Book Review, Author Interview, and Giveaway!! — A Mosaic of Wings

3 Jun

This is going to be some post! Not only am I reviewing A Mosaic of Wings, I have an interview with debut author, Kimberly Duffy. Plus a giveaway of a copy of the book thanks to my author friend Lindsey Brackett. (Have you read Lindsey’s novels, Still Waters and The Bridge Between? You need to!) So let’s get to it!

 

It’s 1885, and all Nora Shipley wants, now that she’s graduating from Cornell University as valedictorian of the entomology program, is to follow in her late father’s footsteps by getting her master’s degree and taking over the scientific journal he started. The only way to uphold her father’s legacy is to win a scholarship, so she joins a research expedition in Kodaikanal, India, to prove herself in the field.

India isn’t what she expects, though, and neither is the rival classmate who accompanies her, Owen Epps. As her preconceptions of India — and of Owen — fall away, she finds both far more captivating than she expected. Forced by the expedition leader to stay at camp and illustrate exotic butterflies the men of the team find without her, Nora befriends Sita, a young Indian girl who has been dedicated to a goddess against her will.

In this spellbinding new land, Nora is soon faced with impossible choices — between saving Sita and saving her career, and between what she’s always thought she wanted and the man she’s come to love.

Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of 20 years. He doesn’t mind. You can find Kimberly at www.kimberlyduffy.com.

 

My Impressions:

A debut novel? Really? You sure wouldn’t know it. A Mosaic of Wings is a beautifully crafted historical novel that hit all the right buttons with me — an historical setting that was new and exciting to experience, characters who are of the time, but not afraid to try to break free from restrictions, and a relevant story line linking the past with the present. This one is a highly recommended read.

A Mosaic of Wings whisked me away to a richly detailed place and time I have never before experienced in a book — India in the late 1800s. All my senses were engaged as I took in the sights, sounds, smells, and even tastes of this exotic setting. The characters were not the only ones to experience the wonder of that place. The novel follows Nora Shipley in her quest to prove herself as a scientist in a male dominated field. She is not perfect, but she is definitely a character to love. I loved how Duffy portrayed the obstacles that Nora faced, but I especially was impressed with contrast of Nora’s plight with those of women in India at the time. Like Nora, it is easy to get lost in our own situations when treated unfairly. Duffy not only opened Nora’s eyes, but mine as well. Nora grew in her understanding of self and others. Supporting characters were well-drawn with both flaws and virtues mixed together, making them very realistic. And the subject matter — entomology — was fascinating. I’ll never look at an insect in the same way again! Although I will probably still kill those I find offensive. 😉 Romance is a part of the story, but not the driving force — that was a big plus for me. Spiritual themes are woven naturally throughout the narrative. The book is never preachy, but does expose the hypocrisies of organized religion in the face of individual faith. There are parallels with today’s world that caused this reader to stop and ponder. With all its layers, this book is a great choice for book discussion groups.

There’s so much more to say about A Mosaic of Wings, but I will leave you with just one more thought. Read this book! I am excited to have discovered a new author and look forward to many more wonderful reading experiences.

Highly Recommended

Great for Book Clubs

Audience: adults

(Thanks to Bethany House for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Q&A with Kimberly Duffy

BTB: Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

Kimberly: I wrote my first story at the age of eleven. It was about an inchworm. When I was twelve I wrote my first romance — about a girl who gets stuck in an elevator with her celebrity crush. And I really haven’t stopped writing since. Before I began writing, though, I loved stories and words and daydreams. 

Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing? 

My eleventh grade creative writing and journalism teacher was the first person to ever encourage me in my writing. I had written an autobiographical short romantic story about a trip to Ukraine and he suggested I expand on the story and turn it into a book. I didn’t, but I did thank him in the acknowledgements of A Mosaic of Wings. 

Why did you choose historical fiction? 

I’ve always loved historical fiction but I was initially scared to write it. The research necessary intimidated me and I wasn’t sure if I could do it properly. I took an online historical fiction course Anne Mateer was offering and it really helped me get over that mental hurdle. I don’t know that I’ll write anything else now. I really love exploring the human experience through the different cultural and historical perspectives of my characters. It’s super interesting to me that no matter where you live, or when you live, those desires and fears don’t really change all that much. There’s a kind of reassurance in realizing that there truly is nothing new under the sun. 

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication? 

My biggest obstacle was one all writers who want to be published traditionally face and that is the fact that it’s a very competitive field. There are only so many spots and for each one there are an incredible number of people vying for it. And many of them are just as talented, just as experienced, just as hopeful. I always told my husband, though, that I would outwork anyone and eventually, I would write something someone would want. 

What types of research do you pursue? Books, on-site visits, etc. 

I always start with browsing Google. Then I buy a bunch of books. I’ll try to find an expert I can interview or speak with. I really love historical documents and research projects and there’s a series of books on the history of cities around the world — I got one on Kolkata that was so helpful for setting book two. I also love looking at 19th century photographs. That’s probably the thing I google most — 19th century saris or Poona or entomology laboratories. 

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule? 

I’m a blend of both. I have four kids, homeschool, and care for my husband’s grandmother so I have to be. I try to write a little during the afternoon after schoolwork, but that isn’t always possible. Most of my books are written in the evenings and on weekends. I’m disciplined and don’t struggle with procrastination. My biggest problem is that I become hyper focused—especially during the plotting and drafting stages—and I forget about everything else in my life. Balance is hard. 

How long does it usually take to craft your books? (from outlines/first drafts to final edits) 

About six months, give or take a couple months. 

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel. 

A Mosaic of Wings was inspired by my daughter, Grainne, who has wanted to be an entomologist since she was five. The late 19th century saw an explosion of women pursuing scientific careers and many of them made indelible marks on the world. 

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels? 

I hope they see God’s grace, first and foremost. I always write very flawed characters because I think that’s the best way of demonstrating it. I hope they come away having been entertained, of course, but also having been encouraged and challenged. 

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?  

Yep. Book 2 releases winter of 2021. It’s set in 1887 Calcutta, India and Wiltshire, England. It’s about family and belonging and faith. I really love this story. It’s incredibly personal and I poured a lot of my own struggles with doubt and home into it. 

 

Thanks, Kimberly for sharing with my readers. You can also listen to an interview with Kimberly on the podcast, A Rough Draft Life, hosted by Kristi Ann Hunter and Lindsey Brackett.

 

Giveaway!!

My friend Lindsey Brackett has an extra copy of A Mosaic of Wings to give away to one of my readers. To enter to win, please leave a comment. A winner will be randomly selected on June 17. Please, US entrants only.

 

12 Responses to “Book Review, Author Interview, and Giveaway!! — A Mosaic of Wings”

  1. Vivian Furbay June 3, 2020 at 5:42 am #

    This is an interesting story. i saw on a PBS program about an Italian female entomologist and painter who moved to England. she also went to India to study and draw and paint insects.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. susiesellnergmailcom June 3, 2020 at 8:15 am #

    A Mosaic of Wings sounds fascinating! Several years ago I befriended a single Indian mother and her two children who attended my church. Once she asked me to tutor her son in reading and then watch him after school until she got home from work, I became very close to the family. I’ve also tutored the older child and helped her with some of her subjects. Now they live further away, and I work at an after school learning center where many of the students are Indian. Thus I have become interested in the various cities and regions of India. Not remembering much about the history of India, I’m also interested in learning more about the country–past and present. So, the fact that A Mosaic of Wings is set in India along with the plight of women back in the 19th century make me want to read it. Furthermore, I can really relate to the author, Kimberly Duffy, because I homeschooled my daughter when she was in high school. Mrs. Duffy must be incredibly talented to juggle so many important roles–wife, mother, teacher, and author.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Abby Breuklander June 3, 2020 at 10:24 am #

    I’ve been wanting to read this one, sounds sooo good!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lynn Brown June 3, 2020 at 12:40 pm #

    thanks for the chance it sounds interesting

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jana T June 3, 2020 at 5:18 pm #

    I haven’t read much set in India, but I would like to, and A Mosaic of Wings sounds very good! Thanks for hosting the giveaway (and writing a great review)!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Patty June 3, 2020 at 8:10 pm #

    It’s always fun to find a great new author with what sounds like a very interesting debut!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. attennos39 June 4, 2020 at 8:59 am #

    I love this cover. I don’t read too many stories that takes places in India. It is a part of my culture. You are new to me author.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. MJSH June 4, 2020 at 3:40 pm #

    I’ve been wanting to read this book. Thanks for the post and the giveaway.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jennifer K June 6, 2020 at 9:31 am #

    This book sounds so interesting. Nice of your friend to giveaway a copy!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. debra Lindquist June 6, 2020 at 7:02 pm #

    This book sounds really good. I like that it is set in India. Would love to win it!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Christell Smith June 13, 2020 at 7:38 am #

    I love it that it is set in a different culture.Would love to win.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Abigail | Rejoice In Reading June 13, 2020 at 3:49 pm #

    Such a fun Q&A!

    Liked by 1 person

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