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Review: Windwalker By Natasha Mostert

Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric moved:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I shall endure.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here.
-Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

This life’s dim windows of the soul
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not through, the eye.
William Blake – The Everlasting Gospel


 windwalkerHaunting and elegant. I have head Ms. Mostert’s works described this way before, by other reviewers. This, and so very much more, is the work of Natasha Mostert. For she has a voice that is deeply evocative, an exceptional, mystical writing style. Natasha’s turn of prose is both otherworldly and sensual, a voice that sends chills down my spine and reaches into my soul, making a home for itself in the sweet, dark recesses of my existence. Her writing comes to mind over and over, in the dark of night or the bright light of day, a paean to her brilliant style, as her ability to paint rich, intriguing portraits with words which steal into my awareness in the most common of moments. Words which bring me to my knees, to weep and sigh, to long deeply and without respite.

Kepler’s Bay. A remote and forbidding town in a remote and forbidding land, bitter and forlorn. Perched on the razor edge between the Namib and the sea, Kepler’s Bay clings to the edge of the world with barely restrained ferocity, much as do the creatures of the great desert upon which it backs. Kepler’s Bay. The melancholy call of the soo-oop-wa, the never-ending wind, maddens, takes piecemeal grains of the soul, eventually leaving behind naught but a dry, desiccated husk – a body walking with no spark within.

The Namib, oldest desert in the world, ‘The land God made in anger,’ say the San people. But he had always thought that only a god in pain could have imagined a place like this. And from this land of soaring dunes and brutal winds one day appears a wild man, filled with pain, with fever and madness. Madness and passion. Violence and death. Samuel Becket said: “All men are born mad. Some remain so.” And is madness not pain, turned in upon oneself?

Across the desert, in the lush green of the English countryside, a woman arrives. Lost and maddened in her own right, she arrive upon the doorstep of a sad and haunted estate. As she sinks into the stories of this place of madness, fratricide and pain, broken shadows and haunted rooms, one soon cannot truly discern where the house leaves off and the woman begins. Quiet desperation. Ghosts and haunting images through a camera’s lens.

They are so close, and yet so far apart. So very, very far apart. Has it been this way, lives upon lives, sinking into the past? And what of unintended consequences, the vagaries of fate and karma?

Yet ah! why should they know their fate?
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies.
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss,
‘Tis folly to be wise.
Thomas Gray – Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College

Through our lives, do our souls search? Do they seek desperately, yearning for that which was, which could have been, or which shall never be? And is evil merely the absence of good, demons playing bones with our lives?

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. – Khalil Gibran

Photo courtesy of Michael Van Balen All rights reserved.

How many paths must we walk, how many lives to be lived? How long must we suffer before paths may cross, before we might know peace? Do our souls wander alone, searching beyond ourselves for knowledge, deep in the rending silence of the night? A photography of insanity may be a shard of light. Questions and blood and dreams of deaths long past, pain and ancient desire. All are spread before us between these pages. Allow her words to reel you in, to touch and tease, sooth and savage by turns. To think. To dream. To sorrow.

To hope.

This book was provided to me by the author in return for a realistic review. It touched me more deeply than any of her works yet have – and those have been absolutely brilliant. I hate reviews that begin with “If you like the works of” to be honest, but if the interspersed quotes touch your soul, I strongly, very strongly, encourage you to read Windwalker. And then her other works as well. I don’t believe, once you have read this one, that you will be able to resist.

Review: Undone by Shannon Richard

Remember the unkindness, dishonesty, and deception you display toward others…don’t be shocked when it comes back to bite you. – Sarah Moore

Some people must have no other job than to make others miserable and unhappy. But that’s alright…. I’ve heard that Karma pays well. – Unknown

All cruelty springs from weakness. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

When I first started Undone by Shannon Richard the word that came to mind was “charming.” Come on, the first person you meet is a woman named Bethelda Grimshaw? And of course, when the first thing you learn about Bethelda Grimshaw is that she, “had a malevolent stench radiating off her, kind of like road kill in ninety-degree weather.” Well, you know it is going to be a book worth reading. Well, at least I knew it was a book I would find worth reading.

Lovely romantic comedy with a sharp edge.

And it didn’t let me down. There is a lot of funny in the book. But there is a lot of plain old nastiness too. The kind of nastiness that makes me deeply and abidingly ashamed of being originally from the South. And for being female, when another of my sex can be “a snot-nosed wench. . . (an) evil, mean-spirited, vindictive, horrible human being.” And believe me, Bethelda Grimshaw is all that and more. But she isn’t the only one, and some of the fellas in the town of Mirabelle, Florida are even worse. And poor Paige Morrison just walked right into the middle of it.

Paige’s parents retired and moved from their home in Philadelphia to the ‘burg’ of Mirabelle where they have made themselves a cozy little spot on the Gulf coast. Paige stayed behind with her job, her friends, her apartment and her boyfriend, and was as content with her life as could be. However, the loss of all that, thorough no fault of her own, landed her in Mirabelle with her parents – a place where the whole town seems intent on being as nasty and cruel to her as possible. Well, she is beautiful, tall, long-legged, and wears bright clothes, which is sure to bring out the nasty in a bunch of stuck-up, vicious, middle aged women with too much time and little else to do but gossip and name call. And gossip they do, in the most vicious and despicable manner possible. Wow. Jealous much?

The whole track of Paige’s life changes when, after being abused by yet another nasty female, she breaks down on the side of the road. Walking to the local bait shop for help, she manages to be insulted yet again, break a bottle of doe urine (can we all say EUU??) and meet the local hot mechanic, where much insulting and yelling occurs. Not bad for a day’s work for a bohemian chick with an attitude and a broken heart.

The romance portion of the book is great. It isn’t a “let’s jump into bed in the first five minutes after we meet” like so many of the romance books are today. Instead, the romance takes it’s time to develop, and is lovingly handled by the author. But that isn’t really what I liked about the book in and of itself. Instead, I loved Paige herself, as well as her parents and the small group of friends Paige gathers around her. The story is beautifully done in the relationships that she builds, and the personalities that they display. Hey, middle-aged twins called Pinky and Panky can’t help but be a hoot, right? And the characters you absolutely, positively, without any possibility of redemption hate in the book are the kind you want to force to strip naked and march down the middle of Main Street with signs on their heads saying, “I am a miserable bitch with a twisted, evil, blackened soul and deserve to be alternately humiliated and ignored for the rest of my worthless life.” At least, that is how I felt. (I know, I know, I should feel sorry for the old bitches, but hey, I just don’t!) Believe me, when you meet Bethelda and her cronies, you will have as much fun wanting to poke them with sharp sticks as I did!

Overall, there are laughs as well as terrible pain in the book – but you can depend upon your HEA, and it is so very much worth the trip getting there.

Now, where is my sharp stick? I want to go poke old Mrs. Forns in the eye with it!

I received this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I got a huge kick out of the book, and will be watching for more of Ms. Richard’s work.

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