World on Fire Character Review: Nancy Campbell

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series World on Fire. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

The job of a journalist is to report the facts and let the public decide how to react. The problem is that in some countries and under some governments, the facts are dangerous.

On World on Fire, Nancy Campbell is an American journalist whose job is her life. In 1939, Nancy is in Warsaw when the Germans invade Poland. Returning to Berlin, she does her job as she has always done. But she also knows enough to know that war is coming. She tries to convince her closeted nephew, Webster O’ Connor (Brian J. Smith) to leave Europe while the borders are still open. But Webster decides to stay.

In Berlin, she is friendly with her neighbors and the army officers who she must interact with as part of her job. The journalist in her wants to report what she is seeing. But she is held back by her German supervisors who are towing the party line and need to make sure that only their version of the truth is released.

Nancy knows the risks she takes when she is determined reveal everything that she is seeing and experiencing. But in her eyes, it must be done, in spite of the personal costs she may have to pay.

To sum it up: Sometime doing the right thing requires going against everyone and everything around you. It is easy to be silent and pretend that everything is fine. It is harder to follow your own instincts. When Nancy makes the difficult and dangerous decision to speak the truth, she is standing up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Kiss of the Spindle Book Review

The nice thing about fairy tales is that the stories are simple. Writers have been adapting fairy tales for generations because of the simplicity of the narrative and the basic elements of the characters.

Last year, Kiss of the Spindle, by Nancy Campbell Allen, was published. A sort of steampunk Sleeping Beauty, the book takes place in alternative universe of 19th century England. Dr. Isla Cooper is cursed. When the clock strikes midnight, she falls into a death like sleep that lasts until six am the next morning. She has a year to find the witch that cursed her and remove it before the year is up. It is nearly a year to the day that she was cursed.

Bribing her way onto Daniel Pickett’s ship whose destination is the Caribbean, she finds that she is not only passenger with questionable motives. Three shape shifters and a disliked government official are also on board. Isla and Daniel agree to work together to keep the shape shifters safe while fighting their own demons and realizing that there is a mutual attraction blossoming between them.

I rarely read romance novels. Depending on the novel and the writer, I find them to be formulaic and the characters predictable. But this novel is different. I loved that the female lead was strong, smart and capable. She was not looking for a man, as many female leads in this genre are. I also loved the concept of taking a story that we all know and turning it on it’s head.

I recommend it.

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