by Dr. Israel Drazin
Raven West's novel “Vashti’s Daughter” is brilliant. I enjoyed it. Every page. I would call it a fantasy, with the best meaning of the word. It is somewhat akin to J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books, but better. The plot is excellent and moves at a delightful speed. It is very creative and thoughtful. It contains time travel, reincarnation, romance, a curse, abusive male power, and justice. It is a gripping tale with a blend of history, Bible, fantasy, magic, rationalism, past and present.
It is about a female abused and divorced publisher who mysteriously receives a book manuscript claiming to be factual that Vashti, mentioned briefly in the biblical book Esther, had a daughter. She discards the manuscript, but it strangely reappears. After discarding it several times and failing to destroy it, she begins to read it. But before she gets far into the book, she is transported back to 366 BCE. Upon returning to the present, she thinks she had a dream. She realizes it is no dream when the time travel repeats several times.
When she arrives in the past, she appears as Vashti’s daughter about to be proclaimed a queen. She meets Queen Esther, King Darius, Alexander the Great, and others. She seeks to show the world the justice in Vashti’s behavior when her husband, the king, mistreated her. She also needs to find a way to annul the curse placed upon Vashti’s descendants, which includes her, that they will never have a good marriage. It has been working for centuries.
Vashti, her daughter, and their descendants become heroes and role models for women today.
by Author Rob Bignell
What if one day you discovered that you were the reincarnated daughter of a queen from the ancient world? And that there's an ancient curse on you? A fun, rollicking adventure, of course. But author Raven West delivers more than escapist literature.
This book is about delivering on promises and discovering the meaning of true love. Her writing moves at a good clip with gripping dialogue, so there's never a dull moment. Definitely pick this book up if you want to read something thrilling that has a point to it.
- Nicci Attfield - Reedsy.com - Discovery book Review - September 4, 2023
Loved it! - An insightful and beautiful story about time travel, spirituality and identity.
This book is a wonderful exploration of identity, thinking through what it means to be Jewish as well as what it means to be a woman, both in times gone by and in the current world. It questions the power imbalances of the past.
While present power imbalances, represented in Anna’s ex-husband’s mistreatment, are a part of a curse, the author does describe the wider power imbalance that many women still struggle with. The author untangles gender-based discriminations, showing there perpetrators as weak rather than symbols of true strength. Its only limit is its lack of messiness, showing that women can excel while the men in their lives remain vindictive. Even in current society this is often hard to achieve.
I found Vashti’s Daughter to be a gentle, thoughtful, and deeply spiritual novel that looks at how the past impacts the present, the injustices that linger as ghosts to haunt us, and the need to change the stories we tell about women. This is a book I would recommend to readers who are interested in exploring Jewish identity. It’s great for mystical readers wishing to explore how spirituality intertwines with social injustice. Feminist literature has been shown to help women understand and resist discrimination, so I would also recommend this book to teenagers and young women everywhere.
- - Demetria Head - "A Look Inside" - August 14, 2023
"Vashti's Daughter" by Raven West is a captivating blend of historical mystery, romance, and supernatural intrigue that weaves the lives of two protagonists across time and space. With skillful storytelling and rich character development, the novel transports readers through a seamless fusion of past and present, as ancient Persian history becomes intertwined with the lives of modern-day individuals.
The story introduces Anna Steine, a newly divorced book publisher, who stumbles upon an unsolicited manuscript titled "Vashti's Daughter." Reluctantly attending her friend Elaine's Purim costume party dressed as Queen Vashti, Anna's life takes an unexpected turn when strange occurrences begin to unravel around her. As she experiences vivid dreams of a past life, she becomes Adara, the daughter of Queen Vashti and King Darius.
The author masterfully navigates between timelines, seamlessly transitioning between Anna's modern struggles and Adara's ancient challenges. As the two women's stories unfold, the mysteries of their connections deepen, and the novel expertly explores themes of identity, love, and destiny.
Nathaniel Braverman, an archaeologist and author of the manuscript, plays a significant role in the narrative. Nate's encounter with a mysterious voice at the shrine of Queen Esther propels him to deliver his manuscript specifically to Anna. Their meeting marks the intersection of past and present, and as their relationship grows, the story's complexity deepens.
The novel's pacing is well-crafted, maintaining a delicate balance between the romance that blossoms between Anna and Nate and the historical intrigue surrounding Adara and her mother Vashti. As Anna's world collides with Adara's, their shared experiences and the discovery of hidden truths become pivotal in shaping their futures. With its engaging narrative and compelling characters, the novel offers a unique and thought-provoking exploration of human connection across time and generations.
I have never seen an episode of the old television show The Man From UNCLE, but after reading this book I plan to search various streaming internet sites in hopes of viewing a few. You do not have to be a fan of the old show in order to fully enjoy this tale. (I guess it does not hurt that I used to watch other spy series, such as Get Smart.) I found this story to be extremely fun to read! Those who have read this author’s previous novel, Red Wine for Breakfast, may even notice the subtle nod to the Sock Test. (I could not help but chuckle when a pair of socks was mentioned in a single, short line.) If you are looking for a story to enjoy during vacation or to make a rainy afternoon fly by, this is it. I have no doubt that I will not soon forget this fun spy thriller. - HUNTRESS REVIEWS - Reviewed by Detra Fitch
It's great fun to find a book that seems to be written specially for ME! I was a devoted fan of The Man From Uncle and would dearly loved to have been one of their agents (I even had a membership card but an overzealous teacher confiscated it and lost it.) Raven West has tapped into the same desire that a million women of 'a certain age' must have had and has made it come true, and at a boring old school reunion, too! There are strong characters and plenty of action, so it held my interest all the way through. An easy read that ticks a lot of boxes for an entertaining crime novel. - Bev Robitai on Amazon.com
This is a novel for adults and mystery/romance lovers. It is a very engaging read and moves quickly. I was caught up in the story right away and enjoyed diving into the inner life of an LA radio station.
The plot evolved quickly and there were many surprises along the way. We quickly take sides with our main character as she moves through the office intrigues of the music and talk radio station. She loves the music and does not want her station to go to an all talk format. She finds unexpected alliances and some tragedy. The book expresses the drama and intense professional and social life of a young single radio career woman DJ in the tough LA radio market. - Review by David M Stewart
Believable YOU ARE THERE atmosphere! by Andromeda
Terrific! You don't just read it, you LIVE it! Indeed, Raven West's RED WINE FOR BREAKFAST is redolent with that very essential, YOU ARE THERE atmosphere. Its synopsis "...In a business drowning in testosterone, Red Wine for Breakfast is the story of a strong, determined New Yorker who has to shake off the laid-back attitude of LA to overcome the challenges of an industry that threatens to turn her off and a man who only wants to turn her on..." is right on target.
As a veteran of the newspaper business in particular and media in general, I enjoyed very much entering her heroine Jenny Reed's world, who is very much an emancipated, no nonsense woman who boldly fights for what she wants, and gives no quarter. Yes, Jenny is no falsely blushing flower of innocence. She grasps the bull of mediocrity by the horns, and turns it into what she wants. Red Wine for Breakfast is NOT a traditional Harlequin novel, but a tale very much in tune with the realities the NEW WOMAN has to deal with, and triumph over. Thumbs up, Ms. West! Kristina O'Donnelly, Author and Publisher.
First Class Male
Reviewed by Bev Robitai- Indie Author's Lounge
Auckland, New Zealand
Apr. 28, 2021
The hero of this romance is indeed a first class male, which is refreshing in a genre where the heroes are often, at least at the start, domineering, truculent and aggressive. Alex Bentley is actually nice – a desirable male lead with integrity as well as good looks. He treats frustrated writer Rachel Clark with kindness and decency, never snarling or behaving badly as their relationship unfolds. Rachel is a lively and intelligent heroine, and she too behaves like a real person, not a limp flower at the mercy of her emotions.
Given that two such smart, sensible people would have no trouble in getting together, it takes a strong plot to keep them apart, and Raven West provides this very convincingly. The stakes increase with each turn of the story, leading to a fully satisfying conclusion thanks to the cleverness and persistence of the characters.
The writing style is clever too, there are repeated phrases and a symmetry in the characters’ actions which serve to lift First Class Male to well above average. You may feel that you know more about the US Postal service than you expected by the end of the book, but you’ll have enjoyed a strong and vibrant story about people who are well worth spending time with.
Leni Kaye - Contest Winner - Romancing the Book
I just finished First Class Male and Rachel and Alex are still with me.
Is there a sequel to this book and if so is there any mention of Bob the bartender in it?
I loved Alex and he was through and through a good guy. Normally, the good guys are shown as boring, but Alex had many dimensions that supported his beliefs (his heartbreak as a young man and his drive in his belief in his profession).
It confused me a bit in the end at the reception because his comments about marriage and babies and women staying home didn't go with the image that I got of him. I can understand his wanting to have a wife and children and bringing them up with the values that he believes in, but when he put down writing as a profession it didn't quite gel with everything that I read about him up to that point. And he writes, too. As I was reading I wondered if he was going to get published or something like that.
Also, I kept thinking that the letter that Rachel wrote to the Post Master General was somehow going to be exposed in some way. And she'd had the problem with character development and the male voice was weak. Alex's changes helped her get a deal, but he didn't want any credit. Then she needed his help again to start the next book. I just kind of had a feeling that the editor would see a difference in the writing. And it seemed as though she kind of blocked out the fact his changes improved her work.
I just kind of felt like Alex was treated harsher than her ex boyfriend and yet Rachel still felt a need to save her ex even after she found out that he kept his being married a secret when they slept together and his threats about reporting her for sleeping with her client. I don't think that Alex would've run so easily from Cynthia's threats and that Rachel would've forgiven him so easily. I'm not sure if I missed this, but when Rachel signed the deal the editor said that it was coming out in ebook first, but when she went on her first tour and when her room mate threw that party she was signing books.
I liked the way the descriptions were woven into the story like the one about ex boyfriends and old shoes. And the line about the only zipper in the room was undone. That was done well and added such flavor.
This book could also have been written as a bit of a romantic suspense. The character and the story grabbed me and I didn't want to stop reading.
I enjoyed seeing Rachael in action when she was in the courtroom and putting the case together. And it was good to see the Postal Service portrayed in a different light and getting a chance to see some of the inner workings of their world.
Raven West: title - First Class Male
**** This story combined small town life with big city crowds. It showed surprising insight into the daily life of postal workers and readers will find the author seemed to do much research on the various duties in the job! The book has several sub-plots that will keep the readers involved and wondering what will happen next. However, the ending will leave many readers satisfied and many others frustrated! Very good reading within these pages!
**** HUNTRESS BOOK REVIEWS
(Reviewed by Detra Fitch)