Audiobook Review | “To Wed an Heiress” (Book One: Pevensey Mysteries) by Rosanne E. Lortz These are the Regency Romantic Suspense novels I simply find #unputdownable and blissfully engaging!

Posted Tuesday, 2 October, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “To Wed an Heiress” direct from the author Roseanne E. Lortz in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What I previously enjoyed about reading ‘The Duke’s Last Hunt’:

How oft are you privileged to enter a carriage whilst a discussion is slowly starting to dissolve into a bit of a row? (here, I refer to a heated argument!) Not oft, you say? I do agree with you – yet this is how we came to meet our lady heroine Eliza and her disagreeable Mum and Da (Lady Malcolm and Sir Arthur). Not surprisingly, the topic of the moment is encompassing the ill fate of Eliza’s 3rd London Season without much hope of a bid on her hand, save for one – from an awkward suitor  the Duke of Brockenhurst – titled prospects are keenly sought after in regards to those wishing to either marry into or stay married inside the ton (the upper elite of society; the aristocracy). Eliza herself is not convinced this is a wise placement – she finds the bloke more than tiresome and without much joy in conversation.

One of the joys for me about period dramas and Roms, are the upstairs/downstairs dichotomy where staff, residents and guests are having to side step each other at times and at different intervals remind themselves they can be cordial with each other; shaking off some of their reserved formality. I was not shocked when Eliza took the staff off-guard by her conveyance of pleasantries upon arrival at Harrowhaven; as such exchanges are very rarely the norm! This did nothing to assuage the anxiety Eliza felt upon being at the estate, knowing what was at stake. Her misgivings were more directed towards her (potential) suitor’s mother – a woman she never met and of whom left her waiting to meet. Not exactly instilling the best of confidences! Eliza read between the lines of their guide the enigmatic housekeeper Mrs Forsythe, who was also at times quite evasively vague in her responses!

Segued from Eliza and her parents arrival, we find the dear Duke has a bedeviled brother named Henry! His oats are not nearly sown quite yet but his scorn for his brother is palatable even in short distance! Most of his consternation is the fact that he was passed over on inheritance and had to live underneath his brother – by both means and title. Inheritances were quite wrought with folly back then; they either burdened you, freed you or gave you a nightmare of patience to endure whilst siblings quibbled about what was fair and what was just in regards to procuring a proper disbursement of funds! Thus, for whichever reason, Henry decided to add his hat to the fray – dropping in on his dear mother and brother at the height of their ‘house party’ of which the Malcolms were invited but without explanation (although you could gather Sir Arthur had a singular mind towards what he hoped it would be inclusive of). Henry’s intentions of vexing his brother something fierce left me in a chuckle! Such a rat! Laughs. He’d prefer to cause a scene and disrupt the order of the estate than to take a more tactful approach to resolve his grievances! Despite his flaws, he made one keen observation – the Duke rarely keeps acceptable company! Perhaps this is a subtle nod to hint towards a hidden secret to why his brother would pitch for Eliza’s hand?! Perhaps not as straight-forwarded of an offer as Eliza dared hope?

Lortz balanced this Rom Suspense with a potboiler of a drama – slow building like a wicked good stew, where each new ingredient towards the reveall was well worth the wait to appear! She writes a Regency you immediately love reading in other words!

-quoted from my review of The Duke’s Last Hunt

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Audiobook Review | “To Wed an Heiress” (Book One: Pevensey Mysteries) by Rosanne E. Lortz These are the Regency Romantic Suspense novels I simply find #unputdownable and blissfully engaging!To Wed an Heiress
Subtitle: A Novel of Romantic Suspense
by Rosanne E. Lortz
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Narrator: Verona Westbrook

Haro Emison, thrust into his new role as Earl of Anglesford, discovers that his late father has left the family teetering on the edge of financial ruin. Intent on rescuing the estate, Haro abandons his long-held interest in his cousin Eda and searches instead for a wealthy heiress. But when pride and jealousy cause his plan to spiral out of control, he begins to wonder if he has made a dreadful mistake….

Eda Swanycke is enjoying her first season in London when her debut comes to a crashing halt. Jilted by her cousin, she suffers the indignity of watching Haro’s new intended lay claim to his person and position. But when a brutal murder upends the household with Haro as chief suspect, Eda must put her wounded pride aside, match wits with the investigator from London, and try, at all costs, to save Haro Emison’s neck from the gallows….

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ASIN: B071J91QN8

Also by this author: The Duke's Last Hunt

Also in this series: The Duke's Last Hunt, A Duel for Christmas, A Duel for Christmas


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by Madison Street Publishing

on 2nd June, 2017

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 7 hours, 30 minutes (unabridged)

Published By: Madison Street Publishing (@MStPublishing)

Pevensey Mysteries:

To Wed an Heiress

The Duke’s Last Hunt (see also Review)

A Duel for Christmas *forthcoming review

Converse via: #HistoricalRom, #HistoricalSuspense, #Regency, #RomSusp
Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook and E-Book

About Ms Rosanne E. Lortz

Roseanne E. Lortz

Rosanne E. Lortz is a writer, editor, teacher, history-lover, and mom to four boys. She loves to read, sing, draw, compose, write, and create. Education is one of her passions, particularly a classical, liberal arts education. She has taught English composition and grammar, Latin, history, music, and various other subjects for ten years at both the elementary and secondary level and is currently the Director of Academics and Admissions at Paideia Classical Christian School in Gladstone, Oregon.

Rosanne’s first book, I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince, was released in 2009. This book explores the tumultuous landscape surrounding the Hundred Years’ War and the Black Death and is a tale of arms, of death, of love, and of honor. In 2015, Rosanne began her Pevensey mysteries, novels of romantic suspense set during the British Regency (with inspiration from medieval characters and events). The first three titles are: To Wed an Heiress, The Duke’s Last Hunt, and A Duel for Christmas.

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My Review of to wed an heiress:

Mr Godwin had the unfortunate task of informing Lady Anglesford the stability she was accustomed to having was no more. For her husband had not spent his monies wisely nor had he invested in anything sound to leave behind in his absence – instead, he spent more than his share carelessly and erratically carrying more debt than he had income to cover what was owed. It would be hard to imagine what she must have been thinking receiving this kind of news – yet instead of the tailspin it would place most people inside, Lady Angelsford took a different tact. She saw the hardship in the secrecy from her husband and chose to rise above this recent news to seek out the good which was still in her life. A way of reducing the debts but also by having a reduction in assets as well. Her fortitude of mind was impressive, considering how recent death of her husband – how ironic it would all seem as well.

Haro, the eldest son is faced with a devastating reality – without the security of an allowance per year, or even, the assets his father let slip through their fingers, he was at a loss how to keep the engagement to his cousin Eda honourable. For her, it was an equally difficult blow – as they grew up together and they had an understanding between them. What was difficult even more than thinking your life was altering in front of yourself before you can even grasp the fullness of those changes is how every move you make next would be weighed against a quick fix in securing an heiress who might be able to pull the family out from under (at least financially speaking).

From Eda’s perspective, the loss of Haro in her life had to be difficult – she had already lost quite a bit in her life, but this second loss felt a bit more dire as she was on the eve of coming into her own now. She was already out in society, seeking the attentions of other men and attempting to make her own match out of the lot as Haro was no longer in contention. Eda was not the kind to forgive and forget – if anything there was a stirring of bad blood between them as a result of the news of Haro’s fate. Haro for his part still wanted to provide for Eda as much as for the rest of his family – but how to return back to a status of liquidity if everyone and everything was stacked against oneself?

Haro was desperate to find a resolution for his family – even if that meant he had to swing an alliance with a tradesman in order to broker a marriage of means to re-float his family’s coffers. What felt like a solution on the surface, felt more like a settlement for debts not of his own – in many ways, of course, that is how things were resolved in the Regency. If a family fell on difficult times, marriage was the way forward – marrying well and marrying quickly was the way to erase the rumours and the issues which financial crises would bring to a family. The hard bit to resolve of course, is when you make choices out of desperation, is happiness ever part of the equation or is it mostly a selfless act of saving face and restoring the family’s legacy to a footing which society could not nip out from under them with criticism?

Arabella was an equal in mind and countenance to Haro, though Haro observed she was not considered an equal in her father’s eyes. Something which struck Haro as curious as he was used to allowing women to be themselves, even if their mind had a knack for business or observations relevant to the men’s discussions. The gall of Hastings discussing the details of what Haro needed to restore his family’s status came easier for Arabella’s father but when it came time for Haro to return the kindness to share what he could do for Arabella, it was Haro who nearly hesitated without completing the task of securing an understanding with Hastings. You truly feel for Haro here – he’s between a rock and a hard place. He’s not willing to think he can do nothing to savage his family’s decline from society but at the same time, how far was he willing to sacrifice his own happiness in order to right the wrongs his father subjected them too?

When Torin started arguing with Haro about securing an agreement with Arabella was an interesting turn of events – as Torin knew as well as Haro, a match was needed post haste, rather than listening to one’s own heart when it comes to romance and love. If Haro could have his way, you could sense he would have staid by Eda’s side – but his hands were forced to make choices which went against his heart. Even his mother, was filled with remorse over the actions Haro was taking to pull his family out from beyond. The hardest bit to resolve I think for all of them is the tragedy of it – of how blindsided they were by the news from Mr Godwin and how necessary it was for Haro to attempt to act the hero if only to find some measurable stability where there seemed to be no other way to secure it.

You sympathised with Eda – even if some of her actions could not be condoned, you could see why she was trying the patience with Haro and his newfound fiance in Arabella. She was frustrated and disappointed – but to take an action to place Arabella in danger felt a bit much even for her but then, when passions rise and the heart feels spurned by love, even this actions she took against the girl felt it was rightly in-line with high emotions.

Eda was not the only one who was feeling Arabella was the wrong fit for Haro – not for the same reasons Eda took issue with the girl but even as his Uncle pointed out – Arabella did not have the head for understanding running an estate as well as Haro had himself. Arabella had her own mind about things and wanted to do things that went against convention or tradition but Haro always felt she had the best of intentions; even if she was slightly wayward in her way of thinking. Haro was sure he was making the right choice – to marry for wealth and security rather than to lean on someone close to the family who could possibly help them over this hurdle. Still, as you listen to Haro explain things – his heart and his mind were in conflict with each other – almost as if the duty he was afforded as his title eluded was dictating where he felt his obligation should also lie.

There was a bit of felicity of subterfuge on behalf of Eda who wanted to undercut Arabella’s confidence in wanting to wed Haro. It was Haro who was paused for thought about why Eda would place him in circumstances which could worsen his state past where it were after his father’s death; the only thing he could surmise was her inability to ‘let go’ of their relationship and/or the loss of his father was much too shocking for her to return back from… both thoughts were distressing to Haro, as he still cared for her even if her behaviours were drawing him closer to losing all hope for his own future.

Uniquely the criticism against Arabella was not limited to Eda – Haro’s own valet and the rest of the downstairs staff had a completely different impression about the girl than Haro. So much so, the outcry of discomfort did not surprise Haro’s ears as much as it should have – it gave a clue towards how he was thinking about his personal and private matters. If he had been more shocked, I might have felt he was fully decided about his future and the choice he had made – but to see how reacted to his staff coming to him with the truths he hadn’t been privy to himself, it gave a nod towards how honourable Haro was despite the discomforting fact he was shortly to become without means.

You are almost not quite prepared for the suspenseful turn this novel takes – the ease you established listening to Ms Westbrook narrating the tale did not yield to a foreshadow of future events in-line with the tumultuous romance. If anything, similar to Haro, we, the reader(s) are just as aghast as to what happened as he was himself! I credit this to how Ms Lortz had led us into the situations surrounding this whole torrid affair – how our defences were abated by the seemingly straight to the point circumstances surrounding Haro and his family; of how innocent Arabella seemed to present herself as a willing fiance and how difficult it was for Eda to find herself sidelined for an outsider.

There were so many moving parts up til the point where Ms Lortz threw in the wench to the wheel – of how to disarm their status quo and how to needle in a plot twist which not only fit so organically into the flow of the story, it was nearly as if there was a harbinger at work somewhere in the background when we were not paying attention to smaller details which might have led us to contemplate this sooner rather than finding us struggling to see how it all unravelled right before our very eyes! I loved how Ms Lortz immediately established the law in the throes of the investigation but also, how everyone who had been present was caught as unawares as we (the readers) and thereby, no one really knew how to shift forward.

To Wed an Heiress is the kind of Historical Romance I can honestly disappear inside as there is a keen sense of the prosperity and propriety resplendent of the Regency – as soon as you start listening to the audiobook: you are swept back into the years of balls, marriage markets and where the ton were unforgiving when it comes to changes in circumstances and status. You get caught up in how she’s set the stage for this first entry into the series – as there was an urgency running through the narrative. Of how time was of not just the essence but it was the one thing Haro could control if only in small ways to stem the effects of his errant father. He had the chance to find a way to circumvent the damages but it was time he needed to best sort out the right way forward – yet, Ms Lortz shows how sometimes when your young and determined, time is not something you want to forestall. You simply want to find the answer, act on whatever you need to do to ensure it and pick up your life from whence it was starting to take a downward ‘pause’. Even if of course, taking such a rash course of action might not yield the outcome you were most hoping to seek out?

This is how Lortz entices you into the folds of her Regency Romances – where they are equally divided between the allure of a Romantic Suspense and the keen sensibility of a Regency Romance – the benefit being your taking a lovely stroll of insight backwards into the Regency, populated by characters who are as realistic as the voices given to them by Ms Westbrook and of whom, you become immediately attached too. I love her innate style for these captivating mysteries but also for her cunning sense of how to give us new stories in the Regency which grab our hearts, our minds and our imaginations. She truly has a well-rounded style of Historical Romance to where you neither want to see one of her stories end or be too far away from reading your next installment!

On how Ms Lortz wrote the Regency:

The drama behind this situation is etched out through Lortz’s characters – as each of them are entering into the despair from different perspectives. Even the cousin, Eda has a role in the aftermath as this effected her the most by all rights and then, of course, the mother, Lady Angelsford who only wanted the best for her sons. Lortz showed the grief in Lady Angelsford by how she acted around Eda and how she hoped against the drastic measures Haro was considering to fix what her husband had left for them to resolve.

Ms Lortz has a keen eye for the fashions of the Regency – the way Ms Westbrook described the fashions within this installment of the series was a true delight! I loved how she brought to life the clothes Ms Lortz featured on her characters but also, of how classy she selected the clothes to fit the personalities of her characters. Each of them had their own unique style and that particular style brought out who they were in personality; as it rightly should but in this instance with the narrator moving us forward into the context of the story itself, it all came together rather beautifully.

Lortz brings an equal balance between the upstairs and the downstairs climates – letting us peer into the way the staff see their positions and the people they serve whilst we benefit from Ms Lortz dual perspectives of her settings. This was something I loved and championed about her approach of story-telling within the pages of The Duke’s Last Hunt and I was most thrilled to see was inclusive to her first installment To Wed an Heiress as it has its own appeal of realism for the Regency to find these perspectives brought forward.

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About Verona Westbrook

Narrators banner made by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Neil Godding.

If your curious about where to find Ms Westbrook online, kindly visit her links and get to know the voice behind the 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 is the first time I’ve listened to a story narrated by Verona Westbrook and I must say, she has a compelling voice to be attached to stories of the Regency.

Regards to the Narrator’s Individual Character performances:

Lady Anglesford: Her voice is similar to the one Ms Westbrook used for the general narration of the story with subtle differences. When you hear Lady Angelsford come into scene, her voice is slightly raised and she has an articulation which befits her standing in Regency society; even if of course, her standing is in danger of being greatly reduced. She has that ‘stiff upper lip’ in her voice which proves that no matter what befalls you, strength can be pulled from the deepest part of yourself – this was evidenced by how Westbrook approached her characterisation and it was one I fancied as it worked well for the character.

Haro: There is a strength in his voice despite his faltering assurance of his future. He is the kind of man who tries to see the potential of hope rather than to feel all is already lost. You had to sympathise with his plight – his voice moved through his emotions and emphasised how he was between a rock and a hard place for most of the story.

Secondary characters:

Torin: (Haro’s brother): The younger brother of Haro goes off a bit half-cocked at times, where his impulses doe not serve him well. I almost wished Torin could have been around a bit more often as his presence was one I enjoyed as far as supporting cast goes.

Eda: The one girl you immediately feel for and connect with is Eda. The one who was promised the hand of her cousin and who had lost him not from death but by the tragedy of financial ruin. Still what pulls you to her person is her unwilling ability to simply cast Haro out of her life despite the fact she liked to rib him as if she did.

Arabella: Her voice was a bit meeker than Eda’s – a bit less in confidence and yet, she had a sweetness about her personality. I honestly found her voice to be a bit higher pitched than the others.

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

I found this to be a delightfully lovely narrative styling – wherein, it was not theatrical in the ways most audiobooks are read but rather, this tucks you closer to the heart of the characters, to the nuances in the narrative and draws you deeper into the emotional connections therein as it is being dramatically read verse being theatrically acted.

I felt this suited this novel well – it felt organic in delivery which I know is hard to accomplish – each of the voices in turn befit the style of the writer’s own voice and I felt Ms Westbrook was the right narrator for the story overall.

Regards to Articulation & Performance of the story:

I found this audiobook have a sophistication to it as it was performed – the articulation of the language and the words had a heightened sense of the historical era due to how Westbrook approached reading the story’s arc and of lengthening our sense of the setting.

Westbrook has a knack for changing her intonation of voice and of how she presents different portions of the novel. She intuits the story well but it is how her voice alters and changes per scene, sequence or character which I loved most to hear – as she truly found unique ways to draw you closer to the story but also gave you a lovely dimensional presence in how she kept you grounded in what you felt was a realistic impression of these characters who despite having lived in the Regency felt as real to you as you heard their stories as if they walked amongst us today.

Notes on the Quality of Sound & the Background Ambiance:

There were a few small background glitches – though I have experienced this previously when listening to digital audiobooks and am never certain if it is the audiobook itself or merely a small technical glitch. It was so minor, you’d blink and miss it completely! I just happened to have heard these small issues in the background but it never distracted me from the foreground – of what was being said and shared. For the most part, the audiobook was clean of background distractions.

The only other issue I had were the slight bursts of ‘louder’ words in the midst of a run of dialogue or bit of narrative. Again, I am unsure if this was a final copy issue or strictly a streaming issue listening to the audiobook.

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

I think I would benefit from having a print copy of this novel on hand and then, to re-read this novel with my headphones streaming the narration of Ms Westbrook into my ears! I love reading and listening to audiobooks and to me, I think this would take this story to a sweeter level of enjoyment as I loved hearing it but to read and listen to it at the same time would be rather charming!

In closing, would I seek out another Verona Westbrook audiobook?

I definitely would! She has good instincts and she knows how to ground you into the setting, the timescape and to give you an emotional connection to the characters – everything truly, which is necessary in order to feel as if you’ve lived through the audiobook rather than merely ‘heard’ a tale.

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTFollow the Virtual Road Map

by visiting the blog tour route:

A Duel for Christmas blog tour via HFVBTs
As you might have noticed by the note I put on my blog this morning, I was delayed in finishing my time with “To Wed an Heiress” – the reason was due to a migraine I could not shake for the past few days, stemming out of its arrival late in the weekend. I had planned to listen to this story and read “A Duel for Christmas” over the weekend, in time for showcasing both stories back-to-back. However, as my health comes first and foremost – as I had just recovered from four seeks of illness in September – I had to take it a bit slower to get into both the audiobook and the novel. Thereby, I was still listening to “To Wed an Heiress” the morning of Tuesday, the 2nd and had to re-schedule my review for “A Duel for Christmas” on my second stop on the blog tour: the 8th, a Monday. I do apologise to the author for the delays as I was truly blindsided by this latest migraine as my health was restoring itself rather well before I succumbed to it.
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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 gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “The Duke’s Last Hunt”, “To Wed an Heiress” & “A Duel for Christmas”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of Rosanne L. Lortz, the tour host badge and HFVBTs badge were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Audiobook Review banner, Narrator badge, 2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge banner 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 Tuesday, 2 October, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Castles & Estates, Clever Turns of Phrase, Deception Before Matrimony, England, Family Drama, Father-Daughter Relationships, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, London, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, the Regency era




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