The book starts with the author taking us back to her childhood. She writes about an awful incident at home. In an attempt to perhaps discipline her, her mother physically abused her because she had an argument with the brother. She was so hurt and afraid, even thinking that she could die from the punches she received that day. The author also talks about how she tried to be her best but no one ever appreciated her efforts. Not even the excellent grades could get her a simple nod from the people around her.
Angelo Lowery tells of her story growing up. The good, the ugly, and the unfortunate. In all her narrations, she never forgets to mention how gracious the will of God is. The writer has gone through a lot. Experiencing just a fraction of what she has gone through can be quite overwhelming. Life can be disappointing, but we need to keep holding on. I love that the writer used examples from her family, friends and other associates in her life. Some of the things she talked about hit home, and I couldn’t help but think about some of the decisions I have made in my life.
I Am And The Spirit Walks With Me is a book written for everyone who is on the verge of giving up. Don’t lose hope. Keep moving, keep pushing, keep seeking. It is only a matter of time before everything falls into place. The author reminds us not to focus on the bad things that have happened to us. Yes, you may feel like this life is not worth living, you may have had the worst experiences among your peers; don’t feel sorry for yourself, the good Lord is out there looking for you. Sometimes all we need are challenges that make ourselves aware of the situations around us. Don’t blame yourself. It gets better with time. Don’t be quick to anger. The author excellently explains what holding grudges does to you. She knows first-hand, what carrying other peoples’ burdens does to your body. Strive to stay positive and always pray to God for strength.
I love how the author emphasized healing after hurting. Angelo Lowery’s life is proof enough that overcoming pain and suffering is possible. When writing this book, the writer had people who are heartbroken and those going through mental distress in mind. Her kind words are warm to the soul, and will help anyone who feels like this universe is not doing them justice. Open up to those who care, turn to God and always keep a positive attitude. There are so many lessons that one can learn from the author’s life. I Am And The Spirit Walks With Me speaks directly to you as a person.
Pages: 150 | ASIN: B0777KSDVF
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A Fire in the West is a genre-crossing novel with elements of fantasy, science fiction, and inspirational fiction as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
Harry James Fox: I agree that the novel steps all over the genre boundaries. Some have insisted that the books in the Stonegate series are really Dystopian or Action/Adventure with elements of Romance. My only defense is that I wrote stores that I enjoy reading. I suppose I wanted a novel that explored a collapse of civilization that would later lead up to the events described in the Bible in the Book of Revelation. But I decided not to write about the final Armageddon. These novels might be thought of as a prelude, however. I tried to make a believable society that could reasonably have developed a few generations after the beginning of a new dark age. I was not concerned with fitting within conventional genres, so it must have happened organically.
Lucia Mudgway: It was actually Harry James Fox’s idea about this trilogy in the first place. Harry masterminded the plot and story-line as well as outlining the major characters and the map of the area and the names of the towns, and and I helped create and develop it as well as adding some new characters into the mix. Basically, my writing was inspired by my faith and my knowledge of history from my undergraduate studies at University where I completed a Bachelor of Arts/Humanities degree majoring in Creative Writing and History. I am currently completing a Masters of Divinity degree after completing a Grad Dip in Creative Writing last year. A lot of my ideas did happen as I was writing, and it often felt as if there was an external spiritual force working with me.
The characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
Harry James Fox: The characters from the earlier books were old friends, such as Donald and Rachel. But the character that I liked the best was Arielle (“Ari”). She has a big heart and finds the strength to face adversity and emerge the stronger for it. I like her level head and her courage. I do find that I need some help in developing female characters, but my co-author, Lucia, was helpful in making her believable.
Lucia Mudgway: My favorite character was Robbie as he reminded me a little of the prodigal son whose defiance led him into dangerous waters where his faith was tested after doubting God and backsliding. I also loved the evil False Prophet as he reminds us that we are living in a world of spiritual darkness today from leaders who are not always interested in looking after the people, but where self interest and power are what motivates them. I guess I have a fondness for the false prophet because I helped create him with Harry. I found some inspiration for his character in Ephesians 6:12 which states, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of the world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” It was evil that ruled the mind and soul of the False Prophet, so I would recommend reading the three books of the trilogy to get a better picture of how despicable the False Prophet really is. The second book, “The False Prophet” reveals his character more fully.
You both have written a fascinating novel. What was the collaboration like between the two of you on this book?
Harry James Fox: Lucia helped a great deal with the second novel of the series, and she actually wrote a novella based on the characters in the first book in the series. I then expanded this novella into a full-length novel. But I decided that the third novel would be one where we both were co-authors from the beginning. I was very pleased with the partnership. I probably would have procrastinated, but she helped keep me focused. I rather specialized in all things military, and she was the creative idea person that created an intriguing plot. It all went quite smoothly.
Lucia Mudgway: The collaboration between Harry and myself was pretty amazing and we work really well together, bouncing off each other for ideas. I am definitely interested in working with Harry in the future on other books, but at this present time I am trying to complete a novel I started years ago called “The Isis Factor”, which is a fictional thriller/romance inspired by facts and some true events. This story is set in England where the major protagonist, Nick Flanagan, an MI6 agent, is caught up in a world of terrorist activity from terrorists buying arsenal supposedly from the Russians for military training camps in Afghanistan. I am hoping to complete this in 6 months and have it published soon after completion.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
Harry James Fox: I always have several projects at different stages of incubation. I am considering reworking some unpublished material and creating a novella, a prequel to the Stonegate trilogy. I imagine it will be published in 2019. I am a former intelligence officer and definitely have an interest in Lucia’s book “The Isis Factor.” I have volunteered to help with some technical details.
From author Harry James Fox, and co-author, Lucia Mudgway, comes an epic Christian fantasy, third in the Stonegate saga. In this gripping finale, Donald of Fisher and Rachel of Westerly as well as Carla and other favorite characters return to face another attempt by the evil False Prophet to overwhelm the free towns of the East. However, this tale centers around Donald and Rachel’s son, Robby, as he confronts all of his demons— his forbidden love for Ari, his cousin, and his conflicts with his father, Donald. Ari, Carla’s daughter, also finds herself in the heat of battle and is tested as she had never imagined. Family secrets emerge amid the threat of war, but courage, duty, and love become more important than ever. Will the False Prophet finally succeed in stamping out freedom, or will good finally triumph over evil? Will Robby find redemption for his decisions, and will the shocking truth about his past set him free to be with Ari?
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A Fire in the West is a Christian fantasy novel that is the third installment in the Stonegate Series. The third book takes place a hundred years after the first two, in the west of the Rocky Mountains. Even though the book takes place in the future, it seems that civilization has taken a back step. The novel takes place in the United States, and even though some locations are easily recognizable to the reader, it’s evident that they have changed in many ways. The one thing that has completely changed are the characters within the novel. They are left without the technological advances needed or wanted to face life’s challenges. They’re faced with evil and have to work together to battle it while keeping their basic values intact.
One of the big things that I appreciated within this novel was the authenticity of the main characters. I found there to be a good mix of characters and all were believable. Harry James Fox and Lucia Mudgway do a great job at giving each character a level of complexity that makes them more interesting. The authors also do a good job at setting up the dystopian future that the characters are living in, so these aspects of the novel are believable to the reader as well. I can see how the break from the social norm and downfall of technology came about.
Even though this was the last book in trilogy, the reader can still follow along with the story line without having to read the first to books. It’s a good enough story to want to go back and read the first two however.
I thought that the theme of Christianity within the story was a bit off from what I was expecting. We understand from the beginning of the novel that Christianity has remained with the characters despite the collapse of just about everything else. This story line provides the argument that once everything else is gone, our faith in God remains. But the characters don’t discuss or display an intimate relationship with him throughout the novel. I felt that there was no specific relationship with God illustrated throughout the novel, and I thought that the characters also don’t seem to give a second thought to the devil or the idea of hell. He’s present within the novel, but I never got the feeling that the characters actually feared him, it was more of a loathing towards him. These missing pieces aren’t necessarily a bad thing, just something that I thought might have been incorporated into the tale.
This book can be read and enjoyed by adults and young adults. Fox and Mudgway work together to create an interesting story that keep the reader’s attention and harkens back to an important aspect of any society, culture, or religion – morality.
Pages: 343 | ASIN: B07DRRMZLF
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For the Devil Has Come with Great Wrath provides a glimpse of the havoc the Devil can wreak when he comes for the End of Days and in search of a young Office Manager. What served as your inspiration while you were writing this novel?
The very first inspiration was a sort of vision, about 10 years ago. I saw a woman standing in a room surrounded by old wood and stones. She was close to a canopy bed and she was carrying a big, heavy, woolen blanket towards a window. I felt her sorrow, she was sad about somebody, she tremendously missed a person. Ten years after I was sitting in my beautiful sunroom in Northern BC, sipping tea and staring at the dark woods outside, the trees turning red, brown and orange, the crab apples filling the air with their sweet smell. I stared for maybe 5 minutes, after which I felt an extreme urge to write. I took my laptop and hastily started recording the events that would lead to “For the Devil Has Come with Great Wrath”. I started writing in September. I had the entire story in my head, but I was busy with my daily activities, so I decided to set up a plan: I had to write at least 3,000 words a day, making up for those days in which I did not have time to write. That year the winter was particularly harsh, I felt I was held captive, and writing was the only escape from the daily -30°C, from the roads covered in ice and snow, from the long hours of darkness. I wrote almost every day, not having to think once about how the story would evolve: the adventures just flew out of me, in a sort of “channeling”. In February my first book was finished, but 6 more were already brewing in my head, including the sequels of this first book. It was only at that point that I decided to walk the next mile, and treat it as a professional work. I contacted the BC Editors Association and was smitten by their reactions to my little story. After contacting the BC Editors Association, I decided to go on a solo trip through British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alberta. Every evening I would check my emails and find those of authorities in the field that loved my work and were looking forward to read the entire story. This incredible experience spurred me to publish the novel.
My upbringing also definitely influenced my story-telling. Both my parents are attached to traditions, religion, legends and magic. My mother made sure that I would not forget about my roots, the Valley, the village “on top of the lake” (Summus Lacus), our religion. My father enhanced everything with magic and mystery.
This book is a genre-crossing novel with elements of fantasy, christian, and supernatural as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
The story was absolutely not planned. I just decided to start writing it without even knowing how it would evolve. I did not prepare an outline, I did not fill my walls with sticky notes, I did not have pages and pages of comments. I do have a little notebook, containing information regarding, for example, how old the characters are, if they are allergic to something, when their birthdays are, when they met each other. Nothing about the story itself. It was as if I was writing events that really happened, and the intention was just to make sure those occurrences could be remembered by future generations. My editor, Janet Southcott from Viridian Earth Contract, called my novel a “New Age fantasy”.
Your book has some fantastical creatures, but what I enjoyed was how your characters worked in harmony with one another. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your characters?
I didn’t necessarily plan to capture any theme related to collaboration and compassion, so it definitely happened naturally. I do like the idea of different beings cooperating and developing these strong emotions and this genuine attachment for one another. In the beginning, the characters happen to come together for a higher cause; they are sort of forced to cooperate. In fact, we sometimes read that Emma doesn’t really appreciate the sternness of Ella, but, like a daughter-mother relationship, she respects the opinions and directions of a more experienced female. If we consider the novel from this point of view, it seems that the characters always approach a new “companion” with reservation, doubts and distrust. Of course, this is also caused by the events happening in the Valley, but don’t we often all react like this during our first meeting with somebody? It’s only after a few shared experiences that we manage to open up to the person in front of us. This is exactly what happens to Emma, Ella, Abela, and all the characters in the book. It is more obvious for Emma, because she is the one recollecting the events, we don’t really know what the other characters think of her, their first impression on her, but we can figure it out by reading about their behaviours and interactions with Emma through her own words. At the same time we can see how the characters evolve within their experiences: their core is the same, but their values change. There are no emotional barriers anymore; there is no time for counterproductive drama. The transition to peasant life also intensifies these values, all of a sudden the reader realizes that without technology and commodities, the characters have to communicate more, they have to cooperate and develop skills they weren’t even aware they had. Also, it is clear that by being the fellowship so diverse, each of the characters bring a different set of assets, which is shared between the members, increasing their knowledge and understanding.
This is book one in a trilogy. Where will book three pick up and when will it be available?
Book #2 and #3 are already in the process of being created, I just need the time to sit down and write them both. Book #2 will start with the main characters leaving the witch’s house and migrating to a more secure place: the gnomes’ kingdom beyond the mountains. The rest of the novel will bring more adventures and many unexpected twists. The common threads will still be the millennial fight between good and evil, love, friendship, occult, strength and hope with the Apocalypse permeating and hanging over everything like Damocles’ sword. Book #3 will incorporate also the final countdown until the last battle between good and evil, the one that will decide on the faith of humanity and Earth.
When the Devil puts his price tag on your head, you know you have to call upon some very special friends to help you stay alive. Welcome to the world of Emma. Thrown from relative obscurity into a time of being hunted, our young protagonist must transition from modern day to peasant life with difficult choices and a need to adapt. Life on the run takes trust and belief in the power of others, on a vastly changing stage. Emma Plant’s first novel throws the reader into a place where reality is no longer three dimensional. Descriptions of fairies, witches, gnomes and demons paint a picture for anyone who may wish a glimpse beyond the veil. Her characters live in the reader’s imagination beyond the final page, with the promise of a sequel, and potential trilogy in the offing. This new-age fantasy story will appeal to young adults through to senior years and is a page-turner from start to finish.
Posted in Interviews
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Burned in Stone continues the story of three archaeologists as they now set out to find the Ark of the Covenant. Where did you want to take this book that was different from The Lost Photographs and what were some things you felt had to stay the same.
The original characters remained the same, and Stephanie was added. I worried about having my story enter the realm of science fiction in the sign from God, but I have learned that many of my readers believe we would have a much better world to live in if it really happened.
I chose Ann Tyler to be the one who died instead of my new character, Stephanie. That was a shock and very sad. I was hoping it would be a story my readers would not quickly forget. I am still not sure I made the best choice. Matt found how deeply he loved her. That may be too much for Stephanie to overcome.
Stephanie’s tragic childhood and her unfortunate upbringing make for fascinating reading. What traits were important for you to develop and explore in her character?
I wanted to bring out the vulnerability of a child and the emotional devastation caused by abuse and lack of love as depicted by Stephanie’s childhood and early years. However, she “pulled herself up by the boot straps” and discovers love is not selfish but is caring about others. She develops a successful career and does not use her childhood trials as a crutch to flounder in pity.
I enjoy how you explore ancient artifacts and ruins to bring new life to old stories. Did you always have an interest in archaeology or is this an idea developed just for your novels?
From an early age, I have been fascinated by bible stories and archaeological finds. After retirement I was able to travel extensively visiting many countries and ruins–Africa, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Thailand, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, many countries of the Far East to name a few. I try to incorporate the sights, sounds, and smells of those many places into my stories to enhance the importance of exploring the past and its influence on the future.
Do you plan to continue Matt, Ann, and Jim characters in other novels, possibly a series? If so, what will the next book be about?
I plan to continue with most of the same characters. Unfortunately, one of my favorite characters, Ann Tyler, was brutally murdered in Burned in Stone, but Matt, Jim, and Stephanie still need to pursue at least one more biblical artifact.
My wife and I love to travel to places we have not yet seen in the world. I believe we will take a few trips and as we travel I will be putting my pen back to the paper.
BURNED IN STONE A Novel by Richard Ira Carroll You won’t be able to put down “Burned in Stone”, a page-turning adventure with twists and turns that keeps you guessing at what happens next. You’ll have to stay up an extra hour. You’ll want to see how they get out of this one. Steam was shooting out everywhere from the ancient ore-hauling steam engine. If I give it full throttle now, would it go around the curve too fast and tip over? I had no choice. It was now or never! “Burned in Stone” is a novel of epic proportions, a story the reader will not easily forget. A thoroughly researched and well-written prologue sets the stage for this slam-bang novel. Dr. Mathew Lane, Ann Tyler, and Jim Morgan, the three archaeologists who discovered Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat, are on another dangerous undertaking as they search for the crown jewel of biblical artifacts, the real Ark of the Covenant! Love, jealousy and heart-wrenching tragedy enter the story when Stephanie, a stunning beauty who possesses an ancient parchment map, agrees to join them in the search. Every area our adventurers search reveals another clue leading to another place or another country. This fast-paced journey takes them from Thailand, to the depths of the Mediterranean Sea, to Jerusalem and finally to Mount Sinai in Egypt. Here they discover something so totally unbelievable. . . something so phenomenal. . . it will have a profound effect on every man, woman, and child on the face of the earth! “Burned in Stone” is the sequel to an equally exciting novel, “The Lost Photographs”, also available at your favorite book store.
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Long years ago, at the dawning of civilization, the Eve woman was formed. Pulled from her nestling place, the side of man….
She’s the yesterday’s woman, the fresh oil of today. She’s timeless. Yet, modern, with the scent of Holiness embedded within her….
Back then, she was beguiled by evil; but now this 21st century woman is leading others to Christ Jesus, with a humble demeanor….
Discover the 3 parts within her. The Inmate, The Bunk-mate, and The Helpmate….
Go on a journey within the pages to learn of the 12 houses, that she resembles. From a shack to a tree-house, she’s unstoppable, unmovable, and always abounding in God’s grace. “Who Is This Woman? She’s The 3wGirl.
“The Woman, The Witness, And The Wife! Coming to an online bookstore near you…September 2018
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Dr. Matthew Lane, world-renowned archaeologist and the man credited with finally discovering the resting place of Noah’s Ark, is on the hunt again. This time, Matt, his girlfriend Ann Tyler, and his best friend and fellow archaeologist, Jim Morgan, have reunited to find the Ark of the Covenant and bring the world to a state of peace with proof of the existence of the Ten Commandments. Their adventure introduces them to Stephanie, a young woman with information that leads them to an ancient treasure and whose family ties brings them nothing but pain and sorrow at every turn.
Burned in Stone, the sequel to The Lost Photographs, by Richard Carroll begins much like The Lost Photographs–with nonstop action and the characters moving rapidly through one precarious situation to another. In this installment, readers see much more of Ann at the outset and her willingness to stay by Matt’s side no matter the level of danger. From jumping tandem from a plane to exploring ancient ruins, Ann sees little reason to doubt Matt until he comes out with the most unbelievable statement of all. As a reader, I was glad to see the author choose to have Ann display a certain amount of doubt in Matt’s incredible comments.
The introduction of an additional love interest adds a new layer to Carroll’s cast of characters. I am not sure exactly why, but Stephanie disturbed me. In addition, Matt’s inability to make a definitive statement about his love for Ann and make a clean break from Stephanie bothered me throughout the book. I am much more a fan of Ann than Stephanie even though Stephanie’s backstory is tragic and intriguing.
Carroll is a master with the backstory element. He expertly incorporates a detailed backstory into each of his books and builds a wonderful base on which to construct each plot. Stephanie’s tragic childhood and her unfortunate upbringing with her uncle and cousin make for fascinating reading and help to create a rich subplot surrounding Stephanie as well as her cousin Jack, the ultimate villain.
I must say that, as with the The Lost Photographs, I felt myself much more involved in the latter chapters than in the action-packed scenes in the beginning and middle of the book. The sign Matt is told to expect on the first day of spring is a phenomenal sight to behold. Carroll masterfully describes a scene unlike anything readers could ever imagine. From the moment Matt is told to expect a sign, I found myself trying to visualize what form it may take. The author crafts a breathtaking spectacle indeed.
Burned in Stone is much more about the search for the Ten Commandments than the commandments themselves. Carroll’s writing is seamless and devoid of vulgarity and cursing which makes it appropriate for a wide range of readers. Readers who are more inclined to enjoy adventure stories with just a touch of romance will find themselves completely wrapped up within the pages of Burned in Stone and the harrowing lives of Matt, Ann, and Jim.
Pages: 340 | ASIN: B079GGS89Q
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Matt and Jim are living out their lifelong dream to uncover and provide undeniable truth that Noah’s Ark did indeed come to rest atop Mt. Ararat. With the help of Ann and a tragic story of her grandmother’s first love, Matt and Jim begin their journey with stunning photographs of the ark itself which have been hidden from the world in the most ingenious way possible. Luck is not on the side of the three adventurers, however. One dangerous situation after another impedes their progress on the path to the top of Mt. Ararat.
Richard Carroll has captured within the pages of The Lost Photographs a mere snapshot of the enormity of the task undertaken to uncover Noah’s Ark atop a frozen Mt. Ararat. His depiction of the dedicated team who undertakes this task despite all obstacles, both natural and incited by man, is riveting and tense. No one else has wanted anything more than Matt and Jim want to prove the existence of the ark, and absolutely nothing will prevent them from accomplishing what they have set out to do.
I have always found the search for proof of the ark’s existence to be fascinating. The Lost Photographs does not focus quite as heavily on the actual ark as I would like to have seen. Though it does center around the hidden photographs and delves into the excavation of the site itself, the book also has a parallel story line that sometimes takes the reader on a path away from the ark story line. I felt there was, perhaps, too much of an emphasis placed on the budding romance between the characters and the inner turmoil Matt experiences.
Carroll does a wonderful job of building interest with the backstory of the lost photographs of the ark. By tying the story of Ann’s grandmother, Jelena, and her friend, Yuri, with the teamwork of Matt and Jim, the author has created a seamless story that spans generations and is a wonderful testament to the timelessness of the ark’s story. I will say I was not expecting the tragedy that occurs centering around Yuri and his family. Carroll presents a moving depiction of Jelena’s love for Yuri and the mystery of his family’s fate.
Readers who require action in their historical fiction will appreciate the many close calls and precarious positions in which Matt, Jim, and Ann find themselves. The desire to keep the ark’s existence hidden leads to an all-out battle when one of the terrorists’ operatives infiltrates the ark team. In addition, the entire expedition faces the utter devastation of an earthquake in the middle of their work.
Though I loved the premise of the book, references to historical events, and biblical truths, I would have preferred more of a focus on the discovery of the ark itself and less of a concentration on the romance between characters. The hints at the book’s conclusion to the unearthing of the Ten Commandments leaves the reader in the perfect frame of mind to want more from Matt, Jim, and Ann.
Pages: 320 | ASIN: B079GJN12N
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Expectations is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a mystery, suspense, and Christian fiction as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
I started writing this novel with one idea that carried my story from start to finish. My focus and intention did not change as my writing evolved. On the contrary, my original idea is what permitted the story to grow and twist and turn as it did.
The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
My favorite character is Ace Cadman. He is the most intriguing of these characters because all eyes in this story are on him. At the end of the day, everyone will be turning to him for answers. Or those who are against him will want to see what he is really worth.
What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
The initial idea behind this story was to show that God is real, that He is powerful, that He is not a historical figure, and that He loves His creation. It was to show that a spiritual reality does exist behind the curtain of time and that God and His army of angels do exist. It was to show how they fight for family, for children, for humans constantly. This idea did not transform as I was writing, it expanded…then exploded.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
The next book I am working on is a sequel to the first novel. It will be called Expectations II: The Familiar Spirit. I am hoping to publish this novel by December 2019 or 2020.
A pastor is faced with a dilemma when his twin nephews, sons of his only brother, cry out to him for help. Faced with all kinds of strange happenings and unnatural events in their house due to their parents adherence with the occult; the childrens fears push them to break a pact of silence established by their father regarding the secrets of their household.
How can Ace help his nephews without letting the dark forces that torment their lives affect his own family? The more he struggles to help the twins, the more the Secret Society to which the boys parents belong rage their war of evil upon him. Only a living God could help Ace overcome this war and emerge victorious. But will he; Ace Cadman, have the courage to step into the supernatural realm beyond the curtain of time when his God calls him on the scene?
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The Spanish Inquisition in 1492 left no Jewish family untouched. The impact of this horrific period in Spain runs deep and it has had long-lasting effects upon Jewish families through the ages. Maria, a descendant of a Jewish family forced to convert to Catholicism, allows her gut feelings to rule her religious preferences, and she spends time researching her family’s hidden past. As she begins to find more and more clues, she realizes that her soul is true to her Jewish roots, and she sets out to turn her own life upside down even if it means alienating her Catholic family members.
Genie Milgrom’s Pyre to Fire contains two parallel story lines detailing the village of Fermoselle, Spain’s sudden and devastating conversion to Catholicism and descendant Maria’s slow but sure discovery of her family’s painful secrets. The quest Milgrom lays out as part of Maria’s search for answers is written in tandem with excerpts detailing Maria’s ancestors’ struggle in the 1490s. As a reader, I appreciated the parallels and the bounce between modern times and the historical descriptions. I am not versed in this aspect of world history and can easily say I feel equal parts of enlightenment and horror. Milgrom does a wonderful job of painting the trauma and the emotional struggle of the Jews in Spain being forced into conversion and threatened with their lives if they did not comply. Milgrom’s characters, based on her own lineage, help draw a painfully clear picture of the atrocities and the pain experienced by Jewish families who battled for centuries as a result of having to choose to hide their rituals, worship practices, and adherence to dietary restrictions.
I found the heartbreaking life of Maria’s ancestor, Catalina, and the circumstances in which she finds herself on the night of the inquisition to be among the most tragic I have read in historical fiction works. Catalina is faced with hiding, lying, and evading arrest. Her life, though she and her husband try everything in their power to make normal lives and honor their Jewish traditions, is a life of pure fear. Catalina is never afforded true happiness. Milgrom gives readers a tragic and historically accurate protagonist.
As I read, I had a little trouble getting past some errors that could have been prevented with proofreading. Two characters speaking within a single lengthy paragraph and some misplaced quotation marks and punctuation presented some challenges as I read.
This short read (just under 140 pages) gives readers a clear picture of the horrors inflicted on one group of people by another in the name of religion. Milgrom is helping raise awareness, encourage tolerance, and educating generations far removed from her characters’ lives. Readers who are interested in history and curious about the details surrounding The Spanish Inquisition will find Pyre to Fire a great addition to their collection of literature.
Pages: 228 | ASIN: 1976594510
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