*Disclaimer* I read this book a while ago, and to my knowledge, it is the only book by this author, but as I set out on my own “Author’s Journey,” I want to make sure that I celebrate and draw attention to other creative geniuses along the way!
I received a free copy of The Belle of Eden by Sofia B Ashford from Book Sirens, and boy, am I glad I did.
“The noose lay innocently in the dirt as if it were only a rope.” (Pg. 12)
I was hooked from the beginning of this story. The opening pages of any written work are so critical. They should create questions in the reader that encourages further reading to find the answers. It shouldn’t give too much away and in this, Ashford was masterful. Based on the introduction, the story seems to be set in the Golden Age of piracy somewhere in the 17th or 18th century. I love pirate stories, so I was eager to keep reading!
Right from the start, the author’s use of language painted a vivid picture in my mind’s eye, creating for me, the illusion that I was not just a mere reader, but a part of the story itself. We meet Belle, a pirate who narrowly escapes being hung for her crimes. The circumstances of her “rescue” soon come to light and she is thrust into an arrangement that could spell her freedom from the inevitable hangman’s noose that awaits her for her life of piracy.
I love how the author uses real historical elements throughout the story. I love when fantasy mimics reality. I think it makes stories more interesting and relatable. This author also includes aspects that are less realistic which helps to induce the sense of mystery and magic inherent in all great stories.
We follow Belle as she makes the voyage back to the place that so haunts her, not for herself but as part of an agreement she makes with an unlikely acquaintance in return for the chance to be free. Unfortunately, their journey would not be an easy one, though facing danger has a way of bringing people together. Fiercely independent, Belle, finds herself drawn to her apparent savior. As they continue on their quest we see the walls that she has built up around herself slowly begin to fall. The author did a good job with the character development throughout the story and I find myself relating to Belle in many ways as she battles with her demons within.
This book is definitely a must-read. My only criticism, as with every good book, is that it wasn’t long enough and the author could have expanded the story a lot. I feel as though I am left without the closure I hoped for upon completion. I do hope to read more from this author going forward…and who knows, maybe there is still more of this story to tell?
Read this book 😉