Thursday, August 28, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes, Illustrated by Nikki McClure

Title: Sinful Folk
Author: Ned Hayes
Genre: Historical/Mystery Fiction
Publisher: Campanile Books
Release Date: January 22/2014
Adquired: Print copy provided by Publisher
Goodreads: ADD

A terrible loss. A desperate journey.
A mother seeks the truth.

In December of the year 1377, five children were burned to death in a suspicious house fire. A small band of villagers traveled 200 miles across England in midwinter to demand justice for their children’s deaths.

Sinful Folk is the story of this treacherous journey as seen by Mear, a former nun who has lived for a decade disguised as a mute man, raising her son quietly in this isolated village.

For years, she has concealed herself and all her secrets. But in this journey, she will find the strength to claim the promise of her past and find a new future. Mear begins her journey in terror and heartache, and ends in triumph and redemption.

The remarkable new novel by Ned Hayes Illustrated by New York Times bestseller Nikki McClure


I started this book in the oddest state of mind, it was a mixture of unfair expectation, and perhaps a craving for something more uplifting. There are no doubts to be found when considering the extent of Ned Hayes' story crafting, it was definitely intriguing and heart-wrenching in the right ways, I just found myself drifting farther and farther away from the narrative, until I succumbed to this inevitable conclusion: Sinful Folk just wasn't for me.

I can't say I don't enjoy a good romp through the 1300's, because I've experienced this time period through reading before, and have found myself completely involved. There was just something so particularly downtrodden about Sinful Folk, something a little too simplistic and empty in it's narrative-even while I write this, my entire being is still being repelled by just the thought of it. I didn't hate it, don't get me wrong, the story within is not one that can be easily disliked. 

No, inside we meet Miriam, or as we know her through most of books entirety, Mear, a young nun who escaped her convent with her young baby in tow. After an exhausting trek, in which she violently stumbles and cuts her tongue, she is brought into the village of Dans by some passerby, who mistakes her for a thief and murderer. After she is deemed harmless, and mute-and wrongly identified as a male-she follows suit and immerses herself in her new surroundings. Ten years later, the worst of tragedies has fallen on Mear's door: her ten-year-old son Christian has burned to death in a nearby home, along with 4 other village boys. In an attempt to avenge their son's deaths, and find their own inner peace, all five 'fathers' set on a perilous journey to see the King. Along the way, Mear is faced with exposure, and plagued by questions: Who killed her son? What ACTUALLY happened that night? Sinfolk Folk is based on true, thinly recorded, events.

It may have been my disconnect with the narrative, but I couldn't predict who the killer was, nor where the mystery was taking me. Instead, I found myself taken with Hayes' writing, and the way he made me feel so entirely for Miriam/Mear. It was obviously a far-fetched idea, attempting to convince readers that a young/middle-aged woman could safely disguise herself as an old man for ten long years-I just wasn't buying that. Nevertheless, I wanted justice for this character, I wanted her to feel anything besides pain and discouragement. It was the way that an individual of THIS era could be writing so specifically about an era that he never saw the light of day in-it was the way he made me believe THAT. Sinful Folk was one of those books that had you thanking a higher power for allowing you to be conceived in a time of such opportunity and freedom.

This may not have been the book for me, but I would definitely be interested in reading another Ned Hayes book should he decide to write more modern fiction.

Recommended for Fans of: Medieval Fiction, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Literature.

Ned Hayes has been called a "master storyteller" and an "marvelous suspense writer" by Pulitzer-Prize winning authors, best-selling writers, and nationally-known reviewers. His historical novel Sinful Folk was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Semi-Finalist (2012), and went on to sell over 2,000 copies in the first month of publication. He continues to receive laudatory Amazon and print publication reviews for his suspenseful writing, lyrical writing and powerful characters. His work has been featured in Huffington Post Books, in Book Note, and other places online. You can read reviews here.

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Thank-you to Trish from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to Campanile Books for sending me a print ARC to review!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts as part of the tour.


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