Book Review: Beyond the Wind Music by Mary Emma Sivils
A Novel

Image by morn in japan from Pixabay

Important… What was she waiting for that night?

So it’s been a little while since I’ve done a book review. It’s been a busy year launching my debut novel, The Queen and the Shadow Witch. But I have been reading, and I’m really excited to tell you about one of my recent reads. I think I’ve it said before, but my main reason for doing book reviews on my website is to get good books in the hands of readers by authors (mostly indie) that many have probably never heard of. The books I feature might not be on the shelf of your local bookstore or pop up in your reading group, but I believe they are worth your time. And you might find one of the best books you’ll read this year. (Jump to review for Beyond the Wind Music by Mary Emma Sivils.) 

Why read books by indie authors? Aren’t there plenty of traditionally published books out there? I think for a lot of people when they hear “indie,” they think poor quality—a book that didn’t make the cut to be traditionally published. But that’s simply not true. Publishers generally pick “safe” book. They pick books that match current trends, books they’re sure they can market to a maximum number of readers, books that fit what is culturally (not necessarily biblically) acceptable. Likewise, Christian publishers are taking on books that fit a specific mold. If like me, you’re a fan of fantasy and science fiction, you will not find much of that in the traditional Christian market. As a result, if you stick with “traditional,” you are going to miss out on some great and unique fiction.

A few years back, I’d been in a reading slump for some time. I just wasn’t that excited about the books I was reading. One book seemed so much like another—same plot structure, similar storytelling style, familiar types of characters. I wanted something new, something different, something exciting that I hadn’t read a hundred times. 

First, I dug into a lot of the bestsellers and big-time traditional authors. Now, I found some great books and fantastic authors. But, I also found a lot of the same old tired stories, not to mention a lot of garbage that I did not finish. (Say “hello” to my growing stack of dnf. 📚) There are certainly some great stories still being put out traditionally, but THE story I was longing for, I couldn’t find. The truth is, I didn’t even quite know what that story was—I would know it when I found it—but my search left me emptyhanded. That brought me to a new era… 

I decided to write the story I wanted to read. That is a decision I will never regret if for no other reason than it has enabled me to meet (mostly online) many new authors. Many of those turned out to be indie authors—authors with small indie publishers or self-published. I think the very first indie book I read was on Wattpad before it had been officially published by the author. The beautiful What Is and Could Be by Katelyn Buxton. And it was well-written as any traditionally published book. Yes, you can find hastily published and poorly written books by indie authors, but that’s another reason why I wanted to feature great indie books on my blog—to make it easy for others to find the good ones. And to be completely honest, there are so many good ones. 

Even better, many of the indie authors I’ve discovered are Christians. Most traditionally published books are from a worldly, secular viewpoint, and most traditionally published Christian fiction books are, well…another historical Christian romance. (That’s great if you like that genre, but unless it’s a time travel, I’m a little burnt out). If you want Christian fantasy and science fiction, you will almost exclusively find those books in the indie author world. 

Today’s feature is called Beyond the Wind Music, by Mary Emma Sivils. And yes, just like the name suggests, it incorporates music into the plot. Without spoiling the story, Beyond the Wind Music begins with a mom, Marie, who has become beaten down by endless routine. She no longer can see the beauty in a world that, in her eyes, has become gray and dull. But the wind chimes from her maple tree are calling to her, and Marie climbs into a world above, the High Realm, that is vibrant and beautiful. Yet, the more she’s drawn into this new world, the more she begins to forget about the one below. Marie has become a distant stranger to her husband, children, and her own mother. She has forgotten that her life held any beauty at all.

This book is highly relatable to moms who maybe feel their daily life has no meaning—that their accomplishments are only the ordinary kind and hold no real value, or that being a wife and a mother is thankless and unrewarding. This book also speaks to anyone who has lost sight of the beauty in the path God has set before them and those feeling depressed, worthless, or just plain discouraged. Though this book doesn’t directly address it, I feel like it could be a metaphor, not only for one who is depressed, but even one who is contemplating suicidal thoughts. 

**minor spoilers**

Marie’s journey opens her eyes to what is truly important. She comes to a difficult decision: abandon her family and life below and live forever in the vibrant world above, or fight to once again find the beauty and value in her life below. 

But lest you fear that this book sounds overly dark, it really is not. It’s an emotional journey filled with hope and beauty. It will lift your spirits (although the end might make you cry in a good way). There is also a mystery to uncover as Marie struggles to help the empress of the High Realm, who is losing the powers that enable her to rule. Marie believes the key is to help the empress remember her past life before she came to the High Realm. Ironically, Marie continues to forget her own. Each time she climbs down the maple tree, she feels less, sees less, and goes about her day in a sort of fog. Can Marie save the empress without losing herself?

It’s funny, as I began reading this book, really knowing little about it, I realized it carried similar themes to my own novel, The Queen and the Shadow Witch. It even has a mom as the main character, and that is a rare find. Usually moms are stuck on the sidelines, especially in fantasy. And here, as I’m about to launch my debut novel on June 10th, I come across a book featuring a mom. And no, that doesn’t bother me, in fact, I’m thrilled. This is the type of story I had been looking for. Plus, similar characters or themes don’t mean the same story. Beyond the Wind Music is very different from my own novel in plot and tone, but it was a happy surprise to find another novel published the same year as my own that had like elements.

If you’re in a reading slump (or not), I recommend Beyond the Wind Music. It’s a beautifully told story. Grab your copy, a cup of tea, and follow the wind chimes. Suitable for ages 13+.

This review is my honesty opinion. I purchased my copy of this book after its release.

You can read more about Mary Emma Sivils and her books here.

Thank you for reading. Check out my other book reviews!

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