The Hawkman

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Jun 2018

Member Reviews

The subtitle of this book is A fairytale of the Great War - and it is just that - reminiscent of a fairy tale. The prose in which it is written strikes a chord that has only been equaled by that of the brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. You are transported to a time when nothing was known of PTSD and the after effects of war and when “shell-shock” was treated in very different ways. 
The friendship that arises between Miss Williams and the Hawkman is touching and gentle. 
Reminiscent at time of Swan Lake and other famous fairytales, the descriptions are rich and luxurious. The book is a fast read because you want to find out the culmination of the story and what becomes of both Miss Williams and the Hawkman, but you also don’t want this story to end.
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What a wonderful book! I was hooked since the first page and cannot put it down.
The style of writing was really good and the characters really interesting.
It's strongly recommended!
Many thanks to Amberjack Publishing and Netgalley
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This was a beautifully written story about interesting characters, but it wasn’t my favorite kind of book.  The long flashbacks got tedious at times, and I wanted to know more about the current story.  But this book is well-written and a good example of a slow, thought out story. 

I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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There is really no way to describe The Hawkman other than bittersweet. It is such a sad but sweet story. The two main characters, Miss Eva Williams and Mr. Michael Sheehan/The Hawkman could not be more interesting and I really connected with them and their relationship. This story is just so beautifully written I almost don't have the words to describe it. While it is described as a fairy tale, it doesn't feel like the fairy tales I grew up with. Maybe it's because there's no princesses or witches in it that I normally associate with that label. But the label doesn't really matter. The Hawkman is a brilliant story with a wonderful message. But before I get rambly, let's get to the review!

Synopsis: (from Goodreads);
Set against the shattering events of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, at the tale’s heart are an American schoolteacher—dynamic and imaginative—and an Irish musician, homeless and hated—who have survived bloodshed, poverty, and sickness to be thrown together in an English village. Together they quietly hide from the world in a small cottage. 

Too soon, reality shatters their serenity, and they must face the parochial community. Unbeknownst to all, a legend is in the making—one that will speak of courage and resilience amidst the forces that brought the couple together even as outside forces threaten to tear them apart.

Miss Eva Williams is an American school teacher living in England. She is there to teach in the village of Bridgetonne at the local women's university. She is outspoken but mostly likes to keep to herself in her little cottage. She especially keeps to herself once she takes the local outcast (The Hawkman) into her home one rainy afternoon. She doesn't know what to make of him at the beginning but she knows that he looks like he could use a friend or at least someone to help him out. As she helps him, he starts to turn from the bird-like man that he appeared to be when she first met him into something more human-looking. He doesn't speak for most of the book but they communicate with each other in their own ways. She probably understands him more than anyone else in the world.

The Hawkman or Mr. Michael Sheehan as we come to think of him as we get to know him better starts off as Brigetonne's outcast. People throw things at him and are generally scared to go near him. But one rainy day, he meets Miss Williams and she takes him in. He helps her in the garden and proves that the people of the village are much more a harm to him than he is to them. The book does a great job of showing Mr. Sheehan's past in flashbacks. Sprinkled in between the chapters in the present are chapters showing us his past as a piano player, then a World War I soldier, and ultimately, a prisoner of war. We come to understand why he is the way he is. He truly is an astonishingly well-thought-out and well-written character. And while some of the prisoner of war chapters were hard to read at times, Mr. Sheehan's humanity is what kept me turning the page to find out more. Near the end of the book, or perhaps even before that, Mr. Sheehan falls in love with Miss Williams and while there relationship is not what most people might call "normal", it heals them and allows them to become what they always wanted to be.

One other character I thought was expertly developed was Christopher Thorton. He is the son of the owner of the college that Miss Williams works for and he starts off the story as just another privileged rich boy who's had things handed to him on a silver platter. But as he interacts more with Miss Williams and Mr. Sheehan, he grows so splendidly. He becomes another person who really tries to understand Mr. Sheehan and makes sure he gets everything he needs. While he loves Miss Williams throughout most of the book, he doesn't let that stand in the way when Miss Williams and Mr. Sheehan's relationship develops and they need his help. At first, I thought he might be the villain of this book, but I ended up being happily surprised by him

The Hawkman is a stunning story about how people can heal each other even when it doesn't look like there is any hope left. I cried multiple times while reading, especially at the end (no one should be surprised. I always cry reading lol). I am giving The Hawkman 4 out of 5 stars. Please give this book a read when it comes out. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

The Hawkman by Jane Rosenberg Laforge comes out June 5, 2018.

Thank you, NetGalley and Amberjack Publishing for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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The Hawkman by Jane Rosenberg LaForge is an original and powerfully written reworking of the Grimm's fairy tale Bearskin. The novel departs from the fairy tale in a lot of ways, and not having any prior knowledge of the earlier fable doesn't detract in any way from this novel. 

The author is a poet and it shines through in the exquisite use of language.  Most of the prose in the book is transcendent and very 'painterly'.  It's a fantasy, but grounded in reality.  I wouldn't call it magical realism, exactly (with the exception of one passage, which seemed written to indicate that it was metaphorical, not literal).

The book is beautifully written and poignant.  I haven't often been touched as deeply or felt as attached as I did to the characters in The Hawkman.  It's a book about the casualties (both literal and figurative) of the first world war, so much of the book was brutal and sad.  I found the redemptive themes of love and kindness and humanity had even more impact when presented in contrast.  It's been several weeks since I finished reading the book and I still find myself thinking about it often.

It's a really beautiful, lush, gorgeously written novel. 

Due out 5th June, 2018 from Amberjack publishing.  280 pages in paperback and ebook formats.

Five stars
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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

The Hawkman was beautifully written, immediately captivating me with its lyrical prose. Jane Rosenberg LaForge creates a fairytale within a fairytale; the stories etched within the narrative kept pulling me deeper and deeper into the story. 
When the lives of the town's two misfits, the mute vagabond, Mr. Sheehan and the American spinster Miss Williams, come together both undergo transformations that have consequences neither could have foreseen. There is a nod the the classic tale of "Beauty and the Beast" but focuses on the cost of helping a beast return from a nature that tragedy had forced him to assume. 
I highly enjoyed the story; however, I felt the transitions between the past and present were confusing at times. It made the story feel a bit discordant. This is a book that definitely requires more than one read through. There is a depth to this book that not many stories possess. 

Overall, I would recommend this book! Bravo to Jane Rosenberg LaForge for this interesting and unique tale.
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it is not my kind of books to read, however I did enjoy it and it was beautiful written. The story line was also interesting.
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I’d like to thank Netgalley for this copy of The Hawkman in exchange for a fair review. 

It’s a bold attempt to link fairytale with historical fiction. 

The language is gorgeous and the setting unique ( as The Great War is often over looked). The author braids fairytale with the grit of war. 

While that braid doesn’t always seem to fit, I couldn’t fault the author for her creativity. The only sticking point for me was the constant switch between past and present tense.
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A beautiful historical fiction book with a tad of fantasy/folklore set post WW1. I enjoyed it quite a bit - the growing relationship between the protagonists, the slight sense of a fairytale and overall well-written prose.

I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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This book I struggled through.  I don't think I care for the popular fairy tale setting of novels dealing with real issues.  The imagery is well done and is the book's strong point.
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I want to start this review by saying a big thank you to NetGalley for giving me an early copy of this book, this is the first book I have read as an ARC and I was really excited about it. I also think, upon reflection that I read this book way too fast and I really wonder how my interpretation of this book might have changed if I had taken my time a bit more with this novel. 

This novel is, as its tagline says, a fairy tale. It mixes folklore with historical fiction in a really seamless blend that really builds a beautiful scene, the way the context and story unfold in this novel really is lovely. The language used is undeniably pretty and this book  is one that really has a genuine sense of aesthetic. 

I want to start with the positives. The characters in this book are all really interesting and well developed. Miss Williams and Mr Sheehan are simple people but they are deeply complex and fascinating to read about. 

There is a huge subplot about PTSD and mental illness in this story as Mr Sheehan is a World War I soldier recovering from shell shock after the war and his term in a German prisoner of war camp. As a reader I felt a huge amount of sympathy for his situation, for how overturned his life became after the war, but of course, in the early years after WWI  not all the characters were quite so sympathetic. I loved that the characters who didn't understand Mr Sheehan's situation weren't painted to be evil people necessarily, and the novel really didn't have a villain in the way you expect from fairy tales. Instead people who didn't understand were portrayed simply as that, people who didn't understand. I really liked that. 

I also think in having characters who couldn't relate to and understand PTSD, I felt even more sympathetic to Mr Sheehan, obviously I sympathised with his post war mental health struggle but the lack of care on the other end added an extra layer to his trauma and I can only imagine how many other returned soldiers at the time would have faced the same thing. 

Miss Williams was at first glance, less interesting. She is a kind woman who wants to help where she sees suffering and offers sanctuary to Mr Sheehan. Only as the story progresses do we really come to understand the depth of her character as well and see where the roots of her kindness come from. She really is a unique character and was very well written as well. 

So this book really does have a lot going for it. 

Unfortunately, I also had some things I didn't like. 

The main problem I had with this book was that it was quite difficult to follow. And I struggle with that criticism because I think as much as it frustrated me, it was done deliberately. The author shifts character perspectives and launches into flashbacks without warning and you have to really concentrate to follow the plot. It often takes a lot of going back and reorienting yourself in order to understand whats going on. 

As much as I found this book beautiful, I also found it in parts to be a little bit dull. This is a book very much written for aesthetic. Its meant to be pretty but it isn't plot driven in the way I am used to. The plot is there but its woven lazily through the novel. 

This is why I gave it three stars. 

I think it did exactly what it set out to do very well, I just didn't find it to be to my tastes necessarily. Which is what makes the arts so difficult, something can be objectively very good but not be a certain person's cup of tea. That was the Hawkman to me, an objectively lovely story that just didn't quite do it for me. 

Perhaps if I had read it a bit more slowly I would have had a different view of it. I don't know...
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Gorgeous writing but felt as if two coming of age stories that didn’t meld or did but like Little Mermaid becoming a bubble. There is an audience for this, but not a staff pick.
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*I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an Honest Review*
*Also because it's an ARC my feedback may vary from its final feedback on its publishing date* 

Let me first say that that cover looks very artful and enticing!! Also the description can help draw you to it, which you won't regret since this is a wonderfully written book with excellent prose that will mystify you. 

We follow a guy named Mr. Sheehan who is an Irish, homeless, Musician and we follow a woman named Ms. Williams who is an American School teacher. 

Everyone in the town seems to believe that Mr. Sheehan is impure or dirty looking man because he's homeless and another trait to note about him is that his eyes have some yellowish tone and it seems like he's glaring at the townsfolk earning him the nickname "Hawkman." He also hardly utters a word. He was around during the time of the Great War, so that adds to part of why he struggles like he does. 

Ms. Williams seems to believe there might be something good about him and decides to help take him under her wing and take care of him since his health probably wasn't the best. 

Now I bet you're wondering where the folklore part of this story is?? Well I'm getting to it!! xD
Now this may have a bit of realistic themes to it., Mr. Sheehan because he's technically a war veteran he suffers from PTSD and the way it's handled is actually great. The story makes his PTSD of the war feel fragile and fascinating. He goes into a bird-like form or transformation (Which transformations are common in folklore.)  to represent or symbolize his struggle with PTSD after the Great War. 

Ms. Williams tries to help him even with it becoming a possible danger to herself. She sees the good things about him and has empathy for him. She shows her understanding of him with comparison to the rest of the world.  

Though the outcome of the book was a good outcome there's sadly some realistic things to find in this book pertaining to how those with Mental issues are treated when they are the ones in need of the most help and comfort.  If you ever notice one of your friends/family feeling wounded by mental issues or trauma, please try to help bring them as much comfort as you can. They may be broken and hard to understand now, but if you can help them I'm sure they will feel a little better than being shut into the dark. 

So overall this was an excellent read, it will likely be underrated or underappreciated when it comes out. But I'm hoping that's not the case since this story has so much to offer. 

Hope you enjoyed my review!! Thanks for reading!! ^_^
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i am still reading it! and the hawkman's past a.k.a. mr. sheehan seems interesting! 

also, i love miss williams! she's a such a good, smart and talented lady!
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This book, was [for me] honestly all over the place. At times a 2.5, other times a 3.5 verging on a 4-- for its originality (though in Source Material Notes, LaForge says was primarily inspired by a reading of the Grimm Brothers' fairytale, "The Bearskin." Full disclosure: not familiar with this story]. Most reviewers rated this more highly than I--could not.

As advertised: "A great war, a great love, and the mythology that unites them; The Hawkman: A Fairy Tale of the Great War is a lyrical adaptation of a beloved classic." Set in an English village, [Bridgetonne] in late 19th/early 20th century. An American schoolteacher [Eva] at a small college in the town, and an Irish musician [Michael] are thrown together in unusual circumstances. She's a loner, he's even more so--and when first introduced to him, he's a scary figure--the Hawkman. Michael is also damaged--a POW from the Great War, most likely suffering from PTSD. Other characters--the Thorntons--Lord [an earl], Lady, and their son, Christopher, in effect Eva's landlord, play a role, more so in the latter part of the novel.

For the most part, this novel was beautifully written, with descriptive language portraying well-done images. Towards the end, however, some of the prose had me grimacing.

I felt the book could have used a better editor. It was all over the place. Eva--the relationship with her mother, absent father, story about pearls. Michael, his years as a POW, far too much about lice, his love/affinity for music and the piano, and again, a mother story. Back and forth, past and present in no particular semblance of order. Did not enjoy what seemed rambling back and forth.

What I enjoyed: the writing [for the most part], the originality, description of camp life, what is was like to be a POW, the gradual telling of their story--and how Eva took care of Michael. Despite the wrongdoings committed against Michael and Eva, there also is tremendous humanity displayed--between the two of them. 

And the ending--no spoiler from me; you'll have to see for yourself if the last 10-15 pages threw you overboard.
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First, I have to say the cover of this book is just gorgeous, and I can' deny it drew me to it. I thought the writing was really lovely, and the plot intriguing and unique. The story did occasionally wander a bit, but I didn't really mind. I am not usually into magical realism, but the lyrical language made this special. Recommended!
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Thank you Amberjack Publishing and Netgalley for providing an advanced e-book copy for me to review. All opinions are my own.

The Hawkman is a retelling of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale “The Bearskin”

This fairy tale for adults is set in England after World War 1 - Michael Sheehan is an ex Prisoner Of War and suffers from PTSD. A vagabond and a scavenger he has quickly become the town's nuisance. His yellow eyes, calloused hands, and dirty appearance has earned him the nickname The Hawkman.

Eva Williams is an American school teacher who has taken a position at the local college employed by Lord Thornton. Lord Thornton wants the Hawkman out of his town but Eva Williams has ideas of her own. She takes in the Hawkman and shows him compassion. This is a story about humanity, love, and two unlikely people coming together.

I loved how folklore was interwoven into this story. You cannot rush through this book, as it is meant to be savored. Miss Williams and the Hawkman both had a damaged past. The author weaved in and out of the past/present to help serve the slow-burning plot. The author spent most of the time reliving the characters past that I felt the relationship between them wasn’t developed enough. The ending to me felt a little rushed but overall I was satisfied with it. 

Star Rating: 3/5⭐️
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
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After the Great War Miss Williams, an American writer, comes to stay in a quaint English village where a tramp (The Hawkman) is outcast and abandoned.  Miss Williams asks the man, Mr Sheehan, to come and stay with her but he is an outsider and so is she so how can the local gentry allow it?  Then Miss Williams falls ill, and everything must change.

I found some of this novel beautifully written and very easy to read but unfortunately I also found that parts just meandered off into whimsy and nothingness and the story became confused and irrevocably lost.  

I don't know the Grimm's tale that this story is based upon (at least I didn't recognise it), but actually I didn't even know it was a fairy story until the very strange ending which totally confused me and left me wondering what had been happening all along.

All in all, this is a lovely novel which needs cutting down into a much better short story with an explanation of it's basis at the beginning.  If it was written like that, I am sure it would make a sight more sense!
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Unfortunately, the title of this novel will most likely keep it out of the hands of many readers. “The Hawkman” is far more likely to be associated with the DC Action Hero than with the protagonist of a literary novel, even if they have a shared background in fairytales and myths.

Title aside, The Hawkman is a memorable tale of love, loss; heartbreak, and tragedy, set against the turbulent backdrop of the early 20th century. World War 1, the “Great War,” decimated a generation of young men and left survivors maimed in body, spirit, and mind, struggling to find their place in a vastly changed world.

This is not a novel you can race though. Rosenberg frequently shifts character perspectives and timelines as she deftly weaves her plot. Additionally, there are long narrative passages which create the dreamy feeling of a lost fairytale.

Many of the chapters delve into the suffering of soldiers during WW1; trench warfare, German POW camps for British soldiers, discrimination against the Irish, and the anguish of the unknown, untreatable “shell shock.”

Fans of WW1 historical will want to watch for the release of The Hawkman.

Three out of five stars: I liked it.
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