Blog Book Tour | “The Darkest Summer” by Rebecca J. Greenwood

Posted Wednesday, 22 November, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I have been a blog tour hostess with Cedar Fort for the past three years, wherein I took a brief hiatus from hosting before resuming August 2016. I appreciate the diversity of the stories the Indie publisher is publishing per year, not only for fiction and non-fiction but for healthy eats within their Front Table Books (cookbooks). I appreciate their dedication to writing general market, INSPY reads and LDS focused stories across the genres they publish.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Darkest Summer” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I wanted to read this re-telling:

I’ve come to love the lovely niche of literary re-tellings – over the past four years, I’ve found quite a lovely array of re-inspired tales to where I must say, it is with apt curiosity I continue to seek them out! Each writer I come across has a different approach and of course, as they are each re-telling a different niche of literature – the stories themselves tend to be wholly unique and individually well-conceived for giving us new insight into a story we might already feel we understand. In this, what moved my interest to read ‘The Darkest Summer’ is how it was approaching Greek Mythos from a different port of entrance: from the story of Hades and Persephone.

I, readily admit, I am not well-versed in Greek Mythos, but I do try to seek out a new vision of the Greeks legacies whenever I can, if only to draw a step closer to understanding the Gods & Goddesses as well as the origin of the stories the Greeks left behind for us to contemplate. I have oft found the Greeks to be dearly confusing to understand – but there are some enroads being taken to bridge the gap between what I find muddling about the Greek Mythos and what I find intriguing.

Hence, why as soon as I read the premise behind this novel, I sensed I might have found not only a compelling story set in the Regency, an era I already have a passion for reading – but perhaps, in a small way, might start to understand some of the connections which were inspired by the Greeks themselves. I wasn’t sure on that score – as I wasn’t sure if this was a direct re-telling – where you can see the parallels between the two narrative arcs (ie. within the relationships themselves or in the descriptive bits of the characters) or if, the novel was more nuanced and you had to have more than a cursory knowledge of ‘who’ these lovelies were in Greek Mythos to be able to fully understand the route in which Ms Greenwood took to tell her tale. Either way, I knew I was going to appreciate re-visiting her writings as I knew she’d make a wicked good novelist ever since I first crossed paths with her whilst she was writing Non-Fiction.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Darkest Summer” by Rebecca J. GreenwoodThe Darkest Summer
Subtitle: Pure Romance

In this riveting retelling of the classic myth of Hades and Persephone, Lady Cora Winfield is captivated when she first meets Adam Douglas, Duke of Blackdale. Despite their attraction, Cora’s mother refuses to allow the duke to marry her. Taking matters into his own hands, the duke abducts his bride-to-be, and Cora is swept into the adventure of her lifetime. Amidst danger and thrilling uncertainty, Cora must face the reality that she is falling in love with her captor.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

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ISBN: 9781462120949

on 14th November, 2017

Pages: 294

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

A Novella & Novel entwined:

The Darkest Hour by Rebecca J. GreenwoodThe Darkest Summer by Rebecca J. Greenwood

When dutiful Lady Hester Douglas, over thirty and long on the shelf, receives word that her brother Adam, the Duke of Blackdale, has survived the Battle of Waterloo, she abandons propriety and heads to Brussels to be by his side. Her widowed minister, Mr. Alasdair Gilchrist, escorts her on the journey from Scotland into a Europe recovering from years of war.

Once she reaches her injured brother, Hester must fight to keep Adam alive and tightly guard her heart’s deepest secret—she’s been in love with Mr. Gilchrist for years.

Will the pain of being with the minister, the man she loves and can never have, distract her from her purpose? Or will she overcome the barriers of age, rank, and station, and seize the love she’s dreamt of?

The Darkest Hour is a standalone inspirational Regency romance novella, and is also a prequel to The Darkest Summer.

Converse via: #Regency + #Romance, #GreekMyths + #Retelling as well as #Persephone

About Rebecca J. Greenwood

Rebecca J. Greenwood

Rebecca J. Greenwood studied visual art with a music minor at Brigham Young University. She is a multimedia artist, illustrator, comic creator, and designer with a love of stories. She has worked in publishing for the last six years. Rebecca lives in Utah with her husband, where she listens to audiobooks, cooks experimentally, has an interest in alternative health, and constantly has a new project in mind.

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My review of the darkest summer:

Cora is a delightful character – mostly because she feigns indifference towards her own kind; she’s a girl with an independent mind on her shoulders, one which does well to dwell on horticultural processes and conditions. Even the cheeky way in which Adam first stumbles onto Cora, digging into mud trying to save the plants who’ve had more water than their young lives can yield healthy – you gather, these two are unlike their peers in more than one way! Cora has the typical Mum attempting to control her actions whilst raising her to be a member of proper society; nay, one of them ever dare consider getting their hands wet and full of mud? You can tell how much Cora despises her station – if the bearing of her inheritance were to forestall living her life as she felt she ought to engage inside it and withdraw from the occupations of her time she enjoys most – what then, would life yield for young Cora but misery?

As we peer into Adam’s life, we find a gentleman whose stance on equality is refreshing – as he has in his employ a unique situation – where one of his cousins entered the world a bit differently than others, but of whom, he had great respect and took to watching out on her behalf. Her mother was his Nurse and despite how her parentage reads, Adam truly cared after Kate as he could not stand prejudice against others anymore than I can myself. He was a gentleman ahead of his years, placing her welfare and security as top priorities to ensure her safety at all times. This was something which did not oft happen during the Regency (or most of the historic time-lines of the past) as too oft, those who employed certain persons did not see them as the freed people they were; thereby, I did rather feel charmed by Adam, if only to be pleasantly surprised by how different he was from his peers. In this, both Cora and Adam had an immediate likeness to each other as they both refused to take-on society’s views and opinions.

In Cora’s case, you truly felt for her sensitivity towards plants – even as we were finding her mother’s heart was not as giving as Cora’s; no, she was of the mindset children minded their parents, were not of independent thinking and for girls’ especially did not get into anything which would prove to undo how they were groomed to be marriageable. My heart broke for Cora realising her Mum had spited her for caring over the flowers in the park to lock her out of her own gardening room back home – the harshness was not lost on me nor on Cora!

Aside from controlling her daughter’s interests, Cora’s Mum had instilled such a height of oppression in her daughter – of where she never felt she was free to think or feel for her own without countering what she thought or felt against what her mother would allow – set the stage for Cora to feel tangled and twisted inside her own skin. Even when she was meeting someone for the first time, there were pieces of herself which were not entirely free to choose how she felt about anything she was experiencing – yet, part of her was also mindful of how quickly she rose to embrace fear, doubt and uncertainty. She doesn’t get the best ‘impression’ of Adam when they meet for the second time – it’s during the Season, of when everyone is hoping to snag a proffered hand and find their lifetime match. For Cora, it’s nearing the end of the second such season where she has felt as if she is half torn between obligation and her mother’s controlled actions on her behalf. It’s not a time in her life where she feels she can breathe her own hours and find solace within them.

It is here – where I felt part of the story arched into memories of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ – of how (Christine) was uncertain about following the Phantom; of trusting her heart over her mind and of not letting ‘go’ to what she thought was predestined. Right as Cora is meeting Adam, Greenwood knitted into the exchange a bode of forewarning – of what could be sensed rather than known; of what is felt is trusted more than what is rational – as Cora knew quite by instinct Adam, might not be the best person for her to be round for how he affects her when he’s present.

Yet, Adam has a way of surprising you – part of me had to table the ‘origins’ of this being in Greek Myth, notwithstanding the fact the only origins I knew myself were what I had hastily gleamed off Wikipedia prior to receiving the novel to read – as my curiosities about the two would not abate until I learnt something of their natures – the key reason I ‘let go’ of the origins of this tale is because of how compelling Adam and Cora make the story feel themselves. There is something about them – something which stirs deeply within their own countenances to make you believe, they, too, are uncertain of how their fates are meant to interweave together – only, that they ought too? They are still developing a keen awareness of how they affect each other – even at this early stage of their knowledge of one another.

When Cora was tricked into having her honour shattered, there was Adam at the ready to shield and protect her from those who only wished her harm. Theirs was a conniving and misguided attempt to corner Cora into a marriage she would never accept but in their misguidance they mistook one crucial part of her character: Cora was a caretaker of plants and as such, she would never forsake the life of one just to curb her honour from being scandalised! It was here, we were privy to seeing Cora in action – of how greenery, earth and the toils of a horticulturist were innate passions of hers and how she could literally save a plant from certain doom due to her efforts to better understand their needs. It was here, I think, Adam had a newfound respect for Cora – of understanding the girl he observed in the gardens of Hyde Park all the more and of course, deepened his need to desire after her for his wife.

Cora’s Mum is one of the worst mothers I’ve come across in the Regency – she honestly felt justified by vilifying Adam’s character against the acts of his father, brother and grandfather – as if those actions, as horrid as they were could someone be vindictive of Adam’s own future and actions; it was unjustified and horrid! I truly concurred with Cora about how wrecking this tirade of her mother’s was on Adam but if you looked at it a different way, you can see how Cora’s Mum missed something quite crucial: she forgot to ‘listen’ to what Adam was saying in his defence! He was actually trying to prove the differences – of how despite the hurdles of the past, the ill-wonted history of his family – he was making positive changes to his lands and to the legacy he never desired of his lineage due to the blighted shadows which were acting as shrouds against his present. It was the worst she could have inflicted on him – to re-hash his past as if it by itself was the sole reason her daughter Cora should not even consider him for courting. The very idea was absurd and yet, in her eyes, rational!

I did understand how she wanted to protect her daughter – of wanting the best for her – but in so doing, I felt she was distancing herself from Cora instead. It is one thing to want to protect your child, it’s another to shuttle all their attempts at making their own mind and heart about the world. They must learn to stand on their feet and make their own choices in regards to a person’s character and the honesty they may or may not be sharing on their behalf. Also, more to the point – his actions are the only ones which should have mattered; especially considering, save one brother, the rest of his family is dead. I felt truly sorry for Adam in this ray of light – of how he was being slighted not because of who he is personally but because of who he is in name and familial line.

Of course, the actions Adam took after feeling the flames of rejection by Cora’s mother are abominable but in his eyes, understandable as he has a dangerously impulsive nature! How Ms Greenwood knitted this act to the acts of his family in the past (ie. of owning slaves and being involved in the slave trade) was quite cleverly spun! In fact, it made perfect sense – of how the past can come back to haunt the present if the people do not learn the lessons of what the past can afford to give them! Cora in this instance was not in her right mind, nor would anyone be in her situations – but the heroine of the hour is Kate! The daughter of Adam’s Nurse (who helped raise him) and whose ancestry leads back to the slaves of whom his family owned and traded; it is Kate whose rational mind put him to rights over his choices now. Kate is the one who first voiced an opinion against what was happening to Cora – knowing full well, in this one moment of haste, she no longer understood Adam. For he was acting in ways which Kate could not condone much less understand!

For me, it was this act of haste which set the stage for the entire romance to blossom and bloom – as it allowed everyone to have the ‘locked room’ effect on their natures! Within the confines of a carriage – travelling at break-neck speed to make distance between England and the Highlands of Scotland (where Adam hails from originally; it is quite a delish tale from this angle, of having his Scottish brute come out here and there as needed!) – sets a pacing for how untoward the adventure shall become for all the occupants of the carriage itself! It is here, Ms Greenwood excelled in not only lengthening out the dialogue and back-histories of her characters, per what you would hope to expect by a long journey Northbound in rough-going weather (it rained worse than a monsoon!); she allowed her characters to ‘grow’ within themselves and outward towards each other.

In this particular instance, the most growth was sheltered from Cora due to her overbearing Mum and the naivete she had endured by being secluded from living her own experiences. Here, out from under her Mum’s thumb, she is starting to recognise what she feels is right for herself taking into consideration the mindfulness of others (ie. Kate) whilst owning her own heart, mind and thoughts at the same time. We see Cora emerge out of her cocooned state and welcomed into the new breath of life she was meant to undertake all along – firmly confident in her skin, in honouring her heart and of listening to what internally she knew to be true all along – about herself and those she kept in close confidence (ie. Kate and Adam).

The ending befits the whole story – but it’s the journey leading up to the ending which was the most delish to read, I felt because it was such a wonderful tale illuminating the free will of those who felt trapped within the confines of ritual and society etiquette; especially when such people felt they were never meant to be entrapped by society’s rules nor to engage in a life of rote duties which would destroy their innate passions (such as Cora’s horticulturist nature). I honestly could not put this down – it was one of my beloved ‘unputdownable’ reads of 2017 – as I was taken by how Ms Greenwood wrote this novel, I can only hope this is one entry out of many she will be making as a Historical novelist!

As an aside, in regards to the novella – had there been a version in print, I would have dearly loved to have read it – throughout the course of the novel, you recognise the story-line, as Hester comes to light within the timeline and parts of her story are hinted about to Cora and other characters – as hers was a romance which would have set society lips aflame by how she too, broke tradition and went her own way! I would have marvelled at watching how it all unfolded – however, just knowing there is an extension of this story out there for readers who can move between electronic stories and print, is a happy thought – I cannot, due to my chronic migraines but for those of you who can, I daresay, you should read the prequel first! I think you’ll regret it if you don’t – as I can see how well bookended these tales are by having read the novel first!

On the historical writing styling of Ms Greenwood:

I hadn’t known this was a Nanowrimo novel when I first requested it – a fact I had only learnt when I read the Acknowledgements ahead of reading the novel itself. I had to smile – for whichever reason, I seem to find more Nano writers than I seek out, as I do suppose we’re all united together on some level, as most writers have become smitten by Nano at some point in their writerly lives. I, too, participated back in ‘08 and shared an essay about my adventures therein. The season of my own publishing endeavours has not yet arrived – for now, I am cheering on those whose stories are alighting on my path to read. What was interesting though – is how during Nano, this novel lacked it’s middle – I found that most interesting of all, as each writer approaches how they write a bit differently. I suppose I found it interesting, as apparently the first half and the last half were written but it’s what came ‘betwixt and between’ which was left absent – I found it curious, because sometimes I find the same to be true of myself – I know how I want to start a story, how I hope it will resolve but how to bridge the gap between the two and given a believable confluence of events? Yes, that’s the heady bits all writers face – of sorting out the order of things and the ways in which we can deliver a fully conceptionalised story.

Being I first was introduced to Ms Greenwood’s writings through her artwork and the back-stories of the women of the Bible, I must say, I was rather curious to find how she would approach the Regency through this Greek Mythos re-telling! I knew she might hold my attention so wholly true to her subject because of the dedication I knew of from her Non-Fiction release. She pulls you into her writings by how she draws out the emotional connection quite early-on – thereby, as soon as I met young Cora, I had a feeling I’d be dearly invested straight-off in knowing what became of her!

I truly adore reading stories of the Regency – Ms Greenwood has added a new story to my lovely stack of Regencies I can honestly say have become my favourites over the years. It’s how she’s conceived of this vision for the story – of re-aligning the principle characters and re-affirming their roles interlinked to each other throughout the ‘Hades & Persephone’ saga which has made it such an enjoyable read! She included everything I love about Regency stories – the ton (and all their pretenses), the London Season (in all it’s glory!) and the interplay’s between those who are free to live independent of society and those who are more chaste and guarded.

There are so many lovely layers to this story as well – from how Cora goes from being groomed by her mother and let out on a short leash of freedom to where she’s found new freedom in being on the open highway travelling to parts unknown. There is a thrilling sense of danger too lurking out in the corners of the novel, where this took on the elements of a Historical Romantic Suspense or Thriller – there are just enough dramatic entries of adventure to hold you inside the narrative but it’s how the characters are set in motion – to both breathe their own lives into the foreground but also, retreat and find remorse as well. Even the back-story on Adam is layered – as he’s suffering from PTSD and has issues with re-emerging back into civilised society after having fought so hard during the war – he’s plagued by both his past as a soldier and his family’s past of being a disservice to society in general.

I am definitely wicked excited about what is coming next by Ms Greenwood! She’s definitely a Historical author to keep your eyes peeled for new releases if you like tucking into stories which are equally dramatic as they are heart-warming and tender in how they are resolved. She has strong heroines and heroes within her tales – but similar to Ms Austen, she doesn’t interweave a plot you can easily see working out in the end – she makes her characters work for their happiness – of giving them ample time to grow and to reconsider themselves. You definitely will want to take the journey with them and with Ms Greenwood – as she endevaours to craft new stories which we will find an equal attachment inside to read!

Equality in Lit:

Cousin Kate is a character of colour and of unique standing within the story, as her parentage was in question – Ms Greenwood inserted her into the background of the story so authentically, you could see the plausibility of her being in the employ of Adam. However, she took further steps to ensure Kate was not simply placed inside the story but held an arc of her own to bridge into the journey Cora was taking herself. I felt the two would be life-long friends due to how their paths initially crossed but how well they came to respect and understand each other as well. She was definitely one of my favourite characters in the story – due to her strength but also, due to how she was such an intriguing character in her own right! I would love to see her character expanded a bit – I felt she had more to share!

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This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

A note of apology for my delayed review on the tour:

The week of Halloween set into motion a bout of unwellness for me – it began with a migraine and then, I fell quite ill shortly thereafter, to where shaking off how I felt was quite the uphill battle. For nearly three full weeks, I battled through it all, but my readings were few and far between; hence why I’ve not been as active this month on my blog. I’ve also have struggled to focus on the stories I am reading – however, somewhere in the midst of all of this, I also started to ‘lose track’ of my blog’ schedule – forgetting certain dates and a few scheduled reviews. I also had some tech issues – to where I was unable to get online – all of this combined into the reality of realising I had forgotten my review for this tour was due on Sunday, the 19th – by Monday, I had caught the error, but with the tech issues, I was unable to get back online until Tuesday. Whilst fighting off a second migraine – I started to read the novel and soon found myself smitten by how it was being told! I am so very thankful I took a chance on reading this re-telling – of finding I love the fictional voice and tone of Ms Greenwood and for the kind patience of both the author and the publisher whilst I finished my readings in order to share my ruminations!

Follow the Virtual Road Map

by visiting the blog tour route:

The Darkest Summer blog tour via Cedar Fort Publishing & MediaI 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 readers who picked up the same story to read.

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{SOURCES: Book covers of “The Darkest Hour” and “The Darkest Summer”, synopsis for “The Darkest Hour”, author photo of Rebecca J. Greenwood and her biography and blog tour banner were provided by the author Rebecca J. Greenwood and are being used with permission. The book synopsis for “The Darkest Summer” and Cedar Fort Publishing badge were all provided by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media and used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2017

I’m a social reader |  I  tweet as I read

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 Wednesday, 22 November, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, After the Canon, Blog Tour Host, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Debut Novel, England, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Inspired by Stories, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, PTSD, Re-Told Tales, Realistic Fiction, Scotland, Sisterhood friendships, Story in Diary-Style Format, Sweet Romance, The London Season, the Regency era

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