Monday, July 4, 2011

Rowena Through the Wall by Melodie Campbell

Published by Imajin Books
Reviewed from an ebook

All I can say is "Wow!", when is the next book coming out? I'm going to have to start testing my walls to find a portal. This book captivated me so much I was barely able to put the book down. Melodie Campbell's writing is imaginative and mesmerizing as she transports her protagonist into an entirely different world. The clothing and attitudes resemble many time lines in our world history, but the surprise here is that they are all happening at once. I can only describe this story as hot, steamy, seductive and hilarious. Did I say hilarious? Yes, the humour is outrageously funny, the characters are definitely full-fledged, and the plot line is incredibly and indelibly strong.

What can a girl, a teacher of veterinary medicine in Scottsdale, Arizona, do when a very large blond man suddenly appears in her classroom wearing a tunic, leggings and a sword hanging from his belt? Of course, her first thought is that a medieval festival has come to town, but why would he be here? A need to protect the only student in the room at the time prompts her to step around her to confront this warrior. When Rowena speaks to him, he turns around and walks through the wall. Kendra, her grad student, sees nothing, wondering who her teacher was talking to.

That night she has the most real but unlikely dream of a different world, rather obvious by its two orange suns. Rowena, Row to her friends, has a gift. She can communicate in a sort of mind meld with animals, especially horses and dogs. But here there are no wild animals or birds, but a small squirrel and a fish. Suddenly a deep voice rings out "Who are you?" Dream over, she puts it out of her mind. Two days later, alone in her classroom marking tests, two men suddenly appear through the wall. When she speaks they are startled to learn that she can see and hear them. And then they are gone.

Now the dreams take on a life of their own, always taking up where they left off the night before. Once she discovers these aren't dreams but are really happening, she is shocked that in this world her grandfather and cousins live, people she has never heard of. Her mother came from this world but how could it be? It seems so medieval. She learns from the man she has met that her mother disappeared from wherever this is and has never been seen again. Unfortunately, her mother died when Row was young and she knew nothing of her background. She learns that a curse was laid in this different land that caused all babies born to be male, eventually bringing procreation to a standstill. Now we know why these men are coming through the wall, they are seeking fertile women. In her classroom, she goes through the wall and finds herself in the same place her dreams took her, and now she knows where the men are coming from on the other side. But where is this place?

This is where the story really takes off, and what a wild ride! On a quick visit back through the portal, Kendra is once again in the classroom and returns with Rowena. As a Goth girl, Kendra is first believed to be a boy as they come out of the portal to be faced again by men. Rowena motions to her to play the role, easy for her to play as she is trained in martial arts. When later Kendra is dressed in the clothing supplied in the castles and fortresses, her look changes immensely.

In this country called Lands End, with no women of child-bearing age, Rowena is alternately coupled, kidnapped, and/or married, by someone from each corner of this world. She does not know the politics of rulers, but her sharp wit and sense of humour get her through everything. Men are ready to fight to the death over possession of her. However, these men have not met up with modern women and it is a total eye-opener to them. Who is shocked more, man or woman? This book is so much fun, hard to describe without giving out all the tasty plot. I keep thinking of the main male characters as a combination of Diana Gabaldon's Jamie Fraser and the hilarious swashbuckling Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. I absolutely loved this book, especially the characterizations. The baffling complexities between the main characters, coming from such vastly different backgrounds, gives impetus to the humour, raucous skirmishes, and rollicking good sexual fun.

1 comment:

Alison E. Bruce said...

I love the connection with Jack Sparrow! It's so true. Rowena Through the Wall puts all our favourite hero types together and yet each is still very much his own character.

Alison Bruce
Author of Under A Texas Star