Blog Book Tour | “A Valentine Surprise” by Emily Murdoch a novella anchoured to ‘A Christmas Surprise’, two of the #Regency Roms by Ms Murdoch

Posted Tuesday, 14 February, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a hostess with Writerly Yours PR – which is run by my dear friend Priya of whom I met during a blogger panel. We have become friends through our collaborations and it has been an honour to work with her on her publicity projects for Indie authors – most of whom I have been featuring a guest author feature as I cannot read digital copies of books. In this particular instance, I was allowed to print the PDF in order to read in full for which I was thankful to the author for allowing me to do so in lieu of a paperback copy to read.

This particular blog tour was anchoured by Twitter chats wherein we attempted to break the novella down into collections of chapters and discuss the story via Twitter whilst finalising our book club discussions with a special Q&A with the author – which is scheduled to run during the blog tour itself.

I received a complimentary copy of “A Valentine Surprise” direct from the author Emily Murdoch in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keen on reading this story:

I originally had intended to release my review on behalf of the previous release ‘A Christmas Surprise’ anchoured through my #ChristmasReads selections this past holiday season. I setting things up to run the week after Thanksgiving with a few featured over Thanksgiving weekend – however, as most of my dedicated followers already realise, this was the weekend my Dad had his stroke (see also this post and this post). Concurrently, I’ve been struggling to find my way back into my blog – in reading regularly and blogging regularly as I am now my father’s main caregiver. To say I am seeking a bit more balance in my life at the moment is putting it mildly. However, despite the imbalance of my reading life and the gaps in my blogging life – I can attest, I’ve cured one thing recently: I re-fell in love with cooking! lol All it took was a return to the local farmer’s market wherein you can hand-select and cut your own fresh produce.

Whilst signing up for this blog tour, I was excited as I came to appreciate the writer’s style whilst reading ‘A Christmas Surprise’ – which is still going to be featured on my blog – even if it’s a few months shy of Christmas; I have a few leftover Christmas selections to release and hopefully help readers find a few to tuck away for the holidays next year. I was thankful this new novella follows the timeline of the first one – if in effect you look at it from a unique angle, this could actually serve as a back-story on how the characters are inter-connected – specifically, by way of Lady Audrey and Jonathan.

I still find it wicked amazing how the author has been threading her stories through novellas, selecting a shorter arm of narrative to tell her stories whilst still giving the reader something hearty to chew on whilst they read her stories. This is something I tried to highlight through the latest Twitter ‘book club’ chat regarding ‘A Valentine Secret’ – of which I’ll include at the bottom of this review – offering everyone on the blog tour a chance to click-through to Twitter tweet by tweet and add their commentaries to the discussion questions awaiting them. For readers who are not a part of the blog tour – I welcome your responses, as these are everyday themes which are cross-relatable to all.

 Blog Book Tour | “A Valentine Surprise” by Emily Murdoch a novella anchoured to ‘A Christmas Surprise’, two of the #Regency Roms by Ms MurdochA Valentine Surprise
Subtitle: A Regency Romance
by Emily Murdoch
Source: Author via Writerly Yours PR

The course of true love never did run smooth…

Jonathan Brodie, the only son of Sir Roger and Lady Brodie, has lived in the village of Maplebridge his whole life.

Penelope, the daughter of the local florist, was adopted by the Baldwins when she was just a baby.

They could not be more different and yet, one blustery January morning, their paths collide in a chance encounter that is destined to change their lives forever.

Jonathan soon discovers that Penelope is far from the quiet wallflower that she first seems, but rather a beautiful rose just waiting for its chance to bloom. After spending more and more time together, it’s not long before their feelings for each other begin to blossom.

However, when Jonathan starts investigating Penelope’s past, in order to present her with the truth about her biological parents, his grand Valentines gesture threatens to destroy any hope of a future with the woman he has grown to love.

Penelope begins to doubt Jonathan’s motives.

Is he only concerned with placating his domineering father and convincing him that she is worthy of the Brodie name?

Despite his good intentions, will Jonathan’s Valentine Secret ruin everything?

Or are two people from opposite ends of society simply destined to remain poles apart forever?

A Valentine Secret is a charming regency romance novella about never giving up on true love. ​

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1523659098

Also by this author: A Christmas Surprise

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Short Story or Novella


Published by Self Published Author

on 21st January, 2016

Format: epub | PDF editon

Pages: 112

Self-Published Author

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #HistRom, #HistoricalRomance + book tag: #AValentineSecret

#Regency or #IndieAuthor + #ValentineRomance

About Emily Murdoch

Emily Murdoch

Emily Murdoch is a medieval historian and writer. She has authored a medieval series and a regency novella series, and is currently working on several new projects. To stay updated on her writing and upcoming books, follow her blog and on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram.

my review of a valentine surprise:

Jonathan has lived inside his small towne of Maplebridge the full of his life – to such a degree – whenever he is about towne, he has the knack for running into people he’s known for quite a long while. It’s the type of towne which knows it’s neighbours and of whom looks out for the other – however, similar to most small townes during the Regency era it is also not without it’s faults – especially in regards to class, station and the differences in wealth; as reflected through Jonathan’s own father – a man who has a dis-contempt for anyone who tries to rise above their own particular station in life. This fever of intensity is best revealled when Jonathan asks Ms Dryden over for dinner – the ire of his father is on display in high form, making a fool (nearly!) out of Jonathan, who had wished to impress the young woman. You could tell Jonathan wanted to court Ms Dryden, but the rules of society are quite strict during this time period. It’s the age of chaperons, meet and greets with the parents and an ordered sequence of visitations between parties.

Whilst the folly of Jonathan’s romance is playing out – he takes notice of a new trend turning into a bit of a fad – celebrating ‘St. Valentine’s Day’ – with flowers or cards or even a combination of the two which are growing in high demand. An observation he made in front of Ms Dryden, as she’s the adoptive daughter of the local florist. Herein is where we start to see topical current events threading through Murdoch’s narrative – as she pulls together subjects of interest for any reader of any generation. Adoption is still unacceptable in most families and is not as keenly thought of in others – personally, I’m a Prospective Adoptive Mum (one who will be adopting out of foster care in the future), therefore I am a bit bias on the side of adoption, but I can understand the opposite side – only on the level there are low intolerances in this life for different lifestyles, including how children enter your lives. Adoption is such a beautiful gift to the children and the adoptive families – I daresay, I will never quite understand why adoption itself is such a hard topic to broach in most circles. Especially when the conversation turns to ‘natural bourne’ vs ‘adopted children’. There never should be a dividing line between the two: children are children; and if your the Mum or Da raising them, they are simply your children without any additional ‘label’ to attach to them.

Ms Dryden is far more open to Valentine’s Day than Jonathan – I think he perceives it as a superficial holiday (such as many of his contemporaries today) without the weight or mirth of sincerity.  I have always appreciated the holiday on a personal level for celebrating friendship and romance in equal measure. I realise most do not acknowledge the holiday at all, but I feel they are losing out on a holiday which seeks to highlight our connections and our strength of presence in each of our lives. You can always pull back the superficial layers of a major holiday and pull together the heart of it’s core of purpose; no one has to allow commericalism to rule their life in other words.

Intermixed into the background, you draw out a connection between Jonathan and Lady Audrey from ‘A Christmas Surprise’ as there is a familial connection between the two novellas. More to the point though – is how Jonathan has difficulty in letting ‘go’ of the idea Ms Dryden (ie. Penelope) isn’t as keenly interested in finding her biological family inasmuch as he is himself. He comes from a world where titles and heirs and lineage are quite well played into the future – where alliances and distribution of wealth are well curated. Hers is a world where humble origins are not overlooked nor criticised to where she can appreciate the joy she had in being raised in an adoptive home without the knowledge of where she came from originally. To her, her parents are the ones who not only adopted her, but took her in, raised her and encouraged her mind to seek out it’s curiosities in philosophy, forward thought and scholarly subjects of interest.

This is truly how she was able to smitten the interest of Jonathan – her intellectual mind. They share a conjoined passion for scholarly pursuits – she only feels slightly inferior due to his schooling, but she holds her own quite well.  They find this shared interest whilst discussing the ‘language of flowers’ for which Jonathan is a bit lost on understanding properly, as he likes flowers for their smell, presentation or colouring – without going so far as to contemplate their duality of purpose through an unspoken language of ‘meaning’. Penelope on the other hand is wicked fascinated by it all – and I like her, agree – there is something altogether charming how you can send a ‘poem of love’ or a ‘message of warning’ simply by how you arrange flowers and give them to someone who can understand the ‘note’ you’ve sent. This was best played out in the BBC series ‘Rosemary & Thyme’ which devouted an entire episode to this concept – an episode I felt was very well constructed and executed.

Part of the appeal of reading this novellas, is how Murdoch’s personal style is a homage to the writers you will recognise of having inspired her – including Jane Austen. She has found a clever niche of crafting stories set in the historical past which are relevant to today’s audience whilst providing a layered foundation to their character’s lives. This is definitely reflected in how ‘voting rights’ and the rights of women are discussed as well. A very poignant centre of discussion whilst giving a background on how different the rights of today differed from the rights of the Regency. And, similar to today – there are two sides to every coin in how perception of rights and the right for equality can be interpreted. There is even a portion of the story showing how Jonathan is a bit taken aback by how progressively forward Penelope is in her manner of thinking – of keeping up with the shifting times and the race towards a future where equality will be given to all and not the limited few. In turn, you can see where Jonathan might conceive of her short-comings – as the towne is outside the major cities, but just because it’s small in population or density of miles doesn’t mean it is without it’s methods of being inclusive to world events.

The more decisively Jonathan pursues the origin story of Penelope, the more you have to wonder what is more important to him in the end? Understanding who conceived Penelope or finding a validation in wanting to ask for her hand? What is more critically important? To prove his father’s right in regards to differences in class or to prove to himself class, station and wealth are not as important to him as they are to his father!? Part of me felt he should have been more open to Penelope – his pursuit is so very underhanded – in how he approached it and how he chose to execute the search. It’s one thing help someone research their ancestral past – all of us who are amateur ancestral sleuths in our families can relate to this – but to attempt to seek information which was not wanted in the first place? It lent you to question if Penelope knew more than she originally let on and if there were certain things she wished were kept in the past. Part of me thought about Castle’s surge of irresponsibility in seeking out Beckett’s past – and if the same vulnerable ending might befall Jonathan.

Murdoch has a talent for crafting a well-rounded and well-conceived story through the short narrative scope of a novella. I can see why she prefers to write in this challenging medium of story-craft because you have find ways to knit out so much out such a small space. I feel she excells in this medium of choice and I am thankful I have had the pleasure of being introduced to her writerly style twice in such a short period of time.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This blog tour is courtesy of: Writerly Yours PR

A Valentine Secret blog tour badge provided by Writerly Yours PR

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

 {SOURCES: Cover art of “A Valentine Secret”, book synopsis, author photograph of Emily Murdoch, author biography and the blog tour banner were all provided by Writerly Yours PR and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. #WYReadathon badge provided by Priya of Writerly Yours and is used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2017.

Discussion Questions for ‘A Valentine Secret’

Readers, visitors & blog tour contributors are all welcome to respond. Either in the comment threads below or by directly clicking over to Twitter, whilst responding directly to the individual tweets whilst using the discussion tag: #AValentineSecret. Due note: the first five Qs were unnumbered by accident and properly numbered starting with Q No.6.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 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 Tuesday, 14 February, 2017 by jorielov in Adoption, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Historical Romance, Singletons & Commitment, the Regency era, Village Life, Women's Fiction, Writerly Yours PR




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