NEW HISTORICAL FICTION from Nancy Blanton: ‘Sharavogue’

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Sharavogue
by Nancy Blanton

Published by iUniverse, 11/5/2012
eBook, paperback, hardcover


It is December of 1649 and England’s uncrowned king, Oliver Cromwell, leads his brutal army across Ireland to eliminate a violent rebellion. Fifteen-year-old Elvy Burke, the daughter of a great warrior, wants only one thing—to live her destiny as a leader and defender of her country. While waiting anxiously in her village, Elvy receives word that Cromwell and his cavalry are on the way. As she hears the thunderous hooves approaching, Elvy has already decided she will not give up easily.

When Cromwell cruelly beheads a village boy, Elvy vows to avenge the killing by destroying Cromwell. After fleeing from the general’s soldiers, Elvy aligns with a Scottish outlaw whose schemes send them headlong into a tumultuous journey across the sea to the West Indies, where she becomes an indentured servant for the fledgling sugar plantation Sharavogue. Knowing she will surely be killed if she attempts to escape, Elvy learns to survive in her new life—and soon discovers the depth of her own strengths and emotions.

Sharavogue is the compelling historical tale of one girl’s incredible journey through the lawless lands of the West Indies as she fights her way back to Ireland to confront her sworn enemy and claim her destiny.

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Born in Miami, Florida, Nancy Blanton is a corporate communications professional and former journalist. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book, The Curios Adventure of Roodle Jones, produced two corporate history books and two interactive timelines. Sharavogue is her first novel. Her blog, My Lady’s Closet, covers history, writing, and related experiences.

Available in eBook, Paperback, and Hardcover formats at:
– Amazon
– Barnes & Noble
– iUniverse
– IndeBound

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PRAISE FOR SHARAVOGUE

Blanton has accomplished what I think all writers of good historical fiction should. She has accurately portrayed a time in history with a real flare, serendipitously teaching her readers as she keeps them utterly captivated with her characters. Her descriptions of places and events is so vivid that it is easy to imagine being on the sugar plantation or sailing across the ocean.

– LAS Reviewer

Blanton ranks right up there with Cornwell, Scarrow, and Rutherfurd in making history enjoyable and dare I say even exciting! Looking forward to further books from her.

– Amazon Reader Review

This book kept me up nights. Every time I thought I could put it down something happened that made me read on. A very enjoyable first novel.

– Christine W.

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Review of Marti Healy’s ‘The Secret Child’

ImageThe Secret Child by Marti Healy
Review by Sinead F.

The Secret Child, coming in at 196 pages, should not be dismissed as lacking in content. This was another one of those books where I had never heard of the author or the book beforehand, so it was a little bit of a risk but I am so glad I took a chance on it!

Set in South Carolina in 1855, The Secret Child follows the escapades of Marika, a young girl who is a member of the Irish Travelling Community. The book opens with Marika and her brother’s journey to another clan within the community, as Marika has been promised in marriage to the clan’s leader. However, things soon go awry as her brother falls ill and is taken in by some villagers near to where Marika’s new clan resides. Marika then makes the decision to abandon her arranged marriage, at least temporarily, and takes refuge in a nearby forest. She soon finds herself drawn into a mystical world, which she had previously only heard of in stories.

With regards to the story as a whole, I enjoyed it. Oddly enough, the simplistic story didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book as a whole. The reason this book still stands up as a whole is a result of the beautiful, lyrical descriptions that are peppered throughout every chapter. Something as simple as winter changing to spring was imagined as a symphony of growth and color that really drew you into the setting of the book and added a feeling of magic to otherwise ordinary happenings.

Despite how much I loved the descriptions in this book, they never took over. I remember when reading Homer’s Odyssey, another book with wonderful descriptions, there would be pages and pages of descriptions of one particular setting or key object before anything would actually happen, which turned it from a thing of beauty to tedium. The Secret Child manages to avoid this pitfall and uses the descriptions to either draw you in at the start of a chapter or enhance the events within the chapter.

An interesting aspect of The Secret Child is, naturally, Marika’s Irish heritage. At times throughout the book, Marika slips into speaking Gaeilge [in Irish], which I felt was a particularly nice touch. However, understanding Irish is not necessary anyway as all her phrases are translated on the page!

Due to the setting of The Secret Child, it is impossible for the story to be told without reference to slavery or the upcoming civil war. Again, these themes do not take over the story, but they are present throughout. Marika struggles to understand the motivations of slave owners, as her clan did not partake in slavery so she had never experienced it before. The book briefly touches on the cruelty of some slave owners, as well as some of the laws regarding slavery. This stood as a good contrast to the magical world Marika inhabited, as it brought a stark view of reality to the forefront.

In general, I really enjoyed reading The Secret Child. It’s a great book for immersing yourself into another world. The Secret Child shows you a world that exists just out of reach, and then drags you right into the middle of it. All in all, a beautiful read.