Blog Book Tour featuring an #INSPY author I used to interact with via Southern Belle View Daily! | “The Fifth Avenue Story Society” by Rachel Hauck

Posted Monday, 10 February, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “The Fifth Avenue Story Society” direct from the publisher Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why this blog tour reminds me of being engaged
with the Southern Belle View Daily community of INSPY authors:

It wasn’t too long ago I was an active commenter on author’s blogs (ie. 2012) wherein I had my first taste of what the book blogosphere involved and how readers were finding ways to interact directly with authors they had either read or were dearly hoping to read ‘next’. This predates when my vocabulary involved the term “TBR” and long before my own blog was as whispered dream which readily became a reality on the 31st of March (in 2013).

Just ahead of developing Jorie Loves A Story, I discovered Southern Belle View Daily (earlier in 2013) and it was happily bookmarked through my browser’s RSS feeds reader (remember that option?). I loved visiting with the authors who were at the helm of the blog: Lisa Wingate, Rachel Hauck, Julie Cantrell, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson and Beth Webb Hart were the original ladies I interacted with whilst Eva Marie Everson, Kellie Coates Gilbert, Amy Hill Hearth, Denise Hildreth Jones, Jolina Petersheim and Nicole Seitz joined them off/on over the years.

They would host interactive forum discussions on their blog and even the occasional bookaway – I won Beth Webb Hart’s  Moon Over Edisto whilst during my first month of being a book blogger in 2013 I had the opportunity to review Lisa Wingate’s The Prayer Box which also became my first blog tour! Whilst getting Jorie Loves A Story off the ground and dealing with life as it was being lived whilst juggling my chronic migraines – I found I wasn’t able to maintain the connections I had established prior to being a book blogger on the author blogs I had frequented before launching my own blog. Therefore by the time I had the chance to return to Southern Belle View I learnt it was switching over to Facebook and that in effect knocked me out of joining them as I elected to become active on Twitter instead.

Through the years, I’ve grown attached to the series The Prayer Box began whilst I’ve had my eye on reading through all their stories and finding my favourites. Towards that end, I started by reading Kellie Coates Gilbert’s Texas Star series with A Reason to Stay. I still remember being involved with the now defunct Blogging for Books programme and finding one of Ms Tomlinson’s releases was available to request – however, I waited to long to decide to request it and it went to other readers! I learnt not to contemplate those choices too long afterwards, laughs.

As I never quite ‘let go’ of following their literary careers, I found out about The Fifth Avenue Story Society prior to the announcement of the blog tour via Prism Book Tours. I was going to fetch a copy of it from my local library when the invite came into my Inbox. Talk about a serendipitous day!I was overjoyed I could host one of the authors I knew previously but also, this would mark my first story by Ms Hauck I could finally read and I couldn’t wait! I also always see a hawk when I pronounce her name (big smiles) as it was the only way I could remember how to say it aloud! The fact as a wildlife photographer I’ve been blessed to capture hawks IRL through my lens is an added bit of serendipity.

You could say I feel like as I move closer to entering my seventh year as a book blogger this New Year 2020 – I am coming full circle! To my roots as a reader, to the foundation I set down as a blog commenter and as a writer reclaiming her pen and her inspiration to write her own stories. It is an exciting year and one I already feel has become memorable! How lovely I get to kick-off February’s Romance & Women’s Fiction reads with Ms Hauck’s new book!

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On my connection to Rachel Hauck:

I discovered Southern Belle View Daily in early 2013 during the times I engaged with the lovely ladies who were ‘behind’ SBV I came to appreciate conversing with all the Belles, including Rachel Hauck. I was a regular visitor and commenter – up til a certain point as once my blog Jorie Loves A Story launched live in August, 2013 I was not able to visit as regularly as I had previously. In the years since 2013 I have been more at a distance from directly engaging with Ms Hauck (though a few times via Twitter as I recall?) and have followed her releases from afar always hoping to start reading them. One thing which prevented me from starting to read the Belles works of Fiction is that they were not always readily available via my local libraries.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with her through Southern Belle View Daily and/or Twitter; as I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time.

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Blog Book Tour featuring an #INSPY author I used to interact with via Southern Belle View Daily! | “The Fifth Avenue Story Society” by Rachel HauckThe Fifth Avenue Story Society
by Rachel Hauck
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours

An invitation to join The Fifth Avenue Story Society gives five New York strangers a chance to rewrite their own stories.

Executive assistant Lexa is eager for a much-deserved promotion, but her boss is determined to keep her underemployed.

Literature professor Jett is dealing with a broken heart, as well as a nagging suspicion his literary idol, Gordon Phipps Roth, might be a fraud.

Uber driver Chuck just wants a second chance with his kids.

Aging widower Ed is eager to write the true story of his incredible marriage.

Coral, queen of the cosmetics industry, has broken her engagement and is on the verge of losing her great grandmother’s multimillion-dollar empire.

When all five New Yorkers receive an anonymous, mysterious invitation to the Fifth Avenue Story Society, they suspect they’re victims of a practical joke. No one knows who sent the invitations or why. No one has heard of the literary society. And no one is prepared to reveal their deepest secrets to a roomful of strangers.

Yet curiosity and loneliness bring them back week after week to the old library. And it’s there they discover the stories of their hearts, and the kind of friendship and love that heals their souls.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Literary Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780310350927

Published by Thomas Nelson

on 4th February, 2020

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 400

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Published by: Thomas Nelson (@ThomasNelson)
an imprint of HarperCollins Christian Publishing (@HCChristianPub)

Converse via: #FifthAvenueStorySociety, #RachelHauck & #TNZFiction
as well as #INSPYFiction and #WomensFiction

About Rachel Hauck

Rachel Hauck

Rachel Hauck is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Wedding Dress, which was also named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pet and writes from her ivory tower.

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my review of the fifth avenue story society:

I haven’t read a multiple POV novel in quite while – which is why as I was settling into The Fifth Avenue Story Society I was dearly eager to see how Hauck would handle shifting perspectives and views as each of her characters started to come into focus as we slipped in time per each of their exits and entrances. We arrived inside Jett’s disillusioned life as a bloke down on his proverbial luck and causing himself more grief than it is worth whilst finding him jailed overnight on charges of assault as he attempted to defend the honour of a bride only to wind up spending the night locked in a room with a companion he wasn’t expecting to find. Chuck had remorse about his own actions at the time of the assault and if you read between the lines of what Chuck’s sharing to Jett, you feel that he has a deeper reason for his cause of alarm. Yet, it was Jett who full of the anxieties you’d expect from a Professor who feels like his life is one downward spiral of broken dreams and lost chances to make his way in the world.

These are two of the most unexpected characters you’d think would find each other and yet as Hauck was rounding out their characters’ personalities you saw how in theory at least, they shared a few commonalities with each other. Chuck was more willing to talk and share a bit of of himself whereas Jett was far more introverted and introspective; choosing instead to walk through his conscience silently and regret his choices internally. Chuck I had a feeling wanted to bridge the serendipitous meeting with a stronger connection once they were able to move forward from this event but for Jett, it was simply a causal one-off experience or at least that is vibe he was giving Chuck when they parted company.

If I had sensed how frustrated Jett and Chuck were about their lives, Lexa took the cake on being stuck in a rutted passageway towards a promotion she wasn’t not even guaranteed to be given! Lexa had fallen into that rhythm of appeasing her boss and doing what the job demanded of her irregardless if it was actually her right and responsibility because her boss had leant on her enough over the years to know she could do the work but I questioned if he took her for granted? What if Lexa hadn’t been there, would the company have grown in the same trajectory? And, what were the costs against her own spirit and soul? How long can a person endure being looked past and left unseen when they are passionately growing a company another man started? That is what was the most surprising of all – how Lexa had just now awakened to her own potential and was seeing that her self-worth was far more important than staying in a job which would lead nowhere.

Hauck was right to keep the details of Chuck’s life in the background of the story until we first could interact with Jett and Lexa. I felt his turn was fittingly right to be third because his back-story was such a heart-wrenching part of the story. He had a lot of emotions to carry with him in life and it felt like he was losing the battle with his will to maintain a healthy distance from the two people who meant the most to him in life. It was the kind of situation you wouldn’t wish on a father and it was the kind of situation which required a heap more patience and restraint than Chuck was feeling at this point in the story. Hauck allowed him the grace to own to his mistakes and the impulsive behaviours which had extended his heartache whilst giving you the chance to better understand what was gnawing on his heart when he first met Jett at the jail.

When you first enter into the Bower Room, this is where Hauck enlightens you with a readerly sense of how an expansive library ought to feel and be presented. It held the best ambiance of an honoured place of respite to soak into literature and to offer a debate about the literary voices who strike a hearty balance between intellectual curiosity and forward thought on society. I loved how Jett was the first one to arrive as it showed his willingness to step outside himself and to embrace the randomness of where life can take unexpected turns but place you right in line with where you need to be rather than continue to alight you where you think you should be instead. Through his eyes you see the joy of the unexpected flickering and it is here where you think there is a larger purpose to those invitations and the reasons behind why those persons were singled out to be invited.

I love being surprised – especially when it comes to the connections of characters within the threads of a story such as this one. Hauck re-heightened my curiosity when we get the chance to see all five of the Story Society members together for the first time. We get to see their insecurities and their cautious mannerisms; how they need each other moreso than they realise and how Hauck isn’t playing her full hand at revealling how she brought them together. This is a puzzler of a story – how you are only given certain clues of context at certain moments and the rest of the time, you have to wanderabout into the interior corridors of the novel just as the characters are living their lives forward in order to best understood the events of what is happening. I loved this approach because it kept the reader and the characters a bit in the dark together; of allowing the suspension of what isn’t known to hang betwixt and between, giving you more urgency to turn the pages!

Ed was quite the hoot – he had already experienced true love and it was the love he had shared with his wife which was sparking his new direction now. He wanted to encapsulate what his life with his wife had been like for this generation; the generation he felt was too quick to end a romance before it could get itself off the ground. Ed was in his seventies and by far the eldest of the group – he had his quirks, same as they but he also had this stubborn grunt about him where he didn’t like to be forced into anything. I’d imagine it was his determined ire to live on his own terms which was sustaining him the most. He still had this spark of life in him and he wanted to use all of it whilst he still could; there was something rather special about that and he was one of the more intriguing characters by far!

Especially how he has a rather intriguing lady living across the hall from his flat and how he keeps sorting out rather interesting ways of forestalling her advances! A part of mine questioned if she wasn’t just a bit lonely rather than lovelorn? Ed, however, wasn’t falling for any of it and the best bits is observing his internal thoughts and reactions each time he’s pestered about food and the treats he truly enjoys to eat but won’t commit to enjoying with his neighbour. It spoke to his sense of self and the pride he has in remaining loyal to his first love; that spoke volumes about Ed and to where his priorities truly were housed. It also showed a bit more of the reasons why this story he wants to encourage out of his heart is such a dearly respected goal of his and why the Story Society is important to him.

Coral has lost her moxie – she is a half deflated soul trying to right her sails and regenerate the strength she once had to believe in herself. She has the weight of her company on her shoulders and more than the whispers of scandal chasing after her heels. I felt Coral had the hardest obstacles to overcome in the group because of how public her life was playing out. She couldn’t have downtime away from the gossip and she still struggled to dispel enquiries; some of which happened in the Story Society as well. I hoped we see a new fire lit inside Coral – a rebirth of the woman she used to be but in a new chapter of possibility in finding what truly makes her happy.

Lexa was holding herself back which struck me odd as whenever it came to her to express herself in regards to her ex-husband, she never held her tongue! In fact, she was a spitfire ready to share a barb or an explanation about why she wasn’t going to revisit the past. Yet in business unlike in life, she found herself stalling; waiting for a moment I felt she was overthinking and most likely would miss completely. Sometimes you have to embrace the unknown, double down on your belief in yourself and take a risk. I felt Lexa was still living a half reality – caught between the past and the future where she couldn’t quite see herself thriving in the present but dearly ached to resolve her insecurities. Plus, I hated seeing her put through the shredder emotionally by her boss – he truly took her for granted and it rankled.

Jett on the other hand was attempting to allow the impossible overtake his sensible mind. He had a project which demanded everything could wait til it was completed but it was the pursuit of the project itself which had rendered him incapacitated. Almost as if the fear of what his research would reveal was far too much for him to accept as the truth he needed to know. I didn’t blame him for pushing off the project but at the same time, I had hoped he’d find a balance between his past regrets and the chance to shine in his own field.

The introspectiveness of The Fifth Avenue Story Society allows you the rare privilege of tucking closer to the characters; peering into how their thoughts evoke a sense of their own selves and how each step of nostalgia and memory ignited through the society itself is drawing each of them a step closer to better understanding this new path their walking together. I found the novel to be more literary and introspective than most; rather than a selection of genre fiction. You have a beautiful sequencing of lives here – of how the choices people make in the past, present and future have a stronger impact on their internal health as it reflects their external vulnerabilities.

Each of these five people have arrived at a different crossroads in their lives – some of whom hadn’t yet recognised that was the case. It was their meetings as the Story Society where you saw how they could get outside their headspace, talk to others and truly start to see the truth of where their lives were now vs where they wanted their lives to be – granting them each a bit of licence to start to make subtle changes which would have a larger effect on their futures. One of the best takeaways though of course is how strangers never spend too long remaining strangers because a friend is only one conversation away from being someone you can trust.

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Rachel Hauck is my new favourite in Contemporary INSPY because she is wickedly old school and a brilliant wordsmith. She knows how to carve out a particular tone of voice within her style of narrative which not only provides insight into the lives of her characters but into who she is as a writer. From the choices of her words to how she tucks in references which cross-relate to the revelations she’s making about her characters; Hauck has this innate ability to connect you to her story and gives you a reason to ache for another chapter, another moment in this world she’s created with a story you don’t wish to exit. The mark of an #unputdownable read and an experience you are thankful you could take at a moment where stories had taken a backseat and where this particular novel renewed your bookish heart and let you soar again on the wings of a writer’s words.

on the contemporary inspy literary styling of rachel hauck:

When you first notice there is an invitation to the Fifth Avenue Story Society – you are curiously curious if this is an outreach program for persons whom the giver of the invitation thinks might benefit from the group and/or if there is another motivation to seek out people to join the Society than what it appears to be on face value at point of receipt? From that moment, I was definitely clued into Hauck’s capacity to give us a layer of suspenseful curiosity and I loved how contemporary and modern she tinted her story to reflect the edgier realistic circumstances of today.

I even liked how she inserted the text messages into the context of the story – sometimes it feels off-putting how technology (ie. emails, texts, instant messages, etc) are inclusive to a novel and yet, this time round it felt more connected somehow because rather than breaking pace with the established timeline of how we’re in-line with the characters, Hauck has a way of presenting technology which continues the pace she already established. Thereby it felt rather fitting to see it as it appeared because it felt more organic and less ‘popped in’ for the sake of acknowledging how technology is a component of our contemporary lives.

Hauck breaks her story into different sections of interest as she’s using the multiple POV lens to tell her story – the first novel I read which shared this technique was The Shell Seekers – ever since then, I’ve tried to seek a few of these out every year. Some years I have better luck than others in finding the writers who really can own this space of giving us a wholly dramatic arc of story within the compartments of how each of their characters unpack the story they need to share with the reader. Hauck has the right instincts in how best to use this lens and how because she’s alternating her perceptions with each of her characters, it is allowing the reader to take a slower scale of approach in understanding each of their reasons to join the Story Society. In essence, they each had baggage which was holding them down in some way or other and in many ways, the group itself was an impetus for change.

There is such a lot of anticipation when you’ve followed an author’s career for as long as I have with Ms Hauck’s and never having had the previous chance to read one of her stories – by the time I first reached the Fifth Avenue Story Society’s meeting space, I knew how much I was loving this experience – of reading the novel but also, peering into the heart of what makes a Rachel Hauck story shine from the inside out. I was beyond smitten and dearly delighted that this became the first Hauck novel I read and it definitely will not be my last! Ooh, my dear stars… the joy of it!

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I love finding the right music and soundscapes to accompany the stories I am reading – I listened to the weekly program via Hearts of Space ( before switching over to #Spotify. From there I listened to a bit of Jane Austen’s soundtracks from their motion pictures before settling on an instrumental ambient soundscape which matched well with the emotional centreing of the novel itself. The Playlist was Ambient Relaxation and it was a joy to have in my ears as I read Hauck’s novel.

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This blog tour is courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

Prism Book Tours

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The Fifth Avenue Story Society blog tour banner provided by Prism Book Tours.

End of the Blog Tour badged provided by Prism Book ToursBy clicking this badge you can find out about the giveaway associated with the tour;
my particular tour stop doesn’t host the giveaway as I’m a review stop, however,
you’ll find many other bloggers who are hosting the information!

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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: Cover art of “The Fifth Avenue Story Society”, synopsis, the author’s photo (for Rachel Hauck) and biography as well as the blog tour banner and The Prism Book Tours badge were all provided by Prism Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

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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, 10 February, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Introspective Literary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Modern Day, Multiple POV, New York City, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Southern Belle View Daily

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