Blog Book Tour | “From Across the Room” by Gina L. Mulligan

Posted Monday, 3 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , 4 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 copy of “Across the Room” direct from the author Gina L. Mulligan in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On reading about the author:

As I was preparing my interview for this blog tour, I had the chance to get to know the author quite a bit through her charity Girls Love Mail – as I read about how the charity was founded through the author’s own experiences of surviving Cancer with the unexpected grace of receiving letters from well-wishers who wanted to lift her spirits in the moment the letter would touch her life. Being a letter writer for most of my life, I can attest to the power of a tangible method of communication!

There is something rather fascinating about how we can connect our lives through what we write into letters – there is a kind of communication found in letters that is unlike other methods used today, especially of note, the way the texture of the paper, the ways the words are inked onto the page (either handwritten or typed depending on the person sending the letter) and the way in which you feel after reading a person’s news – it almost feels as if time itself was encapsulated during the moment the letter writer composed the thoughts and the receiver read the results of what was left behind to be mailed to them! I know this is what intrigued me about sending letters by postal mail and why I want to return one day to sending more letters as I’ve gone awhile without being in the habit of mailing them.

I know Girls Love Mail only accepts hand-written letters, but I can attest to receiving and sending both handwritten and typed letters – its not the method of how the letter is composed, its the content which counts the most. I’ve received (and have sent) many heartfelt letters which were typed and I cherish them as much as the ones which were written by hand. Letters evoke a lot of emotions but they also allow us to reconnect with a part of ourselves which can unwind at a slower pace where the high tech world of ‘now’ takes a backseat to remembering the ‘moments’ you want to imprint to the person reading the letter through the words you choose to compose for them to read.

In other words – I was overjoyed having found this novel and was most excited to begin reading it! As stories of this nature have always suited my bookish heart and readerly interests – something you can observe if you read my reviews for Letters from Skye and Last Christmas in Paris.

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Blog Book Tour | “From Across the Room” by Gina L. MulliganFrom Across the Room
by Gina L. Mulligan
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Self-indulgent young writer Thomas Gadwell has traveled from Boston to the new Hotel Del Coronado in California to at last finish his novel when he meets the clever and headstrong Miss Mary Harting. At once Thomas tosses aside his literary pursuits for a charmed summer of romance that ends with the happy couple making future plans. However, Mary Harting is the only unmarried daughter of notorious railroad tycoon Charles Harting, and he has no intention of letting a useless wordsmith derail his own critical plans for Mary. The couple must continue a clandestine courtship, but Thomas’ ingenuity has unexpected repercussions and he unwittingly uncovers a sinister plot of deception, greed, and blackmail. Guided by mentor Henry James, to win Mary, Thomas must step from the pages of the world he creates to explore his own insecurities, battle against worldly corruption, and expose family demons.

Told through a series of clever, heartfelt, and engaging letters, From Across the Room is a voyeuristic escapade that delights at every twist. Reflecting back to a time when letters were saved in the imagination of the reader, the lost art of letter writing brings to life the opulent Gilded Age and unfolds the universal passions of love, ambition, and the resilient bonds of family.

Genres: Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Historical Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1432832520

Published by Fivestar Publishing

on 15th September, 2016

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 271

Published by: Fivestar Publications

an imprint of Gale Cengage Learning (@galecengage)

Converse via: #Epistolary #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Gina L. Mulligan

Gina Mulligan

Gina L. Mulligan is a veteran freelance journalist for numerous national magazines and the author of the award-winning novel, REMEMBER THE LADIES and FROM ACROSS THE ROOM. After her own diagnosis, Gina founded Girls Love Mail, a charity that collects handwritten letters of encouragement for women with breast cancer. She was honored for her charitable work on the nationally syndicated television talk show The Steve Harvey Show,, and

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my review of from across the room:

The style of this Epistolary differs slightly from previous stories I’ve read – wherein, although your entering the story from the point of perspective available through the letters they are more of a vehicle to tell the story from two different angels of interest – first, the letter writer themselves who are offering a cursory overview of events which were lived and remembered; almost as if narrating where the story is directing us to head. The second is more interesting – as generally with Epistolary novels, dialogue is a tricky overture, as within the context of a letter you don’t always have a thread of dialogue (such as it is here within From Across the Room) as you are peering into how a person would write about their lives without the courtesy of examining it through discussion.

As the story begins, you gather there is a slight urgency in having a point explained, as a writer is trying to gain the confidence of their agent, which by appearances might have had their patience tested recently! The writer in question is entertaining the agent moreso than convincing them or us of his dedication to write! His gallant exploits in San Diego not withstanding what is interesting about the pacing of the story is how it feels like a traditional Historical but within the framework of an Epistolary. Although, part of me recognised this manner of approach from the canon of Sherlock Holmes as part of it felt like the journalled delivery of a Holmes Mystery – which pulled you into the scenes as ready as Mulligan does with this story.

When Thomas meets Mary Harting the surprise is how independent she is and how he never suspected her parentage; as her father is a powerful man. Their flight of adventure though is tempered by the knowledge her father was seen in a part of town where greed and lust flourish but where honourable business transactions are not as commonplace. Thomas and Mary have a bit of a run-in on the street before they observe her father – the curious bit of course, is how they can sort out what they observed, sideline their emotions and see it from a perspective that would generally take a bit of distance to accept.

One thing which surprised me is most of the letters are from Thomas going to other people, but not from those people writing to Thomas? I suppose I am used to mail going back and forth in these kinds of novels rather than being one-sided and seen only from one character’s point of view. The interesting bit there is how quickly the pacing increases when he is writing to different people he knows and how it slows back down again whenever he is referencing Mary. For Mary has taken his heart and even he is at a loss to understand how to function after recognising the change in himself.

What I missed in some ways from this alternative viewing of the letters is how the other characters felt without being guided by the influence of Thomas. Meaning, when you limit your world-view to a singular character, even if other characters are interacting with each other, it limits your understanding of what is going on in their lives as you only have the one character’s trust in being able to enlarge the scope of the story. This is also the reason I felt it was more like reading a personal journal rather than an engaged bout of correspondence between different parties of interest. In some places, the sequences dragged on for me a bit because we were limited to Thomas’s neverending perspective and his voice in the story can droll a bit when he’s relating everyday observations to a few of the people he’s writing correspondence too. Even this was interesting, as we weren’t seeing the replies from Avery his agent or even his mother, who seemed to want to keep a close eye on his adventures from afar.

The absence of the replies also left a lot to speculation – as we see Thomas reacting to different notes, missives and letters he’s been receiving all along – but without those to purview ourselves, I felt we lost out on the ‘other side’ of the novel itself. This is why Epistolary narratives are tricky – both to write and to read because of how they can have trouble maximizing your understanding of the other characters. I would have enjoyed this much more if we had inserts from other people moving in and out of Thomas’s life – including Henry James, as all we have is the observational comment Thomas has heard or interact with these people – even in the course of the novel’s life but without seeing those comments, part of the story fell considerably flat for me.

The heart of the story lies in the drama of a writer attempting to write on deadline – seeking out an honesty with his writing and to see a path through to a new story he can become comfortable in sharing with the world. He needs a stark change in scenery and mind, which is why we found Thomas holed up in a hotel – it is the kind of revolving door of raw experience a writer could fuell more than one novel full of exciting content if he so chose to use observation as the ink within his pen.

As we shift through Thomas’s experiences and tuck closer to what he his writing to Avery, we start to see things as they are rather than how everything is being perceived. The ending is a clever one as it speaks to what you understood as you read the novel – as due to the limited scope of perspectives, the ending is even more plausible if you take that into consideration earlier in the first disclosures of the story-line. If art and life are moving in a circle towards each other, which influences whom first? The mind or the craft wherein the creative is creating their creation based on what they internalise out of their own life?

on the epistolary writing style of gina l. mulligan:

The novel is prefaced with a beautiful and lovely quotation by Henry James on the art of crafting a novel and the immersive experience of reading a novel wherein the author owned not only the experience of its creation but of how a reader could be carried through their own vision of the story. It has been one of the best quotations I’ve discovered about writing and reading – as it is effectively illuminating how the two are dearly connected – where it is not enough for the writer to create but the reader has to take the risk of daring to see what was written in order to understand the world in which they live through the characters who are entertaining them. I remember asking about this quotation in my interview as it was a curious addition – not just quoting Henry James but of having the Classical author a key component of the plot.

As I moved through the novel, I didn’t quite see this as a letter based Epistolary novel as I felt it was more like a journalled account of the circumstances being outline through the narrative itself. My first instinct to see this in a similar vein as Dr Watson’s journals leading us into a Holmes Mystery continued to ring true to me as generally when I’m reading a story anchoured through letters, there is a distinctiveness to them. You can tell their letters because of how they encompass telling a story through personal recollection but without outside influences – this novel has the personal side of the ledger but also, encompasses other people’s thoughts, opinions and the open dialogue you’d expect out of meeting a rotation of characters throughout the telling of a story.

Also, one thing which felt awkward about the letter sequencing is how they were presented – the top bits of the letters felt more like Chapter headings than the beginning lines of a letter and there wasn’t a lot of alternating in the texture of the novel – it is presented as you would find a printed copy of a journal and this in of itself is alright but I kept trying to see how this was fused within a letter-narrative vs a journalled-narrative; yielding to the latter as each new ‘chapter’ was read.

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTFollow the Virtual Road Map

as you visit others participating:

As this particular one has a bookaway along the route:

From Across the Room blog tour via HFVBTs
 I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Do you also like to read stories which involve this kind of plot? Which stories would you recommend I seek out next which involve letters & correspondence?

Comments currently disabled : contact me if you’d like to leave a comment on this post & I’ll re-enable them. // May 2019

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “From Across the Room”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of Gina L. Mulligan, 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: Book Review Banner using (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna, 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 Monday, 3 December, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Diary Accountment of Life, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence

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4 responses to “Blog Book Tour | “From Across the Room” by Gina L. Mulligan

    • Hallo, Hallo Davida,

      Yes, I try to join the blog tours as often as I can during the year as it is one of the best ways I’ve been able to learn about new authors (to me) and new publishers (to discover) as oft times prior to being a book blogger, I wasn’t able to seek out as many Indie publishers (for instance) or Indie authors. I used to do more each month but three years ago I underwent a Renaissance on Jorie Loves A Story to where I really paired down the tours I wanted to host to a more manageable level. This was inspired because of my chronic migraines but also, because I noticed I was running into deadlines too much. You’ll find I host Historical Fiction tours regularly – as I found out I predominately *love!* HistFic (and their variant genres of interest) – something that surprised me as without being a blogger I wouldn’t have known! Isn’t that interesting?

      However, outside of Historicals, I also try to seek out certain Contemporaries and I have a penchant for INSPY Fiction, too (Inspirational Fiction; all faiths/religions) whilst I feel some of my insta-passions lie in Science Fiction, High Fantasy, Mysteries, Suspense and Thrillers. You’ll find a lovely hodgepodge as I read through the stories I find on blog tours or the stories I find from authors directly. As I move into [2019] I’ll be also re-focusing on my personal library and those stories I can borrow through my local libraries, which is part two of my blog’s Renaissance as I wanted to have a better balance between the books I’m receiving for review and the stories I either own or borrow regularly.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving me such wonderful notes!!

      I am going to be visiting with you this evening as I believe you have a new blog where I can leave comments! I’ve admired your reviews in the past but I couldn’t leave comments as I believe you used to be on blogspot or am I remember this wrong?

    • You’re quite welcome, Ms Bruno!

      I am looking forward to the interview with this author and I am hoping I can feature it close to when I’m featuring the author for “The Jinni’s Last Wish”. I appreciate the conversations we can have with the authors your featuring and this New Year is going to be a lovely one of discovering more #newtomeauthors and featuring the authors in Historical Fiction who continuously inspire my reading hours!