Category: Inspired by Stories

A Jane Austen Conversation | featuring Collins Hemingway in discussion about his Marriage of Miss Jane Austen series

Posted Wednesday, 15 January, 2020 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts,

I am not entirely sure if everyone who reads my blog is aware of my admiration for Jane Austen or the fact, I consider myself a #Janeite. I have loved the author’s style of narrative for many years, in fact, I wrote an Essay about it during 2017’s #AustenInAugust and couldn’t help but gush over the reading of the first novel in this trilogy as well.

What implored me truly to read this after canon selection on a theory of Jane Austen’s life is my affection for the author herself. I love reading after canon works based on her collective works but I also like to entertain readings of stories which relate directly to the writer, herself. Previously, I have explored this through the Jane Austen Mysteries a series I look forward to re-visiting, as I hadn’t had the time to re-read the first novel nor continue with the rest of the stories which followed suit. This was initially my goal whilst reading the first volume in this series – however, in the past few years, my readings of Austen Literature has taken a few interesting hiatuses.

Whilst noting this is a novel of an evolving theory based on what ‘could have been’ in accord to Ms Austen’s life, I felt it warranted exploring because after all, how much do any of us know about the Classical authors we love to read? In this, I had a curious thought – what if this novel had a foundation of grounding based on one of the author’s own works? This is something which came into better clarity as I read the novel directly and one in which, I had wondered if other readers on the blog tours had noted themselves.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Directly though – I was dearly curious to continue reading this series due to these
ruminative thoughts I had shared after finishing Volume Two:

As I re-entered Jane’s life as a married woman, I was happy to find Cassandra was beside her, news of the Napoleonic War held good news for her family (especially in regards to her brother) whilst her new life was still one she was settling into accepting. Ashton provided a step-up in social standing for Jane, including how they lived and what they had within their environs. You can see her a bit uncertain how to handle the luxuries of this life compared to what she was used to previously with the Austens, who lived a humbled existence.

Jane is the newly minted Mrs Dennis in the household – a duty and station which comes with a litany of obligation, responsibility and a foresight of understanding for social trademarks for a hostess. It is here where we first start to notice how Jane’s own upbringing fell short of what she would have to endure as a married woman. How her mother-in-law wouldn’t hesitate to point out her faults and where her sister Cassandra would provide a moral anchour to her nerves. It is here we find Jane attempting to do the biding of her husband but without the fuller knowledge of what a disaster it could become if she would blindly follow his advice without taking into consideration the suggestions of his mother, the other ‘Mrs Dennis’.

It is interesting to see how Jane would approach married life – how she is open to discussing things with Ashton or of finding ways to engage him in the romantic gestures she endeavours to instigate. Nothing is seen as this was inspired by Jane Austen and thus, Hemingway happily kept her style of narrative intact without deviating out of the tastefulness of a romance which made her infamous for the genre; yet what was interesting is how he gave a bit of freedom of expression to both Jane and Ashton. They were happily enjoying their married lives – all facets of it but most importantly the ways in which they were endearing each other in their more intimate moments.

There is a bit of cheeky humour threading into the backbone of this installment – how Jane is reflectively musing about how she’s surprised at how natural being a married woman has come to her and how she enjoys being with her husband. There are other sides to Jane as well, such as the woman who is not yet ready to lead a household but of whom, is attempting to remain outside her comfort zone if it means improving her connection to her husband, her staff and her mother-in-law. This is a story of growth – of seeing Jane move away from her years of youth and of embracing this new chapter where she is writing the hours as they arrive.

As Jane started to see how marriage loomed ahead of her, her one regret truly was the lack of hours in which to be creatively engaged with her pen. She spoke of this to Ashton, of whom did not see why she was upset (not really, though he attempted to try) as she had chosen to be with him, to be a wife and to have responsibilities that would naturally come out of the union. Quite a typical response, except that it fell short of realising from a husband’s perspective, how sometimes a woman in a marriage was not realising they were sacrificing a part of themselves for the sake of being with the man they loved. I think in this instance, Jane had become caught inside the romance and hadn’t fully thought about how her life might become altered if she followed course.

A lot of truth in those worries of Jane as I readily observe how not all husbands are supportive of their wives (especially if their writers) and how it would appear that women are still even now needing to defend why they write or why they want to be economically engaged outside of their marriage. This was a moment of reckoning for Jane, as it wasn’t just putting aside her desires to write which plagued her conscience but certain aspects of marriage itself; which also acted as a conflict with how she was raised and the more sheltering views of being a clergy’s daughter.

Similarly, Hemingway was not shy to highlight the other tensions in their marriage – such as the blunderment Ashton made in deference to Jane in private conversation. It shows how he was effectively examining their marriage from an outside vantage point which had the pleasure of seeing the more intimate moments of their private hours. In thus, he pulled back the layers of what was shielding them from the outside world – drawing them out, letting them reveal their raw emotional thoughts and to speak plainly how they felt about not just one another but the topical issues of their era. They were together for most things but they struck a chord apart on deeper issues I think bemused both of them to notice they truly were two passionate souls who each had their own individual mind. To which end, there were some aspects of their disagreements which were worth owning and there were others worth realising they would never agree on the finer points which separated them.

They do remain united in their ability to draw back together after their differences are shed – for they have a strong marriage built out of trust and truthfulness. It is through their discussions they realise certain aspects of their business and their personal lives are coming to a head of discourse. They cannot continue to engage in partnerships which go against their own minds and hearts which reflect the current events – from slavery to the promise of war, they are keeping on the fringes of what is reflective in the papers. This causes disruptions for them naturally but at the heart of their marriage is a union sparked out of love and united in a fond respect for each other, the world at large and the auspicious emblems of living a life with ethical morals.

As we peer more into Jane and Ashton’s world as a married couple, we start to see how difficult it is for both of them – how they must learn to yield to one another and draw a closer circle of strength to tackle what is awaiting them. There is a joyful revelation in this installment – one that further enlarges our scope of understanding for how Jane is fully lit alive by her experiences as a wife and how by embracing these subtle changes she is finding herself radically new and altered. Jane is happily introspective throughout the story – owning to her pursuit to understand herself and her environment but also, to acknowledge how each new year of a life lived is a chance to see the milestones of the experiences you’ve gained.

This particular installment ends on a happy note but one which is guarded for the future – for not everything is certain and there are a few key reasons for Ashton and Jane to feel as if the future yet to come might prove to be far more taxing than the hours that they have just passed through. It is a keenly intriguing series and one I hope more Janeites discover as it truly is a unique testimony about how a modern writer can re-tap into the life of Jane and bring her out so wholly original and true of her person to give us a near-living testimony of how she would have lived had she taken the paths and passageways he’s explored in this trilogy.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

It is hard to put into words how much this trilogy has taken up a cosy niche of joy in my heart – as I first started reading this beautiful sequence of Jane Austen’s life in January 2018. The past two years has given me a lot of heartfelt joy to reconnect to Austen in a plausible and believable way of re-introducing myself into her world and the ways in which this sequence of her life could have been lived. I have felt from the start, Hemingway himself was channelling a special entreaty into her life and world – the ways in which he instinctively knew how to write about her innermost thoughts, the way he tucked in letters and correspondences into the trilogy and how he captured the heart of the Regency as an era and background to the story itself.

His capacity to tell this story has been a heartwarming experience for me and I am truly thankful I could close out 2019 with reading the finale installment which brings our experiences with Jane in this beautiful trilogy to a close.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A Jane Austen Conversation | featuring Collins Hemingway in discussion about his Marriage of Miss Jane Austen seriesThe Mariage of Miss Jane Austen
Subtitle: Volume Three
by Collins Hemingway

The Stunning Finale to Jane Austen’s Saga

In the moving conclusion to “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen,” Jane and her husband struggle with the serious illness of their son, confront a bitter relationship with the aristocratic family who were once their friends and face the horrific prospect of war when the British Army falters on the continent. The momentous events of the Napoleonic wars and the agonizing trials of their personal lives take Jane and Ashton to a decision that will decide their fate—and her future—once and for all.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781979472760

Also by this author: The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen : Volume One, The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen : Volume Two, The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen

Genres: After Canons, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Re-telling &/or Sequel


on 4th November, 2017

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy:

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen by Collins HemingwayThe Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol II by Collins HemingwayThe Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Volume 3 by Collins Hemingway

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction, #HistRom + #JaneAusten

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Posted Wednesday, 15 January, 2020 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 19th Century, After the Canon, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Christianity, Family Drama, Family Life, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Inspired By Author OR Book, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Pride & Prejudice Re-telling, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, the Regency era, Women's Fiction, World Religions

A #blogmas of Austen Book Review during #SaturdaysAreBookish | “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen” (Vol.3) by Collins Hemingway

Posted Saturday, 21 December, 2019 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

#blogmas 2019 badge created by Jorie in Canva.

This #blogmas I knew I wanted to be reading a select few after canon sequences focused on Jane Austen’s narratives and/or of her life – lateron this afternoon I’ll be posting a special post announcing how I’m taking the weekend to be with Jane and the writers who have written stories which excite me as a reader who is chasing after her after canons with a heart full of giddy joyfulness! However, this morning I wanted to focus on my ruminative thoughts and musings for having read & finished the finale of this beautiful trilogy given to us by Mr Hemingway!

I have been dearly appreciative to have hosted this entire trilogy as it has toured the book blogosphere via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours – it has been an incredibly lovely experience and having this trilogy in my personal library has become a treat of joy. I have loved his instincts for how he told this story and how he crafted a realistically compelling narrative about a writer we all long to read & to understand better as we do.

As a Janeite whose approached reading this trilogy with an open mind and heart – it is a mark of joy to feature this third installment as one of my final #SaturdaysAreBookish reviews for 2019. As you know – this was my new featured showcase of reviews for Romance & Women’s Fiction which launched in January 2019. I look forward to seeing where those journeys take me in the New Year of 2020 and beyond – whilst it is lovely to end this year with a trilogy I’ve loved reading. Be sure to return next Saturday as I feature my final review for this sequence of featured reviews as I say ‘goodbye’ to 2019 and all the beautifully lovely Romance & Women’s Fiction stories which have graced my life this bookishly happy year.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess!

I received a complimentary copy of “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Volume 3” direct from the author Collins Hemingway in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I was interested in the premise behind this novel:

I am not entirely sure if everyone who reads my blog is aware of my admiration for Jane Austen or the fact, I consider myself a #Janeite. I have loved the author’s style of narrative for many years, in fact, I wrote an Essay about it during 2017’s #AustenInAugust and couldn’t help but gush over the reading of the first novel in this trilogy as well.

What implored me truly to read this after canon selection on a theory of Jane Austen’s life is my affection for the author herself. I love reading after canon works based on her collective works but I also like to entertain readings of stories which relate directly to the writer, herself. Previously, I have explored this through the Jane Austen Mysteries a series I look forward to re-visiting this year, as I hadn’t had the time to re-read the first novel nor continue with the rest of the stories which followed suit. This was initially my goal whilst reading the first volume in this series – however, in the past few years, my readings of Austen Literature has taken a few interesting hiatuses.

Whilst noting this is a novel of an evolving theory based on what ‘could have been’ in accord to Ms Austen’s life, I felt it warranted exploring because after all, how much do any of us know about the Classical authors we love to read? In this, I had a curious thought – what if this novel had a foundation of grounding based on one of the author’s own works? This is something which came into better clarity as I read the novel directly and one in which, I had wondered if other readers on the blog tour had noted themselves.

Directly though – I was dearly curious to continue reading this series due to these
ruminative thoughts I had shared after finishing Volume Two:

As I re-entered Jane’s life as a married woman, I was happy to find Cassandra was beside her, news of the Napoleonic War held good news for her family (especially in regards to her brother) whilst her new life was still one she was settling into accepting. Ashton provided a step-up in social standing for Jane, including how they lived and what they had within their environs. You can see her a bit uncertain how to handle the luxuries of this life compared to what she was used to previously with the Austens, who lived a humbled existence.

Jane is the newly minted Mrs Dennis in the household – a duty and station which comes with a litany of obligation, responsibility and a foresight of understanding for social trademarks for a hostess. It is here where we first start to notice how Jane’s own upbringing fell short of what she would have to endure as a married woman. How her mother-in-law wouldn’t hesitate to point out her faults and where her sister Cassandra would provide a moral anchour to her nerves. It is here we find Jane attempting to do the biding of her husband but without the fuller knowledge of what a disaster it could become if she would blindly follow his advice without taking into consideration the suggestions of his mother, the other ‘Mrs Dennis’.

It is interesting to see how Jane would approach married life – how she is open to discussing things with Ashton or of finding ways to engage him in the romantic gestures she endeavours to instigate. Nothing is seen as this was inspired by Jane Austen and thus, Hemingway happily kept her style of narrative intact without deviating out of the tastefulness of a romance which made her infamous for the genre; yet what was interesting is how he gave a bit of freedom of expression to both Jane and Ashton. They were happily enjoying their married lives – all facets of it but most importantly the ways in which they were endearing each other in their more intimate moments.

There is a bit of cheeky humour threading into the backbone of this installment – how Jane is reflectively musing about how she’s surprised at how natural being a married woman has come to her and how she enjoys being with her husband. There are other sides to Jane as well, such as the woman who is not yet ready to lead a household but of whom, is attempting to remain outside her comfort zone if it means improving her connection to her husband, her staff and her mother-in-law. This is a story of growth – of seeing Jane move away from her years of youth and of embracing this new chapter where she is writing the hours as they arrive.

As Jane started to see how marriage loomed ahead of her, her one regret truly was the lack of hours in which to be creatively engaged with her pen. She spoke of this to Ashton, of whom did not see why she was upset (not really, though he attempted to try) as she had chosen to be with him, to be a wife and to have responsibilities that would naturally come out of the union. Quite a typical response, except that it fell short of realising from a husband’s perspective, how sometimes a woman in a marriage was not realising they were sacrificing a part of themselves for the sake of being with the man they loved. I think in this instance, Jane had become caught inside the romance and hadn’t fully thought about how her life might become altered if she followed course.

A lot of truth in those worries of Jane as I readily observe how not all husbands are supportive of their wives (especially if their writers) and how it would appear that women are still even now needing to defend why they write or why they want to be economically engaged outside of their marriage. This was a moment of reckoning for Jane, as it wasn’t just putting aside her desires to write which plagued her conscience but certain aspects of marriage itself; which also acted as a conflict with how she was raised and the more sheltering views of being a clergy’s daughter.

Similarly, Hemingway was not shy to highlight the other tensions in their marriage – such as the blunderment Ashton made in deference to Jane in private conversation. It shows how he was effectively examining their marriage from an outside vantage point which had the pleasure of seeing the more intimate moments of their private hours. In thus, he pulled back the layers of what was shielding them from the outside world – drawing them out, letting them reveal their raw emotional thoughts and to speak plainly how they felt about not just one another but the topical issues of their era. They were together for most things but they struck a chord apart on deeper issues I think bemused both of them to notice they truly were two passionate souls who each had their own individual mind. To which end, there were some aspects of their disagreements which were worth owning and there were others worth realising they would never agree on the finer points which separated them.

They do remain united in their ability to draw back together after their differences are shed – for they have a strong marriage built out of trust and truthfulness. It is through their discussions they realise certain aspects of their business and their personal lives are coming to a head of discourse. They cannot continue to engage in partnerships which go against their own minds and hearts which reflect the current events – from slavery to the promise of war, they are keeping on the fringes of what is reflective in the papers. This causes disruptions for them naturally but at the heart of their marriage is a union sparked out of love and united in a fond respect for each other, the world at large and the auspicious emblems of living a life with ethical morals.

As we peer more into Jane and Ashton’s world as a married couple, we start to see how difficult it is for both of them – how they must learn to yield to one another and draw a closer circle of strength to tackle what is awaiting them. There is a joyful revelation in this installment – one that further enlarges our scope of understanding for how Jane is fully lit alive by her experiences as a wife and how by embracing these subtle changes she is finding herself radically new and altered. Jane is happily introspective throughout the story – owning to her pursuit to understand herself and her environment but also, to acknowledge how each new year of a life lived is a chance to see the milestones of the experiences you’ve gained.

This particular installment ends on a happy note but one which is guarded for the future – for not everything is certain and there are a few key reasons for Ashton and Jane to feel as if the future yet to come might prove to be far more taxing than the hours that they have just passed through. It is a keenly intriguing series and one I hope more Janeites discover as it truly is a unique testimony about how a modern writer can re-tap into the life of Jane and bring her out so wholly original and true of her person to give us a near-living testimony of how she would have lived had she taken the paths and passageways he’s explored in this trilogy.

It is hard to put into words how much this trilogy has taken up a cosy niche of joy in my heart – as I first started reading this beautiful sequence of Jane Austen’s life in January 2018. The past two years has given me a lot of heartfelt joy to reconnect to Austen in a plausible and believable way of re-introducing myself into her world and the ways in which this sequence of her life could have been lived. I have felt from the start, Hemingway himself was channelling a special entreaty into her life and world – the ways in which he instinctively knew how to write about her innermost thoughts, the way he tucked in letters and correspondences into the trilogy and how he captured the heart of the Regency as an era and background to the story itself.

His capacity to tell this story has been a heartwarming experience for me and I am truly thankful I could close out 2019 with reading the finale installment which brings our experiences with Jane in this beautiful trilogy to a close.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A #blogmas of Austen Book Review during #SaturdaysAreBookish | “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen” (Vol.3) by Collins HemingwayThe Mariage of Miss Jane Austen
Subtitle: Volume Three
by Collins Hemingway
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

The Stunning Finale to Jane Austen’s Saga

In the moving conclusion to “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen,” Jane and her husband struggle with the serious illness of their son, confront a bitter relationship with the aristocratic family who were once their friends and face the horrific prospect of war when the British Army falters on the continent. The momentous events of the Napoleonic wars and the agonizing trials of their personal lives take Jane and Ashton to a decision that will decide their fate—and her future—once and for all.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781979472760

Also by this author: The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen : Volume One, The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen : Volume Two, The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen

Also in this series: The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen : Volume One, The Mariage of Miss Jane Austen : Volume Two


Genres: After Canons, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Re-telling &/or Sequel


Published by Self Published

on 4th November, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 338

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy:

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen by Collins HemingwayThe Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol II by Collins HemingwayThe Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Volume 3 by Collins Hemingway

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction, #HistRom + #JaneAusten

About Collins Hemingway

Collins Hemingway

Whether his subject is literature, history, or science, Collins Hemingway has a passion for the art of creative investigation. For him, the most compelling fiction deeply explores the heart and soul of its characters, while also engaging them in the complex and often dangerous world in which they have a stake. He wants to explore all that goes into people’s lives and everything that makes tThe hem complete though fallible human beings. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding regard for courage in the face of adversity.

As a nonfiction book author, Hemingway has worked alongside some of the world’s thought leaders on topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; the Internet and mobile technology; the ins and outs of the retail trade; and the cognitive potential of the brain. Best known for the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought, which he coauthored with Bill Gates, he has earned a reputation for tackling challenging subjects with clarity and insight, writing for the nontechnical but intelligent reader.

Hemingway has published shorter nonfiction on topics including computer technology, medicine, and aviation, and he has written award-winning journalism.

Published books include The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy, Business @ the Speed of Thought, with Bill Gates, Built for Growth, with Arthur Rubinfeld, What Happy Companies Know, with Dan Baker and Cathy Greenberg, Maximum Brainpower, with Shlomo Breznitz, and The Fifth Wave, with Robert Marcus.

Hemingway lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife, Wendy. Together they have three adult sons and three granddaughters. He supports the Oregon Community Foundation and other civic organizations engaged in conservation and social services in Central Oregon.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 21 December, 2019 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 19th Century, After the Canon, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Christianity, Family Drama, Family Life, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Inspired By Author OR Book, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Pride & Prejudice Re-telling, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, the Regency era, Women's Fiction, World Religions

Book Review | “Queen’s Gambit” (Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle series, Book Two) by Bradley Harper In this sequel to “A Knife in the Fog” Doyle is not the centre of focus, Margaret Harkness takes the lead!

Posted Wednesday, 18 September, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. However, their imprints Seventh Street Books & Pyr were merged into Start Publishing in [2019] – wherein I had the pleasure of being approached by their new publicity team via Kaye Publicity in Spring 2019 wherein I was first introduced to the Spice Shop Mysteries as I was told about a forthcoming release [for June] was “Chai Another Day”. From there, I started to work with Kaye Publicity to continue reviewing Seventh Street Book titles and author releases I am both familiar with and/or are considered “new authors” to my readerly life.

As an aside, despite the fact Seventh Street Books has been bought out by Smart Publishing – all links to their website and social accounts have remained active and use the same urls. The new publisher has maintained all their sites and thereby, the transition was seamless for readers who wanted to keep in touch with the authors and the series they come to love by Seventh Street Books & Pyr!

I received a complimentary copy of “Queen’s Gambit” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Start Science Fiction) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

On what I enjoyed in the pages of “A Knife in the Fog”:

This novel begins the series introducing us to all the key characters – from Professor Bell, to Arthur Conan Doyle and Margaret Harkness. As the series progresses forward – the characters shift in focus & share the lead.

A reflectively pensive voice gives us the impression the following account of an investigation into the Ripper murders of East London was in effect not only of profound impact on the narrator of this story (of whom I presumed immediately was Conan Doyle) but was in reality, an important marker of time for this person. It envelopes itself into a pertinent relationship of mind and arms; of a person who not only of equal mirth of enquiry and investigative instincts but of common interests and conveyances which were equally dynamic in their own rights. It is here – within the fragmented touchstones of what is yet to come where you start to distinguish the ‘voice’ of the novel A Knife in the Fog to being very decisively Holmesian.

Doyle, similar to Holmes does not suffer fools gently nor does he wish his personal or professional time to be waylaid but people who are less than honest with him on first meeting. It is here where you can infer how much Harper was researching his protagonist not just as the subject study to influence his own series but how Doyle himself could embody a lot of the characteristics we’ve all come to love in our beloved Holmes; than thus even more readily, it would be Harper who gives us a fuller advantage of seeing the inspiration behind Watson. The interesting bit here is of whom was the inspiring force behind both characters as your own mind might have readily adapted itself to thinking it was Doyle to Holmes and Dr Bell to Watson when the reality of the truth is a bit more intriguing to say the least! For my own capacity of interest – I did vacillate at first to make the distinction myself – as there are aspects of both men within both characters, however, there are firm clues towards whom is whom so to speak throughout the narrative Harper has delivered leading to the truer truth behind the designation of which current characters elude to the infamous ones!

Finding little details of historical influence and relevancy like this uncomfortable reaction in Doyle made it a joy to read A Knife in the Fog – as there are other small touches of where the past feels ever-present and where the narrative has a lovely tone and style of being decidedly British and Historical in scope. I believe it is this kind of detailed fine tuning in the story which help alight you into the era we’re being presented – it is lovely when you can find writers who are going the extra mile to give us a presentation of an era which we can find plausible and believable like what Mr Harper has done within his series. Although some of his words and phrasing is wickedly British, he does revert back to writing this in an American voice – I would have preferred it to be more British in the choices of words but blessedly it felt British by how he conveyed the backdrop of the setting and how he approached our immersion into Doyle’s life.

I, on the other hand, took an immediate liking to Margaret – she was her own person, owning her truths and her way of life with the confidence you’d expect from a woman of her nature. She did not apologise for her choices in life (nor should she) and she had an upper edge against Doyle as his presumptive assumptions about her were loudly present even if they were left unsaid aloud. Harkness is the kind of no-nonsense woman who was game for anything and had this zest for believing she could accomplish whatever she needed to simply due to the courage she had to believe in herself. Ironically, her dedication and her fortitude seemed lost on Doyle – at least at this first crossing of their paths.

You truly appreciate how Harper has sharpened our impression of Harkness, as my favourite passage which involves her and Doyle at this junction of the story is when she saves him from a would-be robber. The event itself isn’t a spoiler for the story but it is a clear representation of how foiled Doyle was in thinking he would have held an upper hand in this situation. I love how Harkness not only re-proves the point about how women can be independently secure in their beings but also be resourceful enough to intervene whenever danger arises. It was a classy look at how misconceptions in gender and how unnecessary misunderstandings within the classes of gender can put undo judgement against people. I personally felt it was a rather fitting sequence as it set a tone for how Doyle would view Harkness and how Harkness would become endeared to the reader.

I had a feeling I knew where A Knife in the Fog was directing me in regards to whom would become unmasked as the Ripper. Harper did something quite classic in how he developed the story-line, the characters and the persons of whom they encountered along the route of the story as it shifted forward – he kept you close to the dialogue, the discoveries and the case as it evolved through the investigation. All of which is brilliantly within the guise of the genre this story is set but he also did a hat trick from a magician’s bag of tricks – he re-directed your attention away from something you might have clued in on more readily if you weren’t equally distracted from addressing what it was you thought you had picked up on earlier in the story! Laughs. I actually was quite impressed how long the suspense lasted as it takes you straight (almost!) to the concluding chapters to where Harper knits together the conclusion (some) readers might not expect to be the solution to the mysterious identity of the Ripper. I, for one, felt it was a right proper choice – it staid within the scope of the journey we took walking beside Conan Doyle, Harkness and Bell whilst it also eluded to a reality you could find believable about this infamous case of crime.

It is in the final chapter wherein I felt reconnected to Conan Doyle – as for me, he held within his character (within the scope of the series) a bit more Holmesian attributes than I think Harper even realised he had etched into his nature. He might have meant for us to view Doyle differently but in the final chapter, there was a brilliant moment of recognition and also quiet acceptance of how this characterisation of Conan Doyle was a classic representation of why I have loved Sherlock Holmes. It is fitting truly, Harper has found his voice in fiction to be fulfilling a missing gap in stories which I believe the real Conan Doyle would have appreciated had he lived to see their publication.

-quoted from my review of A Knife in the Fog

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Book Review | “Queen’s Gambit” (Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle series, Book Two) by Bradley Harper In this sequel to “A Knife in the Fog” Doyle is not the centre of focus, Margaret Harkness takes the lead!Queen's Gambit
Subtitle: A Mystery Featuring Margaret Harkness
by Bradley Harper
Source: Direct from Publisher

Spring, 1897. London. Margaret Harkness, now in her early forties, must leave England for her health but lacks the funds. A letter arrives from her old friend Professor Bell, her old comrade in the hunt for Jack the Ripper and the real-life inspiration for Sherlock Holmes.

Bell invites her to join him in Germany on a mysterious mission for the German government involving the loss of state secrets to Anarchists. The resolution of this commission leads to her being stalked through the streets of London by a vengeful man armed with a powerful and nearly silent air rifle who has both Margaret and Queen Victoria in his sights. Margaret finds allies in Inspector James Ethington of Scotland Yard and his fifteen-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, who aspires to follow in Margaret's cross-dressing footsteps.

The hunt is on, but who is the hunter, and who the hunted as the day approaches for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee when the aged empress will sit in her open carriage at the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral? The entire British Empire holds its breath as the assassin, Margaret, and the Queen herself play for the highest of stakes with the Queen’s Gambit.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781645060017

Also by this author: A Knife in the Fog, A Knife in the Fog (Interview)

Also in this series: A Knife in the Fog, A Knife in the Fog (Interview)


Genres: Amateur Detective, Classic Detective, Crime Fiction, Feminist Historical Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 17th September, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

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The Margaret Harkness & Arthur Conan Doyle Mysteries:

per each installment either both are featured or only Harkness takes the lead

A Knife in the Fog by Bradley HarperQueen's Gambit by Bradley Harper

A Knife in the Fog (book one) – (see also review)

Queen’s Gambit (book two)

  • more installments are forthcoming!

This Summer I also featured an Interview with Mr Harper

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)
an imprint of Start Science Fiction, part of Start Publishing

Converse via: #QueensGambit, #HistNov and #HistFic OR #HistoricalThriller
Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

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About Bradley Harper

Bradley Harper

Bradley Harper is a retired US Army Pathologist with over thirty-seven years of worldwide military/medical experience, ultimately serving as a Colonel/Physician in the Pentagon. During his Army career, Harper performed some two hundred autopsies, twenty of which were forensic.

Upon retiring from the Army, Harper earned an Associate's Degree in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. He has been published in The Strand Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine and a short story he wrote involving Professor Moriarty in the Holmes tale of The Red Headed League (entitled The Red Herring League) won Honorable Mention in an international short fiction contest. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, Authors Guild, and Sisters in Crime, Harper is a regular contributor to the Sisters in Crime bi-monthly newsletter.

Harper’s first novel, A Knife in the Fog, involves a young Arthur Conan Doyle joining in the hunt for Jack the Ripper, and has been nominated for an 2019 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel by an American Author.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 18 September, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, After the Canon, Amateur Detective, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Margaret Harkness, Paste Creative, Realistic Fiction, the Victorian era