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review of the tigress and the yogi by shelley schanfield

Overview.

This book is in the genre Historical Fantasy. In this genre, the author takes some history and juggles it around a bit. They might add magic, change a person’s gender, talking animals, something about the setting or anything else that will make it fantasy. This book is set in the India of The Buddha, around 500BC.

Blurb

A talking tigress.
A wandering yogi.
A young woman’s harrowing journey through an ancient land where chaos threatens gods and mortals alike.

A tigress speaks to the outcaste girl Mala, and as she flees in terror, she stumbles upon an irascible old yogi. Though she is an Untouchable and her very shadow may pollute the holy man, she offers him hospitality, and he accepts, repaying her kindness with stories that awaken her hunger for forbidden spiritual knowledge. Soon after he leaves, she is brutally orphaned and enslaved, but the Devi, the Mother Goddess, appears as the warrior goddess Durga and offers her hope. As time passes, Mala, with the Devi’s help, gains the courage and strength to fight for her freedom.

Thus begins her quest for liberation, on which she meets gods and goddesses, high-born Brahmins and lowly keepers of the cremation grounds, outlaws and kings, and young Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who is prophesied to become the Buddha.

The Tigress and the Yogi is a historical fantasy that brings to life the vivid mythical world of ancient India and transports the reader to the Buddha’s time in a story filled with love and fear, anger and desire. This visionary novel creates a memorable portrait of a powerful woman, her extraordinary daughter, women, and the men they challenge and inspire. It examines the yearning for spiritual transformation and inner peace, and the ways in which the pursuit of wisdom and compassion can go terribly wrong.

Story

Mala is a very young girl when we meet her for the first time in her encounter with the tiger and the yogi of the title. Little does she know how her life is going to be affected by this chance meeting.
We learn about how her life as an Untouchable affects her, and follow her through sorrow as her lover and child are taken from her.
She commits terrible deeds on her life’s journey, until she finally comes back to the old yogi from her childhood.
Can she become enlightened and forgive herself? And can she let go of her longing for her daughter?

Characters

The character of Mali is well drawn. She is a complex person, and we can understand her loves and hates. She develops through the book in both good and bad ways, but we are always rooting for her.
Her daughter, Kisra, is also well drawn. We see a young girl gradually coming into womanhood, with all the changes that implies.
Siddhartha Gautama, who eventually becomes The Buddha, is a young man in the story. Actually, he’s a boy when we first meet him. He has extraordinary powers, but we can’t help but like him.
I cannot go into all the characters here, but one I must mention. That’s not a person, but the setting. Ms Schanfield has successfully brought us to the India of 500BC. She describes the monsoons, the heat, the cooling waters of the river and the magnificent palaces. We could almost imagine ourselves there. I would have, perhaps, liked a little more description of the towns, though.

Writing

The writing is excellent. Grammatically correct and well spelled. The words are used correctly.

Conclusion

This story is hanging about in my brain. It’s a beautiful tale, and there is much we can learn from it. There are examples of the philosophy of the times, much of which can still be applied today.
I’m glad I read it in ebook format, though, because there are many Sanskrit and Hindu words throughout. Being on the Kindle App, I could highlight them and their meaning came up.
I am definitely going to look for Book 2 in the trilogy. I want to know what becomes of the characters.

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When Maria and Jack move into a 16th century house, they wish to furnish it with period furniture and so they buy a table from that century.
That night, Maria hears a strange crying sound. On investigation, she finds it is coming from the table.
Fearing it might be haunted, and that they’ve brought a ghost into their home, they turn to a medium, only to find it isn’t a ghost.
If not a ghost, then what? The truth is stranger than either of them could have imagined.