In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden's tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, especially her union with Horeb, the son of her tribe's leader. While this marriage will restore her family's position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden's heart. When a mysterious boy from the southern lands appears, he fills Jayden's heart with a love she never thought possible but which is forbidden to her. But with Horeb's increasingly violent threats stalking Jayden's every move, she knows she must find a way to escape in order to save herself and those she loves.
My favorite part was most definitely the Dance. Root in the soul and expressed through one’s emotions, the description of the characters performing dances was beautiful. Small details like Jayden grounding her feet in the sand before beginning or the difference moves like a hip drop or a hip roll were carefully choreographed in the narrative. The Dance was an external expression of one’s inner soul. It was so well done throughout the storyline. At times dancing was beautiful, at times it was exploited, but often times it was used to help Jayden express her deepest emotions like sadness or love. It was a sacred and beautiful part of the women’s world.
Due to the time period, Jayden has little control over her life. She does not cower often, and if she does it is with good reason. She bravely faces her struggles head on. And she only runs as a last resort. She is a very interesting character who is devoted to her family and firm in her promises. She suffers an insane amount of loss in this book, and there is at times a lot of crying, but overall the way the character grew through the book was well plotted. I felt her struggles and mindset were completely appropriate for the time period. Women are respected and revered in the tribe, but expectations of tradition and purity weighed heavily on them. Jayden and her sister both struggle against these bonds but in different ways. Her sister trades one bonded life for another because it looks luxurious and pampered. Jayden takes the hard path and find her freedom to choose the man she loves.
The setting for the story is well described and experienced by the characters. Places are easily visualized. The author sweeps her characters between tent dwellings to the finely crafted Temple of Ashtoreth to a city under siege. Each place vibrantly comes to life in the book.
I look forward to book 2. I understand that parts of the novel could not be tied up quite yet, and while the ending is tough to bear, so I anticipate the next chapter in this trilogy.
"Descendants of Avalon"
Released via Inklings Publishing
("The Forgotten" volume 2)
Reviewed and awarded the
2016 Indie Editor's Choice
by the Historical Novel Society.
Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.
Goodreads profile at: https://www.goodreads.com/JElse