The Hawkman

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Jun 2018

Member Reviews

Like the subtitle to the story says it's a fairy tale of the Great War. Michael Evans Sheehan is an Irish soldier captured as a prisoner during the First World War and after the end of the war he has a hard time returning to his normal life. The encounter with Eva Williams, an American teacher, changes everything and thanks to her he will be able to find his place again in the society and to be accepted again. What it's told between the lines is a beautiful and delicate love story with a touch of magic, inspired by a brothers Grimm's tale "Der Bärenhäuter" and by the well known story "The Beauty and the Beast". Moreover there's the tragedy of the war and the deep changes inflicted to a man who recalls vividly what happened to him during the war. People who love fantasy stories connected to real events will find themselves perfectly at ease in the world told by the author and they will enjoy her magical writing. 

I thank NetGalley and Amberjack Publishing for the opportunity to read an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Come dice il sottotitolo della storia si tratta di una fiaba ai tempi della Grande Guerra. Michael Evans Sheehan è un soldato irlandese catturato come prigioniero durante la Prima Guerra Mondiale che ha difficoltà a ritornare alla sua vita normale. L'incontro con Eva Williams, un'insegnante americana, cambia tutto e grazie a lei riuscirà a trovare di nuovo il suo posto nella società e sarà di nuovo accettato. Ciò che viene raccontato tra le righe è una bellissima e delicata storia d'amore con un tocco di magia, ispirata da una fiaba dei fratelli Grimm "Der Bärenhäuter" e dalla conosciuta storia della Bella e la Bestia. Inoltre c'è la tragedia della guerra e i profondi cambiamenti inflitti a un uomo che ricorda vividamente che cosa gli è successo durante la guerra. Chi ama le storie fantasy collegate a eventi reali si ritroverà perfettamente a proprio agio nel mondo raccontato dall'autrice e apprezzerà la sua scrittura magica. 

Ringrazio NetGalley e Amberjack Publishing per avermi dato l'opportunità di poter leggere un ARC di questo libro in cambio di una recensione onesta.
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The Hawkman is a twist on Beauty and the Beast. An American teacher and an Irish musician are drawn together with the common thread of the Great War. Hidden away together - trying to hide form the world that hurt them, the community that surrounds them...threatens to break them apart. 

This is a beautiful story and is told in beautiful language. It does tend to drag a little, but as a whole, it's a book of wonder and light.
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I’m giving The Hawkman a 2.25/5 stars. The premise of people and their relationships after the Great War seemed rather interesting. I loved reading about Michael and his experiences in the war. That kind of stuff is just very intriguing to me. Not to mention that the cover for this book is absolutely stunning. I also really liked Eva’s character. I liked that she was more headstrong and didn’t care what the other townspeople thought of her. She just wanted to help and wouldn’t let anything get in the way of that. She was also a writer, which was an interesting aspect to the novel. It showed us her ideas for her books. But while I liked the main characters and the book’s premise, I did not like the plot. It was slow and boring. The way the story is written can be a bit hard to follow, even though the writing itself is pretty good. Really not much happened in this book, and the ending was really confusing. I have so many mixed feelings about this book.
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"He had for himself no expectations other than to survive, to start over, to live as he had not during the war, as a human."
-The Hawkman, @janerosenberglaforgeauthor 🌻.
I finished The Hawkman this morning. Received this beautiful ebook from NetGalley. And first of all let's appreciate the gorgeous cover it has! 😍😍 😍.
🌻.
Writing 🌟🌟🌟.7/5
I found @janerosenberglaforgeauthor writing to be compelling. Her words were substantial and I was drawn to the meanings behind each chapters. But I couldn't help to feel that some parts were elaborated too detail that I came to boredom.
🌻.
Story 🌟🌟🌟🌟/5
The Hawkman is about a man, wounded and traumatic from the World War to the point he had forgoten his humanity. He became a mute, neglected by society and his ownself. Until he met Miss Williams, an american storyteller who helped him to find humanity again. 
Of course, i adore the story! It is heartwarming, and makes me reflect my own humanity. I finished this book with a new mindset. Also, it is not an expected story. "It is a fable," as Miss Williams had said.
🌻.
Overall I give this book a 🌟🌟🌟🌟, the humanity lesson in this book speaks the loudest to me. .
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"This is the story about a man who thought he was a bird, and the woman who helped him find his humanity again" 

The first thing that got my attention was the beautiful cover, the second thing was the synopsis. Sadly I had to DNF it at 30%, because this wasn't for me. The writing is unbelievably beautiful, but after a while I felt like the writing was more important than the story, and that started to be a problem as I am someone who enjoys plot-driven books the most. 

I did enjoy the connection with Grimm's fairy-tales, and the relationship that was building between Miss Williams and Mr. Sheehan. 

I am sad that I didn't enjoy this one, but would definitely recommend this book to fans of beautiful writing and fairy tales retelling
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Thank you to Netgalley for giving me the chance to read and review, "The Hawkman"
by Jane Rosenberg LaForge. I really enjoyed the way things were described and the writing in this novel. I highly recommend it.
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LaForge's prose is well-crafted and the imagery is beautiful. I had difficulty getting into and staying with the book. It's deep and has multiple layers. I have difficulty connecting at times. The descriptions in the passages about Ms. Williams childhood and the Sheehan's experience during the war were good, but I struggled with the transition into and out of the sections and it didn't seem quite fluid with the present-day narrative. I know many will enjoy the connection to Grimm's fairy tales. This book will resound deeply with some, and with others, like me, it will be difficult to feel fully invested. 

Thank you NetGalley for this advanced review copy. My thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I received this from #netgalley in exchange for my review. Interesting story of a WWI veteran and a young woman who both have traumatic pasts and their developing relationship. Inspired by the Grimm’s story, The Bearskin, there are elements of magical realism in the story. The writing was good, but the fairy tales and long flashbacks often detracted from the more compelling main story.
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A mysterious man, a legend, and a perhaps overly descriptive narrative. For fans of fantasy and folklore.
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This book wasn’t for me and I did DNF it. I can see why it will be popular though! I couldn’t get into the long descriptions. I also felt that the beginning prologue wasn’t a great fit and ruined the novel for me before I even started it.
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This book had so much potential! It is clear that the author can master language and charm it into beautiful bouquets of sentences, so it hurt all the more when the quality of some passages seemed to detoriorate. It felt as if the author got tired and just put less effort into the writing or as if the inspiration abandoned her. The language at the high quality parts was poetic and lyrical, and the use of metaphors and allegories was really cleverly done. A great pity that such a mastery of language was not present in every sentence.

I had the same feeling about the structure, too. It was a good idea to show the background story of Miss Williams and Sheehan through flashbacks but the use thereof didn't always seem so logical, or the flashback scenes seemed to last just the tiniest bit longer than they were supposed to. But what really bothered me, was the ending. It was for me too absurd and too suddenly intimate. 

Despite my criticism, I liked the story.. The horrors of the Great War and the suffering of the survivors, especially those with a shell-shock, is a story that needs to be told and retold to remind humankind of its own terrible power to wreck lives and fight wars without a reason. The description of Sheehan's struggles is heart-wrenching. The characters, again, had much potential. My favourite is perhaps Christopher who indeed goes through much change and grows into a fine human being.

I'd recommend this book, but not necessarily if the potential reader is feeling sad or depressed. The theme and the gloomy atmosphere might deepen the reader's negative mood.
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The Hawkman is part historical fiction, part fairy tale. It takes place in England after World War 1, revolving around 2 characters. A damaged soldier from that war, and the woman who is his angel. I found it to be both disturbing and beautiful. Gorgeous language and imagery. Interior monologues in which I found myself lost and wondering. A plot that fascinated me and lost me at the same time. This is a complicated, beautiful book. If you read it, take your time, as it is not a fast, easy read. I highly, highly recommend for those that like reading about the after-effects of war on soldiers, and the time and place in England shortly after World War 1. There was much mythology to delve into. 5 Stars. 

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I was really interested to see how fantasy and historical fiction would go together . It was a little jarring at first, but I really liked this story. Eva and Michael meet in an English village, and watching their relationship unfold with such beautiful prose was lovely. I found this to be a slow read but was entertained and interested from beginning to end.
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I wish I loved this book more. I liked the writing style, the characters were interesting and the story was heart wrenching, but I found myself skimming through pages at times.

This book is written from various points of view. I did not mind that and I think that it did work in terms of the story that was being told. In this way we find out how our characters came to be where they are now. I am not sure I quite liked Miss Williams, as I never felt I quite knew her, but I thought The Hawkman was a very interesting character, along with the various people surrounding the two main characters.

I did feel the book meandered unneccessarily at times, especially with Miss Williams’ stories,  which I found distracting, but the horrid insights into the Great War were well done and gave solid background to those characters it involved.

I think a lot of people will love this book, but in the end I simply did not connect to the characters enough for my liking. It did not provoke the emotions I wanted it to.
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The Hawkman by Jane Rosenberg LaForge is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late May.

Mr Sheehan is an Irish veteran of World War I who lives in a prim, tutting, repressive, and (at times) poetic English village where everyone believes to be a hawk. Miss Eve Williams, a local college professor, choose to look pass their views on Sheehan (as either being beatific, rabid, nuisance, or impoverished) and we as readers gradually learn when narrative turns his way that he is Irish, a practiced pianist, served in the trenches and was held as a prisoner of war by the Germans. He and Williams share a heartbreaking backstory filled with pain, loss, and shame that sours in the present-day, when townspeople meddle in their affairs with the impropriety of words unsaid and seeming all-knowing without understanding.
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Thanks NetGalley for the ARC in exchange of an honest review.

This was a book I kept picking up and putting down, and not because I did not like it, it took patience and concentration to get through it. BUT! The writing was absolutely beautiful.  It was magical in its own way, and poetic. 

Eva and Michael were beautifully flawed/complex characters that you cannot help but fall in love with. Even Christopher, who doesn't see past decorum and classes is changed through knowing them and becomes a more likable character. I loved the patience, love and understanding that Eva showed to everyone, but especially Michael. I love how straightforward she is, she won't stand to be a hypocrite and will call one out on it.

"I know that he is a human in need, as human as you, me, or even your father," Miss Williams said. "And that is all I need to know. His humanity qualifies him for my care and sympathy. And his humanity has been injured, gravely," 

And then there is Michael. Your heart breaks for him over and over, hoping for redemption, resolution and happiness. 

My only gripe would be that there were some parts that dragged and rambled on, which is why I ended up putting it down a lot.
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4.5 Stars

The Hawkman is a hybrid retelling of the well-known La Belle et la Bête/ The Beauty and the Beast by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and a lesser-known tale by the Brothers Grimm, Der Bärenhäuter (The Bearskin). (You can read a summary of the Brothers Grimm story below,* or read about it yourself here /link removed/.) These two fairy tales are superimposed upon or interwoven with the story of Michael Evans Sheehan, a traumatized veteran of the Great War (World War I) and Eva William, the angel that saves him. This is a very poignant, quiet story. As you move past the prologue it is easy to somehow forget how things will end. The story of how we get to that prologue is unbearably sad. This is an unusual book of magical realism that will appeal to those who enjoy books that are more literary in tone. By the book’s end, I was in tears.


*In Der Bärenhäuter (The Bearskin) a young man, having served and survived a great war, finds himself without means or purpose at the war's end. Making a bargain with the Devil to become a gentleman of means, by assuming an unpleasant, animal-like appearance by wearing a bearskin for seven years. Midway through his years in the bearskin, he meets a penniless father, depressed over the plight his circumstances have put him and his three daughters in, and gives the old man money in addition to paying his present debts. The man offers the kindly bearskin wearer one of his daughters as a wife. The older two daughters shrink in horror at the thought but the youngest, a gentle and faithful girl, who unlike her older sisters, manages to see the path of righteousness (the Brothers Grimm were devout Calvinists and this was a time when women were chattel) and loyally pledges herself to him. When he returns to the inn after his seven years are finished, he is clean, handsome, and rich. The youngest daughter is rewarded for her loyalty to him with marriage. The two older sisters, kicking themselves for refusing to marry a bearskin wearing man, commit suicide, granting the Devil two souls instead of the single one he held claim to for the seven years the hero wore the bearskin.
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This book caught my attention for the description and the beautiful cover, unfortunately I did not like the book. It’s a great story and am sure many will love the book. The book has beautiful language a dramatic plot and poetic writing, but I’ve fail to connect with the story. 

The first chapters were good, but I got lost in the beautifully and detailed descriptions of the trenches in WWI. Don’t take me wrong, it's an important part of the story that affected deeply the life of Mr. Sheehan but the result was a painfully slow reading. You don’t need to embellish with poetic descriptions the carnage of the trenches in WWI, a few crude descriptions of the horrors would've been more than enough. Therefore, I lost the attention in the book and stop enjoying the story, the ending felt a bit rushed after the long and detailed descriptions. 

I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many Thanks to Amberjack Publishing, Jane Rosenberg LaForge and Netgalley for the opportunity.
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Please see my notes to publisher for my thoughts on this title. Thank you so much for approving me for a copy of this book!
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Though it is nicely written and some phrases are quite delicate, overall it feels like those guilty-pleasure romantic historicals I only very rarely read. I did not finish it for this very reason. I recommend it to fans of historical fiction who like flowery style. Many thanks for the advance copy.
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