+Book Review+ The Maid of Milan by Beverley Eikli #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 19 April, 2014 by jorielov , , , 14 Comments

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#ChocLitSaturdays | a feature exclusive to Jorie Loves A Story

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by honestly written characters whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read! I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other! I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

The Maid of Milan by Beverley Eikli

The Maid of Milan by Beverley Eikli

Author Connections: Personal Site | Blog

Facebook | Twitter | Converse via: #TheMaidofMilan

Illustrated By: Berni Stevens

 @circleoflebanon | Writer | Illustrator

Genre(s): Fiction | Romance | Regency | 

Historical Suspense | Psychological Suspense

Published by: ChocLitUK, 15 March, 2014

Available Formats: Paperback & E-Book Page Count: 356

Acquired Book By: Although I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, I am usually happily surprised by a tucked in chocolate scented pencils with the books which arrive by their distributor IPM (International Publisher’s Marketing). The book they surprised me with is The Maid of Milan penned by my very first ChocLit novelist I consumed! Ms. Beverley Eikli wrote the smashingly brilliant The Reluctant Bride! I have decided to read this unexpected ChocLit novel for my next ChocLitSaturdays – the 19th of April! Therefore, I received a complimentary copy of The Maid of Milan from ChocLit via IPM (International Publisher’s Marketing) in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Intrigued to Read:

Although I am quick to lament my adoration and appreciation of uplifting and inspiring romances, there is another part of me that is quite bemused by the darker shades of the human psyche. Give me a well write suspense or thriller, wrapped inside of a historical fiction or a period drama and I will be happy as a clam! There is always a part of me (truly, I think its part of all readers!) which would love to take a bit of an adventurous risk, see inside the dangerous netherworlds people get caught up inside and see if they can just as boldly detach themselves without harm, scrapings, or ill-wonted side effects. There is always a measure of darkness on the tiptoes of light, whilst even the most good-natured individual can side-step and get their lives in a bit of a muddlement! I like seeing the dexterity of a writer take on harder hitting themes and giving us a bit of a hearty narrative to chew on! After all, not all of life is predictable nor is it glistening with happiness, there are undercurrents of events where fear lies in wait and I am not a reader who backs down or away from a more serious topic or subject as it presents itself in fiction. Sometimes too, I think that it is good to throw a wench into the wheel of our reading adventures and take a chance on a story that might unexpectedly take us down darkened corridors and within the heart of where darkness broods ill will. We can always carry the lantern of light and hope that the characters who are finding themselves a bit blighted can emerge out of their situations, a bit weathered but perhaps, wiser for the experiences?

Book Synopsis:  How much would you pay for a clear conscience?

Adelaide Leeson wants to prove herself worthy of her husband, a man of noble aspirations who married her when she was at her lowest ebb.

Lord Tristan Leeson is a model of diplomacy and self-control, even curbing the fiery impulses of his youth to maintain the calm relations deemed essential by his mother-in-law to preserve his wife’s health.

A visit from his boyhood friend, feted poet Lord James Dewhurst, author of the sensational Maid of Milan, persuades Tristan that leaving the countryside behind for the London Season will be in everyone’s interests.

But as Tristan’s political career rises and Adelaide revels in society’s adulation, the secrets of the past are uncovered. And there’s a high price to pay for a life of deception.

 

Author Biography:

Beverley EikliBeverley Eikli wrote her first romance when she was seventeen. However, drowning the heroine on the last page was, she discovered, not in the spirit of the genre so her romance-writing career ground to a halt and she became a journalist.

 After throwing in her secure job on South Australia’s metropolitan daily, The Advertiser, to manage a luxury safari lodge in the Okavango Delta, in Botswana, Beverley discovered a new world of romance and adventure in a thatched cottage in the middle of a mopane forest with the handsome Norwegian bush pilot she met around a camp fire. 

Eighteen years later, after exploring the world in the back of Cessna 404s and CASA 212s as an airborne geophysical survey operator during low-level sorties over the French Guyanese jungle and Greenland’s ice cap, Beverley is back in Australia living a more conventional life with her husband and two daughters in a pretty country town an hour north of Melbourne.

Beverly won Choc Lit’s Search for an Australian Star with The Reluctant Bride. Beverley’s Choc Lit novels include: The Reluctant Bride and The Maid of Milan.

A Chocolate Romance Affair:

All along I have wanted to bring out the components of my tagline for ChocLitSaturdays, which is a mixture of chocolate, romance, and tea! Today I took great strides in starting to envelope each Saturday hereafter as I feature the novels to be more reflective of this goal! I started my reading by drinking a tall glass of chilled green tea of which was recently brewed. Green tea is my go-to tea due to the soothing effect it has when you live in such an adversely humid and volcanic climate such as I! It not only enlivens your spirit but it has medicinal affects as well. To bring in the chocolate, Mum was in the throes of Eastertide preparations when she discovered a new cake whose essence is that of Spring: bananas, pineapple, and farmer market fresh zucchini cake. Over top, we ‘painted’ on a gloss of decadent dark chocolate icing (made from scratch!) which gave an afterglow of tar as if we were layering a highway! Glistening like glass as it shimmered itself onto the top layer of the cake awaiting our consumption on the morrow!

The cookies were an afterthought addition, as we had such a large batch of left-over icing we felt a healthy batch of peanut butter & oat cookies half-dipped in our new chocolaty concoction might just do the trick! As I used my arm and wrist as a self-guided propeller mixing the peanut butter, softened butter, and sugar; the bowl turnt a warm glow of caramel! And, nearly tasted the same as well! The markings of the fork pressed into the batter ahead of baking had the most surreal effect having turnt each cookie into a miniature waffle once the chocolate frosting was drizzled on top! The perfect treat to accompany my readings of the ending chapters of The Maid of Milan! How do you like to get your chocolate romance affair kicked off on the weekend?

My Review of The Maid of Milan:

The forbearance of Adelaide’s plight is heavy with premonition and anguish, as her emotional state is ever-present at the start of The Maid of Milan, which coincidentally is the exact same title of a published work in the novel itself! I always find these to be a bit of a cheeky nod to what the reader shall find disclosed in successive chapters! As you enter into the narrative, a forbidden past has already alighted on Adelaide’s shoulders, and only fragmented pieces of her past ink out of the opening sequences. Her life I gathered is not an easy one to tell nor is it a life that can be surmised or judged without the full scope of the details known. You feel a bit of pity for her at first because as she gallantly tries to assert her love for her husband Tristan, her overpowering raw fear nettles in the back of your mind as you watch her attempt to interact with their unwanted house-guest James. To be clear, he is unwanted in her eyes, but lovingly received by her husband as the two were mates as young boys.

Mrs Henley, Adelaide’s Mum is quite the character and quite a beguiling presence in her life, as there is something a bit sinister in her under-handed methods of dealing with her daughter’s sensitivities. Surely there is a reason towards protection given the bits about her past we are alerted to as the plot starts to ease back the layers, yet altogether in my mind, I felt as though there was something else afoot in Mrs Henley’s attentions. Nearly as though, she needed to control her daughter for a reason other than what Adelaide was clued in on.

On the contrast, her husband Lord Tristan Leeson is a upstandable gent of proprietary means whose genuine affection and adoration of Addy (his affectionate name for his wife) are most sincere. I oft have to bemuse that the more secrets one keeps inside of their marriage the harder it is to quell out the storms which will start to brew when the seedlings of deceit start to disintegrate. How many lies can one stitch together before one dissolves out of the mew of what one has knitted out of fear? And, then, how to put back the pieces of your life when the truth is mixed into the falsehoods of what you’ve lived upon for so long?

Oh, how infuriating Mrs Henley left me before I had even reached page 131! Her complete disdainment of her daughter is electrifyingly uncivil! The pressure she places on Adelaide is not even bearable because she maliciously attempts to dissect her daughter’s soul and spirit at each turn! She wallows in the joy of Adelaide’s discomfort as  her vile insinuations strike close to the quick! Eikli has achieved in her conveyance as a Mum no one would dare wish on their enemy with apt precision! No one should be condemned for the mistakes of their youth to the alacrity and degree as Adelaide is subjected too.

The underfoot barrage of deceit ran thick and deeper than even I could have suspected possible, for Adelaide is the true champion of this story. Her heart was befuddled by a poisonous and malicious traitor who only sought their own devious revenge against her to the brink of insanity. The quantitative sharpening of how Eikli elicited the deception proves to me that she has tapped into the nature of how sociological influences can undertake tragic circumstances. Eikli has a gift for writing vulnerability and the shades between sanity and insanity, as painted through toxicology influences which alter a person’s ability to properly process their living hours. The more shocking element for me is how at the center of the chaos was an innocent life tethered in orbit of a darkening cloud of evil. For there is no other way to describe who the trickster in Adelaide’s life truly was. The ending by far turnt the tables on the entire cast of characters and revealed hidden truths that would normally not become revealed unless pushed past the logic of where true love and passion reside.

I am uncertain why Ms. Eikli was worried about my reading of “The Maid of Milan” because at the conclusion of the novel, I felt empathy and compassion for Adelaide all the way around. She is an unconventional heroine who lived a marred life of irreproachable choices yet it was her heart and her spirit which were pure prior to being tainted and used against her. How often then, are women tricked and used against their natural will and strength of resolve? How many women suffer through psychological abuse such as the kind Adelaide was subjected too? The best strength of the story is the writer behind the pen who composed the words to shine a light on a situation no woman would want to befall another. I might not have chosen to read this story, as it came to me as a surprise but it is truly a story that everyone should read if only to prove how hard one must believe in the right for individual freedom irregardless of what past transgressions have occurred. I shall not soon forget Adelaide Leeson!

A note on behalf of ChocLitUK’s sustainability conscience:

An upcoming Author Interview this coming week, on Tuesday 22nd of April (Earth Day) has a specific environmental focus within the heart of its conversation. I have been meaning to address the positive practices of publishers I am reading who are taking either large or small steps to limit their footprint on the environment, but with everything on my shoulders of late, it is one of those items on my ‘to do list’ and is not yet in practice. The conversation which occurred between Ms. Leesmith and I on the day of her Cover Reveal was the direct inspiration behind pursuing a larger conversation on the topic. As I am in the process of editing Tuesday’s post, I could not help but start revealing which publishers I am reading who warm my heart towards making a difference in the way in which our books are printed and produced.

Inside the cover of each ChocLit novel on the copyright notice page, you will find a curious little emblem for the FSC which is the Forestry Stewardship Council. As you will find revealed on Tuesday, this is one of the organisations which allows publishers to let their readership become aware of their pro-environment practices. The designation for ChocLit is “Mix” referring to the fact that the papers used to create the content of the novel itself was sourced by responsible paper resources which do not detract from old growth forests. To read more about what this certification implies, I direct you to the FSC Papers & Printing page.

The Maid of Milan Book Trailer via Beverley Eikli

This book review is courtesy of ChocLitUK,

ChocLitUK Reviewercheck out my upcoming bookish event and mark your calendars!

Previously I reviewed The Reluctant Bride by Ms. Eikli!

#ChocLitSaturdays Collage of Upcoming ChocLit Book Reviews

I am endeavouring to host a #ChocLitSaturdays tweetchat as well. Kindly take a moment to read about my plans & cast your vote! I am closing the Poll after seven days (posted on Thursday, 17 April) and will make the best choice for the hour in which to host the chat based on the majority of the votes cast! Please keep in mind that the first hour is EST USA & the second hour is England/UK. I am hoping to strike a balance so that everyone will have the opportunity to participate irregardless of which time zone they live in.
To read about my latest postal bundle of ChocLit books
please read Jorie’s Box of Joy!

{SOURCES: Author photograph, Author Biography, Book Synopsis, Book Cover, and ChocLit Reviewer badge were provided by ChocLitUK and were used by permission. The book trailer by Animoto had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it.  Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Jorie Loves A Story badge created by Ravven with edits by Jorie in FotoFlexer. #ChocLitSaturdays collage was created by Jorie in PicMonkey. Book Covers for ChocLit novels provided by ChocLitUK and used with permission. Tweets are able to be embedded due to codes provided by Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Related Articles:

Beverley Eikli’s Real-Life Inspiration – (blog.choc-lit.co.uk)

Comments on Twitter:

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie

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Posted Saturday, 19 April, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Book Trailer, Britian, Charity & Philanthropy, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Deception Before Matrimony, Green-Minded Publishers, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Medicated Against Will, Mental Health, Modern British Literature, Prison Reform, Psychological Abuse, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Social Change, Sustainability Practices inside the Publishing Industry, Sustainable Forest Certification, The London Season, the Regency era




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14 responses to “+Book Review+ The Maid of Milan by Beverley Eikli #ChocLitSaturdays

  1. Lovely review Jorie! I still think about this book often and have been thinking I might need to do a re-read, it’s one of my favorite historical romance novels. :) Mrs. Henley made me feel so awful and suspicious the entirety of the novel because there was something about her that was just so off. Eikli wrote such good characters with individual personalities I’m so glad I stumbled on this book. I definitely need to read more of her work and more ChocLit novels in general! They seem to be a really solid publisher.

  2. The Maid of Milan sounds like a very interesting read. I only skimmed through your review as I didn’t want to be spoiled should I get around to the novel in the near future but it sounds like a thrilling read. Glad to hear you liked it. Will keep a look out for the novel ;)

  3. beverleyeikli

    Oh, don’t worry about a late night, Jorie. I’ll use it to write when the children are asleep but I’ll have an early night tonight and head off to bed soon.

    I haven’t ever participated in a Twitter chat, so I’m assuming that I use the hashtag #ChocLitSaturdays in the Search and all the comments will come up.

    And no, I didn’t notice the TMOM – “the mom” reference when I titled the book :)

  4. beverleyeikli

    I am so looking forward to your #ChocLitSaturdays, Jorie – even though it’ll be a late night for me :) How exciting that The Maid of Milan will be under discussion. I have lots of other wonderful books to talk about that I’ve really enjoyed, too, that contain complex undertones.

    And thank you, Liz and Angela for your comments. I’m really glad you enjoyed TMOM, Angela.

    • Hallo, again Ms. Eikli,

      I know, truly I know, that is what I struggled with the most as I was trying to find a common ground for the five time zones to where it could be agreeable for all interested parties. I am thinking this is why this timeslot received the 30% of the vote! I hope it won’t be too late for you, as I cannot wait to see what you will be sharing during the chat! :)

      When I re-read your response, I noticed “TMOM” and broke that into “the Mom” which is just eerie! Did you notice this when you titled the book!?

    • Thank you, Ms. Britnell! :)

      I am happy to see you stop by for a quick chat! :) The story evoked a lot out of me as I was quite pensive throughout the deepening thread of discovery Adelaide & Tristan experience. I appreciate your feedback!

    • Thank you, Ms. Harris,

      I was quite touched by the eclipse of this story as it was such an unexpected surprise to alight in my hands! :) Thank you for your lovely compliment, as I enjoy feedback from those who enjoy reading my blog, as it helps me realise that my words are resonating with someone who reads my observations as they alight to mind to share.

  5. beverleyeikli

    What a heartfelt review of The Maid of Milan, Jorie. Thank you! I feel honoured at the depths you went to describe the layers and nuances; and the way you described so deeply the undertones.

    And I absolutely adored your description of the incredible chocolate cake and cookies that sustained you through the last chapters.

    • Thank you, Ms. Eikli!

      I was honoured to have the pleasure of reading such a complex and layered story as it shows the depth of ChocLit novels; I am constantly amazed at what I find inside each ChocLit novel I read! :) The best part of my day is seeing your reaction & giving you the relief in knowing that even though you stepped outside your comfort zone – you have the ability to write a story which resonates on such a deep level with your readers! You truly ought to write another which examines another vein of thought with the same layers & intensity of the human psyche!

      Ooh, I am so very happy to hear you liked my descriptions of the chocolate I was eating! I even tweeted last night I ought to go into #chocoholicsanonymous as I totally ate my max!

      And, now would be a most excellent time for me to *pick!* the hour for #ChocLitSaturdays! Eek.

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