#ChocLitSaturdays | Book Review “To Turn Full Circle” (Book No. 1 of Emma series) by Linda Mitchelmore

Posted Saturday, 25 February, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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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!

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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 “To Turn Full Circle” 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.

Why Jorie wanted to read this series:

I’ve been wanting to read more serial ChocLit – as ChocLit has such a lot of lovely series to dig inside where you can travel through time slipped worlds, tuck into the historical past or feel a heart grab for Rom Suspense where their authors give you a thrilling ride of the unknown! I love reading series because it allows me to spend more time with certain characters and gives me such a lovely insight into an author’s particular style for crafting a long arch of narrative together. Series also are expansive and happily devoured for how the story doesn’t have to end in one installment nor does it always have to resolve on an up note if there is a cliffhanger between volumes.

I’ve had the joy of soaking inside ChocLit serial fiction for the past year, even though I have sought out their series since I first started reviewing for them. The series which I have focused on previously are as follows: Little Spitmarsh (see thread); Shadows of the Past (see thread); Rossetti Mysteries (see thread); Charton Minster (see thread); Immortals of London (see thread); London & Cambridge Mysteries (see thread); Pirates of Ile Sainte Anne (see thread); Coorah Creek (see thread); Kumashiro (see thread); Middledip (see thread) and Stitch in Time (see thread).

The Emma series felt like a good fit for me as it takes place in the early 20th Century – where one girl’s life is upturnt when her mother and brother die prematurely, casting her life into the unknown. I love the historical past, as it’s one of my favourite methods of telling a story: to pull out the historical context and constructs to enliven a hidden glimpse of the past or to tell a story which simply could not be explored outside a historical lens. Historicals are wicked brilliant for creating a periscope into how we once lived and of the things we have learnt from as a society. We all share a common knowledge of the past but it’s how the people who lived before us can re-inspire Historical Fiction to entreat us into corners of history we might not yet have traversed. For these reasons, I tend to lean towards reading ‘historicals’ more than’ contemporaies’ except of course when there is a time slip or time shift involved, where both the past and present are dearly important and co-dependent upon each other!

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

 #ChocLitSaturdays | Book Review “To Turn Full Circle” (Book No. 1 of Emma series) by Linda MitchelmoreTo Turn Full Circle
by Linda Mitchelmore
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Life in Devon in 1909 is hard and unforgiving especially for young Emma Le Goff, whose mother and brother die in curious circumstances leaving her totally alone in the world. And while she begins to recover from her grief, her callous landlord Reuben Jago claims her home and her belongings.

His son Seth, is deeply attracted to Emma and sympathises with her desperate need to find out what really happened. He’s ashamed of his family but can do very little to help without incurring the wrath of his father.

For her part, Emma’s long held a torch for the handsome Seth. But how can she be with him now that his father has behaved so despicably?

When mysterious fisherman, Matthew Caunter comes to Emma’s rescue. Seth is furious and insanely jealous. He seeks solace with another woman and is determined to forget Emma. However, it’s not as easy as he’d hoped.

While Emma is drawn to the charismatic Matthew, he makes it clear he is only passing through. With his help she starts to rebuild her life but regardless of the turns it takes there is always something missing.

Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781906931728

Also by this author: Grand Designs, Emma

Also in this series: Emma

Published by ChocLitUK

on 13 March, 2013

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 352

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, Large Print & E-Book

Converse via: #HistRom + #ChocLit

About Linda Mitchelmore

Linda Mitchelmore

Linda has had over two hundred short stories published worldwide. She has also won many short story writing competitions – Woman’s Own, Woman & Home and Writespace to name but three. In 2004, Linda was awarded The Katie Fforde Bursary by the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and has a story in their 50th Anniversary Anthology. Linda also won Short Story Radio Romance Prize 2010. Having started her writing career doing a short story course with Writing Magazine, she has now come full circle and is a preliminary judge for their short story competitions. Linda lives in Devon and is married with two grown-up children.

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

Finding one’s way in the world without family:

What is most paramount to this story is the courage of the young lass whose the lead character: Emma Le Goff; tragedy threefold eclipsed her young life by the grave loss of her parents and younger brother, leading her into financial ruin. A cruel-hearted landlord disposed of her belongings whilst she was taken ill and the earth tilt off it’s axis a bit before she could find her sea legs again. She had to find her way in the world without family, her beloved home and any sense of security or welfare; sorting out how to knit together a life not only worth living but of personal value in finding ways to contribute to society without the fear of turning to immoral pursuits to stay alive.

Finding two men who are taking an active interest in her well-being was quite a unique situation to be found inside – as Emma is so very young in this opening story about her life (not quite sixteen). Both Seth and Matthew only want the best for her but time will tell which of them has the right response to her situation. What I appreciated the most about how Mitchelmore crafted this story is how she hugged the dramatic turning tides of Emma’s new reality so close to the bone of enlightenment! She hugs you into the emotional landscape of grief, the desolation of feeling isolated and alone and the curiously charming way in which at times when you feel nothing could turn for the better, grace alights on your path. It’s a truly enjoyable reading from that perspective; as you inch forward alongside Emma, you simply do not know what each new day in Emma’s shoes will yield.

My Review of to turn full circle:

You can feel the pressure of needing to be ‘better’ than you are as we alight into Emma’s life; a girl recently deathly ill and full of the grief of having recently lost her family. Her Mum and brother both gone together and the condition of her countenance at the funeral apparently cast an ill pallor over her constitution to where she needed to be taken in by someone kind and understanding. These attributes were found in the doctor himself but I am unsure if Mrs Phipps was strictly courteous or rather, a woman of faith who felt it was her Christian duty to take in the sick and infirmed. You gather the sense Emma is meant to ‘whip back into order’ same as she had been prior to the recent tragedies and immediately take up from whence she left off in her life. At least, this is the supposition you can read through how Mrs Phipps is treating her upon first seeing her out of her rooms since she first fell ill. It’s not the kind of household you wish to stay longer than you’re welcome nor soon after you’ve recovered your health!

Emma was beyond aghast by what she found at her family’s cottage – the entire place gutted and sold off in order to right the debts of missed rents. The owner’s son Seth was there painting the outside but was not far enough to escape the ire of Emma’s reaction having learnt from him she wasn’t merely orphaned in the world but destitute as well. Her father had been a proud fisherman prior to his tragic death at sea and sadly, it was by sea and wave which took her Mum and brother, too. The tragic arc of her young life over the premature deaths of her family is almost too much to bear on her shoulders, except you have to admit, she had a certain moxie of hope boiling inside her blood. She was getting a lot of flak from Seth straight after Mrs Phipps felt like giving her just deserts, too. The world here was unforgiving and Emma was not yet strong enough to brave it’s darker underside but she still found a way to keep her chin up and rally.

Part of this is due to how she was raised – her parents gave her a foundation of strength and of belief in righting one’s sails even in the shadows of doubt. She even had the foresight to return to the cottage she previously lived under the cover of darkness to seek out shelter and to stall for time to contemplate her next move. Herein she found a kind soul in Matthew – the man who would replace her father on the boats and who was the new tenant of her family home. He saw in her a portion of herself she had not quite learnt to embrace; finding her attributes a bit hidden under her teenage persona and a hope for whom she might grow to be as a maturing woman. Emma in turn saw unexpected shelter in a storm; not that she knew of this when she arrived; it was a secret kept til dawn, which was quite the charmingly sweet twist to find in the story! I liked how Mitchelmore didn’t reveal everything ahead of Emma discovering what had transpired herself. In some ways it kept the narrative to feel as if it were being lived first-hand rather than from an outside perspective looking inward.

I must admit – when a young girl is found dead, I was quite gobsmacked as I hadn’t realised there would be a measure of suspense inside this drama. However it was the kind of surprise you appreciate because it harkens to how not all is well in times of peril; even your surroundings can hold dark secrets kept out of view whilst your life is unravelling. The curious bit is how Emma is the one who makes the discovery and how the doctor who took a kind eye on looking out for her affairs, is seemingly one of the few who recognises her as a member of the community rather than a new ‘outcast’ to be shunned.

Mrs Drew is one of those characters you want to hug outright for her spirit of unity and neighbourly intuition about how to be the best ray of light for someone down on their luck! She is good council to Emma; nudging her with the warmth of unconditional love and nourishment, right when she needs it most. Mrs Drew knew how to balm Emma’s spirits even before the young girl realised she ached for a shoulder to lean on. Seth wanted to do right by Emma, but he was still under his father’s thumb; bullied by his brothers and not quite the man to rise above them all and make his own way or voice his own mind irregardless of the change of fates that would bring to him. Mrs Drew is a hard worker with a no nonsense sensibility about her and a person who knows just how to ‘tweak’ the unspoken rules of the land (so to speak) to effectively change things she sees fit to turn back round to the good.

Emma has just the right dose of moxie to see her through any obstacle and the right frame of mind to know when to accept someone’s offer to help her gain a leg up in life. As she settled into the role of ‘housekeeper’ for Matthew, she started to notice her friendship was slipping with Seth. The fool of the matter is how Seth believed the lies of his father even in full view of knowing his father’s character was not without it’s untoward notions of rot against his neighbours! The irony though is that both Emma and Seth had quite a bit in common: especially in regards to how their Mums both died prematurely and under circumstances which could have been easily hid from the law. Emma was a good cook and a hard worker once she put her mind to realising not all moments last and sometimes you had to put in a bit of grunt work to let out a new tomorrow of possibility.

The clever thing about dramatic suspense novels is how well the writer tunes in the reader to where the arc of the narrative will let out the truth of what is slightly veiled from view! In this vein, Ms Mitchelmore has done a champion job of keeping a thread of suspense tightly spun against the backdrop of Emma finding her wings to stand on her own merits. Situations keep alighting on her path which take out a lot of energy and inflict a bit of a worry about how ‘trouble follows her’ be as it were but then, true to her nature, Emma finds a way forward. Mind you, it’s never quite as she plans nor as she hopes but almost always better than she could dream! I loved the setting, too. The harbour village where the men go to sea to earn their keep and the hotels entertain the tourists seeking time spent out of cities for some seaside relaxation? It’s just the right balance of romance bubbling to the surface to cause suspicious neighbours to gossip and the fodder of foolish side-cuts in commerce to percolate into a well-thought out drama.

Yet there is so much more to Emma and this series, too. Emma never had the proper chance to mature into her sixteenth year with the tutelage of her Mum intact and had to rely more on her wits and her will to overcome her adverse circumstances. Questions about her purpose in life and of how to earn a living wage were evenly discussed but it’s also a tale of caution in how gossip can mill into a vortex of it’s own sin; for the fools who cast stones without the facts to support their tales will find themselves soon deaf on a feast of lies. Emma had to become stronger in all of this – questioning as she did her own will to carry on and to find the little joys which make life a bit sweeter to live as she pulled the pieces of her life back together. I loved how she had to trust her instincts; seeking shelter and comfort from unexpected friendships (ie. Seth and Matthew) whilst trying to overcome her insecurities by trusting her intuition.

On the historical writing style of linda mitchelmore:

There is this one particular phrase Ms Mitchelmore used ‘thorn in the flesh’ which eluded to the timescape of the novel but also to the quirky differences between how phrases of speech from the UK and the Americas have become a bit unaligned with each other, too! We always say ‘thorn in one’s side’ or something other, but this version of the expression is quite more poignant I think and quite a bit more potent, too! I liked how she tucked herself into this historical setting – the atmosphere of sea life cast against a small village, with the assurances of how village gossip and the proclamations of how supposition and truth do not walk hand in hand. There are small nuances of this village being rooted in a tradition of a livelihood which owes no one anything once death occurs which was quite crucial to effectively root us to Emma’s cause and dire circumstances. Mitchelmore has written a well-thought out first installment of a series you can genuinely note will overtake your emotional heart the further you follow Emma’s footsteps.

Ms Mitchelmore has written a well-crafted historical suspense romance – where happily you do not always recognise what is happening before the full scope of the scenes are rounded out! You get to take the journey with her characters – the fullness of their emotional angst (as both Emma and Seth have experienced incredible loss) whilst hoping the story would own to the championing spirit of it’s title: to turn full circle and find a way to re-set the stars on the fates of these dearly loved characters! The interesting bit too is that there are different shades of personalities peppering through the story-line; not everyone has a black and white character profile either  – where you can trust whom you’ve met or what you’ve known about their character’s honour. It’s one of those stories which simply needs to unfold before you, telling it’s tale as only it can and being in full benefit of the time you’ve spent tucked inside it’s covers.

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

What I hope for the series:

I was so happily caught up in the tides of this novel; of how it’s told and of how it explored so many different layers of sociological behaviour. You have a lot of joy greeting you in this novel – the setting is lush and happily resplendent of living against the salt of the sea whilst the characters are fully alive and fleshed out to walk straight off the inked pages. You feel the emotional depths of Emma’s pain and the well of uncertainty rising inside Seth intermixed with the duties Matthew is entrusted to hide from public view. It’s a dramatic suspense – full of heart and the choices everyone must make to live a life of honour or deceit.

I simply hope as I progress through the series, I shall be greeted by more of what I found inside ‘To Turn Full Circle’ where the hope of tomorrow lingers on the unspoken prayers of today. Where people can find ways to turn their life around even if their circumstances become shattered overnight and where second chances are not too hard fought to be acquired. I look forward to seeing where Ms Mitchelmore takes the Emma series and of seeing how Emma continues to mature into her skin to be the Emma we all can see in the teenage version of herself. This was such a lovely novel to devour because it’s of a tender romance and of a crossroads of one young woman’s life which will determine the rest of her days.

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!

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My first ChocLit readings of the New Year:

Reading ChocLit is a cuppa comfort & joy. You get to ‘return home’ to the stories penned in the beauty of the Romantic genres you love to devour with characters who inspire you & give you such a lift of joy to meet.

To Turn Full Circle | No. 1 of the Emma series | by Linda Mitchelmore

– as my ‘Saturday’ was spent giving joy to someone who did not expect to receive a welcoming visit from people he knew, I wasn’t able to properly finish this lovely novel until Wednesday. Ergo, I decided to back-date this to ‘Saturday’ as that was the original day I had intended to curl inside this novel to coincide with our second #ChocLitSaturday chat of the New Year. I’ve been in a bit of a rut reading wise and ChocLit novels have a way of pulling me back inside the joy of reading which is why I pulled this off my shelf and happily devoured it!

 The Girl in the Painting | No. 2 of the Rossetti Mysteries | by Kirsty Ferry

The Penny Bangle | No. 3 of the Charton Minster series | by Margaret James

The Gilded Fan | No. 2 of the Kumashiro series | by Christina Courtenay

The Jade Lioness | No. 3 of the Kumashiro series | by Christina Courtenay

*Part of my focus on serial ChocLit Fiction!*

What shall Jorie pick next to read?! Hmm.

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

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!

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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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

{SOURCES: Author photograph of Linda Mitchelmore, Cover Art for “To Turn Full Circle”, Author Biography, Book Synopsis and ChocLit Reviewer badge were provided by ChocLitUK and were used by permission.  Quote from “To Turn Full Circle” selected by Jorie and is used with permission of the publisher ChocLitUK. 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. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: ChocLitSaturdays Banner (Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo)  and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2017.

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

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 Saturday, 25 February, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bootleggers & Smugglers, Britian, British Literature, Brothers and Sisters, Chefs and Sous Chefs, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Cookery, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Domestic Violence, England, Green-Minded Publishers, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Siblings, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne Fiction, Suspense, the Nineteen Hundreds

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