Friday, June 19, 2015

To Ride A White Horse, by Pamela Ford: Book Tour Review & Giveaway!!



To Ride A White Horse
Pamela Ford
Trade Paperback, 363 pages
Pamela Ford, Publisher
2015
Historical Fiction, Romance





Your feet will bring you to where your heart is.

Set against the backdrop of 1840s Ireland and America, To Ride a White Horse is an epic historical saga of hope, loyalty, the strength of the human spirit, and the power of love.

With Ireland ravaged by famine, and England unsympathetic to its plight, Kathleen Deacey, a spirited and strong-willed young Irish woman, faces a devastating choice—leave her country to find work, or risk dying there. Despising the English for refusing to help Ireland, she sets sail for Canada, determined to save her family and find her missing fiancé.

But her voyage doesn't go as planned, and she ends up in America, forced to accept the help of an English whaling captain, Jack Montgomery, to survive. As Jack helps her search for her fiancé and fight to save her family and country, she must make an impossible choice—remain loyal to Ireland or follow her heart.

With insight and compassion, award-winning author Pamela Ford captures the anguish of a devastating period in Irish history, illuminates the resilience of the human spirit, and celebrates the strength of love. To Ride a White Horse is a deeply-moving novel that wraps itself around the heart and doesn't let go.



  

Praise for To Ride A White Horse

 "A sweeping historical love story that hits all the marks." (Publishers Weekly starred review)

"Overwhelming! Six stars! What a stunning story!
Pamela Ford's book.....made me go through
a series of intense emotions.... It's a 
breathtaking story of love, hope, and courage!"
(Goodreads First Reads Giveaway winner)

"A splendid historical romance with characters
to cheer." (Fresh Fiction)

**********

GOLD MEDAL WINNER
Romance Fiction
2015 IPPY Awards 

**********



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25600179-to-ride-a-white-horse

Amazon US/Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
The Book Depository




Note
I received a complimentary paperback 
copy of this novel from the author, 
in exchange for an honest 
review, and I have been very honestly 
enthusiastic about it!


One of the most important aspects of a novel, for me, is the characters. When I first discovered To Ride A White Horse, I was immediately attracted to its unusual, beautiful cover. However, what truly caught and held my interest was the expertly drawn characters that not only intrigued me, but, long before the end of the novel, had totally stolen my heart. And, of course, Ireland itself is a character in this book, too, as the author lovingly describes its rolling green hills, full of mysterious faeries....

The plot, with its hints of Irish mythology, also drew me in. There were unexpected twists in the story, and well-placed, too. At no point did I feel that they were forced. In fact, events followed smoothly one upon another. Also, the characters, especially Kathleen, faced believable challenges.

The writing is also superb, as Ford deftly describes not only the beauty of the land, but of the people themselves -- people with strong family ties, bold courage, and the tenacity to keep on striving to survive, in the midst of incredibly terrible circumstances -- the Irish potato famine of 1846. In fact, the whole novel is a paean to the Irish spirit!

Here's a great example of Ford's lush prose, from a short vignette right before the novel's prologue: "Holding her granddaughter close to her chest, she pointed to the great white swells galloping across the sea, and in hushed tones told the young girl of the white horses of the Tuatha de Danann, the Irish gods, traveling between the faerie and the mortal worlds."

Although this is not a supernatural or fantasy story, Kathleen frequently refers to the faeries, whom she considers to be very real. She also frequently quotes her mother, who has always taught her children several very beautiful Irish proverbs. These things make this tale very appealing for those who, like me, are fans of mythology and fantasy. 

Kathleen Deacey is such a memorable character! The author brings her vividly to life. Readers come to know her thoroughly as the novel progresses; her determination and strength of character, love for her family, and innate compassion are so beautifully depicted! I also loved her comical references to "the Good People", and it didn't strike me as odd that she was at the same time a good Catholic girl. 

In spite of the obstacles Kathleen encounters, she somehow retains her optimism, simply refusing to give up. This is very obvious in her insistence that Jack Montgomery, the whaling ship captain she meets under the most unusual circumstances, take her to America as soon as possible, so she can  get work and send money to her starving family, back in Ireland. It's also evident in her relentless search for her missing betrothed, Danny O'Sheehan.

As for Jack, he's a wonderful character in his own right, and thus, a perfect match for Kathleen, even though she initially dislikes him, simply for being English. That's understandable, although not admirable; the English have turned their backs on the plight of the Irish people, and many of them (Jack's grandfather is an example) unfairly label the Irish as "lazy and irresponsible".

At first, I did have some trouble reconciling Jack's warm, kind personality with his occupation. I abhor the slaughter of whales, and noticed that the author obviously thought it was hellish work, from her metaphorical descriptions. There was a very poignant scene in which a mother whale and her calf were killed. This scene made me tear up. I was thus relieved to discover that Jack never liked whaling to begin with, and was planning to switch to something else in the near future.

This man is as wonderful a character as Kathleen! In addition to being a kind, compassionate person, he's an extremely attractive, very masculine guy, with not an ounce of egotistical vanity in him, either. Even better, when he falls hard for Kathleen, it's not only because he finds her attractive, but also because he admires her irrepressible spirit, and is touched by her own kindness. Furthermore, he never treats her in a condescending manner, even in the beginning. 

I'm not saying that these are flawless characters, though. Not by any means. Jack is haunted by his past, and Kathleen has issues of her own, such as her misplaced loyalties to her betrothed. Thus, these are real people with strengths and weaknesses, whom readers can totally relate to.

As for Danny O'Sheehan, I couldn't believe what he did to Kathleen, especially given the fact that they had known  each other since they were children. He struck me as very self-centered, uncaring, and totally unwilling to accept responsibility for the effect of his actions on others. What a marked contrast to Jack! 

The secondary characters, consisting mostly of Kathleen's family, are  also great! Her parents are gentle, hard-working souls who are very devoted to their children. I also liked Sean, Kathleen's brother, a good man who did not deserve to suffer through the great personal tragedy he unfortunately had to go through. That particular scene was another poignant one that moved me to tears.

This is a larger-than-life novel, as Ford weaves social issues into the plot, such as the Irish famine, and the unpleasant fact of prejudice against the Irish people. Throughout it all, Kathleen and Jack's love gradually intensifies, although both of them fight it for a good part of the book, for their own personal reasons. Once they begin to fall in love, though, their romance is a sweet one, full of banter and loving concern for each other.

I was very pleased to discover, as I read, that the author kept profanity to a minimum, and, while there was plenty of sexual tension, there were no steamy sex scenes in the novel. This is unusual nowadays for romances written for adults. Instead, Ms. Ford concentrates on letting us into the minds and hearts of her characters. Besides, the sparks are there, nevertheless! And Jack is definitely a great kisser! He's also very romantic, yet, respectful of Kathleen's wishes. He never forces her into  anything. He simply entices, very gently, in a very compelling manner.... Ah, Jack....

I can very heartily and thoroughly recommend this captivating, breathtaking novel which brings readers the magic of love in the midst of great tragedy, with touches of humor along the way! It is indeed a "sweeping historical love story", as stated by Publishers Weekly!


MY RATING






Pamela Ford is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romances novels. She grew up watching old movies, blissfully sighing over the romance; and reading sci-fi and adventure novels, vicariously living the action. The combination probably explains why the books she writes are romantic happily-ever-afters with plenty of fast-paced plots.

After graduating from college with a degree in Advertising, Pam merrily set off to earn a living, searching for that perfect career as she became a graphic designer, print buyer, waitress, pantyhose salesperson, public relations specialist, copywriter, freelance writer – and finally author. Pam has won numerous awards, including the Booksellers Best and the Laurel Wreath, and is a two-time Golden Heart Finalist. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and children.


Website/Goodreads/Facebook
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a Rafflecopter giveaway


You can access the complete 
tour schedule by clicking 
on the button below!


http://tlcbooktours.com/2015/02/pamela-ford-author-of-to-ride-a-white-horse-on-tour-may-2015/



14 comments:

  1. Seems like a great book! I haven't gotten the chance to read many historical fiction books lately and I think this would be perfect. From your review, it looks like this has great characters, awesome writing, and the plot has me intrigued. Great review, I'll be looking out for a copy of this book! (Sadly I'm not able to enter the giveaway as it is U.S shipping only.) Have a wonderful day!

    Analee @ Book Snacks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Analee!

      Yes, you really MUST read this book!! I guarantee that you will LOVE it!! And oh, you will ADORE Jack!!!! This is simply a WONDERFUL historical and romantic novel!

      I'm so sorry you can't enter the giveaway, but the book is being provided by TLC, and they only deliver printed copies within the US.

      Thanks so much for the great comment!! : )

      Delete
  2. Thank you for the awesome review -- you brought tears to my eyes! I'm so glad you liked the book.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, Pam!

    Aw, that's so sweet......

    I LOVED this novel, and I'm so happy to have participated in this tour!! I think this book would make a GREAT movie, too!!

    Thank you so much for stopping. by and leaving such a lovely comment!! : )

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  4. I love the cover too, and I'm very happy to know that the characters are so incredible. This book is at the top of my TBR list right now!

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  5. Great commentary as always Maria.

    It sounds like this book has substance to it for many reasons.

    I think that the issue of Whaling does raise some questions about morality and whether it is evolving or not. Though there are certain aspects to morality that seem Universal regardless of time and place, it seems that there are other aspects that are evolving for the better.

    So while the cruelty to the whales might have bothered some of the humane characters, it seems that in the time that this book takes place in, no one would have seriously questioned it. People in our time still do monstrously cruel and immoral things, sometimes on a mass scale. But such acts are more commonly challenged now. I do believe that this is slowly making the world better.

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  6. Hi, Heather!

    Oh, the characters are AMAZING. You will not only love kathleen and Jack, but her family as well, especially Anna, her mother, who is so wise, sweet, and gentle. It's great that you have this in your TBR, at the very top of the list, too!

    Thanks for the nice comment!! : )

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  7. Hey, Brian!

    Thanks for the compliment!! : )

    You've made a great point here, you know! Some aspects of morality do seem to be evolving, and the problem of whaling is a prime example. It's very true that, in the time period of this novel, whaling was more acceptable to society at large, as slavery was. However, Jack's grandfather, at one point in the novel, does mention that there's a stigma attached to this 'occupation'. I suppose it was more or less tolerated, but in no way was it condemned, as it is today.

    BTW, I've never been interested in reading "Moby Dick", precisely because it involves killing a whale. Yet, Melville tells the whole story through his protagonist's eyes. The whale's suffering is never taken into account. So yes, whaling did not outrage people then the way it does now!

    You're also very right in saying that horribly immoral and monstrous events have taken place in contemporary history. We don't need to go far to find them, either; the Holocaust certainly stands out as a particularly heinous example. And, as you know, I am firmly opposed to abortion, which I consider a horribly immoral act. I do not oppose birth control, of course; it's totally irresponsible to just accept the possibility of unwanted pregnancies. But abortion is another matter. I am very sad, as well as appalled, that this practice has not yet been eliminated. As for other atrocities in today's world, I am aghast at the treatment received by women in Middle Eastern countries -- the arranged and FORCED marriages, the raping, the blatant brutality.... Malala Yousafzai comes to mind here. The tragedy of 911, terrorist acts by Isis, and all the mass shootings from recent times also come to mind.

    So I guess morality is indeed evolving in some ways, but not in others. Republicans and Democrats are completely divided as to what they consider immoral. Each side is blind to what the other side perceives as immoral, too, I think.

    Well, this is a great topic that could take many posts to cover, but I would want it to be somehow related to books. I will do some research to see if there are any books on the subject of the inconsistencies in moral stance in the two main political parties in this country.

    Thank you so much for the great, thought-provoking comment!! : )

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  8. Pamela Ford is a new author to me. I would love to read this book as historical fiction is my favorite genre. Sounds like a great book read on a hot summer day!! Thank you for the chance.

    Letty B
    lpblanchard@yahoo.com

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  9. Hi, Letty!

    She's a new author to me, too. I discovered her thanks to TLC Book Tours! As you read in my review, I LOVED this novel! But let me tell you, this is not your typical fluffy romance. This novel also deals with the plight of the Irish people during the time of the potato famine in 1846. So I wouldn't classify it as a light summer read. It's a GREAT book, though, and I guarantee you'll NEVER forget it!!

    You're very welcome for the giveaway! Thanks for the comment, and GOOD LUCK!! : )

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  10. Maria, this review is beautiful. You have such a talent for describing stories -- I am so impressed. As for the book, it sounds amazing and I'm adding it to my reading list. Thank you so much for the gorgeous review and for the giveaway. *hugs*

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  11. Hi, Michele!

    OMG, thank you!!! You are SO sweet!! I greatly appreciate it when someone tells me they've enjoyed one of my reviews, especially in such a heartfelt manner. I am really touched, Michele. <3

    Yes, this book is indeed AMAZING!! It's not just a romance novel, but also includes a moving account of the suffering of the Irish people during this horrible time. It's actually a very spiritual novel. So I know you will definitely enjoy it! Also, let me tell you that, unlike Nicholas Sparks, Pam Ford DID get the memo!! Lol.

    You're very welcome for the review! And thank YOU for your sensitive appreciation of it!!

    You're also very welcome for the giveaway!! : )

    HUGE SMOOOOOSHY HUGS!!!! <3 <3 <3

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  12. Thanks for introducing me to this book. I'm so glad that there was not blatant sex. I really enjoy books more when there is sexual tension. It seems to draw me in more.

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  13. Hi, Paula!

    You're very welcome! It's great that we agree on the issue of sexual tension instead of graphic sex in romance novels! I do like a bit of sex, but nowadays, writers will describe every little detail....not my cup of tea! And I think you're right -- having the sexual tension does draw me in more, as well.

    This is an AMAZING historical novel, and I think you will greatly enjoy reading it, if you're the winner! And if you're not, I think you would never regret buying it!!

    Thanks so much for the comment, and for entering the giveaway!! : )

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THIS IS NOW AN AWARD-FREE, AND TAG-FREE BLOG. Thanks for the compliment, though! : )

Thanks for your thoughts on my posts! I always reply here, as well as comment back on your blog. Have a WONDERFUL day!! :)