Last week coming home from a business trip related to my paid job, as usual rather exhausted and drained, I was very happy to find three new reviews for my historical novels on Amazon. Two 5 reviews and one 4 for Ingrid and The Blood Red Nails of War.
I have just finished ‘The Blood Red Nails of War’ by the wonderfully gifted writer, Hannah Audrey Warren…it is touching and intriguing tale of a girl coming of age in the years before WWI and traces her life trajectory through some episodes of her childhood and culminates in a return to a place she reviled…set in the castles of fading 19th century aristocratic France, the story evokes images of a time and an age passed but which still finds a few survivors clinging to Europe’s once golden age of aristocracy and refinement.
I won’t give anything away except to say it is a story of growth and redemption and poignantly but compassionately shows how the mistakes and misadventures of youth are chapters in the book of life that are simply part of a larger story and that the person you are when you are young grows and matures as do the people you knew in your youth…read it…but be prepared for more than a few phrases in French…and they all matter – so look them up!
And the two new reviews for Ingrid:
I made a decision in the past year to explore genres hitherto outside my usual comfort zone. Historical Fiction is a relatively new genre for me, and I approached it with an open mind, guided also by the fact that I have read and enjoyed other works by Author Hannah Warren.
Let me first explore the primary character of Ingrid.
Ingrid at the age of sixteen is the over protected and exceedingly naive daughter of the Vicar of Smedby. Her decision making process is governed by the strictest of upbringings and the socially acceptable behavior patterns of a community isolated from the influences of the outside world by location, and crafted by the prejudices that exist within such a closely bound village.
Ingrid’s position as the vicars’ daughter is viewed with eyes that hold her both above, and accordingly protected from, anything even remotely connected with scandal; and herein lay the foundations of future behavior as this young girl experiences her first tantalizing and unexplored tastes of burgeoning womanhood.
Rebellion in teenagers can take many forms, and Ingrid finds herself both intrigued by, and more than a little curious about the arrival of a man whose actions when he was a part of this community earned him both the disrespect and hushed whispers that accompany anything considered outside of acceptable parameters.
Ingrid’s first acts of disobedience, are, in part, retaliation against the confines of her upbringing, and her newly dawning awareness of womanhood, and her need to exert her own will, whatever the cost. The arrival back in the village of the forbidden Kalle is simply too intriguing to resist.
Kalle’s character is less finely drawn, for to do so would reveal more than the reader needs to know if tension is to be maintained. Suffice it to say that he, along with other lesser characters is crafted beautifully.
The location itself is what helps drive this work to its unexpected conclusion. Author Hannah Warren invites you to experience the stark windswept place known as The Alvar. A place that invites secrets, and houses its own deep sense of mystery and darkness.
I detest spoilers in reviews, and to share more here would detract from what I found to be a enormously enjoyable and unpredictable reading experience.
This book rests on the character of Ingrid, beautiful, young, charming, also impulsive, thoughtless and selfish. She is ‘innocent’ – meaning that knowledge of sex is kept from her. It was usual for well brought up girls in those days, and so she does not know when she is running into danger.
Her good father, the vicar, had the usual view of ‘fallen’ women,’ and Ingrid finds herself without a home, even before she knows what she has done wrong.
Ingrid’s sheer enthusiasm for life pulled me into this book, and kept me interested through her ups and downs. It could be termed a ‘Growing up’ book or ‘Coming of Age.’ There was a satisfactory ending.