The Girl Who Broke the Dark by Evelyn Puerto is another story I simply could not put down despite it not being a genre I usually enjoy. This fantasy, a twisted version of the fairytale, A Sleeping Beauty, had me wishing for more. And once again, I'm thrilled because it is just the first volume in what will become her Royal Mages series.
Puerto weaves a tale about Princess Eliana, her country of Ymittos, and a sleeping prince cursed by the evil sorcerer Cetus. Although she remains unaware of her role until her 18th birthday, Eliana is destined to break the curse or watch her country - and eventually the entire continent - fall victim to Cetus. Unfortunately, to do what she must, Eliana must venture deep underground to face barbarians, monsters, and her own fears.
I struggle with fantasy because I get lost in the world building, non-human characters, and social/physical law differences. However, I LOVED LOVED LOVED The Girl Who Broke the Dark and am enthralled with the story. I can't wait to read Puerto's second installment.
I won a copy of The Lighthouse by Karin Ciholas through an Atmosphere Press giveaway and wasn't sure what I would think of it. Ancient history is not really my thing. However, once I started reading, I couldn't stop thinking about the characters - even when I was supposed to be doing other things. In fact, I read far too late into the night on a couple of occasions so I could finish. (And the best part is that Ciholas is writing a trilogy, so I'm not really done!)
The Lighthouse is set during the days of Christ and seen from the point of view of Simon, an educated Jewish healer, and his best friend from boyhood who eventually becomes a Roman solider. When a thug kills a member of Simon's family and then abducts his sister, he is chosen to avenge them. But how can he both murder Meidias and keep his Hippocratic oath?
Ciholas did a great job describing Simon's struggle to be everything he was meant to be as well as everything he has been asked to be. Despite a setting and time far removed from my own, I think all readers will understand that challenge.
As a #researchjunkie, I stand in awe of Ciholas' tremendous research, and how she was able to bring me into Simon's world. Ciholas shows readers what it was like to be Jewish during Roman rule, whether focusing on family and religious traditions or the fear of those in power.
This is an excellent read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves great character development, historical fiction, and escaping into a story.
I thoroughly enjoyed this dual timeline, dual POV historical fiction by Lisa Wingate. We see Augustine, Louisiana in the 1870s from the eyes of a former slave, Hannie, and see the same town in the 1980s through the eyes of Benny, a first-year teacher. What ties these two together? A book of lost friends.
Although the novel is fiction, Wingate bases Hannie on someone who took out an ad - the Lost Friends - to help her locate her family lost to her because of slavery. This is a piece of history I had never encountered before, and Wingate did an excellent job helping me feel the pain of those who were separated from parents, children, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Teri M Brown, author of An Enemy Like Me and Sunflowers Beneath the Snow connects readers with characters they'd love to invite to lunch.
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