Pearl and Garridan: A Roma Love Story
Two stories come together in one book about a family of Roma Travelers set in Romania in 1871.
Part One, “The Heart of Romani Pearl” is a romance between a young girl named Pearl who travels in a vardo wagon with her family. She meets Garridan who lives in the ancient Hoia Baciu Forest of northwestern Romania. He shows her many wonders, and before they know it, love comes to the fore and they become trapped in the forest. Together, they must deal with a mysterious overlord, Spiridon Ardelean, who has complete control over all souls living and dead, and his overseer Varujan who does his best to do the lord’s bidding. There is only one way to break the spell and escape the forest, but it cannot be achieved without the talents of Pearl’s family, a precise number of local townspeople, and the strength of Pearl and Garridan’s love.
Part Two, “The Soul of Garridan Searle” begins after they are set free. It tells of Garridan’s exceptional talents as a wood carver. Garridan makes a new sign for a cobbler in the next village. This starts a slew of new carving in the town. In the evenings, he is called by spirits to visit their elemental domains. The Zânespirits seek to lure him, but Garridan is able to capture their power into the wood he carves. Each carving brings a spirit’s gift to one who needs it, and harm to those who don’t. The mayor, the miller, the fisherman, and the blacksmith have one thing in common, a two-faced gift. A plea is sent for help and four sacred dancers heed the call to work their magic. A heart-warming story about Romanian culture, a secret carried by Pearl’s family, and how the town rewards them all.
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Published 2022 by Templar Media | 357 pages | ISBN-13: 979-8986984803
She heard the crackling of leaves from footfalls, quickly pulled Cosmina to a stop and carefully listened. She could not see very far into the dense forest, but she got the feeling she was being watched. She decided to be brave and nonchalant.
“I can hear you, you know. Why don’t you show yourself?” Pearl heard him speak before she saw him.
“I didn’t want to frighten you.”
Then she saw the young man step out from behind a tree, still inside the treeline.
“You didn’t. I’m glad you are here. I want to thank you for the flowers you left yesterday.”
He stood next to the tree, but he was still several yards away. Pearl froze in place at the sight of him. He had a light-skinned face, a long nose and cheekbones. His eyes held her, just like the face in her dream. His lips were delicately-formed of pink as she had dreamed, and his moustache and beard were exactly as she had seen. He was neither lowly, nor affluent, but something about him was strangely noble. He was dressed as any villager, wearing a dark-brown shirt with a dark- green vest and dark pants.
“You look at me so strangely. I have frightened you.”
It took a moment for her to find words. It was either a coincidence, or he was a dream come true. “It’s not that. It’s just that you look like someone I’ve seen before.”
“Two lovely tales filled with magic and lore”
Review by Rafael
I really enjoyed reading Pearl and Garridan and found the story of these two young lovers very absorbing. It’s very apparent that the author spent a significant amount of time researching Roma customs, and I very much appreciated how carefully these elements were woven into the story. I frequently took brief pauses to look up various references, particularly those concerning food. I highly recommend this book and hope Lita will share more stories with us about this wonderful pair and the magical world they inhabit.