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A Medieval Woman's Journey of Self-Discovery - an Editorial Review of "Esperanza's Way"

Book Blurb:

Book Two in The Seekers Series

Motivated by the memory of her mother dying in her arms, Esperanza resolves that she will one day walk the halls of the Scola Medica at Salerno and train to become a healer. Fate brought Amika, a talented herbalist, into her life and helped Esperanza take her first steps toward gaining the knowledge that would fulfill her dream. Unfortunately, a tragic accident forced Esperanza to flee Amika's home. Her journey toward finding the path to success is littered with stumbling blocks, some more difficult to avoid than she expected.


Advance Praise for "Esperanza's Way"

"Esperanza struggles to achieve her dreams despite the setbacks she encounters. Set in Europe during the Middle Ages, the plot conforms to the historical accuracy of the era. A varied cast of well-developed characters move the drama along at a brisk pace. The subplots of romance, acceptance, and the gradual passing of the torch between generations are balanced and individually interesting, especially considering how fluidly Maynard weaves all of them into one storyline. Esperanza's Way provides immersive entertainment with a high degree of realism brought to life courtesy of Maynard's engaging style of storytelling." - Reader's Favorite Review

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Author Bio:

Cindy Burkart Maynard is passionate about history, and the natural world, a passion that adds rich detail and context to her historical fiction novels. Her characters come to life on the page as they portray what it was like to live in another time and place. She weaves compelling, dramatic stories based on strong characters facing daunting challenges. She has co-authored two nonfiction works about the Colorado Plateau and the Desert Southwest and contributed articles to Images and Colorado Life Magazines. She has been a Volunteer Naturalist for Boulder County for more than twenty years, and served a Docent at the Sonora Arizona Desert Museum in Tucson, AZ. . Awards: Colorado Authors League Award Winner for Western literature Women Writing the West Award Finalist WILLA Literary Award finalist for soft cover fiction. Readers’ Favorite Five Star Author Winner of the Marie M. Irvine award for Literary Excellence

Professional Affiliations: Historical Novel Society of North America Lighthouse Writers Women’s Fiction Writers Association Colorado Authors League Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Authors Guild

Editorial Review:

Esperanza’s Way by Cindy Burkart Maynard tells the story of a young girl who has been orphaned and is trying to find her way during the Middle Ages in Spain. Esperanza wants nothing more than to become a healer after helplessly watching her mother die. When she meets a knowledgeable herbalist by the name of Amika, it leads Esperanza toward the first steps of realizing her dreams. But what Esperanza doesn’t know is that it won’t be an easy journey. After an accident derails her plans, Esperanza will have to learn to overcome her obstacles and stay the course to fully realize her dreams. The second book in Cindy Burkart Maynard’s The Seeker Series, Esperanza’s Way will leave readers enthralled and moved by a beautifully told story with characters that will stick with readers long after they have read the last line.

A symphony of spicy, citrusy, fruity, and minty smells harmonized like a fragrant orchestra. When customers entered and inhaled the aroma, their spirits lightened, buoyed by the aromas of nature.”

Esperanza’s Way is the second book in The Seekers Series by Cindy Burkart Maynard. While most readers will prefer to read the series in order, Maynard has written Esperanza’s Way in a way that it will stand alone and can be read without having read the first. Readers should not have any trouble understanding the story or relating to the characters even if they have not read the first book.

A profound sleep descended softly on Johanna, like an autumn leaf falling on a still pond. Esperanza could hardly hear Johanna's heartbeat or feel her thin breath on the cheek she put to Johanna’s mouth. But when the sun crested the horizon next morning, the pain was back. Day after day the pain returned, worse than the day before. The cold dark months stretched out as endless as a boundless sea, wave after wave of brutal misery lapping at Johanna's bed.”

One of the best things about Esperanza’s Way is the author’s writing style. Maynard litters her paragraphs and prose with exquisite details and imagery that make the scenes and characters come alive. Readers will easily find themselves lost in the story and find it impossible to put the book down for a reading break. The details and imagery also make it a book that feels incredibly relatable and at times even comforting.

The bed was comfortable, the pillow deep and soft. The luxury of the villa was a temptress beckoning her to stay. Until opportunity showed itself, she needed only to live from day to day.”

Esperanza’s Way is set during the Middle Ages in Spain. This is a complicated time period and it is evidenced by her writing that Maynard spent a significant amount of time studying this era. She does an excellent job portraying what life would have likely been like. There are parts of the book that get a bit bogged down in Middle Age life and it may feel slow for some readers but all in all, Maynard did a fantastic job with the historical elements in Esperanza’s Way.

The Bay of Napoli, festooned with boats bobbing in the harbor, mirrored the skies, transforming the bay from a dusky slate when clouds loomed, to a shimmering cobalt when bathed in sun. The spectacle of sky reflected in water provided an ever-changing spectacle. The effort of moving the Signore became easier as he shed some of his extra weight. Dolores found the magic balance between foods he loved and foods that promoted fitness and well-being. Each small success encouraged them to believe that they could coax the irascible old pirate back to health.”

Readers who enjoy historical fiction or stories about overcoming hardships and obstacles will enjoy this book. It is easy to read but can have slow pacing at times which may make it difficult for readers who struggle to stay focused. The historical elements are well researched and it is rich in descriptions and details which many readers will find highly enjoyable. It is also a great book for those with an interest in medical history. At a comfortable length, casual readers will find Esperanza’s Way an engaging and endearing story full of excellent prose well worth the read.

Two things brought him joy above all else. One was lying peacefully in his bed with cool cucumber slices on his eyelids, and the other was Esperanza reading Rumi’s poetry to him. It gave him exquisite pleasure to watch Esperanza changing before his eyes. After a few months she rushed to the chamber pot less frequently. Her face became rounder, her hair glossier, and her belly expanded. At first a small bump protruded, barely showing beneath the folds of her dress. Then the bump grew into a graceful curve. To Adolfo it looked elegant, and appealingly shapely. By the time the lemon pickers swarmed the orchards and the farmers’ scythes swept back and forth felling the barley and rye, her bump dominated her entire torso.”

Esperanza’s Way offers a well-written story that is endearing and inspiring with characters that readers will easily relate to. These qualities combine to earn Esperanza’s Way a solid four out of five rating. Readers will love to follow Esperanza’s story as she overcomes obstacles and paves her own way through life.


“Esperanza's Way” by Cindy Burkart Maynard receives four stars from The Historical Fiction Company


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