Friday, December 30, 2022
#BookReview of Haunt: A Novel (Loveletting, Book 1)
Haunt: A Novel (Loveletting, Book 1)
By: Christina Maraziotis
Publisher: Existential Publishing
Publication Date: October 30, 2022
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: December 28, 2022
Christina Maraziotis releases Haunt, Book 1 in her Loveletting Series. The incredible journey that unfolds across the pages of this epic tale is one that will linger with the reader well beyond the turning of the last page.
The story opens with the introduction of character ‘Charlotte.’ She is running away and into the great wide open of the unknown west. A formidable and ominous storm pelts her and her beloved stallion, Finn, as they ride further and harder through Nephilim Cove. She is lost. She has ridden through sand dunes, canyons, underneath clouds and at times the sun scalds as much as the sandstorms suffocate. She has no family anymore. Her mother, if you could call her that, was the last semblance of family she had, "...as though the loss of her mother was but a relief, as though death was meant to not stir any emotions, as though her heart wasn’t taught how to break for someone yet..." Her mother warned her about the West. Disoriented, she looked to the weathered and crinkled map once more, Cougar’s Tooth. Little did Charlotte know she was about to embark upon a chaos that was merely the beginning of her newfound freedom and escape from her past.
Charlotte was on her way to Caledonia Territory and a town named Bisonhorn. Finn had been ridden hard for far too long and needed a rest. Once settled in the livery, she notices a Wanted poster. There is a $25,000 cash reward for the capture (dead or alive) of notorious gangster Mac Kinnon. Upon closer examination, she recalls an encounter with him at a bar in Boomtown. There was a bar fight, and he was thrown through the window and landed right at the foot of her horse as she rode through town. As she relays her experience to Sheriff Dorman, he doesn’t believe her. There is no way public enemy number one, Mac Kinnon, would dare show his criminal self for all the public to see. Determined to prove she knows what she saw, Charlotte convinces the Sheriff to, at the very least, see for himself. What Charlotte couldn’t possibly know at that moment in her life, this would not be the first encounter of many that would involve the likes of Mac Kinnon.
Christina Maraziotis anchors the Haunt adventure in the 19th Century era of the unforgiving Victorian West. She masterfully establishes her voice immediately on page one of this 750+ legacy read. It’s important to note the length of this novel because it could easily be scaled back by (at least) 200+ pages and still deliver a positive impact of a great read. Her characters have fine-tuned depth, and she intentionally creates each one with a signature persona: Charlotte: the adventurous woman of substance who is quite capable of facing off most challenges even if she places herself in harm’s way to do so; Finn, her beloved stallion who has a bond that cannot be severed with his faithful master; Mac Kinnon, notorious gangster and murderous cowboy who is always slightly one step ahead of the law, yet Charlotte is drawn to him. Will, the polished gentlemen of comfortable means who also has designs on Charlotte's heartstrings. The list goes on with many more colorful characters woven into the fabric of this fantastic novel. Maraziotis is visionary and her endless and astute word placement fill the pages with memorable descriptions devoted to a landscape of the West when it was still quite wild and untamed. Her innate ability to plant the seed in all of us to covet at least one moment in time to experience the magical wonder of what it was like way back when is the driving force to dive deeper into this captivating read. The bounty of phrases and descriptions make it difficult to settle on a specific passage as there are many. However, one that resonated with me was when she described Charlotte’s feeling toward character Will: "...Will’s was the tourniquet around her wounded soul. A fine layer of cloth covering it softly with the most tender fabric ever created, and yet, it was feeble enough to blow away..." I am haunted with the memory that lives on having read this historical and monumental saga. I look forward to the next book in this series!
Quill says: Haunt is an apt title for a novel that lingers with the reader as a reminder he/she has just experienced a legendary tale.
For more information on Haunt: A Novel (Loveletting, Book 1), please visit the author's website at: www.christinamaraziotis.com.