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Ginger Myrick

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Member Since: Feb, 2012

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Historical Fiction

Copyright:  12/2011

Set during 16th century Portugal and Spain, El Rey is an incisive look at the turbulent shared history of Portugal and Castile as experienced by Inez Garcia through the advent of her first love. It touches upon major events including the Wars of Succession for control of the Iberian Peninsula, the fierce competition between the two nations during the Age of Exploration, and the Castilian (Spanish) Inquisition.

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Winner of the Rosetta Literary Contest 2012 from a field of worldwide submissions, the soul-stirring short story, "The Converso: A Tale From Renaissance Iberia", was adapted from a chapter in this stunning work of historical fiction by Ginger Myrick. Written in the the tradition of classic period romance from such authors as the Bronte sisters, Anya Seton, and Jean Plaidy, and set against the backdrop of 16th century Portugal and Spain at the dawn of the dynamic Age of Exploration, EL REY boasts an inspiring cast of courageous characters that will touch your heart and capture your imagination. At its core is the turbulent love story between Inez García and El Rey. 

Inez is the outspoken, independent daughter of a wealthy merchant who fled the Spanish Inquisition and a domineering mother of English noble stock with secrets of her own. At a dinner party in his honor, she falls in love with El Rey, a dashing, charismatic sea captain with a golden voice who has spent his life expanding the Portuguese empire. He is nephew of the King of Portugal with blood ties to the illustrious royal houses of Castile’s Queen Isabella and England’s King Henry VIII. 

Inez and El Rey strike up an immediate friendship and discover that they have much in common. Inez has spent her childhood in the shadow of her beautiful elder sister, Serafina, so when El Rey befriends her based on her own merits, she vows that she will never love another. Captivated by her spirited charm and mesmerized by her bewitching silver and gold eyes, El Rey promises to one day return and ask for Inez’s hand in marriage. Though misfortune, class prejudice, and El Rey’s foolish pride conspire to keep them apart, life’s disappointments only make Inez more determined to seek out the elusive happiness in which she has never stopped believing. 

But it is much, much more than just a love story. 

EL REY is a sweeping family saga reminiscent of Colleen McCullough's, THE THORN BIRDS while also paying tribute to Anya Seton's masterpiece, KATHERINE. Interwoven in the main body of the work are four meticulously researched narratives representative of the time. Spanning three continents and two centuries in the history of the warring kingdoms of medieval Portugal and Castile, the vignettes chronicle the heroic struggles of three families to overcome racial discrimination, murder, plague, war, and the Spanish Inquisition. Filled with food and travel, and tempered with humor, tenderness, and tragedy, this intriguing story tells the timeless tale of the triumph of true love and the resilience of the human spirit. 

EL REY has something in it for everyone. You will laugh, and you will cry. No one who reads this book will remain unaffected.

Professional Reviews

review: El Rey by Ginger Myrick
I want to start this review out with these words: do not overlook this book because it’s a self-published eBook, or because the cover design doesn’t feature beautiful women in period dress. Do not overlook it because the title is foreign, or because it’s not another Tudor, Borgia or Marie Antoinette retelling. If you like endearing characters and finding out their histories, you will love this story—as I did.

In a genre saturated with settings in England, France and Italy, Ginger Myrick presents her saga based in Renaissance Iberia—Castile, Portugal and Spain. This spellbinding story not only connects readers with the main protagonist, Inez Garcia, but all of the men and women who made her world. Because the story goes into such detail with several of the characters, the author has broken the book into an optional abridged version with accompanying novellas—for those who would rather read in sections. I, however, feel the author sculpted the story seamlessly and brilliantly with the inclusion of the background stories on various characters.

El Rey—the King—is not an actual royal moniker, though Estevao has a tenuous claim to the Portuguese throne. A mariner with a lucrative business in trading goods, as well as serving the Portuguese King as a privateer, El Rey had a reputation among the mercantiles of the ports. This is where he met eleven-year-old Inez, the daughter of an affluent merchant. Though he was many years her senior, they struck up an easy friendship and bonded over their love of animals and music, and he teasingly promised to marry her one day. Inez, dazzled and falling in love with the handsome traveler, took this to heart and awaited the day that he would return and claim her.

I feel it would spoil the story to go further in this synopsis, but rest assured there are several lifetimes of love, religion, family, heartbreak and loss chronicled within the pages. Estevao and his parents, Inez’s parents and even a beloved servant tell the stories of their past, their heritage and the very details that brought their differing backgrounds into the same household. Portuguese, Castilian—even English—roots are cleverly entwined into this profoundly engaging saga that ends on the Portuguese island of Terceira in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.

As a veteran reader of historical fiction and lover of the classics of the genre, this is historical fiction at its best. The fact that the author was inspired by the likes of Anya Seton and Jean Plaidy quickly interested me in her book, as so many writers these days offer a more modern style, inserting contemporary wording and personalities. El Rey not only encompasses several generations of families, but straightforwardly narrates the plight of the reviled Gypsies, the conquered Spanish Jewish community and the skirmishes between Castile and Portugal. For readers not well versed in this particular era of Iberian history, this is a poignant account of events, prejudices and diversity.

Myrick’s writing style is beautifully fashioned with perfect prose and classic styling. El Rey surpassed even this self-proclaimed grammar fanatic’s expectations, which is exceedingly excellent for a self-edited piece. I cannot give enough praise to this author, and I hope that readers will give her book (unabridged or separated into novellas) a chance.

El Rey: A Novel of Renaissance Iberia
By the time I had reached the middle of this book, I was sure it would be one of the few 5***** I have read. Sumptuously beautiful, fascinating characters, and a love which surpassed all time.
There were times I wanted to scream, cry, kick the table and all other reactions, so heartwrenching was this story of the love between two people who seemed to have every obstacle thrown in their path. it shows the good side and bad side of the characters, has delightful animals, a beautiful Arabian horse which was enough to pique my interest. By the time i finished after only two days I had knots in my stomach, tears in my eyes. What a wonderful book Ms. Myrick has crafted. what a beautiful, sweet story, full of every emotion in the spectrum. For those who are Historical Romance/Fiction lovers-Highly recommended.
For those who are not, read it anyway, you will not be sorry.

One of the Best Indie Books I've Read or Reviewed
I rarely give a 5 star review, but El Rey is deserving of it. This is the sweeping saga of the romance of Inez Garcia and El Rey, nephew of the King of Portugal in 16th century Portugal and Spain. Interwoven into the story are four stories of those close to Inez and how they fit into her story. It begins with Inez as an elderly women telling the story of her life and love to her great-granddaughter. From the beginning, I knew that I would love this book. The author's description and imagery are so vivid and real, the reader is there. The research was detailed and woven into the story in such a way that it was informative in an entertaining way, not preachy. I highly recommend this book. I reviewed this on my blog and you can see my first interview with this author as well at:

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