22 December 2014

Review #109: The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar by Kim Rendfeld

My rating:
5 of 5 stars

"The love of a family is life's greatest blessing."
---- Anonymous

Kim Rendfeld, an American author, spun a spectacular historical tale called, The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar , which takes us back to the period when Saxon Wars destructed faith among Saxon pagans and peasants and uprooted millions of families with the war raged on over 30 long years.

772 AD: Charlemagne’s battles in Saxony have left Leova with nothing but her two children, Deorlaf and Sunwynn. Her beloved husband died in combat. Her faith lies shattered in the ashes of the Irminsul, the Pillar of Heaven. The relatives obligated to defend her and her family instead sell them into slavery.

In Francia, Leova is resolved to protect her son and daughter, even if it means sacrificing her own honour. Her determination only grows stronger as Sunwynn blossoms into a beautiful young woman attracting the lust of a cruel master and Deorlaf becomes a headstrong man willing to brave starvation and demons to free his family. Yet Leova’s most difficult dilemma comes in the form of a Frankish friend, Hugh. He saves Deorlaf from a fanatical Saxon and is Sunwynn’s champion - but he is the warrior who slew Leova’s husband.

The author took us on a heart-touching and an eye-opening journey over the battle fields of Saxony back in 772AD. This story is about Leova and her family. Leova lost her husband in the war. Despite the ill-treatments going on around Saxony, Leova never loses hope on keeping her children afloat. Her fight for her children completely gripped me into this intriguing story. Leova and her children faces the outcome of the war in the form of daily challenges and obstacles like getting sold into slave trade, however Leova rescues her kids and try to protect them in every possible way even if she has to jeopardize her own security. Leova’s story can be somehow related with modern day stories, especially in countries like Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Jammu & Kashmir where almost every day a family loses their sole earning member, following which the mother takes the responsibility of her children and tries to protect them in every possible way.

The characterisation done by the author is quite strong. Leova, her protagonist, is a strong and challenging heroine, whose demeanour and striking feature will make you feel like you know her very closely. Leova will make you see so many things with her own eyes, but in the end she leaves room for you to judge the story with your point-of-view. Her children are equally strong and fearless just like her. The notorious characters too made an impact upon my mind and their negativity kept me glued to the story.

The author’s prose is absolutely exquisite, crisp and in some way retrospective like challenging our own views in every step. Her narrative style is one of a kind, but mostly free-flowing, interesting and evocative. As the story progressed and as the challenges increased on Leova’s paths, the more I lost myself into the complexity and the mysteries, moreover, it pulled me more into the core of the tale and thus I couldn’t stop myself from turning the pages.

The setting was absolutely fantastic. The author drew the picture of Saxon and Frankish Kingdom with great vividness, thereby resulting in an arresting portrait. From bath houses to the streets to the medieval culture to the language to the smell lurking in the air, everything captured by the author is undoubtedly flawless and striking. And I felt myself teleported back to 772 AD watching Leova’s story unfold right in front of my eyes.

Verdict: This engaging historical family saga will keep you rooted on your edge till its very end, thereby by making you realize that family love is indeed the greatest love in the whole wide world.

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Kim Rendfeld, for providing me with a copy of her book, in return for an honest review. 

Author Info:
Kim Rendfeld has a lifelong fascination with fairy tales and legends, which set her on her quest to write The Cross and the Dragon and The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar.
She grew up in New Jersey and attended Indiana University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English, with a minor in French. If it weren't for feminism, she would be one of those junior high English teachers scaring the bejesus out of her students, correcting grammar to the point of obnoxiousness. Instead, her career has been in journalism, public relations, and now fiction.
Kim was a journalist for almost twenty years at Indiana newspapers, including the Journal and Courier in Lafayette, The Muncie Star, and The News and Sun in Dunkirk, and she won several awards from the Hoosier State Press Association. Her career changed in 2007, when she joined the marketing and communications team at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She gets paid to agonize over commas and hyphens, along with suggesting ways to improve writing, and thoroughly enjoys it. She is proud to have been part of projects that have received national recognition.
Kim lives in Indiana with her husband, Randy, and their spoiled cats. They have a daughter and three granddaughters.
Visit her here 

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this thoughtful, eloquent review and for helping to introduce readers to "The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar."


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