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July 27, 2023
By PW Staff

We're continuing our July Indie Spotlight with more general fiction titles and a sampling of poetry. Want to see your book featured? Check out the Indie Spotlight calendar at                           

The Lady of the Unicorn       

Mireille Pavane                     


“This story unfolds in parallel strands, one set in nineteenth-century Paris, the other in the midst of a guided gallery tour of a five-panel painting collection with enigmatic origins. A chance meeting at a masquerade ball sows the seeds of an intertwined destiny between a young heiress and an aspiring artist. The enchanted evening blossoms into an affair, with terrible consequences. The fate of the lovers and their surrounding circle unravels against flashbacks to the guided tour, illuminating the mystery of the painting collection. I spent many months during the covid lockdowns immersed in nineteenth-century France in the company of Baudelaire, Balzac, John Milton, and others. This novella owes a debt to those hours and, in particular, to the medieval tapestry cycle, La Dame à la licorne (or The Lady and the Unicorn), which I had long harbored ambitions of seeing in situ in Paris. I thought the classical use of symbolism in the unicorn tapestry cycle lent itself to a mystery story narrative by providing readers with visual clues, and fans of art and the unicorn tapestry with the pleasure of ‘Easter eggs.’ Another influence was a short detective story I came across in my school days, ‘Portrait of Eleanor’ by Marjorie Alan, a quiet tale of a horrible crime that has stayed with me all these years later.”      

The Lost Books: Romance and Adventure in Tudor Times

Mo Conlan                 

ISBN 978-1-63988-800-9

"In a scheme to pay for his endless wars and lavish court, Henry Tudor seizes England's rich monasteries and convents. Thousands of illuminated manuscripts are stolen and destroyed. Squire Henry Truelove of Cornwall, hero of this novel, has simpler ambitions: to win the hand of his reluctant ladylove, Morwenna. But life takes a bad turn for the squire when his family's estate faces ruinous taxation. Truelove and his friends form a band of ‘holy pirates’ to bring down the corrupt taxman, and to rescue the precious lost books. This tale of tumultuous Tudor times will especially please readers who enjoy little known histories and interesting language. The narrative is often lighthearted, with amusing repartee. The mission of the Holy Pirates, though, is vital and dangerous — to save the precious books and their own skins.”

The Lost Princess of Alicante           

E.V. Padilla                

ISBN 978-1-63988-886-3      

"In the year 1680, Don Claudio Talavera de Alicante, accompanied by his wife Doña Bernarda, sails to the Caribbean islands San Lázaro and Betania, as the newly appointed governor. Inspired by the martyr Saint Thomas More’s Utopia, Don Claudio hopes to build an enlightened society, but his descendants discard his ideals, arbitrarily assuming the title ‘Prince,’ and rule the islands according to their own less-than-enlightened objectives. More than three centuries later, Inés Zaragosa, who lives with her abusive Aunt Sofía in the American Southwest, struggles to earn her master’s degree in history while working as a cook for a wealthy woman in the town. On the island of San Lázaro, the much-maligned Sálomon Montemares serves as president, while Prince Agustín rules with benign neglect on Betania.  Agustín’s son Alejandro returns home to Betania from Europe, to resume his usual care-free lifestyle. Don Román Velásquez, Aunt Sofía’s wealthy cousin, after years of searching, brings the two women to the islands, where Inés discovers an existence never anticipated. Readers will find unexpected revelations and conflicts among the characters that create a rapidly unfolding tale of how this young woman adjusts to life on an island paradise.”

On the Rails: The Adventures of Boxcar Bertie       

Rosemary and Larry Mild

ISBN 978-0-9905472-4-2

“What’s a woman to do? Bertie Patchet has just graduated from college in New Haven, Connecticut, to become a grammar school teacher. But the year is 1936, and the country is deep in the throes of The Great Depression. Securing employment is nearly impossible. Going home is an ugly option. She must get away, but without an income? Bertie dresses like a man and turns to hopping railway boxcars to make her escape to better opportunities. A female hobo? Unheard of! It’s a man’s world, fraught with risk, danger, and loss. Will she ever find a teaching job? And will she dare to find romance in the bargain?  Larry and I coauthor mystery, suspense, and fantasy fiction. With On the Rails, we venture into historical fiction. Larry grew up in New Haven. Born in 1932, even from the age of four he has memories of the struggles and hardships caused by The Great Depression.”                

The Viking Hostage               

Tracey Warr   

ISBN 978-1-73927-001-8                  

“972, Tallinn. Sigrid, a Norwegian girl, is sold in the slave market and separated from her brothers. As a slave in the French Limousin, she stubbornly clings to her pagan identity. Audebert is imprisoned in a grim dungeon for his brother’s crime. If Audebert is ever released, he has a life to lead, a great destiny to fulfil. Guy will soon be viscount of Limoges but fears exposure of his near-blindness and challenge to his authority. Adalmode and Aina are heiresses attempting to resist the unwelcome pressures of the marriage market. Their stories tangle with questions of nobility, freedom, friendship, and courage in the highly stratified and often brutal society of early medieval Europe. Amid Viking raids, fears of the end of time and turbulent power struggles, The Viking Hostage tells these interweaving stories in late tenth century France and Wales. I was struck by the chronicle’s brief mention of Emma of Segur, viscountess of Limoges, who was kidnapped by Vikings from a monastery on the French coast. She was held hostage for three years before her husband raised her huge ransom in silver. I wondered what happened to her in those three years.”

Wind on the Sounds: A Novel Set in the Yacht Race Around Vancouver Island Canada   

Barbara Wyatt

ISBN 978-0-9984466-5-3      

“When Rebecca Dunbar agreed to drive the spare supplies vehicle for a yacht race, she never dreamed that she’d be a last-minute replacement on a racing crew. She barely knew port from starboard, never mind how to actually sail. She sails through gale-force winds and rough seas as well as gentle breezes past the wondrous natural beauty of Vancouver Island. Over the two week race, she enlightens the crew about the rich and captivating history of the island, including the scandalous Broth XII, Cowichan sweaters made from fine dog hairs, D'Arcy's leper colony, Captain Cook at Nootka Island, Sylvia Stark on Salt Spring Island, and more. The story is about Rebecca's journey from a quiet predictable world as a history professor to the yacht racing community as an inexperienced crew member.”     


The Danger of Falling in Love: New Poems in English & Spanish/ El Peligro de Enamorarse Nuevos Poemas en Inglés y Español  Jeff King       


“The Danger Of Falling In Love takes the reader on an emotive journey of familial and amorous misadventure. This book of poetry seeks to convey the sweetness and pain of life, as well as personal reflections from my own life. It’s the joy, the pain, and the beauty, that we find on our journey, that makes us who we are.”             

Star Lines: A Collection of Cosmic Poetry               

Ron Perovich


“Star Lines is a collection of poems in various lengths and styles, celebrating a love of astronomy, science, and space exploration. I was inspired to write these poems based on my lifelong fascination with cosmology and science, and for the inspiration and sense of purpose that seeking to understand the universe can give. This is encapsulated best in the first poem of the book, ‘Carl's Lesson,’ that gives praise not to a person, but to the idea that was gifted to me from a person: Carl Sagan. That idea, that every atom in our body was once inside of a star, is a spiritual support that underpins all of my contemplations of the cosmos. To see our existence, as Sagan put it, as ‘a way for the universe to know itself.’

Zen in Beverly Hills  

Brian Wood   

ISBN 978-1-926979-22-9                  

“I have long admired the old world style of poetry, and have been inspired by writers including Dante, W. H. Auden, Shakespeare, Robert Frost, and Philip Larkin. Some stanzas come pouring out of me. Sometimes I’m inspired by a situation or phrase, or when I read about people's lives or  their quests for meaning. Other stanzas are hard fought ones that I agonize over, drafting three or four different versions, and tossing out a great deal. I send out drafts to all my close personal friends, but also to past professors and writers to review, and my book is a collection of those that passed the test. I hope that people reading my work will feel hope and a deeper understanding about the world we live in and our place in it.”