Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Book Review: 'WereHuman - The Witch's Daughter' by Gwendolyn Druyor

Rhode Island born Chicago actor/author Gwendolyn Druyor and has lived in Maine, Ohio and Illinois. She has an impressive career as an actor in film, television, the Internet and Theatre. She is also a Crisis Counselor for Rape Victim Advocates. As a member Boom Chicago, Catharsis Productions and Shenandoah Shakespeare she is a highly respected actor. Gwendolyn earned her BS degree in Theatre and Vocal Performance and Dance and English form Illinois State University. She concurrently writes strange and enthralling books – books just of the periphery of bizarre.
Gwendolyn explains the stage for her books – ‘Children are taught to fear monsters. Adults learn that monsters are only myths. Adults are idiots. Welcome to a world where it’s all true: The boogeyman is real. Vampires exist. Banshees mourn our dead. Demons feed on them. And gods really do interfere with our lives, when they feel like it.’

Though WereHuman – The Witch’s Daughter is a Wyrdos Universe novel, it also is The Consortium Battle Book 1. Gwendolyn summarizes the idea of this book as follows – ‘Good Parents will go to any lengths to protect their children. The Hillens are very good parents. But with all the secrets in the Hillen household, the biggest one is hiding right under their noses. When six-year-old Bailey finds a puppy abandoned in a basket on their porch, Clark and Sher have no way of knowing their new pet is a werehuman – an animal that can change into a person. Now, the genetic engineers of the evil Consortium are searching for them, intent on making Bailey and his unusual pet their newest test subjects. In the face of the unthinkable, will Bailey’s strange, misfit family decide to run? Or fight?’

Yes, the concept of Were Wolves (or shape shifters of any animal) is a tried and true storyline for many authors, Gwendolyn alters the concept just enough to make it unique. Instead of being terrifying the story finds a balance between humor, parody, and just plain ludicrous! It is the style of writing that keeps the book flowing so smoothly. Example: for starting the story she writes –‘ “Mom!” The young boy’s piercing voice woke Laylea from a fitful sleep. She shivered and blinked. No brothers snuggled up next to her. Last night Mama had kissed her goodbye before tucking her makeshift bed into a corner of the wraparound porch. “She’s tinkering, Bailey.” A man with blue eyes that matched the little boy’s joined him in the doorway. He smelled like a nap. The boy reeked of soap. Laylea crinkled her nose as he leaned in to get a closer look at her. Peeking out through the folds of a baby blue towel, Laylea could see the gray of early morning sky beyond the two humans. Bells jingled lightly against the doorway and she shivered again at the cold breeze. A yawn stretched through her whole body and she tucked her nose back under the old towel. “Woodford found it.” Laylea cracked an eye. The skinny boy pointed behind her. She smelled earthy warmth and turned her egg sized head. She and the ratty towel lay tucked in amongst the plastic grass of an Easter basket. Behind her, one enormous brown and black paw rested on the edge of her basket. She followed the leg up to a massive barrel chest and on up to the droopy jowls and tired eyes of a mutt. She reached toward him for a nuzzle. The hound let out one low bark and she jumped backwards, toppling out of her bed. He was on her in an instant. She yelped. But the warm, soft hands of the man lifted her away and she was curled into the dad’s chest in a moment.‘

Relax (rather difficult to do in today’s political climate) and let Gwendolyn Druyor transport you to a different world – one that while reading this book makes a lot more sense that the one reported daily in the media. She is a splendid entertainer and a very fine writer. Grady Harp, February 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.