Reviewed By Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers’ Favorite
Lexa Dudley writes a striking historic rendition of life on the island of Sardinia. Children of the Mists is a story of enduring love. Set in the 1800s, life on Sardinia had barely changed since the time of the Caesars. Two families, the Sannas and the Canus, are united by friendship and adversity. Love and laughter, joy and promises, omens and superstitions, youth and experience transcend generations. However, for Raefella and Antonio, their passionate love becomes entangled with revenge. Death changes devotion. Promises are forgotten. Vendettas cannot be ignored. Ambition clouds judgments. Antonio and Raefella were promised to each other, nothing would keep them apart, not even family. Committed to each other, they fight for their love against all odds.
Children of the Mists by Lexa Dudley captures your heart and takes you back in time. A time lost in tradition and love. A time long past, but not easily forgotten. Dudley is an endearing storyteller. Her writing technique is full of illustrious scenes, depicting the beautiful sights, aromatic scents and the echoing sounds of Sardinia. Every word portrays her devotion to the ancient culture of the untamed island. The Sardinian traditions and language are skillfully woven throughout the narrative’s plot. The characters are strong, wild, and at times, illicitly ambitious. Yet, also tender, traditional and passionate, conveying a well-rounded cast. The plot develops graciously, steadily reaching the climax. Then it tumbles down with a few unexpected turns of events, causing the reader to be engulfed in this story of unbridled love and retribution.
by Cheryl E Rodriguez
Reviewed By Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite
Children of the Mists by Lexa Dudley is a story of honor, love, revenge and honesty of emotions. When Salvatore Sanna saved the life of his neighbor Gestinu Canu, Canu promised Sanna that he would marry off his son Orlando to Sanna's daughter Victoria. The two neighbors are living in harmony and happiness, with a cordial friendship, and Orlando and Victoria truly love one another.
However, Victoria’s brother Antonello loves Orlando’s sister Rafaella. The two lovers want to be together, but the Canu family has big plans for Rafaella and they will not let her settle for someone who is not meant for her and her worth. What are these two lovers going to do? Will Orlando and Victoria’s love survive this conflict? Will Rafaella and Antonello be able to enjoy a life together filled with love? Will Canu and Sanna's friendship survive after this drawback? Will honor allow love to prevail or make it perish?
Lexa Dudley has done a brilliant job with Children of the Mists. The story was the perfect combination of love, revenge, and, of course, honor. The historically correct aspects of the story will take you back in time and allow you to appreciate the characters so much more. You will be transported back to 1855 and you will fall in love with Sardinia, the amazing country of the Canu and Sanna family. It was indeed a great story, one I would like to read again. The novel was great and I enjoyed it immensely. The story had just the right amount of thrills and love to make it perfect. This novel is not to be missed.
by Rabia Tanveer
Review Rating:5 stars! Download your free 5 Star Seal.
Reviewed By Katelyn Hensel for Readers’ Favorite
Two families, bound by a debt of gratitude, work peacefully as neighbors. The Sanna and Canu families have lived and thrived alongside one another through the years. Salvatore Sanna and Gestinu Canu even paired their children to be married, so all would appear to be perfect in paradise. Only, the eldest Sanna son is in love with Rafaella Canu and must go against her father and older brother's wishes if he wants to be with his love. In a series of moves reminiscent of a medieval political drama, the two families are shaken apart by vendettas and petty grudges and then pieced back together again by the bond of love.
In Children of the Mists, Lexa Dudley paints a beautiful picture of love, family, and the struggle to do what is right. As exotic landscapes and settings go, you really don't often get to see off the beaten path places like Sardinia. I'm glad that Lexa Dudley resurrected it from the annals of time, because the countryside of the late 1800s can be a beautiful and romantic place - as Dudley's expert writing describes for us. I admit I got swept away with the romance of the settings and two pairings. The names alone were deliciously foreign and cast a hearty glow over the story, really transplanting me into the heart of the novel and holding me there so that I wanted to keep reading long after my eyelids were drooping closed at night. Children of the Mists is a must-read for those who love family dramas, historical fiction, or simply romance.
by Katelyn Hensel
Reviewed By Mamta Madhavan
Children of the Mists by Lexa Dudley is a love story set in Sardinia in 1855. While Salvatore Sanna worked hard all his life to gain his land, his neighbor Gestinu Canu got it pretty easy through marriage. Both of them are going to be related soon as Victoria, Salvatore's daughter, is getting married to Orlando Canu. It is a match fixed as a bond of honor to return Salvatore's gesture of saving Gestinu's life earlier. They also love each other. Salvatore's son, Antonello Sanna, loves Rafaella, Gestinu Canu's daughter. Rafaella's father and brother have other plans for her. It's an engrossing story of love, revenge, desire and honor.
The story is engaging with its romance, revenge, twists and turns that keep readers guessing about what is going to follow. The characters are well portrayed and the book also gives a peek into the Sard society that existed in 1855, and the wildness of the place before the unification of the Italian States took place. The narration is descriptive and detailed, and captures the beauty of the land, making the scenes and story very visual. There is a raw passion and sensuality in the romantic scenes which make it very tangible to readers. Readers will soak up the beauty of Sardinia as the story captures the essence of the place. The author's love for Sardinia is evident as the story progresses. On the whole, it is a love story that will win the hearts of readers with its many dimensions. An entertaining love story that will captivate the readers with its romance, passion, revenge and honor.
by Mamta Madhavan
Reviewed By Valerie Rouse
Children of the Mists, set in the 1800s in Sardinia, is a delightful story about the enduring love that Raffaella Sanna and Antonio have for each other. They live in the countryside with their immediate families. As childhood sweethearts, they matured into adults still caring for each other the same way. Unfortunately, Raffaellas greedy brother Orlando wants her to get married to Luigi, a doctor from Sassari. Orlando believed that he would obtain a huge fortune if Raffaella became Luigi’s wife. He felt that he would have access to Raffaella’s land and sell the trees on the land and become rich. This plan was interrupted as Luigi’s jealousy intervened and he tried to dispose of Antonio. Antonio survived the ordeal. Will Antonio and Raffaella's love survive?
Children of the Mists is an intriguing tale with a historical slant. Author Lexa Dudley did an excellent job in presenting her enchanting plot. The language used is colloquial and is quite easy to understand. I love the way in which the author intertwined the elements of ethnicity, clan rivalry and romance in her story. The author also thoroughly explored the pervasive theme of good versus evil in a dramatic yet effective manner. I enjoyed the camaraderie between the family members. This denotes a sense of loyalty which is lacking in our society today. It is akin to a breath of fresh air in a balmy summer. Nowadays, many societies have embraced a selfish mentality and the author’s emphasis on close knit communities is quite refreshing. The pace of the story is a bit slow at first, however, it picks up as the plot unfolds. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Children of the Mists. I recommend it to all lovers of historical romance, and romance in general.
by Valerie Rouse
Sometimes love breeds vengeance, vengeance breeds tragedy, and tragedy, in turn, breeds love again. Set in Sardinia between the years 1855 and 1860 and divided into two parts, everything comes full circle in Children of the Mists by Lexa Dudley. More than anything else, Dudley shows us exactly what transpires before one generation of Sards makes way for the next, and how it is that, no matter how terra incognita we might figure some culture to be, it is just as powerful, wonderful, and pulsating as every other.
Raffaella Canu had been sent to Itteri for a decent education. Gestinu, her father, had high hopes for her future. Whatever they were, Raffaella only wished for one thing: to be with Antonio, the shepherd boy she had loved since childhood. Orlando, her brother, however, doesn’t want Antonio in his sister’s future. To Orlando, his sister is still just as soft-witted as she was before she went to Itteri. She could have a wonderful life if she would just see reason and agree to marry Luigi, a prominent doctor who also happens to be his best friend. It might take more than a promise for Raffaella to finally be with the man of her dreams.
Change is a thing that dwells just between the realms of good and bad, unbiased and final. For some, change can mean a new, more wonderful life. For others, it can only mean more misery. For the Sardinians in this novel, change means abiding to laws that are not their own, but the laws of some king who is out to unite every single Italian state so that everyone “can prosper as one country”. The Sards have land, but there are those who would take it away from them within the blink of an eye. One misstep and a language known as legalese renders them fugitives, after which they are hunted by the Carabineri or doomed to the nullified life of a bandit.
The first part, starting at 1855, introduces us to the lifestyle and customs of the Sards. We are introduced to the Sannas and the Canus, and can easily see how the lives of these two families are connected. “Vitoria and Orlando were promised to each other in marriage; in a contract made between Gestinu and Salvatore, as Salvatore had saved his friend’s life when he first came to live in the mountains.” In the second part, three years after cholera made its way into their lives, the stage is set for a beautiful tale of love, vengeance, and redemption.
It doesn’t take much to imagine Sardinia and all of its beauty. “Although she couldn’t see the river, Raffaella could hear it in the valley below as it grumbled and chattered its way over a bed of shiny, cold, grey stones; as it bubbled in the ravine with the fullness of extra water from the melted snows of the distant, haze-green mountains.” We are taken to ravines, caves, small churches, and bedrooms in which the very light of dawn that enters it is graced by the author. Refined human life is faraway, neither important to the reader nor more desirable than Dudley’s craftily recreated setting.
There is more than one love story, the one towering over every other in the book of course being that of Raffaella and Antonio. They have loved each other since childhood, and a doctor with “clammy” hands can be seen as the hand that aims to snatch cupid’s arrow out of the air just before it strikes its target. Another love story is that of Marina, who is Antonio’s little sister, and a bandit named Gavinu. Dudley also throws in an unexpected romance that I found to be quite a surprise. Because of the alternating third person narrative, we get to follow each of them without much of a fuss.
Raffaella might be the main protagonist, but it is the characters around her, what with her just wanting to be with Antonio and all, that keeps things interesting. Even Sergio, an old shepherd, can make one burst out laughing when he works on the nerves of Orlando with his superstitious babbling. Small characters get to play pivotal roles to move the story along to its dreaded, and I mean this in a positive way, conclusion. Gabriella, Antonio’s mother, is the character through which we can get a lot of information about the Sard culture. She is important to the community, a healer who gets called upon many Sards when they fall ill.
Orlando is the personification of ambition, making decisions based purely on logic rather than love. While not the main antagonist, he is perhaps the main reason for all the conflict and heartache in this novel. He is not an evil human being, but for some reason, his destiny doesn’t seem to be one that is filled with happiness. “’You’re cursed, you’re cursed,’ repeated the shepherd, whimpering.” His decisions tend not to end up well. When one looks at his development in the book, it’s easy to see how the author took great care with him.
The theme of change and the different outcomes it has for different people was well explored. Raffaella was proud of her homeland and to her change didn’t involve a life away from her home and married to a doctor. Orlando was exactly the opposite. Change was his way of forgetting the past. Other themes like vengeance and redemption also played a big part. The Sards seems to have a particular notion when it comes to revenge. “As a fellow Sard, you must know the importance of revenge.” Orlando himself seemed to encompass almost every theme book, which, considering that he is not the main protagonist, only leads me to wonder why.
I got a lot from this book. I got laughs and I got tears. I got to experience Sardinia from 1855 to 1860 and all its greatness. I could see greenery, mountains, and people in love. I felt that I was reading a wonderful romance novel set in a magical place.
I reviewed this book for Readers’ Favorite and extended the review for my blog.
by Readers’ Favorite
I truly loved reading this book set in 19th century Sardinia. Having listened to many stories from sardinian friends and relatives about generations past the book really brings to life the soul of this beautiful land during harsh times. I know it's a cliche but I could not put the book down as the story and intrigue developed having become attached to the wonderful protagonists. Not only will you be captivated by the tender love story of Vittoria and Antonio but get caught up in their love for their stunning land and its traditions which is all the more refreshing given today's high-tech society. A must read!
by Deborah Michele