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She Oughta Be in Pictures
by Betty Jo Tucker

As a film critic, I always read a novel with one question in the back of my mind -- would it make a good movie? Tiana, Gift of the Moon, Pinkie Paranyaís second book in the Women of the Northland Series, passes this test with flying colors. An intelligent, courageous heroine searching for her lost daughter in the Northern Canada and Alaska of 600 A.D. is every bit as compelling as todayís Lara Croft: Tomb Raider or Halle Berryís Catwoman. And, from the depth of description about what life must have been like in Tianaís time, itís clear the visuals would be even more exciting than in many contemporary films.

For example, howís this for a great movie scene? On page 184, Paranya writes, ďThe giant grizzly lowered his head and in a blink of an eyelid he rammed into her (Tiana), hitting her hard with his body, his roar deafening, close to her ear. Too close for the lance, she dropped it and held her hands up over her head to keep her scalp from being torn off. He swiped with his paw, the black claws looking like large black stones and time stood still as the claws descended on her shoulder. She didnít feel the pain, the shock of the impact was too great. She fell to her knees and grabbed at the bird bolo, instinctively flinging it around the bearís back legs.Ē   

Chosen to be Raven Woman, the latest in a line of strong and mystical female leaders, Tiana heeds her spiritual visions as she confronts wild animals like the huge bear above, challenges shamans, falls in love, saves lives and forms a new family. Through skillful character development, Paranya evokes the readerís empathy and admiration for this incredible young woman. In addition to relating an extraordinary adventure, the highly talented author makes it easy for us to care about what happens to Tiana and the people she loves.

I donít believe Iíve ever experienced a more heightened sense of place while reading a novel like this. Paranya, whose Raven Woman won ForeWard Magazine's Award for Best Historical Fiction Book of the Year, uses vivid language to paint breathtaking pictures of a fascinating world that, though it existed long ago, can still inspire us with the universal themes of  bravery, determination, compassion and hope.

(For more information about Pinkie Paranya and Tiana, Gift of the Moon, visit

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