Professional Reviews

Page 2

Ashes of a Madman
Review by Romuald Dzemo for Reader's Favorite
Rating: 5 Stars
"I love multifaceted and complex character, and there is a kind of darkness in Geoff Ramsay that makes Rebecca's naivety excusable. Readers will find in this character a perfect portrait of a calculating, ruthless, and insane killer. There is no way the reader won't feel drawn into the darkness. The international setting becomes very appropriate because it is most suited for the conflict - both psychological and interpersonal - that is so brilliantly developed in the story. From the plot to character development to the fascinating setting, Ashes of a Madman comes across as a huge success in a historical novel that features murder and a woman's journey to an incredible truth. This book just made me a fan of Maria York."

Ashes of a Madman
Review by Ruffina Oserio for Reader's Favorite
Rating: 5 Stars
"I loved this story so much - and yes, that isn't an overstatement. The sophistication of the storytelling, the vivid and detailed capturing of the the setting in excellent prose, and the memorable characters are elements that clearly establish Maria York as a star in the genre. There is no way readers can finish this book without a sobering takeaway. I enjoyed the idea that the author takes the characters to a very remote corner of the world where the woman is very vulnerable and a victim for the predator, her own man. Yes, the conflict is colossal and readers can feel their heartbeats as they anticipate the worst to happen, anytime soon. The author led me into the heart of the protagonist and I could feel her fear, her confusion, and experience the trickle of sweat running down her cheek as she faces the monster she's grown to love. Ashes of a Madman is gripping and mind-boggling, a hard-to-put-down kind of story."

Ashes of a Madman
Review by Viga Boland for Reader's Favorite
Rating: 5 Stars
"According to Jerry Waxler, a recognized authority on memoir writing, a book succeeds when it both entertains and enlightens or educates. While Ashes of a Madman by Maria York isn't a memoir, it is fiction based on historical and cultural practices. As such, it is a mesmerizing, entertaining story that also educates and enlightens readers about past times in two cultures, British and African? The result? Ashes of a Madman succeeds beautifully.... Maria York has created a very involved and well-researched story around Rebecca. She also uses Ashes of a Madman to explore still current and unresolved issues of gender equality, the consequences of domestic violence, and the devastating effects of drug abuse. Though the time setting for Ashes of a Madman is in the 1800s, the issues Rebecca has to deal with are those issues women and both sexes sill face today. If indeed Jerry Waxler is right that a good story should both entertain and enlighten, then Maria York has written a very good book indeed."

Chattan Bride
Review by Arya Fomonyuy for Reader's Favorite
Rating: 5 Stars
"Maria York has crafted a delightful story with a compelling plot, filled with twists that readers won't see coming. I enjoyed the wonderful cast of characters. The opening is great and it announces important themes that are covered in the story, including love, family and war. I was hooked from the very first lines of the story. It is not surprising that the author has a great gift for plot and character development. Readers will appreciate how the characters develop throughout the story... Chattan Bride is a great success, a story with a complex plot, compelling characters, and strong plot lines."

Chattan Bride
Review by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Reader's Favorite
Rating: 4 Stars
"Chattan Bride brings the past to life in an epic tale. Maria York transports the reader into the early thirteenth century and places them in the heart of the border disputes between the Scottish clans and the English monarchy. York pens several memorable lines, my favorite being: "One can obey another without feeling loyalty. But loyalty makes one want to obey." This thought proves to be the central theme for the entire story. The narrative focuses on a young woman caught in the middle of love and obedience. She is wise beyond her years in some ways, yet naive and ignorant in many others... Proving to be a dynamic character, she grows in body, soul and spirit. Making the heroine a warrior reminds the reader of the exploits of Joan of Arc and Queen Elizabeth. Her bravery to train and lead men into battle proves her tenacity and courage. Her desire to step out of the normal expectations of womanhood is pivotal to the plot. Although much of the conflict takes place on the battlefield, the internal conflict of the heart begs for attention. The love story that unfolds is both romantic and irritating in waiting for the young couple to profess their love for one another. However, as the narrative climaxes, the action mounts and descends into a satisfying ending."

Chattan Bride
Review by Lisa McCombs for Reader's Favorite
Rating: 4 Stars
"Chattan Bride by Maria York, set in the medieval era of 1217, is a timeless tale of devotion and the unusual existence of fierce pride seldom recognized by the youth of today. York's use of Renaissance language and vivid description draws the reader int the story with turn of every page. An excellent example of historical fiction."


Blind Man's Bluff: Black Butterfly (first in series)
Review by Benjamin Ookami for Reader's Favorite
Rating: 5 Stars
"I was as smitten with this book as William Cavendish and Marrok,the Marquis de Condorcet, were with Ruary Amelie de FitzJames. William and Marrok are both characters that I had the pleasure of following in Blind Man's Bluff: Black Butterfly by Maria York. I must stay that it was not the male characters that held me captivated, but the sapphire-eyed, in-black-haired and exceptional singer, piano and card player, Ruary. York's novel is set in France at the start of the 1800s when France and England were not on savory terms. The ingredients that make Ruary so interesting are not that she is beautiful and not yet twenty, but the way destiny brought her to Marrok's doorstep in France. This doorstep is purely figurative and had actually been a ravine; she was found naked at the bottom of it. Marrok and his immediate circles, stemming from Ruary's memory loss, took to calling her a name which meant Luck, while helping her to discover her true identity. Marrok, who is revealed to work with the British War Department, continues his search for an ever elusive man named Caradoc. Ruary has also become an asset to the British War Department, which already sets her apart from the lady who knows about gardens, kisses and all that it means to be the wife of some distinguished gentleman in England - one has to wonder how lucky Ruary really is. I would revisit this book if only to meet characters that I deem just as unforgettable as Ruary once again. Maria York is a name to remember."

Blind Man's Bluff: Black Butterfly (first in series)
Review by Jane Finch for Reader's Favorite
Rating: 4 Stars
"So begins the intriguing tale of suspicion, deceit and deception as their secrets unfold. The voice of this story is perfect for the era, and the characters are well-developed, intense and truly believable. The reader is drawn into the story from the outset and tempted along the pat of intrigue as revelation after revelation comes to light. The author, Maria York, has done an excellent job of depicting the time period and the cast of characters in a story that moves along at a good, steady pace and does not disappoint in its finale. The story has a well thought out start with the reader being immediately drawn into the murder attempt, and consequently a good hook to follow through as the story unfolds. Well written, well developed, and a nice cover with an interesting synopsis all combine to draw in a prospective reader. Also refreshing to see the importance of research into the time period portrayed so well."

Blind Man's Bluff: Black Butterfly (first in series)
Review by Sefina Hawke for Reader's Favorite
Rating: 5 Stars
"Blind Man's Bluff (Black Butterfly) by Maria York is a historical fiction that takes place during the Napoleonic Wars. This is a novel that would appeal most to a mixed audience of young adults and adults who enjoy historical fiction, espionage, suspense and mystery...I liked how Maria York kept the book fictional while still staying true to the period. The characters are well-developed... My favorite part of the book was when Felicite began to realize that she was actually more suspicious and dangerous than Marrok; I felt like this was the moment she came to really understand him an the risk that he was taking in not just saving her life, but in trusting her. Overall, I have to say I greatly enjoyed reading about Marrok and Felicite and I hope the author decides to write more about them in the future!"
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