Blog Book Tour | “The Invisible Hand” (Act I of Shakespeare’s Moon series) by James Hartley The first sequence of a 5 act series re-spinning the elemental aesthetics of #Shakespeare into new stories of #YALit!

Posted Sunday, 25 March, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I started hosting for Rachel’s Random Resources at the end of [2017] booking several guest features for [2018] whilst noting I had a lovely opportunity to review a novel for one of the New Year’s tours. This blog tour marks my second with this touring company, as Rachel and I met through my chat #ChocLitSaturday which has since been renewed @SatBookChat! I look forward to spotlighting her authors, conversing with them and seeing how they respond to my guest topics. I may review a book here or there, but as most of her authors are in the UK / Europe market, I mostly was excited to cheer for their stories whilst awaiting to gather their stories stateside in print or audio.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Invisible Hand” direct from the author James Hartley in exchange for an honest review. I also received a complimentary copy of the audiobook “Heart of Winter” in exchange for an honest review not connected with this blog tour but for a secondary showcase forthcoming on Jorie Loves A Story. I added thoughts and reflections on behalf of the prequel “Heart of Winter” for my own edification and as it ran concurrent to my primary focus of featuring “The Invisible Hand” for this blog tour. For my own insight and understanding, I listened to the public domain version of ‘Macbeth’ via LibriVox (on their website) which features audiobooks of Classical Literature (see also Page). I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was excited to be reading this series:

I couldn’t agree with you more – as atmospheric elemental components are what I personally feel attracted to myself whenever I am seeking a particularly compelling story to read set in the Gothic style or a certain sub-niche of Historical Fiction. Classical re-tellings, psychological suspense, Cosy Horror or a few other areas where writers can bend genre to their own will of imagination whilst evoking such a strong presence of how atmospheric under-threads of narrative tone can not only set a reader straight into the story’s setting itself but it can become evocative of the textural edges of how the writer envisioned his or her story to be read and seen.

Yes, I concur – one of the joys of reading Shakespeare is seeking the ‘questions’ he’s asking of us as we read. If we’re intuitive readers we’ll notice how he’s left a lot of doors open for interpreting his motives whilst he also paints strong clues towards where his own mind and heart were directing his own literary muse to tread. The joy for me (of course) is sorting it all out – whilst being caught up inside the ‘ways in which’ he chose to write his stories. He had a unique grasp of how a story could be constructed but it’s how he layered it all – how he fused the craft from what had come before and re-shaped it to be seen through the execution of plays and sonnets.

I think this is actually the beauty of what you’ve set out to achieve – an after canon focus on the stories themselves but without a direct adaptation of the ‘story’ as it once was envisioned but rather, to take those elements out of context and re-alight them in a new thread of enlightenment for younger readers who are drawn towards those elements by Shakespeare but perhaps, would rather have a taste of them in a different construction of story altogether. It is also a lovely bridge for the hesitations younger readers might feel in attempting to dig directly in Shakespeare. I know not all readers find challenges in literature as enjoyable as I once did myself or rather, as I continue to find as can we ever really say we’re done challenging our literary inclinations? I think not!

-quoted from the Guest Post I hosted on behalf of this blog tour to learn the *inspiration* behind this story & how Mr Hartley has found writerly joy in re-inventing how to fuse Shakespearean elements into a newly invented world for younger readers who might not have graduated into the original canon.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Invisible Hand” (Act I of Shakespeare’s Moon series) by James Hartley The first sequence of a 5 act series re-spinning the elemental aesthetics of #Shakespeare into new stories of #YALit!The Invisible Hand
Subtitle: Shakespeare's Moon : Act 1
by James Hartley
Source: Author via Rachel's Random Resources, Librivox | Public Domain Audiobooks
Narrator: James Hartley

The Invisible Hand is about a boy, Sam, who has just started life at a boarding school and finds himself able to travel back in time to medieval Scotland. There he meets a girl, Leana, who can travel to the future, and the two of them become wrapped up in events in Macbeth, the Shakespeare play, and in the daily life of the school.

The book is the first part of a series called Shakespeare´s Moon. Each book is set in the same boarding school but focuses on a different Shakespeare play.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781785354984

Also by this author: The Invisible Hand

Genres: After Canons, Children's Literature, Classical Literature, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Lodestone Books

on 27th February, 2017

Format: Audiobook | mp3, Librivox | Public Domain Audiobooks, Trade Paperback

Pages: 168

Published By: Lodestone Books (@JHPChildren)

an imprint of John Hunt Publishing (@JHPFiction)

The series thus far along :

Hartley’s Shakespearean 5 act Quintet (after canon) series ‘Shakespeare’s Moon’

Heart of Winter | prequel to ‘The Invisible Hand’ (Synopsis) → previously an audiobook

The Invisible Hand | inspired by ‘MacBeth’

PlayFight | a short story within the series | Read via Wattpad

Cold Fire | inspired by ‘Romeo & Juliet’ (Synopsis) → #PubDay is 31.Aug.18

Converse via: #Shakespeare #Macbeth & #theclassicsclub

Find out why Mr Hartley claims to have been ‘betwitched’

by the muse behind ‘An Invisible Hand’ + ‘Heart of Winter’.

About James Hartley

James Hartley

James was born on the Wirral, England, in 1973 on a rainy Thursday. He shares his birthday with Bono, Sid Vicious and two even nastier pieces of work, John Wilkes Booth and Mark David Chapman.

His mother was a hairdresser with her own business and his father worked in a local refinery which pours filth into the sky over the Mersey to this day. They married young and James was their first child. He has two younger brothers and a still-expanding family in the area. As an Everton fan he suffered years of Liverpool success throughout the seventies and was thrilled when his father took a job in Singapore and the family moved lock, stock and two smoking barrels to Asia.

He spent five fine years growing up in the city state before returning to the rain, storms, comprehensive schools and desolate beauty of the Scottish east coast. Later years took he and his family to baking hot Muscat, in Oman, and a Syria that has since been bombed off the surface of the planet.

James studied journalism in London and later travelled through Ireland, France, Germany and India generally having a good time, before finally settling in Madrid, Spain, where he now lives with his wife and two children.

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selected thoughts on behalf of ‘macbeth’:

Lady MacBeth reading his letter became my favourite scene as it had such a forbearance of events and insights within both the letter and her reaction to what it contained. The conspiracy was set and the players were stepping forward – almost as if cast into action by a force not completely of their own will but one in which they agreed to all the same. The witches in turn, spoke their truths but backed away from revealling their intentions – or rather, the fuller scope of what they were prophesying.

Lady Macbeth has more strength initially than her husband but also more venom especially when it comes to sinister thoughts and executions on those thoughts to befall not just their own souls but the entirety of their station by undercutting everyone around them from the life they no longer felt they deserved. They were each others’ enemy and yet, neither of them checked their conscience until a point in time wherein their conscience overtook their sanity.

By the time their crime(s) are discovered and the true horror is let out; it is the absence of the omission by Macbeth and his wife which strikes the deepest chord. As we observe them, it is Lady Macbeth of whom has a violent heart and aptitude for subterfuge a bit moreso than Macbeth himself; only just though, as events will continue to reveal. Yet her fate is not without its own anguish – they were short-sided in their actions to think they would remain uncaught and unnoticed.

When Macbeth goes out of his head, his wife tries to cover up the reasons – her sanity is but a thread in the balance. By the time the witches return, Macbeth is doomed by his own selfish actions and his unwillingness to confess them. His soul and his wife’s soul might have fared better if they had. Lady Macbeth sleepwalks and confesses all – truly proving how far the soul will go to free itself from the sinister acts of the person of whom spiraled into an infinite darkness where light can never tread.

selected thoughts on behalf of “heart of winter:

As the audiobook begins there is piano music and a rolling thunderstorm – you can almost feel the intensity of the lightning flashing in and out as the thunder roars its presence to be known. There is a steady pace within the delivery but it’s the ominous setting which eludes to the tension of the hour – as we are at the backdrop of war, on a winding road in the midst of a storm no sane person would attempt to drive through.

This prequel to the series is all about Enid. Her back-story has scenes which evoke a bit of the magic and what happens in The Witches (the film). However, the main key here really is what motivates Enid and what she can conjure – she is an impressive character because a lot of who she is remains ‘hidden’ from the reader but of which is being disclosed – almost out of our hearing and line of sight to the narrator of the story. A presence of truth we haven’t yet encountered or rather, to put it a different way – we aren’t meant to know the fuller scope or the truth of the tale until all circumstances have fully been lived and revealled. In essence, time and truth in this series have their own season of revelation.

One thing you immediately draw yourself to is the school itself – the regulations of how it’s kept and how there is a murmuring of curiosity within you to better understand it’s foothold on the community which surrounds it and the students by which seek out it’s academics (or does the school therein find them?). I have a lot of thoughts truly about this prequel I look forward to sharing in earnest later on this  Spring — but the beauty of having heard this after listening to Macbeth was the clarity of inspiration from the play and fusion of elements by which Mr Hartley used to settle us into his world.

my review of the invisible hand:

I have a keen interest in alternative styles of the craft – of how stories can be writ in a unique voice and carry on a presence of their own, by how their writer’s choose to approach their delivery. Thus, it was rather a happy surprise to have learnt upon opening The Invisible Hand each installment of the series alights us into a letter which directly places us into the shoes of the character we’re about to greeted. Herein, Sam is writing in earnest how he wants to relate the goings-on at his new boarding school (St. Francis) to his folks – but if you look at the letter intuitively and from the aspect of what lies hidden in his remarks of revelation, you start to observe how different this school truly is from others.

You gather there is something afoot with his Mum and Dad but you leave that for another time. The fact the school is laid out (at least a portion of it) architecturally to be a cross is rather telling of it’s past history (as known from Heart of Winter) where a moral and ethical code of conduct permeates the school’s grounds. All who walk the campus and have intentions to study here must learn to abide by the founding principles and ignorance of their guidance does not dismiss the infractions against them.

Noting how the students were using the ‘old school’ method of communication gave me a ready chuckle as the textual graffiti enscribed on desk’s brought back fond memories of my own. As similar to Sam, I found reading the notes and deciphering them massive bouts of fun when the doldrums encroached upon my learning hours. I, too, had moments of sheer boredom which were hard to shake and being caught up in those notes was telling enough of how little it would take to entertain a curious mind. And, there in the letter was a curious foreshadow – on this story and of the series overall – Sam is reading and studying Macbeth!

As we transition to Scotland, to the warring Highlands, no less! – I was most impressed by how Hartley re-directed us through a knowing baroque of their language – the words felt and sounded so distinct, your slip in time was effectively complete. Yet, it didn’t feel oppressively difficult to alight into this era as so oft Scottish stories do. The choices the author used made this a slip in time even you yourself would feel comfortable in experiencing if the ease of language and the mirth of knowledge were as attached to you as it had been for Sam.

You almost feel as if you’ve ducked off into a ‘sword and sorcery’ novel, so intense was the field of battle. Repleat of course with the half-dead, the barely alive and the horrors of a well-lived battlfield wherein all who survive felt as if they were graced with a bravery they never felt as they were merely doing their bit and the bid of their commanders. There was no logic in who fell and who could breathe – as there never is, truly. Even without the proper understanding of time nor place, Sam had a courageous attitude. Rather than question the orders given, he gritted his way through the necessities of the moment and felt rewarded by his exhausted state.

The scene where the students (boys and girls alike) go through their morning rituals of calisthenics brought back more memories for me. Some schools do have a maddeningly apt view of how physical exercise is not just a healthy choice for wellness for those transcribted into their educational programme but it is meant to become ‘habit’ rather than ‘spite’ for what is required of them. Truth of point, you get accustomed to the rigors even if the benefits are properly lost on your young shoulders. As you age, you see they were trying to build your endurance and put you into a pattern of wellness whilst remaining fit to greet any circumstance. I wondered if Sam sorted that bit of truth for himself as he would note how well he fared on the Scottish battlefield?

Cheekily, Sam spies Enid’s name from amongst the Head Girl’s list from the ’40s but it is only a dashing glimpse that first day in the girl’s dorm where Sam starts to realise his escapades in Scotland are limited only to himself. Unlike of course, the fate of which was outlined in The Crowns of Croswald where it was more ‘all or none’. The woman at the well and her child take a very keenly active role in hereditary insight into the character of Leana – as her heritage and the ways in which she was raised are of particular interest to the forward motion of the story-line. It is a clever twist and a surprising layer of suspense as it re-aligns us with portions of the play we hadn’t had the pleasure of visiting – herein I refer to the histories of the witches themselves and part of their truer natures as women bent against the charms of their magic.

Even the ways in which Leana doesn’t fully trust Sam is telling – of how she seems to sense things he can’t understand in a different way from what his gift is revealling to him. Each of them have hidden talents they are just aspiring into the knowledge of how to better understand their purpose whilst attempting to not lose sight of their own sanity as for some circumstances are walking the thin line between reality and the unseen. The distrust Leana had in Sam was nearly like a plague attaching to him and not letting him go – not in Leana’s Scotland nor at the school in Sam’s time-line.

It was quite interesting where Mr Hartley re-asserts us into the threads of Macbeth – whilst giving us a new vein of thought into how those events could be examined and interpreted. There is a strong hinting towards the histories of St. Francis and even the truth about Enid is etching itself out of the darkness – striking a level curiosity and a keen interest in observing how the series evolves forward. As what bespeaks action? What precedes thoughts? How does what we think or how we act effect all else?

Thereby if Leana can shift forward in time did that only happen because Sam slipped backwards? A reverse of the film Kate and Leopold worked their own hypothesis on the matter? The connection to the woman at the well, the abandoned child and how this child plays such an active role is quite impressive. It speaks to predestined souls and how some fates are entwined with others in ways which cannot be seen until they are lived. Even further still, the reason why Enid was at St. Francis did surprise me but only by half – as I held back a few thoughts from Heart of Winter to re-explore lateron.

There is an ominous suspense lingering round the edges of the story itself – herein, you felt this was the ‘invisible hand’ weaving itself into the nooks and roots of the series. As the presence isn’t benign, not entirely nor is it completely sinister either – it’s more ethereal and non-defined in a way we are accustomed to finding such a presence. Having said that, like most Gothic stories – there is a strong presence of perceptional evil and of a darkness of humanity lingering round the edges. Where the choices of what a person becomes curious to research can at times be their undoing – the darker arts and the intentions of deconstructing the will of a soul are mere components of what could befall an unsuspecting person.

The best gift of all was having the opportunity to re-visit Macbeth wherein knowing the fuller aspects of the story and the rest of the players involved, my impressions upon the play differ greatly in depth to what I learnt as a teenager having only focused on two pages of the play to augment the truth for the exam at the time. Herein the greatest takeaway is the truth of why Macbeth is such a striking cautionary tale – where ambition intermixes with false pride which leads to impulsive choices and self-destruction.

Alas, one my favourite inclusions was the poem which bespeaks of the role of Leana and in a fitting way, plays a dear role in giving us a further glimpse into how Mr Hartley saw his story coming to a conclusion. Poems have such a dear way of giving us a measure of depth for how their truths are expressed and in fitting allegory also give us insight into what we ought to be mindful whilst we live our own lives. For me, this was a nod to Shakespeare’s sonnets and of the greatest truth which beseeches his own muse – how life and love and the entanglements of emotions can speak more about humanity than words alone. The poem Hartley included of course acted as it’s own prophecy on behalf of Leana and Sam – such a wicked revelation of its own!

For now, I must await the arrival of Act II – which I knew about prior to reading this tale, and yet, somewhere in the suspension of thought and mind so wholly enthused to this tale – I had forgotten! Thus, on discovery it was the story involving two sisters: Athena and Gemma whilst wrapped into the backdrop of Romeo and Juliet my own spirit soared at the prospect of what I’d find inside Cold Fire. This is a definitive series for all readers of Shakespeare – young and old – for Mr Hartley has given us a tome of delightful prose to ruminate over and for that, he has my readerly gratitude!

on the after canon styling of mr hartley:

The manner in how he articulated the living lifeforce of the sea and how wrecking the foulness of battle juxapositioned against the tempest of the sea evoked such a startling backdrop for Sam to have become rooted out of time and space. He was one half in the past and one foot caught in the present – neither owned by either century and yet, a living part of both on equal terms. It is here where we start to see how Mr Hartley shifted us – not just in the enveloped expanse of the time he fused into his story but to the heart of how Shakespeare’s own muse is being re-directed in and out of the series itself.

Even Sam, was blending so effortlessly into the background of the student body – neither seen or nor fully apart of his peers, he saw what they dismissed. How there were certain kinds of students – those who were academically advanced, those who muddled through and those who didn’t give two blighters of a fig about anything academic at all and were more concerned about their appearance. It is here, we observe how Sam is both separate from his peers and unlike them all the same – how he intuits a lot of what he is experiencing and therein, set’s the stage for how Hartley draws us into the fuller scope of what he’s envisioned for the Shakespeare’s Moon series.

I am most keen on finding out more about the fabled ‘book’ of St. Francis – as it is not as directly present now as it had been during Enid’s initial arrival in the ’40s. Though, it is reasonable as to ‘why’ this would be so, but it is hard to temper curiosity once it has been formulated. Part of the history of this book has been revealled but still, I seek more about it. The eluding foreshadows about the school itself were wonderfully conceived and I liked how the histories are drawn out to only be spoken in certain instances which effectively help move certain scenes and sequences forward – almost as if the wider view of the series when re-read will explain everything but for now we must rely on what is given to us to understand. Thus, we are still in the dark towards the real purpose for finding the ‘writers’ who can alter the book in ways which the manifestations are all to realistic and tangible.

At the centre of this story of course is the ancient caution of ‘thoughts are things’ – as how what we conceive in our imaginations can at times become manifested in our living realities. It is similar to how if you wake from a harrowing dream, you’ve suddenly discovered you’ve been injured yet you have no memory of the incident outside your dreamscapes – so too, does Hartley explore this cross-dimensional shifting in Shakespeare’s Moon – wherein, what Sam and Leana dream or rather shift in time to experience – so too, in both their parallel existences do they feel an effect of both realities.

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This author interview is courtesy of: Rachel’s Random Resources

The Invisible Hand blog tour via Rachel's Random Resources
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Rachel & I first crossed paths whilst celebrating our mutual love of ChocLitUK novels – this blog tour marks the first I’ve been able to host for her after discovering recently she has a blog touring company! You’ve might have seen her badge in my sidebar!? I am looking forward to bringing Guest Author Features, Book Spotlights w/ Notes & Reviews to Jorie Loves A Story hosted by Rachel! It’s quite lovely when someone you know in the twitterverse has started their own company & has followed their passion for helping others. I look forward to working with Rachel more often starting in 2018!
You will next see me hosting her blog tours on the following dates:
  • the 11th of April, 2018 : Interview with the writer of She’s All Bad (#superherofiction)
  • the 17th of April, 2018 : Interview with the writer of The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Invisible Hand”, book synopsis, author biography & photograph of James Hartley and the tour badge were all provided by Rachel Random Resources and used with permission. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. 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, 2018.

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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 Sunday, 25 March, 2018 by jorielov in After the Canon, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Children's Literature, Classical Literature, England, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Literature for Boys, Rachel's Random Resources, Re-Told Tales, The Writers Life, Writing Style & Voice




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