Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Bind Not the Heart: A Windflower Saga Novella by Aleksandra Layland is a deliciously crafted novella that features family, relationships, and faith, a story that explores one of the characters already featured in Of Wisdom and Valor: The Art of War. In this thrilling story, readers get to know some interesting characters, especially Sister Ermentrude and her family background, and Ermen, her twin, and their journey towards a life of service. The author’s gift for exploring genealogy comes across powerfully in the writing. The story is filled with a lot of beautiful and meaningful dialogues that come out neatly and read so naturally, and many insightful thoughts are expressed through the dialogues.
The prose, in fact, was one of the elements of this story that held my attention throughout; it is delightful, tight, and filled with lyricism. The characters are very lovely, and whether they are witnessing hardship or enjoying some of the simplest joys of life, they feel real and believable. Readers have a lot to cherish in this story, but its spiritual depth will open a path that they can use to look into themselves. Bind Not the Heart: A Windflower Saga Novella is a wise story with a lot of lessons for readers.
One of the lessons I learned came across in the form of an allegory: “…You both see many birds in the village, don’t you? And do you see how beautiful and graceful the birds are when they are flying? Yes. But when they are on the ground, whether to find some fat worm for their dinner, to peck at seeds, or to drink water from a fresh puddle, do you see how they are a little clumsy? … But in the sky they are truly what a bird is meant to be.” This beautifully captures the real meaning of inner freedom — embracing who we are meant to be. Aside from being a master storyteller, Aleksandra Layland has the gift of entertaining readers and awakening in them the sense of life through her memorable characters.