REVIEWS

Children of the Mists

Review by Kathryn Burrington
4/5

Having enjoyed Lexa Dudley’s first novel set in Sardinia so very much my expectations for her second were high. She didn’t disappoint.

Step back in time to the 1800s, when for many years the untamed island of Sardinia has been seen as an annex of Italy from which much is taken but nothing given. Life here has changed little for many centuries, especially in the rugged interior where sheep farming is prevalent and ancient superstitions and traditions are firmly upheld.

It is here in this setting, so vividly brought to life by author Lexa Dudley, that the lives of two families, the Sannas and the Canus become deeply intertwined.

“She ambled down the long path to the lower meadow, taking in the gold-green of the valley and sweet, heady scent of the drying wild flowers, intensified by the sun…”

Children of the Mists, Lexa’s second novel, is an intricate tale of steadfast love, ambition, loyalty and betrayal not forgetting vendetta, the strict Sardinian code of honour that demands revenge; the souls of the murdered will not rest until their deaths have been avenged. Most strikingly, however, this a love story or rather a number of beguiling interwoven love stories.

Throughout the novel the reader is treated to a wonderful glimpse of the world of the Sardinian people in days gone by. Their deeply held beliefs and ancient knowledge form a colourful and essential framework as the tale unfolds and the leading characters take shape.

“..from Gabriella they learned the secrets of the plants’ healing powers, and from Salvatore they learnt the ways of hunting, trapping and fishing.

Sergio saw to it that they knew about the bad spirits, and how to ward them off with the many superstitions which ruled life. The broom outside the back door to keep away evil spirits who would stop to count the bristles, but as they could only count to seven, it would occupy them all night until dawn, when they would run away.”

While it took a little longer to really grab my attention than Lexa’s first novel, The Whispering Wind also set in Sardinia, it really was not long at all before I was thoroughly hooked and eager to know more about the lives of the many characters Lexa so vividly portrays, each of whom I came to care about, even Orlando, but on that I’ll say no more least I give away too much. Suffice to say that throughout the book I was never quite certain where the plot would take me, whose hearts would be broken, which lives would be taken and whose hopes and fears would come true.

I’d thoroughly recommend Children of the Mists by Lexa Dudley to anyone who enjoys historic or romantic novels as well as for anyone who, like me, has a deep love for Sardinia.

Love in Another Time

Review by K.C. Finn
4/5

Love In Another Time: A Sardinian Saga is a work of fiction in the interpersonal drama genre and was penned by author Lexa Dudley. Written for adults due to the presence of some moderate sex scenes, this novel spans the romance, family saga and drama genres to give an overview of the life story of central character Ellie Montford. Attending school in the 1940s, Ellie’s life changes when she is sent to reside with the family of a close friend, Polly. From here, Ellie blossoms into a confident woman who finds love in a foreign land, but it is cut short all too soon. What results is the tale of a grandmother looking back on her life and a granddaughter who uncovers secrets that she may come to regret.

Author Lexa Dudley puts great commitment into her character development for this novel, delivering authentic emotional prose with true depth and motivation behind every word and gesture. The work is relatively short and desires more detail in certain areas of the fast-moving plot, but the twists and turns are well planned out to deliver many intriguing and different experiences along the way. One of the most striking features is the presence of Sardinia in the tale, which is beautifully described and brought to life through excellent immersive language and cultural detail. Each character and relationship blossoms and develops on a strong arc throughout, and, overall, I think readers who enjoy a light but emotive family saga will highly rate Love In Another Time.

Lexa Dudley, Author Spotlight

By Aimee Ann

A striking historic rendition of life on the island of Sardinia…

Children of the Mists is a story of enduring love. Set in the 1800s, life on Sardinia had barely changed since the time of the Caesars. Two families, the Sannas and the Canus, are united by friendship and honour; love and laughter; joy and promises; omens and superstitions; youth and experience transcend generations. 

However, for Raffaella and Antonio, their passionate love becomes entangled with revenge. Death changes devotion. Promises are forgotten. Vendettas cannot be ignored. Ambition clouds judgments. Antonio and Raffaella were promised to each other, nothing would keep them apart, not even family. Committed to each other, they fight for their love against all odds… 

Children of the Mists is a gripping journey back in time that will make the perfect addition to any romance lover’s collection.

Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Lexa Dudley whose book Childrens of the Mists captivated me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love romance but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight for Lexa Dudley, a biography of the author and an interview between us both will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Lexa Dudley!

I am a freelance writer and a try to be poet. I fell in 
love with the island of Sardinia in 1972 when visiting 
there with my family; and I became intrigued with the island’s 
unique culture and friendly people.

‘The Whispering Wind’ is a romantic story which gives 
a glimpse into the closed world of the Sardinians and 
reflects my love for the island and its people.

I have returned to Sardinia every year, with my husband, since our first
visit and have travelled extensively over the island to see the
many interesting sites and monuments. 

I gave a nerve-racking interview on Radio Sardegna in 1978, in very broken Italian, about my affection for the island and enjoyed a close friendship with the late notable Sardinian author Marcello Serra and his family.

Now, how wonderful does Lexa Dudley sound?! The author is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between us both, I hope that you enjoy the author’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!

Could you please tell us readers about your books and what inspired you to write them?

The whispering wind  is set in Sardinia in 1969, a beautiful island in the Mediterranean. I first went to Sardinia in 1972 and fell completely in love with the island, it’s history and it’s people. From the moment I arrived at the small airport at Elmas, I knew Sardinia would live in my heart and become the home of my soul.  The landscape is breath taking, with its majestic mountains, enchanting and mystic Nuraghic places and sacred wells.  The beaches are beautiful with white sands, crystal clear water and gentle breezes. This has been translated into Italian as Sussurri Nel Vento

Children of the Mists, is also set in Sardinia, but in 1855. The backdrop being the mountains and the wild life of an ancient pastoral people. This book has been translated into Italian as Figli della Bruma.

What would your advice be for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up.  I was 72 years old before I published my first book, so persistence is the key word here.

In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?

I like a book to take me some where, to tell me about the people and their lives. Romantic or just ordinary, people always have a story to tell.

What is your writing process like?

I write the first two drafts in long hand.  I have note books I carry around with me in case inspiration comes!  I only write on one side of the pages, so when I go back I can add the notes etc.  I do that twice, after the second time I put it up on the computer and then put it up on Text Aloud so that it reads it to me, then I make notes on what works and what doesn’t.  It is at this point I send it to be edited. Then the work starts all over again when the MS comes back.  It is a long process, but I enjoy it.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

With The Whispering Wind, there was not a lot of research to do.  I knew all the places so it was just a matter of watching it in my mind and putting it on paper.

With Children of the Mists, I did a lot of research, fortunately I have a number of books in my library about Sardinia at that time, written by Englishmen who had visited the island about that time.  so yes a lot of reading, but very enjoyable.  I am also lucky to have friends in Sardinia who are only too willing to help with my endless questions.

Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?

I try to write every day, but with four sons and eight grand children, life can become a bit hectic. Not to mention the two dogs, two ex racehorses, eight geese and sixteen baby guinea fowl, which all demand some of my attention. Fortunately I have a very patient husband, who helps a lot.  He always reads the MS before it goes for an edit, to make sure all the characters are in order.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I try to read on holiday, but it usually ends up with me buying an exercise book, so that I can write the outline of a story or a new chapter for book I am working on.

Believe me there is nothing more inspiring than sitting on the beach, in Sardinia, knowing that someone is cooking my food, making my bed, and the largest decision I am going to have to make, is what to choose from the menu.

Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?

I am working on my third novel, this is also set in Sardinia, and is about a grandmother and her grand daughter. I am at the ‘put it up on the computer stage’ so what with editing etc, it won’t be ready for another six months at least.

Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Lexa Dudley! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more about Lexa Dudley, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.

Goodbye for now book lovers

The Whispering Wind

Review by Hannah Fielding
5/5

From the blurb:

The Whispering Wind is a moving story of two lovers, set on the beautiful island of Sardinia, where Elise goes on holiday to escape a loveless and violent marriage.

Whilst there, she meets and falls in love with Beppe, a local Sard. Despite religious and cultural complications, they embark on a romantic and passionate affair.

Beppe shows Elise his island and introduces her to the welcoming culture of the Sardinians and Elise soon falls under the spell of both the island and its people.

But after weeks of blissful happiness, Elise has to return unexpectedly to England to face all the problems she had been so desperate to leave behind…

When Lexa approached me to enquire whether I may be interested in reviewing her novel, my answer was an easy ‘yes’. Romance set on Sardinia? Right up my street, especially given the fact that my own latest novel, The Echoes of Love, is a romance set in Venice, Tuscany and… Sardinia! I love the setting – Sardinia is quite one of my favourite places for its unspoilt beauty – and so I was very keen to read this novel.

I knew from the first paragraph that the book would not disappoint:

A gentle breeze fluttered through the peach grove, but gave no respite from the midday sun. The rows of peach and olive trees offered no shade, and the branches of the tall cypress trees surrounding the orchard seemed to trap and intensify the relentless rays, creating an overwhelming heat that pervaded everything. Only the strident call of the cicadas broke the unnerving quiet that descended over the dry land.

I adore the author’s writing style; her ability to evocatively convey the setting. There is so much colour and passion and feeling in her writing: she’s a romance writer par excellence.

The story drew me in from the beginning, so much so that I read the book  in just two sittings – I couldn’t put it down. I love the characterisation, especially of the local Sardinian people. I love the depth to the character of Elise and her journey to find herself, and to heal her heart, after her abusive marriage. I love the hero of the book, Beppe, and find him so real as a person that he seems alive beyond the words on the page. I love the development of Beppe and Elise’s relationship, and the attention the author pays to exploring their feelings.

No doubt you’re spotting a theme: I love this book!

I’ve no wish to provide a spoiler of the ending here. Suffice it to say that it surprised me, and moved me, and is, I think, a very mature and intelligent close to the book. I’d have loved more depth at the end; more exploration of Elise’s life when she returns to England, and Beppe’s respectively. But I see why the author has written the book as she has.

In all, this is a book that stayed with me after I read the final words, and is one I think I will re-read in the future. It’s certainly made me pine for beautiful Sardinia!

I very much hope Lexa has more books in the pipeline: I will be first in line to read her next release.

Some of the comments I have received so far.

Format: Paperback
This book would make a wonderful holiday read. The main characters are well drawn and we are introduced to them quickly; the narrative also follows at a good pace and although it is essentially a love story, the descriptions of Sardinia and its customs and people as well as all the sounds and smells, make it extremely compelling reading; I couldn’t put it down! Sardinia is definitely on my ‘bucket list’ as a result!
PW

Format: Kindle Edition
This story took me on a journey through warm and sunny Sardinia (always a plus for us in the UK). The vivid descriptions of the island, people, food and culture transported me to a more gentle and meaningful way of life. I felt as though I knew the characters well and could see them as they moved through their lives. Sardinia has such a rich history of which little is known outside the region. I enjoyed learning about the culture and life of Sardinia as much as I enjoyed the story itself. I recommend that you curl up with this book and a glass of your favourite wine and enjoy!
MR

Format: Paperback
An easy holiday read for the pool this summer: beautifully detailed study of Sardinia, its people, customs, history and above all, Food! I feel inspired to start cooking eels and roasting a suckling pig over a fire! The island is definitely on my list of places to visit as a result.
MG

Format: Kindle Edition
A gripping, beautifully descriptive, romantic and tragic tale. A fabulous insight into the stunning landscape, historical culture and traditional community life of the Sardinians. The book invites you into another world and takes one on a journey of many emotions. I shall be recommending it to my local book group.
Chubba

Format: Paperback
An ideal romantic holiday read that weaves many interesting facts about the history and culture of Sardinia into the story. Sure to make you want to visit the island.
RJ