canoes, you start to see how its possible to thread a new life together out of the ashes of the old! In this way, I was quietly savouring each exchange between the threesome, curious how they would come to depend on each other, and how they would draw strength by each others’ presence.

The art of story-telling plays a center part of The Spirit Keeper’s heart, but it’s the transformative power of understanding the words that are imparted throughout the story, that turn everything into a new light once the conclusion arrives. What the reader first mistook as a course of events, was truly a resounding precognitive journey that guided two characters forward into a future they would not have been strong enough to embrace otherwise. It’s the redemptive nature of grasping a hold of the essence of those who pass forward and away from our living world that is truly the most remarkable arc of the story! For we all have the ability to be a keeper of a spirit whose touched us deeply and left us remorseful for their presence! We only need the strength to transcend our perception and view our experiences from a different angle to see how the threads stitch together the pattern of our living tapestry!

An environmental conscience: Is cleverly hidden within the context of the story, but is one of the inclusions that I found to be the most illuminating to see!! I oft have found myself the most happiest amongst the trees, rivers, lakes, streams, and out-of-door hideaways that only a person can walk to find! Nature’s door is ever beckoning us to re-enter that sacred space between the natural world and the world by which we live as men. We are drawn towards nature as keenly as we are attached to water as a source of lifeblood, but it isn’t always an easy attachment to maintain, when the hectic nature of our lifestyles can circumvent our efforts to keep our hearts and souls aligned with the seasons and timescape of the natural world just past our windows! Laugheed draws a breath of vitality into the forest, where you can nearly hear the echoings of the trees, the rushing power of the rivers, and the harmonious tickings of the inhabitants therein. I appreciated that the animals that were killed in the book were used for what they could give back to the ones who fell them. I always respected this aspect of Native American beliefs, as they take what they need and only what they can use, at the time they go hunting. It’s a beautiful circle of life, as nothing is wasted and everything is respected. She wants you to see the beauty past what you expect to find whilst out in the deep woods, as the forest plays a fourth character or rather, that of a narrator that has not yet found its voice.

-quoted from my review of The Spirit Keeper

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#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. LaugheedThe Gift of the Seer
by K.B. Laugheed
Source: Direct from Author

Katie O' Toole's epic adventure began in "The Spirit Keeper" (Plume 2013) when she was rescued from a 1747 frontier massacre only to find herself chosen as the "Spirit Keeper" of a dying Indian seer. She hesitated to accept this mysterious obligation until she fell in love with the Seer's bodyguard, an Indian man she called Hector.

Much has happened since my last writing,..

In The Gift of the Seer, Katie and Hector continue their journey across the continent, but the more Katie learns about the peculiar ways of her husband's people, the more she dreads arriving at their destination. Will anyone believe she is the Spirit Keeper she pretends to be? Equally troubling, Katie knows the Seer expected her to prove his Vision - a Vision which foretold of infinite Invaders coming to his world - but to prove this prophecy, she must give his people the great Gift he also predicted. The only problem is that Katie has no gift to give.

Years pass as she desperately searches for a way to fulfill her promise to the dead Seer, but when his former rival threatens to expose her as a fraud, Katie finally understands that her life and the life of all the people in her new world hang in the balance. That's when she knows she must give a Gift - she must - before it is too late.

Did you honestly think you could get so much and give nothing in return?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1732886216

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Native American Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Studies


Published by Self Published Author

on 7th January, 2019

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 372

the spirit keeper duology:

The Spirit keeper & the gift of the seer

This is a Self-Published novel

Available Formats: Hardback, Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter: #GiftOfTheSeer, #TheSpiritKeeper Sequel + #KBLaugheed
as well as #HistNov + #HistoricalFiction or #HistFic

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About K.B. Laugheed

The Gift of the Seer by K.B. Laugheed

K.B. Laugheed is an organic gardener and master naturalist who wrote her first published novel, The Spirit Keeper, as part penance for the sins of her family’s pioneer past, part tribute to all our ancestors, and part grandiose delusion as she hopes to remind modern Americans of the grim price we paid for the glorious life we take for granted today.

But The Spirit Keeper is not a story about guilt. It’s about gratitude.

The Gift of the Seer is officially available worldwide as it was published on the 7th of January, 2019.

To support the author directly, kindly consider purchasing her novels through her online store.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov in #HistoricalMondays, #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Browse, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Bullies and the Bullied, Colonial America, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Cultural Heritage, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Diary Accountment of Life, Domestic Violence, Early Colonial America, Environmental Conscience, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, First Impressions, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Folklore, Genre-bender, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, History, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Loss of an unbourne child, Magical Realism, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Midwives & Childbirth, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multicultural Marriages & Families, Native American Fiction, Native American Spirituality, Old World Arts & Crafts, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Social Change, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Story in Diary-Style Format, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Taboo Relationships & Romance, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, The American Frontier, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Unexpected Pregnancy, Vulgarity in Literature, Wilderness Adventures, Women's Health

Blog Book Tour | “From Across the Room” by Gina L. Mulligan

Posted Monday, 3 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , 4 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

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! I received a complimentary copy of “Across the Room” direct from the author Gina L. Mulligan in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On reading about the author:

As I was preparing my interview for this blog tour, I had the chance to get to know the author quite a bit through her charity Girls Love Mail – as I read about how the charity was founded through the author’s own experiences of surviving Cancer with the unexpected grace of receiving letters from well-wishers who wanted to lift her spirits in the moment the letter would touch her life. Being a letter writer for most of my life, I can attest to the power of a tangible method of communication!

There is something rather fascinating about how we can connect our lives through what we write into letters – there is a kind of communication found in letters that is unlike other methods used today, especially of note, the way the texture of the paper, the ways the words are inked onto the page (either handwritten or typed depending on the person sending the letter) and the way in which you feel after reading a person’s news – it almost feels as if time itself was encapsulated during the moment the letter writer composed the thoughts and the receiver read the results of what was left behind to be mailed to them! I know this is what intrigued me about sending letters by postal mail and why I want to return one day to sending more letters as I’ve gone awhile without being in the habit of mailing them.

I know Girls Love Mail only accepts hand-written letters, but I can attest to receiving and sending both handwritten and typed letters – its not the method of how the letter is composed, its the content which counts the most. I’ve received (and have sent) many heartfelt letters which were typed and I cherish them as much as the ones which were written by hand. Letters evoke a lot of emotions but they also allow us to reconnect with a part of ourselves which can unwind at a slower pace where the high tech world of ‘now’ takes a backseat to remembering the ‘moments’ you want to imprint to the person reading the letter through the words you choose to compose for them to read.

In other words – I was overjoyed having found this novel and was most excited to begin reading it! As stories of this nature have always suited my bookish heart and readerly interests – something you can observe if you read my reviews for Letters from Skye and Last Christmas in Paris.

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Blog Book Tour | “From Across the Room” by Gina L. MulliganFrom Across the Room
by Gina L. Mulligan
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Self-indulgent young writer Thomas Gadwell has traveled from Boston to the new Hotel Del Coronado in California to at last finish his novel when he meets the clever and headstrong Miss Mary Harting. At once Thomas tosses aside his literary pursuits for a charmed summer of romance that ends with the happy couple making future plans. However, Mary Harting is the only unmarried daughter of notorious railroad tycoon Charles Harting, and he has no intention of letting a useless wordsmith derail his own critical plans for Mary. The couple must continue a clandestine courtship, but Thomas’ ingenuity has unexpected repercussions and he unwittingly uncovers a sinister plot of deception, greed, and blackmail. Guided by mentor Henry James, to win Mary, Thomas must step from the pages of the world he creates to explore his own insecurities, battle against worldly corruption, and expose family demons.

Told through a series of clever, heartfelt, and engaging letters, From Across the Room is a voyeuristic escapade that delights at every twist. Reflecting back to a time when letters were saved in the imagination of the reader, the lost art of letter writing brings to life the opulent Gilded Age and unfolds the universal passions of love, ambition, and the resilient bonds of family.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1432832520

Genres: Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Historical Fiction


Published by Fivestar Publishing

on 15th September, 2016

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 271

Published by: Fivestar Publications

an imprint of Gale Cengage Learning (@galecengage)

Converse via: #Epistolary #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Gina L. Mulligan

Gina Mulligan

Gina L. Mulligan is a veteran freelance journalist for numerous national magazines and the author of the award-winning novel, REMEMBER THE LADIES and FROM ACROSS THE ROOM. After her own diagnosis, Gina founded Girls Love Mail, a charity that collects handwritten letters of encouragement for women with breast cancer. She was honored for her charitable work on the nationally syndicated television talk show The Steve Harvey Show, People.com, and TODAY.com.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 3 December, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Diary Accountment of Life, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence

Blog Book Tour | “A Pivotal Right” (Book Two: Shaking the Tree series) by K.A. Servian with recollections and thoughts on behalf of (book one) “A Moral Compass”

Posted Monday, 19 November, 2018 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

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! When I saw this was a series in-progress, I submitted a purchase request at my library for the first novel “A Moral Compass” which was accepted and I happily had the chance to read the first novel before moving into the sequel. I decided to share my thoughts on the first installment for my own edification as much as continuing to share my readerly life with readers of my blog. I was not obliged to post my opinions or thoughts and likewise was not compensated for their inclusion.

I received a complimentary copy of “A Pivotal Right” direct from the author K.A. Servian in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On reading ‘A Moral Compass’: the first installment

You truly are attached to the approach Servian makes to alight inside the world of this young woman – travelling abroad, facing tempests of rage on the sea with her father and her brother. As this was writ in an Epistolary styling, you feel even closer to her ordeal as emotionally, Servian has her readers well by entrusting us with the truth straight out of the gate without softening the directness of what must be told. When travelling by ship, it is hard to reconcile loss – cast off so far from where you started your journey and not even yet arrived to where you were destined; it is a loss on all fronts, and this is what made the opening pages so very dramatic to read! You can instantly connect with the protagonist – not just for the heartache but the desolation and uncertainty which follows.

I appreciated the poet nature of Servian, to tuck us close inside how Florence perceives the world inasmuch as how she internalises her experiences. It is lovely to find an author such as this whose a wordsmith who can deepen the historical backdrop by placing us inside the eloquence of sophisticated depictions and declarations. I love finding this style – it is one of my favourites for reading Historicals as the writers who marry the older variants of speech and historic detail whilst consuming our minds with an enlightening plot are the ones who hold my attention the most!

Time continues to shift forward as we settle into the relationship being built between Florence and Emile. Theirs was a relationship forged out of a circumstance that by default of the customs of their day ought not to have happened as it was against social norms. There are moments like these where you truly see how restrictive women were and how despite the earnest interest of men, they did not have as much freedom to pursue someone they were keen on growing attached unless they could come up with a few creative ways to ensure their rendezvous.

Why brothers would even consider to dilute the love of their sisters is unknown, though in truth I believe he was trying to save her feelings and her heart; knowing the extent of their father’s distrust of the French. For Florence had falling in love with a Frenchman and her secreted relationship was clearly against all boundaries of society – the fact her brother aided her attempts to see this man was telling. For he had his own reasons to keep Florence’s secret and that in of itself spoke volumes about his own character inasmuch as his morals.

There is a moment in the early pages where we first learn what A Moral Compass encompasses and how it cross-relates into the narrative itself. Despite knowing the definition used and how it is brokering to affect the connection Florence shares with Emile, what is critical to note is how interesting it is limited to only one point of view and places the blame on women when it takes two to make a relationship. Both of Florence and Emile had chosen to go against the rules of their own houses in order to let the sparks between grow into a mutually accounted love affair. They knew what they were doing and they still decided to go against convention – it is not just a question of morality and spiritual enlightenment but rather, what is the truer cost of living in the height of the moment in pursuit of (perceived) true love?

I had to smile – the Bracknells were such an unexpected delight! The kind of neighbours Florence and her brother needed in New Zealand! I agree with Florence, the choice in relocation felt odd but if you stacked the oddity of its location against the crimes their father was guilty of committing – it felt like it was the only place he could secure them a future without society’s long arm of judgement reaching them. As soon as they arrived – not to an established farm but a shack on watery ground, I knew it was going to grow even more interesting from here!

This is a story broaching a heavier topic of what happens when your fate is reversed, where your safety nets are erased and where you have only your wit, grit and determination to turn round the clock on what has suddenly become your new normalcy of life. For Florence it was nearly too much to overturn and yet, here her brother was suddenly finding himself empowered to make a go of the place. It proves that sometimes a change as radical as the one they were experiencing now is enough to give someone a swift kick in the right direction after living a life on the rails!

When Jack entered the picture, your heart went out to him as he was talking about the prejudices of the English against the Scots; he, being of the latter, it was a proper shock to him that these issues were crossing the ocean and finding him in New Zealand. An honest trader by trade, he was intending to set-up his own shoppe and create a foundation on the reputation he had with his customers; except to say, not everything goes according to this ideal plan! Whilst making his final rounds and seeing the Bracknell’s before moving straight into Wellington, he comes across Florence and her ill-gotten brother. The brother of course, has made a deal against her and even forsaken the land in which they inherited from their late father. To think even this small ounce of land was stolen by cards and the drink which aches to be consumed by her brother, even Florence had reach a tipping point in what she could handle.

By the time she learnt of the deal associating her with Jack, she was wretched beyond what her nerves could handle and it did not surprise me she went straight to Mrs Bracknell to see if she could ink out a different path for her to endure. This was a hard land – a country still finding itself towards civilisation and with all the hardships of the American West; where you have colonists and natives at odds with each other, re-pleat with the distrust and the animosity that went with it.

Here we can understand why Florence is hesitating to accept Jack but without his mercy, I am unsure how long she thinks she can last as she has already withered away to mere bone and slackened skin. Her heart might be strong but without the proper nutrition and a way to make a living, her fate is nearly sealed to the grave without any further action on her behalf. For Jack, you can truly see he was changed by what he found when he came across the two – living as they were and finding that their naivety and their distrust was slowly churning into their doom.

Shortly after I wrote these notes, I became so dearly attached to the dramatic upheavals of Florence and Jack’s lives – I stopped writing down my reactions! It is hard to even put into words how gutting it was to read what became of them and how, through a lot of sinister and under-handed goings-on outside their control, they ultimately were dealt a hard fate to swallow! There were portions of their lives which I felt were a bit slightly over the top – there were separations I felt which were unnecessary past the first one – where truly, it was sounding more fictional than realistic; even so, I couldn’t stop reading the story!

What staid with me the most is how Florence truly staid a woman of her faith, strongly attached to her moral convictions and each time life sought to destroy her, she proved her fragility was only of the surface. She was a remarkable woman of strength, seeking to right the sails of her life even when everything was shattering round her and that I think, is a testament of how not allowing adversity to best you. Even when it felt there was no recourse for what she knew and what she had witnessed, she still found a way to redeem herself. She never gave up the hope of finding out what became of Jack – a part of her I think never truly let go of him. How unkind it was for them to truly become separated not out of a lack of love or commitment but due to the actions of others who were acting on their behalf without even a measure of remorse for those actions.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “A Pivotal Right” (Book Two: Shaking the Tree series) by K.A. Servian with recollections and thoughts on behalf of (book one) “A Moral Compass”A Pivotal Right
by K.A. Servian
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Florence struggled for breath as she stared into the face of a ghost. “Jack?”

Twenty years after being forced apart Jack and Florence have been offered a second chance at love. But can they find their way back to each other through all the misunderstandings, guilt and pain?

And what of their daughter, Viola? Her plan to become a doctor is based on the belief she has inherited her gift her medicine from Emile, the man she believed was her father. How will she reconcile her future with the discovery that she is Jack’s child?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780473449698

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, War Drama


Published by Self Published Author

on 15th August, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 428

Shaking the Tree series:

The Moral Compass (book one)

Add to LibraryThing | Borrow from a Library

A Pivotal Right (book two)

Converse via: #ShakingTheTree + #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About K.A. Servian

K.A. Servian

As a life-long creative, Kathy gained qualifications in fashion design, applied design to fabric and jewelry making and enjoyed a twenty-year-plus career in the fashion and applied arts industries as a pattern maker, designer and owner of her own clothing and jewelry labels.

She then discovered a love of teaching and began passing on the skills accumulated over the years’ design, pattern-making, sewing, Art Clay Silver, screen-printing and machine embroidery to name a few.

Creative writing started as a self-dare to see if she had the chops to write a manuscript. Writing quickly became an obsession and Kathy’s first novel, Peak Hill, which was developed from the original manuscript, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016.

Kathy now squeezes full-time study for an advanced diploma in creative writing in around working on her novels, knocking out the occasional short story, teaching part-time and being a wife and mother.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 19 November, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Diary Accountment of Life, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Feminine Heroism, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Story in Diary-Style Format, the Victorian era, Vulgarity in Literature, War Drama