+Blog Book Tour+ The Lost Duchess by Jenny Barden

Posted Friday, 20 June, 2014 by jorielov , , , 5 Comments

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The Lost Duchess by Jenny Barden

The Lost Duchess Virtual Book Tour with HFVBT

Published By: Ebury Press (), 5 June, 2014 (paperback)
an imprint of Random House Group, Ltd. UK ()

Official Author Websites: Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Author is Active on: English Historical Fiction Authors Blog

Available Formats:  Hardcover, Paperback, & Ebook
Page Count: 448

Converse on Twitter: #LostDuchessBlogTour & #TheLostDuchess OR

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Lost Duchess” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Jenny Barden, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Curiosity Inspired Me to Read:

I felt plumb delighted to read this novel as it sounded quite exciting if you ask me! I love the appeal of diving into the lost colonies and of course, who wouldn’t like a thriller set at sea and land?!

I am always a reader whose eye bewitches her attention from one period of history to another, and the one section of literature I have not yet rallied my will to venture into is that of the high seas epics! I have already earmarked off the novels of Patrick O’ Brian and others like him, who enhance my curiosity and warm me to the descriptions of life at sea. I am an adventurer in spirit, and as I had relaid to MaryLu Tyndall last year whilst she was touring the blogosphere for Forsaken Dreams, I felt inclined to tell her that if I had had the proposition to set sail for a new world and a new way of living, I’d have embarked on the journey forthwith! My mind furvoured over this recollection as I broached the premise of The Lost Duchess; twirling over in my mind if I was ready to set sail and fully breathe in narrative on the high seas! As you can see, the answer that bubbled to the surface was a resounding yes! And, I think a bit inspired by my fascination and delight in reading a ChocLitUK novel entitled: Close to the Wind!

I am always forever grateful when there are enclosures with the books I receive for review, in this particular case, the paperback copy of The Lost Duchess was signed by the author! She even went so far as to include a business card which features the book cover art and her contact information, as well as a lovely postcard which includes the book synopsis on one side and a framed book cover image on the opposite one! I am always marvelling at the little surprises authors and publishers tuck into books for book bloggers, because it is one step closer to keeping the circle between us an interactive experience. I even adore the Editor’s Notes that come inside ARCs or the extensive Press Releases which publishers generally tuck inside ARCs and finished copies alike! Little bobbles of joy which make me smile as I ease into the narratives at hand! A charming reminder that what we do as we blog is appreciated but more than that, that writers are as bookish as the readers who appreciate the opportunity to read their novels! In that, we all like to have little tangible memories to reflect back on our experiences, and I am always pleasantly delighted to find what is included inside my book parcels!

I cannot express my gratitude enough for the bookmarks, as previously mentioned mine are all packed along with my personal library (for the most part!). The little business card for The Lost Duchess held my place as I shifted through the pages, and it was as fondly used as the curious little business card I wished I had had for To Live Forever by Andra Wakins! I watched so many of Wakins “Natchez Trace videos” I nearly thought it would be a keen keepsake to have a little card as a nodding reminder of my connection to her experience and journey on the Trace! The happy bit for me is using bookmarks from various authors inside new books as they arrive to be read — little fingerprints of reflections drift through my mind and heart, as I nestle into the story at hand, and for that, I am one very blessed and thankful book blogger!

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Book Synopsis:

An epic Elizabethan adventure with a thriller pace and a high tension love story that moves from the palaces of England to the savage wilderness of the New World.

Emme Fifield has fallen about as far as a gentlewoman can.

Once a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, her only hope of surviving the scandal that threatens to engulf her is to escape England for a fresh start in the new America where nobody has ever heard of the Duchess of Somerset.

Emme joins Kit Doonan’s rag-tag band of idealists, desperados and misfits bound for Virginia. But such a voyage will be far from easy and Emme finds her attraction to the mysterious Doonan inconvenient to say the least.

As for Kit, the handsome mariner has spent years imprisoned by the Spanish, and living as an outlaw with a band of escaped slaves; he has his own inner demons to confront, and his own dark secrets to keep…

Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh’s settlement in Virginia was abandoned in 1587 its fate has remained a mystery; ‘The Lost Duchess’ explores what might have happened to the ill-starred ‘Lost Colony’ of Roanoke.

Author Biography:Jenny Barden

I’ve had a love of history and adventure ever since an encounter in infancy with a suit of armour at Tamworth Castle. Training as an artist, followed by a career as a city Jenny (Portrait 2)solicitor, did little to help displace my early dream of becoming a knight. A fascination with the Age of Discovery led to travels in South and Central America, and much of the inspiration for my debut came from retracing the footsteps of Francis Drake in Panama. The sequel centres on the first Elizabethan ‘lost colony’ of early Virginia. I am currently working on an epic adventure during the threat of invasion by the Spanish Armada.

My work has appeared in short story collections and anthologies and I’ve written for non-fiction publications including the Historical Novels Review. I am active in many organisations, having run the ‘Get Writing’ conferences for several years, and undertaken the co-ordination of the Historical Novel Society’s London Conference 2012. I am a member of that organisation as well as the Historical Writers’ Association, the Romantic Nevelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. I’ll be co-ordinating the RNA’s annual conference in 2014.

I have four children and now live on a farm in Dorset with my long suffering husband and an ever increasing assortment of animals.

I love travelling, art, reading and scrambling up hills and mountains (though I’m not so keen on coming down!).

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA notation on Cover Art:

There are moments of great joy to discover a book cover as captivating as the one on The Lost Duchess. The moment you lock eyes with the woman who graces the page, you instinctively realise that you want to venture into her life and follow where she will lead. Her clothes are quite ornate, but it is the unexpected notice she is giving you that eludes the story will no doubt capture your full attention once it is begun to be consumed. She has a story to tell, and I knew that in combination with the book’s synopsis, this was a story I wanted to walk alongside her and know intimately.

There is a common debate I have noticed recently in the book blogosphere and the twitterverse, about the presumption of selection on the books we elect to read. One side claims it is by the book cover alone and the other side laments that it is on the merits of the story’s premise. I, on the other hand, have claimed to say:

Truly though, about why I am drawn into a book!? It goes directly into the heart of the narrative — I look for book synopsis which etch out a story-line full of heart & soul characters, who either need to go on a journey of discovery or are going to live through a life experience which will either shape them, break them, or transform them. Thinking back on my own young adult years — it was the story which took central focus – I have not changed my spots! My blog is aptly named as you get to know me! I might love a book cover, but I cannot love it fully unless I get a sense of the story within it – the cover is the shell, the heart of the joy in reading lies in the pages between the covers! -quoted from my comment on Ellen Mulholland’s blog

Mistress of the Sea by Jenny BardenFor you see, I may well fancy a book’s cover illustrations and artwork, but for me, if the book itself does not ink out a reason to savvy my interest and eyes to become enthralled with its contents, I am afraid I do not pick the book up irregardless of how much I might admit the cover is quite a remarkable piece of art. For to me, it is art then, and not a story of interest. I am not sure if the debate will ever be settled, but one thing I wanted to mention is how I appreciate book covers in successive order of release from authors have a ‘turning nod’ to each other. Case in point, is the début novel (Mistress of the Sea) by Ms. Barden (seen in this paragraph) whereupon the filigree edges and the atmosphere of colours selected against the backdrop are in tune with the cover for The Lost Duchess.

Previously, I observed the same keen attention given to the books of Stephanie Thornton, as I reviewed her second novel, Daughter of the Gods recently on another Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour. The connectiveness in sequence and choice of design makes me smile inwardly, because the covers then become a bit of a triptych when viewed alongside each other (if there are three in sequence, such as the Daughter of Boston series by Julie Lessman). I like this attention to nuance detail and the methodology of selecting covers which help readers identify the collective work of an author when they go to borrow or purchase their books. I will need to remember to add notations each time I discover this amongst the books I read next, as it is one detail that I appreciate most.

Aside from period specific choices in clothing, as although I do not always realise when I am being duped by period designs and examples, there are moments where I have an inclination to feel that perhaps the clothing or manner of style on a cover is a bit of out time for the story it is attempting to reflect. Barden’s covers are an elegant grace in excellence and her tomes of work will delight all the senses a reader uses to soak into a novel’s heart.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comMy Review of The Lost Duchess:

The Lost Duchess by Jenny BardenThe wide-eyed innocence of a maid-in-waiting to the Queen is ripped out of her bodice and attacked by a most vile individual who did not see Emme Fifield as a woman to respect and honour, but an object to possess. Her most tender courage of youthful spirit encapsulated her from the worst of the attack by muffling her angst ridden heart and the screams she would have belted to heaven if not in fear of the Queen, her liege in finding out the truth. Barden opens The Lost Duchess in such a powerful way as to beg the reader’s notice that what was once felt in locking eyes with Emme on the cover, now turns to an increasingly beguiling sense of knowing.

Her steadfast knowledge of a woman’s place in the Elizabethan age purported her plight, as she knew very well that if any person learnt of her disgrace of being attacked, the brunt of the burden would be solely placed on her shoulders. The rights of women then and the rights of women now are not so very far apart from each other when it comes to domestic violence and the collision of unwanted advances from men. Barden writ inside the passages following the attack a wholesome truth of the inner workings of a woman attempting to balance her reality of the incident against the reality of her place in court. Her life was a fragile balance of obligation, duty, and expected service to her Queen.

As we are gaining insight into her strength of character, we are seeing further into her courage as she decides to carry-on and forge ahead as though nothing sinister had occurred at all; as who is there to confide in when women are always viewed as being the harbingers of their own fate?

Emme is a woman who has vision outside the plight of her own circumstances, and on the confidence of the Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth I, (Sir Francis Walsingham) she endeavours to change her stars by her own conviction and merit of industry by joining the voyage back to the New World. She knows her future is blighted at best if she stays behind to face the uncivilous rumours head-on, but to jump aboard ship and sail to Virginia? To help forge a colony in the Chesapeake that is stronger and sturdier than that of Roanoke?! I must confess, as her mind danced with images of fanciful new dreams and possibilities, I was alongside her rallying hope and encouragement for what this new beginning would mean to her well-being.

Besmirched with the tides of fate, Emme and Kit, the man entrusted to keep her safe aboard ship each have their own personal reasons for sailing for presumed sanctity in Virginia. As I had the pleasure of seeing Belle on the silver screen for my birthday this year, (a mere week ago) I could settle in my mind the joy of seeing a father acknowledge his child; a child of biracial origins and one he most earnestly loved. Reading the passages where Kit was attempting to explain to his brother the true reason he wanted to pursue a new life abroad warmed my heart, as foresaid Belle was only recently seen and has already stitched itself into my most beloved motion pictures of recent years; akin to Amazing Grace! I also appreciated the character of Manteo who is a Native amongst the Britons travelling to and fro the New World. He was given full respect for his person and I liked his ease in conversing with Emme, as he did not see her as others might and she was in full appreciation for the reprieve.

As their journey led them to the New World, so too did their adventure lead them to a rebirth of living with the full grace of freedom transformed. I appreciated the hearty realism stitched into life on ship as much as the curious details woven into the days in which they were ashore in Roanoke. Barden took a fissure of disjointed and fragmented history, and pulled together a pliable accountment of what ‘could have been’ but of which will quite surely ‘never truly be known’ of the ill-fated attempt to colonise Virginia at that point in time. I must commend her for her vision, as this particular slice of history always fascinated me in school, always thirsty for new details or curious scenarios of possibilities, and in reading The Lost Duchess, I find myself bemuseful of how this story could very well have a stock in reality.

The only bits that I found a bit disconcerning at times were the visual nature of some of the scenes, yet I did not attach a ‘fly in the ointment’ to this post because quite frankly they were very few and far between. They only entered a scene when needed to express the seriousness of an attack; especially a fatal one where someone was brutally murdered by Natives in Roanoke where the colonists were attempting to take residence. I flitted over the passages because within the whole of the book, my heart was enraptured with the evolving story between Emme and Kit, who are the heroes of the tale!

The wordsmith stylings of Barden’s narrative was rapturously exaulted:

I am forevermore blessed to have stumbled across such wonderful wordsmiths who enlighten our minds with words of which are not commonly used nor known in today’s literature. Even those words which would be harkened back to an age of the historical page in which the story entreats our imaginations to venture, not every author is able to knit the ties of that era in such a way as to unite a clarity of speech. I am always in a celebratory mood when I find a writer whose pen inks out a frothy amount of phrase, word, and era specific mentionings as to help alight us in the setting in which the story takes place. I feared not the moment I opened this particular novel, as between the Chapter Heading Quotation disclosures of passages taken from historical documents (I presume?) to engage our eye in the real characters behind the fictional story, to the benefit of the words in which grace the pages, my mind was lit afire with a truism of the Elizabethan Court!

She takes you inside this unknown world with such a propensity for details and enriched voices of the past, that you feel as though you are stepping directly into Emme’s shoes, casting footfalls where she alights in Richmond Palace as much as the shores of the New World. I found myself eating the words and pages as readily as my eyes were able to absorb their murmurings, because I had found another new author of whose story was soaking into my heart and that swelled a sea of thankfulness inside my heart! And, prompted a most curious thought as to seek out Mistress of the Sea!

A note on behalf of Ebury Press sustainability conscience:

On the reverse cover of The Lost Duchess, I was happily struck by the presence of the FSC recognisble label! I had mentioned their conservation efforts to source paper without hurting old growth forests on a previous post, as I am attempting to make a reference note of each book I read henceforth forward that has a mention inside its sleeves for stewardship and sustainable printing practices. More and more publishers (from major trade to independent press) are striving towards finding greener ways to print books and thereby, proving the point that those of us who can only read books in print can effectively read greener! A bit like how each of us who purchases second-hand books is taking a step towards the unnecessity of successive printings of the same novel. I applaud Ebury Press and Random House Group, Ltd. for being part of the forebearers of change and for giving all readers everywhere something to chew on about how reading green does not have to be electronically originated.

They mention briefly about their green-minded practices on their FAQ page, but go into greater detail on their page dedicated to how they acquire the paper for the books they bind into print editions. The best bit for me is seeing their green practices go a bit past paper production and more towards the whole concept of being a green publisher using green resources!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis Book Review is courtesy of:

The Lost Duchess Virtual Book Tour with HFVBT

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comas I am happily honoured to be a blog tour hostess for:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTPlease visit my Bookish Events page to stay in the know for upcoming events!

Reader Interactive Question:

I am curious, what are your impressions of the ill-fated colony of Roanoke!? Have you sought out previous stories set amidst the rumours of unknown truths!? What do you think is plausible to explain the fact they were never found and that the search continues to today for their ancestors!? There is a lovely ‘Author’s Note’ in the back of “The Lost Duchess” which goes into a bit of detail to explain not only the author’s take on the history but how history is continuing being penned as the research continues to seek out the truth of what happened to the colony. I was grateful the passages were included as they tethered all the pieces together in both fiction and reality.

{SOURCES: Book covers for “The Lost Duchess” & “Mistress of the Sea”, Author Biography, Book Synopsis, and blog tour badges  were provided by HFVBT – Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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) more >> | Hire me as a betareader | Policies & Review Requests
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Posted Friday, 20 June, 2014 by jorielov in 16th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Adulterous Affair, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Domestic Violence, Elizabethan Era, England, Green-Minded Publishers, High Seas Epic, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Modern British Literature, Native American Fiction, Nautical Fiction, Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Francis Walsingham, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sustainability Practices inside the Publishing Industry, Sustainable Forest Certification, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Tudor Era, Virginia, Women of Power & Rule, Women's Rights, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage

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5 responses to “+Blog Book Tour+ The Lost Duchess by Jenny Barden

  1. TuiSnider

    I admire anyone who writes historical fiction. I think it’s very brave!

    Also, kudos for the eco-friendly aspects. Always a plus. :)

  2. how to grow taller

    Hmm it appears like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long)
    so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing.

    Do you have any helpful hints for novice blog writers?
    I’d genuinely appreciate it.

    • My best advice to start blogging is to write about what interests you and to share your thoughts on what your blogging about. If your topic is books for instance, always give a perspective of what connected you to the story or the author; even to the experience you had whilst you read the book. If your topic differs from subject to subject, just share pieces of your thoughts and opinions, to draw your audience into your blog. Allowing them to see your ideas and get an honest impression of your thoughts.

      Sorry about that! I am not sure how it ate your last comment, and I regret that it did! I appreciate knowing that you are enjoying reading my blog! Always nice to hear feedback from readers! I wish you a lot of happy discoveries as a blogger! You’ll learn as you go along, that it is a lot of joy keeping a blog!

  3. Jorie, I, too, can be completely enamored by a cover and title, but I want the story to be compelling. The cover and title are the first to draw me in, but the voice and quality of the writing needs to draw me in completely. I want to be totally absorbed.

    And typically, if the publishers are doing their jobs right, series’ covers are supposed to resemble each other in an obvious way. If they don’t, they’re not doing what they should. One thing I love (huge HP fan) is that with the new covers on the Harry Potter series, when standing side by side, their spines form a painting of Hogwarts :) The artist, Kazu Kibuishi, is amazing!

    http://harrypotter.scholastic.com/new_covers/

    So, back to topic: these covers on Jenny’s books are beautiful. The dresses are gorgeous! And I would think Jenny’s own history and expertise shines through in her writing. *sigh* there are SO many books I’d love to read, but the time…

    • Hallo Ms. Donna,

      Yes, they should inter-relate & interconnect (book covers) if they are series, but what I was hinting at here, is that sometimes publishers go that extra mile to ensure you can find ‘like’ books by the same author! In that, even without the serial connection you can find cover art that mimics each other! I find that to be the most lovely surprise of all! It was great finding that you agreed with me about what draws us to read certain books! I am not sure why some readers go by cover alone, as if the synopsis isn’t convincing and the content within the sleeves of its pages does not capture you, then how else to get the feeling of being ‘elsewhere’ and present with the characters?!

      I did not realise we share a common passion for Harry Potter?! (thanks for sharing the link!)

      I felt your pain,… the hours swirl inside the hourglass at such an alarming speed that it is ever so difficult to know how to organise the time needed to soak into the heart of the books which tempt us to read! You never know, perhaps the hour will arise where you can visit for a spell with Ms. Barden!

Ready! Set! Type! Share your bookish thoughts!