Publisher: Plume

*Blog Book Tour*: Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb

Posted Thursday, 2 January, 2014 by jorielov , , , 9 Comments

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Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb

Becoming Josephine - France Book Tours

Author is a Member of: Historical Novel Society

Visit her Pin(terest) Board: Eclectically French Inspired Lovelies (my impression!)

Author Connections: Facebook | Site | Blog

Converse on Twitter: #BecomingJosephine OR Tweet @MsHeatherWebb

Published by: Plume, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), 31 December 2013

Available Format: Trade Paperback | E-Book | Page Count: 320

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Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a stop on “Becoming Josephine” Virtual Book Tour, hosted by France Book Tours. I received “Becoming Josephine”  in exchange for an honest review by the publisher Plume. The book released on 31st December 2013. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I simply adore historical fiction, including historical biographical fiction, which I think this falls under, as it’s about Bonaparte and his wife! I like the backdrop of the story, and how strong Rose had to become in order to overtake her plight! You see, I have a bit of a long-standing admiration for the French Revolution, even though by many estimates I have only just begun my sojourn into this fascinating section of literature! It’s true I was first inspired to seek out more French Literature selections after having borrowed and read quite a few from my local library which fall inside Children’s Literature selections, in as much as my appreciation for seeing a select few classic motion pictures on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) involving Marie Antoinette over the past few years! My attention is thus esteemed to continue to seek out stories set before, during, and after the French Revolution! What can I say? Once you become attached to the living characters of whom most of the books are based upon, in as much as the characters created to walk amongst their living counterparts, you find that one book or five is not quite enough to fully encompass the history of what is left behind to be known!

Stemming from this short history of mine with French Literature, there was a cursory exploration of Bonaparte whilst I was eighteen! Having ducked out of a heavy rainstorm and into the warmth glow of a bookshoppe I had accidentally discovered along a main street – I took the balm of books against nature’s thunderstorm! As I wandered around, I remember finding a rather curious little book, tattered yet readable, (as the bookshoppe sold new and used copies!) about the life of Napoléon Bonaparte! Intrigued I purchased the book and stored it inside a rain-proof bookslip! Ever since that aplomb discovery I have whet my appetite for more! I would be curious to learn how you alighted to read about the French?

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Heather WebbAuthor Biography:

Heather Webb grew up a military brat and naturally became obsessed with travel, culture, and languages. She put her degrees to good use teaching high school French for nearly a decade before turning to full-time novel-writing and freelance editing. Her début, BECOMING JOSEPHINE will release December 31, 2013 from Plume/Penguin.

 When not writing, Heather flexes her foodie skills or looks for excuses to head to the other side of the world. She loves to chitchat on Twitter with new reader friends or writers (@msheatherwebb) or via her blog, Between the Sheets (www.Heatherwebb.net/blog). Stop on by!

Synopsis of the Novel:

Rose Tascher sails from her Martinique plantation to Paris to trade her Creole black magic culture for love and adventure. She arrives exultant to follow her dreams of attending Court with Alexandre, her elegant aristocrat and soldier husband. But Alexandre dashes her hopes and abandons her amid the tumult of the French Revolution.

Through her savoir faire, Rose secures her footing in high society, reveling in handsome men and glitzy balls—until the heads of her friends begin to roll.

After narrowly escaping death in the blood-drenched cells of Les Carmes prison, she reinvents herself as Josephine, a socialite of status and power. Yet her youth is fading, and Josephine must choose between a precarious independence and the love of an awkward suitor. Little does she know, he would become the most powerful man of his century- Napoleon Bonaparte.

BECOMING JOSEPHINE is a novel of one woman’s journey to find eternal love and stability, and ultimately to find herself.

SEX & VIOLENCE: There is a little of each, though I didn’t go into great detail in either category.

 

Forging a path where uncertainty reigns:

When I was first introduced to Rose (later, Josephine), I was empathic towards her plight and situation straightaway, as who couldn’t sympathise with a sister mourning her sister’s sudden death? Especially if one would feel indebted to believing they were the root cause of said death? I was attempting to imagine the thoughts and emotions not only her sister’s death evoked but how that singular event shaped her for the path she was embarking to walk as she made her way towards France, towards Paris, and towards the great unknown of marriage to a man she never had met, much less knew. Although I am oft wrapped inside a ‘mail-order bride’ story, this one felt more like an ordained arranged marriage to where the outcome would befit the family moreso than the bride! Such the calamity of ages past, and yet, the realism with which the author pens the opening bits of the story give us a true glimpse of the horror Rose faced as she disembarked onto the docks!

I couldn’t help but consider Rose might not have realised just how deep she would become involved with creating a transformation which would replace her original self with the one she would soon invent!? You start to see pieces of the transformation shaping in the early chapters, as she starts to find quirks of hers are not kosher to the Parisians way of living. Little things such as her accent, her manner of speech, her inclination of honesty, her lack of a proper wardrobe, all acting against her in an attempt to create a better impression on her peers and fiancé! Your heart warms to her, as she starts to sort out how to navigate this world where propriety and posh behaviour reign!

She would come to know the solemn truths of marriage, of men and their infidelities and of the way in which women were ill-treated by their husbands. She gets a dashing blush of this ahead of her vows, but I think the reality of her new life took a bit longer to fully sink into her conscience. Where other women might have resolved that this was their fate to bear, Rose took the opposite path and decided that she was worth more than what the cards had dealt her! She decided to right the wrongs, and seek out a path which would lead her to an enlightened truth about herself and her station.

My Review of Becoming Josephine:

Becoming Josephine by Heather WebbShe left her Creole home an innocent of youth, jettisoning herself into a life in France which would test the strength of her inner resolve. Where she would have to eradicate her natural being of self into a transformed Parisian woman of elegance, whose strength would yield to power. She took on the challenge as an understudy would in a theatrical play. Learning through being bold in her choices of dress, style, mannerisms, and speech. Each nuisance she could alter of her previous life, she would discard straight-away in preference for discovering a better fit for high society.

Watching Rose grow in her strength as she separated from her first husband, Alexandre, she starts to find the courage she felt she had lost. Instinct of motherhood guides her towards carving out a stipend for her son Eugene and daughter, Hortense whilst she starts to put the pieces of her own fractured life back together. Her resilience is a lesson for all women who find themselves facing circumstances that they were not expecting. The fact she was gaining her independence on the eve of revolution was not lost on me. Perhaps without her circumstances jaded, she might not have had the ability to rise again? Or, rather she might not have found the strength to survive through the worst bits of the revolution. She walked through Hades in order to survive to live a life she could no longer imagine possible.

I found an undercurrent theme of which I had been exposed to in my readings during 2013, wherein certain women who were once cloistered to living life by man’s rules were coming to realise the true freedom lay in the courage to free themselves from the invisible bonds which held them hostage. I am always attracted to stories where strong women are at the heart of the narrative and in Becoming Josephine I was not disappointed! Josephine emerges out of the wings of despair as a pivotal woman of her time who could wield more than even she (I feel!) could desire! She takes the boldest step into the future by reinventing herself past the point of recognition, in order to find a freedom she had never known.

France set to Revolution:

The backdrop of Becoming Josephine is quintessentially Revolutionary France, where the French hinged between the start of the revolt and the ensuing Reign of Terror. A shuddering of emotions always rings through me whilst thinking on the harder hitting realities of the age which the French had to endure. Webb has a way of acknowledging the back-story of history behind the coattails of the character’s lives in such a way, as to gently guide the reader forward and through, rather than shocking us to our core. The revolution ekes out in small fashion, where rumours of revolt start to erupt in the salons of the day, and where the commoners start to realise they need to launch into a retreat from Royal rule. Part of me understands this and part of me grieves for the loss of the Royal family, due to how brutal the Revolution turns and ends.

And, yet at the heart of the center core of the Revolution you have Josephine and Napoleon, two people I never thought I’d see come together, now that I know the origins of Josephine’s past. The tapestry of fashion is lit and gilded behind the tumult which has been brewing to explode. Interspersed with the flamboyance of cloth and jewels, you gather the sense of urgency in the fever of desperation.

Gratitude to the author, Ms. Webb:

For staying true to her word, wherein she mentioned at the end of the book’s synopsis she had tempered the severity of inclusion of sex and violence. I am generally on the fence with choices writers make in their stories on both counts, as there are lines I think are too oft crossed, where a more delicate omission could have sufficed instead.  In this particular story, Ms. Webb gives the reader a rendering of the situations and events which befit the era of the story’s origins but on the level that even a sensitive reader could walk through the scenes without blushing too severely or cringing at the imagery painted in narrative. Even though she does plainly give the raw visceral imagery its due course. She doesn’t allow it to take over completely, but allows it to fade in the background. Except for what occurs in Rose’s home of Martinique and what happens when she returns to Paris, in which the horror of the attacks are in full measure. Rather than focus solely on the horror that erupted she gave the smaller details of the aftermath which proved just as difficult if not moreso to read. Such a horrid time in history for the survivors to have lived through. She chose instead to direct the focus on Rose’s rise into the persona of Josephine who became the woman’s edificial Phoenix.

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The “Becoming Josephine” Virtual Book Tour Roadmap:

Becoming Josephine - France Book Tours

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:

France Book Tours

on my Bookish Events Featured on JLAS!

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I propose this Question to my readers: What do you think is the overall appeal to reading about the Bonaparte’s and of Revolutionary France in general? What inspires us to dig deeper into the heart of the history which has been left behind for us to dissect? What gives us pause and reason to continue to seek out stories of what was happening in the shadows of history being writ as it was lived? Do you have a favourite coaxing storyline that gets you excited to pick up your next reading which is set in this historical era?

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Becoming Josephine” as well as Heather Webb’s photograph and biography, the blog tour badge were all provided by France Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. France Book Tours badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Thursday, 2 January, 2014 by jorielov in 18th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Debut Novel, France, France Book Tours, French Revolution, Geographically Specific, Historical Fiction, Josephine Bonaparte, Napoleon Bonaparte, Reign of Terror, Revolutionary France, The Napoleonic War Era

*Release Day* The Spirit Keeper by K.B. Laugheed |A Ruminative Tome of Introspective Freedom

Posted Tuesday, 24 September, 2013 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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The Spirit Keeper by K.B. Laugheed

Published By: Plume, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), 24 September 2013
Official Author Websites Site | Twitter | Facebook
Available Formats: Softcover
Page Count: 352

Converse on Twitter: #TheSpiritKeeper

The Spirit Keeper on Book Browse
Excerpt on Penguin Group’s site

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comAcquired Book By: Book Browse First Impressions Programme: I received a complimentary ARC in exchange for my honest review on Book Browse from the publisher Plume. The Spirit Keeper was amongst the offerings for August 2013, as this book will be published 24th of September 2013. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared therein or herein.

Initially I Wanted to Read: 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 by 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!

Inspired to Share: The book trailer for The Spirit Keeper, keeps the atmospheric liltings of the novel fully intact! The fiery crimson hair and pure, glistening blue eyes of Katie O’ Toole are visually represented as well!

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“The Spirit Keeper” by K.B. Laugheed Book Trailer by Penguin Group (USA)

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A brutal and savage world envelopes you as you dip into this narrative: Within the opening sequences, I was at first, rather taken aback by the imagery that was greeting me, and on reflection of the story’s arc, I shook off my fright, and realised, how else could it have been writ!? I warmed a bit to the ensuing exchanges, and limited my scope of the worst bits that would befall Katie’s family, as I am not one who endeavours to be explicitly aware of such horrific events! I was much more keen to arrive at the heart of the story, by which, I had first been curious to read! The bit about how an ordinary girl suddenly finds herself in the middle of an extraordinary journey! 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.

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.

Whilst in the opening chapters of her journey, with her new traveling companions, they reached a village of Native Americans, by which, upheld the custom of women’s huts. I had first learnt of this tradition awhile ago, but the memory of where and how is lost to me! More readily to depart is that the same sequence of knowledge was included in my reading of The Forest Lover, which was a selection of mine for Bout of Books, 8.0! I am still in-progress with that particular book, but what I found fascinating is the depictions of this ritual that both authors gave to their readers! I will be attaching an article about these huts, as I find it rather curious how intimate and safe they truly were for women! They achieved a heightened sense of freedom in asking questions and conversing on topics that might not otherwise have been considered kosher in their everyday lives!

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!

I nearly felt a bit irked with myself, when it finally dawned on me that the “Misery” mass of water they were paddling evermore against, down, and up, was surely the Mighty Mississippi! How could I not have recognised that mass of water!!? I’ve lived nigh far from it the full of my life (separated by fewer states than it takes time to cross it!), and here, I was finding myself befuddled to know by which body of water they were crossing! Oy! I should have realised it sooner, as they had originated their quest back towards home in Pennsylvania, but I was so wrapped up in the day-to-day re-tellings of her diary, that I sort of suspended all thought and reason towards understanding the locality of the setting(s)!! Except, then, I remembered in the book trailer it shows “the Missouri River”, and I am as befuddled to know which river they were traversing but whichever river they were blighted to be placed upon, it nearly reminded me of my knowledge of how heavy the trade routes were on both the Nile & the Amazon; which led to such difficult dangers and adversities therein!

I had not yet realised when I wrote these two paragraphs quite early-on in my reading, how powerful my insightful words would become! For this was a story of just what I said: an incredible journey of self-preservation, fortitude of spirit, and overwhelming grief, to where I nearly wondered, was that a precognitive murmuring of what may lay before me extending past the first quarter and a half of the novel!? Laugheed has a breadth for metaphor and symbolism, where each chapter has a twicefold purpose, as what is happening to the characters, what they have already experienced in the past, and how they perceive their present situations, all become reflective and transparent. Her wit and humour is a sly fox that sneaks up on you, and makes you chuckle down a laugh even if you’d rather spilt a few buckets of tears! She encourages you forward to see the rest of the story, and to feel as Katie feels as she first spilt the ink to relay it!

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.

Language provided a barrier in the beginning, but as most barriers end up being destroyed by own instincts to right our sails, Syawa, Katie, and Hector sort out what is truly more important in life. And, it’s not an easy question to answer, nor is it a resolution to take lightly. Laugheed interweaves spirituality, faith, classical literature, theatrical story-telling, native customs and traditions, as well as cookery differences into the main stage of where we see these characters evolve. It begs the question, how much do we say by spoken voice, how much do we say by gestures / mannerisms, in which give away our innermost thoughts and feelings!? How many of us understand the true language of man!?

The Review I Posted on Book Browse:

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.

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).

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!

My own discerning discomfort was having this novel end on a cliffhanger, which nearly wrecked my enjoyment of the reading! I felt short-changed and disappointed, as I had embarked on this journey with the wholeness of my heart and as fearful as I was with the brutality of certain imagery, I was holding onto the Hope of what was yet to come and what I hoped would be! Prior to turning in my review, I wanted to visit the author’s website to see if I could unearth a bit more of the story; whereupon I was given the Hope I sought, and my spirit smiled, knowing all was for naught!

{*NOTE: This is by far the longest review I have turned in for a First Impressions novel, as my word count is quite past the height of what we’re allowed, as it stands at 524! At max, we’re not meant to pass 400! I am sure that this review might have to be scaled back, but I struggled with what to include or exclude! Its one of those novels that compels me to speak about it, and to limit the words I use to render that purpose is a difficult task to undertake! UPDATE: The review was left fully intact!}

Fly in the Ointment: As I allowed the story of The Spirit Keeper wash over and through me, as it’s the kind of book that once you put it down, it draws you into an introspective phase of turning over its pages and the insights that had spilt out whilst it was read. Your mind fervently goes back through each of the milestones the character encountered, and each curious subtle notions of an enlightened spirit that was etched into the narrative and served as a guiding light towards Katie and Hector on their extended journey. Part of me felt betrayed in some ways, because as you drink into the prose, which wasn’t easy for me to do at first, as foresaid, the brutality of the reality that frontiersmen and women faced during this part of the mid-1700s, was both raw and bloody in its depth! I never painted the plight of the early settlers and the Indian tribes they encountered in a glossed over rose tint of a glass, but at the very same time, I never fully allowed my mind and heart to fully encompass the harshness of the totality of their conjoined reality! In this way, I was a bit taken aback by some of the descriptions, as it’s not for the reader of a faint heart, nor sensitive stomach! There are depictions of massacre and cold-blooded homicide in its purist of natures. Yet. As disturbing as this was to see revealed, this isn’t what irked my ire!! No! What boiled my blood in many ways, was where the story drops off in the ending chapters, without an Epilogue or Author’s Note, or any such explanation of “what could be next” or “what could be on the horizon”. Nothing. Your left abandoned and decidedly alone in that last rendering chapter, that does not quite eclipse the whole of the quest you undertook from the beginning! Your merely at the start, not the finish!

I never knew quite how I felt about cliffhanger endings, until recently, when I noticed that writing a début novel is turning into a trend of becoming “the cliffhanger” ballad! I experienced this anguish whilst reading The Golem and the Jinni, whose characters I rallied for, cried after, and cheered to see merge into calmer waters, yet I was left with this wanton hope of “what will come next?” as there wasn’t a clear answer nor guide to that end! I felt this intense anguish and unsettling mire as I touched and turned the last pages of The Spirit Keeper! I know, I will be recommending this book just as highly as I do Wecker’s, but ooh, how I wish there could have been a gateway of knowing that this wasn’t the end of Katie’s and Hector’s story! I hadn’t suspected this to end up as a romantic drama, but that is exactly what unfolded and given the circumstances that they encounter, its one of those dramas you want to see through til completion and not be forced into an intermission!!

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.

The story evoked a sense of longing to know the next chapter: I am whole-heartedly curious about the next installment of this {potential} series! I have difficulty in wrapping my mind around that this could be the conclusion rather than the beginning! I feel very attached to Ka-loo-ti and Hector!! I want to know more of their story, as I am hunger for more of their interactions! I love how Katie started this story as a hard-edged warrior of seventeen and had softened into a maternal and loving eighteen year old, whose grace of maturity softened the stoic exterior of Hector! I yearn to see, no, read more of their continuing tales, and to embrace the conclusion of their quest! I began this book in daylight hours, and nearly fell asleep attempting to read past the midnight oils already fully burnt and flickering! As I turnt the last of the pages, I knew, sickeningly that the end was going to arrive too promptly, too quickly, and I would be left with a bittersweet taste in my mouth! Oh, how I dared to hope that this wasn’t going to end without further knowledge of what came next, and to have been given a kernal of a seed of what might be, simply because I was hoping to ascertain which river is in the book, warmed my heart to no end!

The words and the spellings of them, felt to me as natural and as acceptable as I had found watching Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, whereupon in the end, I daresay thought Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, and Ziyi Zhang had suddenly switched from speaking Mandarin to English! I did not even notice the language as a barrier, as I was so fully emotionally connected to the film as it unfolded, that their language and mine became entwined with each other! I did not even realise I was still ‘reading’ the words, as I felt as though I was ‘hearing’ them instead! Such was my reaction to The Spirit Keeper‘s unique flavourings of syntax and subtext! In both instances, my awareness was heightened tenfold! As my immersion into their living worlds was complete and total!

If you enjoyed my recollections of The Spirit Keeper,
you might be further interested in reading the rest of the First Impressions reviews!

And, if you do want a bit of Hope ahead of your reading, do read this blog post by the author! I found the eve of concluding this post, and it warmed my heart to the core! I had wandered back to her blog to find out more of the story, as I was betwixt how I felt about the conclusion, as you will have read above. Reading her note changed the perspective of how I felt about the book as a whole, because without the Hope of what she had writ about, I am not sure, if this story would have felt as sweet to have read!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This book review is courtesy of:

First Impressions badge created by Jorie in Canva.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

I decided to include this for:

That Friday Blog Hop

as I haven’t stopped thinking about the story!

The Spirit Keeper
by K.B. Laugheed
Source: Publisher via Book Browse's First Impressions Programme

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction


Published by Plume

on 24th September, 2013

Pages: 352

{SOURCES: The book trailer by Penguin Group (USA) 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 more about this novel and the author who penned it. “That Friday Blog Hop” badge was provided by XOXO Rebecca! Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. First Impressions badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013.

Related Articles:

Interview with K.B. Laugheed, author of The Spirit Keeper, 20 September 2013– (qwillery.blogspot.com)

Menstrual Rites of the Native Americans – (cycleharmony.com)

Review for The Spirit Keeper:  A Novel by K.B. Laugheed – (bookhostage.wordpress.com)

The Spirit Keeper by K.B. Laugheed – (lysistratical.blogspot.com)

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Posted Tuesday, 24 September, 2013 by jorielov in 18th Century, Book Browse, Book Trailer, Debut Novel, Diary Accountment of Life, Early Colonial America, Environmental Conscience, Equality In Literature, First Impressions, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Native American Fiction, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, That Friday Blog Hop, The American Frontier

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