Home Reviews Where to Buy eMail Author Blog

 
Reviews
 
"Secrets" Reviews
Amazon.com
SFsite.com
The Eugene Register Guard



A Solid First Novel -- by Georges T. Dodds, SFsite.com: B.G. Smith has done well in writing a book which, while steeped in gynocentric mythology and ritual and obviously designed for a predominantly female readership, also has sufficient adventure, powerful male characters, and graphic but not gratuitous sex, to interest the typical male reader. Smith has also done well in not writing a rambling "fat novel" for her first effort, though she does pack a lot of material into the book. She has kept the story down to two main plot lines and avoided lengthy tangents. While their themes are extremely different, the succinctness of her writing reminds me of Richard Matheson, whose novels and short stories, while evocative, are very efficient in their use of words. In Matheson's case, this is likely linked to his years of screenplay writing where text must be cut to the bone. Similarly in Smith's work, her years of writing advertising copy have served her well in creating a work that reads quickly and fluidly without being exempt of emotion and panorama. Where Secrets of the Ancient Goddess is a bit weak is in its "Hollywood realism." It does seem that Smith has researched the era of which she writes in some detail. However, while never stated outright, one gets the impression that however grim the circumstances, the women all have their hair done and the men are each wearing their best shiny sword. Undramatic things like epidemic diseases, endoparasitism, the constant drudgery of hunting and gathering, the lack of basic sanitation and anything but the most rudimentary medicine, and the resultant short life expectancies of the neolithic people are so many things that are glossed over for the sake of the story. There are plenty of brutal killings and rapes and the like, but these are the sorts of plot devices that while perhaps realistic in the context, also simply play well for shock value. On the other hand, the depiction of the characters' evolving response to events in a psycho-theological context is fairly well done, though given the absence of written documents from this era, our recreations of ancient religions are guesses at best. Overall, Secrets of the Ancient Goddess is a solid first novel. The prehistoric novel is certainly a writing niche occupied by a limited number of authors, so B.G. Smith should easily be able to continue in this literary form. The plotting and feel of the novel will appeal more to a female readership, but should not leave men unsatisfied. Besides, if some of us can't take the new female prehistoric heroines we can always go and rent Encino Man.

Back to Top 



An Absorbing Tale -- by Nancy Olson. The Eugene Register Guard: Brenda Gates Smith's first novel has many intriguing components, but first and foremost it is simply an absorbing tale of prehistoric times. It takes place in 5700 B.C. on ancient land that is now Turkey. The well-paced story evokes the magical feeling that is often present in one's youth when reading the high adventure found in myths, fairy tales and other fictional fantasies. But this fantasy belongs to today's mass market romance genre, so take heed; it's got some adult content. But when you mix the novel's eroticism with its other components - including goddess mythology, nature-based and feminist spirituality and the exploration of power in ancient cultures, themes that give the book a New Age connection - you have the makings for some lively reading. Happily, the magic of pure adventure prevails. It makes for some pretty heady stuff, and Smith does an excellent job of keeping readers not only engrossed but often on the edge of their seats. The author moves back and forth skillfully between Yana's story and Henne's. While Yana surrenders to an adoption ritual that few people survive, Henne pits the power of the goddess against that of Ralic's god in some heart-stopping scenes. Smith develops her characters as skillfully as she does her plot, and attachments to them are quickly and easily formed. They are interesting and multidimensional, and Smith artfully reveals their many facets; by the book's end, the reader cares very much about what happens to them. She is working on the sequel to "Secrets of the Ancient Goddess." Aficionados of the romance genre will very much enjoy Smith's well-written first novel and will look forward to the next (Goddess of the Mountain Harvest)



Amazon.com 5-star Reader Rating -- Excellent book about strong women, set in the distant past: This book was hard to put down, the story lines are engrossing, the main characters well drawn and believable.It made a pleasant change to read about strong women on a journey towards enlightenment and understanding. There were many unexpected surprises which had me gripping the pages,bringing home the uncertainty and danger of their lives.In the process I learned a great deal about prehistoric times, and the journeys women take across the ages on their search for an identity. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, it held my attention and interest, I cared about the characters and want to know more about what happens to them after th ebook ends. How about a sequel?

Back to Top 





"Harvest" Reviews
Amazon.com
OneMagazine.net

Awakened Women eMagazine
SFsite.com


I Wished I Had a Time Machine -- by Kit James, OneMagazine: It's true. Just five thousand years ago women ruled. They were the center of the family, they had the last word, they were regarded as wise and magical, as life givers and mother to all. Their laws were not questioned, and violence was not tolerated. Sex was a beautiful thing, not dirty, not a weapon. Brenda Gates Smith revisits Turkey in 5,000 BC, in this wonderfully, intricately detailed tale of a village caught in the winds of changing times. The old system of matriarchy and the new, forcefully insistent development of patriarchy are clashing violently in their valley. The goddess is being replaced by a god, as a frightening northern tribe atop horses turns away from agriculture and harmony with nature and towards pillaging, kidnapping, murder and rape. The careully thought out rituals of the village are mesmerizing, the descriptions of the sweeping, fertile valley enticing. I wished I had a time machine. (This is a sequel to Secrets of the Ancient Goddess, but you can read each independently without being lost).


Rich with Imaginative Details -- by Diane Rae Schulz, Awakened Woman e-Magazine: This engaging story, set in 5700 B.C. in an area now called Turkey, transports the reader to a place where the Great Goddess was worshipped, and war was definitely not the order of the day. But this peaceful, horticultural society was already feeling the invasive energy of another people they called "barbarians." Smith's novel speaks to a time of great upheaval and change as the traditional matriarchal, and incipient patriarchal peoples meet and make decisions that will affect the course of history thereafter. Smith has researched her archeological material thoroughly. Her presentation is rich with imaginative details about life as it possibly was lived in prehistoric times. There is also a romantic tone to her characterization: themes of unrequited love, passion between the sexes, rivalry and betrayal, mystery and magic ritual --; all entwine their tendrils around the main characters. Smith gives us a lot to reflect on. Find yourself a comfortable spot by the fire this winter, let your mind be absorbed into another time and place, a time of volcanic change, but a place of decisive and divinely inspired intelligence. Smith seems to suggest that we all need to reconsider our options in this equally challenging place we occupy in time. Hibernation is one of the best ways to find the quiet place one needs to consider those options, but it's always better with an insightful book as a companion.

Back to Harvest 



Amazon.com 5-Star Reader Rating -- A Page Turner: Goddess of the Mountain Harvest, by Brenda Gates Smith is an exciting new book that challenges the intellect and takes the reader into the ancient civilizations and the inter-relationships between men and women that are still relevant for today. The book is well written in colorful detail and displays the far reaching effects of the worship of the mother goddess that has influenced art, culture and history. It is the 2nd book in a series that has yet to be written. Let's encourage this bright, new author to enlighten us further by continuing these delightful books of courage, beauty and romance. If you enjoyed her first book, Secrets of the Ancient Goddess, you will find Goddess of the Mountain Harvest to be a spell binding, page turner.


A Synergistic Strength -- by Georges T. Dodds, SFsite.com: Goddess of the Mountain Harvest is a sequel to Brenda Gates Smith's Secrets of the Ancient Goddess. As with her first novel, the story concentrates on the lives of two women destined to be high priestesses of a peaceful matriarchal agrarian society in prehistoric Turkey. As in Secrets of the Ancient Goddess, Ms. Smith has paid attention to the anthropological details in presenting the early agrarian society of her heroines and the nomadic lifestyle of the horsemen who threaten them. While the writing is richer in terms of female symbolism and mysticism, it maintains the clear, uncomplicated narrative style that makes the story move forward nicely. Goddess of the Mountain Harvest, while perhaps not geared for "male sensibilities" is, however, excellent in depicting the dichotomy of interpretation of the goddess figure by the two young women, Yana and Henne, and how each draws strength from her own understanding of their tribal spirituality. While one is spiritual and controlled, the other is practical, headstrong and impulsive, leading them to be at loggerheads at times, but to have a synergistic strength when working towards the same goal. Whether this predominant theme satisfies you or leaves you wishing for a smidgen less gyno-centrism is yours to discover.

Back to Top           




 






Copyright © Brenda Gates Smith