Beguiled by Karma Kitaj is definitely a MUST read. One of the greatest things about Beguiled is it hooks you right from the start. Within reading the first two paragraphs I was hooked, I knew right away that this was going to be a book that I couldn’t put down until I had finished it.
The story of Beguiled starts out with a young woman leaving her husband. Upon leaving her husband with her young son this woman finds herself on her parent’s doorstep as she really has no other place to go. As the first chapter closes the reader is taken back in time to this young woman’s childhood. Beguiled isn’t just a romance story, it is a story about growing up and finding your own way in the world.
Beguiled follows the life and adventures of a young girl named Miriam and follows her story as she grows into a young lady. Miriam is a young Jewish girl with Russian immigrant parents who grew up during the 1920’s. The story goes into the hard childhood of Miriam and how no matter what she did she could never please her mother. Miriam’s father loved the theater and took Miriam to as many shows as he possibly could. The love of theater instilled a strong desire in young Miriam to become an actress, despite what her mother thought.
The story takes place during the 1920’s where women were not seen as equals to men. Beguiled does touch upon some political aspects, but the story is not overly political. Beguiled is filled with historical events and is written in a way that allows you to really connect with the characters. Women’s suffrage is touched upon in Beguiled and the author also tackles some other social situations.
As you progress deeper and deeper into Beguiled you will find yourself pleasantly surprised at the way the story is told. As you read one page and then another you can’t help but find yourself wanting to know what is going to happen next in Miss Miriam’s life. Beguiled isn’t a typical romance story filled with wanderlust and girls who are seeing stars; there is only the slightest suggestion of romance towards the very end of the book. The main story behind Beguiled is that of a young girl who grows up and finds out just who she really is and how she can actually make a difference in the world.
Although this story does go back in time, it doesn’t jump around from past to present as many other stories do. Something else that I really like about this book was how each chapter identified the year it was taking place in. If you know your history you can easily follow along with the events that were taking place and perhaps anticipate what was about to happen next.
Pages: 349 | ASIN: B079924GDK
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Alice Guy Blaché was a pioneer of her trade with so many accomplishments, feats you could look up and applaud through history. Written fictitiously from the point of view of Alice herself, Mademoiselle Alice tells an intimate and redolent tale, painting Alice in the most relatable way. The reader has a chance to experience through Alice the era she lived in beautiful detail, alongside the relationships that added such color to her life. One, the romance between herself and the renowned Gustave Eiffel himself. Eiffel has no interest in love and yet develops a strong romantic tie with Alice. Their relationship is a cornerstone of Alice’s life and even as she moves on, it reflects throughout her work and pursuits to follow.
Mademoiselle Alice was a powerful and moving story. I applaud Janelle Dietrick and her dedication to bringing Alice Guy Blaché off the dusty pages of history and into present mind. The amount of research alone is worth its own accolade, and Dietrick chose to deliver beyond just that, combining the scholar and the storyteller to create a wonderful recollection of the life of Alice.
One factor that truly stood out to me as a reader, was Dietrick’s innate skill of drawing one in to the many emotions of Alice’s tale. From the budding and fleshed out romance between Eiffel and Alice, her apprehension and excitement when building her own studio, to her joys throughout her journey of motherhood. I found myself feeling the same as Alice and I continued further through her recollection and telling of her own life. Dietrick used the first-person narrative in a masterful and gripping manner, allowing readers to fully immerse themselves in the personality of Alice and her intriguing mind.
Usually, I find myself caught up in some novelists writing style; their sentence structure and syntax. I can honestly say that Dietrick writes such an enriching and powerful story. The writing style flows well. I can’t recall any particular moment while reading where I found myself jarred out of the story as I often have with other writers. There was a well weighted balance of descriptive setting, dialogue, interaction, and historical detail that kept me immersed and entertained.
I have a strong affinity for historical fiction but such does not negate that Mademoiselle Alice: A Novel stands up for itself as a wonderfully well written and fun review of the life of Alice Guy Blaché. You can tell that Janelle Dietrick takes pride in not only her work, but in the dedication to presenting the important role Alice has played in history. Her writing compels the reader to appreciate such without the dryness or brevity of a history book. She breathes life in to Alice, allowing the reader to really appreciate her as a relatable person.
Pages: 369 | ASIN: B074MB6QTH
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The Passer follows Eleanor on the one year anniversary of her boyfriend’s death as new powers awaken inside her and she is visited by other worldly beings. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
In June 2009, I was readying to go on stage during a performance of The Three Musketeers when an idea for a story flashed in my mind. That night before I went to bed, I recorded my thoughts in a notebook for a series of three stories, put it in the drawer of my nightstand and forgot about it. A year later I came across the same notebook and happened upon the page containing my three sentence synopsis. The subject matter dealt with death, loss and grieving expressed through a supernatural lens. I’m not entirely sure what prompted my somber thoughts, especially since I had not experienced the loss of a loved one in quite some time, but even as I read my words I had written a year earlier, something deep within me yearned to tell this story.
By the end of the summer of 2010, I was obsessed with the idea of a woman who develops supernatural abilities that have been dormant within her since birth and how these powers are triggered by the tragic loss of a loved one. In October of that year, after returning from a vacation in Northern California- what would turn out to be the setting for The Passer – I made the decision to write the book. For the remainder of the year I delved into some old favorite subjects-Greek, Roman and Celtic mythology- as well as Mysticism and the teachings of Esoteric Wisdom throughout the ages. All this fueled my desire to sing a song about death and grieving and in February of 2011 I began in earnest the first draft of The Passer.
Eleanor is an intriguing character. She is an accomplished actress and a professor as well. What were the driving ideals that drove the character’s development throughout the story?
I have had many readers tell me they admire Eleanor, both for her accomplishments and her struggle against a transformation that is beyond her control. Also, there are those who find her undeveloped and whining at times, mainly in regards to her ever-suffering devotion to her deceased boyfriend, as well as her head-scratching romance with her brutish, former husband. Eleanor harbors all these characteristics by design. Without revealing too much about her ultimate destiny, she will continue to develop, grow and surprise us (hopefully in a delightfully shocking way) by the end of the series.
Regarding Eleanor’s dual profession, that is based on two individuals who are/were (one is now sadly deceased) both university professors and active performers in their given fields. The one who most closely represents Eleanor is a gifted Shakespearean actress I had the pleasure of performing with in A Midsummer Night’s Dream who at the time was about to receive her doctorate in theater.
I felt that Eleanor’s powers were subtle and built rather dramatically. What was the inspiration for her powers and how did you keep it believable in the story?
From the moment the story was conceived I knew it would have a supernatural element driving the plot. As Eleanor took shape in my mind, her struggle to cope with her loss unearthed these abilities she had no idea she possessed. As she travels through her journey of discovery we are there with her, which helps to keep it real. The continuing acceleration of Eleanor’s powers is a key element that will play out through the entire series and will drive the plot to its final conclusion.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
We are currently editing the second installment of The Passer series, Ghostworld, which is scheduled to release in fall 2017. The story will begin where it left off at the end of The Passer.
There are two other projects underway. The first is Why I Love You The Passer Series, titled The Order.
Also in the works is The Magical Series based on Eleanor Bouchard’s sister Josephine Bouchard. Josephine returns to Ohio to live in her childhood home, only to discover that it is sitting on top of a supernatural fault that is brimming with activity.
The Amazing Amelia Monroe Series follows the precocious six-year old girl from The Passer as she matures in her powers while learning the truth about her deceased mother and biological father’s past.
After a year of desperately mourning her deceased boyfriend, Dr. Eleanor Bouchard, a theater professor and acclaimed Shakespearean actress, is ready to move past the despair that nearly destroyed her. But, on the anniversary of his death she is summoned by a frightening apparition with a message:
Help him believe…
As she attempts to unravel her ghostly messenger’s meaning, she begins to experience harrowing visions of a missing woman and discovers she possesses otherworldly powers that have been lying dormant within her, waiting for her to awaken.
While Eleanor struggles against her emerging powers, Daniel Archer, her former love, has troubles of his own. His wife has suffered a tragic death and now the famous actor, along with his precocious step-daughter, Amelia, seeks sanctuary in Eleanor’s secluded home in River Mist, California-whether she wants him there or not.
As their lives intertwine, Eleanor discovers a fateful connection to Daniel and Amelia and suspects that the haunting events that brought them together quite possibly were destined to be.
Posted in Interviews
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The Passer by Robin Christophersen is a welcome genre-blending story by a first-time novelist. We follow Dr. Eleanor Bouchard, accomplished actress and professor, attempt to put her life together after the death of her boyfriend. On the one year anniversary of his death she is visited by an otherworldly visitor with an unsettling message. Eleanor is then thrown into a mystery where she must not only figure out the message’s meaning, but also understand herself. New powers begin to awaken in her for the first time, which only adds more murkiness to dark waters. Matters become complicated further when a former flame, Daniel Archer, who has suffered the tragic loss of his wife comes stumbling into her life along with his step-daughter, Amelia. Eleanor begins to feel strange connections to the two of them and discovers that their meeting may not be so coincidental in the first place.
The Passer is an interesting read. Christophersen mixes romance, paranormal and even a bit of mystery to make an increasingly intriguing story. You would not suspect it even being an indie read, given the polish that is displayed on the pages. I was not expecting to be hit with so many “genre” elements, but they all manage to work well and complement one another. The book itself is a fast read and I was a dozen pages in without even blinking.
Eleanor as a protagonist is easy to follow, even if she is almost “too” accomplished, given her two professions. The professorship and her role as a Shakespearean actress seems almost intimidating, even to the reader, but her grief and struggle gives the reader a very tangible doorway into her mind and soul. The fact that she is on her own path to self-discovery despite being so accomplished is an excellent technique to use for the reader to be carried alongside the character on her journey.
The novel is deftly paced and reaches a satisfying conclusion. There were points that felt drawn out, but I think Christophersen balances this with the other genre elements. The quotes from Shakespeare, I feltm were heavily on the nose, considering what Eleanor does, but I could let that go, Christophersen clearly has a passion for Shakespeare and I can make a little room for the Bard. The plot may even be weighted down with the extra elements and confusing plot tangles, but by the end Christophersen untangles these and gives the reader a very satisfying story.
Overall, I believe The Passer to be an excellent read for those looking for not only an interesting plot, but a book that brings something new to the table of genre-blending. A very satisfying debut novel from a brand-new author. If this is the first book that Christophersen produces, readers should be on the lookout for the next.
Pages: 444 | ASIN: B00G2QC69Y
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