INSPY Blog Book Tour | “The Earl’s Winning Wager” (Lords for the Sisters of Sussex, Book Two) by Jen Geigle Johnson

Posted Tuesday, 9 June, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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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 began 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 Earl’s Winning Wager” direct from the author Jen geigle Johnson in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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I had the lovely opportunity to read the first novel in this series which was “The Duke’s Second Chance” late last year wherein I found Ms Johnson’s writing style to be quite lovely for those of us who are seeking INSPY Romances set in the Regency. As a Romance reader – I regularly move between the Regency & Victorian eras – whether I am reading mainstream and/or INSPY.

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Let’s look back and find out what stood out to me as I first ‘met’ this series:

It isn’t easy to find a writer who can tap into that emotionally wrecking moment of personal loss – to find a way to entreat inside the gutting realisation that you’ve just lost the love of your life and to write it so eloquently within that static moment of disbelief – I found the way in which Johnson handled Gerald’s intense grief and the shocking blow it took on his soul to be beyond realistic because it is the moment he was in a heightened state of euphoria – the expectations of joyful celebration on the cusp of his spirit; his heart was not prepared for the news the doctor had to reveal to him and thus, his reactions to this newbourne child was one I felt keenly realistic to how Johnson presented his reaction. You cannot even begin to judge his words nor his responses because how can anyone fully understand the moment of that kind of loss? It would take time to heal and further time to resolve what is unthinkable to have happened. I felt Johnson excelled in this moment of hypersensitive awareness of a husband’s reaction and of a father’s unwillingness to see the positive out of the shock of despair.

As gentle as a cloud Johnson moved us from the point of loss into a teahouse – a place where you expect the serenity of time to drift against tea leaves and conversations but for Gerald this would mark the moment he would accept his heart needed to heal. I was thankful the route Johnson took to show how Gerald was making progress – the slowness of his healing and the purposeful intention he still had to honour his wife but with the unfortunate leaning towards denouncing his child. It was here in an unexpected place such as a teahouse where you first see how someone can interact with a grieving widower in such a way to break through that tide of anguished grief. His family and even Morley were just tip-toeing round him to the point of allowing him to wallow without letting him face what he needed to face head-on. This woman named Amelia was touching the cornerstones of his soul, allowing his mind to catch-up with his grief and for his spirit to allow someone else to linger over the words he needed to say even if he wasn’t the best at accepting the responses they would receive. It was a marked moment for Gerald and one I felt was written with the same earnest honesty as the death scene of his wife.

The confidence Morley shares with Amelia was one of my favourite scenes because it shows the interesting way a commoner can have a slight influence on the ton but also how the ton are not entirely shunning of the commoners! Johnson intermixed the social standings of her characters in such a way as to allow for a meet-cute situation to occur but in a unique fashion of interference. She built off that first meeting with an impromptu reaction on Amelia’s part and when it came time to respond to that obstacle, it was Morley who interfered next on the Duke’s behalf. I gathered Morley was the character who held the Duke’s conscience in his heart and as his best mate, attempted to steer Gerald on a course the Duke would lateron not regret. In that, Johnson held firm to the Regency – the traditions and the social classes notwithstanding but also the little ways in which even in the Regency, rules can become broken if will was fiercely strong as fire!

Such confounding ire to have in a dust-up just when you are attempting to give your best of impressions – at least, this is how I found Lady Rochester to be in front of Gerald! She was such a wretched woman who had her own issues to wrought out in front of him that I am uncertain if even Morley could’ve protected him from this disgrace if he had known first-hand of her nature! I admit, Johnson played the scene so dearly well – it was like I had mentioned previously, a play before your eyes as if the characters were on stage, taking their queues and entertaining you with a dramatic romance set in the Regency! This woman much to her ails was the fitting fool to besiege an audience with her lunacy but more to the point, half the time you’re observing her you’d think she was the one with the goose up her sleeve in an ill-attempt to pool the wool over the Duke’s eyes and to justify herself in sitting herself on a newly devised throne!

There is such a quick pacing of this story – before you even realise it you’ve reached the ending and part of the ending involves the curiously inherited sisters which I felt still have a place in the series! Finding out Lord Morley’s story is the sequel to The Duke’s Second Chance is rather fittingly brilliant because his story is the one I was most curious about seeing expanded! Anyone who would go to such lengths as himself to not just protect but aide a friend like Gerald deserves to have more of his own story told! Not to mention perhaps a bit of dashing happiness cast his way?

Johnson has written a wonderfully dramatic romantic comedy set in the Regency as at first I thought it was mostly a drama but in the end, it had such beautiful strokes of comedy which turnt it quickly into a dramedy! Laughs. You get swept into the lives of Amelia and Gerald; their slow-burning romance, the friendship which sparks something more between them and the world outside their rendezvous is equally fetching when you factor in his Mum and sister, her father and the extended relations of her grandparents. Everyone rounds out this feast of relationships and follies to be a wicked good reading for the romance reader who is seeking a lightly spun Sweet Romance with a touch of INSPY to guide them through the deeper context of the scenes!

-quoted from my review of The Duke’s Second Chance

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INSPY Blog Book Tour | “The Earl’s Winning Wager” (Lords for the Sisters of Sussex, Book Two) by Jen Geigle JohnsonThe Earl's Winning Wager
Subtitle: Lords for the Sisters of Sussex
by Jen Geigle Johnson
Source: Author via Singing Librarian Book Tours

Lord Morley's life will change forever when he wins a game of cards
and a family of sisters to go along with it.

Miss Standish in none too pleased to have become the responsibility of yet another Lord, even if he is full of charm and goodness. Her responsibilities are to her sisters first.

With the repairs on the castle moving forward nicely and concerted efforts in a season in Bath made to find suitors for them all, Miss Standish and Lord Morley must determine where duty stops and matters of the heart take over.

Read this warm tale of family, sisters, loyalty and love to get a huge dose of the best part of a regency romance fans of Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer would enjoy.

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

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1734128826

Also by this author: Author Interview Jen Geigle Johnson (Regency House Party), The Duke's Second Chance

Also in this series: The Duke's Second Chance

Published by Self Published

on 22nd April, 2020

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 204

This is a Self-Published Novel.

Formats Available: Trade paperback and ebook

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The Lords for the Sisters of Sussex series:

The Duke's Second Chance by Jen Geigle JohnsonThe Earl's Winning Wager by Jen Geigle Johnson


The Duke’s Second Chance (book one)

The Earl’s Winning Wager (book two)

Her Lady’s Whims and Fancies (book three)
← a Digital First Release August 2020!

Suitors for the Proper Miss (book four)

Pining for Lord Lockhart (book five)

The Foibles and Follies of Miss Grace (book six)

Converse via: #LordsForSistersOfSussex as well as #INSPYRomance
#INSPY or #CleanRomance + #HistRom & #Regency or #RegencyRomance

About Jen Geigle Johnson

Jen Geigle Johnson

An award winning author, including the GOLD in Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards, Jen Geigle Johnson discovered her passion for England while kayaking on the Thames near London as a young teenager.

She once greeted an ancient turtle under the water by grabbing her fin. She knows all about the sound a water-ski makes on glassy water and how to fall down steep moguls with grace. During a study break date in college, she sat on top of a jeep’s roll bars up in the mountains and fell in love.

​Now, she loves to share bits of history that might otherwise be forgotten. Whether in Regency England, the French Revolution, or Colonial America, her romance novels are much like life is supposed to be: full of adventure. She is a member of the RWA, the SCBWI, and LDStorymakers. She is also the chair of the Lonestar Ink writing conference.

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my review of the earl’s winning wager:

In a rather curious turning, I found it not just a cunning way of depositing one’s assets into another person’s purse but a rather clever solution to a rather unconventional circumstance! The actions of Gerald at cards was one of the best orchestrations of transferring a thorn in one’s side to another man’s collection of woes – whilst at the same time, it gave a friendly bit of a nudge for Morley to entertain Gerald’s concept for matchmaking – though if memory serves, the Sisters of Sussex are not to be trifled with in passing. Laughs. It was a good stroke of cleverness how Johnson re-angles us into the sisters’ lives and gives us a unique glimpse into the moral and ethical code Morley himself tries to uphold even if he finds himself being given a bit of a bait and switch during cards!

Revisiting with the sisters is a delight because of their healthy positive attitude about their circumstances – both the manner in which they are living (a stone’s throw from a castle they’ve inherited) and the fact that all five of them are currently unattached and unwed. They look towards the future with a hopefulness rather than with a downturnt frown – they’ve bonded through their adversities but it was the Uncle who left the castle directly who changed the most out of their lives. I found them quite an interesting set of sisters during the first installment of this series and as I move into this portion of their lives – where they are close to having their ancestral home renovated and their lives re-situated, it is fun to see how Johnson is carrying forward her theme of how the Sisters of Sussex always manage to land on their feet!

The bulk of the sisters’ well-being fell on June’s shoulders – as you tip further into her life and her affairs, you realise how much she puts on herself to be the singular person who can not only strengthen her sisters’ attempts to marry well in the community of peers but also to be fully prepared to embrace the life they shall find outside their family’s estate. For June, you can tell took the responsibility of raising her sisters with a fierce passion of duty and compassion – she didn’t want them to be out in the world without knowledge and proper instructions where their minds could reach towards knowing what other girls with governesses would have known themselves. I had a bit of a laugh when I read about Charity’s issue with June – how she misconstrues what her sister is telling her and how she tries to use that as fuell to substantiate her own argument. She truly is a heroine in this story for not just championing their causes, as each of the sisters have a different personality and thus, a different perspective on life itself – but she strives to find the balance between sister and surrogate Mum as well.

Morley is in a unique situation where he has to sort through the advancements he knew would come if people knew the sisters were in consideration of finding suitors – however, I think he went a bit too far afield into his attempts to aide them before realising he’s out of his depth! I liked seeing how Johnson showed Morley a bit uneasy about his next steps whilst he was in full consideration of the sisters; his honour and sense of duty towards them was commendable. I was a bit concerned about how June might react once she learnt the fuller truth about Morley’s involvement in her life but that was meant for another day. For now, it was interesting seeing how Morley was growing more comfortable in his duties and how easily he fit into the sisters’ lives.

Charity and June have avid conversations about whom to marry and the reasons why each match might suit better than another. Johnson provides you with a wonderful glimpse into their thoughts and how each of the sisters are handling their new situation of being able to meet and greet so many persons from the ton. Not that they are entirely enthralled with their peers – was Charity is the most vocally opposed to being in a position to grow close to one of their bachelors – it was the other sisters who seemed a bit more receptive to June’s plans for them to find a marriage match. Whilst at the same time, her own pursuit of marriage has had a few distractions of its own – especially if you consider how both her and the one she admires has been keeping quite quiet about their own feelings towards each other!

June had the wrong impression of Morley’s interests in her and her sisters’ affairs – what truly was interesting was how Johnson wanted to show how extensive Morley’s own heart had changed in regards to the Sisters of Sussex since he first won their estate. His friend knew him best – knew how this would become a  life changing moment for him and effective it would be to inspire him into action. The only downside of course is how people choose to use those re-directions in their lives – for Morley hadn’t thought through half of what he was undertaking and thereby made some blunders along the way in regards to June’s impression of his honour and the merit of why he was inter-stepping into their lives as much as he had been.

I enjoyed how Johnson broke the monotony of their lives with a bit of intrigue – how an unexpected discovery during renovations (as oft can be the case) lead them on a search for more details about their ancestral holdings and familial line. It proved that even when you’re not expecting great changes in your everyday life – there are moments which can sneak up on you and give you something greater to chew on than you could have foreseen. I also enjoyed seeing Morley keeping close to the sisters – how he truly threw himself into his new role guarding over them and only wanting the best results of the restoration efforts as it would mean he was giving them a chance to live with a bit less anxiety.

Yet it is how Johnson writes the interludes of their romantic lives which is the best folly of the series! Each of the girls’ has her fair share of prejudices to work through when it comes to potential suitors whilst the sister who has the hardest heart to win over is June. I felt June’s hesitation and her distrust in men was mostly stemming from the fact she placed less priority on herself than she did on her sisters. She’s the eldest sibling and with that comes a bit of responsibility when there isn’t another who could take-on the role of mothering her younger siblings. June had the hardest time accepting help from outside means and also to believe in the earnest nature of those around her who wished her no harm but whom might have been misunderstood through their actions.

Finding out how any man could get through to June’s heart is part of the joy in reading The Earl’s Winning Wager because although you have a suspicion about how this story will conclude, the best bits are within the journey towards an ending your heart most desires to see come to fruition! I definitely agree with the notations about how this series is a perfect for readers of Jane Austen – you cannot help but see the similarities towards Austen’s own stories and characters – wherein, for this series, I continue to see overlaps with my favourite Austen novel Pride and Prejudice. And, justly so – as Johnson has an ease of narrative and a grace of dialogue to get you back to the Regency within a lovely large family of sisters to entertain your visit.

on the inspy historical (regency) romantic styling of ms johnson:

Johnson happily alights you through a sequencing of events befit of the Regency and the reader who is seeking lighter romances in an age where we could all use a bit of a break from newsfeeds. It is good to fill our hearts and spirits with lighter literature wherein we can take a kind respite and find ourselves happily content visiting with her characters. Johnson has a wicked good sense for continuity as well – as you can move quite easily between installments of the Sisters of Sussex series without feeling you’ve lost traction between them. I find this a wonderful bit of news because I love serial fiction and partially what I love about it is how you can carry-on with the characters who were previously outlined and fitted out so lovingly!

I liked how Johnson showcased another way a guardian could step forward into the lives of the sisters and find a way to encourage them without them realising they were being guarded over from a distance. Morley fit into their lives quite easily and it was his attentive care which gave me the impression that despite their assets and their estate moving through so many hands before they reached Morley – perhaps it was all for the best!? Maybe this was the best route of all for them to find the independence and strength to live their lives? I have appreciated this from the start- how independently minded the Sisters of Sussex are portrayed.

There is a humour in the undercurrents of the novel, too – where you can see Johnson is taking a lighter thread of showcasing the sisters and their lives. With the humour also comes the contradictions – of how she enabled each of the sisters to have a wonderful roundtable discussion about the topics which affect them the most. In that instance, she shows contradicting end results – how each sister views her life and her station differently and how each of the sisters has a different viewing of what is currently happening in regards to Morley. I liked seeing these different points of view as it kept the narrative refreshed but also it grounded it in a bit of realism.

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This blog tour is courtesy of: Singing Librarian Book Tours

Singing Librarian Book Tours blog tour hostess badge is provided by SLB Tours and is used with permission.

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Reading this novel counted towards some of my 2020 reading challenges:

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “The Duke’s Second Chance”, “The Earl’s Winning Wager”, book synopsis, author photograph of Jen Geigle Johnson, author biography, the Singing Librarian Book Tours badge and the blog tour banner for “The Earl’s Winning Wager” were provided by Singing Librarian Books  and are 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, Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 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 Tuesday, 9 June, 2020 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Family Drama, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Romance Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Sweet Romance, the Regency era

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