Friday, December 13, 2013

"A Path Toward Home: The Annals of Avonea 1" by Heather R. Lorenz

A Path Toward Home:
The Annals of Avonea 1
by Heather R. Lorenz

Constance waited eagerly for her mother’s vivid bedtime stories. They were truly children’s literature in action and told so convincingly of a magical land that Constance could almost believe her mother had been there and returned. If they had been put in writing, there is no doubt they would be children’s classics. By age 6 Constance was living with her Aunt and Uncle in Canada and struggles for a time. Travel adventures are not her lot as uncle is a very contented homebody.
A teenager now, she no longer reads children’s fantasy books for kids. By age 9-12 she had in fact given up believing in fairy tales and fantasies. Life in Saltwater is routine and boring when her best friend moves away. One day she was swinging on her mother’s old swing ….when suddenly it was dark with whispering voices in the background.
When she next opened her eyes, where in the world was she? Living In some children’s adventure books? By age 9-12 she had put such thoughts behind her. Now she wasn’t so sure. Soon she meets her rescuers who concoct a plan to take her home. Will it be successful and what about her uncle? He must be frantic with worry. Meanwhile there are things to do and places to go.
Prince Drinian and his trusty mentor Woodphere are determined to help her return to her world. Barely into the journey, Constance encounters a young man who says an alternate route which will be much faster. Who should she believe? Constance learns that even close friends may disagree especially when they are exposed to the harsh realities of nature. They are able to resolve their difficulties and forge ahead. Soon she finds herself in a competition not of her choosing.
Scary terrain, a near fatal injury and a mysterious manor lie ahead. What secrets are behind those doors and can the secretive old man give them the answers they seek? Just ahead lies enemy territory and a princess with an attitude. A close encounter with thieves and robbers hastens their departure to the young prince’s boyhood home.
But for Constance the journey is not finished. Join her and her newfound friends as they embark for their destination: The Circle of Return.

Moolow’s manor loomed before them, dark and mystical. Constance, Drinian, and Woodphere strode up the dark marble steps to the huge bronze door. As Woodphere pulled on a long rope near the door, a gentle sound like wind chimes played, as the door creaked open.

“Have you ever been here, Drinian?” Constance asked.

“No, I haven’t. Moolow always came to my father when we needed him,” Drinian replied.

The door was now completely open, and much to Constance’s surprise the interior was not dark and gloomy. Instead, it was very elaborate with marble stairs that led up to the second floor, red carpet and light wood furnishings.

“It's beautiful in here!” Constance exclaimed, as she looked up at the thousand diamond chandelier that hung from the ceiling.

“Indeed,” Drinian replied, in awe.

An old man was standing at the foot of the stairs. He was dressed in a long red robe, and his long white beard hung to his waist.

“Greetings to you travelers,” He said in a deep raspy voice.

Woodphere and Drinian bowed and Constance curtsied as best as she was able.

“Your clothes are shabby and you look in need of a refreshing bath.” Moolow said with a kind smile.

“Thank you sir, but we can’t stay long and it is very important for us to talk to you,” Drinian said.

“We will conduct business after you bathe and change your clothing, Your Majesty. Now, follow me.”


Moolow headed up the winding staircase to the next floor, and led each to private rooms where a bath awaited each of them.

After Moolow closed the door, Constance wondered, how could the old man have baths awaiting them, when he didn't even know they were coming?

Constance glanced about the darkened room at the pulled curtains and the three flickering candles. The steaming tub of bubbly water in the corner looked delightful. But what was that bulge on the far wall? Constance picked up a candle holder, walked briskly to the wall and gave a firm push. With a sharp creaking sound the wall opened, revealing a secret opening.

Constance eyes were wide with excitement as she entered, candle in hand. It was a long hidden passage that reminded Constance of the old castles she had read about. The stone walls were musty and damp and felt cold against her hand as she guided herself along the wall.

It seemed that she walked for hours until she reached a dead end. Why would a tunnel come to a dead end? Constance lifted her candle against the wall to see if she could find a handle or lever. Spotting an odd looking torch above her head, she seized it in both hands and spun it downward as the wall opened! She hesitantly entered a massive round room with shelves reaching as high as 40 feet with bottles and books neatly arranged on them.

Constance stepped up to a round table with bottles of all shapes and sizes. Was this the lab of some mad scientist? She picked up a container with green liquid and read, a potion to make your freckles disappear. Next, she picked up a bottle labeled, the potion to regain arm strength, and another for growing a thick beard. I don't think I would like that one, Constance thought, glancing about the room. A book that lay open on a small table gave instructions for creating potions. One line read, use lemon, lavender and clover to get rid of warts.

“This is amazing! How in the world did Moolow come up with all these concoctions?” Constance whispered aloud.

“It took me many years,” boomed a voice from behind her.

“Oh Moolow, I'm sorry. I should not by prying.”

“I don’t mind, as long as you can keep this place a secret.”

“I promise, I won't tell anyone, not even Drinian or Woodphere.”

“I believe you. Now what can I get you? You surely do not need a beauty potion.”

“No, I don't need anything. But how did you invent all these potions?”

“I experimented on many different people,” Moolow replied. There are over 2,000 remedies here.

“How do you get away with doing that?”

“I tell people that I am trying a new experiment. If it works, I start selling it and they get half the profits. So they let me do it.

I did feel bad one time when I was creating a potion to grow hair. A bald old man was the guinea pig and it ended up turning the top of his head blue!”

“Oh my!” Constance exclaimed smiling.

“Actually, you would be perfect for my next experiment. I want to see if my potion of changing hair texture works.”

“No thank you. I don't want to end up bald like Woodphere.

“Very well then. But perhaps you could use a poison snake bite healing potion?”

“How did you know about my snake bite?”

“Drinian told me and wondered if there was anything I could give you. And over here's just the thing,” Moolow said, as he walked over to his desk and picked up a clear bottle with red liquid.

“Thank you, Moolow. How much should I use?” Constance asked as she took the bottle from him.

“Take it with you and apply it every two hours. Within three days your leg should be as good as new, without even a blemish.” Come, you should get changed before dinner.”

“Alright,” Constance replied, following him out of the circular room.

Once Constance had made her way back to her room she went straight to the closet which was full of many beautiful dresses. Constance chose a violet color dress with delicate cream lace around the sleeves, hem and neckline. She quickly put on the dress, combed her hair, put it into a neat bun before stepping into the hall where she was met by Moolow.

“Please, follow me Constance. Drinian and Woodphere are already waiting in the dining room for us,” said Moolow.

Constance followed him downstairs into a large dining room. The table was very long, and could sit at least ten people on either side.

Drinian and Woodphere both stood when Constance entered. They were both wearing dashing white shirts, with red vests and brown trousers.

“You look quiet elegant, Constance,” Woodphere said approvingly.

“Indeed you do,” agreed Drinian.

“Why, thank you! You two look quite handsome yourselves,” Constance replied.

“Please be seated and I shall bring out the food,” Moolow said, as he exited the room. Soon he returned with steaming platters of poached eggs and toast. After they had finished, Moolow passed his guests a brimming plate full of cheeses, crackers and meats for their enjoyment.

“Moolow we must speak to you,” Drinian said, taking a sip of juice.

A Path Toward Home resembles the Narnia stories, in that the story is for kids, however entrances those of all ages. The main character is a young lady named Constance who is whisked away to the world of Avonea. The characters are very vivid and believable throughout the novel. This is a great story of adventure, fantasy, mystery and suspense in one tidy little bundle.

About the Author
Sixteen year old Heather R. Lorenz writes fantasy and adventure for children ages 10 and up. She is inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis.