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In the Heart of the Linden Wood

By

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Linden Wood has a broken heart, and only through healing it can King Christopher start to heal his own.

King Christopher has a broken heart. Instead of celebrating the birth of an heir, both is beloved wife, Queen Lily, and their child, who drew not a single breath, are taken by the fates. In his grief, Christopher withers in lonely agony. He cannot even bring himself to leave the castle to attend the funeral procession. But Christohper is not the only one whose heart is breaking. Geraldine, the Healer who had been responsible for the birth of his child and the care of Queen Lily, is stripped of her badge and banished back to her hometown, though the deaths of the royals are through no fault of her own. Her son, Alistair, is largely non-verbal, but highly intelligent and loving, and who suffers ridicule from other children. Then there is Lemuel, who for years now has been fighting to obtain the earnings owed his family which the previous King Vincent wrongfully withheld. How much heartbreak does it take to break the very heart of an entire kingdom? Linden is known for its magical lumber. When a mysterious disease starts causing the magic of the wood to fail, the whole kingdom is put in jeopardy. 


In the Heart of the Linden Wood is a story about overcoming our own heartaches to stay true to our obligations not only to ourselves, but to our communities, loved ones and world at large. While set in a fantasy world, the trials and tribulations of that world are as real as the trees outside my own window. The strength of a community is shown in how it rebounds and rebuilds after a hardship. For Linden, the deaths of Queen Lily and the royal heir make for a backdrop through which we see Christopher, Geraldine and others endure the aftermath of their loss. Especially evident is the lesson that sometimes our actions betray even our best intentions. 


Christopher strives to be the opposite of what his tyrant father was as a King. Still, his life of privilege has still made him blind to some of the suffers of those less fortunate than he, and he has to learn to understand that what he puts forth as being best for the kingdom might actually only be what’s best for the few. When he sets out with Geraldine, her son and his trusted friend, Sir Martin, to save the Linden Wood, he learns that being the King he strives to be means acting with consideration, rather than haste, and taking the time to listen to ideas we may not want to hear. As a ruler, he learns that he has to discern between his instincts to protect himself from further suffering from his instincts to protect his people.


Similarly, Lemuel and the revolutionaries that storm the castle may have a noble goal: they seek to be paid what they are owed. Instead of peaceful negotiation and strategic action, however, their desperation leads them to commit treasonous acts, including putting the royal family and Councilors in shackles. In Lemuel, we see the dangers of allowing our own conflicts to spill over and blind us to the conflicts of others around us. We also see what happens when rash decisions, while intending to resolve said conflict, actually only make things worse, instead.


In the Heart of the Linden Wood was slightly slow to start, but the poignant lesson and morals contained within the book, along with the heartfelt, relevant plights of the different characters combined to form a wholesome, exciting and worthwhile read.  

Reviewed by

Megan has been an avid reader and writer since she was little. A paralegal by day, Megan obtained dual bachelor's degrees in Creative Writing and English, as well as a Master's in Public History. She has several fiction and non-fiction publications of her own. She loves dogs, books...and naps!

The Keeper's Question

About the author

Since 2005, Ekta has written and edited about everything from healthcare to home improvement to Hindi films. She’s a freelance editor, writing contest judge, book podcaster, and book reviewer. Ekta also manages The Write Edge, posting original short fiction, book reviews, and Instagram posts.. view profile

Published on February 07, 2023

Published by Atmosphere Press

90000 words

Genre: Magical Realism

Reviewed by