They were fated to collide, Ella Bandita and the Wanderer. This complex fable about a predatory seductress and an adventurer frozen in grief explores the darkness of the human heart and the allure of erotic obsession over love. The story begins when an outcast young woman tries to kill herself. Yet a sorcerer intervenes with a last chance to change her destiny. But she must be his lover and give him her heart to transform into the immortal Ella Bandita. All his life, the Wanderer hears stories about Ella Bandita, the ruthless thief of hearts. But he never believes she lives and doesn’t recognize her when they meet. Driven by lust, he follows Ella Bandita into a battle of wills that threatens to destroy him. The Wanderer wants nothing more than to avenge himself on a woman he loathes, the vagabond seductress who stole his heart.
From the fireside, the Bard weaves tales for the village children. His favorite villainess is Ella Bandita, the predatory seductress notorious for manipulating the weaknesses of licentious men and stealing their hearts. The Bard’s grandson grows up with the stories of Ella Bandita’s conquests: the Gambling Man, the Rogue, the Charmer. As he approaches manhood, he must find his own destiny away from his grandfather and the village, away from the tales of the infamous Thief of Hearts. But in the woods of a new land he meets a strange woman. In the face of desire, will he remember his grandfather’s warning? “Always remember. Follow your heart.
The Wanderer should have known better. Growing up with the Bard’s fireside stories about the predatory seductress Ella Bandita has done nothing to prepare him for meeting her. When he crosses paths with a mysterious vagabond girl in the woods, his loneliness pulls him toward her. But the strange woman spurns his friendship. It should be easy enough to leave her behind. But the Wanderer can’t pull himself away, captive to his stubborn will and the haunting dreams that linger when he wakes up every morning. Drawn in by the legendary allure of Ella Bandita, the Wanderer is caught up in a game of cat and mouse fraught with desire that is only fueled by his neighbor’s disdain. Soon, the words of his grandfather’s warning becomes a fading echo in his ear…always remember, follow your heart. Will the Wanderer resist in time to hear those words, or will he lose the one thing that matters to him most?
About the Author:
In an old 1985 Four-Runner dubbed “the Brown Beast,” Montgomery Mahaffey grabbed her first collection of stories and headed to Alaska on a whirlwind book tour that took her through more than just Alaska’s cities. Behind all of the festivals, coffee shops, and bookstores were the living, breathing beings that formed and informed the entire experience. Mahaffey is a storyteller by birth, given over to the trade through a long line of family, and true to the story-teller tradition, she found that she was given a story for each story she told. She collected the stories of the people she spoke to, and it was in those subtly discovered relationships that the real journey blossomed. It was no longer simply a book tour. It was a bonafied spiritual adventure. She wrote with a feverish intensity to produce a longer version of the story she had told across the wintery landscape, the tale of Ella Bandita and the Wanderer.
Ella’s character is powerfully committed to unearthing those things hidden within the human heart. She draws these out in each interaction, in the way that telling a story, or even listening to one, can awaken buried thoughts and reactions. The expansion of the tale continues to unearth and unfold even after publication. In a sense, the story of Ella Bandita and the Wanderer is never fully completed, for each of its readers will bring it to new life, just as it will play a part in shaping their life to come.
Mahaffey’s other works, Preacher Man and the Golden Pedestal and Why Roses Have Thorns are two children’s books set in the magically infused landscape that has become Mahaffey’s signature. With their seamless flow in and out of the spectacular, told with direct expression, Mahaffey’s novels are suitable for a wide range of readers.
In 2005 she was given the Individual Artist Project Award from the Rasmuson Foundation. She lives in Portland, Oregon, though her heart has traveled through many places to get there. She is currently at work on her next novel.
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