Date Published: October 23, 2015
Valentia is a privileged young woman from a wealthy farming family in 19th century Ohio. Her grandmother had been a storyteller, weaving tales of romance and adventure from her native Ireland, and told her granddaughter of a special family heirloom – a brooch that had been left behind with her family. Valentia decides that she must find her grandmother’s long-lost family, as well as the brooch. She has disturbing dreams featuring the brooch and sees strange lights whenever she looks at the drawing.
As she travels with her brother (Conor), his valet (Brendan) and her ladies’ maid (Maggie) through Pittsburgh and New York, Valentia’s eyes take in the wide world.
In Ireland, crippled by chronic illness, she learns about the Irish famine from some local activists. She becomes intrigued with the movement, and vows to help in what ways she can. She befriends Siobhan and Aiden, siblings. Siobhan shows her a stone circle, and she has a mystical experience.
When she has recovered, she travels north to Donegal. When she finally does find the town her grandmother came from, she is confronted with an imperious great-aunt (Eithne) and a rather bumbling cousin who falls in love with her.
The cousin (Donal) starts to court her, and after some time, Donal proposes to her, but she turns him down, determined to finish her quest first. The parting upsets them both.
Chasing rumors of her other great-aunt (Esme), she travels south. Valentia finally finds Esme in Kenmare, and the brooch, which has hidden powers
After finding Valentia’s power, Esme begins to succumb to her own illness. Valentia tries to heal it, but at a great cost.
Valentia had hoped to settle in Kenmare, at Esme’s house, but she is driven out and travels back to Donegal, stopping to the asylum where Donal is held, but is unable to heal him. Eithne has died, so Valentia takes over the estate, healing local people where she can, discreetly.
There are a lot of moving parts to this novel and a good amount of drama and action without being action packed. I liked the way the characters were relatable even though it was set in a different time period.
The Historical aspect is very well done and the imagery and setting is amazing. The Author really brings the world to life through words.
Get ready to be immersed in the world and captivated by the characters she has created.
10 things you didn’t know about becoming a published author
1. I knew it would be a lot of work. I do write for a living, albeit, boring reports for publicly traded companies, telling about operational and financial results on a quarterly basis to the government. I knew that each draft goes through multiple critiques, drafts, rewrites, complete overhauls, and last minute changes. What I didn’t know is that this wasn’t the only work involved.
2. Self-editing. It’s a horrible, painful process for me. There are many steps, and I searched for ages for a way to codify it, or list it out in nice, neat steps. That’s a pipe-dream; there is no step-by-step process that works every time. You just have to dive in and do it, over and over. Conceptual editing, for plot and character as well as line by line editing for dialogue and description. And don’t forget copyediting for grammar and punctuation. Did I forget to mention idiom and anachronisms?
3. Selling – I knew you had to sell your book. I didn’t realize you have to sell it both before and after you wrote it. You sell it to your agent or publisher, and then once it’s published, you have to sell to everyone else. Both are tough. Both require fortitude and determination, and lots of time.
4. Beta readers – never heard of them before! Now they are my prime source of gold. They are precious creatures, those few that are willing to spend a considerable amount of time poring over your book, line by line, and offering advice, critique and suggestions on your baby.
5. Vanity Publishers – I suppose I knew they existed, but until I wrote a book and started researching channels of publication, I didn’t realize they were so prevalent. Vanity publishers will take your money to publish a book. You should never have to pay to publish! There is a good site out there called Predators or Editors that can help you evaluate an individual company. http://pred-ed.com/
6. Cover art – Oh, so important! I’m an artist, so I figured my art would be best. Nope! I might not do the right style for the piece, or I’m too close to the story, and want to put everything I can into the cover so the reader can see it all right away. Often it’s much better to hire someone else, someone who specializes in this.
7. Self-promoting – Oh, gods is that hard. Talking about myself has never been my strong point, at least not in a positive light. Pushing my creation on other people is even harder, but you must do so. I talk up my books at every art show I vend at, when I go shopping, or eat at a restaurant. It sounds stilted and fake to me, but people don’t seem to mind too much. Maybe I’m just imagining that last part!
8. Reviews are gold – Perhaps not as much as beta-readers, but in order to sell books, you need good buzz. Getting good buzz means getting good reviews. Again, you’re asking someone to spend a good chunk of their time reading your 100,000 word novel, and offer a public opinion of said novel. And the risk is always there that someone will hate it, and shout that hate to the world. If you are lucky enough to get a bunch of good reviews, it could skyrocket your sales accordingly… or not. But it’s much more difficult without those reviews.
9. Community – Who knew there was such a tight-knit and helpful community for writers? It makes logical sense, of course, but I’d never been one before. Now I’ve been helped (and tried to help in turn) from many places, including my publisher and editor.
10. Sleepless nights – When I first started writing, it was travel books. No plot, no characters, just information. Even with that, I spent some nights staring at my ceiling, thinking of details I should include in my draft. Must remember that and write it down in the morning! Now that I’m writing novels, it gets worse. Now I’ve got strangers gallivanting around my mind in the dark hours of the night, having shouting matches and slamming doors in order to get their points across.
My name is Christy Nicholas, also known as Green Dragon. I do many things, including digital art, beaded jewelry, writing and photography. In real life I'm a CPA, but having grown up with art and around me (my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are/were all artists), it sort of infected me, as it were. I love to draw and to create things. It's more of an obsession than a hobby. I like looking up into the sky and seeing a beautiful sunset, or a fragrant blossom, a dramatic seaside. I then wish to take a picture or create a piece of jewelry to share this serenity, this joy, this beauty with others. Sometimes this sharing requires explanation – and thus I write. Combine this love of beauty with a bit of financial sense and you get an art business. I do local art and craft shows, as well as sending my art to various science fiction conventions throughout the country and abroad.
I live in Warfordsburg, PA with my husband, Jason, my cat, Spot, my dog, Dax, and two sugar gliders named Arya and Sansa.