Book Reviews

Between Will and Surrender by Margaret DuarteBetween Will and Surrender

Steven Barra: Margaret Duarte’s writing brings the characters in her Sophomore book to brilliant life! She does a wonderful job developing each one … you fall in love with them all.

I also enjoyed the setting, California’s Monterey Bay and Big Sur areas. Ms. Duarte did her California history research, as she delves into the backgrounds of California’s first-peoples from that area: Where they lived, what they did and how they became. I also enjoyed how she salutes her own Dutch heritage into her a few of her characters. Lastly, she gives a “tip of the hat” to her own Central California roots, mentioning places in and around the Sacramento, CA area.

Regarding the visionary fiction genre, she has developed the characters to nimbly discuss, reflect and/or act fluidly between the conscious and subconscious … the “here and now”. It struck me how subconsciously connected each character became to one another, how some characters were on the same “wavelength”, so to speak, when situations arose. Again, this goes back to how well she has developed each character and how well they interact with each other. She has captured the human spirit wonderfully!

I am not a big book reader … typically, I can manage a 100 page or less book and call it a day.

However, Ms. Duarte has created a series (there are two at this point) of novels that absolutely captured my attention and kept me glued to the book!

If you’re looking for a series that encapsulates personal growth, California history and geography, the human conscious/subconscious, vivid settings and just a great escape … I recommend that you pick up both “Between Now and Forever” and “Between Will and Surrender” and follow the experiences of lead character, Marjorie Veil. You will enjoy the ride!

Victor E. Smith: As a visionary fiction author myself, I was pleased to see Margaret Duarte’s Between Will and Surrender roundly acknowledged in the prior reviews as an outstanding example of a genre that is rapidly becoming more popular with both writers and readers. Margaret blends the standard elements of a good novel (character, plot, setting) with the specific ingredients of visionary fiction (growth in consciousness, paranormal events, spirituality) to render a tale that entertains, mystifies and enlightens–and not necessarily in that order or in any order. The result is exquisite. The clever finale, A Word from my Protagonist, in which Marjorie Veil, the story’s heroine, takes the reader aside to explain the relationship between herself and the author, is in itself worth the price of the book.

Gini Grossenbacher: A lovely novel which captured my attention from the beginning and kept me wondering, chapter by chapter. The ending gripped me with its twists and turns. Well-written work. Highly recommend to those who love stories of the paranormal-metaphysical at work in daily lives.

Seshat: Duarte has written an interesting story filled with suspense, romance, and magic. Leaving a smothering relationship and mother, Marjorie strikes out to discover herself and the universe answers — in spades. You’ll enjoy this adventure in California’s natural world. It’s filled with spiritual wisdom gracefully hinted at in a well told story.

Rea Martin: The thing about Visionary Fiction is…if it isn’t a darn good story first, the visionary part of it risks becoming preachy and didactic. This is not the case with Margaret Duarte’s tale, Between Will and Surrender. Here, the characters take precedence over the visionary information Duarte manages to tuck gently between the lines. This is no easy task. It takes skill and experience for an author to allow the characters’ development to expose truths, instead of the reverse. In this novel, the author has 1) succeeded in telling an entertaining story first, 2) complete with characters worth caring about, 3) whose motivations are clear and believable, 4) and in the process, revealed mystical truths in an organic way. Great job!

Chris: Marjorie, the protagonist in Margaret Duarte’s latest novel, is just like many women in our culture who have been conditioned to ignore their own truth, to give away their power, to subjugate in relationships with others, and to settle for the path of least resistance in life. But Marjorie has many surprises in store, for there are synchronistic forces at work in her life that, if she listens, will lead her to her authentic heart and happiness.

This is a riveting story of Marjorie’s journey where the seemingly impossible happens in the wilds of the Los Padres National Forest where she has gone on retreat in order to make sense of her life when she thinks she’s gone insane.

I loved the innocence of the Native American orphan Marjorie befriends, as well as all of the other opportunities Marjorie comes across to show her how love can heal and transform her. There are surprise twists and turns all through this adventure tale. And it is a true work of well-crafted Visionary Fiction, giving the reader an inside feel for the power of the transformation of consciousness.

Kathy Simoes: Margaret Duarte is a creative writer. Her story is gripping from the first page! I enjoyed this story and am anxious for the next book to come out.

Susan Harrison: Before I read this book, I was not familiar with the genre known as visionary fiction. According to the Visionary Fiction Alliance website, “Visionary Fiction embraces spiritual and esoteric wisdom, often from ancient sources, and makes it relevant for our modern life.” In other words, there are many different kinds of truth in this world. It is possible to seek truth and validity by more than one path. The protagonist, Marjorie Veil, finds that out big time. Is she going crazy? Or is reality more complex than she ever realized?

This book functions on two levels – first as a bang-up good story, and secondly, as a way to reflect upon the nature of reality and consciousness. I was very touched by the story of Joshua, the mute orphan, and how he struggles to overcome the horrible tragedy that tore apart his childhood. I was also struck by how well-drawn the various characters in the story are. Each has a distinct voice and personality, and the interactions between the characters are very believable.

Kudos to Margaret Duarte for giving us a very original and thought-provoking story!

Judith B. Vaughan: I loved the complex story, the first of a series about Marjorie Veil. I felt a connection to the nearly lost Native Americans of northern California and their homelands now preserved in parks and forest. My introduction to the new genre of visionary fiction gave me insight into its multiple origins. It showed how religious and nonreligious spiritual and psychological aspects of our very selves must be respected and integrated.

Adventure story, spiritual quest, and mystery, Between Will and Surrender is beautifully written and well plotted. It never strays from the positive. It leaves the reader rooting for its characters and waiting for the next book in the series.

Louis Silveira: This is the second book by Margaret and even better than the first. Her writing ability and imagery are amazing as well as her command of the English language. She kept the story line moving and I really didn’t know what to expect next which kept the book hard to put down. There are hidden meanings and a spiritualness throughout the story line in the young woman’s quest to find herself. It is obvious that Margaret did a lot of research before writing her story and it was an added joy that she used locations that were local and familiar to me which add a more spark of realism. I am excited to learn that it is a part of a series and she is already fine tuning the others she has already written. The author is on the rise and should be paid attention. I wish her well.

Jo Chandler: If I thought I enjoyed Ms.Duarte’s first book, Between Now and Forever, I absolutely loved, loved this novel. I’m thrilled that the author has more works coming in the series. I don’t read fantasy fiction, science fiction and the like. I want to read gritty novels based on reality, novels that ultimately leave the reader altered in some way–inspired and filled with hope. Well, Between Will and Surrender is based in reality, and it certainly left this writer inspired. The story also shows us that maybe, just maybe, things aren’t always what they seem. Maybe reality is multi-dimensional, sorta like “string theory.” When I finished the book, I truly understood what the genre “Visionary Fiction” is all about. And I like it, at least when written by this very talented writer.

Theresa Adrian: I just finished this book and could not put it down! It was filled with insight and knowledge of our own personal spiritual journeys. It was uplifting, exciting, keeping your attention all through its pages. Buy this book you will not be disappointed. Written so well with details and imagery of the Carmel Valley. Great job!

Amazon Customer: Great story line, fast moving and keeps your attention. Surprising ending. Would reference it to others to read. Wonderfully put together.

Judy: Between Will and Surrender is my second book that I have read by Margaret Duarte. I enjoyed the book extremely. She skillfully implemented the concepts of totemism and animism used by the California Indians. She also covered the concepts of the medicine wheel that made this book worth reading.

Amazon Customer: I just got through reading this book and I loved, loved, loved it! I couldn’t put it down. It reminded me of the Dan Millman series ” The Path of the Peaceful Warrior”. I’m looking forward to more books by Margaret Duarte.


Between Now and Forever

Victor E. Smith: Margaret Duarte’s Between Now and Forever is a fascinating creation for several reasons, of which I will take up only one. Like her protagonist, novice teacher Marjorie Veil, the author serves society by illustrating that Indigo Children, a term which even Wikipedia downplays as a “pseudoscientific New Age concept,” are here among us, their advanced perceptual development is real, and, merely provided with understanding and a chance, they will blossom into the very geniuses our world needs to resolve the problems that has brought it to the brink.

Across the ages, the establishment has treated anyone with paranormal abilities, any mode of acumen beyond the five senses, as a mutant, making a rare few saints of inimitable stature and the rest demon-possessed or mentally unbalanced and thus deserving only to be locked away or worse. The seven children in Ms. Veil’s class, all from normal enough home environments, are destined for the latter should they luck out and survive the excesses and addictions that such kids tend towards once they don the label of freak that others paste on them. The book is fiction, but the predicament is real and perplexing to anyone who has encountered and cares for this type of precocious youth—and there may be many more than expected.

But Between Now and Forever does more than bring attention to a prevalent problem. It demonstrates a detailed alternative for mentoring such children, drawn from simple, although not easy, modalities, available right now to those with minds and hearts open enough to try something “different” with those who are “different.” Besides being a good story with many vivid characters, this book is a must-read for Indigo Children—it will give them hope—and their caretakers—it will point to a workable way. I suggest that it be in the hands of every teacher and school administrator because, I dare guess, there are Indigoes in just about every modern classroom, and the old ways just won’t work with them; they already know better.

Rea Martin: Margaret Duarte has written a visionary tale about the difficulties of educating children with mystical gifts within the current system. Since I believe such children (and adults for that matter) are already among us, this story is not a stretch for me. The idea (as implied by Duarte) that our highly intellectualized educational system overlooks every child’s best and most obvious teacher — nature — is a sad commentary, and one that deserves close attention. This is a thoughtful and well-crafted story that delivers a creative scholastic plan that I hope is implemented sooner than later. I thoroughly enjoyed this

Hydrophonicon: This novel centers on the trials of an after-school class of children (Indigos) with special talents of the ESP kind and the struggle of a young rookie teacher to help them, while also getting to grip with her own newly-emerged powers. The Indigos repeatedly made me think of the first X-Men movie, all with unique gifts and different reasons why these gifts are messing up their lives. The story moves long at a gentle pace and is character-focused rather than being action-packed. One gets the sense – with all the subtle spiritual references – that in further installments the Indigos might soon open their potential in a world-changing way. Recommended for those who want to read something that offers substance.

Jo Chandler: This is a fabulous debut novel by an author whose work I will definitely continue to read. Duarte takes us into a world I had barely heard of, a world filled with exceptional, yet troubled, teens whose gifts are mystical and many. When Durate’s protagonist agrees to teach these unusual young people, she embarks on a road of self discovery that keeps us on the edge of our seats. The author’s writing is impressive and yet non-intrusive–everything a reader hopes to find when she picks up a novel. Congratulations Ms. Duarte.

Carolyn Radmanovich: I was gripped with the novel’s suspense from the very beginning, wondering how the teacher, Ms. Veil, could turn these troubled kids around. The journey through the school year brought a wonderful resolution through alternative techniques that would jar these kids back to their true identities. Being an indigo, or a kid with supernatural traits or powers, had proven a curse to these kids instead of a gift. Through Ms. Veil’s techniques they learned pride and confidence in their abilities. They also learned to have a sense of belonging to a team of kids with similar potentials.

I loved the images in the book like using masks as an understanding of the way kids try to portray themselves, oftentimes as a false persona for their own protection. The teacher even uses clay as a teaching technique. When Ethan’s clay owl is destroyed, the students decide it can be resurrected by taking the broken parts and mixing them with glazes to be applied to new projects. The students realize their own brokenness is only an illusion when they realize they can use their unique gifts to create their futures in a positive way.

This book leads the way to future work with troubled students who may be experiencing hopelessness, drug dependency and depression. Instead the path can be toward a new educational approach with an appreciation of students’ differences and personal gifts.

Debrah White Stephens: This book is truly an inspirational template for the evolution of education. The author uses her writing talent to communicate a profound message within an engaging story. Between Now and Forever opened my eyes to the extraordinary gifts of our children and the need for creative education to support them.

Kathy Simoes: Between Now and Forever, authored by Margaret Duarte is such an interesting and truly educational book. Learning about Indigo children was fascinating. It sure gave me lots to consider when thinking of all the children I have interacted with that “just seem a bit different.” Marjorie is a great character, I hope she will be included in the next book in the series. I loved the surprise after the end of the book. A letter from Marjorie! This was a very special letter to read and touched me. (No peeking until you have completed the book!) I recommend this book as a great read!

Muller “zanyeleni”: This book is an inspiring hero’s journey of a teacher who grows alongside her students, who are cast aside simply for being different. In a world filled with children drugged for ADHD and other psychological ailments, it’s nice to read something that champions children for being unique. I personally resonated with this story as I have practically every ADHD “symptom” but never felt anything was wrong with me. In fact, I viewed many of my symptoms as gifts when I learned how to work with them. It was heartening to read a story that paralleled what I’d believed all along. I recommend this book to readers who want a positive story with a beautiful underlying spiritual odyssey and to parents who know their children are special, no matter what package they come in.