REVIEWS of Song of the Blackbird
DB Michaels
Dream Tower Publishing
978-0-9972798-0-1 $3.99

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“There are plenty of romances on the market and plenty of novels about prison experiences; but combining the two under one cover in a prison romance is a different approach, indeed, and so Song of the Blackbird provides a powerful saga of the unexpected.

Romance doesn’t flare between prisoners, but between a prison doctor who has taken the job in hopes of reconnecting with a family member and a formidable warden who rules his kingdom with a firm hand.

Prison life is deftly portrayed as naïve, newly-graduated doctor Emma finds herself in a strange world she can barely navigate: one in which her physician training and her inclination to do good is continually confronted by physical and psychological traumas she can’t heal.

DB Michaels does an excellent job of portraying both this world and an outsider’s attempts to navigate it, using an evolving romance as just one of the subplots in a story of personal and professional discovery.

As Emma grows, learns, and becomes more flexible rather than more jaded, so those around her grow, in turn. Doors open (and some close) during the course of Emma’s evolution both as a physician and through the zigzag paths of first impressions and evolving love.

Romance readers who look for more than surface passion in their stories will find the complex world of a prison environment an intriguing, satisfying backdrop for an unusual connection between two very different people. The emphasis on medical procedures, heartbreak, and different kinds of love is well done and creates an intricate maze of encounters that are believable and involving.

Those who want more than a bodice-ripper from their romances will relish the well-developed protagonists and backgrounds presented in Song of the Blackbird.”

D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review


“In this first installment of a planned, prison-set series, a new doctor takes a job where her half brother is incarcerated, but she hides their relationship from the attractive warden.

Emma Edwards arrives for her first day as a doctor at California’s Albatross Prison, outside of LA, to witness warden Maxim Chambers giving a disciplinary beating to an inmate. She’s particularly appalled at this, due to her sympathy for prisoners. Her younger half brother, Sam Morris, is doing time for having drugs on him when he was interviewed by police, after killing his abusive father to protect Emma’s now-deceased mother. Emma took this job to find and reconnect with Sam, and she soon discovers that he works as one of the prison doctors’ porters. He warns her to leave, because if authorities find out that she’s hiding their kinship, it would hurt her career. He’s also traumatized by his own past and troubled by new prison pressures. As Emma tries to get Sam and other prisoners better medical assistance, she and Maxim spar over their different attitudes toward inmates as well as their growing attraction to each other. Emma soon learns the sad reason for Maxim’s tough attitude, which drove the wealthy man to take a job as a warden. Maxim, meanwhile, feels new emotions in Emma’s presence, including an urge to protect her and jealousy over her dealings with Sam and a handsome prison psychiatrist. By novel’s end, after several deaths and scary physical attacks, Emma and Maxim eventually arrive at a clearer understanding of each other, their love, and past tragedies. Debut novelist Michaels, a doctor herself, brings verve and veracity to this smooth-flowing hybrid romance/suspense tale. Emma’s clinic scenes, which showcase both prisoners’ manipulations and their mitigating circumstances, are particularly realistic and resonant. Michaels also weaves in lovely, literary through-lines, such as the half siblings’ mutual love of birds and comets, which becomes a linchpin in the overall plot. Although the romance has some over-the-top, fairy-tale elements, such as the convenient fact that the brawny warden is also wealthy, Michaels has produced a captivating story overall.

A well-crafted mash-up of romance and prison life.”

Kirkus Reviews


“With compelling characters, a unique setting and a sweet love story, Michaels introduces her debut series, Albatross Prison. The characters are skillfully crafted, drawing readers in with their opposing opinions, belief in their actions and strong familial values…this is a gratifying tale of forgiveness, compromise and love.”

Romantic Times Review Source