Tuesday, November 02, 2010

April Gardner's Wounded Spirits ~ Reviewed

Wounded Spirits
by April Gardner
Published by Vinspire Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9819896-4-8
316 pages

Back Cover:

On the frontier, Adela McGirth’s life is simple, rugged, and exactly to her liking. Her greatest concern is whether to marry the settlement’s most eligible young officer. When a distant war among the Natives spills over into a nearby skirmish, life takes a perilous turn. Deep in enemy territory Adela must choose between the man she loves and a baby that has yet to be born; will she be strong enough to wait on God's provision?

A peace-loving yet loyal Creek warrior, Totka is forced to align with the extremist Red Stick faction whose purpose is to eradicate the Whites from Creek soil. In the midst of battle, Totka is assigned to protect those he is expected to hate--and kill. Life was simpler before his enemy became a beautiful face with a quiet strength and dignity he cannot resist.

Having lived a life plagued with death and loss, Zachariah McGirth is a man on a mission - he'll have his revenge or die trying. Blinded by grief, he can't see his way clear of yet another tragedy. Why has God taken everything from him...or has He?

Their lives molded by the course of history, can these Wounded Spirits learn to rely on God's grace during one of the bloodiest conflicts in the South?


April Gardner’s debut album is a well-crafted, emotionally engaging romance that immersed me in two very different, yet painfully intertwined cultures—that of the burgeoning settler and the dwindling Native American warrior. Intrigue, and perhaps even a hint of scandal, sprinkled across the first page, plunged me instantly into the story. In chapter one, we meet the young, studious Adela, a woman bound by a deep sense of honor and loyalty, yet smitten by a forbidden love—in a hesitant, uncertain sort of way. She tells herself that it is loyalty to her sister that keeps her from falling into Philip’s arms, but deep in her heart, doubts arise. Does she really love this man, or is she merely attracted to his good looks? And are his strong, at times overly assertive, advances, signs of love or domination?

This romance is further complicated by intense feelings of guilt. Her older sister, Elizabeth loves Philip and is determined to become his wife. Obviously, Philip doesn’t return her sentiments. And he’s really not concerned about how Elizabeth will feel when she finds out he’s been secretly pining for her younger sister. Adela, however, is very concerned. Elizabeth is a strong-willed woman, accustomed to getting her way. Adela has always been more than willing to let her sister have it, until now. But is Philip worth hurting her sister and perhaps even breaking their ailing mother’s heart?

Adela is terrified by the proposition and would prefer to let things lie until a final decision has been made, but things unravel, exposing her and Philip’s romance. For the first time in her young life, Adela is forced to speak her mind. Will her family understand, or will they grow to hate her? And what of her ailing mom, who appears to be growing sicker day by day? How will Adela’s news, and the possibility of sibling rivalry, affect her mother?

April Gardner did a wonderful job of creating numerous very unique and believable characters. Initially I was concerned that I would have trouble relating to the Native American viewpoints as I had minimal experience to draw from, but April did such a great job of developing each character presented and their environment, I experienced each scene effortlessly without pause of distraction.

What impressed me most was April’s creative, yet appropriate use of language. The euphemisms and similes used fit both time period and culture with which they were used, not just once, but again and again. Details were used sparingly and effectively, with just enough to plunge us into the scene without taking us on a long, story-deflecting stroll. Emotions were real and I easily related to all characters. Somehow April brought out the humanity in even the most irrational or hated characters, pulling me to them with almost as much force as the plot propelled me from them.

Overall, a very pleasant read with a great storyline and brilliant presentation. I look forward to reading Ms. Gardner’s future work.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery


April W Gardner said...

Thanks for the amazing review!!

Lisa Lickel said...

Oh, April! How nice. The story reminds me a little of Laura Franz, another favorite author. I'm sure I'll love this one!