Best Read of 2018: The Last Motley

The Last Motley by D.J. Edwardson, available on Amazon.

Despite the unexpected health issues that forced an unplanned hiatus from going online for part of 2018, I was still able to download a number of books! Among the new (to me) titles I read, a few stood out:  in particular, Jack Lewis Baillot’s wonder-filled retelling of Beauty and the Beast/Christmas novella Finding the Magic, Intisar Khanani’s magical fantasy novel Memories of Ash, Ness Kingsley’s zany comedic fantasy quest Our Intrepid Heroine, and Suzannah Rowntree’s novella-length retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, the darkly fantastic The City Beyond the Glass.

The very best story I read in 2018, however, was The Last Motley by D.J. Edwardson. Here’s why:

1)  It is a well-written, classic fantasy quest set in a well-wrought world.  (Check out its page on Goodreads, where it is receiving stellar reviews! Many describe what a good read The Last Motley is in far more erudite prose than I will ever produce.)  If you love this type of story, The Last Motley is well worth the price of admission. The Epilogue alone is one of the most beautiful passages I’ve read in years.

Moreover, the focus of the quest is a child in peril, which is not a scenario this reader is likely to walk away from without seeking resolution! The inherent tension and sense of threat build from the very first chapter – and just at the point where I started to feel I could use some relief….

2) Nagan appears on the scene. He was totally unexpected, and turns out to be one of the funniest characters I’ve encountered in recent books. Many of his lines are LOL hilarious!  I was not expecting this, nor would I have believed so much humor could be woven so seamlessly into a plot that is overshadowed by so many real dangers.

Nagan himself is not immune to these threats – nor is he merely a comedic prop, for his character follows an arc I found myself caring about very much. The author does a masterful job of making comedy and potential tragedy work together in a single multi-layered tale. It just works on every level, and the book is all the richer and more engaging for it!

3) But what elevates this story above the horde of fantasies being published these days is the author’s choice of protagonist: instead of the standard-issue, know-it-all, angsty/callow youth, the protagonist of The Last Motley is a mature man of faith, a devoted husband, and a loving father. In fact, it is his fatherly instinct that makes him peculiarly suited for this particular quest.

Today’s popular culture all too often gleefully depicts fathers as the butt of a cosmic joke, the epitome of idiocy compared with their all-wise progeny. While it is true that many men never live up to their responsibilities to their offspring (choosing instead to bury themselves alive in their careers, or spend most of their free time vegetating in front of a wide screen as gamers or passive media consumers), the unsung heroes of our day are those men who quietly do their duty by their children, shaping their lives in countless positive ways–including their willingness to confess their faults and take steps to correct them.

For all of these reasons, I encourage you to read The Last Motley, and I hope you’ll let me know what you think of it!

Finally, I just want to thank you, D.J. Edwardson, for singing the virtues of flawed but faithful fatherhood in your beautiful story.  I hope you go on to write many more equally edifying and encouraging works!

 

Wonder Mountain Christmas Published!

Wonder Mountain Christmas (my novella-length retelling of Cinderella, featuring some of the same characters you met in Show of Wonders) is now available on Amazon.  You can also view it (and review!) on Goodreads.
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Book description: Min’s childhood in foster care was marked by loneliness, relieved only by her escape into books about the magical worlds of Narnia and Middle Earth. Now that she’s of age, she’s looking for a home in the mountains she’s dreamed of all her life–only to find that working as a server in a luxury ski resort is not only lonely, but thankless and humiliating.

And then, one snowy Christmas Eve, a stranger skis into the bar where Min is working and offers her a strange invitation that could change her life forever–if she has the courage to accept it.

Join Min in this heart-warming Christmas story as she searches for her true family and the home where she belongs!

Special Offer: Wonder Mountain Christmas is only 99 cents through January 6th on Amazon! Merry Christmas to you, and hope you enjoy it!

 

Show of Wonders Published!

At long last, Show of Wonders (my novella-length retelling of Snow White) is available on Amazon. I’ve also created a page for it on Goodreads.
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Book description:  Bianca loves taking care of animals backstage and out of the spotlight for the traveling circus called Show of Wonders. But then an unexpected event causes her to become a reluctant performer under the big top.

As Bianca’s popularity with audiences grows, she threatens to displace the reigning star of the show, a beautiful high-wire walker – who also happens to be Bianca’s stepmother. When Bianca discovers her stepmother’s jealousy won’t stop short of magic-fueled murder, she must rely on her own wits – and the help of some mysterious strangers – to survive.

Show of Wonders is available in e-book format on Amazon. Novella: 72 pages; 20,400 words.

Looking forward to hearing what you think of it!