Category: Native American Spirituality

#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 naĂŻve 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

Book Review | “Blonde Eskimo” by Kristen Hunt My first #ReadingIsBeautiful reading on behalf of BookSpark’s Summer Reading Challenge for YA Lit!

Posted Sunday, 15 November, 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 am becoming a regular tour hostess and reviewer for BookSparks, as I began to host for them in the Spring ahead of #SRC2015. I am posting my Summer Challenge reviews during November/December due to the aftereffects of severe lightning storms during July and August. As I make amends for the challenge reads I was unable to post until Autumn; I am also catching up with my YA challenge reads and the blog tours I missed as well. This blog tour marks the last novel I selected to be a part of the YA challenge which coincidentally now becomes my first posted review for the challenge, too! I look forward to continuing to work with BookSparks once I am fully current with the stories I am reading for review.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Blonde Eskimo” direct from the publicist at BookSparks in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Happily finding myself drawn into stories of the Vikings:

As I had mentioned on my review for Avelynn, my keen interest to read Viking literature was percolating in the back corner of my reading queues. Find two stories about the Vikings in the score of a few short months of each other is quite remarkable. This next story I am reading (Blonde Eskimo) stood out to me from the choices of books for the Summer reading challenge hosted by BookSparks – the YA side of it by the way. My full intention was to be posting throughout the last season all the lovelies I’ve received, but due to events I’ve blogged about quite extensively, Summer ended on a hard note

Since I’ve resumed my readings this Autumn, a quirky turn of events has me posting this as my first contribution for #SRC2015 past my reading of Wishful Thinking! I will be following this review with more insights into my #summerreads but for now, the best discovery was realising how keenly wicked it is finding out Blonde Eskimo is a genre-bender where the different tides of it’s inner core are such a lovely read for me to enjoy! I never thought I’d find different pathways into understanding the legacy of the Vikings, but in many ways, I felt Blonde Eskimo was a way to continue forward whilst in full pursuit of Magical Realism.

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Notation on Cover Art: The watermark spirit animal which acts as a faint tattoo against the image of Neiva on the cover is a signal of how the story within ‘Blonde Eskimo’ are heart centred on the natural world and our connection to nature. Totem animals and spirit guides are a quintessential component of life in Alaska; and this particular motif is not only gracing the cover but the chapters as well. The spirit animals alternate between raven, fox, bear and eagle. I love the softness of the book cover, it’s not glossy but matte with a curiously soft touch. I am unsure if this will have the same textural feel outside of the ARC but this edition (even being an early copy) has all the benefits of layout, styling and the little unique touches that I hope made the final copy!

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Book Review | “Blonde Eskimo” by Kristen Hunt My first #ReadingIsBeautiful reading on behalf of BookSpark’s Summer Reading Challenge for YA Lit!Blonde Eskimo
by Kristen Hunt
Source: Publicist via BookSparks

Part Viking, part Eskimo, Neiva Ellis knew her family’s ancestral home, the island of Spirit, Alaska, held a secret. A mystery so sensitive everyone, including her beloved grandmother, was keeping it from her. When Neiva is sent to stay on the island while her parents tour Europe she sets out on a mission to uncover the truth, but she was not prepared for what laid ahead. On the night of her seventeenth birthday, the Eskimo rite of passage, Neiva is mysteriously catapulted into another world full of mystical creatures, ancient traditions, and a masked stranger who awakens feelings deep within her heart. Along with her best friends Nate, Viv and Breezy, she uncovers the truth behind the town of Spirit and about her own heritage.

When an evil force threatens those closest to her, Neiva will stop at nothing to defend her family and friends. Eskimo traditions and legends become real as two worlds merge together to fight a force so ancient and evil it could destroy not only Spirit but the rest of humanity.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781940716626

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Historical Romance, Magical Realism, Suspense, YA Fantasy


Published by SparkPress

on 13th October 2015

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 308

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: SparkPress (@SparkPress)
an imprint of Spark Points Studio LLC GoSparkPoint (@GoSparkPoint)
& BookSparks
(@BookSparks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #BlondeEskimo | #ReadingIsBeautiful

About Kristen Hunt

Kristen Hunt

Kristen Hunt is an artist and writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. She is an avid fan of movies, graphic novels and Young Adult literature. Anything evolving fantasy and supernatural experiences captures her interests.

As a young child Kristen visited her family in Nome, Alaska and learned of her Eskimo heritage. Her Grandmother, known as the blonde Eskimo because of her golden hair and blue eyes, told Kristen the many legends found throughout Alaska, such as the Ishegocks, totems, and much more. It was these stories that inspired Kristen to write her current novel.

UPDATE: 6 January, 2017 finding the author's social presence has been altered, I reflected the changes in the links attached to her biography.

On reading my first novel of the Inuit:

You may or may not recall a tv series from Canada entitled Due South but for me this was a beautiful series that owned the diverse heritage of Canada alongside a lovely heart-centred mystery series who followed the life of a Mountie. I picked up the soundtrack to the series before the seasonals were released as they tend to release music before the shows themselves. On the soundtrack there is a beautiful evocation through song about the Inuit sung by Paul Gross; who is a singer-songwriter in his own right not just the lead actor in Due South. His soulful performance on behalf of the Inuit in the story of that song never left me. It’s soul-stirring and it’s epic in scope when you think about what the story is truly highlighting and giving insight into during that one brief moment of verse.

Ever since I heard the song (Inuit Soliloquy) I have wanted to read stories of the Inuit and draw closer to the heart of where that song took my mind. I have had a full respect of Native Americans on this side of the border since I was quite young, as I might have mentioned in past posts where I grew up in a city where a Native American art gallery and bookstore was a happy place for me to visit with my family due to how the owner took me under his wings sharing stories of his tribe the Cherokee. The First Nations of Canada came fuller into my mind when I watched the documentaries during the Vancouver Games, but it wasn’t until I discovered Blonde Eskimo that I found a pathway back inside the lore and heart of who the Inuit are as a whole. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #ReadingIsBeautiful
  • #SRC2015 | BookSparks
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Posted Sunday, 15 November, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, #SRC2015 | BookSparks, 21st Century, Alaska, Angels, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, ARC | Galley Copy, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, BookSparks, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Life Shift, Magical Realism, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Native American Spirituality, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Reincarnation, Scandinavian Literature, Small Towne Fiction, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Tattoo Art & Design, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Transfer Student at School, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Vulgarity in Literature, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Fiction

+Blog Book Tour+ Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton {a novel of Ancient Egypt} Egyptology taken to a new level & sphere of literary breadth!

Posted Saturday, 24 May, 2014 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton

Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton

Published By: New American Library (NAL)
( ) an imprint of Penguin Group (USA
) 6 May, 2014
Official Author Websites:   Site | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, E-book
Page Count: 448

Converse on Twitter via: #DaughterOfTheGods, #DaughteroftheGodsTour,

#StephanieThornton, #Hatshepsut, & #VirtualBookTourFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Daughter of the Gods” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Stephanie Thornton, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

My curiosity about Ancient Egypt started as a young child where my fascination with the Ancient Civilisation took a central focal point for aspiring to study Egyptology, as prior to realising I was a writer I felt I was being led into Archaeology. Part of the passion I had for Archaeology was my intense desire to understand the civilisations of the world as they were emerging into existence. I had not realised then, as I do now, that it was my keen interest in Sociological studies that led me more towards an awareness of Anthropological sites verse Archaeological. In full and equal measure, the desire to travel abroad to ancient ruins, temples, and sites of where the ancient’s drew breath and light was always an instinct of mine. The fact that I have already climbed four pyramids of the Mayans only encourages me to believe that I can still find the hours to uncover a way to keep this passion of mine throughout my next travel destinations.

The direct appeal is to bring History into the forefront of my living hours, to where walking and breathing where people lived so very long ago secures you in that setting, locale, and moment. I still recollect how I felt at a ruin in the Yucatán,… as Uxmal had this trance over me. I felt very interconnected to that city and the people who had lived there during its heyday, nearly to the brink I could see a bit past where the ruins still stood and how the city would have been the lifeblood of their era. Time and history are intertwined with one another, and there are certain places in this world where we can dip back into the vortex and draw back out a piece of what once was ‘the living now’.

Egyptology was one of the avenues of pursuit I once considered as a professional endeavour as I loved the aspect of venturing so far back into the living past as to nearly come face to face with one of the most dynamically original civilisations which set the bar for everyone else to follow. Ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece are the sites of where most of us look back to gain insight into the present. I have carried this zest for the era into my motion picture wanderings as one of my favourite films is a classical one: Cleopatra (1934) starring Claudette Colbert. More recently, the trilogy of Mummy films starring Brendan Fraser took my mind away in imagined bliss of tempting the fates of tombs! To this day, I refer to the third film as “The Mummy in China” as it just made more sense to do so!

The extended trailer for “Cleopatra” (1934) starring Claudette Colbert on TCM! Introduced by Cecil B. DeMille, of whom is now one of the film-makers alongside Alfred Hitchcock and Frank Capra I admire most in the Golden Years of Hollywood. They each brought something genuinely unique to their style of motion pictures and were ahead of their years as far as where they took their stories.

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Book Synopsis:

Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie ThorntonEgypt, 1400s BC. The pharaoh’s pampered second daughter, lively, intelligent Hatshepsut, delights in racing her chariot through the marketplace and testing her archery skills in the Nile’s marshlands. But the death of her elder sister, Neferubity, in a gruesome accident arising from Hatshepsut’s games forces her to confront her guilt…and sets her on a profoundly changed course.

Hatshepsut enters a loveless marriage with her half brother, Thut, to secure his claim to the Isis Throne and produce a male heir. But it is another of Thut’s wives, the commoner Aset, who bears him a son, while Hatshepsut develops a searing attraction for his brilliant adviser Senenmut. And when Thut suddenly dies, Hatshepsut becomes de facto ruler, as regent to her two-year-old nephew.

Once, Hatshepsut anticipated being free to live and love as she chose. Now she must put Egypt first. Ever daring, she will lead a vast army and build great temples, but always she will be torn between the demands of leadership and the desires of her heart. And even as she makes her boldest move of all, her enemies will plot her downfall….

Once again, Stephanie Thornton brings to life a remarkable woman from the distant past whose willingness to defy tradition changed the course of history.

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Author Biography:

Stepanie ThorntonStephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

“The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora” is available from NAL/Penguin, and “Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt” will hit the shelves May 2014 and “The Tiger Queens: A Novel of Genghis Khan” will follow in Fall 2014.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA book for lovers of Egyptology:

Illuminated to life by the little details you would expect to find out of an etching of Ancient Egypt unite inside your mind’s eye as you drink in the words of Daughter of the Gods. The fragrances of Myrrh are nearly smelt as I read the opening pages, as Myrrh was regularly burnt alongside Frankincense, Sandalwood, and Patchouli Musk. I always loved the aromatherapy of earthy scents when I used to burn incense whilst creating the words inside my own manuscripts. I even have a bit of a hilarious story when I first attempted to cleanse the air with my first smudging! Laughs. Incense wafts into your nostrils and gives you a sense of calm whilst you create. I always found it a way to dip into the portal of creativity and allow my mind to cart me off to ‘somewhere other than here’ even more readily than listening to music as oft-times I did not always want the interference of chord and tone, but wanted to dig a bit into the internal space where a writer creates their most museful of thoughts. As I started to read Daughter of the Gods I nearly wished I could unpack my sticks of ancient scents and absorb into the story on a different plane! Thankfully, my nose has a long memory and as I happily drank in Thornton’s words (the blessing hand of a wordsmith) I drifted back in reflection of the scents that used to sit in the air and allow my mind to stir a bottomless well of possibilities.

The insertion of references of ka had me smiling as I reflected back upon my studies of Tai Chi Chaun and Qigong, as the elements of the discipline in which I studied is the pursuit of strengthening one’s spiritual energy known as ‘chi’ or ‘qi’. The energy which is quite vital to living and a well of life embedded into our fiber. I had always known the Egyptians were most intrinsically intuitive about elements of life that most cultures do not acknowledge or discuss in modern eras. They are one of the few cultures who attached their lives to their spiritual souls in a way where the transition of life and the afterlife were not merely viewed as passages the soul took in exchange for another life but rather they threaded life and death in a tangible way whilst they lived. They were able to connect and observe the threads of time’s tapestry in gentle observations which led them to have a larger scope of perception knitted into their hearts.

If you think on it a bit, the Egyptians called on their Gods as way of keeping their spirituality a living guide during their everyday lives, as a way of having a spiritual ‘checking’ for their conscience and their actions. In this way, they remind me of Catholics who relate to Saints and turn to the Saints guides to understand how best to proceed. I also had not known the women during Hatshepsut’s time oft walked bare-chested with only a sheath to cover them. This practiced reminded me of the aboriginal tribe featured in one of my favourite childhood films Medicine Man. So much in fact, I found cross-references between aboriginal tribes and Ancient Egyptians! Except to say the main difference here, is that Hatshepsut’s attire was her assertion of power as a woman who was not afraid to dress as a man in order to prove the point of her confidence as Queen.

Lest I bring up that I was most intrigued and deeply savouring the rites of funerals inside Daughter of the Gods? Mummification practices and rituals of death are most fascinating to me! A bit like how I appreciate studying the Day of the Dead as much as the different passages of life for death throughout different World Religions and cultures of whom honour their dead in different ways.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

My Review of Daughter of the Gods:

Hatshepsut is a woman who approached life in a cavalier attitude prior to the violent death of her beloved sister Neferubity, whose kind heart and love of her younger sister befelled her fate. Neferubity took Hatshepsut’s place on the alter of death whilst a river bull locked a malicious maul of quavering alarm in Hatshepsut’s soul. The story of Daughter of the Gods begins at the very upturn moment in the future Queen’s life where she must decide on the kind of woman she is meant to be rather than the reckless one she was previously. A challenging beginning to insinuate a path of change and one of worth in a soul not yet tethered to a fate of honour, duty, and rule. In the quake of her anguish she took to self-harming and soul gutting sacrifices to resurrect an offering of peace and remorse in an effort to apologise to her sister resting in the Field of Reeds.

As Thornton describes the rituals of Ancient Egypt, I was drawn to noticing similarities to the Native American’s I’ve studied in the past (specifically the Lakotas), as they describe heaven as Happy Hunting Ground. Anubis is both the protector of the Dead as much as he is the equivalent of the Angel of Death in Christianity as he is the go-between guide from the living world to the afterlife. Part of what I loved about Thornton’s touch of giving us a strong representation of Ancient Egypt is that she allows the historical fact of the setting absorb into our bones as readily as drinking in the dialogue and narrative. She paints such a clarity of thought that your mind flickers forward along with the lead characters as they allow you the grace of spending a bit of time with them as they live their hours. I noticed that I did not have any difficulty in shifting into this timescape; which was a bit of a surprise, as I originally felt due to my lack of readings in this period I might falter to grasp it as strongly as I did. A credit to the writer!

Hatshepsut is like most women accustomed to being bourne into a role they do not wish to fill. She rebels against the convention of standard of her time, whilst plotting a way forward without being shackled to provincial roles befit a wife of a Pharaoh. It is how Thornton chose to portray her path I found most interesting, as I am uncertain how much is readily known about her through historical records. What I liked about this portrayal is its plausibility of being true. For a ruler known for her transformative view of her role as Queen, I would imagine she would take steps to ensure her position at all costs available to her. Yet. Her path towards the throne held an obstacle in that of her half-brother who was now her husband.

She is given a fleshing of character that makes you settle into her innermost thoughts as she chooses her next step alongside her fated path. Her life reminds me so much of the Royals in England, as they too, have destinies chosen for them prior to their ascension. To find happiness within the routine and to find joy within the process of the duties which are meant to be carried out of honour. She learnt a painful lesson along the way about how far a woman could carry her rebellion which had my mind reel back to my viewing of The Duchess (2008) starring Keira Knightley. Her husband Thut is a brute as much as the next man whose self-worth is hinged on perception rather than love. You ache along with Hatshepsut as she curls into an internal war of survival. She was betrayed as Caesar by those within her inner circle, as she kept company with a pack of jackals instead of seers.

As she would grow in her reign, so too would her ability to trust her own instincts as to what would be needed to be done. The greatest testament of her power given back to the world was her sincerity of protection and of wanting to ensure the sanctity of the ka of those she ruled. She knew of the depth of sacrifice but she also knew of the honour one needed to ascend through death. Her mind was oft a war-ground of internal conflictions. To lead was not good enough if she could not inspire prosperity through peace.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA notation on the writing style of Stephanie Thornton:

Thornton’s understanding on the metaphoric wordings to gain a reader’s attention in the heart of her story run counterpoint to the setting within Ancient Egypt, to where even the causal reader would acknowledge they were not within the walls of a the modern world! I loved how she could encapsulate the ‘time’ of Hatshepsut’s world with the flavourings of phrases which carved a deep stroke of Egyptian flair for everyday living! She had found a way to etch an eloquence out of the nuances and give us such a startling sense of their reality as to be able to breathe the same air! I loved feeling as though I had not only become transported but transplanted into the 1400s BC! This is not an easy feat and surely more difficult than the eras I am normally ensconced inside such as the Regency, Victorian, and Edwardian eras of England’s past! Within those eras, there is still a living sense of the day, of the regalia of the ton, and the essence of how the differences between the classes was set by station.

To step back into a fully realised realm of Egypt, when the first female ruler would set the foundation for Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth I, is a triumph on Thornton’s research and her agile eye in knowing which details would be pertinent to share and guide us as we shifted forward in the story itself. I further applauded her ability to give the realism of Ancient Egypt its most coveted veil of truism! I oft find the writers who can breathe life into their novels to where we are in a lucid trance of where their novels are set give us the most joy to read. In this way, I cannot wait to read another novel by Thornton to see where my heart is led to traverse next! Although, part of me wonders, if Ancient Egypt will be re-explored or if there is another in her back-list I have not yet realised available?! It is most surely a realm I want to venture back into once more, for sure! And, now that the pendulum is set as it were, which author to yield to next to eclipse this wicked sweet story? As now that my palette has a taste for Ancient Egypt, I must yield to seeking out more stories to pacify my hunger! Such a happy thirst to have, eh?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

Virtual Road Map of “Daughter of the Gods” Blog Tour is found here:

Daughter of the Gods Tour with HFVBTsFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comI am happily honoured to be a blog tour hostess for:

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Kindly know each post I include “Related Articles” those links were not selected by a computer, they were hand-selected by me! I read each one & felt it was necessary to include the links for reading after you had concluded my own blog post.

Reader Interactive Question:

Which books about Ancient Egypt have you become drawn into yourself!? What is it about the setting, time, and period of the Ancient Rulers that you find an appreciation of enquiry? What do you seek out whilst sourcing writers of the Ancient Times!? Do you like the drinkabliity of the narrative? The combination of a wordsmith’s vision against a researcher’s heart? Of whom is your favourite living history character to be explored in a fictional story!? Is there any Egyptian Ruler or lesser known person that you’d prefer to see come to life?!

{SOURCES: Book cover for “Daughter of the Gods”, Author Biography and Book Synopsis  were provided by HFVBT – Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. The documentary “Hatshepsut’s Egypt” via History Stories had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share a complimentary feature on the subject of the novel. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Related Articles:

Hatshepsut: The Woman Who Was King – (discoveringegypt.com) I loved how this site gives further insight into her legacy as a woman ruler & how she inspired the women who followed her to succeed in ruling where men only dared to previously.

The True (And Sometimes Painful) Story of Publishing Daughter of the Gods – (stephanie-thornton.com) I am beyond grateful Ms. Thornton had a writing friend who championed her passion for Hatshepsut and inspired her to continue to find a loving home for this to become a printed book of which has alighted in my hands to read! A true blessing indeed! There is nothing more precious than a writer’s belief in their stories nor in the determined heart to see a dream realised!

Discover Hatshepsut’s Temple – (youtube.com) This is such a unique video perspective of a slice of her life that unless you travel to Egypt would not be able to see yourself. Gave a grounding of the setting for the novel ahead of reading.

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Hatshepsut’s Egypt by History Stories

Inspired to Share: I wanted to find a video I could share that could draw out the essence of who Hatshepsut was whilst inspiring a visitor to find a tangible connection to her such as the one I found myself attached to whilst reading “Daughter of the Gods”. I realise sometimes it helps to have a visual aide to lay thought and dimension upon a story, which is one reason I am always attempting to find book trailers to include with my ruminations on the stories I love discovering; however in lieu of that first choice, I settled on this video. There is something about the presenters euphoric joy in uncovering bits and bobbles about Hatshepsut that inspired me to share this with you today. Notwithstanding a few errors or non-clarifications of a few historical facts (as evidenced in the comment threads on YouTube), I felt as history is subjective and elusive at the same time, any person who can draw this much of an enthused response of someone who lived and breathed over 3,500+ years ago deserves a bit of a spotlight! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 24 May, 2014 by jorielov in 1400s BC, Amun (God of Air), Ancient Civilisation, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Egypt Sports, Ancient Olympic Games, Archery, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Chariot Racing, Clever Turns of Phrase, Death & Burial Rites, Documentary on Topic or Subject, Egypt, Embalming Preservation, Geographically Specific, Hatshepsut, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Imhotep, Important Figures of Ancient Times, Marriage of Convenience, Mortuary Science, Mummification Practices, Native American Spirituality, Passionate Researcher, Pharaohs & Dynasties, Qigong, Re (God of the Sun), Rituals for the Afterlife, Rulers of Ancient Egypt, Tai Chi Chaun, Women of Power & Rule, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, World Religions