by Iva Kenaz
A magical journey of self-discovery set in 16th century Italy.
Berka was raised by her hermit father in the wild, secluded from human society. At the dawn of her fifteenth summer, she meets a faun, a being from a different realm. The two are instantly drawn to each other, but their secret meetings are soon disturbed by the arrival of a group of bandits. The threat intensifies when the groupís leader establishes an alliance with evil spirits from the underworld. Berkaís father comes up with an escape plan, but she doesnít want to leave and so she finds another way to deal with the inevitable peril. Throughout the adventure, Berka also embarks on a road to self discovery. She learns to embrace the powerful aspects of her divine feminine as well as the inseparable bond to the masculine.
The story is inspired by ancient European mythology, runes, and Sacred Geometry symbolism.
Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
The Goddess Within by Iva Kenaz is the sequel to the historical fantasy book The Witch Within, reading as a stand-alone with its young protagonist, Berka. With knowledge of what Berka divinely possesses, she is raised by her father in the 16th-century Italian wilderness, one which holds the mythical and magical that co-exist beyond the treacherous cities and villages constructed by man. The seclusion is a mixed blessing, but one her father was unwilling to avoid. As Berka grows into herself and the mystical realm that surrounds her, she meets a faun named Giss who offers the companionship she desperately needs. Her happiness is shattered when the world of man invades Berka's space, and she is forced to confront all she has been previously protected from.
Iva Kenaz writes with a panache that comfortably blends history, fantasy, and the refinement of literary fiction in The Goddess Within. A lot has gone into the story, and even with Berka at the helm, the guidance of spirits and transcendent creatures and entities help the young woman on both of her journeys; one of discovery of herself and the other to rescue and reclaim those she cares for and all she believes in. She is multi-dimensional and thoroughly fleshed out as a character, and the supporting castódiverse and bountiful as they areóare independently constructed and easy to separate. I think this a wonderful story that can be enjoyed by readers of multiple genres, and would be equally comfortable recommending it to all ages.