Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dances with Shadows

Title: Dance with Shadows
Author: Kay Bartlett
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Pages: 422, Paperback/Kindle
Genre: Fantasy
Reviewed by: S. Marie Vernon, Pacific Book Review


Dances with Shadows is a story about a teenage girl growing up on a western farm. Author Kay Bartlett captures the daily existence of a, seemingly, average family who lives and plays together. The clan, as they call themselves, seems reasonably adjusted to their way of life, yet, they keep away from town folks as much as possible. They only interact with them when it is necessary for operating the farm. This changes when their youngest member, Shaeli Guttheridge, comes of age and decides she wants to experience new things. A typical adolescent girl, Shaeli likes shopping and going to town festivals and events. Shaeli also likes flirting with the young men in town, especially Michael who works at Trent’s Feed and Seed. But, Shaeli is not your average young girl. Shaeli is different. She and her family are something more—they are something more in the wildest way—they are Wolfen!
Being wolfen, Shaeli loves to run wild and free in the nearby forest. It’s in the forest that she experiences real freedom and adventure. It’s there that Shaeli falls in love with Michael while he hikes and enjoys fishing. In her human state, she visits with him at the lake and at Trent’s Feed and Seed. In her wolfen state, she often watches over him and keeps him safe from other wolves, wild animals, and traps set in the woods. There’s only one problem. Michael is bi-ped and bi-peds can cause problems for wolfen clans. Shaeli reasons she may someday have to run away to Montana, or some other exotic place, if she cannot have the man she really loves. Wolves choose their mates carefully and they mate for life. If Michael cannot choose her she would eventually leave the farm life behind for new adventures. That would protect her family. Only time will tell as Michael grows more and more curious about Shaeli’s and her family’s unusual habits.
In this novel, Author Kay Bartlett takes on man’s ancient fascination and curiosity of the nature of wolves. She does this from a feminine viewpoint creating a delightful and fun love story. Her wolfen characters have a lovable side, especially Shaeli who is beautiful, very intelligent, and strong. And, most of her family is benevolent and caring in spite of their basic wild natures. They experience family dysfunctions and power struggles just like those in human families. This allows a reader to connect with them in a way that is not expected and in a way that is not fear based. This fictional story is sure to capture the hearts of teenagers and adolescents, especially, those who love nature, and wild animals. I think this story will also attract readers who are romantic at heart and those who love wolves and the call of the wild. This is a story for anyone who has felt they existed in two worlds, but haven’t fit in either one. It is a story for those who fantasize about finding their place in life, running wild and free, and dancing out of the shadows with the one they love by their side.

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