Recent Reviews

Obviously friends and family are not going to say nasty things about your writing, but it is really special when people seek you out in the village and approach to tell you they found it fascinating and gripping..’un put down able’ once they had negotiated the preface. One gentleman said it was better than a Bernard Cornwell novel, another lady told the local yoga class that she had never read such a satisfying novel, every chapter was so nourishing. Hope the word is spreading around the book circles!

One tip folks… don’t bother reading the character profiles unless you get muddled about the names. They are only there to help if you lose track of who is who. However, Lisa King proves me wrong in that assumption. Here is her review:

1)  A rare piece of well researched and truly thought provoking literature.  

This review is from: ‘Where Rowans Intertwine’ (Kindle Edition) 12 April 2016   By Lisa King    Verified Purchase from Amazon.co.uk

I’m very rarely moved to write reviews, but Margaret Grant’s novel has changed that. It’s now 3 days since I finished ‘Where Rowans Intertwine’, and I can’t stop thinking about Ceridwen, Marcus and Llew, and the many other characters beautifully brought to life by this talented and determined author.

I was captivated from the start by Margaret’s powerful descriptions of people and place, and found the character descriptions at the outset incredibly helpful in developing images of the people that I would come to know over the next few days. The guidance and teachings of Nanw as she prepared Ceridwen for her role as Priestess really struck a chord with me as an aspiring ‘hedge witch’, and I felt that much of the spiritual content of the book translates to the present day, showing us how we can all learn to accept and forgive even under the most trying of circumstances.

I have been filled with an incredible (and slightly puzzling) calmness of mind and spirit since reading this book as it has given me cause to reflect on my own internal conflicts.

Thank you, Margaret, for giving us such a wonderful piece of literature that will bear reading and re-reading for many years to come.

2)  Sylvia Lee, Ynys Mon poetess, sent me this review after receiving a signed copy. She writes:  ‘Your book is inspired, inspiring and amazing! I would love to see this made into a film. Congratulations on this wonderful legacy of enduring teachings.  If we rise above our own personal issues ‘Where Rowans Intertwine’ is of great historical significance, coupled with a meaningful romantic appeal.  Thank you, Margaret Grant, for this intriguing story and whetstone for harmony and peace in our world of turmoil.

3)  Page Turner; Beautifully Written, 29 July 2015  by Frances Carter-Aleksic:  A beautifully written story of courage and conviction. I thoroughly enjoyed being transported back through time to an Ynys Mon where Romans and Druid Celts were forging a new future for this magnificent little Isle. Cleverly written and thoroughly researched. Well done indeed.

4)  Joy L Judd , September 3, 2015: A fascinating glimpse of what life might have been like on Anglesey and North Wales in ancient times.  The characters were realistic and the descriptive scenes of the landscape were believable, vivid and engrossing.

 

5)  Reminded me of an epic film:  Amazon Customer  7 February 2016. What an excellent story! Once I had got a grip on the characters, they became real to me, and I would find myself thinking of Ceridwen and Marcus during the day, willing them to sort out their difficulties towards a satisfying finish. The writing is beautiful and poetic, with such detail that the reader can absorb the atmosphere, feel the sun on their skin, smell the fragrance of woods and flowers and picture vividly the varying scenes. The author identifies completely with the time in which the novel is set as she is most sensitive to all life, whether past, present or future, and her deep love for, and connection with the island has, I believed, strengthened these ties.

It is special to read a love story with such spiritual depth as, indeed, with the whole novel. The spiritual content largely reflects the author’s beliefs. Her meticulous research into the past must have taken much time, energy and patience, at a time when she wasn’t well, from both the Celtic and Roman points of view; again, the lingering detail enables the reader to feel a “watcher” on the scenes before him. The story line takes some surprise turns now and again, and you feel Margaret could have gone on and on with the story, so fertile is her imagination! Some of the terrific fighting scenes reminded me of an epic film. We shall see!
I obtained a signed copy of Margaret’s book by visiting her website.

 

6) Joy Behi says :  It is holiday time and I have finally been able to absorb myself in your marvellous book! Excellent… except now I am sad that I’ve read the last page.  It is such a fantastic read and perfect for our young adult students who need to have some historical fiction on their book logs.  Thank you for putting so much time and energy into your project and giving us such a great glimpse of our beloved ancient Mon. (n.b. The paperback version arrived at the school today. 11th September 2015. It is recommended for over 16’s.)

7) Mooshi says:  Fascinating story of love between two cultures:  The book is a fascinating read about the time when the Romans lived alongside the Druids in Wales. It is very well researched and she has a spiritual approach to a heart warming subject.

8) A Wonderful glimpse: by Peter Burns  September 16, 2015
A Wonderful glimpse into the Celtic, Druid and Roman times on the Island of Anglesey. Much Historic knowledge is used in this novel, woven into a tale of how the people of that age lived.  It is a mystical tale and a spiritual journey, following the events in the story, the people and the time. It is a fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable read about The Mystical Island of Anglesey ” Ynys Mon” Wales. This is a real Island in Wales, UK!  It is my home on the Island of Anglesey and my older children will enjoy this tale as it is suitable for youth over 16 years.  It will inspire them with historic knowledge about the place they live.

9) ‘Rich in historical detail’, by CJS on September 26, 2015
The author’s familiarity with the location of this book and her long years of careful research lend an authenticity to this novel, which is rich in historical detail. The story is complex and intriguing and the characters so well drawn that the reader is eager to find out what happens to them. There are some lovely passages describing the sacred mountain and the animals and plants that live there. Anyone who has read ‘Where Rowans Intertwine’ will be waiting for the author’s next book with anticipation, as I am.

10) Robert Westmoreland proves that men can enjoy this read. ‘If you enjoy a well researched, insightful and superbly crafted historical novel – or know anyone who does – then ‘Where Rowans Intertwine’ in print or Kindle e-book form should be up there at the top of the list!
My enthusiasm is down to its being such a good read. The story of the young Druid priestess and healer Ceridwen on the island of Mona (Anglesey) during the difficult times of the Roman occupation is thoroughly absorbing, clearly based on the author’s long and painstaking research, interest in and understanding of the culture, practices and circumstances of those times. Furthermore, as the author lived there for many years, she doesn’t just have an imaginary picture of the island, she knows it so well so is able truly to set the scene and bring the tale to life.’

11) Beautiful Literature says Badieh Behi  – November 20, 2015 
I really enjoyed it very much. I bought a signed copy from the author after reading her website. It was amazing; the story line; the beautiful literature; the history behind the story. I hope she keeps writing as she is a talented writer.

12) Something of a Bodice – Ripper says Dr. Malcolm Carroll 22/11/15: ‘For me, the book does reflect issues of tolerance and belief which go back a long way. Probably even as far away as when we were all young…. And also the spirit of place – like your magic mountain, we have the Basque equivalent – the Rhune – quite close to us. And I see that your characterisation is set to deal with the unlayering of primitive (not pejorative) beliefs and the acquisition of a future independence. This works really well, and one almost forgets the precise historical frame..

But enough of this academic pas-de-deux. The actress Margaret has also written something of a bodice-ripper ! Timing, suspense and events are convincing and thankfully not at all easy to second guess, even by an old curmudgeon. CONGRATULATIONS !!!!!’

13) Claire Grant says: Thoroughly gripping!  A beautifully written tale. It’s rare to come across a novel so well crafted. Thoroughly gripping!

14)  Every Page Brought a New Adventure: Alex Malczewski 15/12.15
‘An absolute pleasure to read: It shines through how much the author really immersed herself into the history, characters and geographical surroundings to make this book so descriptive and easy to love. As the reader, I wanted Marcus and Ceridwen to succeed and didn’t want to put the book down until I followed them to the end of their journey. It’s beautifully written and easy to think of yourself in the characters’ shoes during these times – I especially loved the Welsh names and references! The traditions of the different groups, Romans and Druids, throughout made for thought provoking reading and every page brought a new adventure. Looking forward to book two!’

15) Five Stars : Gerrie Tegerdine 1 January 2016  Format: Kindle Edition.  Brilliant book! Couldn’t put it down. Easy to read and informative. Well done!

16)Excellent story that keeps you interested till the last page: 11 Mar. 2016  Philip Croft
This review is from: Where Rowans Intertwine (Kindle Edition)
Excellent story that keeps you interested till the last page. The characters are unusual, but believable. I liked the summary of the characters at the beginning of the book, as this was a great help with the Welsh and Roman names. The inclusion of a simple map would however have helped with the geography of the Welsh places.
Full marks for the evidence of detailed research woven into an imaginative story.

17) Page Turner!.   By Joshellon 8 July 2016
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a mix in this delightful book- history, romance, excellent writing, gripping story line and Margaret has also managed to subtlety bring in her Baha’i beliefs and concepts. Well worth a read especially as all proceeds go to an orphanage.

18) A great read!
By TW on 28 July 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. There is a wealth of background information, providing enough context but it never overwhelms the story.
The characters are well described, and the story kept me involved to the end.  Can’t wait to read more from this author.

19) DELIGHTFUL LETTER FROM REIKI PRACTITIONER REBECCA HENNESSEY.   On August 12 2016 I received a delightful letter from Reiki practitioner Rebecca Hennessey praising the historical novel “WHERE ROWANS INTERTWINE”.

Dear Margaret,
I just wanted to let you know that I have just finished reading your book and really enjoyed it. I am not certain how I came to find out about it but I ordered it as it seemed relevant to me. I have recently walked with my family from Holywell to Bardsey Island on the North Wales Pilgrim’s Way and we were constantly aware of the links between the Romans (walking the part of the Roman Road near Penmaenmawr and visiting Segontium) and the Ordovician tribes (passing through ancient forests, near hill forts and ancient burial sites). It all felt so connected to your story. I had an unusual experience at Aber Falls and felt the intense energy of the place – I was amazed to discover it to be such an important site energetically in your book too. I have also been initiated into reiki 1 and 2 many years previously and had briefly met your reiki masters some time ago at a conference, also Kristin Bonney is also somewhere in my lineage I believe. I recognised all your descriptions of healing in this way in the book and felt even more connected to the characters and experiences I read about. I want to thank you so much for writing this book as it has helped me to connect deeper with my sense of spirituality and further develop my knowledge of my ancient ancestors. Thank you.
More information about hennesseyfamilypilgrimage

URL: http://hennesseyfamilypilgrimage.wordpress.com
Email: matandbec@btinternet.com

20)  5.0 out of 5 stars  Fascinating view into lives long ago!
By Claire Bettler on July 1, 2016
Format: Paperback
Really enjoyed reading this beautifully-written book; I learned a great deal about the history & ancient cultures of Anglesey & felt drawn into the lives of the well-developed characters. A lovely & fascinating read, especially just before visiting northern Wales for the first time!

21)  A brilliant first novel. Highly Recommended,

27 Mar. 2016 by Sandra Mills   Verified Purchase : This review is from: Where Rowans Intertwine (Kindle Edition)
Where Rowans Intertwine captivated me from beginning to end. Well researched and wholly believable characters. It is fundamentally a love tryst between a Druid priestess and a Roman centurion. Lots of twists and turns, some a little grizzly, but necessary to the plot. Altogether magical and rivetting. A fabulous book, well recommended. Will read again, so much to it.

22)   A Unique Reading Experience 4* By Historical Novelist Mari Griffiths

This review is from: ‘Where Rowans Intertwine’ (Kindle Edition)

If, like me, you tend to regret the frenetic pace of modern life and feel that you’re being taken over by powerful banking institutions, press and media, not to mention the pollution of our atmosphere, our rivers and oceans … then this is the book for you. It will take you, the reader, back to a time when the issues were simpler. But there were certainly issues. They had to do with birth and death, with love and commitment and with living daily life in a natural rhythm with Nature and with the seasons. Margaret Grant’s first book is quite unlike any other I’ve ever read because all human life is there but the powerful drama is played out against the background of the Roman invasion of Britain, particularly of Anglesey (Ynys Mon) and the effect of that invasion on the indigenous Druidic people of the island. The author writes convincingly and often quite lyrically about the miracles of birth and of death, of gods and goddesses and the afterlife. On the uglier side of the coin, she doesn’t shy away from scenes of rape and battle and greed and the effects of these on the hearts and minds of the people involved. It’s a worthwhile reading experience but be warned that before embarking upon the ‘meat’ of the story, the reader has to get to grips with the names of people and places, both Welsh and Latin, plus several facts about the geography and place names of North Wales and Anglesey: and this is the simple reason for my 4* rather than 5* review. I should explain that I read it on Kindle and perhaps I would have benefitted from reading the paperback version, where it would have been less hassle to thumb back to the background information at the beginning of the book to enable me to check facts and names. But all in all, a book which will satisfy the reader who is looking for a new and ‘different’ reading experience.

23) 5.0 out of 5 stars  Well worth the read.
By Steve Bartholomew on November 13, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Scene is Britain around 200 AD during Roman occupation. The author understands Celtic culture and draws detailed pictures with a fine pen. The main character is a Druidic priestess who struggles with her own human problems while trying to act as spiritual leader of her clan. I found this an engrossing tale.

24) Story with an innate wisdom
5.0 out of 5 stars Where Rowans Intertwine, December 12, 2016
By mark jackson
This review is from: Where Rowans Intertwine (Kindle Edition)
Margaret Grant delivers this story with an innate wisdom. Such a pleasure to read. The harsh, often cruel and violent time is balanced beautifully with faith and love beyond our normal realm of being. Thank you.

25) 5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful read. I enjoyed it on so many levels
on 29 March 2017       Format: Kindle Edition
I have just finished Where Rowans Intertwine. What a wonderful read. I enjoyed it on so many levels. It gave me a deeper understanding of Anglesey’s past and reading it on Anglesey added to it’s magic. One question, will there be a sequel? Hope so.
26)      REVIEW BY ONLINE BOOKCLUB
3 out of 4 stars       Review by Lest92

Where Rowans Intertwine by Margaret Grant is a historical fiction novel set on the Roman-occupied island of Mona circa 230 A.D.; themes of cultural assimilation, prejudice, reconciliation and spiritual maturity are a sample of the themes explored in the story.After the death of Nanw, the tribal priestess of the Celwri, her granddaughter and acolyte, Ceridwen, accepts the responsibility of becoming the new priestess and healer. The Celts and the Roman settlers live under the Pax Romana, enforced by encamped legions who trade with the tribes; Ceridwen stokes hostile feelings toward them by refusing to forget that the Romans massacred the Druids of Mona two hundred years before her time. However, she realises that her prejudiced attitude interferes with her spiritual and healing work, and to attempt resolution between their cultures, she decides to wed Marcus, the Roman army surgeon, at her first Beltane as presiding priestess. With the support of Marcus and her tribe, Ceridwen begins to change her bigoted views and heal from bygone battles. As she matures into her roles as priestess, mother and wife, she is better able to guide the Celwri when the rogue former chief, Eithig, threatens the stability of Celtic farmstead and Roman fort alike.Where Rowans Intertwine is an immersive novel; the author evoked time, place and mingling cultures while balancing the main themes, symbolism, spirituality and love. Historical research along with Grant’s personal experience with nature spirituality and the island indeed intertwined and transported me to the Welsh island Anglesey at the time around 230 A.D. From the list of characters to the informative epilogue, Grant engaged me with the narrative. What I admired most was that the author developed everything of importance to Ceridwen but never heavily emphasized only one aspect of her life. As the novel is in third person, we see both Celtic and Roman perspectives. Ceridwen is a very relatable round character; she has strengths, flaws and vulnerabilities, not to mention wit. My favourite quote is her observation that Eithig “smells of sweat and vainglory”.

Grant even-handedly included beauty and brutality in the novel. Violence and death contrasts with Ceridwen’s peaceful union with nature and the otherworld of her ancient spirituality. Given that Ceridwen is an intelligent woman, her relationship with Marcus is understandably cerebral and political as well as loving. The romance is important, but does not overwhelm the story. The writing is rich with symbolism and Brythonic words to lend authenticity to the dialogue.

There aren’t many problems with Where Rowans Intertwine. Another round of editing would have taken care of the comma problem – they were often in the wrong part of sentences, which made the read slightly choppy. The layout of the book was professional, but since I think the writing needed rounding off before publication, I’m rating Where Rowans Intertwine 3 out of 4 stars. I wholeheartedly recommend this novel to historical fiction enthusiasts, history buffs and readers who appreciate a well-rounded, likeable set of characters.

******

27)           5.0 out of 5 stars   GOOD OR BAD  by

on July 16, 2017     Format: Kindle Edition

I don’t judge books by their cover, but whether or not I am transported into their world, forgetting the one I am in for at least as long as the story lasts and this book does that. The author has spun a world of complexity and richness that transport you back to the Roman occupation of the Celtic world. Her characters are not one-dimensional, good or bad, but rather are humans like the rest of us. An absolute pleasure to read.
on July 17, 2017   Format: Kindle Edition
For fans of historical fiction with a spiritual slant to the story, this novel is a well-researched treat. Ceridwen is one very relatable and real character living in a changing world deftly portrayed. The author successfully evoked a time and place quite alien to someone from the southern hemisphere, so a sterling work indeed.
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