Monday, August 13, 2012

Review: The Way by Kristen Wolf with bonus guest post

Anna is a fiery tomboy living in ancient Palestine whose androgynous appearance provokes ridicule from the people around her and doubt within her own heart. When tragedy strikes her family, and Anna’s father disguising her as a boy sells her to a band of shepherds, she is captured by a mystical and secret society of women hiding in the desert. At first Anna is tempted to escape, but she soon finds that the sisterhood’s teachings and healing abilities, wrapped in an ancient philosophy they call “The Way,” have unleashed an unexpected power within her.
When danger befalls the caves in which the sisters have made their home, Anna embarks on a hazardous mission to preserve the wisdom of her mentors by proclaiming it among ordinary people. Her daring quest and newfound destiny reveal, at last, the full truth of her identity a shocking revelation that will spark as much controversy as it does celebration.
Anna’s story is one of transformation, betrayal, love, loss, deception, and above all, redemption. Readers will cheer for this unforgettable protagonist and for debut novelist Kristen Wolf, whose beautifully written book both provokes and inspires. A compelling mix of history, myth, and fantasy, The Way is a fascinating exploration of the foundations and possibilities of human spirituality.


Kristen Wolf wove a very interesting tale, showing what a creative mind she has in this telling of Anna, from the time she was a young girl struggling to understand why her existence was so conflicted to growing into a strong woman who finds a purpose. At the root of it all is a story that every person knows on some level, the author just creates a version that is different than anything you will have read before and shows the mark of a very vivid imagination.

Kristen also stopped by to discuss overcoming rejection.

HOW TO OVERCOME REJECTION – 3 Lessons from Anna of THE WAY  
By Kristen Wolf           

On a quest to find her place in the world, the spirited young heroine in my novel, THE WAY, comes face-to-face with some monumental obstacles.

First, being a girl at the turn of the first millennia, her community and even her family consider her nearly worthless. Second, she is further shunned and misunderstood because of her unusual appearance.

Eventually, she is cast out.

While you may or may not suffer these difficulties in particular, we can all relate, at one time or another, to being rejected for reasons beyond our control. And it is during these times that we often turn to stories to help us cope.

Feeling yourself condemned by friends, family, work associates, even society at large, is devastating. There is no other word for it. And being exiled—for whatever reason—comes with a terribly high cost.

In fact, a friend recently told me that her vote against further layoffs at work turned so many co-workers against her that she began to question her own value as a person! The same gnawing doubts can arise from a multitude of situations both large and small that pit us—our beliefs, values, actions—against those of the status quo.

What, then, can we do to strengthen ourselves when faced with times of personal rejection and crisis?   

Anna’s story of struggle and eventual triumph provides three insights with which we can empower ourselves: 

1)    Trust your instincts.
It sounds trite, but do you do it? Really? Do you truly believe in your inner voice enough to defend it against the opposing opinions of others? In Anna’s case, she secretly befriended a person she was forbidden to talk to. In her heart, Anna knew the woman was good and not the evil-doer the villagers described. Rather than harming her, their resulting friendship catapulted Anna toward her destiny. Are there places in your life where you’re making choices just to “get along” rather than trusting your gut?
2)    Challenge the status quo—ask the difficult questions.
 So much in our lives depends on the questions we ask—and, perhaps even more, on those we don’t ask. Humanity depends on those who challenge our assumptions. Without them, the world would remain flat, leeches a cure all, and women unable to vote. When her father mourned the loss of his son and felt cursed with a daughter, Anna demanded to know: Why is a dead son worth more than a living daughter? At the time, this was an outrageous question. Today we know better. Are there questions you’re burning to ask but do not for fear of upsetting “the way things are”?

  3)    Spend time with the eternal.  
To practice the first two insights takes enormous inner strength and resolve. One place from which we can all draw limitless inspiration and purpose is the eternal world, the world that exists beyond us. Try spending a little time contemplating something that is part of this world every day. The thing itself doesn’t have to be grand or exotic. What matters is not the object, but the depth of your attention. Anna drew incredible inspiration from a single blade of grass. You might do the same from a houseplant. Maybe a bird outside. Or how about opening your fridge? Any fruit or vegetable will do! Contemplate how its life began. Where it draws its energy from. How it is vulnerable or strong. While the practice may seem odd at first, over time you will feel deeply emboldened by these moments spent communing with what endures.           


Author Bio:

Kristen Wolf, 43, is a mother and writer living in the Rocky Mountains. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Georgetown University and holds an M.A. in creative writing and film from Hollins College where she was awarded a full scholarship.
As a child, Wolf grew up in a heavily forested suburb outside New York City with her parents, a younger brother, and an ever-changing menagerie of pet animals.
Both Wolf’s parents and grandparents passed onto her an avid love and respect for nature which explains the photos of Wolf posing with an ever-widening array of pets, including cats, dogs, guinea pigs, mice, quail, two raccoons, chickens, even a squirrel that lived in her bedroom! Needless to say, hers wasn’t the average American family.
Later, Wolf’s family purchased land in upstate New York and on weekends and summers lived like a regular Swiss Family Robinson, clearing the land, building fences, barns and, eventually, raising and tending cattle, horses, pigs, goats, chickens etc. This led to a very unique life for Wolf and her brother as they lived like farmers on the weekends and students in a suburban public school during the week.
Wolf credits her unique childhood for providing her with keen powers of observation, a passion for living things, unlimited curiosity, and a strong independent streak.
As an adult, Wolf has worked primarily as filmmaker and writer.
THE WAY is her first novel.
  Connect with Kristen!

book trailer:

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