When I blog, I blog about life in a trailer park; "elephants in the room" kinda stuff, social and political issues, the ones that are (hopefully) laughable. I write about every day people doing every day things, and although I'm not a star blogger, I have a small, dedicated readership. Never have I written a blog about a book. I'm not a book reviewer, though I am an avid reader of many genres.
I met Barbara Tieken at a women’s retreat in February of 2011 where I had been given the opportunity to facilitate a poetry workshop. I had spent the night prior, in a bathroom stall, on the commode with a flashlight in hand, going over and over my outline until my eyes were red as berries and hanging at half-mast. Then I heard the news: one of the women in the group was an established poet and gifted writer, who had in fact recently published a book of
dynamic proportion and magnitude. Someone described it as “a rare piece of historical fiction”.
Of course, this caused my nerves to come unglued. All corners, including the roof, of my mouth became a shag carpet instantly.
I did manage to make it through my 3-hour workshop with some success and as I was putting away my materials, Barbara approached me. Her words were uplifting and complimentary. She said she felt inspired by the activities we did and very moved by my approach. WOW!
She actually felt like that I gave her “new tools” to continue growing as a writer!
I was blown away.
Of course, I hadn’t yet read her novel, but she did read some of her poems aloud during my workshop and I was in awe of her mastery of the written word; a female e.e. cummings, perhaps? I had been so afraid that such a gifted and experienced writer would view me like a “fish out of water”. Yet, Barbara saw us both as two fish, swimming side by side, in the same stream.
Bull Vaulter: Alena of the Isle of Green, by Barbara Tieken, is one of the most informative, well-researched and inspiring novels that I’ve read in a long while.
The book, years in the making due to Ms. Tieken’s integrity and dedication to accurate research and authenticity, is fresh and unique.
Bull Vaulter has all the makings of an engaging piece of fiction: coming of age, traditions, relationships, struggles, and love. (Ms. Tieken even throws in the perfect amount of lust to keep a girl up turning pages well past her bedtime!)
The story takes place in 2100 B.C.E. on the isles of Keft (Crete) and Kalliste (Santorini) where a Goddess-worshipping people have lived peacefully and harmoniously for thousands of years. (Boy, we're so far removed from those times, aren't we?)
Although it is an extremely well-researched piece of historical fiction, it reads with the richness of butter; meaning, it's smooth, palatible and well-blended. It is unabridged, yet far from clinical.
The people of ancient Crete come to life and we soon are involved with all of the characters, their relationships and the choices they must make. As we connect with Alena, the central character, we are quickly filled with her hopes and dreams, as if parts of her story are parts of our own. There are lessons to be learned in this 5-star novel; lessons that we, the reader, will take with us into our daily lives.
Many of those lessons emerge through the art of bull vaulting, which was highly regarded and honored for thousands of years. I had absolutely no idea! Alena's quest to become the best, given the obstacles that present themelves along the way, is inspiring.
I learned so much about this ancient culture; the customs and the traditions of a people, and in particular, the art of bull vaulting; All pretty much long forgotten if not for Ms. Tieken’s well-researched resurrection!
Don’t miss this magical gem. Don't pass up this window of opportunity to return in time to a peaceful, harmonious place and people; a people that walked this earth for thousands of years, leaving no carbon footprint, but rather blended in with nature as if they were one.
I read Bull Vaulter: Alena of the Isle of Green with my book club and we all agreed; the wisdom of this book will linger with us for years to come.
Causes Valerie Fern Supports
AFRP (Animal Friends Rescue Project), POMDR (Peace of Mind Dog Rescue)
CWOB (Compassion Without Borders)
Bead For Life...