We all experience loss in our lives and Caroline & Mordecai the Gand certainly provides a positive spin on it!
Disclosure: I received this book to review through iRead Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.
This novella was written by USA Today bestselling author Jeff Gunhus after he received a devastating diagnosis of state 3 cancer. The story is a message to his five children on how to deal with grief and a plea for them to grasp onto joy and love even in the darkest of times.
Caroline loses her spark. It takes a great adventure for her to find it again.
Caroline loses her father in a car accident for which she feels responsible. Consumed by grief, she has a difficult time readjusting to a world that has changed so dramatically for her. On the anniversary of her father’s death, a strange window opens in the middle of the small lake behind her house. She climbs up an old oak to peer inside, but falls out of the tree and discovers that the window also serves as a door into a different world.
Enter Mordecai the Gand, a mysterious traveler who befriends Caroline and promises to help her find a way back home since the window she fell through has disappeared. The two set out on a series of adventures that include visiting a tree village populated by a tribe known for eating travelers, running into a witch under a spell of her own making, hiding in a cave with a dragon encased in a wall of ice (prone to melting by campfire), all the while being pursued by a mysterious entity call the Creach which promises to devour Caroline and trap her in an eternity of despair.
As they navigate these adventures and this new world, Caroline slowly discovers that she is meant to help each of the characters she meets. As she battles internally whether to stay or return home to the sadness and grief waiting for her there, she must regain perspective and open her heart to the act of caring and to the joy of love itself. In the end, she must demonstrate great courage, loyalty, and caring as the plot unfolds, becoming the active hero of her own story.
Readers of all ages who look for ethereal, haunting stories of recovery and courage will find Caroline & Mordecai the Gand may hold the trappings of a fantasy adventure; but inside there is so much more. Make the right decision, to read this!D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Caroline’s story is profoundly sad, and yet hopeful, magical, and yet rooted in reality. There is magic, mystery, and daring adventure.BooksCoffee
Personally, I have experienced a lot of loss in my life. Recently, we lost hubby’s grandma, the kids’ Nana.
I hate loss. Despise loss. I have experienced too much and I was raised that we don’t talk about it. Which to me, makes things so much harder and so much worse. (At least for me personally.)
I was quite intrigued to read “Caroline and Mordecai the Gand” as it seemed to be perfect timing – ” a message to his five children on how to deal with grief and a plea for them to grasp onto joy and love even in the darkest of times.”
First and foremost, this is considered a novella. It was the perfect length.
Secondly, it is fantasy so be aware going in… it’s different. It’s strange. It very much is fantasy.
It felt confusing. I struggled following along at times, but I always felt that there was something just out of reach that I could not fully grasp. There was a lesson, something I was meant to see. Something I was meant to understand. Yet, I couldn’t quite see it while I was reading.
It made me want to keep reading. To keep following this fantasy journey to see what that lesson was. What was that ‘thing’ I could feel on the outskirt of my brain?
When everything came together, it all made perfect sense. That feeling was gone. It cleared up. I understood.
The story, while different for such a topic, really put it all into perspective for me. (Well, everything except the Talib and the dragon. Which may just require a second read to fully grasp.)
I loved the story and the ‘lesson’. This is a book I definitely will be purchasing to keep a hard copy on hand (I read a mobi version) so that my kids can read it. I also think my hubby should read it as well. In fact, I think anyone has experienced loss or will experience loss (aka everyone) should read this book as the lesson within it is so valuable.
About the Author
Jeff Gunhus is the USA TODAY bestselling author of thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade fantasy series, The Jack Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year-old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 30 on Amazon, have been recognized as Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists and reached the USA TODAY bestseller list.
Jeff wrote Caroline & Mordecai the Gand after receiving a devastating diagnosis of stage 3 cancer. The novella was meant as a private story for his five children on how to face grief by holding onto joy and love. He leads an active life in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of Old Fox Books in Annapolis working on his next novel or on JeffGunhus.com.