Destiny's Way Cover

Destiny’s Way

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A Novel of the Big Bend
Ben H. English
Historical Fiction / Suspense
Publisher: Creative Texts Publishers
Date of Publication: January 18, 2020
Number of Pages: 363
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Destiny's Way book cover

Kate Blanchard woke up one morning in a dream home she could no longer afford, with a young son who needed a man’s influence, and not a friend among those who had claimed to be prior to her husband’s mysterious disappearance.

About all she had left was a ramshackle ranch along Terlingua Creek, sitting forlornly in the desolate reaches of the lower Big Bend. It was the only place left she could go. There she finds a home and a presence of something strange yet comforting that she can’t put her finger on or fully understand.

With that ethereal presence comes Solomon Zacatecas, a loner with his own past and a knowledge of her land near uncanny in nature. He helps her when no one else can and is honest when no one else will be, but she suspicions that he is not always completely so.

Yet her quiet, unassuming neighbor proves to be more than capable in whatever situation arises. That includes when standing alone against those who would take everything else that Kate had, including her life as well as her son’s.

“This is one of those rare books that you simply can’t put down. Ben English ‘s writing style is pure magic. He really brings this historical fiction book to life. Immediately, you are drawn to the main characters Kate and Solomon and feel as though you are right there next to them, experiencing what they are experiencing. Destiny’s Way is one that would do well on the Silver Screen.”
Catherine Eaves, published author
“Ben does a superb job with this book! Excellent characters, true-to-life environment that is part and parcel of the story, twists and turns enough to make you wonder what is going on, and a slice of life down in Big Bend that rings true. That area has historically been full of ‘characters’ throughout its history, and Ben brings those characters into the book, raising the hair on the back of your neck. Highly recommended!”
J. L. Curtis, author of the Grey Man series
“Ben, I love how your words and your memories reach out and connect the past with the present and touch so many people along the way. You are the connector! Bravo Zulu, my friend.”
Matt Walter, Museum of the Big Bend Curator
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Clueless Gent’s Rating

4.5 star rating

Destiny’s Way is a thoroughly engaging story of life in west Texas, specifically in the Big Bend area. This does not include the tourists that may flock there when the weather isn’t too hot. This is about some of the people that made it their home, accepting the hardships – and the beauty – of that area.

This is a novel, a work of fiction, but the author tells us that much of the terrain mentioned in the story (and there’s a lot of it) actually exists or used to exist. Further, many of the characters are based on people known by the author, who blended their traits into some formidable people on both sides of the law.

Ben English’s love and knowledge of the Big Bend are evident from the very beginning. I have never been to that specific part of Texas, yet I now have a better understanding of the type of people who established a homestead there, as well as some of the hardships they faced.

The Characters of Destiny’s Way

One thing I liked about this story was that, with only one exception, the characters were all what-you-see-is-what-you-get. Meaning, if a character was a good guy (or gal), then they were truly good. The same could be said of the bad folks; bad was bad. The exception to this rule was the main antagonist. On the outside, he seemed friendly and generous, but on the inside he was somewhat ruthless.

The two main protagonists, Kate and Solomon, are as different as night and day. They are neighbors in the wilderness, each stubbornly independent, yet each lacking something substantial in their lives. A good part of the story is dedicated to the unlikely bond these two characters form.

We all know the story can’t end there, and it doesn’t. The antagonist, with seemingly unlimited resources, wants something from each of them – something dear. The rest of the story is about how this spoiled, pot-bellied slime ball goes after what he desires.

The characters are really marvelous. They are all flawed, of course, yet some have traits that make them truly exceptional human beings. Thanks to the third-person narrator, we get to take a good look into their hearts and minds.

Technically Speaking

The story was well written, but I think a few more commas would have been in order. This did not take away from my enjoyment of the story in any way.

The character arcs were as expected, except for one twist which we are treated to near the end.

The pacing was quite good. In the beginning (not counting the prologue), as Kate and Solomon meet and begin a friendship, the pacing is perfectly slow. The reader learns about the Big Bend, and there’s enough going on to keep the reader engaged. When the author starts the build to the climax, the pacing makes a wonderful crescendo. Further, post climax, the author doesn’t leave the reader hanging. He gives us enough additional information to bring closure to a great read.

One thing I considered very clever was the parallel a reader can draw between the prologue and the rest of the story. But it’s up to the reader to do it. The author won’t lead you to it. However, when you see it, it’ll give you just that much more satisfaction.

I highly recommend this story!

I received a free copy of this book from Lone Star Book Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review.
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Ben H. English Author Photo

Ben H. English is an eighth-generation Texan who grew up in the Big Bend. At seventeen he joined the Marines, ultimately becoming a chief scout-sniper as well as a platoon sergeant. Later he worked counterintelligence and traveled to over thirty countries.
At Angelo State University he graduated Magna Cum Laude along with other honors. Afterwards Ben had a career in the Texas Highway Patrol, holding several instructor billets involving firearms, driving, and defensive tactics.
His intimate knowledge of what he writes about lends credence and authenticity to his work. Ben knows how it feels to get hit and hit back, or being thirsty, cold, wet, hungry, alone, or exhausted beyond imagination. Finally, he knows of not only being the hunter but also the hunted.
Ben and his wife have two sons who both graduated from Annapolis. He still likes nothing better than grabbing a pack and some canteens and heading out to where few others venture.
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