- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1390 KB
- Print Length: 370 pages
- Publisher: Lisa Costantino; 1 edition (10 Aug. 2012)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B008WEX86O
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,405,128 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Maiden's Veil Kindle Edition
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
Costantino deftly intertwines the stories of two star-crossed love affairs, building to a climax wherein the fates of all the four lovers are bound up together--making a seemingly chance encounter an event that will forever change their lives.
A spirited and headstrong weaver's daughter, Clarinda Asher is no fit match for Benjamin Keane, son of a prosperous merchant, even when they are paired as Maiden and King of their village's May Day festival. However, it is when they are brought together to the circle of ancient standing stones to partake in a sacred fertility ritual that their lives truly begin to unravel.
Three centuries later, Owen Calder, curator of the modern-day textile museum in England's West Country, meets Jessamine Barlow, a traveling textile buyer from the U.S. Owen offers to take Jess to see the standing stones on the outskirts of the village. Unbeknownst to them, the circle's power continues to resonate. Jess abruptly quits her corporate job to return to her first loves: weaving, and a pagan spirituality that echoes Clarinda's faith. Owen longs to experience the more spiritual existence of his youth, one more in tune with nature, after having traded a life of poetry for "curatorial reports and funding proposals."
Costantino titled the story after the indigo veil that the virgin female must don during the pagan fertility ritual. But it is the natural beauty of the rural village that provides the crucial backdrop for both stories: Maiden's Hill, where Clarinda is banished after her sacred tryst with Benjamin meets with disastrous results for the whole community; the River Guen that plays a fateful role in the tragedy; and the spring-fed pools where King and Maiden purify themselves--and where the two couples repeatedly return for strength to face their destinies, and bring life out of death, love out of sorrow.
"Maiden's Veil" was awarded 1st Place in the Women's Fiction category, INDIE Awards, a division on the Chanticleer Blue Ribbon Awards 2013, for Costantino's mesmerizing lyrical prose, her well-developed characters, and her compelling storytelling of a timeless and ancient theme.
The story of two pairs of star crossed lovers is beautifully woven together, moving between past and present. The writing is smart and descriptive. Constantino definitely has a grasp on how beautiful and flowing storytelling can be. I found the ending to be quite satisfying. I don't often shed tears while reading, but I did at the end of "Maiden's Veil". I'm torn between being most impressed by a) the author's knowledge of these ancient fertility rites, and b) the strong grounded heroines, Clarinda and Jess. This is a great book for all adult readers, for Constantino's intelligent, informed, lyrical book would appeal to anyone.
I enjoyed both stories equally and found it very engaging to look for the connections between the stories in little details sprinkled throughout the book and building towards the conclusion. The language in the book has a clarity that allows the reader to easily and fully visualize most any scene, without being overly flowery at any one time. I tend towards books with a lot of dialogue and not too much lengthy description and I found the book extremely well balanced for my tastes. I was also impressed with the vocabulary in the book and quite glad to read it on my Kindle Fire, where I could easily look at the definition of any word that was new to me. In addition to the rich and well-chosen vocabulary, it seemed clear the author had done considerable research into the time period and the craft of weaving.
I found myself rooting for the various characters and identifying with each of them in their own way, as their emotions and intellect played out well on the pages. Would love to see more of either of the stories. Overall just loved this book!
The 1700s story is about Clarinda, a spinster chosen to be the May maiden for a `fertility ritual' with merchant Benjamin - but he is married to another woman. Since this is May Day, all marriage rules are suspended, until something goes horribly wrong that changes history for the village.
The second story is set in the present day. Jess is an American with two different colored eyes and a love of all things `paganus' - which I learned means `villager.' Jess ends up in that same village and falls in love with Owen, the town historian, whose marriage is a mistake just like Benjamin's. When Jess and Owen revive the fertility ritual, everything changes once again.
I loved so many things about this book: the history, writing, characters and the twining stories. I would recommend this book if you're looking for an entertaining read with amazing female characters. And by the way - did you ever think that women who have babies might be the ultimate 'sacrifice'? There's a lot to think about in this book!
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