Historical Fiction,  Review

The Hawkman: A Fairy Tale of the Great War by Jane Rosenberg LaForge


Published: June 5th 2018

Publisher: Amberjack Publishing

Pages: 280

Genre: Historical Fiction / Fantasy / Retelling

Stars: 3.5/5

3 half_edited

Goodreads blurb_edited

A great war, a great love, and the mythology that unites them; The Hawkman: A Fairy Tale of the Great War is a lyrical adaptation of a beloved classic. 

Set against the shattering events of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, at the tale’s heart are an American schoolteacher—dynamic and imaginative—and an Irish musician, homeless and hated—who have survived bloodshed, poverty, and sickness to be thrown together in an English village. Together they quietly hide from the world in a small cottage. 

Too soon, reality shatters their serenity, and they must face the parochial community. Unknown to all, a legend is in the making—one that will speak of courage and resilience amidst the forces that brought the couple together even as outside forces threaten to tear them apart.


The Hawkman, as title suggest was a fairy tale of war, a story of the Hawkman- an Irish musician and an American school teacher- Miss Williams, inspired from Grimm Brothers’ story- The Bearskin and recorded experience of prisoners of war. It was about the greatest war, its casualties, horrible mistreatments of prisoners during the WWI, and how it changed life of people including those survived the war; about courage, humanity, compassion, and resilience; society and its rigid stereotypical mindset.


The Hawkman (Michael) – He was an Irish musician, who had to be a part of war that taken from him his passion and humanity, abondoned by his own people and left to wonder the streets without food and shelter. Even though he was treated very cruelly, he never lost his sanity, never fought for his need and never was threat to anyone still people saw him as threatening diseased plagued creature. He was such a gentleman who suffered lot. Author write this character very creatively and for that I gave most of the stars.

Miss Williams (Eva) – She was American teacher came to teach at women’s college of Bridgetonne. She was smart, caring, compassionate, creative storyteller and an outstanding strong female character in the world of men. Her childhood was depressing and she suffered lot herself but she turned out a great woman who could see humanity in the Hawkman and taken him under her care.

What I liked_edited

Flowery, lyrical writing with the touch of both fantasy and reality that had a classical feel narrated by third person switching between present life of protagonists, their past and experience, and tales of Eva and her mother.

First chapter was much promising with wonderful description of The Hawkman, village, and earl of the village. I loved the way author described Hawkman’s look and how he got his name. He was one mysterious and weirdly interesting character that hooked me to the book from the very beginning. I wanted to know more about him and what caused him such appearance. Eva and her story inspired from Grimm brother’s told at the luncheon that was strikingly similar to Hawkman, was mesmerizing. All of her stories throughout this book was greatly narrated by author. But I admit some were very confusing, to be specific her mother’s tales and her childhood stories.

Lord Thorton and villager were the real antagonists of the book. They were awfully cruel towards The Hawkman and Miss Williams’ strong challenging thoughts. I couldn’t understand what Lord Thorton’s problem was. He was epitome of hypocrite and stereotype, rude and totally thoughtless who refused to understand condition of both Michael and Miss William. He acted heartless during their downtime.

Life story of Michael was sad and thought-provoking. One by one author told his story from his passion as a musician to his time in war, his tormenting experience on field, how he lost his hearing, fingers, voice, look, got awful disease that didn’t have cure, how ultimately he was abandoned by his own people, tagged traitor, and named The Hawkman by villagers. He was the worst casualty of the war, a living example of what war can do to a person. It was horrible to read his account.

Both Michael and Eva’s childhood was very depressing. It helped to get the clear background of characters. I liked the way they both cared for each other. It was poignant to read what they gone through in this book. The end of their story was fantastical and I liked to see development in Christopher by the end of the book.

why not 5 stars_edited

Though the writing was outstanding that any literature lovers and students would love to read, it took lot of time and concentration for me to read this book.

Some tales and some part of Eva’s childhood was very confusing and so lengthy that it distracted me from the main plot and at the end I couldn’t understand it completely. Many times I put the book on hold and lost interest that I had in initial chapters and in Michael’s story. At some point it felt like it was focused more on writing than the story.

Another thing that I wanted in book was, Eva and Michael’s chemistry, more of their current problems, and their fight with society which was overshadowed by their past and childhood.


Overall, it was interesting, thought-provoking, beautifully written story but it was difficult to read for me. Those who like historical fiction with touch of magical realism will definitely enjoy this book.


Author: Jane Rosenberg LaForge

To know more about author click ⇒ Here .

Buy Link:  Amazon.com / Amazon.in

*** Note: I received e-arc of this book via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to publisher and NetGalley. ***

What do you think about the book and my review? Have you read this book already? Have you read something similar to this before? Share your thoughts in comment-box below.

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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”


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