Saturday, October 20, 2018

Cloaked by Rachel Kovaciny

Cloaked (Once Upon a Western, Book One)
Rachel Kovaciny

Last month I read this with my kids. It is a fun, suspenseful adventure story with a Western twist, written by Rachel, who blogs over at The Edge of the Precipice.

This is a modern retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale, set it in the Old West. The protagonist, Mary Rose, is a sweet and sharp young lady, sent to spend part of the summer with her grandmother, whom she had never met. With two other important characters staying at her grandmother's ranch, Mary Rose spends the next few days cautiously observing and discerning what everyone's intentions are. In the beginning, even her grandmother is kind of a riddle.

But as things warm up, after a few equestrian lessons and Grandmother's kindhearted surprises, the reader begins to single out one character because of his suspicious behavior. It is best to be on guard, just as Mary Rose was guarded.

For the rest of the story, the suspense increased; my kids and I wondered what would happen next. We knew who the bad guy was, but what would he do? To what extent would he take his wickedness? I have to admit...I was caught off guard and did not expect to experience such a dramatic (even tense) ending. It was kind of exciting, too.

Rachel's writing style is whimsical and lighthearted, which makes the story warm, amicable, and fun. Of course, the antagonist is a thorn in the side of the pleasant atmosphere, which is, in other words, quite effective.

While reading, my kids never liked to stop for the night, to save the next chapter for the next day. But, when we were totally done, I asked them what they thought of the story. My 11-year old said, "It was like historical fiction turned crime story. It was really surprising." And my 9-year old said, "It was cool because [Mary Rose] got to ride a horse and live on a ranch." That's all she can focus on. I think she wished she were Mary Rose.

Well, now I look forward to reading Dancing & Doughnuts. 


  1. I need to pick up Dancing & Doughnuts - I really enjoyed Cloaked, too, Great review!

  2. Awww! Tell your daughter I wish I could live on a ranch and ride a horse every day too. Since I can't, I write books about people who can ;-)

    I'm so glad you all enjoyed it!

    1. That's why we read, too: to imagine we can do the things we may not be able least, not at the moment. It's fun to imagine.

      Great job, Rachel! We thoroughly enjoyed the experience. And now I look forward to reading a book with doughnuts in the title. It just sounds perfectly appetizing and entertaining.

    2. Precisely! Like that quotation about living a thousand lives through reading, and yet remaining yourself.

      Thanks! I think Dancing and Doughnuts is even more fun, and definitely more kid-friendly in many ways, if less exciting at the end.

    3. Oh, nice! : )

      Yeah, that standoff in Cloaked...I was a little hesitant to continue reading to my 9-year old, who runs away from conflict and killing in movies and books. I wasn't sure how she would take it, but she stayed to listen and didn't flinch.

    4. I got a fan letter from a 9-yr-old last year who told me her favorite part was "when Mary Rose hit him with the lamp and burned his face and got away." So I think maybe I managed to make that scene empowering instead of just scary? For 9-yr-olds, anyway?

    5. I think so, too. The reason my 9-year old didn't squirm is because it was clearly good fighting evil, with good triumphing -- not just a bunch of chaos, such as in war. Know what I mean? She's really sensitive about those things.

  3. This sounds like a great story. Thanks for telling us about this writer. I'm going to go visit her blog.

  4. Sharon, you'll enjoy Rachel's (Hamlette's) blog. She is a godly woman with joyful book reviews and fun reading challenges.