This being an author thing is pretty amazing. And terrifying. And sometimes…magical. When speaking at the Community College of Baltimore County, a student asked, “What do you consider success?” Okay. Stop. Right now. Answer that question for yourself. It’s not easy, right? There are a lot of answers to that question. At the time, I said I considered it a success that, despite years of rejection, I kept writing. Today, I have an additional answer.
You see, so often when a writer sets out to do something with their work it is misunderstood or misses the mark–and yes that has happened with this novel too–but I got a review today that feels like a pat on the back. I know I’ve gotten a lot of good reviews and have been excited and grateful for all of them, but this was one is a “feels like success” moment. This review was from Booklist– a book-review magazine published by the American Library Association for over 100 years. At the risk of getting all braggy, here’s the review:
“Muñoz Stewart gives us a high-octane adventure with her new series, Band of Sisters. Justice was sold to human traffickers as a child and saw her sister murdered by them. After the Parish family rescued her, she vowed that no woman would have to go through the humiliation and violence she did. The wealthy Parish family’s businesses and private school are covers for their real organization: a secret sisterhood of assassins, hackers, and scientists all rescued by the matriarch, Mukta, and all intent on combating crimes against women. With their resources, Justice finds the men who “owned” her in Jordan, and she’s ready for blood. Pretending to join the refugee work of soldier-turned-humanitarian Sandesh, she enters the country, but her quest isn’t the only thing that heats up in Jordan. Muñoz Stewart discusses such sensitive topics as human trafficking, sexual violence, and sexism, which are rarely examined in romantic suspense, while the diverse members of the Parish family and their mission to protect women everywhere give these topics a little more hope than usual.”
I put that last line in bold because that is exactly what I set out to do. Talk about the hard stuff, find a way to give women a voice, but to also offer hope and encouragement. I did it? Wow. Wow. Thanks, Booklist.