The novelist and short story writer Anna Kashina contacted me about featuring her newest novel Ivan and Marya at the Fantasy Tavern, which I gladly did.
Kashina officially released her novel on the Summer Solstice, a day very symbolic to the story of Ivan and Marya. Inspired by the Russian tale of the same name, Kashina's novel is a dark fantasy about Marya, the sorceress daughter of a king. Marya is a shapeshifter, whose trickster ways helps her lure victims to their doom. Every summer solstice she must sacrifice a virgin. The energy released from the sacrifices feeds her father's soul.
Ivan is sent to end these ghastly deeds but falls in love with Marya. His love begins to transform Marya who must confront her true nature and question what she has been doing in the service of her father.
These characters are taken from a Russian folk tale. A flower that blooms in Russian forests around the time of the Summer Solstice bears the name of Ivan and Marya.
From the excerpt of this novel included at the Drollerie Press, publisher of Kashina's novel, I found that her writing was a pleasure to read. Uncluttered yet vivid with detail, Kashina's writing promises to beautifully update Russian folklore for a worldwide audience.
"I stood beside my father and watched the girl drown. She was a strong one. Her hands continued to reach out long after her face had disappeared from view. The splashing she made could have soaked a flock of wild geese to the bone. She wanted to live, but there was no escape from the waters of the Sacrifice Pool."
Read the excerpt from Ivan and Marya