Blog Book Tour | Double-Showcase: Reading my next installment of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort) and feat. an interview with Julie Matern!

Posted Saturday, 28 July, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess begin Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.

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

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To find out why I love Sweet Romances and the #PureRomance imprint you might like to check out my previous postings for Cedar Fort blog tours, wherein I related my love of Historical & INSPY stories on a previous blog tour featuring To Suit a Suitor, however, I have happily been reading the offerings of this particular imprint for quite a long while now. The stories which still stand out are as follows: ‘Willow Springs’, ‘The Darkest Summer’, ‘Unexpected Love (anthology)’ and ‘The Second Season’.

To follow through my readings, be sure to scroll through this tag Pure Romance!

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A conversation with Julie Matern: Part I

What first drew your eye into Regencies and what were your favourite memories of reading your first Regency Romances? What attached yourself into them: the era, the lifestyle difference (upstairs/downstairs), the fashions or the historical backdrop and aesthetics?

Matern responds: I didn’t get into Jane Austen until after college – I was taking a French degree which required reading French Literature and there wasn’t time for much else. Quite honestly my connection to Austen’s books came as quite a surprise as I had been required to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronté at school when I was quite young and did not like it at all.

I decided then that those ‘old’ books were not for me. So when I chanced to read Pride and Prejudice as an adult I was amazed at how much I loved it almost immediately.  I enjoyed Jane’s voice and her characters and the era itself – so polite and civilized. I found I couldn’t put the books down. I think they swept me back in time. Then television and movie studios began making the adaptations with the beautiful scenery and costumes and I was totally hooked. I have three daughters and I have converted two of them! (PS I love Jane Eyre now too!)

I believe our reading lives have their Seasons,… I struggled to get into both Bronté and Austen when I was younger – though why I hesitated to read either of them, is lost to time itself. I started to focus on reading ‘Pride’ when Keira Knightley’s film was released (finishing it in time to see it live at the theater!) whilst my reading progress into ‘Jane Eyre’ has taken nearly the full five years I’ve been a book blogger! I haven’t a clue as to why either, except I find myself distracted from the text more times than naught and this year, I’m determined to conclude my ruminative thoughts as I would very much like to read a sequel author’s trilogy! Wish me well!

Strangely, despite the hiccups I incurred with these authors, I was into Classical Children’s Lit throughout my younger years as well as Contemporary favourites like Carolyn Keene (of whom I hadn’t realised to much later was a pen name!) and the other authors I’ve listed on my Children’s Lit page! The way you’ve described why you love reading these stories is something I can relate to myself ‘being swept into the historic past’, ‘the authenticity of Austen’s voice’ and the ways in which the manners of her time were eloquently brought forward into her stories. You’ve summarised it rather lovely!

It is an interesting premise, to have a girl raised in the ton (aristocracy) who didn’t realise her lot was not officially cast in those circles – what inspired this choice of entry into her shift of acceptance from her peers?

Matern responds: Well, heritage is so very important to the nobility at this time. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is probably the best example of this attitude in Austen’s writing. She is horrified that Elizabeth isn’t enough of a lady for her nephew. In Persuasion, Anne is discouraged from marrying Captain Wentworth because he ranks beneath her and in Emma, the thought that Harriet might marry Mr. Knightley makes Emma ill.

I thought it would be an interesting study to examine the possible reaction of this class of people to someone they knew and loved as a lady, under the new information that she was actually not. Then the question was how can this be accomplished and a secret adoption seemed a natural vehicle.

I love how you’ve found an interconnection between the plottings of Ms Austen’s novels – of how birth origins and your status in society meant everything towards a well-matched marriage than the person’s character; second only to reputation, as this was equally a concern of the aristocracy! It is a bit how I was happily surprised Adoption is now an option for Royals where previously it was not allowed. A secreted adoption I believe is the only way it could have worked within the framework of the Haversham’s case due to the nature of how constricted they were by both society and family alike. Blessedly not due to their own beliefs, thoughts and convictions!

Self-identity is oft-times linked to our ancestral heritage – did your interest in ancestry play a key role in exploring Francesca’s soul-search for her own identifiable truth? How did you want to show who you are and who you believe you are are oft-times not the same person?

Matern responds: I have researched my own genealogical lines for over 40 years. I find it absolutely fascinating. There are hidden secrets in many people’s lines; my grandmother thought she was a year younger than she was; people lied to their fiances about their age so that they didn’t seem too much older than them and it is discovered by researchers like me generations later when we notice the discrepancy between the birth certificate and the marriage certificate; I know of someone who did not know she was born before her parents married, until after her parents died and she examined all the certificates. The truth can shake people to their foundations. Any revelation that changes what you have believed to be true about yourself creates a need to know everything, I believe. Ancestry.com is using this common need in their advertising to create interest in their DNA testing – people who find out that they have ethnicity in their family tree that they did not know about, for example, often begin a study of that ethnicity to understand it in an attempt to understand themselves better.

Adoption is not something I have direct experience of and in our day and age it is very open. In writing about Francesca’s emotions I tried to put myself in her shoes and imagine receiving the news that my  mother was not my birth mother. It would spark an avalanche of emotions and confusion and a desire to seek out my birth relatives.

I do believe that ancestral heritage affects how we see ourselves and anchors us to our past, endowing us with a sense of connection to them and helping us have stronger self-esteem. My great-uncle died when he was 19 in WWI in France and my own grandfather almost died in the same war. Their sacrifice helps me feel that my family helped in the cause of freedom. My husband’s side has many pioneers who did extraordinary things under extremely difficult circumstances and it is very important to me that my children know about those on my side who fought and those on my husband’s side who sacrificed so much to connect them with these great heroic acts.

I’ve been blessed by having a Mum whose research into our own ancestral lines began 40+ years ago whereas my own journey as an #AncestrySleuth began roughly 10 years ago where we started to combine our efforts! It even led to a ‘match’ of finding living cousins in Sweden, of whom we thankfully had the chance to meet in Autumn 2017! We personally love the archives and the resources attached to FamilySearch.org as the services they provide are blessedly ‘free’ and all the information on Ancestry.com (which is a paid service) is available for ‘free’ as well as they share their databases. Towards that end, I even participated in a records updating weekend once which proved how tedious it is to update records and how thankful all of us are for the hours dedicated volunteers world-wide are giving to these records/databases to help us all interconnect with lost relatives and ancestral heritage (both living and dead).

Yes, and no. You’d be surprised — I knew in my early twenties I wanted to adopt my future children and despite being comfortable on my path, whenever I go to talk about how I intend to have children (through adoption) you’d be properly surprised how much negatively people project on you and how dedicated they are to tell you the choice you’ve made (for your own life, mind you!) is the wrong one! I never would have thought of all the topics and subjects the general public would feel the right to debate with you, the path you take towards mumhood would be one they would feel most inclined to argue!

Therefore, in many ways, I still see us a bit behind the times when it comes to Adoption – this is why there are many campaigns to re-think how people see adoption and how adoption is still not the option most families are willing to make to either expand or start their families. I wish it were different but the facts do not lie. We’re as closed-minded to adoption now as we were in the Regency in so many ways and that is something I hope will change within my lifetime.

I truly believe as you do – a healthier way forward is to know our past, to examine it, draw strength from it and to continue to ‘tell the living histories’ of our families if only to keep the voices of the past alive, present and acknowledged! I grew up with these kinds of stories myself and they re-etch an impression about yourself, your family and the legacies we all leave behind – some in larger ways than others but all of us have stories to share, tell and honour.

How did you decide on the surname Haversham? It is a rather unique choice and I was wondering if there might be a story behind it? Also, what is your process for selecting the names of your characters overall?

Matern responds: My husband, who is not English by birth, loves these types of quintessential English surnames and is often popping them into conversations. Haversham, Flaversham, Faversham. So it was a nod to him.

Choosing a name for a character is a bit like choosing a name for a baby – I want it to fit. Her name had to be Francesca because of the Italian-French connection so then I wanted a very English surname to pair it with. Then I say my character’s  full names out loud to make sure they have a good ring to them.

I always want to use very traditional names as the first names of my characters. (Langley is not very traditional but is a name of an ancestor of mine so I felt I could use it.) Then I use google to search English surnames that have several syllables (these seem more regal to me) or I look through my family tree for the perfect name. Septimus Sladden is an actual ancestor of mine. The minute I found him I knew I was going to use that name in a book.

Charles Dickens was so very clever with his name choices and JK Rowling too, as often the name tells us about the character. I hope to be able to imitate that in the future.

OOh, I am so glad you’ve mentioned this!! As this is part of my own process for selecting names for my own characters! I even have a lovely Baby Name Book which is multi-ethnic and pulls names from various ethnic backgrounds world-wide as well as various spellings therein! I can go off in small tangents of research just to dig up the Etymology of the names I’ve chosen to see if perhaps, I was choosing the right ‘name’ so to speak at any given time! Much like I would if it were naming a child of mine, to see if I honed in on their personality and the potential they would have in life to fill the shoes behind the name.

I thought your idea of combining the Italian name for ‘French’ as a nod to both Francesca’s Italian heritage but French set Adoption was a stroke of brilliance!

I shall readily admit – when it comes to old English names, I am as addicted to them as your husband! This is one reason I am thankful I’m personally British three times to Sunday! The names and titles alone in my ancestral lines are lushly addictive to research!

Yes! Isn’t it interesting how the names of our ancestors take us by shocked surprise? I have many revelations like this on my own family tree – but also, of whom they were, where they were bourne and where they ended their lives as they moved round quite frequently!

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Blog Book Tour | Double-Showcase: Reading my next installment of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort) and feat. an interview with Julie Matern!The Secret of Haversham House
by Julie Matern
Source: Direct from publisher via SLB Tours

Eighteen-year-old Francesca Haversham is privileged, beautiful, and naive. Lineage, titles, and wealth are the ultimate virtues among nineteenth-century English aristocracy, and Francesca is elite society's newest and most celebrated debutante from one of England's most illustrious families. Her pedigree is impeccable - or is it?

Her coming-out ball brings iwth it the appearance of one Mr. Langley Ashbourne, and Francesca is immediately taken in by his handsome features and flattering words. But not everything is as it seems, and flowery comments can only hide dark truths for so long. Meanwhile, a long-buried secret creeps ever closer to the light, one that would destroy her comfortable life, tarnish her family's character, and ruin all hopes of a reputable marriage.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462122073

Also in this series: Willow Springs, Sophia, The Second Season, To Suit a Suitor, Mischief & Manors, Unexpected Love, Lies & Letters, The Darkest Summer, Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 12th June, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 231

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

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

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Converse via: #Regency or #RegencyRomance, #HistFic or #HistoricalRomance

#INSPYRom, #SweetRomance OR #HistRom; #Adoption

→ #SecretOfHavershamHouse

About Julie Matern

Julie Matern

Julie Matern is a resident of Utah. She attended the University of Exeter in Exeter, England, and graduated with a double major in French and Education. She was born and raised in England, moving to America after her marriage and is the mother of six children.

She has served in the PTA for over 20 years, taught tap dance, and enjoys amateur photography. She is the author of ‘British War Children’ (for which she received a “Recommended Read” award from the League of Utah Writers) and ‘British War Children 2: An Enemy Among Us’.

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my review of the secret of haversham house:

As a woman who will be adopting her children in the future, I know of the selfless act it is to give a child to another woman to raise – such as how Francesca’s Mum found the Haversham’s and chose to give her babe a second chance at life away from her family in Italy. The choice she carried deep within her soul was one of both renewing hope and despair – to find a couple you can entrust with your newbourne child, without too much to go by other than the kind of character you can observe of them from afar and then, to simply walk away after placing your child in their care,… the courage it would have taken Isabella to do this! Not only because it would be a sealed (closed) non-traditional adoption – but it would inveribly be the final chance she’d have to see her daughter whilst she was alive, unless their path was fated to re-cross.

The way in which Ms Matern has presented the grieving couple’s hard reconciliation of not being able to bear their own children against the tender plea of a child’s mother to consider her daughter as their own – the juxtaposition of emotions and of circumstances truly knits into your heart. All of this of course, is playing out when Francesca is barely a whisper of a breath into her new life – a fleeting memory in the winds of a previous birth origin and a second chance at finding her wings inside a family who would adore her as their own blood.

Shortly after we learnt of Francesca’s true origins, we arrive at her ball – the kind I am used to attending in London during the Season, as this one reminds me of the country balls Ms Austen is infamous for portraying for us. Her ever best friend Annabelle (her dearest cousin) is at her side for the duration, extending her curiosities about which of the potential beaus has caught Francesca’s eye and of which gentleman she’s most intrigued about overall. It wasn’t until Mr Ashbourne made his late entrance did we start to see the interest flicker inside Francesca’s heart! Her immediate reaction to Ashbourne mirrored her cousins, as the two girls’ share a fondness for the same blokes quite regularly.

As we make the transition back to Italy, where the birth origins of Francesca were surely to be found at some point, we find a grieving father who is struggling to come to terms with the fact he is an unsuspecting grandfather as Isabella’s long-harboured secret is finally ‘let out’. Giorgio isn’t your typical father – for he lead with his faith and his heart in equal measures of compassionate understanding. For his heart was shattered realising the connection to this only grandchild was fractured and lost; a secret he never knew himself until it was nearly to late to reconcile and yet, the truth was not shocking to his beliefs. For a child can come prematurely and unexpectedly, but irregardless of how the child arrives, the child is still his kin. You really are cheering for Giorgio in this instance – realising the love of a grandfather triumphs over social customs!

Ms Matern happily shifts between the Italian connection to Francesca’s heritage and her living time-line where she is in full attempt of finding her true match – in both heart and matrimony! I had a fever of a giggle realising her childhood friend Phillip and her are a bit at odds; he would prefer something more tangible than friendship but she’s all but exhausted by his presence at this point, charmed by the manners of another rather mysterious bloke as no one in her intimate circle is sharing details about Mr Ashbourne which of course lends its own curiosity to a young woman bent on finding someone to draw a courtship together.

Bella is a dear!! She’s the very kind of best friend a girl in the Regency would love to have – being she’s also related (as she’s a Cousin) makes it sweeter, even if she was one of the first to vocalise how different Francesca looks to the rest of the family. If anyone might have questioned ancestral connections, it would be Bella but her kind-hearted manners might have prevented the oversight she indulged in without realising what her observation was telling her about the truth behind Francesca’s birth origins. Bella is the cheerleader of cousins – finding rapt joy in nearly all of life and wants to be the merry best friend in rushing in each new morn with something bright and cheerful to relay to her beloved Francesca! You can readily see how the girls’ formed their tight-knit bond, as each of them supports the other unconditionally.

She had always been a pretty child with her wild, ebony hair, but it was her high spiritedness that he enjoyed so much. She was given to gesticulating with abandon when impassioned and had a fiery temper when crossed but not in such a way as to make anyone angry and her outbursts were all soon forgotten. She had a little dog whom she loved dearly and a horse whom she spoiled. Even as a young girl she had been an excellent equestrian. In fact, he had never met her match.

She hated to rise early and he had learned to avoid her before noon, and she dearly loved to dance; he had been chosen to be her dancing partner on many a wet afternoon.

-quoted from The Secret of Haversham House by Julie Matern, with permission of the publisher

Peering into how Phillip talks about Francesca, we can gather his earnest admiration on her behalf but also, a telling insight into her own character! I love how portions of The Secret of Haversham House are playfully echoing Pride and Prejudice as well as other fondly beloved tales of Jane Austen! You can tell immediately which of the stories are influencing the sequences but for me, I readily pick out the ones from Pride being it’s the one I’ve read the most and sadly, if truth be told, the only one I’ve finished reading (something I wish to alter in August!).

It is refreshing to see the perspective from a bloke in a Regency – of seeing how they view their own affairs and the countenance of the girls’ they are most keen on pursuing as it allows us a better vantage point of understanding the fuller scope of what is at play! The Regency is rife with drama – of who or whom shall find their true love’s match and which of them, shall in the end, be shocked by the discovery of how close their match had lived so near and dear to them all along? I love finding Romances in Regency which tickle your fancy for endearing you to believe one set of truths before it exchanges them for another – sometimes you catch on the right direction of where a romantic match can become tethered and other times,… the folly is best spent in suspension of knowledge, letting all the scenes take their queue and let the revelations amuse you! Thus, I found myself happily entrenched in following the footsteps of Ms Matern’s characters and bemused myself over which of them would be most aghast to realise to ‘whom’ their affections would be returnt!

The further Francesca’s grandfather digs into the past, the more hidden truths emerge – such as a lost love and the ache of how one lost connection can rob a person blind of all future happiness. This is a key to understanding the backbone of the story – of how in our regrets, we must find peace, of how sometimes our lives might not pan out as we had hoped but if we hold back from accepting the happiness which alights in our lives, we will truly find ourselves lost in the future when the days are shorter in which we can thrive. This was not limited to being true for the grandfather but also, of Antonio (Isabella’s lost love). We are privy to Antonio’s thoughts and anguished memories – observing how young love was tempted past station and knitted out of the youthfulness of ‘first love’. It is a rare treat to read the back-story of their romance as a ‘flashback’ sequence which felt more like a memorial spun through a conversation of the past.

It is a compelling story – as the persons most invested into Francesca are people she might have overlooked (ie. her close friends or acquaintances) or never known (ie. her birth mother and grandfather) – they are the ones who believe in her with unconditional acceptance. Their fervent wishes are to have her secure only the best of what life can offer to where she is embracing the grace which has filled her life with happiness. You can tuck into the chapters where Ms Matern is allowing her characters to take time to endeavour to sort out the truths they seek whilst we get to observe how this story evolved through one secreted adoption which altered the lives all the parties involved. One fated secret can cast long shadows over both the present and the past; as only in death can such secrets burst back to the foreground revealling connections you may or may not be fully prepared to accept.

There are some beguiling layers to the story behind the ‘secret’ of the Haversham House – most importantly, there are those attempting to spin their own ‘ending’ for Francesca, of forcing her hand towards a match she might not find to be true for her to accept. These are a crafty lot and as you get to see more of their personal nature revealled, the more you wish to see them undone! They truly have missed the point somewhere along the way – about being above-board, honourable and at the very least, supportive rather than cunning and controlling! Towards this end, you had to start to question – is the secret really referencing Francesca’s origins or was it something a bit murkier than mere birthright?

What an absolute cad! Matern has given me quite the vile villain in her tale to find abhorringly rakish without even a modicum of remorse! I sensed his character was questionable but to find out the truth of the matter – let’s just say, Francesca is fiercely blessed to have such a trusted friend in Phillip!! His true light and essence shines throughout the novel yet even moreso, in his ardent pursuit of truth as he attempts to shield and protect Francesca from an unknown foe!

Self-identity is a tricky undertaking – not just for the writer, but for the person. It draws to question, what do we attach our identity on? The persons we knew whilst we were being raised or the persons we never knew but are of our own blood relation all the same? When it comes to adoptive children, if the adoption is withheld from being acknowledged, I would presume this would cause greater duress as it allows a fracture to occur in the person’s fortitude of confidence. To oft you will find self-confidence and self-esteem are cross-related to a person’s identity – both perceived and known. If a portion of who you are is suddenly questioned or outright altered from what you knew whilst growing up – how would this news affect your own perspective on the question of ‘who’ you are now?

Ms Matern draws these heady questions together as she places Francesca on a colliding course with her own living truth – of where her parents are indeed her parents (as all adoptive Mums and Da’s are to their children) but of where her birth mother and her maternal grandfather were not as readily identified. It is a story of perception, of legacy and of society’s critical eye on scandalous situations the ton were not very keen on accepting. Scandal was too easily conceived and to even hint a person’s heritage was not of the purity it was readily accepted as being was enough to erase one’s hope for a secured future.

Ms Matern writes a redemptive story threading through dual time-lines of purpose – first through Francesca as a recently debuted debutante of eighteen and then, through the arduous search of a grandfather who finds himself lost for purpose in Italy.

on the Regency & historical styling of julie matern:

A strength of Ms Matern is allocating Regency realism to parlay into her #HistRom The Secret of Haversham House – whereby, you feel as if you can settle into her narrative rather easily without feeling as if something is misplaced or left out. She delights the reader who appreciates the Regency, as she has definitely spent time researching and reading the era to give us the visual clues we’re accustomed to finding whilst delighting our romantic side as well!

It is how she endears you to the journey back towards finding Francesca from the perspective of her grandfather which is what intrigues you the most! You get lost in his fervent attempts to uncover the lost information, the small bits of truth lingering in the minds of those still hanging onto life where their memories are nearly as lost as time itself. His hopefulness and his dedication to find Francesca are achingly real. You can feel his vexation with himself, for the errors of the past, the mistakes he hadn’t realised he had made and the anguish of grief which threatened to be his end.

Similarly, when Ms Matern turns the tables a bit on Francesca’s father (her adopted father: Mr Haverhsham) we view his life from his father’s point-of-view – seeing the lengths the upper class will go to ensure a winsome match for marriage, where even when a party is of independence thought and mind; there can be manipulations afoot. What struck me of interest in this segue, is how well in-tuned Matern is with the inner workings of the ton – how they justified their actions and how everything boiled down to status, wealth and stablity of one’s legacy.

I am definitely in favour of reading more of her Regency Romances and/or Historical Romances if she chooses to write outside the Regency era. She has an old world style and a foresight for how to tell a story which feels as if it were published in the 19th Century rather than the 21st! The only thing which threw me a bit were when she wrote ‘Mr.’ instead of ‘Mr’ and I had longed to see some of the words spelt in Old English vs Contemporary American as they would have befitted her vision for this novel even moreso than how it was initially told. However, despite those omissions what I loved the most is the credibility in telling an adoptive story and search for oneself at a time when entering adulthood lies on uncertain ground.

A notation about Adoption:

One of the most uplifting reasons to read The Secret of Haversham House is how Ms Matern addresses Adoption, especially from the Haversham’s perspective, of whom are Francesca’s adoptive parents, not her grandparents, of whom in this instance reflect the wider misconceptions about adoptive children. From the very beginning of the novel, the tone was upbeat and reflective of a couple who lean hard on their faith to transition through their adversities but also, to find understanding in their darker hours. For them, not conceiving children was a difficult path to walk and it is through their faith they felt they had become blessed by Francesca, a daughter they longed to have but never could conceive on their own.

From those tender first moments as parents straight through the narrative itself, winding through the secreted mysteries plaguing the status quo – they were the parents you hope every adopted child is blessed to receive as their own. They stood their ground when it was disfavourable and they spoke about how through their faith, Adoption had a purpose and a place in their lives inasmuch on a very humanistic level, their need to become parents was as real as breathing and life itself. They ached to be a Mum and Dad to a child and through Francesca entering their lives they felt fulfilled in this regard. Over and beyond their faith, being parents instilled in them a purpose they never regretted accepting.

I personally love to seek out pro-positive stories about Adoption and this one is definitely one to champion if you are seeking the same! It also highlights the ‘other’ points of view which are not favourable and which are rife with negativity; as those are equally valid to represent as not everyone has a healthy view and understanding about Adoption. You cannot walk blind through life to other people’s prejudicial views and this is where The Secret of Haversham House excells in painting a positive light on how to deflect, handle and rise above such disfavourable disclosures.

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A Conversation with Julie Matern: Part II

Which minor character in the story did you have the most fun writing about and why? What made them stand out in the writing process?

Matern responds: I had fun writing about Katherine and Annabelle – the cousins who were so opposite. Annabelle so plain and kind and comfortable in her own skin and Katherine so beautiful but prickly and negative. Unfortunately, this is very true in real life. The attractive, popular kids are often not very friendly and are hyper-judgemental and the less attractive kids are so fun to be around and accepting.

Katherine was interesting to develop because she is so unlike me that it was a challenge to try and make someone like her real to the reader. I drew on experiences I had had with prickly people.

You’ve described Katherine so very aptly here!! I did not find Katherine to be a character of whom I would consider ‘easily approachable’ as she had such a difficult personality! I would say you’ve aced this presentation of ‘prickly people’ as she did come across as the person most to avoid if you were not stepping softly round her curiously pessimistic views.

What did you like the most about the romantic hero of the story? Was it something about his personality or his background which gave you the most joy to write?

Matern responds: I personally find romantic heroes much more appealing if they are lacking in confidence. Think Edward Ferrars. Darcy really becomes attractive when we see a softer side of him with Georgiana and when he is confessing that he was shaken by Elizabeth’s refusal and is worried that she will reject him again. And we all love Bingley! Phillip Waverley, in my story, is so vulnerable because of his fear of rejection by Francesca. This really endears him to me.

It was Phillip’s personality that I loved creating as I meshed characteristics from my husband and my grown sons to develop him. I particularly enjoyed cultivating his spiritual side.

Phillip is the quiet knight in ‘The Secret of Haversham House’ as he is true to both himself and to those he has attached his honour. He finds duty in honouring those he finds affection but also, to the honour of how to go about finding a partner in life. He definitely felt like a lovely mash of inspirations – I could also see a lot of Darcy in him, as I saw a lot of overshadows from ‘Pride’ throughout the novel even though there were strong hintings of the rest of Austen’s canon!

Of the three countries: England, Italy and France (as they are showcased in the novel) – which one personally held an element of surprise for you to discover whilst visiting them? Where were you and what made you feel caught in the awe of the moment? Was a particular place or something else you experienced?

Matern responds: I lived in Grasse the summer after my freshman year at college. I had only ever traveled in northern and central France and I think I had expected it to be similar to them but it was culturally so different. The north can be gray and dull but the south is so colorful and vibrant. I arrived at the apartment where I was to stay and it was a modest, modern block of about eight apartments with very boring architecture, especially when compared to the older part of the town. But when I opened the shutters (all French homes have shutters for the windows) the view was the view from the villa that I describe in the book. It took my breath away. As a city girl from London I had never seen anything quite like it.

My goodness! I think I would have felt as in awe as you did if I had opened similar shutters! To be so connected to a setting as this allowed you to be would have felt soul-lifting! Being a fellow city dweller, I must admit, this is one reason I love spending time in rural areas if only to be reminded there is more to see and breathe than city streets! The dichotomy between the North and South of France though is what truly startled me as I hadn’t heard of this descriptive acuity before – so thank you!

Ideally, if you could paint a portrait of your favourite Regency setting – what would it look like and what would you love to be doing if you could time travel back into that ‘moment’ of history?

Matern responds: I love the grounds of stately homes – they are so big and manicured, so I think it would have to be a manor house set in a beautiful garden and there would have to be croquet. But I would need to stay for the evening ball – who wouldn’t love to dress up in all that finery and dance like that!

Ooh my, yes!! Exactly as you’ve described the scene, I could well see myself inserted!

As you’re a historical author of both adult and children’s stories – what do you feel will be your dual niche? Writing Regency Romances and war dramas for children or do you plan to write outside both focuses as well? What can we look forward to you next in regards to a new Regency stand-alone or developing a series set in the Regency when your not writing the children’s novels?

Matern responds: I used to wonder how author’s came up with ideas for their novels. Now that I have written some I seem to have ideas bounce through my head quite often! I have recently finished another Regency Romance manuscript that is undergoing the editing process and while writing it I have had several ideas for more. I really am enjoying this genre. However, I am also feeling pulled to finish my children’s series about WWII so that is definitely in my plans for the future. I do have an idea for an inspirational middle grade book about coping with the ups and downs of being a teenager of faith in today’s world and I would love to take a shot at writing a mystery.

I am overjoyed you’ve written a second Regency Romance – as I truly am looking forward to seeing how this new story-line shall play out. I know of your Children’s Lit releases but I think the Middle Grade INSPY novel might be well-timed as well. Mysteries are my indulgences – I can never tire of them and it will be keen to see if you write a Cosy Historical Mystery, a captivating Thriller or a cunning Suspense!

When you’re not researching or writing your stories what uplifts your spirit the most?

Matern responds: This will sound cliche but it’s spending time with my family. I am one of those moms who was sad when summer was over and the kids were going back to school.

I never feel it’s cliche to admit we appreciate the company of our family – if we were not to be closely connected to our families, how then would we celebrate life’s joys or endure the adversities?

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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 readers who picked up the same story to read.

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{SOURCES: Book cover of “The Secret of Haversham House”, synopsis, author photograph of Julie Matern, author biography, Quote badge from “The Secret of Haversham House”, the blog tour banner and SLB Tours badge were all provided by SLB Tours and used with permission. The quotation from “The Secret of Haversham House” is being used with permission of the publisher per the copyright notice which grants the permission for it to be used. 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 Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banner.}

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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 Saturday, 28 July, 2018 by jorielov in Adoption, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, France, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Italy, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Sweet Romance, the Regency era, Women's Fiction




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