A #HistoricalMondays Book Review | Feminist forward #HistRom set in the Victorian 19thC feat. STEM minded women who are fiercely independent within the pages of “Inventing Vivian” (Book Two: The Blue Orchard Society series) by Jennifer Moore

Posted Monday, 12 July, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I’ve been hosting for Prism Book Tours since September of 2017 – having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. As I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors when I’m not showcasing book reviews on behalf of Harlequin Heartwarming which has become my second favourite imprint of Harlequin next to my beloved #LoveINSPIRED Suspense. I am also keenly happy PRISM hosts a variety of Indie Authors and INSPY Fiction novelists.

I received a complimentary copy of “Inventing Vivian” direct from the publisher Covenant Communications, Inc. in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On what drew my eye towards this novel & author:

I, admit, the past several months I’ve had a lot on my mind and my attention on my blog hasn’t quite been what it used to be prior to my return to work. There was a short expanse of time in Spring where I had better focus, but honestly, #WyrdAndWonder gave me the blessing of being able to stay super focused on genre (ie. Fantasy) and allowed me the grace of dissolving into beloved reads and treasured characters’ journeys. I met new authors in their stories and I found new worlds and series I cannot wait to read further as new installments emerge; yet, two of those final reads have been left stagnant awaiting me on my desk, as ever since June first began (including the first week AFTER our lovely event this May) — we’ve had nothing but seriously difficult weather patterns!

The lightning has been unreal this year – although, its a yearly angst, I had 29 out of 30 days of June dealing with it, including 10x of grief without connectivity. Whilst 9 out of the past 10 days of July have been a repeat of June’s weather. I’ve also worked a solid 3x weeks with only 1x day off which hasn’t left me a lot of personal time to read or think about revising the drafts I have leftover from #WyrdAndWonder, or the goals I had set forth for my Summer reading plans. Including announcement formally my new even co-hosted with Peyton, #MyYASummer! (grr!)

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Somewhere in that recent bit of chaotic hours, I’ve overlooked the fact this novel Inventing Vivian is a sequel and the second in a series. I learnt there is a novella (blessedly on audio!) prequel as well — however, I learnt this as I was picking up this particular novel to read and thereby, despite my efforts checking all my local & regional libraries – no one has these titles in print or audio sadly to borrow this weekend. I decided to read this novel after gleaming a bit from the chapter samplers online and meet the series in the second installment. It breaks a pattern I prefer in how I read series but I’ve done this a few times with success with Harlequin Heartwarming novelists and a few others as well, to where I can align myself into a series without having the grace of knowing the characters in the first novel.

I intend to seek out the other stories but for now, what intrigued me the most about wanting to read this story is both the setting (have a great fond affection for the Victorians!) and the fact, this is an INSPY release by a publisher I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading previously! I am a HUGE fan of INSPY Lit – both Historical and Contemporary, so whenever I see a chance to read an author by a publisher of INSPY I haven’t yet locked eyes on in a story, I am truly grateful for a blog tour to allow the meeting to happen! Plus, of course, I am dearly addicted to Historical Mysteries and Feminist Fiction.

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A #HistoricalMondays Book Review | Feminist forward #HistRom set in the Victorian 19thC feat. STEM minded women who are fiercely independent within the pages of “Inventing Vivian” (Book Two: The Blue Orchard Society series) by Jennifer MooreInventing Vivian
Subtitle: A Blue Orchid Society novel | A Victorian Romance
by Jennifer Moore
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Ladies of London’s High Society are known for their social graces and poise. Vivian Kirby boasts neither of these enviable qualities, though she does offer impressive conversation on chemical compositions. Unfortunately, it appears that not many men want a brilliant wife. So it is that Vivian finds kinship with a group of young women who embrace each other’s differences: The Blue Orchid Society. 

After an extended stay in China, Lord Benedict has returned transformed to his family’s estate, where an encounter with Vivian, whose scientific knowledge he once undermined, leaves him determined to make amends. He arranges to help forward her research—anonymously, of course. Through letters, Vivian establishes a warm friendship with her secret benefactor, even as she’s unexpectedly drawn into a murder investigation that forces her to work alongside Benedict to unearth the truth. Soon, Vivian fears she may be falling in love with two men, never suspecting that they are one and the same.

Genres: Historical Fiction, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Amateur Detective, Cosy Historical Mystery, Science & Technology

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781524418946

Published by Covenant Communications Inc

on 7th June, 2021

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 212

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The Blue Orchid Society series:

(more info on author’s blog) wherein I was right, there are truly six women!
(can we just pause a moment & take stock of their outfits? LOVE Vivian’s ensemble!)

Solving Sophronia by Jennifer MooreInventing Vivian by Jennifer Moore

Emmeline (prequel novella or 0.5)

Having read the synopsis – I knew quite immediately, I’d be keenly curious to read this story or rather, as I cannot read digitally, listen to this novella on audiobook! There is something curious about how two people who have such friction with each other who are constantly placed in each others’ path to give you a happy dose of curiosity to see how and when they’ll start to see each other differently! Plus, I spent a full year (approx. five years ago) reading Historical Feminist Fiction – wherein, I learnt a lot about the suffragette movement and have continued to seek out stories of that nature whenever I get the chance to read them. It is essential reading for all women – to both understand our present rights and the hard-won fight we had to endure to secure them in the past. Whilst mindful of how fragile those rights are still as their constantly being debated and attempted to be removed even in today’s world.

Emmeline sounds exactly like the kind of heroine I would enjoy rallying behind – here is what I gleamed out of the chapter sampler online: Arthur for all his bluster was at a complete loss to keep company in conversation with Emmeline because she, for whichever reason caught him off-guard and without a way to defend his positions. He clearly was not a bourne believer in Feminist rights nor in the ability to see gender equality but he for his own sake held his own until he abandoned the fight altogether – in that short expanse of seeing him quite befuddled and put to rights by Emmeline, I knew this was a novella I would quite devour! And, rightly so! It is hard to find a well-writ Historical drama set during the Suffragette movement where both men and women are on their game and give you such a delish bout of dialogue to soak inside!

Emmaline is definitely the kind of heroine I want to read about further and I am thankful for the sampler to introduce me both to this series and to a character who is equally as well-developed and fully alive as Arthur is himself. A credit to Ms Moore and her tenacious eye on this setting in History. I can tell it will be a pure delight to listen to this once I’ve secured a copy on audiobook.

Solving Sophronia (book one)

Alas! The Blue Orchid Society was launched (per this novel’s synopsis) due to the goals of five women – each of them, I would presume want to break convention and go their own way in life at a time where women were fighting for gender equality & the rights all of us today are thankful for their fight so many years ago. I had a feeling the Society had something to do with women coming together – either for mutual benefit or as mentioned, for sisterhood fellowship. It is fitting there are five women – which means, this must be a quartet, with Emmeline’s story (the fifth) being the extra one or its a full quintet and hers was a bonus story and she’s the six member rather than the fifth? Either way, I’m equally more curious to read this lovely than I was after reading about Emmeline! It isn’t oft I find a series that situates itself in a timescape that I delight in reading about about topics that interest me as much as this one is now.

It was through her acknowledgements in this novel where you really gather the feel for how she textured her series and how she plotted out the five novels and Emmeline’s novella. Interestingly, I hadn’t expected to find out she was fully new to all of this – the setting, the suffragette movement and even the forensic knowledge of the era! Most of the authors she credited with a boost of informational nudges are ones I’ve read myself (ie. Carla Kelly being a stand-out in my own readerly life as well) — whilst I am so thankful Ms Moore found “Murdoch Mysteries” as for me, it is a family favourite as well. Until of course, we reached one of the last years (Season 10 I believe?) and we couldn’t take it anymore – it was after they killed off a beloved constable – so if that sounds familiar, you know whom was lost and why it was too hard to return. Murdoch as a series is landmark though for showing historical forensics (even if they play liberties at times) and for showcasing non-conventional women succeeding in fields wherein you might not expect them to find success. Its a beautiful series!

I decided to hold off reading further into this sampler as I intuited enough through the acknowledgements and synopsis to realise its a winner for me!! I’d much prefer to read the novel just as it is and enjoy it after I listen to Emmeline’s novella. Which of course, means, I’ll have to re-read Vivian’s novel as everything will have new dimension for me, too!

Inventing Vivian (book two)

Hazel | Elizabeth | Dahlia ← forthcoming installments!

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Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #HistoricalRomance, #HistRom and #HistoricalMysteries

About Jennifer Moore

Jennifer Moore

Jennifer Moore is a passionate reader and writer of all things romance due to the need to balance the rest of her world that includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that are anything but romantic. She suffers from an acute addiction to 18th and 19th century military history and literature. Jennifer has a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family, but most of the time wishes she was on board a frigate during the Age of Sail.

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my review of inventing vivian:

Vivian is her own person – in a time and setting women were not seen as strong independently minded individuals as they were confined to being seen only as girls maturing into young women to be wed wherein they would pivot and only provide what their husbands would need. They were not seen as anything substantial in their own right and that is truly what was at the heart of the suffragette movement and the long fight for gender equality. Of course, this wasn’t being highlighted in this story’s opening as it had with Emmeline’s but those truths about how women were both perceived and treated still sting for Vivian when she recognises that men do not like to entertain conversations with women who know either an equal layer of knowledge about a subject or whom can hold their own on topics even the men do not know that much about themselves. It is an interesting situation – both in the Victorian era and in our own modern era, wherein men get it into their heads to feel inferior when they ought to be looking at it differently – seeing our equality and our equal worth in all respects.

Being a young girl who grew into a woman who has had a passionate attachment to Science (you’ve might have seen some of the reviews peppering through Jorie Loves A Story over the years) as much as she’s loved the world of art – sometimes, being anchoured through both areas of pursuit isn’t always easily understood by one’s peers or by men, who might still believe women shouldn’t be as curious about topics within the realms of STEM even today. Thereby, I was instantly liking Vivian on the outset simply because I could relate to her – not in the same fascination with chemical concoctions but in our fever of curiosity to understand scientific pursuits. One of my top favourite subjects to research isn’t Chemistry by rather Quantum Physics through the line of thought and theory of Einstein and others like him.

I had felt I might not be able to peer into how these women came together – as they had met in the library and I felt it was all self-contained within the first novel (ie. Lady Sophie’s story) – however, a beautiful Prologue allowed me to see how each of the ladies formed their sisterhood and what had motivated them to develop this budding friendship into the Blue Orchid Society! The sentiment behind the choice in name was quite wicked as well – as Moore gave a lot of thought behind what the colour blue and the orchid itself was chosen. Those were not merely ‘put together’ but rather elude to a larger reason behind the forming of their society. Nothing was mentioned about Emmeline so I’m unsure where she falls in the timeline of the series at this junction. However it should be noted, I love whenever an author can anchour a series’ characters into a sequel if the sequel is the first jumping off point for the reader (such as myself).

Lord Benedict was an interesting choice in character to go against Vivian – he was uniquely different than most of the blokes of the Victorian era as he, too, had taken a diverted path from what was expected of him, same as the women of the Blue Orchid Society. I had a feeling they each in turn would have to find a bloke who either lived differently than society would suspect they ought be allowed or finding the blokes who understood the women even if they lived traditionally themselves. What was alluring here is by having Benedict re-introduced into Vivian’s life it afforded a lovely bit of drama to become worked out between the two characters but also, added more layers to how the two have grown and the paths they’ve pursued as adults. I had a suspicion Vivian wasn’t going to forgive the slight Benedict gave her when they were younger as easily as he might hope for her to do so – as I believe for Vivian, that one slight held more weight than he realised in her memories.

Seeing Lord Benedict with Zhang Wei was wicked wonderful – as I appreciate characters of different backgrounds and cultural heritage in Historical Fiction. It presents a wider world-view that what is usually presented and given how travel was always utilised throughout History, it would make sense people from different places would be visually seen throughout the Victorian age as they would have been in the Regency and Edwardian. Zhang Wei also reminded me of how much I miss reading about Hiro Hattori (ie. Susan Spann’s co-lead character of her Cosy Crime series) – they have an intuitive gentleness to their persons with a calming way of presenting truths their partners need to hear in order to make the best choices when presented with a crossroad.

Mr Baraby’s emporium was quite a fitting place to find Vivian’s inventive mind full of curiosity and inquisitive enquiries with a man who not only tinkered with inventions himself, he encouraged the practice in others like Vivian. Theirs was a unique friendship tethered by a mutual pursuit of both science and industry. Which of course lent itself to a lot of interesting discoveries as Moore showed us when we first had the chance to meet Mr Baraby! Given this kind of encouraging environment, I can see how Vivian was allowed to find freedom as both a scientist and as an inventor (as the title eludes).

I felt crushed by the pressure Lord Benedict’s parents were placing on him and I could imagine that kind of expectation hit him hard as well. To be told outright that your worth is reduced greatly without the means to pass on a title you no longer desire to have as your own has to do a number on your conscience and sense of self. The Victorians were a lot like other generations in history wherein without a produced or expected heir, families wilted into oblivion and titles were lost. It makes no sense to me (of course) because the worth of a person and a family is not tethered to a particular place but the value of what they contributed whilst they were alive and rightly more to the point, how well they lived their lives overall – but not all generations in history looked at life within those principles nor followed any sense of logic outside of what advanced them further in their industries of interest and what would ‘carry-on’ the legacy for their descendants coming down the line. For Benedict, to be squarely told he was worthless without wife and son is truly the epitome of how they felt and how narrow they looked at both their current life and the role of their family in the future.

I, for one, was hoping Benedict might be inspired by Vivian to cast aside familial obligations and find a middle path – somewhere between what his father expects out of him and what he personally can live with doing with the rest of his life. Either that, or renounce the title early and give his father the name of whichever cousin could inherit. After all, it happened to the Bennett family (ie. “Pride and Prejudice”) and it surely must’ve happened to others as well. One cannot tie their future to a goal that goes against their own soul and heart. To do so is to forfeit your own right to find your own happiness which of course Benedict would understand having spent time in China per the memories Moore has shared thus far along in the story. He had turnt inward to seek solace and advice rather than continue his patterns of external pleasures and reckless joys of his youth.

A favourite scene and exchange of dialogue was when Professor Wallis took time to visit with Vivian and her lab of inventions! Those inventions are not just limited to her upstairs laboratory either – as they are also in the house itself. The delight for me though was peering into her mind and how she tinkers to create inventions which were both extraordinary for someone to create out of found materials whilst others were wickedly clever to be used in everyday life. The details of the contractions were brilliant and I had wondered – were those actual inventions from the Victorian era? Either way – whether fabricated by Moore herself, recommended by a research pursuit or bonefide inventions, it added a layer of truism to the narrative I most enjoyed reading!!

Moore highlights the working conditions of factories when children and adults were asked to work well past what was healthy and proper for all of them with limited wages and without any rights to safeguard their time on the clock. It is a hard look at how some industries forsake the health of their workers and worked round the laws which were established to prevent misuse of child labour as well. It was wonderful to see Lord Benedict in that situation with his newfound sense of right and wrong and a determined grit about him to bring needed change. It was a hard sequence to read in many respects but one that is rooted in both history and the timescape in which this story is set. By all rights, Moore was right to showcase it and to show a bit about how far we’ve come when it comes to factories and how they are run despite knowing that in some countries workers’ rights are still absent and conditions are still not where they should be even today.

It was good to see how Moore was showcasing Lord Benedict’s inherited title and duties – it gave a new bearing of insight into how wide those duties took his activities into the world outside his family’s estate and how influential his title could provoke needed change in his world. Most authors who have characters like him in their stories do not go to the same lengths to show exactly what is necessary for a person of his patronage to do on a daily basis nor of the exacting duties which are required of his title. I felt this was a wonderful way to gain that insight so rarely seen in Historical Fiction whilst knowing how hard those scenes were on the character of Benedict as well. He truly had evolved whilst he was away from England and in each new chapter, you see just how far forward he has come.

The patriarchy of unjust prejudice towards women in Science is well displayed – as soon as Vivian started to curate her entry into the exposition of Science and Industry – the warts of the past came out to roost! It clearly shows how hard women have had to fight to stand amongst their male peers and to be taken seriously rather than dismissed out of hand. The mere idea that no woman could possess the ability to understand STEM topics of research is ridiculous (both then and now) and it is wonderful to see how well Moore treated these sections of the novel. I loved how her instincts to show the contradictions in the men’s perspectives and the well versed ways her fierce Blue Orchid women fought against those injustices proves well the long fight we’ve had to be treated and respected as equals.

Moore expertly interweaves Benedict and Zhang Wei’s friendship into the plot – they are key assets to the storyline as well. I appreciated how everything from their diet of choice (ie. vegetarianism) to their principled disciplines of study (ie. mediation and kung fu) and their attention to personal growth were all aptly described and attached to their characters’ development within the plot itself. Their friendship and the ways in which they interacted with society was a true delight as each man remained true to themselves despite the awkwardness this proposed to others in society. There was a kind scene wherein Vivian gave a kindness to the two gentleman at a dinner party and I felt it was one of the best ways to eclipse her growth as well in remembering not to pre-judge someone simply based on a past experience but to endeavour to let them impress her now in the present.

The letters and correspondences between Benedict and Vivian were sweetly included at the head of chapters or within the context of the chapters – as those served as vehicles of change and motion for these two independently star-crossed romantics. I say that with a bit of hesitation as by all appearances, Vivian and Benedict are not your traditional romantic duo nor do they outwardly show romantic leanings towards anyone in particular. Their both dearly intellectual and rely greatly on their intuition and logical thinking – each of them approach life from a different vantage point and are each at a different crossroads in their lives when the circumstances of this story bring them together. It is through those correspondences the dividing lines separating them start to dissolve but the reason I saw ‘star-crossed’ is because they each feel afflicted in pursuit of love and the harmony of seeking a partner to walk through life with them. Neither of course feels they are good enough for another and both have felt the pressures of society as a burden against their own pursuits. In essence, this is as much a story of redemption for Vivian as it is for Benedict and yet, the beauty of how their story unfolds is how Moore choose to undertake their conjoined journey.

I had it in mind to credit a connection between the Blue Orchid Society series and the Lady Darby series earlier when I first started reading about Vivian — however, it slipped past me until now of course, where the plot has taken such a wonderful turn into the suspense behind sleuthing out the true culprits of a crime! Now, I understand how this Historical Romance series has twinges of intrigue set behind their plots and how all of the Blue Orchids close ranks to benefit others for the common good of seeking justice and finding answers to crimes which even baffle the authorities. In this instance, it is also a harder case to resolve – as there is a conspiracy plot behind the theft and the murder itself is being pinned on an innocent bystander who many are prejudiced against. The complications abound but I loved how Moore handled the situation and how she gave Vivian the encouragement to ‘think outside the box’ when it came to ferreting out information which could not be contested!

My heart was full of delight and joy by the time I came to the concluding chapters of Inventing Vivian! As this happily became one of my most cherished #unputdownable reads this year — for a year that has been fraught with disconnections in my readerly life to claim this as a beloved read is a wonderful moment of joy for me as a reader! I loved how the story was told, the words used and the descriptive narrative as the backdrop for the dramatic story Moore told which united us into the series of the Blue Orchid Society as much as it allowed us to entreat into the lives of Lord Benedict and Vivian! Each page turn led me closer to these characters and they truly became companions I ache to return back too as soon as Ms Moore finishes more installments of this lovely series. I am grateful to have had the pleasure of reading this novel as it was such a wicked celebration of romance, Science and being true to yourself even if only a handful of people accept you just as you are – because whomever understands you and ‘gets you’ without having to defend yourself – those are your true friends, partners in crime and found family. Family is everything and sisterhood friendships are quite rare – if you have one or both in your life, you’re tenfold blessed as much as Vivian is herself. This is a story for all of us who live nonconventional lives and have had the support of family rallying behind us – encouraging us and giving us the freedom to be ourselves.

on the historical & romantic styling of jennifer moore:

Such a refreshing joy finding Vivian and the Blue Orchid Society! I love fiercely strong women in fiction and their characters are amongst those I regularly seek out to read and chat about during @SatBookChat (a writerly and readerly chat I host on Twitter). You immediately feel at home reading Ms Moore’s story – by the way she first introduces us to Vivian to the ways in which she’s painted the portrait of Vivian’s astute observations on the ambiance of her opening setting – denoting the science and the artful ways in which Chemistry has played a key role in the illusion of stained glass and the colours therein.

It isn’t a topic I contemplated previously – though I ought to have realised the ingredients to curate stained glass were not always the kind of materials one would want to seek out to use themselves if they were to tackle the art of creating it themselves. So many times in History, artists used materials and ingredients which were deadly and had negative effects on their health – whilst at the same time, this is also inclusive of Science and the pursuit of the truth within Science by scientists as well. Radiation poisoning being one of the most frequent culprits of course. It was wonderful to see Moore tucking in those disclosures as we first met Vivian but also, as she allowed Vivian to speak her mind even if it were unpopular in the eyes of both suitors and her Aunt.

As I haven’t read Lady Sophie’s story yet, I am uncertain if Ms Moore included the Prologue in each of the installments but changed the direction of perspective per each woman in the series itself? This was a tactic used to keep the continuity alive in the Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley (you can read my reviews as I’ve shared them) – a series I am determined to keep reading this year now that more of the installments have been published but also because of how I found out about her unexpected passing this Summer. If Moore follows Riley in this technique it will be interesting to see how each woman in turn leads us into her own story and reveals more insights into how that first meeting of the Blue Orchid Society gave her a boost of encouragement to stand strong in their own lives and live a different path than what was expected of them.

I was cleverly fascinated by the prospect of having martial arts and Chinese heritage and/or cultural references peppering into the storyline. Ever since I fell in love with Susan Spann’s 16th Century Japan, I have been in search of other stories and/or series which include the Far East. It has been a long search as Spann has a particular style of narrative for Cosy Crime I prefer and others, take details a bit further for me as a reader than I’d indulge. With Moore, the details help to round the character of Lord Benedict – to show his marked growth from the man he was before he went East to the bloke whose returnt without the same expectations as the person who had left. He’s a changed man and his time in China reflects both personal and external growth in his world-view. As an aside, I miss studying Tai Chi Chaun as it used to be offered locally until my teacher relocated and its been a long absence in my daily life since then. I miss the calm serenity the long form provided but also the practice of how movement and mediation has a positive effect on one’s health. Similar to the observations Lord Benedict himself shared about his own experiences with martial arts; though of course, not with Tai Chi Chaun unless he studied the combative variant of it. As for the mentions of Kung Fu – those interested me greatly as I always felt they would be a strong compliment to Tai Chi.

I love whenever a writer in either Historical Fiction OR Historical Romance gives their readers things to chew on whilst their reading. Moore accomplishes this well by providing us with thought-provoking characters and narrative spiced to life with considerations those characters are making in regards to not only their own feelings about life, love and society but about how their role in the world is both shaped by their actions and the pressures of the society in which they live. She treats us to see past their stations and status and to listen closer to their internal thoughts and their dialogues – to see how even then, during the Victorian era, not everyone was part of the majority in regards to how people felt and how life was meant to be lived. It is a wonderful exploration of those views and how some who had different opinions from that majority had a harder road to walk.

I feel like this year has been an extension of delays and missed opportunities to read – whilst most of what I read last year is a bit of a blur without my blog to remind me of those stories as I had too many migraines in both May and September, 2020 to root out what was read when and what those individual stories involved without the points of reference I’ve left behind on Jorie Loves A Story. Towards that end, it has been quite a bit of time since I’ve had such a warmly described Victorian world as the one Moore has crafted for us to find inside this series. I happily remember her nuanced touches of familiarity from other stories set in this era and age – where the more you read of the Victorian era in England, the more you will recognise in other stories you’ll discover afterwards. Moore tucked in all the familiar comforts of this era for me – from the places she highlighted as being important fixtures for her characters to the climate of the politics and the ways in which the Upper Class behaved in their social circles. She took a lot of care and attention to give us a full representation of the Victorians and I admire her tenaciously wicked art of detail!

A few more remarks:

The orchid chapter pages were a beautiful addition as well – they acted like wallpaper between chapters and were an unexpected delight as I read. I am hopeful those are inclusive of all the books!?

The only thing I found quite interesting is how despite the fact this novel was published by a faith-based publisher, I wouldn’t consider this an INSPY Historical Romance as much as I had credited it to being one ahead of reading it in full. I delishly devoured the novel and will be continuing to read the rest of the series – however, wherein I am used to reading Historical Fiction & Historical Romances in particular by faith-based publishers, this one read more like a traditional Historical Romance but writ with the sensibility of a faith-based publisher in regards to the fact there isn’t any romance on the page or in-scene as you would expect from a mainstream HistRom and it is gently told in the ways I appreciate as a hybrid reader of both INSPY and mainstream Romance (Historical or Contemporary alike).

Covenant Communications is an LDS Christian publisher – similar in scope with their genres and focuses of story as I had discovered through a competitor of theirs (Cedar Fort, for which I was a reviewer for several years in the past). Towards that end, it is refreshing to know there is a publisher who is publishing stories I am enjoying as a Historical reader and whose authors are writing convicting stories which uplift their genres. I am sure some of their stories and writers write with a LDS lens of perspective, however, this particular series didn’t have any points of reference with LDS culture and religion from what I gathered myself. I’ve learnt quite a bit about the Mormon faith and religion through previous readings by LDS authors and this novel is what I would consider a gentle Historical Romance without any faith-driven overtures in the plot. Others might consider this a Clean HistRom for what it is not inclusive and I personally love any story without explicit content – whether I’m reading INSPY or mainstream literature in general.

I read a bit about Covenant Communications selection process as an attempt to get to know a bit more about the publisher – though in truth, they do not promote too much about themselves on their website though you can intuit quite a bit about them from their manuscript submission page if you’re as curious as I am. What I respected about their selections in both story and writers is how they are seeking strong voices in both fiction and genre; seeking to find writers who have an original spin within those specific genres of interest and how those writers can represent stories which seek to speak to an audience today with a new perspective on a story they’ve chosen to write. I agree that sometimes stories can blur together in different genres and sometimes, too many stories are told too frequently to where you have to read outside certain genres of interest as a reader. This is one reason why being a book blogger has graced my life these past eight years as it has eclipsed my previous knowledge of what is published yearly and has given me a chance to seek out more Indie publishers, presses and authors directly. Towards that end, I have found Jennifer Moore’s Blue Orchid Society a champion series for anyone who is seeking Feminist Historical Romance and Feminist driven Historical Fiction with modern topics and subjects readily embodied by her female characters with a supporting cast of men who celebrate their causes. It is hard to contain my outward joy of this discovery and my wicked delight in being able to host this blog tour!

On the positives of Feminist-forward narratives:

On including a bit about the first novel of the series – seen through a flashback of sorts, as Vivian, Hazel and Elizabeth return to the place of the crime explored within “Solving Sophronia” – we get a footing of a glimpse into what the first installment of this series involved. I was thankful for it and yet ached altogether more to be in a position to read it for myself. I know eventually I’ll be purchasing the novella via audio whilst gathering the print of this first novel but the more I dove into the heart of “Inventing Vivian” the more I itched to fully have this series in my mind and heart. It is well written and such a wicked treat for me as a reader to root out more about the Blue Orchid Society!

Especially since, I shared the author’s reasons for creating this series – too often we are given negative representations about women and sisterhood friendships. Where women are seen as enemies or friends who are enemies but cloaked in friendship circles or given reasons to mistrust another women’s intentions simply because the story arcs all navigate round the negative. It is rare to find sisterhood friendships which seek to elevate women and to showcase positive friendships wherein everyone is rallying behind each other and lifting them up in the process.

There is a reason why the “Golden Girls” is still landmark today as a series on television – it is one of the best showcases of women who had a close friendship and were equally motivated to help each other whenever life turnt adverse whilst celebrating the joys which came along with life as well. They showed how despite the obstacles, life can be full of joy and when things grow difficult, it is good to have a circle of support with people who genuinely want to be in your life for the long haul. Humour of course is a mainstay as it should be as without humour life is far too hard to process!

I personally love finding writers who are re-spinning the narrative on characters and character interactions which have been misrepresented and given new life with a newfound sense of pride for giving us all positive and healthy stories to read. Whether those stories are in the INSPY or mainstream markets – all stories like this one should be celebrated for what they give back to readers seeking these kinds of relationships; both romantic and platonic alike as they encourage a greater conversation about the people we need to keep in our lives vs the ones we need to recognise as being toxic to our mental health.

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This book review is courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

Prism Book Tours

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Inventing Vivian blog tour banner provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

By 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: Covers art of “Solving Sophronia” and “Inventing Vivian”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of Jennifer Moore 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. LibraryThing banner provided by librarything.com and used with permission. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #HistoricalMondays 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 Monday, 12 July, 2021 by jorielov in 19th Century, Blog Tour Host, Historical Romance, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Sisterhood friendships, the Victorian era

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