An Audiobook review feat. during #AudiobookMonth | “The Widow’s Redeemer” by Philippa Jane Keyworth I am dearly in awe of the narrator Alex Lee who completely changed my mind about this author!

Posted Thursday, 7 June, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The Widow’s Redeemer” via Audiobookworm Promotion in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to take a second chance on a novel by Ms Keyworth:

Last year, I was first introduced to the writings of Ms Keyworth on the Historical Fiction blog tour showcasing Fool Me Twice, for which I had this to impart upon that reading:

Keyworth has a different approach at writing her Historicals, as she’s very matter-of-fact and doesn’t spoilt you on long descriptive passages of what is happening ‘in scene’ but rather gets to the heart of the truth whilst disclosing the details which are necessary to understand her lead protagonists’ motives. It took me a bit to adjust to her style, as all writers have their own written voice and style of narrative. I have the tendency to read more writers who opt for descriptive narrative over the blunter style of only giving out parse details, but both have their place in Historicals, as sometimes the focus is not on the settings nor the period of the story itself but rather the angst of the situation we meet the characters.

Despite finding myself appreciating a few things within the story itself, overall, I couldn’t find myself attached to the novel. I was taken out of it’s depths more than once, finding it was ill-matched for my preferences of the genre but I never quite ‘let go’ of reading one of her other stories. In fact, even after I attempted to read this first novel of hers, I mused to myself, one of her older titles might be more to my liking – in effect, I had made an error in where to insert myself into her stories!

Thus, when I saw this title was going on an audiobook blog tour, I immediately listened to the sampler – finding myself smitten by Ms Lee’s approach especially for her clarity of ‘place’ and of ‘person’. You immediately feel drawn into her narrative styling due to how she fuses her heart into what she is narrating – she is as immersively captivating as the narrator for the Kay Hunter series (Alison Campbell) due to her passionate approach in voicing the characters themselves!

I was thankful I had a chance to re-approach her writings so soon after discovering them initially. I had a good feeling about going into listening to this audiobook, as sometimes, you can rather quite a lot about a narrator through the samplers – in this instance, I felt like I might have blessed myself tenfold: a new narrator to champion and a writer who redeemed my opinion of her writerly style. Technically, this happened earlier this year, when I borrowed a copy of an audiobook version of Cotillion by Georgette Heyer; a novel I previously could not attach myself inside. Narrators have an uncanny way of presenting stories in such a way as to heighten the words left behind by the authors which cannot always translate through a print edition!

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An Audiobook review feat. during #AudiobookMonth | “The Widow’s Redeemer” by Philippa Jane Keyworth I am dearly in awe of the narrator Alex Lee who completely changed my mind about this author!The Widow's Redeemer
by Philippa Jane Keyworth
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Alex Lee

A penniless young widow with an indomitable spirit. A wealthy viscount with an unsavory reputation. London, 1815: After her husband's untimely death, Letty Burton comes up from the country with her domineering mother-in-law. Hiding a past she wishes to forget and facing an uncertain future, all she wants is to navigate London Society as a silent companion.

A chance meeting with London's most eligible bachelor sets in motion a series of events that will bring her quiet life under the unfriendly scrutiny of the ton. With the net of scandal, debts, and rivals closing in, will she let her dark past dictate her life forever? Will she learn to trust again? And most importantly, will she allow herself to love?

The Widow's Redeemer was a finalist in the 2012 RONE Awards (Reward of Novel Excellence) hosted by InD'Tale Magazine.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B07CH4F4WL

Also by this author: Fool Me Twice

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by Madison Street Publishing

on 19th April, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 9 hours and 35 minutes (unabridged)

Published By:  Madison Street Publishing (@MStPublishing)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook and Audioook

Stories by Philippa Jane Keyworth:

Fool Me Twice by Philippa Jane KeyworthThe Widow's Redeemer by Philippa Jane Keyworth

The Unexpected Earl | Synopsis

The Widow’s Redeemer

Fool Me Twice (see also Review)

Converse via: #HistFic + #HistRom

About Philippa Jane Keyworth

Philippa Jane Keyworth

Philippa Jane Keyworth, known to her friends as Pip, has been writing since she was twelve in every notebook she could find. Originally trained as a horse-riding instructor, Philippa went on to become a copywriter before beginning a degree in History. A born again Christian, Philippa lives in the south of England with her handsome husband.

Philippa has always written stories and believes that, since it is one of her loves and passions, she always will. In her early writing career, she dabbled in a variety of genres, but it was the encouragement of a friend to watch a film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that began her love affair with the British Regency. Since then, she has watched every Regency film and TV series she could get her hands on and become well acquainted with Georgette Heyer’s novels which gave her the inspiration to write her own.

Both as a reader and a writer, Philippa believes it is important to escape into a world you yourself would want to live in. This is why she writes stories that will draw you into the characters’ joys and heartaches in a world apart from our own. Her debut novel, The Widow’s Redeemer (Madison Street Publishing, 2012), is a traditional Regency romance bringing to life the romance between a young widow with an indomitable spirit and a wealthy viscount with an unsavory reputation. The novel has been received well by readers and reviewers who have praised the heartfelt story and admirable characters. Her second novel, The Unexpected Earl (Madison Street Publishing, 2014), explores another romance in the Regency era when an impetuous young woman has her life turned upside down by the reappearance of the earl who jilted her six years ago. Her third novel a Georgian romance will come out at the end of 2016.

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my review of the widow’s redeemer:

Lettie is on the brink of losing her husband – his health so dearly afflicted, he’s already on his deathbed by the time we meet her in the time-line of her story. It is soon after we discover through his estate solicitor, her future is not just a precaution against gambling but rather a stark lesson in how quickly a person can become humbled by poverty overnight. Lettie was not entirely clued into the extent of her husband’s entertainments – by his death she learnt more than her fill and the absence of truthfulness of his affairs were now fully in sight of her purview at the time of having heard the reading of his will. It was more a reading of how quickly the assets were re-adjusted against past debts rather than a happy prospect of what was left to live upon.

To break the discomfort of her circumstance – I liked how Ms Keyworth added a phrase about how ‘hemlines’ aren’t necessarily the make/break social faux pas when your barely able to purchase anything at all after finding your husband has left you without funds nor security of house or land by which to exist after he’s buried! Quite a true statement, indeed! For if anyone were so obtuse in their diffidence to even suggest she was doing something improper by allowing her skirts to drag too close to the elements, I hope her moxie would win over her resolve knowing it would be best to ignore the lot than to advance into a volley of ill-attempted explanations!

There is a wonderful segue from Lettie’s emotional angst in sorting out her affairs, with a letter from Theodora Burton (her sister-in-law) whose lively letter was brilliantly brought to life by Ms Lee! Letters can be quite complicated in-line with an audiobook reading, yet Ms Lee made it sound as if we were the ones privy to the contents as if we were reading the letter ourselves directly! Quite champion, this delivery of her personal correspondences! This would mark only the first of letters to be inclusive to the plot and it was a signal of joy for me as I have a penchant for Epistolary stories!

How can you not feel encouraged by Theodora!? Her innocent bubbly personality is quite addictive – she has a way of seeing only the goodness in life. She spends her days attempting to curate more happiness to occupy her hours, which is how she convinced Lettie to visit a lending library. Even if such a pursuit would draw stares and cause a small scandal in of itself. Theodora is the youngest of four sisters which explains why she has a strong personality and likes to encourage Lettie into her schemes! In some ways, she reminded me a bit of Anne (from Green Gables); always ready to live life and to seek out adventures!

Theodora wasn’t quite prepared for the unexpectedness of how life can turn your joys into sorrows; for the stronger of the two was Lettie. It was pure fortitude of fate Lettie was present to help Theo through one of the hardest transitions life can give a woman. For Lettie was carved out to handle the turbulent adversities of life, but Theodora was a more sensitive flower in that regard. She needed a buffering from tragedies in order to recover from them properly.

Lettie can’t believe her luck, but she’s meant to take care of both Theodora and her mother-in-law – Clarrisa Burton, both on the verge of withdrawing completely from life itself as their stability of self and sense of the world was anchoured to those who are now gone. Lettie on the other hand, couldn’t let time sit on her woes, as she had too many obligations to keep her mind from tarrying too long on things which only added discomfort for her insomnia. There are pieces of her past we are not privy to knowing, things she did not wish to re-examine now that she had a certain freedom from a marriage which gave her nothing but added despair.

Clarrisa had particular interest in Lettie, in helping her get back into society including outfitting her in the latest fashions. This bemused Lettie, as she never paid much mind to such frivolities, not that she denounced finery; no, it had more to do with her previous budget and her discerning eye for only purchasing what was absolutely necessary rather than choosing clothes which pleased her figure and her sensibility as a woman. Being back in towne (ie. the city) she felt she was stepping forward in her life finally – as London had quite a lot going for it, in deference to the country.

It is here she resumes writing her parents, updating them on the events of Theodora’s ill-fated sitaution and change in circumstances; whilst giving them the news of her own charity in kind by Clarrisa who happily took her in as her own charge. She’s still observing the period of mourning (ie. only wearing black clothes) and is expecting to soon be clear of this tradition, where she can find comfort in resuming to wear clothes; though as I recollect it’s a gradual switch where you move from blacks to greys to muted colours before you can resume where you left off in the seasonal colourings everyone else is sporting.

By the time the Major enters Lettie’s life, I was not quite ready for her to become the object of a man’s affection, as I didn’t truly warm to the Major; his personality rankled a heap due to his rather arrogant nature. He had a natural prejudice and an outward view of the world which was slightly pessimistic – somewhere in their outings, I felt there was another overlay from Anne of Green Gables – such as when Anne first meets Gilbert? There is something to be said for the men who at first inflict a negative impression and then, through finding common ground, re-enter a woman’s life from a different opinionated view.

There were so many moments of where Lettie was taken out of her comfort zone – especially when she was amongst her peers – she was the kind of woman who had a more humbled view of her femininity rather than one who wanted to wear a frock which would turn heads. Though, to her defence she couldn’t help but notice, those glossier dresses were quite fetching in their own regard – as the dress was nearly as important as a woman’s conversation skills! The irony of course, is how Lettie allowed herself to be rescued by the Major, as she was no longer repulsed by his presence but found a winning friend in the bloke; such had her mind changed in its impression towards him.

When the Major is keeping company with someone (the Viscount) who wants to disparage Lettie, you have to wonder why he would allow such pettiness to continue in his presence. Though I partially felt he didn’t feel he would be in the running towards winning her affection, thereby, even if someone was being obsessively critical of her reputation, perhaps he felt he didn’t have a strong reason to defend her honour. I did side with Lettie in the end – as opinions are such personal matters, if someone can’t form their mind on their own, what is the point in attempting to right it back round? You would think he would have had the independence of thought to hold the tongues of others outside his own musings about those he was considering to be approachable for matching purposes! I think what wrinkled Lettie’s brow the most how she was becoming such a force of enquiry by her peers, as if she were someone who needed to be dissected in order to be understood!

One of my favourite bits to hearing this story, is finding Ms Lee’s theatrical approach is adding another layer in which to find myself rooted in place whilst I listen to her narration. She truly has altered my opinion of Keyworth’s stories – somehow she’s tapped into the heart of what Keyworth has been attempting to share with me, her words now fittingly beautiful for the era she’s writing and the approach she took to tell this story is something to admire as she brought forward the drama of living life forward without re-attempting to cast stones against the past which only seeks to haunt us if we allow it too.

Observing the characters as they stood off from each other, as if sharing their innermost thoughts with each other would somehow betray them or an invisible confidence they have garnished between them; there are moments where you hope they will overcome what is seeking to divide them, as truly the solution was a swift one which could be made rather easily if only the heart would be willing to yield. I love seeing characters who are challenged by circumstance, intrigued by a slow building romance and conflicted in understanding exactly what they want when all along they were refusing to see the truth before them!

Unlike my previous grievances with a lack of descriptive narrative sequences, what truly touched me is how both the dialogue was full of wit and the descriptions were aptly reminiscent of the era in question. I am a bit at a loss why this novel had such a fullness about it and how the story developed at such a pace as to give us the pleasurable joy of a slow budding romance when previously I had found a rushed approach short on descriptive inclusions? Half the beauty of this story is how it is drawn out like a Jane Austen novel – slowly arching through the climax and giving us a fuller scope of all the characters’ lives. They are inter-connected from the earlier bits in the novel but it is how their connections and relationships evolve is the gift of listening to the novel – as this is a transformative story of not just seeking redemption but of find yourself fully redeemed from your past.

*On why I spelt Lettie as I had – I was writing my review before I outfitted the post with the official spelling of her name – I decided to kept the review true to how I had interpreted the characters’ names – as I oft do whilst listening to audiobooks! Sometimes it is hard to discern which spelling is correct as not all audiobooks disclose the preferred way. Thus, it is a quirk of mine to spell her name as I ‘heard it’ rather than how it was writ.

on why I felt emotionally connected to this story:

Being this is my second novel by Ms Keyworth, I was attempting to see if perhaps there would be one story of hers I’d appreciate reading and/or listening through an audiobook adaptation as the premise of her stories are surely the kind which interest me! The main difference in listening to The Widow’s Redeemer greatly differs from Fool Me Twice – on the level, this particular story is threading through such an emotional lens into Lettie’s life, I found myself instantly attached to her plight, thereby redeeming the author in my eyes as being one I could enjoy reading!

I have to agree with Ms Gray (C.A. Gray) who mentioned on her blog this is a lovely installment in the styling of Jane Austen! I had noticed Ms Gray is a new hostess for Audiobookworm Promotions (as I met her through one of her YA series) and we happily have the tendency of being drawn towards the same audiobooks! I knew instantly what she was referencing by this statement:

In this particular novel, Ms Keyworth taps into the nuanced writing style Austen had perfected ahead of her, of giving the small details of ordinary life, of tucking us into the differences of society (from the ton to the commoners to the staff) and of giving us an entrance into a world which is firmly set against a rigid set of rules and regulations. Unlike my previous reading of Keyworth’s stories, this one held it’s own – it had a particular rhythm for delivering the atmosphere we’re expecting with a sharpened wit of dialogue we ache to discover and a winsome story-line featuring an unassuming heroine who is charming to find emerging into her own skin!

Also, I do mirror Ms Gray’s assessment this could well be interpreted as a re-telling of my most beloved Austen novel: Pride and Prejudice! Even if it took me a bit longer to connect those dots, as I was so smitten by Ms Lee’s narration, I felt completely lost inside her voice – appreciating how she was revealling the natures of the characters through her voicings of their personalities and thereby, delaying my observation of the connection to Pride!

As an aside, I did not readily pick up on the conveyances of this being about Naomi and Ruth; even though I have been reading stories about the women in the Bible (see also this Review and this Review) – to me, this story parlays more closely to Pride but this is clearly subjective and of the bias of the reader, as for myself personally, similar to Ms Gray, the glowing homage within this novel for Pride cannot be denied.

In fact, there were even passages which made me see St. Mary’s Mead as well – or any quaintly connected community (even the one in Father Brown would do!) as the social engagements surrounding a widow in this century is quite like the highly observant community who knows who is available and whose taken whilst who is in need of a new wife – those bits of conversation and gossip can only be found in communities which take an active role in the lives of its citizens.

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About Alex Lee

Alex Lee

Alex Lee has been singing, acting and dancing since the age of two and whilst growing up on outskirts of London indulged her love of acting and performing in several ballet productions and plays at school, where she added to her skills by having her speaking and singing voice trained thereafter in productions of The Secretary Bird, Oh What a lovely War, The Norman Conquests, Ten Times Table, Chicago (playing Velma), playing Dick in Dick Whittington, and many others.

Narrating audiobooks is a relatively new venture for Alex and she has narrated 10 books in the last year in genres covering Regency romance, historical fiction, comedy adventure, romantic thriller, children’s fiction, biography and murder mystery.

Alex lives in a cottage in the beautiful village of East Coker in Somerset, where she lives with her husband Mark who is a skilful editor.

“I was thrilled to audition and be given the opportunity to narrate The Widow’s Redeemer and also Fool me Twice both written by Philippa Jane Keyworth for Madison Street Publishing. I loved the Georgette Heyer Regency romances which I read when younger and love the genre. Pip’s books transport you back to that wonderful era and I have loved narrating these stories.”

I am appreciative of Ms Jess providing a cursory outline of how best to articulate my listening hours on behalf of this audiobook and the others I shall be blogging about or reviewing in future. I’ve modified the suggestions to what I felt were pertinent to respond too on my own behalf as well as keeping to the questions I felt were relevant to share.

Number of Times I’ve heard the Narrator(s):

This marks my first time listening to a narration by Alex Lee, however, it shall not be my last!

Regards to the Narrator’s Individual Character performances:

Lettie: As you hear her reading her letter to her parents, you feel you understand her best – as she’s airing the events which have befallen her recently with such a level head and an agreeable reaction, to notice she is stronger than some might suspect. She has hope in her voice, which I felt might have been sparked by her sister-in-law’s invitation – as it was something to hold onto, something to look forward too and thereby, a passage of transition.

Secondary characters:

the Solicitor: The voice which alighted through my headphones sounded exactly how I would have felt a man in his position would have sounded – he was attempting to depart news no one wishes to give to a widow and thereby, I felt the narrator handled his characterisation rather well! He definitely came across as masculine and had a rather unique ‘sound’.

Theodora Burton: She has such an upbeat voice, full of life and the sparkles of joyfulness rooted in the randomness of agreeable experiences. She had such a hopefulness in her candor, her letter was a balm to all of our souls!

Mother-in-Law for Lettie (Clarrisa Burton): Her voice is rightly high pitched due to how the recent losses in the family are re-attaching her back to her own grief by losing a husband she wasn’t prepared to ‘let go’.

the Major: I found this character to be quite the prat! He was insulting towards Lettie and his blunt manner did not soften his words! His voicing was so apparently true of his character, you couldn’t wait for him to take his exit. I did not warm to him even if he had retracted his obvious prejudice by letting his guard down and started to engage with Lettie on a personal level.

How the story sounded to me as it was being Read: (theatrical or narrative)

I appreciate the theatrical nature of this reading – as Ms Lee inserts herself so directly into each of the characters, you do not wish to rush listening to this story! Due to time constraints, I did attempt to see if by increasing the speed of delivery I could reduce the time needed to listen to this story in full – as I had been listening to several podcasts recently where it was mentioned you could increase the speed of a narrator’s voice? I tried it for this one, increasing to 1.2 speed as any faster and you would feel the story was growing distorted. The narrator’s accent and her characterisations were not sacrificed and I did notice this was a bit of a help in listening to the story due to having a slight delay arriving inside it due to a health issue.

Regards to Articulation & Performance of the story:

Ms Lee has such a natural aptitude for narrating period dramatic stories, I daresay, she ought to keep this niche as her personal favourite! She transforms the text by how she fuses her voice and personality into the passages! I felt so caught in rapture by her interpretations as to feel as if I was listening to an entirely different author! There was such a great contrast between this story and Fool Me Twice – I nearly couldn’t recognise they were writ by the same author!

I am hopeful Ms Lee will narrate more of Ms Keyworth’s novels – in fact, I think she should narrate all of them, as I have a feeling the collective works would read better than if I were to re-attempt to read them in print. Something is surely lost for me when attempting to read her in print as through listening to the audiobook by Ms Lee, I hear the beauty of the language, the assured confidence in the awareness of the era and an ease of transitioning us back to the 19th Century in England!

I was so dearly attached to hearing Ms Lee narration this story, I hadn’t wanted the audiobook to end! Her cadence for bringing these characters to life is readily evident in the lightness in her voice – she simply shines through the lyrical delivery of the lines, ebbing us into this world and guiding us through to see each of the character’s truer selves even if at first we find them rather disagreeable! This is quite the feat to accomplish and a telling truth of the era and the genre!

Notes on the Quality of Sound & the Background Ambiance:

The quality of the sound was never in question as this is crisp and clean copy of an audiobook.

Preference after listening to re-Listen or pick up the book in Print?

Most definitely I will be re-listening to this novel! I shall never again read this author in print, as for the reasons I’ve stipulated, her stories are meant to be read, listened to and loved! I do hope the publisher [Madison Street Publishing] will hire her for more of their authors – as I think she’d make such a keen fit for all of them!

In closing, would I seek out another Alex Lee audiobook?

Ooh, my yes! I am itching to see which stories are in her narrator catalogue – I was a bit disheartened to realise she’s not on Twitter, as I would have happily tagged her and celebrated this release!

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 This blog tour is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

Audiobookworm Promotions Event Host badge provided by Audiobookworm Promotions

Whilst participating on:

The Widow's Redeemer audiobook blog tour via Audiobookworm PromotionsFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Widow’s Redeemer”, book synopsis, narrator biography, photograph of Philippa Jane Keyworth and Alex Lee as well as the Audiobookworm Promotions badge and the audiobook tour badge were all provided by Audiobookworm Promotions and used with permission. The author’s biography and cover art for “Fool Me Twice” was previously used on a separate blog tour and is used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Wyrd and Wonder banner provided by Imyril and is used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Audiobook Review banner, 2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge banner 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 Thursday, 7 June, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Britian, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Inspired By Author OR Book, Life Shift, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Pride & Prejudice Re-telling, Romance Fiction




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