An American author, A.L. Duncan writes women’s literature of various genres. She lives with her partner in Cincinnati, Ohio and writes the sort of fiction where history makes cameo appearances, and poetry is nestled in nooks. Her debut novel, The Gardener of Aria Manor (released in 2014) is currently a GCLS Finalist.
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The Gardner of Aria Manor
Janie O'Grady is a woman quite adapted to her life and circumstances as they are, living in New York City during the Great Depression. A hint of cynicism clouds the cold winter streets and keeps the rum runners strange bedfellows to the Irish mob's bounty in and out of speakeasy's, daring to brush shoulders with the neighboring Italian mobs. At a moment where Janie fears for her life she is presented with circumstances which seem like a harsh nudge from the heavens to decide her own destiny. Feeling there is no other choice, Janie makes the fateful decision to change her identity and move to the Devon countryside on the coastal shores of England, as a Head Gardener to a 17th century manor, where déjà vu and the intrigues of a past life and murder mystery overshadow her life in the big city. This tale invites you to peek into the pages of one woman's life and follow her incredible story of self-discovery of a very different kind; where looking back at one's past includes connecting the threads of passions and desires of a life lived before. A life lived where one's odyssey must wait to complete the circle in the next life.
From the crumbling pages of ancient Celtic scrolls comes a vivid world of mysticism and unflinching valor. Ban Talah is the daughter of Tlachtga, Goddess of the Thunderbolt. Unbound by mortal laws Ban Talah must find strength in her own moral constitutions in all their depths and complexities and not distance herself from the deep undercurrent of her immortality in order to fulfill her Geasa, her duty, as a strength and legend to her people. It is the time of King Henry II, ruler of England, where Celtic-Christianity struggled with Rome's papacy and the legitimacy of paganism within the Church. It is a time that begins the reaping of a terrible sowing.
The insidious heart of a French Cardinal, a man of mysterious dealings, has set the elements of evil astir. In order to save Henry's England Ban Talah must first save the Lady of the Land from the bindings of the Cardinal's sorcerous, wintery enchantment, a spell that is also a wicked inheritance of ills against the healers of her people. This is a tale of how one woman led her people in loyalty to a King and the Church a respect in her people, driving all that she fought for into all that she also fought against. A woman whom all called: Ban Talah.
Secrets of Angels
After four years of war ravaging the French countryside and towns, it looked as if all sense of humanity had disappeared. To an outsider, the streets of 1918 Paris would seem the worst and most dreary place for an American to ever wish to step foot upon being only ninety miles from the closest front. This, of course, was the fear that beset the soul of Marguerite Adler. She would not have had the slightest interest in traveling to Paris if it were not for a letter from her mother's estate, which stated her presence was needed immediately to settle affairs. Marguerite's life becomes gradually transformed in a city that is very much removed from any imaginations. Paris, despite parts of it damaged, is quite alive and colorful. It is in Paris where she finds Jean, a seemingly virtuous soul trapped in a mind exposed to the effects of war and her patriotic support. Both women, having pledged themselves to peace, albeit in quite opposite ways, find themselves attracted to a spirit the other wished they had. This is a story of how civilians survived in an everyday world of atrocity, hostilities and love by their almost sublime faiths and their prevailing submission of acceptance of the world around them.
1924. For anthropologist Oksana Dimitriova, this meant delving deeper than her life and all that Russia's university scholars had taught her. She had learned early in life that mixing science and the mystical life were something out of the ordinary, and that one didn't express an interest in them lest one was prepared to divulge a good defense against others harsh judgments. Influenced by their ancestors, Russia and its neighboring countries were imbued with cultures that had faithfully practiced timeless beliefs. As with all such beliefs, there is always a story that strengthens the future in legendary proportion. Time shifts, and events form into place. What was once, long ago, will return again. What Oksana didn't know was that according to the heavens, history was about to repeat itself.
With Lenin dead, Stalin's powerful dictatorship has unfolded a cataclysmic ripple of destruction that spread across the Caucasus Mountains into Georgia. The discovery of a 4th Century B.C. priestess-warrior will take Oksana on a journey to find the warrior woman's descendants, amid the chaos and evils of her nation's politics. This is a tale of two women, whose lives, and the lives of those around them, are bound in synchronicity. There will always be threads of life the constellations will connect. Does it matter the events are 2,500 years apart?
"There is a strangely prevailing spirit that wants us to discover something," said Oksana's mentor. "I know we have found a most unnatural treasure that will transform Russian hearts, and those of the world."