Olivia’s Story: Protector of the Realm is-
“An entertaining mashup of history and fantasy, with a likably audacious heroine plotting against the Nazis” – Kirkus Reviews
For weeks I had flip-flopped – should I do it – or shouldn’t I?
New to publishing, I searched the matter online and weighed the question carefully. What I discovered offered little help. Kirkus is indeed a major name in independent reviews. Many blogs emphatically state that a book’s success requires a Kirkus review. However, others claim that it wasn’t worth it. Some are ecstatic about their reviews, yet others grumble about a reputation for snarky reviews. It became apparent that it would be a leap of faith. Painter, Bob Ross would’ve called it a bravery test, as he covered his beautiful mountain with a large tree. What was I to do?
I knew in my heart that Olivia’s Story was a fun read. Although my granddaughter loved it, what would others think? Like a later day Hamlet, I again teetered on the question, should I or shouldn’t I?
Then I remembered Jim Burch, my engineering mentor. Facing a difficult question, he would say, “If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.” I smiled inside and hit send. And then I walked away, leaving my baby to be measured and weighed.
However, now I wondered, would my hours of hard work be found wanting?
I worried, no I fretted over what the reviewer might think. Would he like the plot? Would she like the pacing? Did I properly develop my characters? Was my story believable? It was going to be a long wait for an answer.
Then it came, attached to a simple email. Slowly my shaky hand moved the mouse over the attachment. Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes and clicked.
The screen filled with the Kirkus review. There under the Title Information stood my baby.
David L. Dahl
Lulu (174 pp.)
$29.99 hardcover, $14.99 paperback, $7.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-1-4834-5172-5; June 10, 2016 . . . “ -Kirkus Reviews
Yep, that’s my book I thought, so I scrolled to the Book Review itself.
“During World War II, the future of two worlds—human and fairy—depends on a young American woman in this middle-grade novel. . . ” – Kirkus Reviews
Okay, I like the first paragraph – so I read on.
“. . . In 1942, Olivia, under 30, is excited about leaving her Wyoming home for New York City. Soon, she gets a job translating German documents and preparing reports for a handsome, late-30s man called only “the major,” although he becomes Mike Layton after further acquaintance. Also working for Mike is Vivian, who’s Olivia’s age; the two become good friends and roommates. In 1944, Olivia and Vivian are taking a walk when a car mows into them, killing Vivian. It’s no accident; Olivia recognizes the driver, a co-worker, who must be a German spy. A month later, Mike departs for London, leaving Olivia in charge. Then one night, a delicate, winged blue woman brings Olivia life-changing news: “We need your help. Soon the future of the world is to be placed in your hands.” In the fairy realm, called Fridsamt, Olivia is asked to join the Fairy Alliance, become protector of the realm, rescue Mike from his German captors, and defeat the evil Gray Jinn who’s aiding the Nazis—perhaps to develop an atomic weapon. With the help of some fairy inventions, Olivia becomes governess at a German colonel’s home and carries out her bold and risky plans. . .” – Kirkus Reviews
Yep, that’s my book, so far so good – I cautiously read more.
“. . . Dahl (Bugga’s Tales, 2015, etc.) packs a lot of action into this fast-moving story. . .” – Kirkus Reviews
Oh, they like the action and the pacing – I was feeling a little better.
“. . . Olivia is clever, patient, and brave, with a certain spunky American flair: having outfoxed a sneering German general, she ruffles his hair and runs whistling up the stairs. She seems much younger than nearly 30, but that’s a quibble. . .” – Kirkus Reviews
Yes, they understood the character! Let them quibble away on the perceived age – as long as kids like the story – Relieved I read further.
“. . . The uncredited illustrations add a nice touch with their vintage-comics style. As with the Indiana Jones film series, the paranormal plays well with Nazis and their often-cartoonish evil . . .” – Kirkus Reviews
Spot on! I agree wholeheartedly that the illustrations add flare to the book. Thanks to the Lulu custom illustrations – Almost to the end, I held my breath.
“. . . But given the very real evil of Nazi death camps, readers may wonder why Olivia and the fairies aren’t more concerned about stopping that horror rather than focusing on Britain’s vulnerability to bombs. . .” – Kirkus Reviews
There it is – the characteristically blunt Kirkus review –My heart sank as I stewed on this line.
What did it mean? I didn’t write a history book.
I was lost in self-reflection until I remembered my goal – I just wanted to tell a fun story. So yes, I didn’t discuss the death camps. I kept my story light and entertaining. Is this wrong? I don’t think so, besides even Kirkus says that Olivia’s Story is –
“. . An entertaining mashup of history and fantasy, with a likably audacious heroine plotting against the Nazis” – Kirkus Reviews
So there it is. I hope you enjoy it. I would love to hear your comments; after all, you are my favorite critics.
David L Dahl.
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Read more about Olivia’s Story here – http://www.buggasbooks.com/book/olivias-story/
Read about my other books here- http://www.buggasbooks.com/other-works/