Thursday, February 2, 2017

Bonnie M. Hennessy - Twisted - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

An old tale tells the story of how a little man named Rumpelstiltskin spun straw into gold and tricked a desperate girl into trading away her baby. But that’s not exactly how it happened. The real story began with a drunken father who kept throwing money away on alcohol and women, while his daughter, Aoife, ran the family farm on her own. When he gambled away everything they owned to the Duke, it was up to her to spin straw into gold to win it all back. With her wits and the help of a magical guardian, she outsmarted the Duke and saved the day. Well almost… Her guardian suddenly turned on Aoife and sent her on a quest to find his name, the clues to which were hidden deep in the woods, a moldy dungeon, and a dead woman’s chamber. This is not the tale of a damsel in distress, but a tenacious, young woman who solved a mystery so great that not even the enchanted man who spun straw into gold could figure it out. Not until Aoife came along.

My Review

How does growing up in a broken family affect the type of relationship you'll have with your future spouse?

It's not necessarily a theme one would expect from a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, but I, for one, appreciated the more mature "twist." It shows a layer of depth, not often associated with young adult novels. Mainly because it brings up an interesting point: How does witnessing the behavior of one's parents color the way a person views love later in life?

Simple cause and effect, yet fascinating nonetheless.

First, the female perspective. Aoife's father is a loaf of a drunk, who shrugs off his breadwinner duties by blowing what little gold he has in the village brothel. Unfaithful father, check. While at home, Aoife has to deal with a fault-finding critic of a mother, who refuses to lift a finger to help ease their precarious financial situation. Bitter, broken mother, check. Which means the task of providing for the family ultimately falls to Aoife, so much so that she cares little about how she presents herself to the world. She knows she doesn't act or dress like a young lady should, and I love how she doesn't care about appearances. Yet it's tragic at how determined she is not to give any man a chance. No one—and I mean, no one—is going to get through the walls she's built up around her heart. Sadly, she prefers the only thing she's ever known, taking care of her impossibly weak father and her unappreciative mother.

Then, there's the male point of view. The Duke, also known as Ronan, is a child born out of lies and betrayal. Unfortunately, his mother isn't the woman he thought she was. Over the course of his childhood, he felt the truth, but it was never spoken aloud. Illegitimate birth, check. Now as an adult, he can't begin to fathom the thought of ever being loved by anyone, much less his future wife.

The entire concept is completely foreign to him.

Until he lays eyes on Aoife … and tricks her father into getting her to marry him.

Simply put, he wants her because she doesn't want him, and he pursues her with the sole intent of getting the better of her. Sure, he's attracted to her—more like frustrated with her—since he sees how she treats everyone with kindness, and he wants her to be kind to him, too. It's sort of sweet that all he really desires is her love and affection. But it's also maddening that he's too afraid to show her his vulnerable side. Instead, he chooses to play the part of the big, strong man, hiding who he really is from her.

And with Aoife, love can't be forced, and I admire that about her. She's human, set in her ways just as much as Ronan's set in his, and at first she judges him harshly. The last thing she feels like doing is reforming a spoiled, pampered man. Yet despite herself, she starts to warm up to him when he tries to get to know her better. Her tender heart can't resist his pleading eyes and things begin to change between them. But just when she starts to lower her guard, he retreats back to his selfish, manipulative ways, scared of the hitherto unknown feelings she's bringing to life inside him.

This back and forth drama goes on for a while, until there comes a tipping point in their relationship when a dire set of circumstances winds up bringing them closer together. They realize that the only way forward is if they come together as a couple. And that made me smile because Aoife ends up falling in love with the man she was so determined to escape, and Ronan learns how to care about someone besides himself, someone he deeply and truly loves.

Their relationship is no longer about their hangups over their parents' failed marriages. From this point on, it's all about making a go of THEIR marriage, by protecting their unborn child from a certain "little man."


Twisted can be purchased at:

Prices/Formats: $2.99 ebook, $12.99 paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Mythological, Fairy Tale
Pages: 306
Release: November 11, 2016
Publisher: self-published
ISBN: 9781539753421
Click to add to your Goodreads list.


About the Author

Bonnie grew up a shy, quiet girl who the teachers always seated next to the noisy boys because they knew she was too afraid to talk to anyone. She always had a lot she wanted to say but was too afraid to share it for fear she might die of embarrassment if people actually noticed her. Somewhere along the line, perhaps after she surprised her eighth grade class by standing up to a teacher who was belittling a fellow student, she realized that she had a voice and she didn’t burst into flames when her classmates stared at her in surprise.

Not long after that, she began spinning tales, some of which got her into trouble with her mom. Whether persuading her father to take her to the candy store as a little girl or convincing her parents to let her move from Los Angeles to Manhattan to pursue a career at eighteen as a ballet dancer with only $200 in her pocket, Bonnie has proven that she knows how to tell a compelling story.

Now she spends her time reading and making up stories for her two children at night. By day she is an English teacher who never puts the quiet girls next to the noisy boys and works hard to persuade her students that stories, whether they are the ones she teaches in class or the ones she tells to keep them from daydreaming, are better escapes than computers, phones, and social media.

Links to connect with Bonnie:
Web Site

About the Giveaway

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