Book Review | “The Untied Kingdom” by Kate Johnson Rom with a twist of alternative reality! #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 31 October, 2015 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By:

I am a ChocLit reviewer who receives books of my choice in exchange for honest reviews! I received a complimentary copy of “The UnTied Kingdom” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

On my connection to Kate Johnson:

I host a weekly Romance chat (#ChocLitSaturdays | @ChocLitSaturday) in conjunction with my book reviews and showcases on behalf of the publisher ChocLitUK. The weekly chat was inspired by the authors and stories I was devouring as a book reviewer, as I wanted to create a space online where sisterhood friendships could develop between readers and writers of Rom. My focus was to first unite the authors of ChocLit with readers of ChocLit and then, expand the conversation. Eleven in the morning of a Saturday, has become a favourite hour for me to exchange conversation and joy with everyone who shows up to participate in the lively convos. You can visit the homepage for #ChocLitSaturdays via Nurph, where you can choose to RSVP future chats or replay past chats.

Ms Johnson and I have been happily conversing through the chats for a good portion of the past year, as she ducks in to the conversations as her time allows. Through those chats, depending on the topic that is broached during the hour, book recommendations are one of the highlights for everyone attending. For me, it’s a chance to get to know about stories I might not be drawn too outright or had previously been on the fence about reading. One of these titles was ‘The Untied Kingdom’ which soon became highly recommended. From what I gathered in one of the chats, I knew I had to at least give it a go myself to see how Johnson wrote the intriguing story-line.

Similar to my previous thoughts I shared about Ms Courtenay and Ms Harris, I have come to appreciate chatting with Ms Johnson through #ChocLitSaturdays chats. She has a bubbly personality, a sharp wit and a humour that never fails to make me smile or laugh outright. She’s very open about talking about her characters and stories, whilst not one to be shy from expressing her appreciation for what gives her the most joy as a reader and writer.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Johnson through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I host #ChocLitSaturdays; I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time.

Why I enjoy embracing the chance to read an ‘alternative’ story-line:

I think everyone will recognise there are alternative realities in science fiction and fantasy, inasmuch as their are alternative historical fiction plot-lines where the writer has bent the genre to their will. For me personally, I appreciate dipping into this creative well of dexterity when I find a story which becomes it’s own personal niche in a genre of it’s writer’s choosing. I do not oft read these kinds of stories, so it’s a bit of a mystery if I will soak inside the narrative as readily as I do other stories, but one thing is for certain: I like taking risks with my literary wanderings, because without a risk once in awhile, how do we know if we will like something completely new and out of the regular realms we are reading if we don’t take that chance?

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.Book Review | “The Untied Kingdom” by Kate Johnson Rom with a twist of alternative reality! #ChocLitSaturdaysThe Untied Kingdom
by Kate Johnson
Source: Direct from Publisher

The portal to an alternate world was the start of all her troubles – or was it?

When Eve Carpenter lands with a splash in the Thames, it’s not the London or England she’s used to. No one has a telephone or knows what a computer is. England’s a third world country and Princess Di is still alive. But worst of all, everyone thinks Eve’s a spy.

Including Major Harker who has his own problems. His sworn enemy is looking for a promotion. The general wants him to undertake some ridiculous mission to capture a computer, which Harker vaguely envisions running wild somewhere in Yorkshire. Turns out the best person to help him is Eve.

She claims to be a pop star. Harker doesn’t know what a popstar is, although he suspects it’s a fancy foreign word for ‘spy’. Eve knows all about computers, and electricity. Eve is dangerous. There’s every possibility she’s mad.

And Harker is falling in love with her.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9781906931681

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Alternative Reality | History, Genre-bender, Romantic Suspense, Time Slip and/or Time Shift, War Drama


Published by ChocLitUK

on 7th October 2014

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 320

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLitUK)

Formats Available: Paperback, Large Print, Audiobook and E-book

Converse via: #ChocLit

About Kate Johnson

Kate Johnson

Kate Johnson is a prolific writer of romantic and paranormal fiction. Kate is Choc Lit’s youngest author and lives near Stansted, Essex. She is a self-confessed fan of Terry Pratchett, whose fantasy fiction has inspired her to write her own books. Kate worked in an airport and a laboratory before escaping to write fiction full time. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and has previously published short stories in the UK and romantic mysteries in the US. She’s a previous winner of the WisRWA’s Silver Quill and Passionate Ink’s Passionate Plume award.

Her first UK debut novel, The Untied Kingdom was shortlisted for the Contemporary Romantic Novel Category Award in 2012. It also won an online Best Book Award.

Kate’s Choc Lit novels include: The UnTied Kingdom, Run Rabbit Run and Impossible Things (February 2014).

Alternative Reality and Time narratives:

Johnson conveys the time jolt and alternative reality quite well – especially if I could draw a line of clarity from her narrative to several of the Doctor Who teleplays I watched during Sci Fi November 2013 and 2014! I cannot remember which episodes they were exactly, but the good Doctor has a way of inserting himself into a time void as readily as if he were bourne there. Johnson has taken on this alternative London with the same repose of a native, given us a sharpening of this reality against the light of where history used to reflect a different outcome.

You are jettisoned so surely into this UK, this untethered and untied version of it – you can easily find yourself drawn up inside it’s folds. It’s a unique time where women hold more positions of power than men (especially in regards to the Army) and where there is an imbalance of trust; forged by the difficulties of fighting an enemy who has more resources than your own. I liked how Johnson pulled back some of the technological advances, such as aviation and mass communication (i.e. the telephone), giving her world a bit of an old fashioned mode of pace and visuals.

My Review of  The Untied Kingdom:

If I hadn’t been chattering with Ms Johnson during #ChocLitSaturdays, I wouldn’t have been caught inside of a smirked smile whilst I read the very first page of this novel! For you see, I recognised her humour most immediately and for that brief recognition, I felt quite at home reading ‘The Untied Kingdom’.

Time is swift when war is on the rise, by the time I entered Harker’s life he was incredibly taxed for the vexation of working with his ex-wife whilst being given orders to sort out the mysterious stranger known as Eve Carpenter. The wicked pace is set quite high as Johnson delivers you as you please straight into the heart of the fray happening around London; not the London Eve recognises mind you, but the London where Harker is fighting a war without end. It’s a place where everything is darkened to a mooted black, against the backdrop of a deluge of rain without so much as the hope of a lark of peace to awaken the possibilities of a life without a death toll.

Despite the hard circumstances, Harker is a man of honour who fancies himself a bloke who is bound by his duty and his dedication to his country. Confused about why he’s sent to sort out this Carpenter woman, he’s most confused by her descriptions of her ‘life’ than the fact he had to fish her out of the Thames! What a delish set of memories for a woman to claim to have at a time in his life where anything past a day of battle is the fanciful hours only an aristocrat could spend. There are such extreme differences between Harker and Eve, it noodles out a wonder how he will handle the truth of her slip through time!

Harker is hard on Eve mostly due to the fact I think she has more to give than she realises, but more to the point, I think it’s because he’s finding it’s hard not to be attracted to her. Eve took he off-guard and from the start of their interactions, she surprises him at every turn. Eve on the other hand hasn’t quite sorted out if she even likes the bloke, but her mistrust in his motivations towards her stems from the fact he started off their whole bit together on a bad foot.

Eve’s caught up inside a country bogged down in war, a war that shouldn’t even be happening as she’s a full step out of time yet how can she deny what her eyes are seeing? She’s fully outside her depth as far as understanding how any of this is possible and therein, I appreciated the slight moxie fire Johnson gave her because otherwise she’d be more of a damsel than a character with grit. Harker I think is simply soured on the life he’s had in the army and an ex-wife he wasn’t his equal. It’s hard not to like him myself, because he is fiercely loyal albeit addicted to tobacco!

Eve is attempting to expand Harker’s world-view, except he’s a tough nut to crack in regards to accepting knowledge that is outside his scope. Eve is his equal if only he would yield to realising the world can sometimes surprise you by people who are not afraid to challenge you at every turn. This is what is so lovely about The Untied Kingdom – seeing whose strength of identity and place in time is stronger than the other. Eve and Harker are arguing the finer points of history, but as Eve points out, how great is history if the present is buckling under the present state of condition? Eve is bringing in a voice of reason and opposition; to parlay a way for Harker to process information he never bothered to deem worthy of his attention.

The best romances are the ones where your left on the edge of your seat worried about how the ending will find a resolution that you feel befits the two hearts who despite everything else simply want to be together. I read this novel in one sitting because I couldn’t wait to know the ending – Harker is the kind of bloke your rooting for to find a way to realise the passion of his heart is not without hope for a future. Eve bridged the gap between where love and time united their kingdom. I could definitely see a new chapter written on their lives and I would be keenly interested in reading it!

If this is Alt History Rom, I might have found a new genre:

Johnson doesn’t slowly build the reader’s interest into her world but rather drops them so unceremoniously into the commotion of what is happening to her characters, as to make the reader feel quite at home despite the frenzy of what is about to breach onto the page! Her world-building is lightweight and easily able to transition from the present day to the past; or rather into this ‘alternative historical’ arm of where the present could have gone in a different time reality than our own. It’s a curious prospect of quantum physics – how many realities and time variables are there per each generation of life known in our own historical past? How many times does time bend against it’s own continuum to create the vortex of differences?

Rather than bolting down the specifics of how and why Eve Carpenter made her time slip into this new reality, Johnson focuses on the importance of how this intrusion on Harker’s reality upsets the cart of balance in his time era. This is definitely a book which would appeal to science fiction readers who happen to enjoy reading a bit of Rom where the focus is on what to do once you’ve re-positioned yourself ‘elsewhere’ without the benefit of proof of ‘where’ you’ve come.

Johnson handled the war hospital bits with the grace of pulling back when needed and visually giving enough details to make it feel as real as if you were there. I personally cannot always handle medically graphic scenes, but the way in which these were stitched together were similar to watching one of the harder hitting sequences of M*A*S*H. You get the specifics but before you can feel your stomach turn due to the intensity, the story shifts back it’s focus on the characters. In this case, I appreciated the tact and the re-direction as there are times where war dramas get a bit overly brutal to read. Johnson balanced it with the knack for knowing her reader’s limits; whether by design or accident, it was a blessing.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

This book review is courtesy of:

ChocLitUK Reviewer

In case you’ve missed my ChocLit readings:
I read my first Moorcroft Contemporary Starting Over this Summer. (review)
I happily soaked inside (and devoured!) my second Zana Bell novel Fool’s Gold! (review)
I disclosed my next ChocLit reads on #BookishNotBookish No.6
And, visit my ChocLit Next Reads List on Riffle
to see which stories I fancy to devour in 2015!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Don’t forget to Replay the Bookish Chats via #ChocLitSaturday by visiting us on Nurph!

Til soon, I hope we’ll see you chatting with us! Spread the joy of #ChocLitSaturday to your bookish friends, all are welcome! Visit my post on #ChocLitSaturdays vs #ChocLitSaturday for more information! And, the words I expressed about #ChocLitSaturday on my spotlight for The Wild One by Janet Gover. Remember you can also drop in on the conversations are your able too!

Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

{SOURCES: Cover art of  “The Untied Kingdom”, author photograph for Kate Johnson, author biography, book synopsis, and book reviewer badge were all provided by ChocLitUK and used with permission. #ChocLitSaturdays Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Sci Fi November badge created by Jorie in Canva. Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

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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 Saturday, 31 October, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Action & Adventure Fiction, Alternative Reality, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, British Literature, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Futuristic Fantasy, Green Publishing, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Life Shift, Military Fiction, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Modern Day, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Sci-Fi November, Science Fantasy, Time Slip, Time Travel, Time Travel Adventure, Time Travel Romance, Vulgarity in Literature, Warfare & Power Realignment

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