Review & Character Interview with Aria Morgan from Jennifer Parr’s Tortuous Shadows

Mysteries wrote her past. Judgment blights her future. For who could love her, an outcast? But when present troubles bring Aria Morgan’s end hauntingly near, she is surprised at how love can be birthed in even the darkest of places. Suddenly, the future is bright… until Aria is faced with a decision that will cost her everything she thought she’d never have.

Tortuous Shadows

Aria Morgan lives in a world where love literally is a lifeline. Without finding love and bearing a child, Aria will die… and soon. Aria and her brother, Aaron, are the first set of siblings since the Darkness, and, even more unprecedented, they are the first Dviinu ever, born of a single pregnancy. Teens now, they are not embraced for their rarity; they are outcasts because of it. Making it rather hard to find love. Reserved, self-effacing Aria has accepted her fate, yet she has learnt to greet the rejection with nothing less than a brave face.

Character Interview

1. Tell us a little about your brother, Aaron, and why he’s so important to you.

Aaron is a great many things – talented, funny, caring and protective – but there’s nothing like having someone who understands you completely, who knows you more thoroughly than you realise at times, and I just cannot imagine my life without him. My struggles are his struggles. My joys are his joys. Being formed in the womb together has given us a bond stronger than any bond two people can share. Aaron is my world. My reason for existing.

2. After your brother’s altercation with Liam, when you told Aaron that you thought your attacker was a wanderer, not from your village, did you believe what you were saying or were you just trying to keep him from telling anyone about your attack?

I truly did believe that my attacker was a wanderer, that he’d moved on and I was now safe, but there’s always this nagging voice that warns I may just be wrong.

3. Do you have any suspicions at this point (at the end of Book 1) as to who your attacker could be?

Just when Aaron, Liam or I think we have enough evidence to properly identify the masked man from my attack, our theories go unproven, leaving the true identity of my attacker a mystery. I wonder if we will ever know.

4. In Tortuous Shadows, what’s your main goal?

My goal is simple: be the best daughter and sister that I can be, bringing happiness to my family in the short time that I will remain with them. But after meeting Liam, after discovering his impossible love for me, I am determined to change fate’s design and write for myself the future I never thought I could have.

5. What’s the main barrier to achieving this goal?

Fate itself. I’ve come to realise that I am powerless, a fool, really, to think I could alter the course already set before me. As I always have, I must resign myself to accept that my time will come soon.

6. Where do you go when you’re angry?

Anywhere I can be alone, whether it’s my room or the clearing, and if that’s not an option, like when I had to gather roses with my mother after our argument, I work to shut out the rest of the world and curl up within myself, alone with my thoughts, praying to the gods that things could be different, wishing I could be somewhere else… someone else.

7. What’s your greatest fear? Does anyone know about this fear, and is there anyone you’d never tell?

I have never revealed this to anyone, for fear that giving it a voice would somehow give it life, but my greatest fear is that Aaron’s fate will mirror my own. Thankfully, I have great hopes for him that his relationship with his beloved will weather any storms that may come their way.

8. What makes you laugh so hard your stomach hurts?

In a word: Aaron. Whether it’s his wild exaggerations when he’s telling a story, or his overprotective nature, which makes him do the craziest things for the sake of my safety, he’s never short of laugh-inspiring antics. It’s one of the things I love most about him.

9. What would give you ultimate peace and happiness?

I do not believe that ultimate peace and happiness can exist for me, but I could die with a content heart to just to know that Aaron will live a happy and fulfilling life.

10. If someone met you for the first time and spent only five minutes with you, what are they most likely to remember about you?

The first thing people remember about me is my eyes. Most can’t get past the green of them; they’re just too unique, a testament to how unique I am. If they were to stick around the full five minutes to get to know me, Aria, the person inside this hardened exterior, they might remember most that I am a very caring person, that I have an immense appreciation for the value of life.

11. What are your pet hates and how do you deal with it when you’re subjected to those things?

Dishonesty really grates at me, but, above all else, I hate it when people judge one another, the way people have judged my mother for the circumstances placed upon her, and how that judgment has fallen onto my and Aaron’s shoulders.

12. In three or less sentences, describe the world you live in. What do you like the most and least about it?

What I like least about the world is the fact that, ever since the Darkness, lives have been cut short, with most only living into their mid to late thirties. Another thing I hate is how, since that time, parents have only been able to have one child, unlike my mother, who had the unique experience of having both a son and a daughter. What I most love about this world is hope; though sometimes fragile and fleeting, it is there, and if you draw it close and let it bloom in your heart, impossible things are possible.

13. If you could pick any skill, which would you most like to have?

I would love to be able to sketch like Aaron, or craft beautiful things like Liam, or help people like the doc and his daughter. Really, I would settle for any bit of skill that would make the other villagers look beyond my dark past and see value in my existence.

14. How much do you care about what others think of you? Would you ever do something you wouldn’t usually, because someone else encouraged or wanted you to?

Outwardly, I pretend not to care what the others think of me. I brush it off and continue with my day as if it’s the way I want things to be. If I’m honest with myself, though, it makes the world more of an unkind place than it ought to be, and I want no part of it. After hearing the story of the time my mother jumped Eliysha Falls, I never imagined I would willingly climb to that ledge and make the jump of my own volition, but there I was one day, hand in hand with Liam, all because he wanted me to. I was pretty sure right then that I would do anything for him, which was both a frightening and exciting thought.

Vanessa Finaughty’s review of Tortuous Shadows:

Although I’m not generally a lover of romance books, the fantasy part got my attention, along with the striking book cover, so I decided to take a chance on Tortuous Shadows. I’m glad I did! The story was entertaining and the descriptions vivid, enabling me to easily visualise and feel what the character was experiencing.

The entire novel is written in first person, present tense – not everyone’s favourite tense and one that’s difficult to write a full book in, but I’ve always enjoyed books written this way, provided the author does it well, which Parr does. For this story, I think the tense and POV work perfectly.

The balance between mystery, fantasy and romance was well done too, and fantasy romance lovers should definitely read Tortuous Shadows for a real treat!

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Author bio:

Jennifer Parr has always considered herself a creative soul, whether it’s scrapbooking, sewing or cake decorating, but nothing has been more rewarding than novel writing. She’s a wife and stay-at-home mother of four, a veteran of the USAF, and a huge horse lover – riding in gymkhanas was her absolute favourite as a teen!

When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, she probably has a book in her hand. She is extremely thankful to be able to do what she does, and knows she wouldn’t be where she is without the support of her family, friends, and the readers who make it all worthwhile.

Works include: Daddy’s Little Princess; Tortuous Shadows, the first installment of my Avalon Valley trilogy; and my recently completed series starter, The Purifier. She is currently seeking representation.

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