Sunday, July 26, 2020

Spotlight on actress Dawna Lee Heising



Dawna Lee Heising has acted in over 60 feature films and is the vice president of her mentor Aki Aleong’s Mustard Seed Media Group. Dawna is trained in Tang Soo Do martial arts, weapons (Jo-staff, kali sticks, guns), kickboxing, ballet, and pole dancing. She is a former Miss Los Angeles Chinatown, Ms. World, Ms. Universe, Miss San Francisco Universe, Miss Orange County Universe, Miss California Hemisphere, and Mrs. California United States, among many other titles.  She has a B.S. Degree in Business Management and an MBA from Pepperdine University. Her uncle is legendary director Tak Fujimoto, and her cousins George Daugherty and David Wong won a Primetime Emmy Award for “Peter and the Wolf on Broadway.”



You can follow Dawna Lee on:



Dawna can be found playing Skye Kayhill in the award-winning feature film 
“Finding Purpose: Road to Redemption”



“Finding Purpose: The Road to Redemption” is the story of John Kayhill, a U.S. Army veteran of the Bosnian War, who is trying to overcome the effects of the PTSD he suffered.  His wife Skye, his mentally disabled brother Rod and he journey on an old sidecar motorcycle that was given to John by a close war buddy, who had recently passed away from a heart attack.  John decides to travel to the family of one of his fallen veteran brothers in an attempt to bring closure for them, but also for him. The film follows the trio through an inspirational journey of trials and triumphs, which enables John to find his road to redemption. 


Trailer

“Finding Purpose: Road to Redemption” earned the Best Feature Film Award at the 2019 Hollywood Silver Screen Film Festival, and was slated to be shown at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and nationally through AMC Theaters, before the pandemic hit. 
The film is available on Amazon Prime Video



Scene from John Reign's "Finding Purpose: Road to Redemption"


John Reign's "Finding Purpose: The Road to Redemption"
Wins Best Feature Film
2019 Hollywood Silver Screen Film Festival


Monday, July 6, 2020

Award-winning actor and director, John Reign, will star in and direct a new horror movie project, Evergreen is the Blood


EVERGREEN IS THE BLOOD from Polestar Studios Stars Dawna Lee Heising, John Reign, and Aki Aleong



The feature film “Evergreen Is the Blood” from Polestar Studios will be shot in western Pennsylvania from July 10 through July 20, 2020. The screenplay is written by award-winning filmmaker John Reign and William Long. Reign will direct and star, and the director of photography is Tom Stoops. Dawna Lee Heising (“Finding Purpose: The Road to Redemption,” “Bad President”) is Countess Ivory Dragnea, the Queen of the Vampires, and Reign (“Finding Purpose,” “Finding Purpose: Road to Redemption”) is John Wolf. The legendary Aki Aleong (“Braddock: Missing in Action,” “Finding Purpose: The Road to Redemption”) is Khunbish Uldin (Not Human), and Carl Bailey (“The Pineville Heist,” “Blood Woods”) is a vampire hunter. Ross Carlo (“Finding Purpose”) is Alec Barclay, and Lisa Dapprich (“A Jury of His Peers,” “Finding Purpose”) is Willow Halpain. The film also features A.J. Santillo, Aaron McCrumb, Bionca Dioblo, April Love, Christopher Goff, William Long, April Evans, John Catheline, Jimmy Barber, Jim Kuhn, Heidi Wiodarski, Paul Worley, Stella Blair, Dionne Bidois and Brad Mahon. Original music is by Dionne Bidois (The Artist Red), Tony DiPofi, and Jimmy Gerovac (Craving Strange).


The Plot:

John Wolf, a former esteemed anthropologist, lives as a recluse, after the tragic deaths of his wife and young son. Once highly sought for his insight on ancient cultures, he now lives as a hermit in the country house once owned by his parents. He spends his days in solitude, except for the occasional visit of his good friends Edward Haims and Father Shore. Forces of good and evil have been lurking in the forest behind his home. Alec Barclay, a vampire killer, is on the prowl. He and his team have discovered a lair of vampires, descendants of the original undead King in the woods surrounding John’s home. A confrontation ensues and during the fight, one of the vampires gets seriously injured and takes flight. The sun has already begun to rise, forcing her to stay protected in the shadows, for the sun is her destroyer. She is now trapped and wounded, finding refuge in a sliver of shade behind an old shed in John’s yard.



John happens upon her, immediately fascinated and smitten by the vampire’s beauty. She’s now too weak and damaged to do anything, except succumb to the stranger’s help. John takes the unholy being into his home. What will happen when a mere mortal gives shelter to a creature of the night? Still being hunted by humans, she is also pursued by others of her own kind… including the father vampire, Khunbish Uldin, who wants her as his very own.



“Evergreen Is the Blood” is a film fueled by a unique, but familiar, look at vampire folklore, and has all the elements of action, drama, and a full-blown creepy as hell storyline. Just as the term “evergreen” means everlasting…this story delves deep into the evergreen blood of these mythological creatures.





About John Reign:

John Reign is the founder and CEO of Polestar Studios, a full-scale independent film production company, and has 40 years of experience in almost every aspect of the entertainment industry. He’s one of those visionaries that can take a small budget and still manifest it into a well-orchestrated and credible piece of cinematography.  His film “Finding Purpose” is now available on Amazon Prime. The sequel “Finding Purpose: Road to Redemption” earned the Best Feature Film Award at the 2019 Hollywood Silver Screen Film Festival, and was slated to be shown at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, before the pandemic hit. The sequel is available on Reveel.com and will soon be available through Amazon Prime. Both films are also available through the Polestar website at www.polestarprod.com



John is a former professional magician who quit when he almost drowned in a water torture escape. He was discovered by MCA Records and became a highly successful Elvis impersonator. From there, he went on to own a string of nightclubs and to become an event organizer. He is also the author of a children’s book, “Grimmets Magic Forest.”  He has been married to his beautiful wife Rowena Ermini Reign for over 30 years, and they have 13 children between them. He founded Polestar Productions LLC when he and Winnie moved to Pennsylvania in 2012 from New York, and he and Winnie have been making films ever since. Reign is signed with the Roger Paul Agency, and he and his Polestar Studios investors are currently constructing a feature film, TV production and music events studio in Hermitage, Pennsylvania.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Spotlight on novelist Benjamin J. Gohs




Benjamin J. Gohs

Fun Facts

When I was a teenager, I worked for my dad’s dog training business with duties like picking up poo and wearing a padded sleeve so protection dogs could attack me. It was, at times, a stinky and scary job.

I put ketchup on my oatmeal. Really grosses out the wife.

I’m obsessed with pencils and have a rather large collection including some with Dr. Seuss designs, quotes from famous people, and a set with herb garden seeds inside for planting when the pencils have been used up.

Even though I’ve seen You’ve Got Mail dozens of times, I cry at the end when they meet in the park. Every time.

When I have a seriously meaningful connection with someone, I send them a piece of lapis lazuli as a memento of the occasion.
***


When 19-year-old Abeona Browne's renowned abolitionist father Jon Browne dies in summer of 1860, devastating family secrets are revealed, and her life of privilege and naiveté in Southern Michigan becomes a frantic transatlantic search for answers—and someone she didn't even know existed.

Still in mourning, Abeona sneaks aboard the ship carrying her father’s attorney Terrence Swifte and his assistant Djimon—a young man with his own secrets—on a quest to Africa to fulfil a dying wish.

Along the journey, Abeona learns of her father’s tragic and terrible past through a collection of letters intended for someone he lost long ago.

Passage to the Dark Continent is fraught with wild beasts, raging storms, illness, and the bounty hunters who know Jon Browne’s diaries are filled with damning secrets which threaten the very anti-slavery movement he helped to build.

Can Abeona overcome antebellum attitudes and triumph over her own fears to right the wrongs in her famous family’s sordid past?

So named for an African proverb, A Thin Porridge is a Homeric tale of second chances, forgiveness, and adventure that whisks readers from the filth of tweendecks, to the treachery of Cameroons Town, across the beauty of Table Bay, and deep into the heart of the fynbos—where Boer miners continue the outlawed scourge of slavery

Where to Buy




About the Author

Benjamin J. Gohs is a longtime award-winning news editor whose investigative journalism has included stories of murder, sex-crime, historical discovery, corruption, and clerical misconduct.


Benjamin now divides his time between writing literary thrillers and managing the community newspaper he co-founded in 2009.


Connect with Benjamin: Website • Twitter • Goodreads.

Friday, June 12, 2020

BookTweeter - One winner a day until 31 July 2020


Go to BookTweeter for details

One winner a day until 31 July 2020

BookTweeter is offering free book promotion until 31 July 2020, and we are picking (at random from all entries) one book a day (each week from Monday to Saturday) to promote.

Each winner will receive a listing on booktweeter.com and social promotion for 30 days. Our decisions are final and not up for negotiation and/or debate.

There is no cost to enter, but you must comply with all guidelines. They are as follows:

Only one entry per author every seven (7) days. This means authors can enter more than one book, but they have to wait seven days between each entry.

Complete this form in its entirety and include all requested information following all instructions to include providing a cover image of the minimum height/width.

Your book cover and/or book title cannot contain links.

Your book cover cannot contain sexually-explicit images, profane words, racial epithets or any other imagery or language that may be considered unsavory.

Your book title cannot contain profane words, racial epithets or any other language that may be considered unsavory.

Do not enter your information in ALL CAPS, not even your book title unless the book title is an acronym.

Your entry must be received by 11:59p EST on Monday, 20 July 2020. No entries will be accepted after this date, even though we intend to pick winners until 31 July 2020.

                                                Go to BookTweeter for details

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Inspiration behind Kindred Spirits: Ephemera By Jennifer C. Wilson



An Author's Inspiration 
Kindred Spirits: Ephemera 
Jennifer C. Wilson

Since writing the first of the Kindred Spirits novels, the world just won’t leave me alone – not that I want it to!

Any new place I visit, or even when I revisit old favourites, I find myself thinking: Which ghosts might be found here, and what would they be up to? At the same time, a lot of places didn’t necessarily have an obvious story that could carry a novel’s worth of conflict, adventure, etc. That’s where the Kindred Spirits Shorts concept came in; getting to explore places and people, but knowing that I could stay within the word count which felt comfortable for the story I was telling.

The overall result was, for me at least, a sense of fun and freedom, allowing me to play with ideas, and I really hope that fun comes across in the reading of each story too.

In terms of direct inspiration, three of the pieces were written specifically following a call-out for different projects – Leicester, Hampton Court Palace, and Jailbreak. As for the others, Eurostar was written as a competition entry, but in the end, just didn’t fit the bill, and Pere Lachaise was written in the Eurostar departure lounge four years ago, as I was thinking about having visited the cemetery the year before. I’d seen a play about Abelard and Heloise and found them fascinating.

Hampton Court Palace

For York revisited, I was writing a compromise. I’d had the (I thought) brilliant idea of a detective being killed in the line of duty, then helping partner solve crimes from beyond the grave. It was only after I’d sketched out the whole plot that I realised I was entirely copying the concept of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). A bit of a rewrite was needed on that one…


Windsor Castle

The final story in the collection takes us to Windsor, a location which several people have asked about over the last couple of years, and having written Kindred Spirits: York, I now had a lead-in. I loved visiting the castle when I was in Windsor for work years ago, and with so much history, I wasn’t short of ideas for which ghosts could be about.

For each of the stories, once I’ve chosen my location or lead characters, that’s when the research starts. I know it’s a slightly bizarre concept, the ghosts of historical characters pottering around contemporary sites, but even though I’ve got the supernatural element on my side, I think it’s really important to have the facts as accurate as I can. Luckily, I love the research, and it can become inspirational in itself when a connection I hadn’t picked up on suddenly leaps out of a book at me.

I really hope readers enjoy the collection, and the keen-eyed amongst you might pick up on where the story might be going next. I’ve already started that research…



  
The afterlife is alive with possibility…

In this collection of stories, we follow kings and queens as they make important (and history-defying) visits, watch a football game featuring the foulest of fouls, and meet a host of new spirits-in-residence across the British Isles and beyond.

Be transported to ancient ruins, a world-famous cemetery, and a new cathedral, and catch up with old friends – and enemies.

Because when the dead outnumber the living and start to travel, the adventures really do begin.

Kindred Spirits: Ephemera is a charming collection of stories about your favourite ghosts!

Included short- stories are

Kindred Spirits: St Paul’s Cathedral
Kindred Spirits: Jailbreak
Kindred Spirits: Carlisle Castle
Kindred Spirits: The Sisterhood of Hampton Court Palace
Kindred Spirits: Leicester – Return of the King
Kindred Spirits: The Jewel of the Wall
Kindred Spirits: Eurostar
Kindred Spirits: Père Lachaise
Kindred Spirits: York, Revisited

***
Purchase Links

***

About the Author
Jennifer C. Wilson



Jennifer C. Wilson stalks dead people (usually monarchs, mostly Mary Queen of Scots and Richard III). Inspired by childhood visits to as many castles and historical sites her parents could find, and losing herself in their stories (not to mention quote often the castles themselves!), at least now her daydreams make it onto the page.

After returning to the north-east of England for work, she joined a creative writing class and has been filling notebooks ever since. Jennifer won North Tyneside Libraries’ Story Tyne short story competition in 2014, and in 2015, her debut novel, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London was published by Crooked Cat Books. The full series was re-released by Darkstroke in January 2020.


Jennifer is a founder and host of the award-winning North Tyneside Writers’ Circle, and has been running writing workshops in North Tyneside since 2015. She also publishes historical fiction novels with Ocelot Press. She lives in Whitley Bay and is very proud of her two-inch view of the North Sea.

You can connect with Jennifer online: Blog • FacebookTwitterInstagramAmazon

Friday, June 5, 2020

The Writing Desk presents the History behind Crusader's Path by Mary Ann Bernal

https://tonyriches.blogspot.com/2020/06/blog-tour-crusaders-path-by-mary-ann.html

Blog Tour: Crusader's Path, By Mary Ann Bernal



Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

From the sweeping hills of Argences to the port city of Cologne overlooking the River Rhine, Etienne and Avielle find themselves drawn by the need for redemption against the backdrop of the First Crusade

Understanding the Mindset of the Times

Religion played a pivotal role in daily life. There would be no salvation without the Church. To avoid eternal damnation in Hell, one must confess one’s sins, satisfy a given penance, and receive absolution by a priest. Many a penitent embarked on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, seeking the Lord’s forgiveness.

Until the arrival of the Seljuk Turks in the region, the Islamic State had no problems with Christians and Jews living among their people, nor did they interfere with the pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem. The revenue boosted the Islamic economy, after all.

The Class System

Affluent people have a better standard of living than their inferior counterparts. The nobility craved power and wealth at the expense of the common people. Famine, contagion, and violence, affected everyone, but it was the peasant class who suffered the most. However, their unshakeable belief in salvation promised a better life in God’s kingdom.

One must not forget the Eleventh Century was a violent era, without an organized governing body. Members of the nobility argued among themselves, brother fighting against brother to sit on a throne. Conquerors subjected the conquered to tyrannical rule. Mercenaries wreaked havoc upon the countryside. Something needed to be done, and the Lord’s people looked towards the Church for assistance.

The Latin West

Pope Urban II succeeded Pope Gregory VII, whose clashes with the mighty Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV, created the installation of the Antipope, Clement III. Pope Urban, unable to sit on the Chair of St. Peter in Rome, traveled the countryside, fulfilling papal duties while in exile, taking it upon himself to implement his predecessor’s changes. Pope Urban convened a synod at Clermont in the Duchy of Aquitaine to discuss Cluniac reforms.

The Greek East

Byzantine Emperor Alexios I had been fighting the Seljuk Turks for several years. He sent envoys to Pope Urban, requesting his aid to push back the Seljuk invaders and reclaim the city of Nicaea.


The Great Announcement

The charismatic Pope Urban, an astute politician and skilled orator, piqued curiosity when foretelling of a “great announcement,” given on the very last day of the synod before everyone returned home. Notices were nailed to church doors, and priests spoke of the upcoming speech from the pulpit. No one knew what the man of God would say. Expectations were high. The Pope spoke for God, and soon they would hear the Lord’s words.

While standing on an elevated platform, Pope Urban’s spellbinding sermon called for a Holy War to free the Holy Land from the infidel. Such wickedness must not prevail. His cunning words vilified the Seljuk Turks, repeating exaggerated tales of Muslim barbarism against the Christian Pilgrims in the Holy Land.

Pope Urban appealed to the crowd to take up the Cross as Soldiers of Christ. Christ’s warriors were to regain control of the Holy Sepulcher and return Christian rule over Jerusalem. The Vicar of Christ offered the atonement for their sins, whether they died on the journey or in battle. Salvation was guaranteed. They would spend eternity in Paradise.

The frenzied multitude, caught up in the emotional hype with adrenalin pumping, rose to the occasion. Someone shouted Deus Vult (God wills it), immortalizing a rallying cry that has transcended the ages.


Expectations


Pope Urban sought to reunite the Latin West and Greek East, whose division stemmed during the ebbing days of the Roman Empire. By channeling the aggressive thirst for fighting against a common enemy, Pope Urban curbed the pillaging of the European countryside. However, a successful campaign would strengthen the Papacy, heightening dominance over the rule of kings.

Alexios I, the Byzantine Emperor, never expected such a vast Army to invade his lands. Alexios wanted an elite force of knights, a few hundred men, to fight with his warriors against the Seljuk Turks. Alexios demanded fealty from the Princes, which was honored after the fall of Nicaea. But the Princes retained control of the remaining cities, including Antioch, refuting their sworn oaths of allegiance.

The nobility took up the Cross for the honor and prestige of fighting for Christ, elevating their influence, commanding awe and respect. The promise of great riches beckoned the second and third sons of wealthy nobles who would not receive an inheritance under the current laws. These knights had no reason to remain in Europe, intent on plunder and glory. Aside from material gains, they needed salvation and what better way to satisfy bloodlust without fearing eternal damnation. The Sixth Commandment was ignored, killing the infidel because they believed “God wills it.”

Thousands of men, women, families, and entire villages took vows to join the campaign to save their souls. If one did not have the financial means, Pope Urban declared Divine Mercy would provide. The earthly journey was their ticket to Heaven. Unfortunately, Peter the Hermit led the Peasants’ Army. He was a spiritual leader, not a military one. Constant bickering, lack of provisions, and little leadership had the pilgrims pillaging the land, committing atrocities along the way, blackening a cause the Soldiers of Christ believed to be just.

Mary Ann Bernal

# # #

About the Author

Mary Ann Bernal attended Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY, where she received a degree in Business Administration. Her literary aspirations were ultimately realized when the first book of The Briton and the Dane novels was published in 2009. In addition to writing historical fiction, Mary Ann has also authored a collection of contemporary short stories in the Scribbler Tales series and a science fiction/fantasy novel entitled Planetary Wars Rise of an Empire. Mary Ann is a passionate supporter of the United States military, having been involved with letter-writing campaigns and other support programs since Operation Desert Storm. She has appeared on The Morning Blend television show hosted by KMTV, the CBS television affiliate in Omaha, and was interviewed by the Omaha World-Herald for her volunteer work. She has been a featured author on various reader blogs and promotional sites. Mary Ann currently resides in Elkhorn, Nebraska. Find out more at her website http://www.maryannbernal.com/ and find her on Twitter @BritonandDane


Thursday, June 4, 2020

Book review: Mary Ann Bernal, Crusader’s Path

Book review: Mary Ann Bernal, Crusader’s Path

Posted on June 3, 2020 by jennifercwilsonwriter

https://jennifercwilsonwriter.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/book-review-mary-ann-bernal-crusaders-path/


Crusader’s Path

By Mary Ann Bernal

From the sweeping hills of Argences to the port city of Cologne overlooking the River Rhine, Etienne and Avielle find themselves drawn by the need for redemption against the backdrop of the First Crusade.

Heeding the call of His Holiness, Urban II, to free the Holy Land from the infidel, Etienne follows Duke Robert of Normandy across the treacherous miles, braving sweltering heat and snow-covered mountain passes while en route to the Byzantine Empire.

Moved by Peter of Amiens’ charismatic rhetoric in the streets of the Holy Roman Empire, Avielle joins the humble army of pilgrims. Upon arrival in Mentz, the peasant Crusaders do the unthinkable, destroying the Jewish Community. Consumed with guilt, Avielle is determined to die fighting for Christ, assuring her place in Heaven.

Etienne and Avielle cross paths in Constantinople, where they commiserate over past misdeeds. A spark becomes a flame, but when Avielle contracts leprosy, Etienne makes a promise to God, offering to take the priest cowl in exchange for ridding Avielle of her affliction.

Will Etienne be true to his word if Avielle is cleansed of the contagion, or will he risk eternal damnation to be with the woman he loves?
Buy the book here!


Review

This is surely one of the most wide-ranging novels I’ve read in a long time, in terms of geography, social status, religion, and historical topics covered. And yet, none of that weighs heavily at all on what is an enticing read. We have a royal duke, his most loyal companion, a leper colony, and members of religious orders, all brought together as the Crusades sweep through nations.

I found Avielle a particularly interesting character, clearly drawn to do good in the world, but also a young woman with a passion for life, and capable of loving dearly, as demonstrated with Gideon and Etienne. My heart sank as she began to notice the early signs of the disease, and just as she had found a contentment with Etienne.

Overall, this is fabulous read, and one which I can highly recommend for anyone interested in the period. There is a larger cast of supporting characters than in many of the books I have read, but here, given the scale of the story, it is fitting, and even characters we do not meet for long are well-drawn, rounded and engaging. I honestly couldn’t put this down.


About Mary Ann
Crusader Mary Ann Bernal
Mary Ann Bernal attended Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY, where she received a degree in Business Administration. Her literary aspirations were ultimately realized when the first book of The Briton and the Dane novels was published in 2009. In addition to writing historical fiction, Mary Ann has also authored a collection of contemporary short stories in the Scribbler Tales series and a science fiction/fantasy novel entitled Planetary Wars Rise of an Empire. Her latest endeavor is Crusader’s Path, a story of redemption set against the backdrop of the First Crusade.
Connect with Mary Ann: Website • Blog • Whispering Legends Press •  Twitter • Facebook.
Blog: http://maryannbernal.blogspot.com/

Whispering Legends Press: https://www.whisperinglegendspress.com/

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Books Delight reviews Crusader's Path by Mary Ann Bernal

https://www.th

COFFEE POT BOOK CLUB PRESENTS: CRUSADER'S PATH BY MARY ANN BERNAL



















Welcome Readers to the Coffee Pot Book Tour and Crusader's Path by Mary Ann Bernal

Last month's tour took us on the tragic journey from Poland to Berlin. Today's book is also about a journey, a journey of sacrifice, redemption and love. This is the story of Etienne and Avielle. 

The Blurb:

From the sweeping hills of Argences to the port city of Cologne overlooking the River Rhine, Etienne and Avielle find themselves drawn by the need for redemption against the backdrop of the First Crusade.

Heeding the call of His Holiness, Urban II, to free the Holy Land from the infidel, Etienne follows Duke Robert of Normandy across the treacherous miles, braving sweltering heat and snow-covered mountain passes while en route to the Byzantine Empire.

Moved by Peter of Amiens’ charismatic rhetoric in the streets of the Holy Roman Empire, Avielle joins the humble army of pilgrims. Upon arrival in Mentz, the peasant Crusaders do the unthinkable, destroying the Jewish Community. Consumed with guilt, Avielle is determined to die fighting for Christ, assuring her place in Heaven.

Etienne and Avielle cross paths in Constantinople, where they commiserate over past misdeeds. A spark becomes a flame, but when Avielle contracts leprosy, Etienne makes a promise to God, offering to take the priest cowl in exchange for ridding Avielle of her affliction.

Will Etienne be true to his word if Avielle is cleansed of the contagion, or will he risk eternal damnation to be with the woman he loves?



My Review:

Crusader's Path by Mary Ann Bernal
Publisher: Whispering Legends Press
Published: April 2020
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 223
Available: paperback/ebook

Sex: 💓yes, but not graphic
Violence:😱 yes, but it is the Crusades!

The Plot in brief: This is the story of two people, both seeking forgiveness and redemption from their God for their past sins and digressions. Each embarks on a journey to the Holy Land in hopes of earning eternal peace and the right to enter heaven. 

The Characters: The two main characters are Etienne, a French knight who is troubled by his past life. He hopes that partaking in the Crusade to conqueror Jerusalem will bring him absolution. Along the way he meets Avielle, a healer who cannot cure what ails her own body or her heart. Together they find love, but will they find salvation?

The pages of this book are filled with dozens of historical figures from the time. From Robert Curthose, Duke of Normady, Pope Urban, Tancred and many, many others.

The History: I was attracted to the setting of this novel. I love the Crusades, all of them, and there were quite a few. But this book is set at the beginning, the first crusade which began as a plea from  the Byzantine Emperor Alexios, for help fighting the Seljuk Turks. With the urging of Pope Urban, this turned into a full scale attempt to free the holy city of Jerusalem.  The narrative includes the People's Crusade, led by Peter the Hermit. I'm glad the author does not shy away from the horrors spawned by the sometimes romanticized fight for the Holy Land. Both sides were capable of great brutality and did not hesitate to take a life. 

Recommendation: Lovers of historical romance set in far off times and places should love this book. 

About the author: Mary Ann Bernal

Mary Ann Bernal attended Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY, where she received a degree in Business Administration. Her literary aspirations were ultimately realized when the first book of The Briton and the Dane novels was published in 2009. In addition to writing historical fiction, Mary Ann has also authored a collection of contemporary short stories in the Scribbler Tales series and a science fiction/fantasy novel entitled Planetary Wars Rise of an Empire. Her latest endeavor is Crusader’s Path, a story of redemption set against the backdrop of the First Crusade.  

Follow Mary Ann here:


Check out Mary' Ann's book here:


ebookdelight.com/2020/05/coffee-pot-book-club-presents-crusaders.html

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Candlelight Reading...: My review of CRUSADER’S PATH BY MARY ANN BERNAL

Candlelight Reading...: My review of CRUSADER’S PATH BY MARY ANN BERNAL: CRUSADER’S PATH BY MARY ANN BERNAL From the sweeping hills of Argences to the port city of Cologne overlooki...

SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020

My review of CRUSADER’S PATH BY MARY ANN BERNAL













CRUSADER’S PATH
BY MARY ANN BERNAL
From the sweeping hills of Argences to the port city of Cologne overlooking the River Rhine, Etienne and Avielle find themselves drawn by the need for redemption against the backdrop of the First Crusade.

Heeding the call of His Holiness, Urban II, to free the Holy Land from the infidel, Etienne follows Duke Robert of Normandy across the treacherous miles, braving sweltering heat and snow-covered mountain passes while en route to the Byzantine Empire.

Moved by Peter of Amiens’ charismatic rhetoric in the streets of the Holy Roman Empire, Avielle joins the humble army of pilgrims. Upon arrival in Mentz, the peasant Crusaders do the unthinkable, destroying the Jewish Community. Consumed with guilt, Avielle is determined to die fighting for Christ, assuring her place in Heaven.

Etienne and Avielle cross paths in Constantinople, where they commiserate over past misdeeds. A spark becomes a flame, but when Avielle contracts leprosy, Etienne makes a promise to God, offering to take the priest cowl in exchange for ridding Avielle of her affliction.

Will Etienne be true to his word if Avielle is cleansed of the contagion, or will he risk eternal damnation to be with the woman he loves?


MY THOUGHTS

A story of a Holy War, an unstoppable disease, and a love that turned out to be greater than both. This is the story of a young woman called Avielle, who struggles with things that she has seen, things that she has done, and things that she feels. She falls in love where she should not, and she feels compelled to go Crusading. Avielle is a character whose story is heartbreakingly tragic.

Etienne d'Argences is a brave and loyal knight, but he is also terribly conflicted. Etienne is a character that I grew to love, despite his somewhat shaky beginnings.

Although only a secondary character, Gideon intrigued me. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but what happens to Gideon demonstrates what a brutal and unforgiving time this book is set in.

The story itself is incredibly compelling, and it comes across very vividly. I don't know a great deal about the Crusades, but I did not need to, for Mary Ann Bernal carefully depicts the history along with the story.

I thought this book was great, and I enjoyed every minute of it.



Mary Ann Bernal

Mary Ann Bernal attended Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY, where she received a degree in Business Administration. Her literary aspiration were ultimately realized when the first book of The Briton and the Dane novels was published in 2009. In addition to writing historical fiction, Mary Ann has also authored a collection of contemporary short stories in Scribbler Tales series and a science fiction/ fantasy novel entitled Planetary Wars Rose of an Empire. Her latest endeavor is Crusader's Path, a story of redemption set against the backdrop of the First Crusade.




Whispering Legends Press: https://www.whisperinglegendspress.com/