Monday, June 1, 2015

Book Review: To Ride a White Horse by Pamela Ford


To Ride a White Horse    
by Pamela Ford
Paperback: 374 pages
Publisher: Aine Press (January 3, 2015)

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

Ireland 1846. The potato crop has failed for the second year in a row and Ireland is in famine. When Kathleen Deacey’s fiancé doesn’t return from a summer working in the Newfoundland fisheries, she faces a devastating choice—leave Ireland to find work or risk dying there. Despising the English for refusing to help Ireland, she crosses the Atlantic, determined to save her family and find her fiancé.

But her journey 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 confront her own prejudices and make another devastating choice—remain loyal to her country or follow her heart.
A love story inspired by actual events, To Ride a White Horse is a historical saga of hope, loyalty, the strength of the human spirit, and the power of love.

Praise for To Ride a White Horse

Publishers Weekly starred review:  "A sweeping historical love story that hits all the marks ... Pacing the plot for maximum tension, Ford skillfully conveys the anguish and fury of not only her heroine, but all the struggling Irish both at home and abroad. She delivers genuine heat by teasing out the passion between her protagonists. Ford has made a deeply satisfying foray into new territory."

Goodreads First Reads Giveaway winner:  "Overwhelming! Six stars! What a stunning story! Pamela Ford’s book To Ride a White Horse made me go through a series of intense emotions, I cried, hoped, laughed! It’s a breathtaking story of love, hope and courage! I have just discovered a little gem!"

Top 500 Amazon Reviewer, Vine Voice:   "(4.5 stars) Good as this book is as a romance, it's even better as a historical novel. This is a touching story. Realistic, with some very gritty, some very poignant moments... This is an unexpectedly good novel."

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

“The rain had stopped before she boarded the ship and now the clouds were breaking apart, separated by great swaths of blue like God had spilled a bucket of paint and it was pouring down to Earth.”

“She stumbled down to the cabin and threw herself onto the sofa sobbing.  She wept for the death of a whale that wouldn’t abandon its calf.  She wept for her family, for Danny, for Ireland, for the injustice foisted upon the weak.  And she wept for herself, knowing that even as she despised the captain, she must still strike a bargain with him, must use him for her own ends just as he used the calf to catch its mother.”

“Sean knew the moment her spirit left her body, could feel it brush past him on its way beyond.  It was not cold as he had always heart, but enveloping, as though Moira had wrapped her arms around him one last time.”

“When you’ve never had much, you come to know what a difference just a little can make.  That what is most important is not things – but live itself.”

“’For bedding – not wedding,’ his grandfather said once she was gone.  ‘Make sure you know the difference.’”

My Review:

To Ride a White Horse is a considerable departure from my typical genre as I rarely read historical fiction, although I no longer remember exactly why I stopped doing so, as I thoroughly enjoyed every word of this book.  The premise of the story is a heavy one due to the dire living conditions forcing our protagonist (Kathleen) and many of her Irish countrymen to leave their homes in search of a better life a world away.  Despite the heavy subject matter, the story line was riveting, and the characters were fresh, well developed, and enticing, while the narrative was well paced, absorbing, and emotive.  Ms. Ford writes with magic ink that the faeries must have infused with their special dust.  Her words often squeezed my heart and occasionally brought a sting to my eyes.  I knew little about Irish history before picking up this missive, but now have a better understanding of their struggles without feeling as if I were studying or being lectured on the topic.  I like learning something while I am being entertained, and imagine, I still recall my mother’s admonitions during my formative years that reading fiction was a waste of time.  I was quite taken with the creative introduction of Kathleen’s rescue by the whaling ship – while coming to on the deck and in her delirium of believing herself dead, she fears she is entering hell when with her blurred vision, she witnesses the sweating and shirtless men working on a whale carcass and laboring over the fires for boiling the oil.  What genius!  I also enjoyed Kathleen’s steadfast beliefs and thoughts of the “Good People.”  I had forgotten about the Irish culture being more than a bit mystical with storytelling of faeries, banshees, and other such spirits.  This was my first time reading Ms. Ford’s work, but it won’t be the last, my one-click finger is feeling itchy.  

Empress DJ

About Pamela Ford

Pamela Ford

Pamela Ford is the award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. 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 plot.

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 sales rep, 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. 

 Find out more about Pamela at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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