Review by Andrea Maloney

There are many things in this world that surround us but most people can’t see them. A few special people are gifted with talents that allow them to see the magical world of spirits, ghosts, elemental creatures and the old ones. Every so often a person comes along who can not only see the magic in the world but has an even more wondrous gift. One of these people is April Rue Stoner a woman with a gift that may help her save the world she knows and loves.

April has never known her mother’s family for her father forbade them to have any contact with her after her mother died. So she’s lived a lonely life with only her father for company. Soon after he dies she heads off to collage to study folklore a lifelong passion of hers. Soon she finds her true calling is photography and thru this passion her special talent shows her a world filled with the most magical things.

After her father’s death she meets her grandmother and all the other relatives she had never known until now. Summers are now spent at her grandmother’s in the Ozark hills of Blackburn County, Arkansas. A place of magic and beauty that fascinates April and fills her with peace and contentment.

Soon this place of beauty becomes one of fear and terror. A developer has come in to claim the land as his own. He wants to destroy it’s beauty with bulldozers, chainsaws and drive it’s people, who have live here for generations, off the land so that he can build a retreat for the wealthy to his own specifications.

But first he has to deal with April Rue Stoner which may not be as easy as he thinks. For she has the help of friends, family and a magical ability even she doesn’t know the full depths of.

Lee Barwood has written an absolutely fabulous ecological fantasy novel that will take your breath away. She is able to bring to life thru words a world that is magically beautiful and fragile at the same time. Her descriptions of the Ozark hills of Blackburn County, Arkansas are truly breathtaking giving an insight into the beautiful sights, smells and sounds of the Ozark hills. She brings to the reader a true sense of appreciation of the natural world that lives just outside the front door.

The dialogue is spot on, her descriptions bring the world alive in front of your eyes and her characters are rich, full of depth and alive in the truest sense of the word. Throughout all this runs a plot that will have you cheering for April Rue from beginning to end. A story full of sorrow, pain, hope and beauty from an author whom I hope we will be reading more from sooner rather than later.


Andrea Maloney is a stay at home mom and jewelry designer who loves to read. Her favorite books are mysteries, suspense and thrillers. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two daughters and one large cat.

Return to Fall 2006 Table of Contents

© 2006 SPINETINGLER Magazine - All rights reserved

Baby Love
If It Bleeds
Behind You!
No Help For The Dying
A Kind of Puritan
A Thankless Child
A Certain Malice