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Winterwood (Rowankind) Mass Market Paperback – February 2, 2016
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"A finely crafted and well-researched plunge into swashbuckling, sorcery, shape-shifting and the Fae! Highly entertaining." — Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Nebula Award-winning author of The Healer’s War
"Swashbuckling action, folklore and characters to care about: this is an authentic English take on historical fantasy, magic and class." — Kari Sperring, author of Living With Ghosts
"Bedford adeptly weaves together romance, action, and fantastical elements, all set against a richly realized series of far-flung locations." —Publishers Weekly
“The first book in Bedford’s new historical fantasy series, Rowankind, seamlessly blends history, magical lore, high-seas adventure and romance into one fantastic story.” —RT Reviews
"A fabulous and fun action-packed story, with an engaging heroine." — Liz Williams, author of The Poison Master, The Ghost Sister, and The Snake Agent
"It’s like an irresistible smorgasbord of all my favorite themes and fantasy elements all in one place, and a strong, compelling female protagonist was the cherry on top.” —BiblioSanctum
About the Author
Jacey Bedford has a string of short story publication credits on both sides of the Atlantic. She lives a thouand feet up on the edge of the Yorkshire Pennines in a two hundred year stone house. She has been a librarian, postmistress, rag-doll maker, and a folk singer in an a cappella trio. She can be found at jaceybedford.co.uk or on Twitter at @JaceyBedford.
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Top Customer Reviews
There are supporting characters from likable (young David, and a number of Ross's crew) to thoroughly unpleasant (the self-righteous dark-magic-user Walsingham), including a number with ambiguous or mysterious agendas (the annoyingly selfish ghost of Will, the Lady of the Forest and her followers, the arrogant Fae). I can't even discuss Corwen or one member of Ross's family without getting spoiler-y. Be aware, there are some casualties, not solely of the Redshirt variety (if I may use a term from SF fandom), but the overall tone is far from depressing.
There is also some sexual content (both good and not-so — <SPOILER>*see my first line*</SPOILER>), but it doesn't occupy pages upon pages of the book. Physical desires are a much smaller part of the plot than learning to live in the present and accept new bonds of caring, upholding the right of every person to determine their own lives, and using all one's abilities to face even a frightening responsibility weighted with risk and ethical dilemmas.
N.B., class and race issues are represented in both the real (African et al) and fictional (the Rowankind, <SPOILER>around whom the McGuffin turns out to revolve</SPOILER>). Ross's ship is and has been (under Will) crewed by free men, regardless of their origins, but she realizes that even she took the bonded servitude of the Rowankind for granted on English land. City vs. country also plays a part, and those who remember the old days and old ways from when the Fae were a capricious power, not just tales.
As for the proofreading, it was fairly professional, though I did catch a few goofs: several comma errors of the "Let's eat Grandma" sort, two odd uses of a present participle where I really don't see how it can be anything other than a past participle, and a couple other minor things. I didn't notice any internal plot-inconsistencies or major problems.
I bought this story for Kindle a while ago when it was on sale, and I'm glad I finally got at reading it. I was attracted by the swash-buckle-y cover with the woman-disguised-as-man trope — which was generally well-handled, BTW, as a well-established practice she's been doing successfully for several years, though I'm not clear on how many other privateers and pirates at least know that Will is dead and his widow has taken the helm.
My hopes are high that I've found another author to follow. I'm off to check out her other works.
I think Ross's feelings towards her brother and Corwen were developed a little too fast. I didn't quite see the relationships develop to the point where she could admit that she was in love with them. A sibling, perhaps, but with Corwen it lacked a lot of reasoning. Ross obviously had some deep feelings for her deceased husband. Their love sounded legendary. With Corwen I did not feel any sparks. He was just there. He did not do anything overly heroic. They had no history and by the end of the book she claimed she loved him. How? Why? I think in order to really be able to confess that you would have to know someone for longer and understand them better. I just couldn't quite FEEL the passion there but with Will and her it was spoken very subtly but you knew their romance was like a powder keg ready to blow.
Overall I am giving this book 4.5 stars for the wonderfully detailed world that the author has created, for this unique take on something that has been done before, and for something new amongst a great handful of authors that I have grown to love and have now grown to break away from as they just don't know when to let go. I look forward to the next installment and hope there will be some more development between Ross and Corwen.