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Rowena Through the Wall: Expanded Edition Paperback – March 10, 2012
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About the Author
By day, Melodie Campbell is a mild-mannered association executive; by night, she transforms into a fevered scribe of comedy and suspense. Melodie has a Commerce degree from Queen's University, but it didn't take well. She has been a banker, marketing director, comedy writer, association executive and college instructor. Not only that, she was probably the worst runway model ever.
Melodie got her start as a humor columnist, so it's no surprise her fiction has been described by editors as 'wacky' and 'laugh out loud funny'. With over 200 publications, and five awards for short fiction, Melodie's work has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Star Magazine, Canadian Living Magazine, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The Hamilton Spectator, New Mystery Reader, Mysterical-E and many more.
Melodie is now the General Manager of Crime Writers of Canada. She lives in Oakville, Ontario with husband, two kids and giant Frankenpoodle.
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What can a girl, a teacher of veterinary medicine in Scottsdale, Arizona, do when a very large blond man suddenly appears in her classroom wearing a tunic, leggings and a sword hanging from his belt? Of course, her first thought is that a medieval festival has come to town, but why would he be here? A need to protect the only student in the room at the time prompts her to step around her to confront this warrior. When Rowena speaks to him, he turns around and walks through the wall. Kendra, her grad student, sees nothing, wondering who her teacher was talking to.
That night she has the most real but unlikely dream of a different world, rather obvious by its two orange suns. Rowena, Row to her friends, has a gift. She can communicate in a sort of mind meld with animals, especially horses and dogs. But here there are no wild animals or birds, but a small squirrel and a fish. Suddenly a deep voice rings out "Who are you?" Dream over, she puts it out of her mind. Two days later, alone in her classroom marking tests, two men suddenly appear through the wall. When she speaks they are startled to learn that she can see and hear them. And then they are gone.
Now the dreams take on a life of their own, always taking up where they left off the night before. Once she discovers these aren't dreams but are really happening, she is shocked that in this world her grandfather and cousins live, people she has never heard of. Her mother came from this world but how could it be? It seems so medieval. She learns from the man she has met that her mother disappeared from wherever this is and has never been seen again. Unfortunately, her mother died when Row was young and she knew nothing of her background. She learns that a curse was laid in this different land that caused all babies born to be male, eventually bringing procreation to a standstill. Now we know why these men are coming through the wall, they are seeking fertile women. In her classroom, she goes through the wall and finds herself in the same place her dreams took her, and now she knows where the men are coming from on the other side. But where is this place?
This is where the story really takes off, and what a wild ride! On a quick visit back through the portal, Kendra is once again in the classroom and returns with Rowena. As a Goth girl, Kendra is first believed to be a boy as they come out of the portal to be faced again by men. Rowena motions to her to play the role, easy for her to play as she is trained in martial arts. When later Kendra is dressed in the clothing supplied in the castles and fortresses, her look changes immensely.
In this country called Lands End, with no women of child-bearing age, Rowena is alternately coupled, kidnapped, and/or married, by someone from each corner of this world. She does not know the politics of rulers, but her sharp wit and sense of humour get her through everything. Men are ready to fight to the death over possession of her. However, these men have not met up with modern women and it is a total eye-opener to them. Who is shocked more, man or woman? This book is so much fun, hard to describe without giving out all the tasty plot. I keep thinking of the main male characters as a combination of Diana Gabaldon's Jamie Fraser and the hilarious swashbuckling Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. I absolutely loved this book, especially the characterizations. The baffling complexities between the main characters, coming from such vastly different backgrounds, gives impetus to the humour, raucous skirmishes, and rollicking good sexual fun.
I was willing to suspend disbelief when our heroine (who although not much older than her university students, is a fully qualified vet and also their teacher) went to this alternate world and connected with her grandfather. In the name if erotica, I'll accept the author having her sleep with a guy on the first night, but then the next day she passively allows herself to be married to him.
Then she is Kidnapped by a different guy. More sex. Ok, but considering her (inexplicable) claimed loyalty to the grandfather she's only just met, she still spills secrets. And again when she is reclaimed by the first guy (getting confused yet? I was!) she spills secrets and plans. It's a habit for her.
Our rather contradictory heroine, who robustly enjoys sex but passively keeps getting forced in to new marriages, is also an annoying SuperWoman. She's a vet, a teacher, a wonderful cook, a brilliant horsewoman, speaks (and reads) several languages, a master war tactician, a chess player, quotes poetry and plays, and is well endowed to boot! And don't forget her empathetic connection to animals - but that doesn't stop her from eating massive amounts of meat and wearing lots of fur lined clothes without even a word of discomfort.
It's all just a bit much for me. Too many contradictions in the character, too many ridiculous plot points and plot holes.
I am grateful I received this free, I think personally I would have felt very dissatisfied if I'd purchased this. For a free book, it has passed the time and I will attempt to persist through to the end, but I am now doing so out of my own unwillingness to leave a book unfinished, not out of any concern for the characters.
I hate taking the time away from the series to write a review! That's how good this first book was. The ending prodded me to make sure I had number two lined up. Don't get me wrong, number one didn't leave you on a real cliffhanger. It just leaves you wanting more.
This book remind me of P.C. Cast's Paratholon series. I loved that series so to find something similar, yet unique, made me a happy reader, indeed!
Rowena is a modern womyn, independent, self-actualizing, and funny. I loved her! I loved that this wasn't a squishy romance novel. There's plenty of action, much of it unwanted, but squishy is just not a part of this great adventure. There is science and magic. There is time-travel, of sorts. Or should I call it world hopping? Well, written and believable. Well, that is, until I need to explain it here.
You know, I think this series could be a movie or television series. It is that much fun. It keeps your attention dwelling in the book and the real world disappears into Rowena's.
I think males or females from young adult on could read it and find it a gripping read.