#MidnightChocLit No.4 | “Marry For Love” by Christina Courtenay

Posted Saturday, 31 December, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#MidnightChocLit banner created by Jorie in Canva. Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com.

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

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “Marry for Love” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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

#MidnightChocLit No.4: by the PNR & #HistRom author I love to read

Two of my TY dolls & #PocketChocLit. Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com.

Here’s what I’m thinking: if a witch & a vampire find true love – then surely the rest of us should be able too, as well, eh!? Cheeky snapshot of two of my favourite TY dolls, plus a bit of DIY creative decorating on my part with their chair done years ago in my early twenties.

Meet Rose & Dougray!

I’ve loved collecting dolls since I was quite a young girl – all kinds of dolls, from Cabbage Patch Kids to collectable dolls, to the TY dolls you see here – I believe they were called Boppers? I’m slightly forgetting their proper names, but I re-named them all the same! I have several outfits I can switch-out for both of them too, even though one day I’d rather sew my own clothes for all my (teddy) bears and dolls, so that as the seasons change so too can I seasonally represent my doll collection!

When I was thinking about the title for this particular ChocLit Novella, I no sooner than thought straight-away about how I found Rose & Dougray; as Rose came first and I found Dougray out of state whilst on a road trip wherein I saw “The Nutcracker” for the first time. Honestly, I just had a good feeling about the pair and similar to how you find companions for your dearly loved cats, sometimes you know when two dolls will make quite the match! Now, comparatively – Dougray is quite smaller in statue to Rose, which of course made me immediately think about my great-grandparents of whom were fondly known in my family for having a height difference but of not allowing that particular difference to matter in affairs of the heart!

I personally love period fashions and period dramas – I grew up reading a hearty array of Regency & Victorian Romance novellas and novels intermixed with my ready array of mysteries (a la Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and good ole Agatha Christie!), the Baby-Sitter’s Club, The Saddle Club and Classical Children’s Lit such as “Five Cousins” and other contemporaries for my elementary age. I loved disappearing into the Regency & Victorian ages of England the most – and to this day, my fondness for both eras remains steadfast!

I think this is one reason why delving further into #HistRom as a thirty-something book blogger is such a wicked sweet blast of joy! I get to visit new centuries of curiosity and new realms of where a Historical Romance can lead my heart to journey with the characters! Through ChocLit, it’s expanded to the high seas, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and making the loop through the Edwardian era inasmuch as my famed Regency!

To say I was delightfully curious about this particular novella is putting it lightly, which is why I was beyond the moon elated finding it a part of my #ChocLitChristmas parcel! Especially considering how much I love the PNR style of Ms Courtenay equally to her Historical Rom style! I even had the pleasure of featuring her quite a few times throughout 2016 – as I dug inside her #Kumashiro series (see also Review) and interviewed her during the release of The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight – of which I have a delishly special surprise in store for my readers come February! This January, I am happily continuing my readings of the Kumashiro series with The Gilded Fan and The Jade Lioness!

IF your just joining me for #MidnightChocLit and want to know why I conceived this wicked #awesomesauce of a readathon – please direct your attention to #MidnightChocLit No.1: You’re the One that I Want.

Join me whilst I read *six!* ChocLit novellas Christmas Week & New Year’s – as we read through the holidays with a ‘pocket of ChocLit’ in our hands! Remember: I’m tweeting LIVE as I read ahead of posting these reviews! Tweet me your reactions & add your commentary on the posts!

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

 #MidnightChocLit No.4 | “Marry For Love” by Christina CourtenayMarry for Love
Subtitle: Trapped in an intolerable marriage with no escape

Delilah cannot bear to watch as her twin sister Deborah marries Hamish Baillie, fourth Earl of Blackwood. Not only because she knows that her conniving sister has manipulated the poor man into marriage, but also because she has been in love with Hamish since she first set eyes on him...

When Delilah makes the ultimate sacrifice to save Hamish from her sister's clutches, he is grateful - but he can't help but be suspicious of her motives. Nevertheless, when it appears that Delilah may be cast out, he agrees to help by employing her as a housekeeper at his Scottish residence.

As Hamish spends more time with Delilah, he realises she is sincere. But her scheming twin was never going to let go of the Earl that easily...

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

Book Page on World Weaver Press

ISBN: 978-1781893586

on 4th November, 2016

Pages: 160

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats: Pocket Paperback + Ebook

Converse via: #HistRom and #Regency + #ChocLit

OR #PocketChocLit (Jorie’s idea!)

Put some ChocLit,

in your pocket!


(little rhyme I came up with to celebrate these editions!)

About Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay

Christina lives near Hereford and is married with two children. Although born in England she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan where she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East.

Christina’s debut Trade Winds was short listed for the 2011 Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Pure Passion Award for Best Historical Fiction. The Scarlet Kimono won the 2011 Big Red Reads Best Historical Fiction Award. Highland Storms (in 2012) and The Gilded Fan (in 2014) won the Historical Romantic Novel of the Year Award and The Silent Touch of Shadows won the 2012 Best Historical Read Award from the Festival of Romance. Christina is Chairman of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Novels: Trade Winds, Highland Storms, Monsoon Mists, The Scarlet Kimono, The Gilded Fan, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Secret Kiss of Darkness, The Soft Whisper of Dreams, The Jade Lioness, Marry in Haste, Once Bitten Twice Shy, Desperate Remedies and Never Too Late.

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

On my Connection to Ms. Courtenay:

Two years ago, on the 26th of April, 2014, I created #ChocLitSaturday a weekly Rom chat to celebrate the novelists of ChocLitUK but also, to expand to include book bloggers, readers and writers of Romance who have a penchant for the genre as a whole. Ms Courtenay started to become a regular fixture, and her encouraging conversations & ability to inspire others to converse freely throughout the chats put me at ease in my new role as a ‘Hostess’. She always seemed to know how to either start a topic or how to best suggest something to break the ice! I was always so very grateful to her and I am thinking I might have forgotten to tell her directly how much gratitude I had for her in those earlier chats! Over the weeks that have followed, I have found myself attached to each of my ‘regular’ chatters during the hour, and I consider Ms Courtenay a bookish like-minded soul, as we tend to appreciate the same types of stories!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Courtenay through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I host #ChocLitSaturday the chat, remained in touch privately outside the chat and having previously read her time slip novels. 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 or continuing to read their releases as they are available.

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

My review of marry for love:

Lilah was one incredibly strong woman – not only did she conceive of a cleverly spun lie to save a man from a lifetime of unhappiness wed to her twin sister, but she did all of this in a selfless act of preservation. To preserve her own sanity whilst saving the Earl’s in the process; unwinding the thread of Deborah’s web and granting her and the Earl a mark of freedom. To which would cost her more than she might have bargained for as you can feel the tension of the hour rising as her words came to rest on everyone’s ears; women have been cast out for less in these circles. It was the Regency and one thing held higher than anything save financial security is reputation; on behalf of both men and women. To drive a nail against her own reputation to save a man from marriage under false pretense proves how much Lilah cared for him even if he might not be quite as aware of that himself.

It’s quite the clever premise – to thwart your sister’s wedding and curse yourself in the process. To rise above the shame and to prove your individual strength by how you carry yourself forward is a hearty narrative to dissolve inside! And, one that I enjoyed seeing play out – especially as it’s not your typical Regency; the battle of wills between the twins is quite timeless, as not all siblings fancy each other, but it’s how we entered the drama that made the novella stand out quite a bit!

By the time Hamish can right his head round the whys and hows of Lilah’s selfless act, he in turn decides to offer her a position at his own household in Scotland. Fittingly he’d be a gentleman about the whole deceptive manner in which he was saved a betrothal on one hand and disgrace on the other! Hamish is such a definitive name for a Regency Earl; it doesn’t fit every character, mind you, but on this particular bloke it suits! He’s commanding as he is forthright – he’d rather get to the heart of a matter than waste time with it at all. In some ways, he has a quick forgiving mind but you do have to wonder; how trusting is he for taking in one twin and being weary of the other?

As Lilah and Hamish took off by horseback to take their leave of her family and set off for his land in Scotland, they found that travelling together provided it’s own quirky moments of unexpected surprises! For starters, they fit together quite charmingly well for two people who have been thrown together at a moment’s notice! I felt they were quite surprised by this and were simply going with it until such a time they could each reassess what was happening to them. After all, between spoilting the wedding and running off with the fiancee Lilah hadn’t truly sorted out what she would do in the world now that her prospects were dwindled and her propriety in station was dissolved. You have to chuckle a bit at Hamish’s familiarity with women and Lilah’s innocence in the same regards; his confidence fuells her forward but her tender-heart still hasn’t caught up to her new reality of living outside the confines of her family’s trust.

Courtenay has set the stage for an interesting dynamic because neither character is prepared for what is coming round the corner. They simply are living in the moment and hoping for the best; writing their own path as they go along. Lilah’s sister Deborah is fit to be tied upon arriving home and finding her sister is elsewhere and her father has re-defined what he’s willing to accept as her ‘truth’ of circumstances which are socially unacceptable. Deborah’s ire is beyond irked further when she cannot sort out the path in which Lilah and Hamish took on their haste to exit after the debacle at the church; but being cunning (to a fault) and crafty, Deborah doesn’t lay waste any ounce of time to run off after the pair in order to give her sister her proper due. The sad bit is truly, even through the revelation she was less than honest ahead of marriage to her fiancee, she hasn’t learnt anything about what is morally wrong and what is ethically distrusting. She’s such a fiercesome woman she begs not to understand what is proper but seeks only what benefits herself; irregardless of whom she hurts or to what length she must go to endeavour what she wants most. Being told ‘no’ isn’t in her vocabulary in other words!

Meanwhile, on the other end of it, her sister Lilah takes nothing for granted and has simple joys in appreciating what life affords her rather than attempting to ilk out more than what is gracious. Lilah chooses to see the goodness in people but her sister would rather finagle her way through life than to own her actions. This leads to a curiously perplexed Earl, who thought he understand the twins but the more time he spends with Lilah the less certain he is about anything at all. He hadn’t even realised he had been deuced a bit regarding meeting Lilah in lieu of Deborah! That was quite the moment of realisation I found myself smirking! He takes people at face value, but given his own back-history of not always being of an agreeable sort of behaviour befit a gentleman – he has his own skeletons to keep at bay! Thus, what makes it such a wicked delight to read is how each party is coming together on a collision course and how each of them in turn interact with the other!

The thing about those who endeavour to spin themselves a future out of deceit is that sometimes fate bites back! Deborah has worked herself into such a fit of a state to where she’s blinded by revenge and angered past her due! She couldn’t see straight if she tried! She never thought of letting things lie or attempting to put forgiveness in her heart if she had any hope to be forgiven herself; instead she vowed to seek a way to mettle in Lilah’s affairs! Whilst Lilah was getting on with her life up in the Highlands of Scotland vowing to herself to keep her life simple and honest; working for her wage and building a way towards securing her own future on her own terms. Lilah was blossoming under the Scottish skies, finding being a housekeeper suited her quite well (as she grew up learning the trade) and that in time, perhaps the staff would accept her as an equal. The two twins could not be more different if you tried to separate them further apart!

Such a delightful story – you become so entranced by how everything is pulling together and there is a feel of a larger story ebbing out of the chapters, too! I was so overjoyed I had the chance to read this novella as it was truly a proper lift of spirits right in time for the New Year!

on why i love reading a courtenay historical:

Ms Courtenay surely has a way with driving you straight into the heart of the matter at hand – no sooner do you open this cleverly plotted novella, than you arrive at the scene of the ill-fated marriage between a crafty twin and an eligible Earl! True to each historical era Ms Courtenay is writing about she finds a way to pull together elements of recognition for the causal and dedicated reader of her genres! I liked how she was able to pull-off a well-conceived Regency in the fraction of space she would normally have to engage us in one of her full-length Historicals! Having read both formats now, I am quite impressed!

Courtenay doesn’t wait for the drama to find you, no, she would rather present it straightaway! This leads you into a well-paced narrative that holds a lot in it’s novella heart to be explored! The characters are rounded out well, to such a degree, you nearly feel as if this is a second visit with them rather than a first! Even the perplexed Hamish feels fully realised – his mind and heart are constantly in equal debate with each other, and his motivations to keep rueful about his feelings on behalf of both sisters is aptly described and validated by Courtenay!

I thoroughly enjoyed the journey by horseback, Hamish and Lilah took to the Highlands as it laid a foundation of a rapport between the two characters inasmuch as providing a plausible foreshadow of what might wick out in the end to be Deborah’s undoing! There is a lot of lovely scenes and exchanges of dialogue, too! You are definitely in for a treat of a Regency Rom with this story!

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

I happily review for ChocLitUK!

This book review is courtesy of:

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

In case you’ve missed my ChocLit readings:

Please follow the threads through #ChocLitSaturdays!

And, visit my ChocLit Next Reads List on Riffle (recently upated!)

to see which stories I fancy to devour next!

I celebrated my 3rd Blogovesrary on 31st of March, 2016 wherein I revealled my Best of the Best Reads for 2015 via my End of the Year Survey. More than one ChocLit novel made the cut and received a special Award from me to acknowledge how lovely it was written!

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

#MidnightChocLit Schedule of Readings & Reviews:

*accompanying the reviews are LIVE readerly tweets starting @ midnight per date listed; reviews will go LIVE after the live tweeting sessions approx. one hour later. trying to keep the live reading reflections to an hour to give a small ‘taste’ of what is inside each novella!

You’re the One that I Want by Angela Britnell (22 DEC) (review)

Blueprint for Love by Henriette Gyland (23 DEC) (review)

Grand Designs by Linda Mitchelmore (Christmas Eve) (review)

Marry for Love by Christina Courtenay (30 DEC) <– new date!

Only True in Fairy Tales by Christine Stovell (New Year’s Eve)

The Art of Deception by Liz Harris (New Year’s Day)

*ChocLit Reviews of Novels return January, 2017 to Jorie Loves A Story!

Tell me: did I tempt you to ‘put a little ChocLit in your pocket’?

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

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

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 characters written honestly 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!

IF you love chatting about Romance novels, #amwriting adventures and being in a wicked good circle of writers and readers joyfully sharing their writerly & bookish lives, I invite you to join us for #ChocLitSaturday which is an extension of my reviews & guest features on behalf of ChocLitUK! All are welcome! Visit @ChocLitSaturday for more details!

Our chats resume January, 2017.

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

I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst bloggers who picked up the same story to read.

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Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Writerly Yours Christmas Readathon 2016

I am cross-promoting my Christmas readings this year via the #WYReadathon of which was put together after I had envisioned my own Christmas selections! I felt it was quite kismet on the timing of it all, and looked forward to engaging with other readers who were going to blog their readerly delights this Thanksgiving and Christmas season! I find that I am the most comfortable reading Christmas Stories between Thanksgiving and Twelfth Night (in January); as the stories just appeal to me to be read during this short period of time where the fullness of the season is not only apparent but can be felt by spirit, mind and heart. I look forward to sharing more of my selections with you as I proceed forward with my readings! Happy Christmas!

There are more #ChristmasReads arriving on #JLASblog ahead of Twelfth Night as I had to push my schedule forward a bit during Christmas Week. Therefore, the select Christmas stories I’ve been reading and enjoying company inside are still going to be featured this first week of 2017. I had to amend my #ChristmasReads schedule due to my father’s stroke (see also this post).

This marks my 5th #WYChristmasReadathon post –

  1. Read my initial joy over reading Christmas Stories on my review of “Finding Father Christmas”!
  2. You’re the One that I Want by Angela Britnell (review)
  3. Blueprint for Love by Henriette Gyland (review)
  4. Grand Designs by Linda Mitchelmore (review)

What are you reading this Christmas Season?

Do you love soaking into Roms as much as I do for Christmas!?

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{SOURCES: Author photograph of Christina Courtenay, Cover Art for “Marry for Love”, Author Biography, Book Synopsis and ChocLit Reviewer badge were provided by ChocLitUK and were used by permission. Post dividers by  Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo and Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. #WYReadathon badge provided by Priya of Writerly Yours and is used with permission.  Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #MidnightChocLit banner and the Comment Box Banner. Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.

I’m a social reader | I love sharing my reading life

(tweets returning soon)

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WYChristmasReadathon

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 Saturday, 31 December, 2016 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, British Literature, Castles & Estates, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, England, Family Drama, Father-Daughter Relationships, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Modern British Literature, Romance Fiction, The London Season, the Regency era, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

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