Carrying Mason, Dark of the Moon, Healing Water: A Hawaiian Story, Helen Hemphill, Highlights Founders Workshops, The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones, Tracy Barrett

Review of Dark of the Moon and Giveaway of The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones

Thought for the Day:

“I want to live other lives. I’ve never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” ~Anne Tyler~

Some Gifts for My Writer Friends:

If you write YA, Tween, or MG do not miss this incredible post from the folks at Adventures in YA Publishing. Click HERE to see it. 


Click HERE for a wonderful, thought-provoking post by Morgan Mussel at First Gates about Neil Gaiman’s thoughts on many things. 

Anne Allen wrote a fantastic post on organizing research. See it by clicking HERE

Last post I offered a copy of the extraordinary Carrying Mason to one of my readers. The winner this week is Joyce Moyer Hostetter. Joyce has published some wonderful books, and I reviewed her latest, Healing Water on this blog sometime ago. You can read my review by clicking HERE. You can read more about Joyce and her books on her home page. Just click on her name. Congratulations, Joyce. I will get this right out to you. 

I recently posted about the amazing Whole Novel: Historical

Fiction workshop through the Highlights Foundation. If you missed that post, you can click HERE to see it. One of the instructors was Tracy Barrett, author extraordinaire and expert on Classics and the

ancient and medieval worlds. We each received a copy of her latest book, Dark of the Moon, a retelling of the myth of the Minotaur. She has written a ton of books, both fiction and non-fiction, all while raising a family and teaching Italian full time at Vanderbilt University, a job from which she recently retired (clearly an early retirement — Tracy looks much too young to be retiring!). If you click on her name, it will take your to her site and you can check out her books. 

I read Dark of the Moon on my plane ride home from the workshop and it sure made the day go by quickly. On the island of Krete, young Ariadne, She-Who-Will-Be-Goddess, is coming into her womanhood and spends most of her time either alone or with her mother, She-Who-is-Goddess, when she isn’t spending long hours training to take her place as goddess when the time comes. She has

Tracy Barrett

no friends. All the other young people are afraid to look directly at her or speak to her. The only friend she has is her brother, Asterion, and he is not like anyone else and is kept in a cell beneath the palace of the Minos. Ariadne loves Asterion, but he can be monstrous, and his behavior is the root of the myth of the Minotaur. 

Much of the story is told from Ariadne’s point of view, but this story is not only Ariadne’s. Nearly half the story is told from the point of view of another character. Each year, a tribute is sent to Krete to right on old wrong against the Minos (uncle of Ariadne). This year, the king of Athens had been told he was to include his own son as part of the tribute and the wrong would be forgiven. The son he sends is Theseus, and we hear his story in his own words. The king’s daughter, Prokris, also is sent to be a wife to Minos. Ariadne meets the king’s son and their relationship complicates both their lives as well as that of Prokris. This is much more than a retelling of a myth. It is a surprising and unexpected story based on myths.

For those who enjoy mythology, this is a must read. The language has a formality to it that keeps the reader firmly grounded in the ancient time. The characters are all well-drawn and the story  compelling. The writing is spectacular. Tracy told me she thought my 12-year-old grandson would enjoy the book, but I’m not sure he is quite ready for this very rich, complex story. I’ll let his mom read it and make that call. But I highly recommend this. I can’t wait to find time to read time to read her other novels. I’m particularly interested in Anna of Byzantium and the four books in the Sherlock Files series. 

I can’t give away the copy I have of Dark of the Moon. It’s signed for my grandson. But I do have a wonderful offering for this week. For one of my lucky readers, I have a brand-spanking-new copy of The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones by Helen Hemphill. I reviewed this quite awhile ago on my blog. You can see that review by clicking HERE. This is a great, rollicking story and I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t enjoy it. If you are a follower or if you become one (it’s free and easy – check the column to the right) and if you leave a comment, your name will go into a drawing for this terrific book. 

Don’t forget to check Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog for more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday offerings. Click right HERE to visit.

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