Monday 8 November 2021

#BookReview - Waking Up Lost by by David Fitz-Gerald #HistoricalFantasy @AuthorDAVIDFG

Waking Up Lost
Part of the Adirondack Spirit Series
By David Fitz-Gerald

Publication Date: December, 2021
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Page Length: 263 Pages
Genre: Historical Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Traveling without warning. Nights lost to supernatural journeys. Is one young man fated to wander far from safety?
New York State, 1833. Noah Munch longs to fit in. Living with a mother who communes with ghosts and a brother with a knack for heroics, the seventeen-year-old wishes he were fearless enough to discover an extraordinary purpose of his own. But when he mysteriously awakens in the bedroom of the two beautiful daughters of the meanest man in town, he realizes his odd sleepwalking ability could potentially be deadly.
Convinced that leaving civilization is the only way to keep himself and others safe, Noah pursues his dream of becoming a mountain man and slips away into the primeval woods. But after a strong summer storm devastates his camp, the troubled lad finds his mystical wanderings have only just begun.
Can Noah find his place before he’s destroyed by a ruthless world?
Waking Up Lost is the immersive fourth book in the Adirondack Spirit Series of historical fiction. If you like coming-of-age adventures, magical realism, and stories of life on the American frontier, then you’ll love David Fitz-Gerald’s compelling chronicle.

I can’t help but mutter to myself about how unfair it is. Moses’s gift makes him a hero, and Ma helps lost souls find their way into the hereafter. Waking up lost isn’t a gift.

Noah’s family is a strange one—his mother can see and talk to ghosts, and his brother, Moses, has the unique ability to appear and disappear at will. Noah, however, has none of these talents, and no gift of his own. And, being half Indian, he is an outcast in the village, as well as feeling like one in his own home. With the feeling that he fits in nowhere, Noah struggles to find his way through the day-to-day life of a sheep farmer, with his eyes drawn to a girl he cannot have, and certain people in the village having their own agendas against him.

When Noah wakes up one morning, far from home, things both grow more confusing for him, while also providing answers, albeit vague ones. He is not the only member of his family that has an ability, but how is it fair that his mother gets to talk to ghosts, and help them move on to Heaven, and his brother can move around incredibly quickly, while all he gets is the fear that he might not wake up where he went to sleep?

Waking Up Lost by David Fitz-Gerald is a novel that suggests to find oneself you must first lose yourself, and then work to find things you know, and to discover the person that you truly are.

As Noah attempts to find a way to fit in, he starts to grow more curious about his father, who died before Noah’s birth. Noah had always looked more Indian than his brother, and if their father was watching over Moses, as their mother always said, who would watch over Noah? With the dream of leaving sheep farming, and the fear of the trouble he could get into in the village, especially considering the dislike Moses’ friend, Erastus, has for him, the threats coming his way, and his sleepwalking affliction, Noah sees the option of a different life—a life in the mountains, like his father. To read about how Noah, having grown up a sheep farmer, quickly learnt how to live in the mountains, and learning about the life his father had led, was fascinating. Preparing for the winter was one thing in a village of people, but finding enough food alone, and working to ensure you wouldn’t starve or freeze, was written to show just how much passion Noah had for the lifestyle, and I read with rapt attention.

As Noah attempts to find his place in the world, he lives some very different lives, forced to adapt to survive. His ideas to keep himself in one place as he sleeps fall flat, and it seems that nothing he does can stop his body from travelling while he is unconscious. Living as a mountain man is something that Noah does not mind, for it is a lifestyle that he enjoys and feels comfortable with, but he finds himself in increasingly dangerous situations. One time, he may wake up in the woods, but another, he might wake up where everything he knows is gone, and he can only do as he’s told to keep himself alive. As his situation worsens, Noah learns that the village he grew up in is sheltered from some of the horrors of the outside world. There was a character, in particular, that Noah meets, Wiley, a young boy whose lot in life was far worse than anything Noah had ever experienced. I really felt for Wiley, as Noah did, for he was such an incredibly sweet character, and through everything he experienced, he still dreamt for better things, and while his hopes were not that much better than what he was living, it was all he knew. Fitz-Gerald has done an excellent job of penning characters that will make a reader feel for them so intensely that it is almost as if the reader has joined the characters among the pages, and is experiencing the pain and terror beside them.

While Noah can’t keep his eyes and thoughts away from the radiant Arminda Cray, many people stand in his way from reaching her. One is Erastus Moss, who sees Arminda as his girl, and Erastus’ hatred towards Noah seethes as it grows steadily. Erastus slowly becomes more and more of a threat to Noah, and he doesn’t care about whose lives he might impact as he tries to get to Noah. Another person in Noah’s way is Erastus’ sister, Dorcas, not that she is actively trying to keep Noah away from Arminda. Instead, Dorcas is desperate to draw Noah’s eye, for although they are a mismatched couple, for Dorcas is significantly taller than Noah is, Dorcas cannot stay away from him. Throughout everything Noah goes through, trying to figure out who he belongs with, and how to get and keep them, is something that is often on his mind. The thought of the two girls, one who seems out of his reach, and one who seems a little too close, invades his life and although his ‘gift’ keeps taking him away from them, Noah can’t help but think of them. Indeed, it may just be the thought of returning to them that keeps him going.

While Noah struggles to live with the affliction as he has, his situation at home grows less than ideal. While he has never been one to beg for attention as his brother might, the feeling of being ostracised, of slowly being replaced and forgotten, frequents his thoughts. Though not always through his own choice, Noah finds himself spending more and more time away from home, and while he is away, circumstances change, and choices are made without his knowledge. The way Noah feels has been described with such excellence that the feeling of inadequacy, despite trying as hard as he can, comes across in the words. I couldn’t help but feel for Noah, for all he has ever done is try to live up to his brother, and he must learn that he and his brother are different people and that he must grow into his own person, rather than trying to be Moses. That is the only way he can discover who he really is.

While a part of a series, Waking Up Lost is a standalone novel, although there are some characters from the previous books that play a part in this one. Reading this book will certainly whet your appetite for the other books in this remarkable series.

A novel that will not only captivate you but mesmerise you with every written word, Waking Up Lost by David Fitz-Gerald is a work of stunning literary skill. The world that has been contained within the pages has been created with such mastery that it is difficult not to find yourself absorbed in the words until they run out, and you are left wanting more.

I Highly Recommend

Review by Ellie Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.

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David Fitz-Gerald writes fiction that is grounded in history and soars with the spirits. Dave enjoys getting lost in the settings he imagines and spending time with the characters he creates. Writing historical fiction is like making paintings of the past. He loves to weave fact and fiction together, stirring in action, adventure, romance, and a heavy dose of the supernatural with the hope of transporting the reader to another time and place. He is an Adirondack 46-er, which means that he has hiked all of the highest peaks in New York State, so it should not be surprising when Dave attempts to glorify hikers as swashbuckling superheroes in his writing. She Sees GhostsA Story of a Woman Who Rescues Lost Souls is the next instalment in the Adirondack Spirit Series.

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Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx