Title: Within the Veil by Brandy Vallance
Reviewed by Lori Twichell
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Lyrical Vine Press
Date: June 28, 2016
Feya Broon has a really difficult life. The oldest of a group of siblings, her mother died leaving her alone with her father. He, unfortunately, isn’t the best parenting role model. More often than not, Feya has to parent him. It’s when they are unable to pay a window tax that everything finally breaks. Watching the bricks stack up to make a covering over the only light in their little hovel of a home seems to be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back. When the money she’s tucked away disappears, Feya knows she must do something drastic if they are ever to survive. So going to an establishment that is known for men desiring women, Feya is determined to do whatever it takes to get food for her brothers and sisters at home.
Due to odd twists of fate, she ends up being saved from this particular horror, but that still doesn’t mean food for her siblings. Starving, on the verge of collapse, she hatches a crazy plan. She is going to break into the palace and steal something. Obviously, this is not the best of plans so when it goes awry and she gets arrested, things look pretty bleak.
Alasdair Cairncross is interested in furthering his career. He prides himself on his professionalism and his reputation. When he is tasked with taking Feya to a prison that’s several days travel away, he’s not pleased at all. She is not only annoying and aggravating, but she reminds him of things he’d much rather forget.
Within the Veil is the second outing from Brandy Vallance. Her first book, The Covered Deep, was surprisingly brilliant for a first novel and this follow up is no less. Feya is a fabulously well rounded character with depth, vitality, and anything but a caricature personality. As she travels through this perilous journey, she learns much more about herself than most characters do over the course of an entire series.
Many of the choices that Feya makes along the way aren’t the best. She chooses poorly again and again. Like many of us, it takes those bad choices to bring us around to what is really the best for us. Be warned – some of these choices might surprise in a book from a Christian author. That doesn’t make them any less realistic or important.
Vallance has given light to a world that is relatively unknown in the Christian fiction realm. Not many write books about gypsies and I guarantee none of them do it with the grace or style Vallance brings to the table.
This is a great book. As long as one reads with the understanding that it’s not an Amish book (I mentioned those bad choices earlier, correct?) then I have no doubt that you will be delighted with the outcome.
Well done Brandy! I’m excited to follow your career and see what you bring to the table next!