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“An 11-year-old girl caught in a dreamlike world searches for an enigmatic book to stop a kingdom from collapsing in Whittaker’s debut YA fantasy...undeniably satisfying...A quirky, inventive tale from an author who respects her YA readers with intelligent prose.”
— Kirkus Reviews
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Praise for Isabella

"Every once in a while, you read a novel that is so good and compelling that you are bound to remember the story forever. Isabella and the Tale of The Unanswered Question by Linda Whittaker is that kind of novel. The plot is so original and completely out of this world and yet so utterly believable. It is brought to life through Linda's gripping writing style. Isabella and the Tale of The Unanswered Question is a one of a kind story and I loved reading every single page.”

— Faridah Nassozi for Readers' Favorite

"The book is an entertaining tale of adventure, mystery and whimsy. The story takes us through twists and turns with readers learning wonderful lessons as they journey with Isabella. The theme is fresh, creative, original, and is a compelling read. It is an amazing story of survival as well as a story of life's journey. The vibrant shades and levels of consciousness readers can travel while reading this story are amazing. A dark fairy tale that makes a fascinating read.”

— Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

"Linda Whittaker's novel, Isabella and the Tale of the Unanswered Question, is a
delightful adventure through a surreal new land. Reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, Whittaker's novel is a dreamy fairy tale that forces the reader to question their own perceptions of the world. Her tale is a page turner from start to finish, and I believe many readers will find it hard to put down. I highly recommend this novel and will
definitely be seeking out more to read from this fascinating author.”

— Tania Staley for Readers' Favorite

"This book was a joy to read! The story is told as a fairytale coupled with a modern day parallel story that is interwoven brilliantly with the life lessons of fairytales and a surprising ending that leaves the reader wishing for more. The author is adept at creating a fantasy world that envelops the reader so that not only can you vividly visualize each character, but you can hear the trees, animals, river, and the most ordinary inanimate objects. I found myself re-reading passages just to enjoy the words again! The language is beautiful, poetic and lyrical. The book is a thought-provoking, satisfying, good read!”

— Lesley Olsen

 

"I highly and enthusiastically recommend Linda Whittaker’s Isabella! It is now one of my favorite books. I was drawn in immediately and could not put it down until I was finished. Isabella is, at the very least, a compelling, exciting, and moving read; containing all the challenges, mysteries, and magic to be expected in a classic fairytale. And, without requiring extra effort on the reader’s part, it makes accessible a deeper exploration of personality and healing via archetypes, parts, and the concept of personal journey. One of the many treasures in Isabella, for me, is Ms. Whittaker’s use of language. She transported me in time poetic, she let me experience Isabella’s journey as my own. She made me smile, made me cry, and made me rejoice.”

— d. mills

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“This whimsical and inspired debut cleverly disguises deep philosophical questions with a YA-style fantasy adventure. Dutiful, quiet Isabella is burdened with a nagging secret and nightmares. After encountering revelers near her forest home (the precise setting is left unclear), Isabella begins to question her mundane life. A telepathic raven offers Isabella a choice that leads her to a kingdom where people, animals, and even the river can read her mind. She delights in royal accommodations until the king tells her she must find a book that will save the land from dark forces. Meanwhile, a present-day story line follows the treatment of a comatose woman. Intricate characters and dream sequences are continually introduced, leading readers to wonder what’s real, imaginary, or metaphorical. Whittaker delivers wisdom with style in this brilliant examination of the consequences of choices, and readers may begin to question their own deepest secrets and dreams.”

- Publishers Weekly – Starred Review

"The trials of Isabella the child are beautifully written. The world created here is both unique and is introduced seamlessly and confidently to the reader. The pacing of Isabella's story is masterful. Most importantly, Isabella shows her character through actions and she changes and grows as the story progresses. This is accomplished so smoothly, I really feel that I know her when I finished reading. I feel that I have spent time making a new friend.”

— Reviewed by Judge for the 22nd Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards

 

This is one of the most interesting books I have read in a long time. I had a hard time putting this book down. I loved following Isabella on her journey of personal growth and the characters she met along her path. Isabella was very inspiring as she learned how to confront her fears. I loved that in the end Isabella found the real treasure, herself.”

— Joyce Lewandowski

"Isabella and the Tale of the Unanswered Question is a truly magical novel for all ages. Whittaker effortlessly and seamlessly writes an excellent tale of adventure while, at the same time, teaching readers many life lessons. Reading this book touched many parts of me intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually- not many books have that power to move a person on so many levels. I was a little lost in my direction in life, but after reading about Isabella, it inspired and uplifted me. I would implore everyone who loves reading about magic and happiness to read this EXCELLENT book that will make you look at the world with magical eyes!”

— Christine Nguyen for Readers' Favorite

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"Author Linda Whittaker interweaves this wonderful fantasy story with a modern tale of an unnamed woman who suffers a terrible head injury and slips into a coma.  A victim of a dreadful assault, her mind goes into another reality that is filled with wonders and mystery. Isabella, a young village girl, embarks on a mysterious quest the Lower Kingdom. Guided by a raven named Nightwalker, Isabella meets the king who instructs her to find a book that holds the key to the kingdom’s fate.  Magic, fear, and unforeseen twists and revelations are just some of elements that elevate the intriguing facets of the story.
This book takes readers to another state of perception regarding our inner strengths
and our life’s journey.  I honestly enjoyed the metaphors and wisdom that this story has to offer. Whittaker’s flair for dialogue always hits the right notes, never sounding forced.  Most of the cast are given a well-merited rounding out, giving each character a depth and compassion that bring about a true connection between the readers and each character. Of course the protagonist, Isabella, is the one who would evoke readers’ emotions the most.  There was more depth here than I would have expected from the first few pages.  I found myself drawn into the world that Whittaker created.  I could picture this story as a wonderful, unique tale that would be amazing on the cinema screen, provided that it got the right director to make it happen. Simply put, Isabella and the Tale of the Unanswered Question is a must-read.”

— LIT AMRI FOR READERS' FAVORITE

"Clever...modern, yet timeless...just some of the descriptions that ring out after reading Isabella.  Linda Whittaker treats the reader to multiple, stand-alone story lines, each carrying their own life lessons, all artfully brought together, at the denouement, to deliver a powerful and
satisfying punch when the intertwined fates of Isabella and the unnamed coma victim are finally revealed.  Isabella is the literary equivalent of the popular, dark cinematic fairy tales offering contrasting shades of light and darkness, good and evil. A recalcitrant and self-loathing 11 year-old, Isabella faces her demons. Through self-forgiveness and love, she emerges as our compassionate, fearless, young heroine. Protecting her through her terrifying journey of self-discovery where she faces a roiling river of blood, a swamp of darkness and a vicious predator, is a an endless cast of loving inhabitants of the Lower Kingdom- Nightwalker, the raven, Grandmother Spider, two black and white wolves, owls, a flock of cardinals and ancient turtles. Guiding her through setbacks to ensure she ultimately makes the right choices of compassion over retribution are her inner circle of trusted counselors: Sir Alfred, Esteemed Advisor to King Stefan, Setine, Queen of Dreamtime, and Kriya, the Queen Mother.  While Whittaker masterfully transports us with her eloquent descriptions of the mystical Lower Kingdom, with its thousand fairies, its rainbow staircase, and sleepless fireflies, I cannot help but wonder what a full-blown Disney production might make of a school of singing fish, the Cave of Mirrors, and the Swamp of Darkness to add even greater relevance and magic to this enchanting tale where love conquers evil! Like any great book, I was sorry to say goodbye to these endearing characters.  I miss them already!” 

— MARIA R.

“Linda Whittaker tackles the dual themes of personal growth and recovery
in Isabella and the Tale of the Unanswered Question. In this deceptive fairy
tale, a comatose woman hovers on the edge of death while her soul travels
through the underworld on a journey that will ultimately force her to decide
whether she wants to stay or return to her life. In this coming-of-age story 11
year-old Isabella facing adversity and adventure grows from a child lacking
confidence into an inquisitive and resilient young woman. But as she reaches the end of her journey through the Lower World, she must make a choice
between returning to the land of the living or staying in the place that has become her home. Clever formatting, high production values... and insight into the psychological development of a young woman add something new to this modern fairy tale. ”

— Vernieda Vergara for Foreword Clarion Reviews

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Isabella and the Tale of the Unanswered Question by Linda Whittaker is one of
those novels that starts out with real promise and surprises the reader by ending up as so much more. A seemingly children's story is transformed into a type of Purgatory where the soul must work out unfinished business. The themes are
original and very adult. Isabella faces her demons with courage and finds the
answers to her questions in an enchanting tale that fills the reader's heart
with spectacular awe.”

— Suzanne Cowles for Readers' Favorite

"Linda Whittaker has produced an amazing story, or to be more precise, an amazing story within a story. In the guise of a mysterious magical journey into the Lower Kingdom, Whittaker takes us on a journey into the inner realms of the self, where our heroine Isabella travels a path
from self-loathing to self confidence, from longing to joy, from brokenness to wholeness.  Whittaker has brilliantly woven her own psycho-therapeutic practices into her fairy tale-like story. Isabella is encouraged to be curious about all the characters and happenings in the Lower Kingdom, just as Whittaker as a therapist encourages folks to be curious about their own feelings and patiently encourages taking creative small steps in new directions to explore new possibilities. Tiny 11 year-old Isabella is the perfect protagonist to show us how exhilarating and rewarding the journey can be, even if wrought with dangers, terrors, setbacks, villains, and yes, even a dragon!  So many wonderful lessons are creatively and joyfully woven throughout the book. For example, it takes great courage to understand our emotions; all characters (all parts of ourselves) are good no matter how evil or troublesome or controlling they have become; we each write our own stories as we journey on the path through life.  Linda Whittaker has illuminated that path for all of us, with her compassion, wonder-filled tale of brave Isabella, Explorer.”

— LOIS LAUER

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