Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Currently Reading: The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding by Holly Ringland


'On the afternoon that Esther Wilding drove homeward along the coast, a year after her sister had walked into the sea and disappeared, the light was painfully golden.'

The last time Esther Wilding's beloved older sister Aura was seen, she was walking along the shore towards the sea. In the wake of Aura's disappearance, Esther's family struggles to live with their loss. To seek the truth about her sister's death, Esther reluctantly travels from lutruwita, Tasmania to Copenhagen, and then to the Faroe Islands, following the trail of the stories Aura left behind: seven fairy tales about selkies, swans and women, alongside cryptic verses Aura wrote and had secretly tattooed on her body.

The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding is a sweeping, deeply beautiful and profoundly moving novel about the far-reaches of sisterly love, the power of wearing your heart on your skin, and the ways life can transform when we find the courage to feel the fullness of both grief and joy.

Holly Ringland grew up wild and barefoot in her mother's tropical garden in Australia. When she was nine years old, her family lived in a camper van for two years in North America, travelling from one national park to another, an experience that sparked Holly's lifelong interest in cultures and stories. In her twenties, Holly worked for four years in a remote Indigenous community in the central Australian desert.

In 2009 she moved to England where she obtained a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester in 2011. Holly has taught creative writing at Lancaster University, and to women in prison. For five years Holly volunteered as leader of a Greater Manchester storytelling project called International 16, bringing together 16 students from 16 countries (including the UK) to promote global friendship through stories.

To learn more about the author and her books, check out her website, Holly Ringland

Holly's publishers, Harper Collins Australia

Sunday, November 6, 2022

A Review: Unnatural Creatures: A Novel of the Frankenstein Women By Kris Waldherr


Kris Waldherr's Unnatural Creatures takes place in 1790s Geneva, while the revolution progresses in France.  Told from the female perspective of Victor Frankenstein's mother, Caroline Frankenstein, his bride Elizabeth Lavenza and his servant, Justine Moritz.  

Some tales aren't what you think.

For the first time, the untold story of the three women closest to Victor Frankentstein is revealed in a dark and sweeping reimagining of Frankenstein by the best-selling author of The Lost History of Dreams.

Stunningly written and exquisitively atmospheric, Unnatural Creatures shocks new life into Mary Shelley's beloved gothic classic by revealing the feminine side of the tale. You'll never view Victor Frankenstein and his monster the same way again.

Publisher:Muse Publications LLC
Publication date:10/04/2022
Have I cursed her?
No answer ever came, for her room flared with a light more brilliant than any she'd ever witnessed. Suddenly she sensed the threads of her past and present braid with the future. There she was, a girl trapped by her father's ruin of a life inside that vermin-laden cottage, then later with Alphonse and their babies. A shadowy figure followed them, the one she'd dreamt of that day in Plainpalais. 
Whoever he was, his face was scarred. Black flowing hair. Flesh the hue of bone. What had he to do with Victor? Or Elizabeth?
He'll be with them on their wedding night.

All of a sudden the shadowy figure was gone and so was the light. Caroline stretched her arms toward the void, as though she could halt fate from colliding with time.

I loved getting to know all three women; especially their roles in Victor's life, education and obsessions. Caroline was haunted and grieving yet motherly and deeply afraid of the wounds she carried within herself. Her marriage and relationship with Alphonse shone a light into Victor's obsession with science, life and death. 

My favorite character is Elizabeth because of her fortitude when it comes to love. Her loyalty to Victor was tested and although her heart remained always with Henry, Victor's obsessions with his monster and secret keeping always got in the way of everything else in his life. 

Justine is a character I struggled to like and understand. My heart broke for her terrible childhood but leapt at Caroline's rescue.  She was given a second chance at a real family, one she took wholeheartedly. Without giving anything away, I truly did not like her 'survival' and I'll leave it at that. 

 At the heart of Unnatural Causes are the themes of familial abandonment, betrayal, and the scientific archaic demonic ability to hold a humans fate in your hands and play at life and death as if you were God or Lucifer.  So many deaths so many lives taken senselessly at the hands of a monster all in the name of a promised love that was killed before it could live. 

In the end there was a sole survivor but at the cost of the death of too many lives. Victor Frankenstein’s obsessions killed his family and those around him.  Unnatural Causes is a page turning book, very dark themes, very gothic in nature. 

Unnatural Creatures is a breathtakingly beautifully written novel that envelops you and won't let you go until its good and ready!  I highly recommend it to all Mary Shelley lovers out there. 

You can find more information about the author and her books on her website, Kris Waldherr




A book review of The Ghost Ship by Kate Mosse

New York Times  bestselling author Kate Mosse returns with  The Ghost Ship , a sweeping historical epic of adventure on the high seas. The B...