A #SpooktasticReads Book Review | “The Devil’s Bride” by Emma S. Jackson

Posted Friday, 22 October, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I happily crossed paths with Ms Jackson via Twitter which is kindly one of the best ways I’ve been meeting authors who are being featured during @SatBookChat! This has remained true the past six years I’ve been hosting the chat and I am thankful authors continue to reach out to me socially as it makes hosting the chat such a pleasure of joy for me. I also reach out to authors I know as I read their stories but it is nice when authors who find the chat are inspired to talk to me about their books, ask to be added to the #SatBookChat schedule and kindly give me the chance to ‘meet’ their story ahead of the chat itself if it is possible to have the print or audio sent to me before their chat date arrives. Thus, this is how I met Ms Jackson and became introduced to her PNR (ie. Paranormal Romance) and Paranormal Suspense style of writing.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Devil’s Bride” direct from the author Emma S. Jackson in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why I wanted to read “The Devil’s Bride”:

I have had a bit of a hankering for ghost stories over the years and of course one of my top favourites was House on the Forgotten Coast, mostly because you don’t even realise its a ghost story! This particular narrative felt uniquely different in of its own and one that I felt would keep me up at night surely because its a bit of a Darker Paranormal Suspense novel and that would give way for me as a reader to see how dark I can handle my PNR stories!

When it comes to Historical Fantasy co-merging with the paranormal, authors tend to have different approaches to how they want to address that merger. I still remember the creative vision found within To Live Forever. Whilst that particular story was a clever one as it was also connected to the authors own walk and journey on the Natchez Trace. Sometimes I find stories go a bit too far for me when it comes to the paranormal which was true of my readings of Haunted. Yet, I still try to reach past my own comfortable zones of the genres and seek out stories which might push me a bit as a reader to see which writers are curating stories I can enjoy during the Autumnal months when I prefer to read these kind of spookier reads!

This story was given to me to be read in the Spring of 2020 and it wasn’t until Autumn 2021 I found I was able to re-attach inside it. During our annual #SpooktasticReads, I found the inspiration to re-begin several stories I was reading at different marks of progress and realised I was quite determined to finish them now rather than to put them off for later. This particular story was one I wasn’t sure if I could finish as I found myself curiously wondering what the next page and chapter would reveal to me – as it reads a bit darker than other stories and of course, I am always a bit on pins to find out how dark a story will become by its conclusion. It was a good way to kick-off my #SpooktasticReads, that is for sure!

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A #SpooktasticReads Book Review | “The Devil’s Bride” by Emma S. JacksonThe Devil's Bride
by Emma S. Jackson
Source: Direct from Author

England, 1670

No one goes near Edburton Manor – not since the night in 1668, when demons rose from the ground to drag Lord Bookham’s new bride to a fiery death. Or so the locals say.

That’s what makes it the perfect hideout for the gang of highwaymen Jamie Lorde runs with.

Ghost stories have never frightened her. The living are a far more dangerous prospect, particularly to a woman in disguise as a man. A woman who can see spirits in a time when witches are hanged and who is working hard to gain the trust of the most ruthless, vicious man she has ever known because she intends to ruin and kill him.

But when the gang discovers Matthew, Lord Bookham’s illegitimate brother, who has been trapped by a curse at the Manor ever since the doomed wedding, all Jamie’s carefully laid plans are sent spiralling out of control.

Genres: Gothic Literature, Ghost Story, Paranormal Romance (PNR), Paranormal Suspense, Historical-Fantasy

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978171168498

Also by this author: #FriFantasyReads (new Fantasy chat!)

Published by Dark Stroke Books

on 2nd January, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 205

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Published by: Dark Stroke Books (@darkstrokedark)
an imprint of Crooked Cat Books (@crookedcatbooks)

Converse via: #SpooktasticReads + #PNR, #ParanormalSuspense
#HistFic or #HistoricalFiction, #HistoricalFantasy, #ghoststory / #ghoststories and #17thC England

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Emma S. Jackson

Emma S. Jackson

Emma Jackson is the best-selling author of A MISTLETOE MIRACLE, published by Orion Dash. A devoted bookworm and secret-story-scribbler since she was 6 years old, she joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association on their New Writers’ Scheme at the beginning of 2019, determined to focus on her writing. Her debut novel was published in November 2019.

When she’s not running around after her two daughters and trying to complete her current work-in-progress, Emma loves to read, bake, catch up on binge-watching TV programmes with her partner and plan lots of craft projects that will inevitably end up unfinished.

THE DEVIL’S BRIDE is her second novel, published by DarkStroke as Emma S Jackson. She hopes to continue working across sub-genres of romance, as she believes variety is the spice of life.

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my review of the devil’s bride:

Jamie Lorde isn’t quite like the rest of the women of her generation – for starters, she holding back secrets most would faint from knowing about as she has an uncanny knack for seeing beyond the veils which separate our living reality from the world of spirits. She can hear the spirits and she can see them as well – a bit like how Melinda Gordon (from Ghost Whisperer) can interact with them too. She’s riding with a pack of rogues – highwaymen who regularly rob carriages and have to carve out a living from what they plunder whilst keeping a firm eye ahead of the law. Yet, their path is crossing with the mysterious story behind Edburton Manor – wherein we begin our journey with Jamie listening to the tale of a bride and groom who never truly enjoyed their vows as the bride was kidnapped prior to both mysteriously evaporating into the vapors as if they were no longer alive. It was a chill of a tale the locals and one of her fellow riders shuddered to hear much less acknowledge – but for Jamie herself – you sensed she had a more pressing reason for trying to pull out the truth from the lore of the event itself.

It was the presence of Matthew in his camouflage of leaves which tipped my curiosity about what had happened so long ago the locals still cannot speak of the event which changed two lives. Jackson used metaphors from animal behaviour to have Matthew describe the raiders (ie. Jamie’s crew) coming up through the forest towards the Manor house and that felt fitting given what he had revealled of himself. I found it interesting that he was a vegetarian in the constructs of this being the 17th Century – it added a unique spin on how you think about diet and food preferences and how sometimes the past isn’t such a large gap from the present. Yet it was his innate gift which interested me more – what he could see and what he could intuit from that sight is what was wicked fascinating!

As their small party start to converge on each other that is when the story starts to pick up a bit of speed because you start to see the layers of the paranormal Jackson wanted you to become introduced to at this stage of the story. Matthew holds quite a large key towards understanding what happened at the Manor and why the Manor is in such derelict disorder right now. For his part, he’s keeping mum about his role – in the past and the present whilst toying with Jamie a bit because I felt boredom had won him courage. He hadn’t had the chance to interact with anyone and now faced with both danger and the mirth of human interaction he was using his time well in order to gain information.

Jamie was harder to read – you could sense she had a mission of her own – something was motivating her towards a goal only she understood. The spirits of the Manor were not letting her alone with her thoughts though and in some ways, that wicked out more than a few smirks from me as I was reading because of how crafty the spirits were in giving her something to chew over! They would impart these little notations of facts or revelations they felt she might enjoy and it was just irony that for all their efforts they left her with more questions!

I must admit, one of my favourite secondary characters within this story are actually the spirits themselves! They love to interact with Jamie – answering her questions even before she can voice them aloud and they take their turns of entering and exiting different scenes! Some of them seem to be continuing to ‘be’ just as they once had been and others seem to be a bit more flummoxed about their situation. All of them seem to want to impart information though – and what was a bit sombering about their presence is how sad a lot of them sounded to me. Almost as if they were resolved to their fate and had nearly given up on their own humanity or the humanity of the circumstances in which they had been caught.

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I need to clarify a few things before I continue this review… as I was working on the transcript to be ready to go live simultaneously to this review during #SpooktasticReads 2021 – I started to notice a few stark differences between my re-entrance into the story now and when I first began to read this in Spring, 2020. I thoroughly enjoyed my moments in the novel originally but as I started to re-shift back inside the novel, I was struggling to re-connect to those initial reactions/feelings I had shared during #SatBookChat. For starters, it read far darker now than it had then and the ominous overshadows of evil were a bit creepier now than they had been as well. Also, I was having trouble connecting to Jamie and Matthew which surprised me this second time round. Thereby, past this point, are my further reflections after I had re-read the story and attempted to grasp a hold of what I had previously shared on the novel’s behalf.

There is an undertone of darkness here as well. It tries to grip you as soon as you notice it as there is an unknown and unspoken unsettling of presence at this estate. Jackson reveals bits of this awareness through Matthew and Jamie – how each of them are affected by what cannot be seen and what they can understand through sensory perception. However, it eludes to a larger part of the story and to what could be at work just beyond the veils of what ordinary people can understand.

I managed to reach Chapter Six this time round and honestly, I had to quit reading at that junction. The enormity of pain and loss was overwhelmingly brutal in this story and the more you learnt of Matthew and his younger life before his father had died the harder it was to pull yourself back into his present life with Jamie and her gang of thugs. The only interesting bit I can reveal though is the concept of auras is used well in the novel – how being able to see the colours of auras and reading what those fragments of light can reflect about a person was quite interesting indeed because it alluded to knowing things prior to gaining the information directly from them. On that level, it was a unique twist to what could be inclusive of a Paranormal Suspense.

Sadly, this became a DNF for me this #SpooktasticReads. I just couldn’t justify staying longer in the text and finding myself waiting to exit it. For whichever reason, I just felt disconnected from the characters and the growing darkness was beyond unsettling too. Whatever I had enjoyed last year is caught inside the transcript for #SatBookChat, but outside of those thoughts and observations, my main takeaway is that this story is suited best for those who love the darker of dark Fantasy and Paranormal Suspense. I had hoped it wouldn’t go too far into that niche of the genre but for me, it felt closer to reading one scene of torture after another in regards to the violence against the characters and/or the violence of what the characters had to continue to endure.

Fly in the ointment:

There were some flutterings of strong language which flew out at a moment I hadn’t expected it but given it came from the mouth of the most abrasively vocal of the highwaymen, I can’t claim to be too surprised by his choice in words. However, I felt the built up ahead of this was moving just fine towards showing how ill tempered he was and why he had a very short fuse for most things – including dealing with unexpected complications. In essence, I just felt it could have been withheld.

Also, there was a bit more violence in the story than I expected – as at one point, Jamie’s gang of thieves decided the best way to gain information from Matthew was to give him a beating. Thankfully the ways in which Jackson described that scene was not as intense as it could have been but it was intense enough. There were also darker undertones of violence being suggested and referenced without being seen as well. Overall, it felt heavier than I expected it to be on the violent side of the scale moreso than the paranormal which I felt was going to be the stronger of the two.

I wasn’t feeling the same connections to Jamie and Matthew as I had originally and because of that the story took-on a heavier feel and vibe for me this second time I’ve read the novel. Her motivations felt more like an avenging angel of some sort – someone with a dedicated personal vendetta to fulfill and a tortured soul in many respects because she wasn’t willing to break the façade she had cast to the outside world even if her heart knew better and should have stood up for what was morally right in the moments where she was being tested as a witness to violence. That one observation for me about her character started to sour me on the plot moving forward.

on the paranormal suspenseful styling of emma s. jackson:

Jackson sets the stage early-on to delve into the paranormal components of her story – where we first observed Jamie Lorde acknowledging there were hidden spirits amongst the trees in the forest outside of Edburton Manor, we start to see how Jamie is set apart from her comrades in arms. You gathered the sense she is the truer thief amongst them – as she has stolen their confidence in her nature and in what motivates her to be amongst highwaymen. She even crafted an identity which suited her purposes but it is how she still acknowledges what they cannot see and of which only her eyes and ears are attuned to knowing all the same. It is here in the opening pages of the novel where you understand there is far more going on in the context of the story than a mere ‘ghost story’ about a rather mysterious abduction of a bride and groom.

This story is meant to be overtaken by the paranormal activity at this particular estate, however, very soon I realised it was the violent nature of the gang Jamie was involved with which seemed to overtake the scenes moreso than the paranormal aspects of the story. Also, the character of Jamie herself seemed to be holding back secrets of her own – she had a reason why she was in this particular gang and those reasons were tucked close to the character rather than being revealled to the reader. If anything, I mused she was after vengeance and wanted to avenge someone for a reason only she would understand.

Fantastical elements:

→ Mediums who can see and hear ghosts

→ Spirits who can communicate with the living

→ Benevolent spirits who are beyond nefarious intentions

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This book review is courtesy of the author:

emma S. Jackson

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There was a blog tour featuring “The Devil’s Bride” throughout February, 2020. If you would like to find more readerly impressions about this novel and follow the tour route – kindly seek out the following book bloggers who took part on the blog tour.

The Devil's Bride blog tour banner provided by the author Emma S. Jackson and is used with permission.

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#SatBookChat logo badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Ms Jackson was a guest of #SatBookChat in Spring, 2020. We discussed the story and her writerly style whilst engaged in a lovely conversation. The transcript for the chat will be available and you can read how the convo went whilst we were live. Ms Jackson went on to host her own Twitter chat and you can read a bit about that on this page. Initially, I had hoped to participate in those Friday chats this 2021 – however, when I returnt to work full-time that particular goal went by the wayside as I work regular double shifts and I am now moonlighting three nights a week at a second job this Autumn/Winter. I recommend you backsearch the tag #FriFantasyReads and/or follow @SFFRomCast as this is the new incantation of the chat which is now a podcast and I believe they still host Twitter chats.

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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: Book covers for “The Devil’s Bride”, book synopsis, author photograph (of Emma S. Jackson), author biography and the blog tour banner for “The Devil’s Bride” were all provided by Emma S. Jackson 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. LibraryThing banner provied by librarything.com and used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #SpooktasticReads Book Review banner, #SatBookChat badge and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2021.

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

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 22 October, 2021 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 17th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Content Note, England, Fantasy Romance, Fly in the Ointment, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Romance, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Mediums & Clairvoyants, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Romance Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature

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