Due to FTC regulations, any book reviewed on this site was sent for free by the author/publisher to The Pagan & The Pen Book Reviews. We are not paid to give reviews by Author or Publisher. Once review has been made, said books are deleted.

Jan 5, 2011

The Wayfarer’s Road: Bowdancer Book 2 by Janie Franz


Title: The Wayfarer’s Road: Bowdancer Book 2
Author: Janie Franz
Buy Link
Publisher: Breathless Press
Genre: Romance/Erotic
Length: 102 pgs.
Reviewed by: Kim Clune

Cover: 2
Presentation: 4
Editing: 5
Story: 5
Writing Ability: 5

Overall Card Rating: 

About The Book: The Bowdancer Saga continues with The Wayfarer’s Road. Jan-nell, now a woman traveling alone with her precocious young daughter, meets a handsome wandering bard. But he is carrying his own secrets along with the priceless chance at hope for her and her child to belong.

The Review: Fully enamored with The Bowdancer, the first book of this saga, I looked forward to reviewing The Wayfarer’s Road with great anticipation. Once more, author Janie Franz did not disappoint. Not in the least. Her writing, characters and plot are exquisite. My single, lingering wish would be for an accurate depiction of Jan-nell, an earthier and less frosted character, on the cover.
Jan-nell is the young and naive healer who left the stifling safety of her village in a fit of romance with Bastin, a traveling ruffian who challenged Jan-nell to acknowledge her inner-most desires. In the space between book 1 and 2, Bastin continues to chase passionately after far-fetched dreams in untethered travels, leaving Jan-nell to give birth and raise their now 4-year-old daughter, Mira-nell, alone.
The road has been less than kind to Jan-nell as she scrapes by with invigorated strength to support what is left of her fractured family. Unable to return to her own village, she and Mira-nell sleep under cover of the forest between unfamiliar villages in need of a traveling midwife. Jan-nell’s daughter, inheriting Jan-nell’s determination and ability to read people, as well as the quick wit and biting honesty of her father, has learned to fend well for herself too.
We join mother and daughter as they seek shelter from the rain in a stable adjoined to the local inn. Here, the innkeeper mistakes the single mother for a whore, hurling insults and providing only the very least of his generosity – which includes a late-night visit with his band of bullying patrons for ill-perceived services.
Enter Khrin, a handsome, gentle, traveling merry-maker who charms brothel audiences with his lute and lyrics. Taking a shine to Jan-nell, he helps her thwart the unwelcome, late-night advances of the innkeeper’s owner.
As the three flee together, they become reliant upon one another, traveling deeper into danger and having to draw upon one another’s skills for survival. Together they fend off not only the randy innkeeper, but a band of brutal villagers angered by Khrin’s affinity for men, a disillusioned kidnapper, hunger, bruises, boredom, cold and loneliness.
While Jan-nell, Mira-nell and Khrin couldn’t be more different, they complement each other well and, in a short span of time, they learn they are not so different after all. Aside from a life deeply rooted in song (but for young Mira-nell whose only interest to learn is on an as-needed basis), each is misunderstood, longs for belonging, and only cautiously trusts the other.
With childhood innocence, curiosity and honesty that cuts to the quick of social construct, young Mira-nell is instrumental in teaching Jan-nell and Khrin to question the comfort of their ingrained perceptions, including those of sexual orientation.
Khrin’s intentions and Jan-nell’s ponderance of their possibility reveals that one must honestly assess inner desire and realize that there are no rules of engagement but for those imposed upon us. If the interaction between these complex characters seems eerily confusing, the author is simply asking us, in a not-so-subtle way, to challenge the comfort of our own limiting assumptions.
Will Jan-nell, Mira-nell and Khrin satisfy their need for love in one another as friend, father, brother or lover? Will they find utter rejection or the safety of acceptance in the village Khrin once abandoned near the hills of the Warrior Women? Read on to find out - but be forewarned. This story will leave you ravenous for the saga’s third book, Warrior Women, which I’ll delve into next with tremendous curiosity.
Pagan Elements:

Jan-nell often references the healing power of herbal treatments, drawing from the natural powers of an earthly yield. She also draws on the healing power of traditional village song and dance. In particular, she employs a song illustrating the stages of a woman’s life, which is, ironically, used to heal Khrin’s bruises through stretching.

Disclaimer: Due to FTC regulations, any book reviewed on this site was sent for free by the author to The Pagan & The Pen. We are not paid to give reviews by Author or Publisher. Once review has been made, said books are deleted.


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to reading Ms. Franz's books.

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