"Nicholas is a master at providing her readers with stories laced in Icelandic cultural history that touch the souls of her readers."
12th century/ 20th century
How often do we find that it takes a crisis or a disaster to realize that the life we are living should be more than the life we feel fated to live? After surviving a horrible hurricane that washes away almost everything that is a part of who she is, Val Masterson begins to question her life and marriage to Karl. Through the encouragement of her best friend, Jorge, she decides to attend a Society for Creative Anachronisms (SCA) event. When Val joins Jorge, she soon discovers a world that unlocks the door to a past where Val comes to realize the life she truly desires to live with the people she holds dearest in her heart.
In this dual timeline novel, Nicholas tells the story of Vigdis from 12th century Iceland to help 20th century Val discover her own destiny in the present. She is a master at providing her readers with stories laced in Icelandic cultural history that touch the souls of her readers. In Past Storm and Fire, Nicholas creates the dual characters of Val and Vigdis by interlacing the paths of the two women into one story connected through common passions and desires. Nicholas imaginatively uses the skills that Val learns through the SCA and research to move her novel smoothly between two time periods.
Based on her experiences of living through Hurricane Andrew and her passion for Icelandic history, Past Storm and Fire may at first sound similar to other time travel novels; however, Nicholas presents the story in a unique style that helps readers follow two women whose destinies are connected by fate. Unhappy with her life in the 20th century, Val writes the story of Vigdis and the world she, Vigdis, has had to learn to adapt to in order to find her everlasting happiness. By escaping to this past, Val comes to find the answers she seeks to discover her own hidden desires about her future.
Although this is a story of anguish and pain, it is also a story of hope and happiness. Nicholas does an excellent job capturing the strength of women who, when presented with danger, find the resources to overcome their troubles. In the end, readers will come to love and respect both Val and Vigdis for their courage, their endurance, and their ability to capture the dreams that eventually come to define them.
© Cathy Smith
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