Retro Friday Review: The Wind-Witch by Susan Dexter

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.
It's been quite some time since I came across a book this good. The Wind-Witch first popped up on my radar after a guest post Angie did over at Fantasy Cafe for her Women in SF & F series on under appreciated books in the genre. Truth be told, I had already read (and adored) a large percentage of the books she listed, so naturally, I glommed onto this one with promises of good things to come. And like so many other times, Angie's pick proved fantastic. First-rate. Marvelous. Superb. Well, you get the idea...

Druyan has lived her life as the dutiful daughter. Marrying when she was told, putting her talents to the skills deemed 'appropriate' for women. When her husband is unexpectedly killed, Druyan finds herself on a precipice -- submit meekly once again to her uncle, the Duke's, choice of a new husband or keep her loss private and work, work, work for a year and a day proving her holding profitable and become her own master. For once, Druyan follows her heart and chooses the latter. With the help of her meager farm help, her mythical horse Valadan and the unsuspecting raider turned farmhand, Kellis, Druyan begins to make Splaine Garth her own.

But Kellis is not simply a wounded foreigner hoping to pay a blood debt by working Druyan's farm. Cursed (or blessed) with the gift of sight, Kellis begins to see warnings of raiders invading Esdragon and even as he warns his Lady not to trust the visions, she is not content to simply do nothing. Each time Kellis scrys a vision of destruction, Druyan rushes off, fleet as the wind on the back of Valadan, to warn the unsuspecting victims. But Kellis cannot find it in himself to let his Lady ride off alone, unprotected, and their headlong flights bring unwanted scrutiny when they want it the least.

Heavens above, I think I fell in love with this one wholeheartedly from the very first sentence. First of all, it's full of lovely writing with a sloooow buildup of tension that I found myself all but gripping the pages in earnest concern as Druyan hurled herself into harms way time and again. Susan Dexter is such a wonderful storyteller. Truly. Her detailed passages of daily farm life contrasted against the looming threat of war never failed to thrust me right into the moment. Each sentence seemed to be crafted with such a loving touch that I wanted to mull over each word individually and digest them slowly.

Druyan has something of the wild wind within her (as you can gather from the title) but it has been battered down so thoroughly all her life, that the gradual loosening she allows was pure magic. Her quiet determination to save her farm, her friends, even her country utterly entranced me as I was constantly awed by her courage and loyalty. Under Kellis' careful and watchful eye, she becomes a woman of her own making and I loved every minute of it. I cannot recommend this treasure heartily enough and you better believe I've got the rest of the series already queued up in the TBR pile.

series reading order:
~ The Prince of Ill Luck
~ The Wind-Witch
~ The True Knight

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
All About Romance review
Angieville review
Stewartry review

book source: bought

The Awesome Factor

Don't know what to read this summer?
Check out this handy flow chart.
How bad is it that I want to have it printed out to hang on the side of my bookshelves?

Book Haul (1): fishpond & Sync

Well seeing as this is my first book haul post and all, I thought I'd post some lovelies I am most excited about that have come my way recently.

First up is also my first-ever order from Fishpond. I first heard about this site from Nomes (I think?) and although their prices are higher, they do have the added bonus of making available UK/Aussie books that I can't get over here. I was pretty impressed with their service -- three books for $14 and free shipping. I'm sure I'll be picking up books from them in the future. I bought the following, seeing as I cannot resist a pretty cover:
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The Demon's Lexicon & The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan

I can't begin to say how giddy I am that I now have a matching set of this fabulous series. *pets* I think it's time for a reread of all four books.
Also! It's again time for Snyc's list of free summer audiobooks. Be sure to check out their list here; there are quite a few I'll be downloading (Hello-oo Daughter of Smoke and Bone!).

I've gotten some other books for review recently and hope to get around to some of those soon...including Sarah Rees Brennan's latest Unspoken. Although I'm sure to kill my eyes reading it as I only have a digital copy I can read on my computer. Not my kindle. Why oh why do they do this to me?
Very good things to come though I'm sure.