Blog Book Tour | “The Art of Rebellion” by Brenda Joyce Leahy My first reading of a new Rebelight Publishing title for 2016! How keen I was to read this one, too!

Posted Monday, 19 September, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Chapter by Chapter, where I receive opportunities to host Author Guest Features on behalf of the Indie Publisher Month9Books and review for Indie Publisher: Rebelight Publishing of whom I love the stories by their Middle Grade & YA authors! As 2016 started, I received more opportunities to read and review Canadian authors through Chapter by Chapter. I love being able to discover more #CanLit whilst appreciating the beauty of the stories I am discovering through this touring company.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Art of Rebellion” direct from the publisher Rebelight Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On the joy of reading a new Rebelight Author:

Hallo, dear hearts! For those of you following me via the twitterverse you will not be too surprised to find this as a ‘must read’ of mine! For those of you who have been with me throughout 2015 – you’ll recognise my admiration on behalf of the #CanLit publisher Rebelight of whom is turning out wicked sweet lovelies for both Middle Grade and Young Adult readers – as well as those of us as adults who appreciate discovering the same. However, which way you have alighted on my blog – you’ll be happily thrilled to hear this is a book I saw wink itself on Twitter and then had the alarming shock to think I had missed the blog tour! Yes, yes – you heard right! You see, of all the notices I received for this touring company, I have a particular eye out for Rebelight releases! I use to have a equal affection spilt between them and Month9 but my interests have shifted. Rebelight is continuing to find authors I love hearing about and whose stories are increasing my readerly curiosity to read!

The brilliant bit of course is when I was able to sort out via Twitter that a tour was upcoming and as you see, I was blessed to be placed on it! Even if all had been for naught, I would have read it – it’s the premise, dear hearts, that had me keen on its chapters. I have an aptitude of unquenchable thirst for Historicals – a fact I keep reminding myself about when I notice I read a higher volume of Historicals per annum than any other variety! Laughs with mirth.

Art has been my own passion since I was quite young and had a tutor in oil pastels. Over the years, I was not able to find a new tutor whom I could relate to or they to me, as everyone is a critic when it comes down to the specifics of what you want to create and the lessons you want to take to expand your portfolio. There is also the mainstay school of thought art is never learned but instinct and innate. I am sure my fellow writers could say the same about our trade too. Critics aside, I have noodled out the kind of art and mediums I want to pursue – I kept photography in my life due to the ease of self-teaching myself techniques and the immense amount of immediate inspiration awaiting me in the natural world. Nature is as self-renewing as bamboo! Ergo, your well of possibilities is never finite but unlimited. Honestly I could speak the same about my knitty endeavours which challenged me on another level of the artistic spectrum of interest. I digress.

When it comes to stories about artists and especially stories set in France – I am a delighted reader who simply wants to absorb herself into the fabric of the narrative and walks amongst the characters.

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Notation on Cover Art: On a flat surface (such as a computer screen) I find certain art work on books become distorted by the flatness of the screen. This observation is not based on the Cover Art on this review but the first time I saw the Cover Art earlier in the Summer. As if the image is not reflecting the right message nor the right colors (as sometimes is the case). What I had missed initially is what I perceived as a colour palette mosaic is actually a collage of pertinent images – I had failed to see this until I held the book up in my hands. The young portrait is of course Gabrielle but she is overlayed on her artist sketchbook – whose pages are cut from different sources (including newsprint) to fill the journal. A true artist book, not limited to sketchings as ink and paint can be same quite plainly up close. The distinctiveness of the Eiffel Tower, either the calming presence of flowers or an ethereal veiled bride, a woman and man turnt away (Babette and Gaston) and above all of this looks like the artist’s pallette itself where paint and brushes interact to create the colours of choice before placed on canvas or journal page. A microscopism if you will at Gabrielle’s young soul. Personally, I would hope the man and woman turnt away from view might have been Phillip and Julie.

Blog Book Tour | “The Art of Rebellion” by Brenda Joyce Leahy My first reading of a new Rebelight Publishing title for 2016! How keen I was to read this one, too!The Art of Rebellion
by Brenda Joyce Leahy
Source: Direct from Publisher

Art is Gabrielle's passion, but her parents have other plans for her future-marriage to a man three times her age who holds nothing but disdain for art. Gabrielle is determined to escape life as the baron's trophy wife and the confinement of traditional roles. She flees her privileged home in the French countryside for Paris and the grandmother who understands her passion. When she cannot locate her grandmother, Gabrielle is left on her own in the City of Lights. The art world of Paris, 1900, brims with excitement, opportunity, and risk. Should Gabrielle trust her new friends, or will they take advantage of her hopes and dreams?

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Canadian Lit, French Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Upper YA Fiction

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ISBN: 9780994839985

Published by Rebelight Publishing Inc.

on 15th June, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 254

Published By: Rebelight Publishing, Inc. (@RebelightBooks)

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #TheArtOfRebellion, #YALit, #HistFict

About Brenda Joyce Leahy

Brenda Joyce Leahy

Brenda Joyce Leahy has travelled to France five times but finds there’s always more explorations awaiting her. She loves historical fiction and thinks she was born a century too late but can’t imagine her life without computers or cell phones. So, perhaps, she arrived in the world at just the right moment to tell this story.

She grew up on a farm near Taber, Alberta but now lives with her family near the Rocky Mountains in Calgary, Alberta. After over 20 years practising law, she has returned to her first love of writing fiction. She is a member of several writing organizations, including the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Brenda is also a member of the Historical Novel Society, and leads a YA/MG writers’ critique group in Calgary. The Art of Rebellion is her first Young Adult novel, published by Rebelight Publishing, spring 2016.

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My Review of the art of rebellion:

One hundred and sixteen years plus ninety days (more or less) have passed through our historical lens since the year and month this story took place! There are moments where it hits me how close the “historical past” is to our living generations and how we are not entirely “removed” observers, as many as us had living relatives in our childhoods who were bourne either in the late 1800’s and/or early 1900’s; thus making stories like these a bit more personally introspective!

There isn’t a better way to begin a novel than to be with a fierce urgency of the very moment where the character  you’re about meet is quite anxious to make her exit! In this instance, it is through travelling by rail with only the particulars on hand to stow what an artist would need to carry. You’re are pulled in so readily to the scene it’s hard to take your eyes off the page – as the train takes leave of the station and one last nerving incident (a gossip-monger observes her presence and dashes to fetch her parents) left Gabrielle a bit concerned, but only, just; she had firmed her mind this was her future. The rails can be illuminating for young travellers – as I rode a commuter train myself between Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon crossing the Columbia River Gorge and snaking throughout the industrial bits of Portland; a mere two years senior of Gabrielle. Ahh. To travel young and embrace the journey is something everyone should encounter! I love the spontaneity of the train too. The conversations and the scenery fill your mind with sweet memories.

We are treated to a flashback to what transpired in Gabrielle’s life prior to her sudden withdraw from her family home. In this, late Leahy did such a smashingly elegant job in capturing the personality and countenance of a Baron  at the dinner party. So keenly observed too – for she compared him to a crow and I couldn’t help but celebrate the brilliance of the cross-reference! He truly did bestow the crows features and quirks; and I appreciated the non traditional expression of his appearance!

Let me illustrate what I am talking about with a small quotation from this most excellent passage:

As I studied the baron to gauge his reaction, my fingers itch to sketch a caricature of him. With little exaggeration, he reminded me of a preening crow. Classically handsome except for his fleshy, oddly feminine lips. But his resemblance to a crow surfaced when he strutted around our home during aperitifs as if he already owned the house and all its contents. And how he constantly groomed himself, picking at his lapels for lint or smoothing down his mustache and goatee. Glossy coat tails hung behind him like shining black plumage.

-quoted from Chapter 2 of The Art of Rebellion

After this distasteful reminder of the Baron, Gabrielle soaked back inside life within her train compartment. This is where she started being more forward and modern  whilst conversing with her travelling companion – a gentleman named Phillip who you nearly felt picked this place to sit as he recognised an innocent girl when he saw one or there was something else going on altogether. This was another instance where despite the evidence of whom he could be I chose to be surprised alongside Gabrielle more than half way through the novel. The fact she could hold her mind and firmly expressed her opinions may have surprised him but he withheld the acknowledgement. If anything, I think he found her a refreshing change! She in turn dared to act a part of a young traveller and to put distance on her youthful sixteen years. Thoughts of the past intermingled the joys of this new experience as before the train pulled into Paris the whole story behind her departure was recaptured. The crow truly owned his caricature description! Oy vie, dear hearts! Such calculating and overbearing parental interferences!

Miniature cameras are quite an interesting turn of events! I haven’t had the pleasure to ferret out vintage cameras as much as I have found vintage typewrites – as I wink to my Royals – yet my grandfather left me several of his cameras. I can only pray by the time I learn how to use them I can still find the appropriate film! I very much am keen to return to still photography and keep digital as a side-lined hobby; at least these are my feelings today I could change my thoughts tomorrow. Laughs. Whilst Phillipe introduced Gabrielle and they had a small row about personal privacy in regards to sketches versus photographs. I remembered how i pretended to be an art student in my early twenties (the days I was self teaching myself) and the difficulties in attempting to take everyday candids. People catch you so quickly even if your intent is innocent – to try the differences in light, to see how to frame a picture differently, etc. I found people to be nauseating to deal with after awhile as this predates “selfies” and the surge of Instagram – this is still back when scrapbookers outnumbered Flickr accounts. I readily found wildlife the best subjects – they are non judging and their patience as you practice is welcome!

I admit – I wish my sketching skills were stronger as I’d love to carry sketch journals with me to sketch and write down spontaneous moments whilst living – that is a godsend of a talent to have because you’re creating your own story and it’s keenly published in a book of your own choosing! A living legacy for your children and an immediate joy of yours seeing what you observed or sketched. I envied Gabrielle in that moment. Cameras can lead to the wrong impression when memories or moments are all you want to capture.

Phillipe’s guardianship instincts deposited Gabrielle at her grandmothers last known residence with the youthful expectations of a granddaughter’s reunion soon to follow. Except if it were, her coming-of age story would be short lived and quite different. No instead she is met by a near-insufferable desk clerk and a rather questionable artist on the street (named Babette) after finding her grandmother long gone.

Alas! This isn’t the only story I’ve read about artists or even of Paris – I knew the chances Gabrielle might have to endure to secure housing and employment whilst taking every bit of bold courage she could muster. She had such a determined grit about her to succeed outside her family it would become her mainstay resolve. Finding Babette the way she had I felt wasn’t a charmed coincidence but not altogether a planned pigeon attack either! I think Babette simply found a way to capitalise on a situation that suited her and I had hoped then she would be decent enough for the immediate future. Gabrielle had so much to learn about the city and how to navigate the underbelly of where desperate circumstances and low income can breed despair.

I must have felt twinges of nostalgia as I felt myself inclined to remember Jack from The House of Elliott who was a photographer known to help models, however, I didn’t believe the scheme Babette presented to Gabrielle about modeling was as innocent as working for Jack. I wondered if Gabrielle might find her sacrificing her morals as so often other girls in her same position soon found themselves entrapped. Babette swept Gabrielle into her lifestyle – she hadn’t been entirely earnest and honest with how she took a stranger into her flat. Something that outwardly seemed sincere had a sinister backlash. It simply wasn’t readily known what that would be but you could tell it was brewing. To Gabrielle’s credit she worried when it was necessary and threw caution to the wind as required in order to enjoy the moment of being young, unattached and unchaperoned in Paris. Her heart grieved being away from family such as her sisters but she felt a certain bit of gratitude in being able to free herself from her parent’s ward.

One scene stood out to me – Gabrielle had purchased a cafe au lait  and a copy of the feminist zine in which she hoped would lead her to her grandmother’s whereabouts. The lucky break she needed did come from this paper as she recognised the contributor was one of her grandmother’s friends. As she was sitting reading the paper drinking the coffee and pondering what became of her grandmother, as her sleuthing within the vicinity of where she had lived had proven futile she was questioning how to proceed. Around this time a woman caught sight of her sketches and invited her to her salon in order to get to know her artwork –  these opportunities were beyond rare.

I had sensed earlier there was more to the story surrounding Phillipe as his continued presence in her life spoke volumes even if Leahy wasn’t yet prepared to reveal his true identity. I was truly awaiting the revelation as it became more uncertain if Gabrielle could remain in Paris. It is the kind of Historical that begs a few discreet curiosities but nothing that cannot wait to be revealled!

Part of the joy is living alongside Gabrielle – observing her life in Paris and seeing the overlay of what is happening around her. You gathered there was a presence just out of sight – a guardianship if you will providing protection when she needed it most. Never fully illustrated but something you could feel was written into the background until the subtle murmurs of this presence was able to be picked up by Gabrielle. What I also appreciated is the undercurrent of faith threading through this story as it was such an important part of her life. When Gabrielle met Julie I was personally overjoyed, as through desperation she had chosen to entertain Babette but providence had advised a better solution by making a stronger connection of friendship with a purity of heart. Julie came from a similar stock and understood Gabrielle as they were raised similarly but Julie had the full support of her family whereas Gabrielle did not.

I would classify this as an Upper YA due to sporadic strong language of the gentler variety but more to the point is the incredible depth of character and centering of the novel’s setting that Leahy has written into The Art of Rebellion. I honestly could continue to share so much of the beauty of this novel but I would rather allow it to remain slightly more elusive than my other reviews simply due to the joy I know will be found once it is consumed by new readers who follow after me.  It was definitely unputdownable and devoured wholeheartedly with absolute joy.

Plein Air Painting:

Since my oil pastel days, I have adjusted my painting technique to include only watercolor paints – for health reasons mostly and for the challenge it will give me as an artist. I’ve known about Plein Air as my parents are budding artists inasmuch as I am and this is the style of painting much adored by my Mum who wishes to pursue this in retirement. It is one that I felt would be most interesting as not only do you have natural light (a cherished gift) but you have natural elements and the weather of course that can provide for interesting experiences. I was smiling seeing Gabrielle mentioning this so early on and was slightly disappointed it did not make a future appearance although technically due to the drama and intensity of the events that shaped her time in Paris, I am unsure how she would have managed anyways.

On the historical writing style of brenda joyce leahy:

In some ways, I prefer the author’s note to be in the front of novels – which prevents me from having to hunt for them prior to starting my readings. I love reading what inspires stories, you see. I read the dedication so “Carmen” remained with me as I entered the novel directly. Why only that one particular portion of Leahy’s grandmother’s name sealed itself to mind I know not. Except it is a memory cognate due to the ‘other’ Carmen (i.e. musical). I fetched out the note from the back of the novel post haste after realising the connection due to Gabrielle’s full name. At which point I happily discovered this wasn’t a traditional Historical but a Biographical Historical – one of my personal favorites. Although Leahy took liberty with the character Gabrielle – a composite more than direct fictional variant of her grandmother, I loved the joy of finding the ancestral connection! Being an Ancestry Sleuth in my own family alongside my Mum, this is something of particular interest how to turn family stories into novels.

If I may be so bold, I hope Leahy’s sophomore release is a Cowboy Romance! Who wouldn’t want to marry a cowboy? All those glorious hours riding together. Secondly, learning there are historical interludes and more curious tidbits on the author’s site interest me dearly.

What is not to like about Leahy’s writing style as she truly has written a novel that you want to read immediately straight-through as soon as you pick it up! You even have to remind yourself to slow down! Of course part of the glee on my end – the reason for my instant blissitudes of joy in reading it is because I have noticed recently, I am preferring certain eras and stories to be writ in non-American English as this is how I personally feel attached to those eras! As I find they are best represented in British English or Old English variants, such as you can still find in modern Canadian, Australian or New Zealand writing styles!  Being Canadian of course, she wrote the story as she saw the scenes alight in her own imagination but for me, as a writer whose a reader whose created her own unique written voice of AmeriBritish, I finally was able to connect the dots on something I’ve been musing about quite recently!

I read three other Regencies within the past month or so, and I couldn’t sort out why I felt awkward reading them in American English – then I picked up Leahy’s novel and the missing piece of this puzzle fell into place for me! It’s because I’ve evolved as a reader and as a writer – I now personally recognise certain eras in time and certain craftings of stories be told in a manner of style that isn’t my native one but is my ancestral one! Sometimes we have to see how our reading patterns alter as we read deeper and more diversely through our lives – sometimes we will find fluxuations in our patterns and/or we simply evolve forward. Continuously seeking out what motivates us the most to read and to absorb. It isn’t that the other stories were wrong to be in American English, it’s simply that my own personal approach to those stories now feels naturally akin to the the British and/or Canadian English stylings of their narratives! Isn’t that grand!? To finally understand a new part of my reading life! Champion! I have a ‘new’ everyday ‘normal’! Laughs. It has become the language of my imagination and I would equate this to those who study foreign languages and suddenly find themselves thinking in a language that is not native but is equally organic into their being as if it were!

Thank you, Ms Leahy! You’ve written such an incredible novel that not only did I have the pleasures of reading it – but I had the joy of sorting out something about my own writerly voice and style for crafting stories! The excellence you’ve displayed by command of the language and inflictions of your characters dialogue speak volumes to your natural gift for story-telling! I was most impressed this was a debut novel! I would nearly expect that you have a multitude of stories for us to read! It’s so polished and pointedly precise in its scope that it was beautifully enjoyed start to finish! Leahy provided a cachony of portraits of everyday life in Paris during the Belle Epoque period of France to such a level of clarity, you feel as if you took a TARDIS and walked alongside Gabrielle!

When I read “the House of Worth” pop up inside the story-line, I thought to myself this is another one of those curiously random readerly coincidences where a previously read novel has helped me understand a piece of a future novel not yet read! Isn’t that interesting? How each book I’ve read and reviewed as a book blogger is somehow connected to another book and all in turn, have each provided me with this beautiful eclipse of understanding – wherein I would have been a bit loss of seeing the connections had I not been paying particular attention to the frequency of where the patterns of repetitive inclusions lied between narratives!? I found this most fascinating!! Almost as if you have been guided book by book in a particular sequence of discovery!

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Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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)

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Posted Monday, 19 September, 2016 by jorielov in 20th Century, Art, Art History, Belle Epoque Era, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Brothers and Sisters, Canadian Literature, Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Father-Daughter Relationships, France, French Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Romance Fiction, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Suspense, Upper YA Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Rights, Young Adult Fiction

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