Today I have a review and a giveaway – please be sure to check the other Tour Stops to see Interviews, Guest posts and other reviews. And you can read on to see the information for the giveaway!
Title: The Thing With Feathers
Author: Anne Sweazy Kulju
Genre: Historical Fiction/Saga
Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC
Format: Paperback, Ebook
Length: 328 pages (85,000+ words)
Purchase:Author Website | Red Room | Amazon | B&N |
When an itinerate Baptist preacher arrived with his baby daughter and a wife lost on the trail, there was no one prepared to suspect what lurid secrets and heartbreak he might be concealing. As the preacher sets his sights against those who might oppose him, the names, reputations, even the very lives of the good people of Cloverdale may not be spared.
Yet in the midst of the machinations of a mad man, virtue and valor can persist. The Thing with Feathers is known to fly through wars, depressions, and natural disasters. But will the Marshall clan and the good people of Cloverdale find it in time?
Intertwining a poem from Emily Dickenson, “Hope is the Thing with Feathers” the author has taken difficult subjects and tackled them directly and without apology. Deeply dark and disturbing, with recurrent themes of brutalization in both physical and spiritual planes, these successive acts all are focused within a small isolated town. The never-ending litany of deaths and the endless barrage of difficulties were a direct juxtaposition to the underlying poem at the center of the story, yet provided the necessary reason for the residents to continue on.
Characters were beautifully depicted and defined, truly human with faults and foibles; a credit to the author’s thoughtful story development. The inclusion of purely evil people, a revolutionary thought for those who believe that no human is truly all good or all evil, Sweazy-Kulju dropped this evil in the mix and did not apologize or pretty it up.
Clever insertion of facts and figures clearly help to connect the story and the timeline to actual events in history, fleshing out the story in the background and making it feel more familiar to readers. Especially in the midst of the destruction and devastation being wrought on the residents of this little town, an event or place in time that is familiar, both grounds the place and provides a solid background for the events of the story.
This was a highly emotionally charged book that isn’t for every reader. Themes of incest, rape and the overtones of a less than admirable “man of God” and his spiritual teachings, beliefs and misuse of position are all directly dealt with in the story: to the author’s credit she draws readers in with an emotional and near tactile experience. Readers will alternate from horror to silence to a sort of vengeful “gotcha” as the story progresses, until the point at which it does feel like there are no more bad things to befall this little town. Funnily enough, they still have their hope for better things to come, the hope for the end of the “tough times”.
Personally, this was a very difficult read for me in terms of subject matter and the directness with which it is dealt. While I must say that the author did, in no way, apologize for or ‘pretty up’ the bad and violent acts, the emotional impact of the repeated battering with dark imagery is a tough one to continue to read through. While I do believe that there is an audience for this sort of dark fiction, and the author does a stellar job with interweaving the multiple threads into a coherent whole, it was not one of my more pleasurable reading experiences solely based on that emotional toll.
I received an eBook from the author for purpose of honest review as part of the blog tour with Full Moon Bites. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
The Giveaway: You can enter from this Rafflecopter– and be sure to see the photo!
You can enter to win one of 2 prizes:
Gift Bag #1: The Thing With Feathers by Anne Sweazy Kulju Signed paperback, 15-oz cafe mug, 1-lb Fresh-Roasted Fogcutter Blend from Five Rivers Coffee Roasters
Gift Bag #2: A signed copy of The Thing With Feathers by Anne Sweazy Kulju (or digital download card), with customized journal, bookmark and pen created with authors logo Ends 4/07/2013
About the Author:
ANNE SWEAZY KULJU has won awards for editorials and honors for short stories; she now writes historical fiction page-turners. Her first novel, “the thing with feathers,” debuted in 2012, via Tate Publishing. “Bodie,” is expected in early spring 2013. Anne lives near Pacific City, Oregon, where she is writing her third book, “Grog Wars.” She divides her free time between the beach and MountBachelor. Readers may learn more about Anne and correspond with her on her website at http://www.AnneSweazyKulju.com.