Tuesday, June 28, 2011

'Skyward' by Mary Alice Monroe

Teaser Synopsis:
Mary Alice Monroe returns to the captivating and mystical South Carolina Lowcountry, a place of wild beauty and untamed hearts, to tell the moving story of healing, hope and new beginnings....Something magical begins to happen: the timeless beauty of the South Carolina coast and the majestic grace of the wild birds weave a healing spell on the injured hearts at the sanctuary. But a troubled mother's unexpected return will test the fragile bonds of trust and new love, and reveal the inherent risks and exhilarating beauty of flying free.

First thoughts after finishing this book:   I want to work in a birds of prey sanctuary!

What I liked about the book:
  • The birds of prey aspect...about eight years ago I was on this big kick of becoming a falconer and training a Peregrine Falcon. I read up on the birds and all that went with training one. It is very extensive and not just a passing hobby. My husband talked me out of it due to our lifestyle and if you want to go on vacation there's no way you can with a falcon depending on you for hunting and its basic needs.
  • Each chapter ended with a descriptions and definitions that pertained to a certain bird of prey. I loved reading this and actually learned a lot from it. The other great factor was those snippets foretold of events in the next chapter.
  • The characters....they felt like friends to me. The author did a great job of making them come to life, most especially Lijah. This character was inspired by the Gullah culture and he was such a wise, gentle soul..I loved him from the moment I met him. 
  • The setting- South Carolina Lowcountry! I want to visit this area and soon. The author made me feel as if I were there walking in the forests watching the birds in their natural habitat. Gorgeous and descriptive writing!
What I didn't like:
  • I knew how the story would end...but that was okay... 
Personal Thoughts: 
About eight years ago my son and I found a Kestrel in our yard with a broken wing. It took us about an hour to finally catch the little guy and we safely transported him to a veterinarian that rehabilitated injured wildlife. Since then I've been fascinated with these birds and the larger birds of prey.

Favorite passage:
   ""Lijah, do you not have any place to stay?"
  "No, no. I'm staying with friends--just down the road a piece. But getting back and forth to see Santee every day got to be troublesome. See, I need to be close. I need to sit with my bird a while to see her through this. I reckon like you did for your child back when she was in the hospital."
Harris felt a strong sympathy for the man's situation. Lijah loved that bird as any father loved a child.
[Locations 961-69 Kindle]

Recommend? Absolutely! For those that are bird lovers I think you would appreciate a book that had these awesome creatures as the main characters in the story. The added bonus is the Lowcountry of South Carolina!!

Rating: 8.5/10

Read an excerpt here

Author: Mary Alice Monroe
Published: March 2009 eBook
Publisher: Mira
Genre: Naturalist Heaven!
Source: NetGalley
ISNB: 9781426833328

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel

© 2011, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. This sounds really good! I visited a bird of prey sanctuary on the grounds of a state park where we were camping and found it fascinating.

  2. I confess that the thought have crossed my mind to when I have read books about Medieval kings or in fantasy :) A bird of my own

  3. The birds of prey aspect may not pull me toward this book, but the setting and the author's name sure would. I've enjoyed Monroe before and I love South Carolina!

  4. This sounds AMAZING!! I never knew that about you!! Loved learning your love for birds! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  5. Wow, how interesting about you and the falcon thing! Did you ever read Wesley the Owl? OMG, you would love that book!

  6. Sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I love Monroe's work and need to read this one. The first time I saw Mary Alice another woman at the event said this book inspired her daughter to work in bird rehab.

  8. Seriously? You wanted to become a falconer. What an interesting thing. Not for me, of course, but still...

    I've read a couple of Mary Alice Monroe's books, but I need to read more. This one sounds so appealing and the part of the country where it's set is very interesting to me. My daughter used to like a kid's show called Gullah Gullah Island.

    Falcons always remind me of a movie that I liked - Ladyhawke. Well, she was a hawk, but that's a bird of prey. LOL

  9. I requested this one from the library started reading it and realized I had already read it! They throw me when it comes out in a new cover. Glad you enjoyed it.

  10. Love how you've worded this review Staci, makes me want to read it even though I wouldn't have said I had an interest in birds outside the norm.

  11. Hmm. I'm not very happy with birds of prey right now! Had a nest of baby robins and came home last week to a bird commotion and saw a large black bird flying away with one in it's beak and chorus of robins following. Heartbreaking. (This is why I do not watch the nature channel.) The nest has been empty since :(

  12. I love books set in the Lowcountry, I love it there!! I am also a bird nerd - this book sounds like a perfect read for me!

  13. Sounds interesting. Especially since we are always rescuing birds from our cats.

  14. A falconer? Wow. I was pretty much turned off from large birds of prey when we watched a turkey hawk (big, ugly thing) pluck a bird on my children's swing set. It was like a feather pillow burst open. I realize that's nature and all, but it was not a pleasant sight.

  15. Other than Farley Mowatt's 'Owls in the Family' years ago, I can't recall reading another book where birds of prey figure so prominently within the story. It sounds different in a very positive way.


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