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Laura Shepard Townsend

Destiny’s Consent: Summoning Her Radiance

Book IV of the Destiny’s Consent Series

Angelica’s adventure as a seeker continues — as the infinite seeks her with its enchantment.

Reader Review of Summoning Her Radiance:

“I just finished the book.! It was wonderful, perfect, I loved it. In many ways, which I can’t explain. I felt like the book was written for me but then also about me. It’s so special, like every paragraph was a spiritual teaching that I either learned already or need to learn. I’m speechless. And probably not making any sense. Bravo! Karen”

About the Author

Laura Shepard Townsend

As a child, Laura Shepard Townsend had the good fortune to grow up in the woodlands of the Catskill Mountains with a mother who taught her to revere the natural world; this has remained a lasting part of her consciousness. After college, she traveled for a year around Europe, solo, a big adventure with ample opportunity for myriads of predicaments and experiences.

Townsend used her tax return to fund additional travels resulting in the discovery of Venice, a city which has inspired much of Destiny’s Consent and will always remain a strong muse for Townsend and her writing.

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Freelance jobs in the entertainment biz funded the eight years necessary to produce the first two books of the Destiny’s Consent series. Townsend describes herself as akin to a roustabout at a circus, doing whatever necessary to support herself as a writer – including a short stint driving a cab.

For a few years, adopting the lifestyle of her gypsy heroine, Ms. Townsend and her husband, MT, adventured throughout the west coast in a trailer named Molly. Now, she and MT, the talented artist-designer of the Destiny’s Consent book covers, live in a tree house in the jungles of Costa Rica serenaded by parrots, cicadas and howler monkeys.

Destiny’s Consent Series

The Destiny’s Consent series wraps a large adventure, the life of Angelica Grastende, against the backdrop of the 20th century — viewed with the eyes of a ‘gypsy’– giving the reader an excellent opportunity to visit the little-known Roma culture with its passion and sorcery.

When a terrible misfortune occurs, Angelica abandons her roots in search of new ones. In a grand series of adventures, Angelica becomes lost, found, defeated, and finally exalted.

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Along the way, she finds a series of mentors, bona-fide wizards, as well as a few scoundrels as she hurtles pell-mell through her life in search of a “destiny”.

Grounded in meticulous research, Destiny’s Consent is an inspiring, unforgettable account of one woman's bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her; from the haven of a historical perspective, it examines the slow advancement of women in the 20th century.

What Readers Are Saying

11 stars out of ten stars.

That is how good it is. Be prepared to lose sleep reading this book until you realize you might be getting to the end. Then it is time to become a slow reader to prolong the inevitable. But wait, there is more. Book 2 is next.

– Ken H.

Promises of more adventures to come

Laura Shepard Townsend’s newest book, Lions & Gondolas, opens with lions roaring about in a baggage car carrying three fleeing women to California, and concludes with measures of dancing and sweet violin music fracturing the family.

For sure, this most rewarding novel contains wonderfully neverending pages about teenage Angelica Grastende interfacing with Abbot Kinney, creator of California’s Venice. And reveals their enthusiastic sharing the wisdoms of experience and youth. as mellowed by values of her Romani heritage and Abbot’s wide-world philosophy.

They wander, together, without restriction though a convoluted Venice of the early 1900s, explore every pier attraction, the city’s hidden tunnels and surf the ocean with a glee of outstanding proportions. Indeed, Lions & Gondolas is an almost overwhelming volume of great merit, which attaches itself to the reader by honored promises of more adventures to come on every following page. Plan to read late, with this one. It’s a gem.

– William C.

I LOVE these books! They absolutely rocked my soul!

I read the books out of order… Lions and Gondolas first and then, at 2am after a straight read, I ordered The Gypsy’s Song on Amazon…

That was 2012. Since then, I have read each book at least 9 or 10 times. Every time, without fail, I discover more precious wisdom and perspective woven into the elegant tapestry of these works. Ms. Townsend has enchanted me with powerfully written, historically insightful, culturally rich stories with intimately developed characters…

Never before have I thirsted for more from an author…

– Deborah P.

I couldn't put it down.

The Gypsy’s Song was one of those books I couldn’t put down. I loved reading about the gypsy lifestyle and philosophy that was incorporated in a fast moving plot and visually beautiful writing style. The characters are so colorful, realistic and engaging that I wanted to continue to read to find out what was going to happen to them.

It was wonderful to read about Gypsies, their culture and way of life, a life very different in the early part of the twentieth century in Europe, when Gypsies traveled about in ornate wagons drawn by their marvelous horses. The time the family spends with a traveling circus in America, learning the various jobs is no less fascinating. I am looking forward to reading Book II.

– J. A. Ingle

I binge read all three books

I recently binge read all three of these books and I am floored by them. The depth and scope of her knowledge and wisdom astounds me. Likewise for her philosophical and spiritual bent. I can’t imagine the amount of research involved, unless she lived with the Rom and traveled with a circus and flew old planes and somehow were a guest at grand affairs in the 1920’s .her attention to detail is likewise amazing. But the book you won’t be disappointed.

– Karen E.

This is entertaining storytelling

In the historical fiction settings of the Rom Gypsies wandering Europe and of a Rom gypsy family finding a new home in 1920’s Venice, California — we meet a range of characters at once familiar and mythic. The tales of Destiny’s Consent are ultimately spiritual journeys, even as we learn about Rom gypsies and Venice history in a colorful spectrum of culture and society. This is entertaining storytelling deftly shaped by a beauty of language and of heart.

– Sigrid Bergie Feliciano

So authentic you can almost hear the waves hitting the pier

Lions and Gondolas is enjoyable on many different levels. It serves as a coming of age novel, as a sympathetic treatment of the Romani people, as a thrilling story of a woman lion tamer, and as an inside look at the early days of that magical city, Venice, California.

As an amateur historian in Venice, I can say that Shepard Townsend has written a turn-of-the-century novel that is so authentic you can almost hear the waves hitting the pier, and see the gondoliers making their way down the canals. If only most writers paid at much attention to detail and accuracy.

In addition to a three-generation Romani family, we meet a young Howard Hughes and a magnificent Abbot Kinney, who single-handedly conceived and built this city of enchantment that continues to delight tourists. Ah, but if they could only have visited it 100 years ago. Now, thanks to Laura Shepard Townsend we can do just that.

– Jim

Starting on a night of lion stealing

Indulge a few hours with Laura Shepard Townsend’s first book, The Gypsy’s Song, and you will be rewarded with a world of inspiration, like playing inside the colors, patterns and textures of a rich Vuillard painting. Starting on a night of lion stealing, this tale accelerates into the Gypsy world of color and spice. Readers will want to put on layers of patterned skirts; let their hair go wild and join these women of Rom in a world lived with an acute sense of truth.

Townsend’s women are wild and free and stunningly authentic; born in her soul; grown up in her playful imagination and nurtured by her loving wisdom. She has released them for our delight. This book is a gift and a fine adventure. She makes history come alive during a fascinating era.

– Natalie Tirrell

Bohemians and Venice Beach

This wonderfully written novel combines two topics which fascinate me—-bohemians and Venice Beach.

As the first book in the Destiny’s Consent trilogy, it’s an entertaining and enjoyable read. I was immediately transported to the magical world of Los Angeles at the early part of the 20th century. The women in this novel are strong and empowered, and their gypsy culture is colorfully described, making you feel like a participant in every vivid scene. If you love Venice Beach, these free spirited characters will warm your heart and enrich your consciousness.

– Patricia Nolan Stein

A charming historical romp.

I loved this book… Lions and Gondolas is a charming historical romp through the splendors of Venice past.

– Pat Hartman

Her characters stole my heart.

Laura Shepard Townsend’s talent comes from a powerful source. She makes history come alive during a fascinating era. Her characters stole my heart. Once begun, I could not put the books down.

– Stella Page

A splendid and empowering female adventure.

Laura Shepard Townsend’s style is reminiscent of Robertson Davies’ in The Deptford Trilogy. She has created a splendid and empowering female adventure punctuated with wisdom. I did not want the book to end.

– Rocki Graham

It soars with the genuine magic that was Venice, California, circa 1920.

In poetic prose Laura Shepherd Townsend has created a breezy and exotic tale of three generations of audacious gypsy women, runaways from a husband and a small-time east coast circus with a pair of purloined lions in tow in The Lure of a Land by the Sea: Venice Vignettes.

I love this book! It’s philosophical. It’s metaphysical. It’s mystical. It soars with the genuine magic that was Venice, California, circa 1920, and with the master magician himself, Abbot Kinney.

– Delores Hanney

Descriptions of stunning grace.

Lions and Gondolas is a quick read, until the summarizing glowing bits of wisdom makes one stop short in all of the adventuring to reflect. For example: “Now I know that love always possesses a fragility to it that lets it be forgotten in a breath.” Descriptions of stunning grace call out for re-reading several times for the pure joy of it.

In this “memoir” of her early years in Venice, Angelica Grastende muses, “I first entered Venice, on foot, much like a pilgrim who enters a holy place, as a seeker, stirred with expectation.”

Immersion in Laura Shepard Townsend’s time-worthy second book in the Destiny’s Consent series, might cause readers to find themselves enjoying a similar sensation.

I did.

– Mary K.

I loved all the descriptive prose.

BRAVO!!!!! A great 3rd book of this series. I loved all the descriptive prose about a flashy time of our history. The end was a surprise and of course now I must plead with Laura Shepard Townsend to get working on the 4th because I just know you have more to tell about Angelica.

I wondered which words you wrote while I was enjoying my peaceful retreat at Solyluna in Costa Rica.

Much love to you Laura.

– Bobbi T.

The story is captivating.

I weep as I come to the end of The Gypsy’s Song. I should have ordered the second book at the same time. Now I must wait for its arrival. The story is captivating and filled with so much, so many parts that have influenced our lives. Small tangents that speak to me on another level. Perhaps I was a gypsy in a past life. The draw to Bohemia touches us both profoundly and I love all the small references to a larger philosophical belief, references to Jung, The Tao, reincarnation, oh so many.

– Fran H.

It’s a beautifully written story.

I am reading a delightful book by Laura Shepard Townsend, titled Destiny’s Consent. I was fortunate to meet this beautiful woman in Costa Rica last year. Not sure exactly why it took me a year to pick up this book but so glad I did. It’s a beautifully written story. If you are looking for a great read, beautifully written descriptive story about Gypsies in S. Ca in early 20th century pick it up from Amazon. She has a great web site too.

– Paula B.

This tapestry of words is a treasure.

Angel’s Flight. This is an incredible read. I could not put it down…cover to cover in less than 24 hours.

Laura Shepard Townsend is beyond masterful… this tapestry of words is a treasure… especially to Venice California (gift yourself and your friends this book and the two predecessors: The Gypsy’s Song and Lions and Gondolas available in paperback on Amazon)

– Anonymous

I can clearly picture everything.

I had to write before I forget how wonderful your books are. I recently binge-read all three and I’m floored by them. The depth and scope of your knowledge and wisdom astounds me. Likewise for your philosophical and spiritual bent. I can’t imagine the amount of research involved, unless you actually lived in a bardo with the Rom and traveled with a circus and flew old planes and somehow were a guest at grand affairs in the 1920’s. Your attention to detail is likewise amazing. I can clearly picture, and almost live, everything. And I thank you for that. What an experience to read and savor Angelica/Ann/ Angel’s story.

Unforgettable.

– Paul and Karen

I had to tell you how wonderful you are as a writer.

I love book two even more than book one. It is very rich with details, reality, emotions, and characters plus an unusual subject area – the circus arts, clearly a dying art too.

I think it is very cool that I can ‘see’ your persona come through in reading your books – the magical aspect, the mystical angle, your humor, your perception of the deep ties between 3 generations of women and the different stages of their lives. I’m not done yet, but I had to tell you how wonderful you are as a writer.

Keep it up, dear old friend. I’ve been reading the book on the beach sometimes and I laugh out loud at parts of it.

– Loretta S.

Ms. Townsend has enchanted me.

I read the books out of order…Lions and Gondolas first and then, at 2 A.M. after a straight read, I ordered The Gypsy’s Song on Amazon…

That was 2012. Since then, I have read each book at least 9 or 10 times. Every time, without fail, I discover more precious wisdom and perspective woven into the elegant tapestry of these works. Ms. Townsend has enchanted me with powerfully written, historically insightful, culturally rich stories with intimately developed characters…

Never before have I thirsted for more from an author…

– Deborah H.

Enjoyable yet thought provoking.

I found Lions and Gondolas and its prequel in the “little free library” box near me. Being a resident of Venice (albeit temporarily- for school) and also someone who plays Roma music and has spent time among them in Serbia and Macedonia, I felt this was really well done. Such an enjoyable yet thought provoking read! Can’t wait to read the next installment!

– Dizzy

Book 1: The Gypsy’s Song

Angelica Grastende, a daring Gypsy adventuress, recollects the kaleidoscope of experiences comprising her life. This is the story of a woman of destiny…
The Gypsy’s Song recounts her idyllic girlhood among the Roma klan, as they traveled slowly from meadow to meadow in horse-drawn wagons, gathering all that they needed from the bountiful European countryside. Wild Angelica emerged from her mother’s womb with the mark of a ‘shuvani’ witch upon her head, creating personal tempests in regard to the world….and the world’s regard of the Roma.

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The onset of ‘The Great War’ intensified the persecution of the Roma forcing Angelica and her family upon an odyssey across the Atlantic Ocean to 1920’s America where great exploits ensue.

“11 stars out of ten stars. That is how good it is. Be prepared to lose sleep reading this book until you realize you might be getting to the end. Then it is time to become a slow reader to prolong the inevitable. But wait, there is more. Book 2 is next.”
– Ken H.

Book 2: Lions and Gondolas

Wrapped within the enchantment of Lions and Gondolas, are three generations of audacious gypsy women. With a pair of purloined lions in tow, they are runaways from the abuse of a husband and a small-time east coast circus. Angelica struggles to embody her authentic self, without the tutelage of the Roma klan. Lions and Gondolas soars with the genuine magic that was Venice, California, circa 1920, with the master magician himself, Abbot Kinney.

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“Wrapped up in delicious evocations of Venice, California (circa 1920) that simply seethe with well-researched authenticity, in poetic prose Laura Sheparrd Townsend has created a breezy and exotic tale. I love this book! It’s philosophical. It’s metaphysical. It’s mystical.”

– Delores Hanney
The Lure of a Land by the Sea: Venice Vignettes

Book 3: Angel’s Flight

It is the Jazz Age; Angelica Grastende is now twenty-two years old, and in her estimation, an absolute paragon of womanhood — one tough cookie trying to make her way in Los Angeles, a city where everyone was prospecting…but always for someone else’s gold.

Angelica used her mother’s gift of $400 to learn to fly, a resurrection from her crippling accident flying on the trapeze.

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Now whenever her biplane meets the wind, Angelica remembers how life should feel. Though she wears a moonstone brooch fashioned by Wise Women as well as her feather earrings, they have done nothing to propel her to her dreams as a pilot; she is broke and works dealing cards in a speakeasy in the seedy area of Venice, consorting with hoodlums. She has even taken her old high school chum, Kate, as her roommate in her beloved cottage on the island to help pay the rent.

This is the story of a woman of destiny…Angelica emerged from her mother’s womb with the mark of a ‘shuvani’ witch upon her head; she lives in a city of destiny, a radiance wrested from the mud marshes by bulldozers, midwifed by the Goddess Venus. In the tumultuous 1920’s the destinies of Venice and of Angelica are intertwined.

Book 4: Summoning Her Radiance

Angelica’s adventure as a seeker continues — as the infinite seeks her with its enchantment.

Venice remains Angelica’s place to be seen and recognized. Gypsy Rose, a Tarot card reader on the Boardwalk sees ghosts, roaring lions, and magic following Angelica; Paul, the blind saxophone player sees Monarch butterflies and oracles as Angelica’s accompaniment.

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Supernatural forces urge her transformation to become authentically wondrous.

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Blog

Writers write no matter what!

Writers write no matter what!

I hold this picture in great fondness...writing is a solitary activity and only a writer's resolve and discipline carry us though at times. A sense of humor helps also.  

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A New Book is Born!!!

I have written 'The End' to the final book in the Destiny's Consent Series.  It is titled Summoning Her Radiance.

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Review of Angel’s Flight

BRAVO!!!!! A great 3rd book of this series. I loved all the descriptive prose about a flashy time of our history. The end was a surprise and of course now I must plead with Laura Shepard Townsend to get working on the 4th because I just know you have more to tell...

read more

Review for “Angel’s Flight”

This is an incredible read. I could not put it down...cover to cover in less than 24 hours. Laura Shepard Townsend is beyond masterful...this tapestry of words is a treasure...especially to Venice California  ( gift yourself and your friends this book and the two...

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