An INSPY #HistRom | “Georgana’s Secret” (part of the Proper Romance, imprint series by the publisher Shadow Mountain) by Arlem Hawks

Posted Thursday, 11 February, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I started hosting for Austenprose in late 2020 – it is a joy to continue to find authors of both Historical Fiction & Historical Romance who are writing the kinds of stories I enjoy as a reader. These are two of my favourite genres of interest and it is lovely to start hosting for a book blogger whose organising blog tours of whom I have long admired in the book blogosphere. I am eager to see which publishing companies and which authors will round out my first full year of hosting for Austenprose and their authors on their blog tours.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Georgana’s Secret” direct from the publisher Shadow Mountain Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

This is my third blog tour hosting with Austenprose and this tour marks the first of the New Year, 2021! Isn’t that grand!? I’ve been wanting to start reading & listening to stories from Shadow Mountain Publishing for a few years now as I first started to notice their stories when I was joining my favourite readathon over Summer – which was the Christian Fiction Reading Safari hosted by Singing Librarian Books!  Perhaps you’ve heard of it yourself and have joined in on the lovely self-directed readthon wherein as you read you have the chance to win free books by the conclusion of the event!?

I have been fascinated by romantic stories on the high seas for years – even before I was a book blogger and started to read such lovelies like Zana Bell’s Close to the Wind and The Secret Kimono by Christina Courtenay which I happily devoured! As Courtenay’s novel only partially took place over the high seas, I am aptly delighted I might be able to dive into her Kinross trilogy ahead of her Runes series which still is left officially unnamed though I did offer #RunesOfTime as an idea for it. (see also Tweet) And, of course, I have it in mind to read and/or listen to the full series of ‘Master & Commander’ now that I have fallen for the film which I blessedly saw with my Dad when it released into theaters.

I simply never fail in my admiration for these kinds of stories and that is what motivated me to enquiry if there were a date available for this lovely blog tour & an opening for a review as this is my first time reading a story by Ms Arlem Hawks!

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An INSPY #HistRom | “Georgana’s Secret” (part of the Proper Romance, imprint series by the publisher Shadow Mountain) by Arlem HawksGeorgana's Secret
Subtitle: Proper Romance
by Arlem Hawks
Source: Publisher via Austenprose

A Regency romance on the high seas. Two hearts yearning to find a safe harbor, and possibly, a lasting love.

As a young girl, Georgana Woodall dreamed of beautiful dresses, fancy balls, and falling in love. However, when her mother dies, she cannot face a future under the guardianship of her abusive grandmother and instead chooses to join her father on his ship disguised as his cabin boy, "George."

Lieutenant Dominic Peyton has no time in his life for love, not with his dedication to His Majesty's Royal Navy claiming his full attention. While trying to adjust to a new crew, he strives to be an exemplary officer and leader. When he sees the captain's cabin boy being harassed by the crew, he immediately puts a stop to it and takes the "boy" under his wing. After discovering a number of clues, Dominic deduces that George is really a woman. Knowing that revealing the cabin boy's secret would put her in serious danger from the rowdy crew, Dominic keeps silent and hides his growing affection for her.

Georgana is quickly losing her heart to Dominic's compassion and care but is convinced nothing can come of her affection. She cannot continue to live her life on the sea, and having already missed too many seasons in London, her chances of being welcomed back into polite society and finding a suitable husband are quickly slipping away.

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1629727929

Also in this series: The Gentleman and the Thief, A Captain for Caroline Gray

Published by Shadow Mountain Publishing

on 12th January, 2021

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 320

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Published by: Shadow Mountain Publishing (@ShadowMountn)

Converse via: #HistoricalRomance or #HistRom
+ #GeorganasSecret, #ProperRomance and #Austenprose

Available Formats: Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

About Arlem Hawks

Arlem Hawks

Arlem Hawks began making up stories before she could write. Living all over the Western United States and traveling around the world gave her a love of cultures and people and the stories they have to tell. With her travels came an interest in history, especially the history of her English heritage. When she isn't writing, Arlem is baking her characters' favorite foods, sewing Regency dresses, learning how to play the tin whistle, and water coloring. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two children.

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my review of georgana’s secret:

It is hard to rectify the opening chapter into Georgana’s life as she had the grace of a loving father but the cruelty of a tyrannical grandmother! For such a young girl, she had to shoulder a load of adverse circumstances to where even her own Mum wasn’t strong enough to combat the influences of a grandmother whose bite was just as bad as her bark! Part of it reminded me of the undo amount of pressure on Danielle from Ever After – where her father had such a healthy respect and love for his daughter in-line with Georgana’s father in this story and yet, that kind of love and father-daughter relationship was sadly overshadowed by another influence which attempted to erase the goodness of their bond. It was a quick shift forward – where we find the years eclipse forward into the future where Georgana is no longer a young girl but a young woman of eighteen.

I loved how the two characters first meet each other – Peyton is trying to settle into his new ship and his duties therein whilst learning the lay of the land aboard when it comes to the crew. For Georgana – she is experiencing signs of PTSD at the hands of her grandmother, of whom apparently continued her mistreatments of her grand-daughter long after her girlhood years. Which is of course why her father made such a drastic action to secure her safety. For Georgana – I feel she’s a woman caught between the past and her present; it is hard to find traction to move forward when your still caught betwixt and between where your old life ended and your new life resumed. She’s quite quiet and keeps to herself but that seems to be characteristic of her given how she was raised and the tragedies she’s had to endure.

As Peyton tries to intervene on behalf of Georgana – as this is at the heart of what secret lies within the novel itself – about how sometimes you have to disguise your true identity in order to survive – we start to see Georgana trying to release more of the stress and tensions of her past. She is still plagued with memory and the after effects of her grandmother’s wrath of influence but with Peyton’s kind suggestions about finding bold courage in standing against bullies, you start to see how the influence is affecting change within her as she tries to augment her behaviours and reactions to what Peyton has suggested. Behind their interactions, you see the hard lines of time affecting her father – he’s the Captain of this ship but his heart seems to have become misplaced somewhere over the years and with good reason. His mother is an unjustly cruel woman and his wife tragically has already passed – leaving him with his daughter and the inability to return home.

You feel yourself pulled emotionally through the lives of these characters – each of them have a lot to lose and to gain but how to find balance in lives which are lived forward without too much time to consider future prospects!? Hawks gives us the kind of slow brewing romance we love to find in stories of this nature where it isn’t cut and dry how a romantic connection can bloom between two characters whilst at the same time there is a lot of drama behind their journey wherein it is hard to speculate what will happen next. Until of course, this novel gives us ample time spent seeing how difficult it was on the crew to battle against other ships which might consider doing them harm.

It was interesting seeing the differences of opinion between the officers and the crew; the crew are trained to follow their orders and to do their duties well. Whereas with the officers, especially when it came to Jarvis who was still burnt on finding out Peyton took the job he felt was rightly his own – is how much officers will argue with their Captains rather than trust their knowledge of warfare and respect the choices they make on behalf of their crew. In this regard, Hawks showed how numbing it is to be of a certain rank and realise you’ve lost part of the respect you’ve gained due to one man’s blind pursuit of power and rank.

I especially enjoyed the growth of connection bloom between Peyton and Georgana – as it was rooted in friendship long before romantic love took root between them. For they were cut of the same cloth so to speak, each of them finding something at sea they could not find on land and it was how they became intimately close throughout the course of the novel which made the journey with them so sweet in the end. One of my favourite passages is at the end as well – where Georgana’s father is talking with Peyton – about his regrets of the past and how Peyton holds the key for his daughter’s future. It was a heartwarming conclusion to a dearly dramatic adventure and within that passage of course, what was more fitting was how wonderful it was to see how the father could give his blessing of a second chance at life to his daughter.

on the historical & romantic styling of arlem hawks:

It has been quite a long while since I’ve read a novel about the high seas and with Hawks dedicated eye on detail aboard ship it made transitioning into Georgana’s Secret quite easy for me as she clued you in on the details of life amongst the officers and crew as if you were always there. Whenever I am reading about stories set at sea, it never fails to impress me how difficult life was for those who worked on the ships themselves – from the petty rivalries to the hardships of life at sea itself. It was not the kind of life for the weak nor ill of spirit because too much relied on one’s wits and the strength of facing the brutality of the sea itself when the storms came to rage! With Hawks’ you can settle into the background of the ship – seeing which of the officers has it out for others and why cabin boys have one of the hardest jobs as well.

There were echoes of familiarity with the ways in which Hawk portrayed the action and life aboard ship to those memories I have of watching Master and Commander (on the silver screen at the time of its debut) – she tucks you into the everyday motions of the crew, the demands of the job being part of the Navy for England and seeing how the men on the ship itself had to endure not just the dangers of ship life but also endeavouring to find courage in the face of battle against other ships or against mother nature if the storms proved a greater threat.

On the realistic showcasing of PTSD: 

Hawks also spent a considerable amount of time explaining the psychological effects of Georgana’s grandmother and how those leftover haunting memories played against the young woman’s sense of self, identity and sought to unwind her confidence in becoming the woman she was vs the unwanted girl her grandmother despised. From that point of perspective, this is a hard novel to read as Hawks doesn’t relent on the carry-over effects of the grandmother, even after three years have shifted forward in Georgana’s life as it isn’t the kind of shift forward which would immediately erase years of abuse and mistreatment on behalf of a child’s guardian. From what is presented it appears it is more verbal than physical but for readers who have triggers and/or aversions to certain stories with these inclusions – please consider this before you read the story.

Most of this is seen through flashback memories or the repetitive words and phrases Georgana remembers from her grandmother which is in-line with her life aboard ship. It is realistically done to show how our past can directly affect our future and how difficult it is to live a life fully realised from a past threat and find solace in the freedom that is now found.

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Promotional graphic for "Georgana's Secret" by Arlem Hawks provided by Austenprose and is used with permission.

It was not lost on my dear hearts – this person was referring to Patrick O’ Brian whilst I mentioned him myself ahead of sharing my review as being one of the authors of high sea stories I most ache after to read! In regards to the Regency era and the evergreen influences of Jane Austen – I delight in the joy of how each new writer who takes-on Austen’s instincts for featuring the Regency as another layer of Austen’s own legacy within the romantic genre she loved most to write inside. It gives us a heart-pulse of joy knowing the Regency is still very much alive by new writers who find their own entrances & exits in a setting & timescape Austen loved herself and happily allowed us to journey with her through her own writerly lens of influence!

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This blog tour is courtesy of: Austenprose

Georganas Secret Blog Tour banner provided by Austenprose and is used with permission.Be sure to click the banner & find the tour route!

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “Georgana’s Secret”, book synopsis, author biography and photograph (of Arlem Hawks) as well as the blog tour banner and the promo graphic banner were all provided by Austenprose and are used with permission. Post dividers 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 and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2021.

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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 Thursday, 11 February, 2021 by jorielov in Austenprose, Blog Tour Host, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Romance Fiction

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