Monday, April 24, 2017

Virtual Tour - YA Historical Fiction Fantasy - The Mourning Ring by Sarah Parke

The Mourning Ring
 by Sarah Parke
Publication Date: October 10th 2016
CreateSpace eBook & Paperback
Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fantasy

The Book Junkie Reads . . . The Mourning Ring . . . I was biting my nails on this one. I was not sure what Charlotte would choose family or characters. I was not sure which one I wanted her to choose. The characters were so rich, engaging, and hers/theirs. Her siblings were her blood, family, loved ones. Each set created a connection to Charlotte and throughout the read you find a reason to hold or to let-go of one or other. Charlotte’s connection to her family, well sibling was the stories she weaved and the way she shared them. This was not a read that you could just take lightly. If you have read Brontë’s works before you know that her characters were rich and complex, yet engaging and life altering.

 

There was an element of darkness, danger, conflict, sadness, pain, sorrow, and joy. They each had a place in this read and they each filled that void needed to propel the story further. This was a wonderful adventure. It captivated me and held me. I found the richness filling. I found this to be a wonderful adventure to take the youngest of minds on an adventure to be remembered. I enjoyed this read so much that I have started reading it again with my children. We take it one chapter every Wednesday evening after dinner. The children are so excited and anticipates what’s to come next.

 

I certainly recommend this read to anyone that loved to read young adult fantasy and adventure.  It may be set in a time that most children know nothing about but it will still captivate them to explore their own minds and seek out the possibilities of it all.

 

BLURB

Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Brontë lives to tell stories. She longs to improve her fortunes through her writing. Charlotte’s father expects her to leave behind her childish fantasies in order to set an example for her three younger siblings.

 

But the Brontë children hold a secret in their veins—a smidgen of fairy blood that can bring their words to life.

 

When Charlotte discovers that the characters from their childish stories exist in an alternate world called Glass Town, she jumps at the opportunity to be the heroine of her own tale.

 

The city of Angria teeters on the brink of civil war and Charlotte and her siblings must use their magic and their wits to save its people from a tyrant with magic abilities. But entering the fictional world means forfeiting control of their own creations. If they fail, the characters they have come to know and love will be destroyed.

 

Charlotte is determined to save the city and characters she loves, but when the line between creator and character becomes blurred, will she choose her fantasy or her family?

Buy Links:

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) 

B & N | IndieBound

EXCERPT

Emily's bored sigh, the fourth in as many minutes, set Charlotte's teeth on edge.
Her younger sister was determined not to apply herself to her lessons, but Charlotte was just as determined to ignore Emily's attempts to rile her up.
"I don't see what use geometry will serve when I'm an old crone with a dozen chickens." Emily stabbed the dining table with her compass needle and twirled the device in a pirouette.
"How will you build your chicken coop?" Charlotte asked archly.
Emily sighed again.
"I'm sure Keeper could do with a walk," Charlotte said. And I could do with a break from you.
The mutt had been sleeping beneath the table by Emily's feet, huffing in tandem with his mistress. At the sound of his name, he bolted to his feet and rushed from the room. Emily followed.
Charlotte turned her attention back to the letter she had been writing to Ellen. She had lost her train of thought, somewhere in the middle of a sentence about Branwell.
"I'm finished," Anne said, setting down her pencil.
Charlotte leaned over Anne's workbook, fanning herself with the half-finished letter. "See here, your subject and verb do not agree."
Anne bent her face closer to the page and scratched out the offensive pluralizing 's'. Charlotte made a noise of approval and stood up from the table. The afternoon heat and golden half-light were making her drowsy. She gazed out the window to hide her yawn.
Charlotte never thought she would miss the strict routines of the Roe Head School, but she found herself implementing her own daily rituals at home; dividing her time into discrete parcels and mentally striking items from her list.
Each morning began with meditation on the tasks for the day. This list included early morning chores, magic practice (on Tuesdays and Fridays), teaching Emily and Anne their lessons, an afternoon walk (unless the weather was poor), dinner, and writing time before bed.
Sometimes at night, Charlotte heard Branwell skulking around the house like a burglar when everyone was abed.
Her brother continued to be distant and standoffish. He stayed holed up in his room all day long, except when he had lessons with his tutors. Charlotte suspected that his anti-social behavior and the magic accident were linked. Branwell's appetite was a healthy as ever, judging by the trays of food Tabby left outside his door. They were always picked clean.
Hurried footsteps and Keeper's hoarse bark interrupted Charlotte's thoughts. Seconds later, Emily rushed into the room clutching a dirty scrap of linen in her hand. Keeper's uneven gait followed closely behind her.
"Look at this!" Emily waved the handkerchief at Charlotte. Keeper growled low as his mistress handed over his prize. Emily and the dog stared at Charlotte expectantly.
She took the square of fabric between her thumb and forefinger, holding it away from her person as it was dirty and damp with dog saliva. Beneath the muddy streaks, there was a spattering of reddish-brown stains around a row of buttons. It wasn't a handkerchief after all, but an irregularly torn piece of a man's shirt.
"Where did you find it?"
Emily's breaths came in pants. She licked her lips, hungered by this new mystery.
"Keeper dug it up in the garden. I had to wrestle it from him and it ripped."
"Who would bury a shirt in the yard? And what are these stains?"
"What if it’s blood?" Emily whispered.
Charlotte held the scrap in both hands, examining it more closely. She had mended enough shirts to recognize this one.
"This looks like Branwell's shirt, but it's not blood." Charlotte had treated several of her own bloody undergarments in the past three years. The stains on the shirt were stiff and too dark to be blood. She scratched at one of the blotches. A crusty residue flaked off beneath her fingernail.
She sniffed the suspect stains.
"It smells like...paint. Branwell must be painting something."
Charlotte handed the scrap back to Emily, who looked somewhat disappointed.
"If it’s paint, then why would he have buried the shirt in the backyard?"
"I don't know, but I intend to find out."
Charlotte put aside her letter and marched upstairs to Branwell's door, pursued by Emily and Anne. Pressing her ear to the wood she could hear nothing within except the occasional tread of his foot on a creaking floorboard. 
Why was he acting like a character from one of Sir Walter Scott's novels? What was he hiding?
Charlotte rapped her knuckles against the door and was met with a surly "Go away!"
Her attempts to try the handle were unsuccessful. The door was locked.
"Branwell, I expect you to explain yourself! You are being secretive and ruining shirts and making your sisters speculate wildly."
Silence.
"What are you painting that must be kept such a secret?"
More silence.
With a sigh, Charlotte left and ushered her sisters back to their lessons.
Her brother would have to come out of his room and account for himself someday soon.

Buy Links:

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | B & N | IndieBound

Author Info
Sarah Parke writes fantasy and historical fiction (sometimes at the same time) for young adult readers and those young at heart. She has a MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast MFA program. Her work has been published internationally, most recently in the July 2015 issue of The Writer magazine.

MY INTERVIEW WITH SARAH PARKE
How would you describe your style of writing to someone that has never read your work?
My writing style could best be described as “Literary Snark”. I’ve read a lot of classic nineteenth century British novels (Austen, Brontë, Dickens), so my prose can be a little more formal. However, I love writing dialogue, and I learned to write snappy, snarky dialogue from the King of Witty Banter: Screenwriter Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly fame). I like to blend historical events with fantasy elements in a way that reveals a new perspective on the past.

What are some of your writing/publishing goals for this year?
My goal for this year is to finish writing my next YA Historical Fantasy project and have it critiqued by my first readers by the end of the year. Writing a novel is like training for a marathon (something I’ve never done). There are a lot of steps and you have to pace yourself or you’ll make a mistake that will cost you in the long run (pun intended).

Do you feel that writing is an ingrained process or just something that flows naturally for you?
I think that the desire to tell stories is instinctual for me...but that’s not really the same thing as being a productive and successful writer. There’s a well-known quote that goes “I hate writing, but I love having written.” That’s how I feel most days. I have to trick myself into sitting at my desk on a regular basis, but once my fingers are moving across the keys, instinct kicks in. Creating a consistent writing habit is a work-in-progress for me.

If you could spend one-week with 5 fictional characters, who would they be?
I think I would enjoy hanging out at Hogwarts with the original HP trio, but only if I could do magic, too. Or maybe I could follow the Bennett sisters around Georgian England and find myself a “single man in possession of a fortune” looking for a wife.

Can you share you next creative project(s)? If yes, can you give a few details?
My next YA novel is another mix of alternate history and fantasy. It follows a teenage girl who is not your typical debutante--more like Buffy in a corset. I’ll leave you with this scintillating tidbit: Napoleon used Black Magic to win the war.
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