A #HistoricalMondays #25PagePreview | feat. “Beauty Among Ruins” by INSPY Historical novelist J’nell Ciesielski

Posted Monday, 18 January, 2021 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring. Whether I am reading selections from Indie Authors & publishers to Major Trade and either from mainstream or INSPY markets – I am finding myself happily residing in the Historical past each year I am a blogger.

What I have been thankful for all these years since 2013 is the beautiful blessing of discovering new areas of Historical History to explore through realistically compelling Historical narratives which put me on the front-lines of where History and human interest stories interconnect. It has also allowed me to dive deeper into the historic past and root out new decades, centuries and millenniums to explore. For this and the stories themselves which are part of the memories I cherish most as a book blogger I am grateful to be a part of the #HFVBTBlogTours blogger team.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Beauty Among Ruins” direct from the publisher Thomas Nelson (an imprint of HarperCollins Christian Publishing) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTEI was originally scheduled to share my review of this novel earlier in the blog tour and had to amend my date for my post to be featured a week later in the tour. My apologies to those who are following the blog tour and to the author and publisher as well.

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On why I am sharing a shorter preview of my readings of
“Beauty Among Ruins”:

Recently, I started to mention how my readerly life this first half of January has been a bit stalled by current events – as like the rest of the country, it has been quite unsettling and it is hard to focus on reading. I thought if I rescheduled my review to post this week instead of last week, I’d have enough time to re-settle into books, re-find my rhythm with blogging and carry-on with my readerly plans for 2021. However, I’ll admit, I’ve been a bit glued to the newsfeeds recently and have been spending a lot of time offline – as my joy in both reading and being socially bookish hasn’t quite been the focus of how my January has begun. Except for the lovely distraction of #SatBookChat, I honestly have been absent from both the blogosphere & the twitterverse!

I decided to shorten my showcase for this novel rather than stall out in the middle of reading it – not due to disinterest as the story still appeals to me to be read but simply due to timing I’m meant to be reading it. I am sure there are others out there in the book blogosphere struggling to find their way with stories right now as well and I am hopeful I’ll be able to soak into stories with the same fierce joy I’ve always have had as a seventh year book blogger before January concludes. The past few weeks simply have felt a bit ‘off’ for me as a reader and I look forward to finding my way back into books whilst hoping for the calm & peace we all are hoping our country will embrace especially during this week of transitional changes.

For those of whom are new to Jorie Loves A Story, my #25PagePreview showcases are a way for me to get a wicked good sampling of an author’s style, voice and presence within the story they’ve written whilst offering my opinions and impressions of the pages I’ve read to my readers in the hopes that perhaps the story I am featuring might be a wicked good fit for them as well.

Today, I am featuring a #newtomeauthor from Thomas Nelson of whom is an INSPY publisher I’ve started to selectively find new stories & authors of whom interest me to be reading. Especially as they have had such a lovely batch of new Historicals this 2021, I am truly blessed they are touring with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours!

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A #HistoricalMondays #25PagePreview | feat. “Beauty Among Ruins” by INSPY Historical novelist J’nell CiesielskiBeauty Among Ruins
by J’nell Ciesielski
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In Ciesielski’s latest sweeping romance, an American heiress finds herself in Scotland amid the fallout of the Great War, and a wounded Scottish laird comes face-to-face with his past and a woman he never could have expected.

American socialite Lily Durham is known for enjoying one moment to the next, with little regard for the consequences of her actions. But just as she is banished overseas to England as a “cure” for her frivolous ways, the Great War breaks out and wreaks havoc. She joins her cousin in nursing the wounded at a convalescent home deep in the wilds of Scotland at a crumbling castle where its laird is less than welcoming.

Alec MacGregor has given his entire life to preserving his home of Kinclavoch Castle, but mounting debts force him to sell off his family history bit by bit. Labeled a coward for not joining his countrymen in the trenches due to an old injury, he opens his home to the Tommies to make recompense while he keeps to the shadows. But his preference for the shadows is shattered when a new American nurse comes streaming into the castle on a burst of light.

Lily and Alec are thrown together when a series of mysterious events threatens to ruin the future of Kinclavoch. Can they put aside their differences to find the culprit before it’s too late, or will their greatest distraction be falling in love?

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, War Drama

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0785233565

ASIN: B0868WK6T1

Published by Thomas Nelson

on 12th January, 2021

Format: Paperback ARC

Length: 12 hours and 23 minutes (unabridged)

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

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistNov as well as #INSPY #HistoricalFiction
+ #BeautyAmongRuins, #audiobook or #audioreads
as well as #TNZFiction and #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

About J’nell Ciesielski

J'nell Ciesielski

With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle.

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#25PagePreview banner created by Jorie in Canva.

[ Beauty Among Ruins ] by J’nell Ciesielski

The expectations of family can become unbearable on a good day if you were in Lily’s shoes but the depth of her Mum’s animosity towards her own daughter is fully visible the night she tells her she must be cast-off to weary ole England in dire hopes of erasing Lily’s adventurous spirit. Apparently in her family, you can only cross the line so far before your parents decide to take drastic measures to ensure their reputation remains intact and if that means relying on some far-off cousin to give you a hearty sense of the world from a newfound place like England, I suppose that is where you’d find yourself taken if you were Lily! I felt for Lily as soon as I saw her wandering home after securing a night of entertainment for herself. She was not like most girls’ her age nor of the era in which she was bourne – she brokered against convention and that is what I loved most about her – she wasn’t afraid to dare to live a different way than those who came before her and I hoped she’d keep that bit of her moxie once she left!

You simply delight in the joy of seeing Lily thriving next to her cousin Bertie – it is hard to know whose more of the spitfire amongst the two as Bertie herself is a bit of a rebel becoming a Red Cross nurse rather than focusing on matrimonial interests. The two girls’ are off with rosy glasses arriving at a large Scottish estate each dreaming of a different scenario for their journey – whilst Bertie focuses on the health and well-being of the soldiers who will call this estate their place of rest and recover, Lily has cast her eyes on using the convalescent soldiers as a pool of potential suitors, which speaks volumes about her sense of priorities.

Matron Storm is definitely not someone to cross and rub wrong but I had a feeling she might have a fond affection for the girls’ as the nuns had by the end of The Trouble with Angels. Lily, of course, by default can’t help herself – she likes to get into it with people and test the waters, however, Bertie is more sensible and the two compliment each other well enough. Especially as I think for Bertie she’s found her passionate direction in life whereas with Lily, it is hard to tell if she’s trying to appease her Mum from afar or if she’s merely trying to fill her hours before her ‘life’ begins. A part of me questioned if Lily was caught between herself – between owning the fact she wants to be the daughter her mother expects and the woman she already has become yet hasn’t the confidence to fully embrace.

I was a riot of smirks as I was reading the first exchange of dialogue between Liliy and Lord Strathem! It was just wickedly lovely to have her first introduction to this estate be through the eyes of the person who owns it and yet, without the foreknowledge of that fact before her as they conversed! Lily being Lily handled the reveal as you would expect her too and despite the grievances Matron Storm piles onto her, I felt Lily was quite charmed by the bloke rather than the diffidence she tried to pull off instead. After all, it wasn’t quite the traditional meeting of minds and yet, there was something striking between them – I felt it might have to do with the fact being American she was absent of the traditions and expectations he would expect women to have for a bloke in his position whilst at the same time he was endeavouring to broaden her horizon in more than one way without too much success. You could definitely see the seeds of growth being planted between them even in such a short of a scene as they first shared.

Of course, what sweetened the introduction to these characters was seeing Lord Strathem in his element – of what he is dealing with behind the scenes of the estate’s new purpose in healing the wounds from war and of how passionate he is about preserving both his ancestral right to the estate itself and the life in which he keeps as being the lord of the manor. He’s between a rock and a hard place financially but he has an enduring kind of spirit about him which is a fierce compliment to his standoffish personality when it comes to Americans on Scottish soil.

On the historical storycrafting styling of J’nell Ciesielski:

One of the blessings of reading and watching a lot of Historical stories is being able to alight back through a lens of setting Ms Ciesielski is creating within Beauty Among Ruins. As there was the season of Downton Abbey wherein the family let in the soldiers to recover from their time at war whilst AnneMarie Brear also explored this through her story Where Dragonflies Hover. It is a premise and a timeframe of the world wars aptly tackled in different ways by different writers and one I was keenly curious about seeing how Ms Ciesielski would handle it.

I liked how she approached setting us in Lily and Bertie’s new lives at the estate – of how they are meant to get on as nurses and how the estate itself holds more hidden secrets than the paintings and tapestries could tell stories of their own! She sets you inside this setting as if you were always meant to land there – seeing and observing just what you’d hope to expect and of course, populating it with characters who give a long lasting impression on your visit with them.

When I first started reading this story, I felt there might be overtures of influence from Beauty and the Beast but as I only read a short part of the story, I am unsure if I was picking up on that influence or if it was simply a misguided observation. I also loved how this is a story set in Scotland, as the country is an important one to my own ancestral histories and a country which I do not oft get to read about in Historical Fiction. From the first steps I’ve taken within Beauty Among Ruins, I can tell between the pacing and the disclosures of the characters’ who populate this story, it will be quite the interesting read once I move deeper into the heart of the novel.

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBT

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours!

Follow the Virtual Road Map

as you visit others participating: along the route

& learn about the bookaway attached to the tour:

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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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Reading this story contributed to my 2021 reading challenges:

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “Beauty Among Ruins”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of J’nell Ciesielski, 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: #Audioreads banner, 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge banner, #HistoricalMondays banner, #25PagePreview banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2021.

I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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, 18 January, 2021 by jorielov in #25PagePreview, #HistoricalMondays, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, During WWI, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Medical Fiction, Nurses & Hospital Life, Realistic Fiction, War Drama

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One response to “A #HistoricalMondays #25PagePreview | feat. “Beauty Among Ruins” by INSPY Historical novelist J’nell Ciesielski

  1. J'nell Ciesielski

    Girl, I feel ya on life making it difficult to find joy even in reading. You are definitely not alone in this blah feeling, but here’s to hoping things change for the better soon! Thank you for such a lovely review of Alec and Lily.

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