An INSPY #HistRom for #INSPYSundays | “A Captain for Caroline Gray” (part of the Proper Romance, imprint series by the publisher Shadow Mountain) by Julie Wright

Posted Sunday, 21 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

#INSPYSundays banner made my Jorie in Canva.

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 “A Captain for Caroline Gray” 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 fourth blog tour hosting with Austenprose and this tour marks my continuing journey into beginning to read & listen to stories from Shadow Mountain Publishing. 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.

Last month, you saw me read a story writ in a similar theme of interest by this publisher and the author Arlem Hawks!

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 Julie Wright!

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An INSPY #HistRom for #INSPYSundays | “A Captain for Caroline Gray” (part of the Proper Romance, imprint series by the publisher Shadow Mountain) by Julie WrightA Captain for Caroline Gray
Subtitle: Proper Romance
by Julie Wright
Source: Publisher via Austenprose

Regency London

Caroline Gray's third season in London society ends as badly as her first two—no marriage proposal, no suitor, not even a glimmer of an interested prospect. She suspects it's because she is far too quick to speak her mind to men who are put off by her forthright opinions, her eager intellect backed by a formal education, and her unconventional ideas about the future. She is far more daring than demure to suit the taste of her class. Besides, Caroline thinks there will always be next season to find a husband.

However, her family's dwindling income leaves Caroline with only one choice to secure her future: a one-way ticket to sail with the Fishing Fleet to India, where the son of a family friend waits. If the match doesn't work, Caroline cannot return home.

Captain Thomas Scott loves the thrill of the open sea, and as commander of one of the ships of the Fishing Fleet, he ferries scores of young English girls to the shores of India to find husbands. The voyages pay well, but he struggles to understand why families would allow young women to be matched with total strangers so far away.

The trips have always been routine and uneventful—until this trip's first night's dinner with one Miss Caroline Gray. She engages in a lively political conversation, presenting opposing viewpoints to the conventionally opinionated gentlemen at her table. Captain Scott is secretly amused and delighted at her boldness, not to mention quite drawn to her beauty.

The rest of the passengers are shocked by her behavior and Caroline finds herself an outcast, suffering harsh judgments from the other passengers. However, she finds an unlikely ally in Captain Scott which quickly draws them closer.

Both know an arranged marriage awaits Caroline at the end of their voyage, yet the attraction between them is undeniable. Caroline will have to decide if she will honor her mother's wishes and marry a man in India whom she has never met, thus securing a future for her and her mother, or be brave enough to throw convention to the wind and commit to love a sea captain. He may be enchanted by her bold and unconventional ways, but will his love and admiration last?

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1629728469

Also in this series: The Gentleman and the Thief, Georgana's Secret

Published by Shadow Mountain Publishing

on 2nd March, 2021

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 336

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Published by: Shadow Mountain Publishing (@ShadowMountn)

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

Available Formats: Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

About Julie Wright

Julie Wright

Julie Wright wrote her first book when she was fifteen and has written over twenty novels since then. She is a Whitney Awards winner for best romance with her books Cross My Heart and Lies Jane Austen Told Me, and she is a Crown Heart recipient for the novel The Fortune Café.

She has one husband, three kids, one dog, and a varying amount of fish, frogs, and salamanders (depending on attrition). She loves writing, reading, hiking, playing with her kids, and watching her husband make dinner.

She hates mayonnaise.

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my review of a captain for caroline gray:

The choices presented to Caroline Gray were not the kind of choices for the faint of heart – she was being cast into an impossible situation whereupon she’d either rise through her adverse circumstances and unburden her mother’s guilty conscience or conscript them both to a future of ill-begotten anguish spun out of impossible situations beyond their control. For Caroline Gray was the victim of having an independent mind, a fiercely curious intellect and an era in which women spoke less, learnt less than men and were only meant to seek out a match in marriage rather than a working knowledge of the Sciences being discussed at lectures! I felt for her immediately because of my own curiosities in Science and how being intellectually curious should never limit a woman’s chances at matrimony – whether in her era or my own.

To even consider the choices she was presented with was disheartening because she had to choose between removing herself from society as she knew it and taking herself out of the worry of her Mum who only wanted her to be happy in a life she could live without regret. And, yet – those choices were tearing her apart from the inside out due to how outrageous it felt that she’d have to travel so dearly far in order to arrive at a place where her presence might not be as contemptuous as it were now. I’d wager it was even ten times harder to be Caroline Gray than how she’s depicted because you cannot change your nature and your natural keen awareness about life and the world round you – and yet, isn’t that exactly what society back then was attempting to do? To repress the intellectual freedoms of women to seek out knowledge and to better themselves for it?

By the time Caroline boarded the ship for India, she was already drawing attention from its Captain – as Thomas Scott was similar to her in regards to not achieving the life they both desired for themselves. For he was a man of independent business and his actions on the high seas was leading him towards self-sufficiency whereas for Ms Gray, Caroline wanted to define herself rather than to let a man or society define her station on her behalf. It had to be hard to swallow – the constant judging and presumptions everyone was making on her behalf and the inability to constantly correct their misguided intentions at setting her straight in regards to how to properly behave or to speak. I loved her keen mind for topical discussions and dissections but as foreshadowed by Wright – this was a quality of hers which few shared and celebrated.

For Captain Scott – it was interesting how he was much more aware of Caroline than others in his stead and on that note, he was as curiously drawn to Caroline as she were to him but perhaps a bit more than her in regards to considering her as a plausible match rather than a mere companion at sea whilst they journeyed to India. Scott was a complicated fellow in that regard – he’d prefer to remain obtuse and distanced from his passengers until of course he caught sight of Caroline and it is as if he’s completely besotted and disconcerted by the allure of the woman who might steal his heart without his notice! It was such an interesting discourse – observing them individually and together – how they bantered and retracted themselves from each other. The irony of course is I was quite certain neither was ready to call a truce nor admit that perhaps what they were each in search of had finally found them at sea!

His arrogance is hindering him as  much as Darcy’s had inflicted grief in his own interactions with Lizzie – mostly because Captain Scott has become accustomed to a particular kind of life and way of living which is outside the purview of society. He has a strong sense of right and wrong whilst he is accustomed to people doing as their told and never contradicting his own thoughts. This is the issue he has with Caroline – she is a woman of her own mind. She chooses to act when she feels she ought to act and she speaks her truth and the truths of her mind whenever she is able to speak. It is an interesting concept for Captain Scott as he’s too used to women leaning on the confines of their society obligations to speak outside of what is considered proper – whereas with Caroline, she can speak on topics that most women would never have the ability to continue in mixed company as they were not given the same advantages of tutelage as she was given herself.

The curious bits for me were seeing how Caroline and Captain Scott reacted to each other whenever they were pitted against one another. A lot of it had to do with his presumptions about her and how her fiery responses did not always bode well for his appeasement but they were bold in allowing her to own her own independent will. I love relationships which start off rocky in slow burn romances because it allows you to spend more time with the characters – seeing how they choose to read their situations with others and how through their interactions, you ink out more about their personalities as well as the baggage they bring with them from the past which might be acting as barriers in the present.

The overtures with Pride and Prejudice also made this a delightful drama as it extended the time we spent with Caroline and Captain Scott. The last quarter of the novel wasn’t my top favourite because it had to entertain the reasons why Caroline travelled to India and for me, those chapters weren’t as enticing as the moments spent on the ship wherein they were travelling to India instead. When we get to meet the bloke Caroline promised to dine on behalf of his parents, I found my attention faltering a bit because I had such a distasteful reaction to the bloke and to the passages he was involved in as much as I had with Wickham in Pride! Some characters are just too deplorable for words – yet despite the decline in interest – there were a few surprises still awaiting me!

For instance, I liked how we resettled on a friendship sparked out of necessity between Caroline and one of the passengers and how Caroline’s own maternal instincts bode her well through different adverse situations throughout the storyline. It was her bold confidence in her abilities to change circumstances which won me over in the end and in finding how two stubbornly independent hearts can find warmth and companionship in each other without having to compromise who they are and what they stand for in the end.

on the historical & romantic styling of julie wright:

I enjoyed how Wright began her novel – how she took us on this internal journey of Caroline Gray – first seeing her at her childhood home and then, finding her life slowly unravelling due to an entailed property and the expectations of her family to be wed rather than remain single in an age where women had little choice but to marry. Wright gave us a familiar entry into Caroline’s life – for those who love Austen, the scenario presented isn’t too afield from Pride and Prejudice but with a bit of a hearkening from A Little Princess by showcasing the opportunity to travel to India in a reverse course of action wherein our heroine is going to India rather than returning to England from India.

I loved the ease of soaking into Wright’s writerly style and how she’s captured the essence of what I was hoping to seek out of Caroline Gray’s story. There is a lightness to her words and an easiness of charm and grace to how she’s captured her everyday life through the lens of how the story unfolds. It was a true delight to drink in her passages and feel as if we’ve fallen back into step with the gentleness of reading Historical Romances in a stylised manner which pays homage to Austen but allows a modern historical novelist to spin their own style into our hearts as well. This happens ever so often – as most recently I was quite smitten with the writerly styling of the author behind The Earl’s Lady Geologist for similar reasons!

It shouldn’t surprise me how much I enjoyed the pacing of this novel when I realised ‘Captain Scott reminded me dearly of Darcy and Caroline is an equal to Elizabeth.’ For Wright has a similar temperament of curious observational narrative as Austen had herself – she lets her characters get into the thick of everything and gently pulls her focus on how they assert themselves in those situations (even if they make a faux pas in their reactions!) whilst giving them some rein to find growth in their acquaintances and move through their lives with enough space to find a way to evolve through their character’s faults. It is through those faults of course we learnt the most about the characters and about how much resolve it took for them to find a way forward when they hadn’t considered an alternative course of action for themselves.

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A Captain for Caroline Gray promo graphic provided by Austenprose and is used with permission.

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This blog tour is courtesy of: Austenprose

Blog Tour banner for A Captain for Caroline Gray 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 “A Captain for Caroline Gray”, book synopsis, author biography and photograph (of Julie Wright) as well as the blog tour banner and 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: #NSPYSundays 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 Sunday, 21 March, 2021 by jorielov in Austenprose, Blog Tour Host, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Romance Fiction

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