Yes, I am reviewing my daughter's novel. Because I can.
Confession: I have previously read this novel several times, in many drafts, yet I still cried at the end after reading it in its published form! This is truly a beautiful story, filled with wonder, laughter, thrills, chills, a touch of horror, and boundless grace.
It would be difficult to write a synopsis without unintentional spoilers, so I will simply mention favorite bits.
For one, I adore Foxbrush. :-) He is essentially the same character we met in Veiled Rose and Moonblood, and yet here we see him through different eyes. And we watch him grow through his trials, often in rather amusing ways.
Daylily is an intricate character who reminds me of women I have known: reserved, artificial, difficult to like, yet fascinatingly complex. Her journey through this novel is both horrifying and compelling, for she is almost too real for a fictitious character. The symbolism of the red wolf is deep.
Imraldera, who has always been the ideal heroine, makes a mistake in this book--which humanizes her and makes her even more lovable. And Eanrin. *dreamy sigh* Nidawi the Everblooming is both hilarious and terrifying! I have never seen anything like her in fiction, that's for sure. Many other fascinating fey creatures make an appearance, adding to the story's fantastical ambiance.
Lionheart finally begins to prove his courage, and Felix . . . is very much himself. So much fun to see characters from the early books as well as a few from more recent tales!
I have only the highest respect for this author, who labors diligently at her craft and improves with every book she writes. Her coaching while I polished my upcoming novel made all the difference, and as an editor she zeroes in on flaws and weaknesses like a laser beam. She encouraged me to stretch myself and to grow beyond what I thought I could do! And I know from long experience that she puts her own work through the same grilling in pursuit of excellence. Following her example is a challenge for lazy me. *grin*
I am so blessed to be her mother! After all, I get to gloat about reading her manuscripts before anyone else sees them. And I got to be the inspiration for a key character with forgetfulness issues. I am not altogether certain how I feel about this. ;-)
I pray that God will use this novel to touch lives with His love, grace, and purpose. Following His paths is often confusing and frustrating, for He is never obliged to explain Himself. Our part, like Lionheart's, is to trust and obey even when no obvious path is laid before us. Our part, like Daylily's, is to be real, to reveal our imperfections in order to better display God's grace and strength through our weaknesses. Our part, like the baroness's, is to love simply and without reservation. I could go on and on, but I believe I shall stop here.
Read the story yourself and see what God might reveal to you!