-

Nancy M.C. Young    Author

"A mesmerizing story..." New York Review of Books
"Young's intense focus... provides imagery of 
       glistening beauty."  Publisher's Weekly
"Superb - poetic & luscious..." BookPleasures.com

This is what readers and book reviewers are saying: 

*****Nancy is a good story teller with a large vocabulary as you travel ... 
By BD Frost on October 20, 2017
Strum is an unusual,original story that introduces the background of the book in the first chapter and then takes off on a whirlwind of a story! Nancy is a good story teller with a large vocabulary as you travel through time in this unique tale that unfolds into an interesting story.

By jambud on October 22, 2015
I really enjoyed reading this book. The story is compelling and colorful. I like how it jumped from an era to another. I like how descriptive the writing of the characters and locations. This is an easy book to read.

***** Sweeping Epic Tale of a Fascinating Family, Jane Hansen reviewed Strum August 12, 2015
The novel Strum is a wonderful, epic tale of a family. It is full of love, passion, the beauty of nature, and the healing beauty of music. You will be swept away with the fascinating lives of the Sebastiani family.

**** Enjoyed the intriguing story line that spans through time and locations by Robert Gin reviewed Strum, August 10, 2015
Enjoyed the intriguing story line that spans through time and locations. How a two guitar made in one century came to bring two people in another. The description of the different locations of the story was pretty vivid as though I was there. Thoroughly enjoyed the book once I understood that it moved from one time period to another.

***** Suggested reading, by Alana reviewed Strum, June 6, 2015
Great read!!!

***** Five Stars by Claudia Arenson reviewed Strum, May 10, 2015
A wonderful book!

***** Great book! by Sam reviewed Strum, February 16, 2015
I love the way Nancy Young creates such a rich, spiritual world in Strum! The book just got better the deeper I into the novel I went. It's definitely reading time well spent!

*****Away from the Now, by  Richard Ulyate reviewed Strum, November 1, 2014 
In Strum we are led into different places, times and connected personal circumstances. The rich detail in the story helped me to visualize places not yet visited and and remember those that I had. I liked the complex tale of people dealing with events, others and their own desires set in a historical background. It took me away from the Now for a while. Looking forward to more."

***** Beautifully written story with fascinating characters and exotic locales, syleclair reviewed Strum, Sept. 28, 2014
If you like music, history, world travel and romance, you will enjoy this book. Written in a poetic, ethereal style, "Strum" is a beautifully crafted tale of multicultural family, passion, love and loss across generations and continents. The settings are described in eloquent detail and the characters are so well developed you can almost feel their passion and pain. This book would make a great movie! I'm looking forward to a sequel or more novels from this author.

***** Travel the world and fall in love with the characters of this book! Heather B reviewed Strum, Sep. 27, 2014
I love this book! The descriptive writing style is reminiscent of Allende and Marquez. This story keeps the reader engaged, with an interesting flow that doesn't reveal the complete picture until the very end. This is one of my favorite books--and I've read a lot! I look forward to giving this book to family and friends and gifts.
Ft
***** YaYaMama reviewed Strum, July 26, 2014
An excellent read!!! Take on this book, only if you feel the desire to be transported away in search of a new favorite novel as your final destination. Well done Ms Young!

*****Wonderful musical journey, J M reviewed Strum, June 2, 2014
A blend of magical realism and domestic drama spanning several generations and continents.  A visual feast.  Sent a copy to my mother... no higher praise.

**** Magic Realism, by  Sian reviewed Strum

What a lovely treat to have read Strum, to travel to new places and times or old places but with a different cultural viewpoint...Chartreuse Notre-Dame to French Indochina and Nepal. There is the almost magic realism of two beautifully crafted guitars...a glimpse into the art of such a craft, and some wonderful descriptive passages. I love a tale where I might learn and Strum is all of that amidst love and loss...


*****Wonderfully Relaxing,  Meng Liev reviewed Strum, January 17, 2014

This is a book that I truly savor little by little. I normally read fast paced mystery/thriller, would often stay up late, and be tired the next day, I brought Strum after I met Nancy and so glad I did. Strum “is a journey, not a destination.” I did not feel rushed to get to the end, to find out what will happen next because it’s beautifully written and well paced for leisure reading.


*****An Engaging Story in the Romantic Tradition, J. Allan Wolf reviewed Strum, January 15, 2014
Strum is a tale told in romantic style, spanning multiple generations over an approximately 120 year period extending from the 1880's to 2000. It tells the story of people linked in a variety of ways, both formally and metaphorically, the latter through three beautifully crafted and somewhat magical guitars. At the story's heart are two individuals, Bernard and Lorraine, the people around them, and some who came before as well as after. The story unfolds in nonlinear fashion, jumping between time periods and focus, a time-spanning and geographically widespread saga that, somewhere around two thirds of the way into the novel, begins to reveal how many seemingly disparate elements tie together. To disclose more would be to give away too much, so let me simply conclude by emphasizing the romantic tone of the story both in terms of its overall concept and its style. It makes for an enjoyable read, and I would recommend it to anyone seeking escape from the mundane into a multi-layered tale of love with all of its intense resonances.

*****AwesomeElizabeth Dempsey "Bethie" reviewed Strum , November 15, 2013

Awesome, passionate, moving saga. So well written that you feel you are right there. The imagery painted with Nancy's words is fantastic.


*****A rich, human, spiritual, and magical tale of family, love, struggle, and redemption...AngloDutch reviewed Strum, September 23, 2013
"Nous sommes tout le monde...partout dans le monde. Rien de plus, pasmoins. We are everyone...everywhere. No more, no less. Life is not a straightforward plain...no linear pattern, simply A to B, and on to C and inevitably ending us up at Z, where we are then inevitably tossed by angels into heaven or hell. Progression is immaterial, time relative." For Jacob, life ebbed and flowed into complex woven conundrums of inter-relatedness, of stops and starts and intervening presents transforming over and into elaborate and repeating futures. He believed that at all times man existed with one foot in heaven, another in hell, and everywhere in between and within lay his soul. --Strum

Jacob Sebastiani's above reflections might be thought of as the guiding principle which characterizes Nancy Young's premier novel, Strum, a non-chronological, spiritual exploration of self-discovery, desire, and unconquerable love. Love between individuals, and love for the unplanned life. In an intricate cross-cultural tale about a multigenerational, partly accidental family, Young creates warm, compassionate, believable, and ultimately human characters that seek self-understanding and love by transcending their usual personal and geographical boundaries in hopes of finding something fulfilling and true in themselves. Each fascinating character discovers along the path the inevitable hardships of passionate love, cultural boundaries, surprise, slighted expectations, and heartbreak, before experiencing some sort of eventual redemption. Imbued with the spirituality of the greatest international language, music, Young demonstrates her deep awareness of the challenges and beauty of international living. Strum gives us a glimpse into a very personal American-European-Asian universe that reads like biography, historical fiction, romance, fairy tale, ghost-story, travel-guide, music appreciation text, and prayer all at once. It acclaims the inter-connectivity of everything, living and material, that weaves the tapestry of a life well-lived. It is an audacious and marvelous first novel and I look forward to Ms. Young's future work.  ~ Theo J. van Joolen [The Fairy Poet of New York]

*****excellent reading, by  Ahmad Mokhtarzadeh reviewed Strum, September 22, 2013
Whenever I come to the end of a good book, I find myself reading a little slower, feeling sad too that this pleasure is almost over. This is one of these books written by Nancy Young. Thorough research, a keen sense of observation of places, combined with the deep understanding of people who live in these different parts of the world, make this book so very special. She describes the people of countries I have lived in part of my life. Reading this book was a wonderful experience for me. It brought me back into places, where I have lived and connected with wonderful people so many years ago. I highly recommend this book. I know I shall read it again in the very near future.

*****Interesting story, by Les reviewed Strum, September 18, 2013

Strum has a very interesting story and good details throughout. Be prepared to travel around the world and get a lesson in history. This is a relaxing book to read at the end of the day.


*****A Fabulous Read! by Leah Douglas reviewed StrumJuly 25, 2013
Young captured my attention from the very first pages in this novel.  Following the haunting melody he can feel in his soul, Bernard is driven on a journey into the woods that begins a beautiful tale of loves lost and found over a century of time.  Excellent novel, a wonderful story that belongs on the bookshelf of anyone who fancies a realistic escape with just a touch of mystery and magic; highly recommended.

*****A Hypnotic Tale by ES reviewed Strum, July 07, 2013

Nancy Young is a born storyteller. Her fine writing reflects the gifts of compelling characterization and descriptive clarity enhanced by her graceful literary style. From the beginning, the book echoes her deep respect for this hypnotic tale. It is a must-read!


*****Unexpected Journey, by Francisco Vargas reviewed Strum, June 25, 2013
I'll be honest this manuscript came to me from Nancy herself while at work at the library which we both support. Having said that, Strum was an unexpected journey through Canada, France, Southeast Asia and through time with connections between characters that create a story so easily read and enjoyed that will make that plane ride or that day on the beach a blur. Young's storytelling comes natural each chapter has it's own voice and time. The language, the small details create a scene that is rich with images, smells and the occasional heated encounter between lovers. I'd like to tell more about this seductive tale but would be giving away too much. I highly recommend it.

By James Broderick Ph.D of Bookpleasures.com

Nancy Young’s novel Strum begins with a French epigram from 17th century French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal that essentially communicates the idea that “the heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing about.” It’s one of Pascal’s better known aphorisms. But the more deeply I read into this poignant and compelling book, the more I kept thinking back to another of Pascal’s oft-cited quotes, rendered in English as “If we examine our thoughts, we shall find them always occupied with the past and the future.”


Strum not only exemplifies that idea, as well as the tidal pull of time in the sea-changes of our lives, but Young has structured her novel according to that principle, with chapters leaping back and forth in time, from the 1800's to the year 2000. The novel also leaps about in place, from the Canadian hinterlands to the French Alps, from Southeast Asia to Australia.


To describe Strum, with all its digressions and excavations, would make it sound like a complex creation worthy of Pascal himself as it wends its way through a labyrinth of six generations, but the novel is really quite simple, and Young does a great job of keeping the string of significant events hummingly clear. The fulcrum of the book is music, or perhaps “sound” would be a better way of saying it, as sounds both heard and sensed comprise much of the charm and fabric of the book. More specifically, the music of a hand-crafted set of guitars provides the soundtrack to the lives of scores of noteworthy characters one meets within the pages of Strum.


The central conceit of the book – and the pulsating rhythm of its plot – involves how the music of these particular guitars connects a multi-generational mixed race family and the lovers and others who comprise their aural sects as we follow them through time. The novel opens with a vignette of magical realism: a deaf woodworker follows an eerie, enchanting music he hears in a dream, taking him deep into a forest, stalking the source of his nocturnal delight amid the centuries-old cedars that spire skyward.


What follows is an exhausting and exhilarating adventure, taking the readers from the tumult of timber mills to the somnolence of cloistered convents, and later, from the dark and threatening jungle to the stately resplendence of the modern opera house. All along the way, the writing (like the music that floats though the text) remains lush and ornamental, rococo in its rhetorical coloration: “Her fingers flew up and down the fret board marking out a recuerdo both passionate and lamenting…her gypsy soul found a platform in the soundboard of the instrument and with it the dying embers of her passionate spirit were rekindled and stoked into a blaze. Each rising arpeggio was an ascent into the upper reaches of a Vesuvius summit and the descents a plunge into infinite sobriety.”


If such impassioned and emotionally heightened language (unfairly taken out of context here, I concede) seems a bit overheated, it might be best to again remember Pascal, who argued that the fundamental truths of human existence could not be stated, or discovered, through the cold filter of reason. In Strum, Nancy Young affirms that principle in prose that would likely have left Pascal nodding in affirmation.


Other readers reviews: 

"Strum: a captivating and unforgettable novel....The first of many by Nancy Young. I loved reading the book and did not want it to end." Diane J. (July 16, 2014)

"Loved the book. There were several unforeseen twist that kept me turning the pages. Great job, Nancy. Now I know why Strum is an award winning book!" By Andy G. (May 24, 2014)
 
"Thanks for taking me along on your journey through hundreds of years, to Quebec, Paris, Chang Rai and Kathmandu... Two thumbs up!" By Kevin K. (Nov. 4, 2013)

"A beautifully written, engrossing family epic..." Kirkus Reviews

"Young's intense focus on the natural world provides imagery of glistening beauty..." Publisher's Weekly Review

"A mesmerizing story you can't stop reading." The New York Review of Books

"A sweeping debut of enduring but tragic love..." Pasadena Now (Oct. 2013)

"I was enchanted. I am not a critic in any way but I must say that your research on the various regions you did was quite remarkable. I am a romantic and your novel was full of mystical marvels. A bit of fantasy I do always appreciate and your novel has a good amount of that... full of glamour, fascinating locations and the pepper of a bit of sex always good addition. Yes, I certainly believe it would make a great film." Charles A. (Sept.16, 2013)

"... a very talented writer with an extraordinary command of the English language... the descriptions of nature, emotions, and events are remarkable. At times, parts of the book took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes." By Joseph P. (Aug. 12, 2013)

"All I can say is WOW!" By Laura B. (August 5, 2013) ,