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An Herbal Healing Quest in Medieval Spain - an Editorial Review of "Finding the Way"

Updated: Jan 14

Book Blurb:

A coming of age journey along the Camino de Santiago in medieval Spain.

Book One in the Seekers Series

In 1250 AD, in an obscure corner of northeastern Spain at the foot of the Pyrenees, ancient

Basque traditions collide with the onslaught of Christianity. Amika, a young Basque girl on the

brink of adulthood and her mother, a healer, awake in the night to the howls of an angry mob

approaching their hut. Torches fly and their hut goes up in flames. The rabid throng drags her

mother away to be burned at the stake as a witch. Amika flees in terror into the forest. A Wise

Woman of the ancient tradition rescues her and initiates Amika into the Old Ways. Soon they

too are hunted down and jailed, doomed to suffer the same fate as Amika's mother. A

sympathetic priest frees Amika, but as the price of her freedom he sends her on a quest to walk the Camino de Santiago, the ancient pilgrimage route across northern Spain. Along the way Amika encounters danger, hardship, and fear before she meets the man and child with whom she will share her future.

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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. She weaves compelling, dramatic stories based on strong characters facing daunting challenges. The question that inspires her books is “What would have it been like to live in this time and place?” In addition to her four novels, 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 over twenty years.


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

Editorial Review:

Finding the Way by Cindy Burkart Maynard is the first book in the author’s The Seeker Series. This historical novel tells the story of Amika, a teenager in the Middle Ages, who loses her mother after she is accused of witchcraft in their small Basque village in the countryside of Spain. Amika flees the village and heads to north-west Spain. On her journey, Amika meets others on a journey to the north including nine-year-old Esperanza who is clairvoyant. The pilgrims that Amika meets on her journey will impact her life in ways she never expected. Set in medieval times, Amika’s journey to Camino de Santiago via the Camino is suspenseful and dangerous and will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they find out what Amika will experience and overcome on her journey.

The day had been a happy one. Amika was learning about plants, the blessing of God’s third day of creation. She had decided to honor Amika’s efforts with a “big girl” gift, a necklace plaited from Esmene’s own hair. Amika engulfed her mother with an enthusiastic hug, so vigorous it squeezed the breath out of Esmene’s lungs.”

Maynard’s writing is wonderful. It is easy to read and follow along with. She does not pepper her writing with overly flowery language making it simplistic yet well-done. Readers will appreciate her ease with words and clear descriptions. The manuscript could benefit from additional thorough proofreading as there are some grammatical errors occasionally throughout the book. Most of the errors are minor and will be easily overlooked by the average reader.

He looked away in shame. He had failed the primary duty of every father—to protect his child. Ane clung to his waist trembling and sobbing convulsively. He patted the piteous child’s matted hair, violated and forlorn as she was.”

While the Middle Ages are often the topic of many different historical fiction novels, Maynard’s novel differs from others in that it is detailed and well-researched. It is clear from the way the author writes and portrays life in the Middle Ages, that Maynard has spent extensive time researching what life was like during this time. He is able to easily depict what she has learned in a fictional story. Most readers should have a firm grasp on what life was like during this time period just from reading Finding the Way

She knelt before Ane and embraced her with more tenderness than she had felt for anyone. She had loved her mother, but she cherished Ane. Ane’s intense eyes glittered in the darkness.”

Readers who enjoy the medieval time period and dramas with strong female characters are most likely the target audience for Finding the Way. The well-researched history, relatable characters, and interesting plot will keep most readers engaged. Those who enjoy character-driven stories and stories of resilience will also find Finding the Way to be an enjoyable read. At almost four hundred pages, it may prove to be difficult for more casual readers or readers new to the historical fiction book to get through but it is well worth it.

I was educated together with the children of Jews, Arabs, and Christians. As a youth I absorbed the languages around me as easily as a sponge sops up water. Our teachers held us to the highest academic standards. As a rash youth, I was accustomed to stealing away from my studies, dressed in clothing more suited to a tradesman than an aristocrat, and taking late-night jaunts in the back streets of Toledo with the Castilian and Arab boys of the court. They had more freedom, as there were many restrictions placed on Jews. But we were all privileged youths and determined that such rules did not apply to us. We ignored the regulations with impunity.”

Great character development and a well-developed story make for a book that most historical fiction readers will enjoy. It is a great example of life during medieval times and what that can entail for a female during that time period.


“Finding the Way” by Cindy Burkart Maynard receives 4.5 stars from The Historical Fiction Company


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