Monday, January 22, 2018

Elephant Dreams ~ ~ Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway!

  Genre: Young Adult / Historical Fiction / Sweet Romance
Publisher: Melange Books Fire and Ice Young Adult Books
Date of Publication: September 2, 2017
Number of Pages: 224

Scroll down for the giveaway!

Desperate to escape her squalid life on the streets of New York City, sixteen-year-old Fiona Finn seeks help at the magnificent Church of the Ascension where Charles Loring Brace, a social reformer horrified by the plight of New York City’s street children, arranges for her to go west aboard an Orphan Train.

Fiona’s homeless, alcoholic father has other plans, however.  He wants Fiona to “work” the streets to support his drinking and pursues her across the midwest until she is forced to abandon the train in Houston to avoid a sheriff bent on returning her to her father.
Alone in the dark on the Texas prairie, Fiona’s terrifying experience with a circus elephant, Bolivar, sets the stage for a future she could never have imagined.
Elephant Dreams will be featured in the January, 2018 issue of the Historical Novel Society magazine.

“What a story! With scenes to be likened to any Charles Dickens novel, the author, Martha Deeringer, carries the reader on a breathtaking journey through despair and hope that changes as often as the wind changes direction. Great characters, a believable story, an insight into another world, and an empathy for a character that a reader would have to have a heart of stone not to sympathise with. Although billed as a young adult story, this will readily appeal to an adult reader. Very visual writing and the makings of a classic.” -- Jane Finch for Readers’ Favorite

“I absolutely adored this novel; I couldn't find a single thing to dislike about it, other than of course the characters we are meant to dislike. The secondary characters were just as well rounded as the primary characters, leaving the reader with a feeling of contentment at the end of the novel. Each character brought his or her own three-dimensional personality to the novel, giving me a reason to either love or hate them passionately.” -- Acwoolet for Online Book Club

“I thoroughly enjoyed Elephant Dreams. It is a captivating story with a spunky heroine who is determined to turn her life around. I loved the unique settings that covered New York City slums, an orphan train and a Texas Circus. I would recommend it for teens through adults.” – 5 Stars, Kindle Edition | Verified Purchase

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HALL WAYS REVIEW: ✪✪✪✪✪ From the first few pages of Elephant Dreams, readers are pulled into the grim, bleak setting of 1860s New York City. Author Martha Deeringer places us right there, wide-eyed, scared, and dreaming of something better. Yet even in the darkness of poverty and hordes of street children, there is a spark of hope in sixteen-year-old Fiona Finn.

“Her early life disappears into the past with each 
revolution of the train’s wheels…”

It is that spark of hope and the gumption of young Fiona that kept me fascinated with Elephant Dreams and turning the pages (read it cover-to-cover in one sitting – I’ll be sending the author a bill for my neck ache!). Fiona is intelligent, and thanks to her Mam, educated. Fiona’s beautiful journal entries, eloquently written, show insight and talent in assessing the character of people she meets.  And there are plenty of characters with character!

“Do you think we’ll go to hell for lyin’?” Fiona asked.
“Not for that particular lie,” Aunt Mollie said.

Of course, with a story centered around the circus life, readers expect vibrant descriptions and unique and interesting characters. They will not be disappointed and are treated to a cast of diverse people within and outside of the circus. Readers not only get a clear image of the physical presence of each character, but the depth and quirks of each as well. The goodness shines through in the good, but there are also the deeply flawed and their flaws aren’t sugar-coated. There was much ugliness in this period of history, and it’s presented appropriately for the audience and puts the lives of the characters in context. The historical element of Elephant Dreams is terrific.

Not only was the character of Mollie A. Bailey based on a real person and her circus, the story included numerous historical elements, naturally woven into the story: the orphan trains, the Texas Rangers and Major John B. Jones, the plains buffalo slaughters, the Civil War, segregation, the Comanche War Chief Buffalo Hump…any or all of which may pique the young reader’s interest and encourage further investigation.

One aspect that I enjoy in Elephant Dreams is the underlying and repeated message of the positive impact of church and people of faith on the lives of the less fortunate. When Fiona decided to save herself and change her path, she started by going to a church to ask for help, and that was the catalyst for saving her life. Deeringer keeps the message in the background, which makes it more powerful.

Elephant Dreams arouses a wide range of emotions that keeps readers engaged. Be prepared to worry, rage, delight, and even wipe a tear or two from your eye. The book is beautifully written and immaculately edited -- THANK YOU! I highly recommend it to readers young and old, though parents and younger readers need to be aware that there are tough topics addressed and alluded to including prostitution, rape, and alcoholism. Though nothing is graphic, lines of communication need to be open.

Thank you to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the author for providing me a beautiful print copy in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give.

Martha Deeringer lives with her husband and their large, extended family on a central Texas cattle ranch. She writes magazine articles, often about history, for children and adults and is a frequent contributor to regional and national magazines. 

Martha also writes Young Adult fiction, occasionally inspired by her teaching experiences or the antics of her children and grandchildren. She loves ranch life and sometimes abandons her writing to cope with assorted issues involving kids, dogs, cats, horses, orphan calves, and occasionally armadillos, coyotes and rattlesnakes. 

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JANUARY 15-24, 2018
(U.S. Only)
Bonus Promo Post
Guest Post
Author Interview
Scrapbook Page
Bonus Notable Quotable

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