Category: Military Fiction

+Book Review+ The Reluctant Bride by Beverley Eikli #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 11 January, 2014 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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The Reluctant Bride by Beverley EikliThe Reluctant Bride by Beverley Eikli

Author Connections: Personal Site | Blog

Facebook | Twitter | Converse via: #TheReluctantBride

Genre(s): Fiction | Romance | Historical | Regency

Napoleonic | Espionage | Suspense

Published by: ChocLitUK, 7 September 2013

Available Formats: Paperback, E-Book, Audiobook, & Large Print Page Count: 400


Acquired Book By:

Whilst researching Indie Publishers and Presses one evening, as I was hopping through the book blogopshere, I started to alight on book bloggers who were recommending several of whom I hadn’t yet heard of! ChocLitUK was listed as a good resource for Romance; intrigued I clicked over to read more about them! I believe it was ‘love’ at first sight for me – their website won me over instantly! The stories they publish are stitched together in a way that has always endeared me to the genre! Having read about their Tasting Panel, I enquired by email if they would ever consider a book blogger to review their titles instead.

ChocLitUK is an Independent Publisher whose origins go back to 2009 for bringing top quality women’s fiction with the undercurrents of love woven into the stories! Their catalogue of stories appeals to me, as I never considered myself a “Chick Lit” type of gal, as I love the foundations of romance to be etched in relationships! (as outlined in “My Bookish Life”) The full essence of what I seek out when I want to be wrapped up in a romance is found in the niche ChocLit has developed! Besides who couldn’t help but appreciate a publisher with a cheeky sense of humour? ChocLit | Chocolate, anyone?

I am now a ChocLit reviewer who receives books of my choice in exchange for honest reviews! I received a complimentary copy of “The Reluctant Bride” from ChocLit via IPM (International Publisher’s Marketing) in exchange for an honest review! The book released on 7th September 2013. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. This marks my first review for ChocLitUK!

Inspired to Read:

I am always finding a way to duck into the Regency &/or the Victorian age, which is why I was perked with interest when I saw the genre offered in ChocLit’s catalogue! This story has a clever character arc in which two of the leads are needing to embark on a journey towards redemption. One to prove she can stand on her own feet again and another (I presume) to not only overcome his life as a soldier but to accept and shift forward from the death of his mistress. There is a lot of clever passageways the author could take this story and I was keen to find out! The back-story alone held my interest but its the heart of the two lead characters that made me tempted to read it!

Book Synopsis:

Can honour and action banish the shadows of old sins?

Emily Micklen has no option after the death of her loving fiancé, Jack, but to marry the scarred, taciturn soldier who represents her only escape from destitution. Major Angus McCartney is tormented by the reproachful slate-grey eyes of two strikingly similar women: Jessamine, his dead mistress, and Emily, the unobtainable beauty who is now his reluctant bride. Emily’s loyalty to Jack’s memory is matched only by Angus’s determination to atone for the past and win his wife with honour and action. As Napoleon cuts a swathe across Europe, Angus is sent to France on a mission of national security, forcing Emily to confront both her allegiance to Jack and her traitorous half-French family. Angus and Emily may find love, but will the secrets they uncover divide them forever?

Author Biography:Beverley Eikli

Beverley Eikli wrote her first romance when she was seventeen. However, drowning the heroine on the last page was, she discovered, not in the spirit of the genre so her romance-writing career ground to a halt and she became a journalist.

After throwing in her secure job on South Australia’s metropolitan daily, The Advertiser, to manage a luxury safari lodge in the Okavango Delta, in Botswana, Beverley discovered a new world of romance and adventure in a thatched cottage in the middle of a mopane forest with the handsome Norwegian bush pilot she met around a camp fire.

Eighteen years later, after exploring the world in the back of Cessna 404s and CASA 212s as an airborne geophysical survey operator during low-level sorties over the French Guyanese jungle and Greenland’s ice cap, Beverley is back in Australia living a more conventional life with her husband and two daughters in a pretty country town an hour north of Melbourne. She writes Regency Historical Intrigue as Beverley Eikli and erotic historicals as Beverley Oakley.

Beverly won Choc Lit’s Search for an Australian Star with The Reluctant Bride. Beverley’s Choc Lit novels include: The Reluctant Bride and The Maid of Milan.

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Posted Saturday, 11 January, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Britian, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Espionage, France, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Marriage of Convenience, Midwives & Childbirth, Modern British Literature, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Suspense, The Napoleonic War Era, the Regency era, Women's Fiction

*Blog Book Tour*: Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb

Posted Thursday, 2 January, 2014 by jorielov , , , 9 Comments

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Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb

Becoming Josephine - France Book Tours

Author is a Member of: Historical Novel Society

Visit her Pin(terest) Board: Eclectically French Inspired Lovelies (my impression!)

Author Connections: Facebook | Site | Blog

Converse on Twitter: #BecomingJosephine OR Tweet @MsHeatherWebb

Published by: Plume, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), 31 December 2013

Available Format: Trade Paperback | E-Book | Page Count: 320

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a stop on “Becoming Josephine” Virtual Book Tour, hosted by France Book Tours. I received “Becoming Josephine”  in exchange for an honest review by the publisher Plume. The book released on 31st December 2013. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I simply adore historical fiction, including historical biographical fiction, which I think this falls under, as it’s about Bonaparte and his wife! I like the backdrop of the story, and how strong Rose had to become in order to overtake her plight! You see, I have a bit of a long-standing admiration for the French Revolution, even though by many estimates I have only just begun my sojourn into this fascinating section of literature! It’s true I was first inspired to seek out more French Literature selections after having borrowed and read quite a few from my local library which fall inside Children’s Literature selections, in as much as my appreciation for seeing a select few classic motion pictures on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) involving Marie Antoinette over the past few years! My attention is thus esteemed to continue to seek out stories set before, during, and after the French Revolution! What can I say? Once you become attached to the living characters of whom most of the books are based upon, in as much as the characters created to walk amongst their living counterparts, you find that one book or five is not quite enough to fully encompass the history of what is left behind to be known!

Stemming from this short history of mine with French Literature, there was a cursory exploration of Bonaparte whilst I was eighteen! Having ducked out of a heavy rainstorm and into the warmth glow of a bookshoppe I had accidentally discovered along a main street – I took the balm of books against nature’s thunderstorm! As I wandered around, I remember finding a rather curious little book, tattered yet readable, (as the bookshoppe sold new and used copies!) about the life of Napoléon Bonaparte! Intrigued I purchased the book and stored it inside a rain-proof bookslip! Ever since that aplomb discovery I have whet my appetite for more! I would be curious to learn how you alighted to read about the French?

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Heather WebbAuthor Biography:

Heather Webb grew up a military brat and naturally became obsessed with travel, culture, and languages. She put her degrees to good use teaching high school French for nearly a decade before turning to full-time novel-writing and freelance editing. Her début, BECOMING JOSEPHINE will release December 31, 2013 from Plume/Penguin.

 When not writing, Heather flexes her foodie skills or looks for excuses to head to the other side of the world. She loves to chitchat on Twitter with new reader friends or writers (@msheatherwebb) or via her blog, Between the Sheets (www.Heatherwebb.net/blog). Stop on by!

Synopsis of the Novel:

Rose Tascher sails from her Martinique plantation to Paris to trade her Creole black magic culture for love and adventure. She arrives exultant to follow her dreams of attending Court with Alexandre, her elegant aristocrat and soldier husband. But Alexandre dashes her hopes and abandons her amid the tumult of the French Revolution.

Through her savoir faire, Rose secures her footing in high society, reveling in handsome men and glitzy balls—until the heads of her friends begin to roll.

After narrowly escaping death in the blood-drenched cells of Les Carmes prison, she reinvents herself as Josephine, a socialite of status and power. Yet her youth is fading, and Josephine must choose between a precarious independence and the love of an awkward suitor. Little does she know, he would become the most powerful man of his century- Napoleon Bonaparte.

BECOMING JOSEPHINE is a novel of one woman’s journey to find eternal love and stability, and ultimately to find herself.

SEX & VIOLENCE: There is a little of each, though I didn’t go into great detail in either category.

 

Forging a path where uncertainty reigns:

When I was first introduced to Rose (later, Josephine), I was empathic towards her plight and situation straightaway, as who couldn’t sympathise with a sister mourning her sister’s sudden death? Especially if one would feel indebted to believing they were the root cause of said death? I was attempting to imagine the thoughts and emotions not only her sister’s death evoked but how that singular event shaped her for the path she was embarking to walk as she made her way towards France, towards Paris, and towards the great unknown of marriage to a man she never had met, much less knew. Although I am oft wrapped inside a ‘mail-order bride’ story, this one felt more like an ordained arranged marriage to where the outcome would befit the family moreso than the bride! Such the calamity of ages past, and yet, the realism with which the author pens the opening bits of the story give us a true glimpse of the horror Rose faced as she disembarked onto the docks!

I couldn’t help but consider Rose might not have realised just how deep she would become involved with creating a transformation which would replace her original self with the one she would soon invent!? You start to see pieces of the transformation shaping in the early chapters, as she starts to find quirks of hers are not kosher to the Parisians way of living. Little things such as her accent, her manner of speech, her inclination of honesty, her lack of a proper wardrobe, all acting against her in an attempt to create a better impression on her peers and fiancé! Your heart warms to her, as she starts to sort out how to navigate this world where propriety and posh behaviour reign!

She would come to know the solemn truths of marriage, of men and their infidelities and of the way in which women were ill-treated by their husbands. She gets a dashing blush of this ahead of her vows, but I think the reality of her new life took a bit longer to fully sink into her conscience. Where other women might have resolved that this was their fate to bear, Rose took the opposite path and decided that she was worth more than what the cards had dealt her! She decided to right the wrongs, and seek out a path which would lead her to an enlightened truth about herself and her station.

My Review of Becoming Josephine:

Becoming Josephine by Heather WebbShe left her Creole home an innocent of youth, jettisoning herself into a life in France which would test the strength of her inner resolve. Where she would have to eradicate her natural being of self into a transformed Parisian woman of elegance, whose strength would yield to power. She took on the challenge as an understudy would in a theatrical play. Learning through being bold in her choices of dress, style, mannerisms, and speech. Each nuisance she could alter of her previous life, she would discard straight-away in preference for discovering a better fit for high society.

Watching Rose grow in her strength as she separated from her first husband, Alexandre, she starts to find the courage she felt she had lost. Instinct of motherhood guides her towards carving out a stipend for her son Eugene and daughter, Hortense whilst she starts to put the pieces of her own fractured life back together. Her resilience is a lesson for all women who find themselves facing circumstances that they were not expecting. The fact she was gaining her independence on the eve of revolution was not lost on me. Perhaps without her circumstances jaded, she might not have had the ability to rise again? Or, rather she might not have found the strength to survive through the worst bits of the revolution. She walked through Hades in order to survive to live a life she could no longer imagine possible.

I found an undercurrent theme of which I had been exposed to in my readings during 2013, wherein certain women who were once cloistered to living life by man’s rules were coming to realise the true freedom lay in the courage to free themselves from the invisible bonds which held them hostage. I am always attracted to stories where strong women are at the heart of the narrative and in Becoming Josephine I was not disappointed! Josephine emerges out of the wings of despair as a pivotal woman of her time who could wield more than even she (I feel!) could desire! She takes the boldest step into the future by reinventing herself past the point of recognition, in order to find a freedom she had never known.

France set to Revolution:

The backdrop of Becoming Josephine is quintessentially Revolutionary France, where the French hinged between the start of the revolt and the ensuing Reign of Terror. A shuddering of emotions always rings through me whilst thinking on the harder hitting realities of the age which the French had to endure. Webb has a way of acknowledging the back-story of history behind the coattails of the character’s lives in such a way, as to gently guide the reader forward and through, rather than shocking us to our core. The revolution ekes out in small fashion, where rumours of revolt start to erupt in the salons of the day, and where the commoners start to realise they need to launch into a retreat from Royal rule. Part of me understands this and part of me grieves for the loss of the Royal family, due to how brutal the Revolution turns and ends.

And, yet at the heart of the center core of the Revolution you have Josephine and Napoleon, two people I never thought I’d see come together, now that I know the origins of Josephine’s past. The tapestry of fashion is lit and gilded behind the tumult which has been brewing to explode. Interspersed with the flamboyance of cloth and jewels, you gather the sense of urgency in the fever of desperation.

Gratitude to the author, Ms. Webb:

For staying true to her word, wherein she mentioned at the end of the book’s synopsis she had tempered the severity of inclusion of sex and violence. I am generally on the fence with choices writers make in their stories on both counts, as there are lines I think are too oft crossed, where a more delicate omission could have sufficed instead.  In this particular story, Ms. Webb gives the reader a rendering of the situations and events which befit the era of the story’s origins but on the level that even a sensitive reader could walk through the scenes without blushing too severely or cringing at the imagery painted in narrative. Even though she does plainly give the raw visceral imagery its due course. She doesn’t allow it to take over completely, but allows it to fade in the background. Except for what occurs in Rose’s home of Martinique and what happens when she returns to Paris, in which the horror of the attacks are in full measure. Rather than focus solely on the horror that erupted she gave the smaller details of the aftermath which proved just as difficult if not moreso to read. Such a horrid time in history for the survivors to have lived through. She chose instead to direct the focus on Rose’s rise into the persona of Josephine who became the woman’s edificial Phoenix.

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The “Becoming Josephine” Virtual Book Tour Roadmap:

Becoming Josephine - France Book Tours

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:

France Book Tours

on my Bookish Events Featured on JLAS!

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I propose this Question to my readers: What do you think is the overall appeal to reading about the Bonaparte’s and of Revolutionary France in general? What inspires us to dig deeper into the heart of the history which has been left behind for us to dissect? What gives us pause and reason to continue to seek out stories of what was happening in the shadows of history being writ as it was lived? Do you have a favourite coaxing storyline that gets you excited to pick up your next reading which is set in this historical era?

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Becoming Josephine” as well as Heather Webb’s photograph and biography, the blog tour badge were all provided by France Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. France Book Tours badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Thursday, 2 January, 2014 by jorielov in 18th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Debut Novel, France, France Book Tours, French Revolution, Geographically Specific, Historical Fiction, Josephine Bonaparte, Napoleon Bonaparte, Reign of Terror, Revolutionary France, The Napoleonic War Era

*Blog Book Tour*: The House Girl by Tara Conklin

Posted Tuesday, 12 November, 2013 by jorielov , , , 5 Comments

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The House Girl by Tara Conklin

The House Girl

Published By: William Morrow,

an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (12, February 2013 [hardback]

Published By: William Morrow Paperbacks, 5, November 2013 [paperback]

Official Author Websites: Conklin on Facebook; Conklin on Twitter;

Personal Website and Contributor @ Popcorn the Blog.

Available Formats: Paperback, Hardback, and E-Book Page Count: 400

Converse on Twitter: #TheHouseGirl

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Acquired Book By: Book Browse First Impressions Programme: I received a complimentary ARC in exchange for my honest review on Book Browse, from the publisher William Morrow. The House Girl was amongst the offerings for November 2012, as this book was published in February 2013. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared therein or herein. Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com On Being a Part of the Blog Book Tour: Whilst I submitted my application to work with TLC Book Tours, I had mentioned that I have read this particular book as I noted they were going to launch a blog book tour for it in November 2013; to celebrate the paperback release! I thought it would be nice to participate in a blog book tour on behalf of a book that truly not only captivated my imagination but is of a story that I have never fully let go of since I put the book down! I was thankful to be placed on the tour! Therefore, this is my second reading of this story based on the ARC I previously received. I will juxtaposition my original thoughts alongside my new impressions as they are revealed! I did not receive compensation for my participation on this book tour! Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Inspired to Re-Visit: As a reader there are always those particular books that stand out to us, stories and characters who have a way of transforming our perspective as much as endearing us to a particular time in history that was wholly different from the time we live in ourselves. These are the stories that challenge us to dig into the heart of the narrative to seek out the truth of which the writer is imparting to us. Through their words of choice, as much as the fingering nudges they urge us to open our eyes to, a portion of history that is hard to reconcile even today. They endeavour us to seek humanity and empathy as they seek to obliterate social prejudices whilst revealing a story that is not only multi-layered but dimensionally complex. This is one of those stories that leaves you ruminative as you close the book sleeves and sit pondering the greater message that has been revealed in its ending.

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Listen to an Excerpt:

The House Girl by Tara Conklin

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comSlipping Back in Time and Forward Again:

Conklin weaves her narrative forward and backwards between Josephine’s world in the mid to late 1800s, and Lina’s in the present day, given us the full force of each woman’s plight as their individual circumstances start to unfold. Josephine is not a free slave when the story begins, as she earnestly wants to run to freedom and enter into a new life she has dared not allow herself to imagine. Her sole friend and confidante was Lottie, a woman of passionate faith mixed with an indomitable spirit despite the hardship of loss she has suffered. The two women forged a friendship which consoled Josephine as the years waxed onward. Their lives were always interrupted by the absence of sold-off slaves, of whom they had grown attached too and suddenly never knew what had become of them next. The worst part of their lives was the broken connections between friends, family, and offspring. No living histories could be formed in other words, which led many to question and wonder what ever became of anyone they had ever known.

Lina on the other hand, is caught between where her life has led her and where her heart is leading her to go next. She is harbouring deep seeded anguish murmuring from her past into her present, as she attempts to break free once and for all. She has closed her heart to seeking out a way to let love back into her life as she has walled herself against being close to anyone who could bring her discomfort or loss. What she wasn’t realising is that a life without love is a sure way to live a half-fulfilled life which would only bring regret in the end. The ability to make two cornerstone eras reminiscent through narrative, dialogue, and elemental knowledge of the eras themselves is a nodding to how Conklin fuses the story within the time setting of The House Girl. She diverts your mind from realising there is a time slip happening as you shift further into the folds of the novel, soaking in the natural world through Josephine’s eyes and taking in the repulsive angst of a reparations case in Lina’s. Whichever setting you find yourself present in per chapter you’re not in your current time and place, but rather are living through the spirit and eyes of Conklin’s lead heroines. As for me, both Josephine and Lina are heroines in their own rights, having transcended everything that was holding them back.

My Review of The House Girl [one year later] for TLC Book Tours:

The story opens inside an ordinary day in Josephine’s, where she has to endure more abuse from her Master. Her eye is always attached to the outside world noticing the most insignificant details. It’s in these details her true freedom begins. She drinks in a piece of joy whilst walking barefoot in the grass, a moment for her that meant more than what could be observed in its simplicity. She was bourne into a world of unjust rules thrust upon her and those like her to live with the heaviest of burdens without the rights afforded to them. To live in a world where you had no say in what became of you is the hardest part of the story to drink in as a reader. Your heart starts to grieve as Josephine and Lottie’s intimate conversations paint the stark realities of their world. Where even the necessity of medical care was not given as an option. Her only resolve was to focus on the task at hand which gave her a purpose for the hour. It wasn’t enough to keep her thoughts away from running, but it helped to keep her focus off her nerves.

As time slips back into the present, Lina comes into view as a lawyer bent under the pressures of being on the fast track to success. A slave in her own right to the work load she is drowning inside. Lina suffers from lack of self-esteem and self-confidence in both her work ethic and her abilities to provide the services her clients are in need of most. She finds that her position at the law firm is all but redundant as the work she puts in is not even close to being necessary. She is finding that her role in life is being a cog in the wheel to where her fated course is up to someone else. She has missed the ability to feel as though she is making a difference rather than only doing what is expected of her. When she is assigned the reparations case to seek a living heir through the descendants of Josephine Bell and to provide proof of provenance for the artwork which was recovered (as there is an issue of who the artist actually was), she finds her true self. She starts to shed  the outer barrier that kept her at a distance from becoming close to others and starts to find her voice through following the path of Josephine; the house girl who dreamt of freedom in the Underground Railroad.

In direct comparison, here is my Original Review for Book Browse First Impressions:

Art Redeems the Soul

Josephine Bell is the catalyst that launches an inquiry into the historical past, to unearth the mystery of what happened to the artist who fashioned the artwork that survived time. Her story is not unlike others in her class and station, in the late 1800’s. A slave bound to her Master’s wife, as a house girl confined to their land and their rules. A life that would have gone unnoticed until an unsuspecting lawyer (Lina) in the 21st century (early 2000’s) is giving the task to unearth data on a case that would give back redemption to those who have all but been erased by modern history. This isn’t just a story that evokes the tragedy of those enslaved in the South, but rather a silver lining of Hope… that their lives took on greater meaning and purpose when their lives started to intersect with others. It’s through this intersection where the ripples of small kindnesses and hours of bravery, began to change the lives of others. I found that inside the secondary characters held within the House Girl, the simplest of truths to step forward. Peace with Self. Strength in Resolve. Determined Self Reliance. And the hope of freedom. Oppression comes in different forms, as even those who live free are not always free to do what their hearts desire.

I believe this would make an excellent addition to an Art History class or a Civil Rights class which focuses on slavery in the South. The tone of the book is uplifting, shattering past the blights of misery to yield a lens into how strong women can be in the moments that count the most.

My cross-comparison of my feelings separated by a year between readings:

Initially when I first read The House Girl, I had a lot of thoughts and feelings running through my head at the time I was reading the narrative, so much in fact, I nearly felt like I should have a blog to write everything down and share with other readers! Fast forward to when I was applying to be a tour hostess for TLC Book Tours, and the opportunity arose to re-read this lovely novel that never quite left my conscience since I originally read it! All those swirling thoughts started to re-surface, but I tried to keep them at bay, in order to best re-visit a book I had previously read! I liked the challenge of this particular book tour, as it would stretch me completely outside my comfort zone as I have never re-read a book for a tour beforehand! I liked the fact that I would have to not only challenge my heart to approach the story with a new pair of eyes but to keep myself focused on the hidden depths of the novel that I might have overlooked or missed during my first reading!

Therefore, I can attest that as I was musing about the message of The House Girl, I found myself a bit at a loss for words to purport it into focus in a clear and even paragraph. This is a novel that is best read by feeling the story by your heart and the evoking emotions that comes out of internalising the story you’ve just read. I was deeply attached to each character at different parts of the story’s thread, as you get to see different pieces of their souls shining through at different intervals. In my mind, there wouldn’t have been much to lament about on Lina’s behalf if Josephine Bell hadn’t been in her life; likewise, I feel as though Josephine Bell’s life was to give a living testament and tribute to her descendants once the provenance of her artwork was discovered. The greater truth I think is the perception we have of blood relations and the essence of who we are on the outside as a mirror image of who we are on the inside.

The House Girl challenges the perception of ancestral lines and blood ties as passed down through the generations from the original start of a hereditary chain. It seeks to point to the truth of who we are as a society and who we endeavour to become. I still stand by what I spoke about a year ago, as there is such a determined spirit to The House Girl, as far as taking bold steps to overcome your circumstances as much as being bold in your faith when you feel all hope has been lost. As you unravel the heart of the story, you start to see the other layers which were intuitively stitched into the tapestry of Josephine and Lina’s entwined story-lines. Even now, a full year later, I find that my final sentence in my original review is the key for me to think back upon this story with fond affection: The tone of the book is uplifting, shattering past the blights of misery to yield a lens into how strong women can be in the moments that count the most.

Empathy wrapped inside Sophisticated Prose:

Tara Conlin photo credit Mary Grace Long
Photo Credit: Mary Grace Long

Ms. Conklin has a wonderful ability for drawing empathy and compassion out of her narrative whilst wrapping her story inside sophisticated prose which speaks to a higher message. Her willingness to delve into the deeper levels of humanity and uncertainty for each of her characters’ lives, gives the reader a first-hand impression of where the story led her to go as she wrote it. I was struck by her honest way of writing the time slip between Josephine and Lina, to where neither century felt forced or conjectured. She uses words to paint the time eclipse of each woman on the cusp of a season of change arriving into their lives when they least expect a change to be possible. Each woman is seeking her own true self and a freedom of their past they were not expecting to receive. It’s in this honesty that Conklin performs the best visually, as she uncovers the nibblings of the human spirit as evoked through the emotional shiftings of her two protagonists. Reading through The House Girl you gather the sense that the story itself had an equally powerful effect on its writer. And, I suppose that begs to ask the question, “Are stories written by their writers solely, or are stories evoked out of a seed of a story that alights in a writer’s mind as needing to be told?”

Inspired to Share: Ms. Conklin talks about her journey towards publishing The House Girl, and how like Lina, she was a lawyer originally but technically still feels in her heart she is still a lawyer. Her novel started as a seed of an idea and developed into a novel. I must have tapped into this rather intuitively as it was true! I found it interesting how the slave doctor catapulted her muse to follow where the story was leading her. As you listen to her experiences as a litigator as it cross-compares to her life as a writer, she has a fascinating beginning to her writing career. Research and writing as a litigator was a natural progression for Conklin to become a novelist. I find this most intriguing, as I hadn’t realised how much research and writing goes into being a litigator! One of the more compelling things she discloses is how she became a wordsmith of the mid-to-late 1800s by keeping a journal of words she had read inside letters of the time. I appreciated her speaking about the aspect of ‘freedom’, as I have oft believed myself that true freedom lies in the simplicity. She loved the short story format but never thought she could create a novel! She happily surprised herself. I highly recommend taking the time to see the interview in full!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Tara Conklin Interview by the Pacific Northwest Writers Association

on Bill Kenower [Author, Magazine Editor] Channel

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The “The House Girl” Virtual Book Tour Roadmap:

  1. 5 November: Review @ Read Lately
  2. 7 November: Review @ A Bookish Affair
  3. 11 November: @ Books in the Burbs
  4. 12 November: Review @ Jorie Loves a Story
  5. 13 November: @ Peppermint PhD
  6. 14 November: @ Lavish Bookshelf
  7. 18 November: @ Olduvai Reads
  8. 19 November: @ BoundbyWords
  9. 20 November: @ Book-alicious Mama
  10. 26 November: @ A Bookish Way of Life

I hope to be a regular tour hostess with:

TLC Book Toursuntil then, check up my upcoming Bookish Events Featured on JLAS!

[*NOTE: Any and all purchase links that are attached to SoundCloud are not affiliated with Jorie Loves A Story.]
{SOURCES: Cover art of “The House Girl” as well as Tara Conklin’s photograph, and the logo badge for TLC Book Tours were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. The author interview by PNWA / Author magazine as well as the audio excerpt of “The House Girl” by Tara Conklin via SoundCloud had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it.  Blog tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013.

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Posted Tuesday, 12 November, 2013 by jorielov in ARC | Galley Copy, Art History, Artist's Proof, Artwork Provenance, Author Interview, Blog Tour Host, Book Browse, Civil Rights, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Fathers and Daughters, First Impressions, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Pre-Civil War, Soundcloud, The Deep South, Time Slip, TLC Book Tours, Underground Railroad

Day Two: Bout of Books, 8.0! The Ghosts have arrived!

Posted Tuesday, 20 August, 2013 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

Bout of Books Readathon
Day Two: Bout of Books, 8.0.

Day Two: Haunted {Book One: Ghost Harrison series}
by Heather Graham

Book Gifted By: Mum and Da gave me this unbelievable SURPRISE for my twentytenth birthday: all the published books within this particular series as available at the moment of my birthday!

A Most Curious Series: Originally, I thought this series was specifically called “the Ghost series” or “Ghost Harrison series”, yet I’ve seen it mentioned as “Harrison Investigation series” as well! The best way to sort through which books to read is to check out the author’s page on Fantastic Fiction! Whereupon I learnt the proper order of this series which simply captivates me! I believe due to the way the interactions are set up inside this series where those who are living are being asked to help those who are in-between, led me to become enamored with Ghost Whisperer starring Jennifer Love Hewitt the Summer of 2012.

All the books gifted to me for my twentytenth birthday:

  1. Haunted
  2. Ghost Walk*
  3. The Vision
  4. The Seance
  5. The Dead Room*
  6. The Death Dealer
  7. Deadly Night
  8. Deadly Harvest
  9. Deadly Gift

Therein lies the bit of confusion for me which I’ve finally begun to unravel, as you see, books 7-9 are actually a sub-trilogy called: Flynn Brothers! The actual next book past “The Death Dealer” is “Unhallowed Ground”, followed by “Nightwalker”.

I have been on Ms. Graham’s main website as well over the years, sorting through the book descriptions and noting which books are being published on a similar vein that might in effect be a continuation of the originals OR might be a new foray into the same general arena. Which is why, aside from the aforementioned “Unhallowed Ground” and “Nightwalker”, I want to gather these as well:

Bone Island: Ghost Shadow, Ghost Night, Ghost Moon, and Ghost Memories.

Krewe of Hunters: Phantom Evil, Heart of Evil, Sacred Evil, The Evil Inside, The Unseen, The Unholy, The Unspoken, The Uninvited, The Night is Watching, The Night is Alive, The Night is Forever,…

Motivation to Read: For reasons beyond any of my logical conclusions, the clock has shifted forward a few years, and I am still at a loss to understand why I haven’t progressed into this wicked sweet series! Therefore, without willing to waste time fretting about when or why I haven’t read the ghost series, I have included book one in my Bout of Books challenge!

Tuesday — The Ghosts have arrived!

Number of Pages Devoured | Out of: 111 | 379

Tally of Pages Read Thus Far: 159

Books in Progress | continuing onward | happily consumed: 2 | 2 | 0

A six word summary of today’s reading: not every ghost is without malevolence

Best Chapter: too early to speculate. at least there is a bit of humanness in the Sheriff; as i nearly lost all hope for him!

Favourite Character: Darcy, for sure! Although, Penny comes in a close second! I love strong women who know who they are and haven’t always had an easy road in life but feel strongly in what they do, and are determined to contribute something rather positive in life. Penny is an Aunt you wished you had with a cleverly open-mind!

Challenge Participation? not today.

Bout of Books blogs I visited: i honestly didn’t get the proper chance after all! i need to work on making amends on the morrow as i lost too many hours today! :(

Tick Tock, there goes the clock:

03:00a-3:30p: [consumed by unwellness, sleep took over!] i refuse to get down about succumbing to how physically unwell i have felt between last night & now. i saw the silver lining: now i have become better rested and most likely will be in a better place to get rolling with the rest of the Bout! thankfully, a good [12 hour!] rest appears to have cured my ills! :) :)

3:40p-?: [updating JLAS!] making my Bout’er blog rounds! checking out the Challenge of the Day! reading shall follow lateron!

|| I *love!* iHeartRadio! ||

[ramblings: 5:15p] The song: ‘Wake Me Up” by Avicii is super-encouraging & inspiring! I am loving the ability to listen to radio stations nationwide + throughout Canada! :) Ooh, my favourite is on!! “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers!! :) :) Hope everyone is having a good day!! Mine is looking up, despite the looming thunderstorm trying to make a hedge through the sunshine! Boston! Chicago! Vancouver! Hawaii! Dallas/Ft. Worth! Radio rocks my world! :) :) Oy, I shouldn’t have held off so long from going to iHeartRadio! I was just so disappointed in Pandora half an age ago, I didn’t want to set myself up again! :/

6:00p-6:30p: [long break] previous engagement: LIVE Author Chat via Booktalk Nation! Robyn Carr will be the guest!! :) :) i nearly missed this! i was logged onto the site at exactly 5:59!!! talk about cutting it close! i cannot wait to blog about this experience, as it will be my 3rd Booktalk Nation event! if you go to my “Topics, Genres, & Subjects” in the left sidebar [right below the Comments!] you’ll be able to track my experiences with Booktalk by clicking on: Booktalk Nation OR Live Author Events!! i love cross-referencing this blog!! :) :)

7:05p-8:13p: [dinner!] yummy 3-topping pizza special: loaded with onions, fresh spinach, & mushrooms! it was beyond YUM! plus, coconut, caramel, & chocolate bits yogurt ice cream! seriously, i was over the MOON for dinner!!

9:00p-10:00p: [Rizzoli & Isles] what can I say!? between the thunderstorms threatening outside, and my clear lack of focus since i woke up, i decided i best watch the new episode verse skipping it! i didn’t fully get into this until the start of the Summer Season (2013)!! imagine!? i used to watch Law & Order, so i am familiar with Harmon; and I currently cannot get enough of NCIS; still bothers me something fierce how Kate died! :( (ie: Isles was Kate in NCIS) what can i say? i love ensemble casts with ‘family’ at the heart! ooh, and did anyone else smile when they realised that Dalton (ie: MacGyver’s best friend!) is in this, too!! :) :)

| UPDATE: by far i never thought i’d say this but they are pushing the tolerance envelope for me; as far as what i am willing to accept. i quite literally boycotted tonight’s episode but returned for the last 10 minutes, whereupon i learnt the sad news that the man who played “Frost” [Lee Thompson Young] had passed!! I was beyond shocked! Thinking something rather tragic and sudden must have befell him — car accident or such. I am just not that fortunate: he committed suicide on Monday; the very day the series was renewed for a fifth season! :( :( I knew! that he was familiar to me, but I never could remember to look him up online; he played Jett Jackson, in Disney’s 1998 series “The Famous Jett Jackson”. Nearly every actor I grew up with and followed their career is in the grave. Most of whom committed suicide. I am beginning to wonder what is happening to young people in Hollywood. I felt gutted and anguished at the same time. :( :( So many lights have been extinguished. I grieve their loss and I pray for strength for their families. I even met one of these actors, years ahead of taking his life. He was full of life, light, and humour. I still remember his effervescent smile. I nearly had the chance to meet Mr. Young. 29 years old. Is too young to die, but is far too young to take one’s life. I read the cast was devastated and that production was halted. He was beloved on set and that gave me a bit of peace. Shakes head. My heart is heavy and I am not going to watch Rizzoli & Isles ever again.

Nor any show that chooses to cross the line. I grew up on murder mysteries, both in literature & film, but these days!? There is something rather brutal and sinister in the portrayals. Its darker than ever before and I am taking back the choice to switch my Tuesdays to “Who Do You Think You Are?” which is now featured on TLC, as they resurrected the series! Thank heavens, because I could use some light-hearted historical hunting mysteries about finding out your ancestral roots whilst travelling to the most unexpected places!Tea and Book badge provided by Squeesome Designs and used with permission.

10:00p-2a: READING! No, seriously, I am!! :) :) i am settling into “Haunted” with the faint rumblings of thunder now subsiding out of view, with a cuppa tea to warm me as i enter the chilling world of ghosts and the humans they need to aide them!! As I expected it to, Haunted didn’t fail to disappoint me in being one of the chilling stories where there are certain ghosts who are not willing to be helped nor are they able to explain what is wrong. I am settling into the pace of the story, whilst thinking about the potential history of any house over 50 years old; 100, 150, 200 at least in America; far more years stretch in the homes across the Pond, esp in England where you can get property from the 16th century! I am not sure where the story is taking me, but I am enjoying seeing the differences in the characters and the curious mystery behind Adam Harrison; the very man behind Harrison Investigations, which is the root of the heart of the series this book started. Originally published in 2003, I am reading it exactly 10 years later! Enjoyed a cuppa hot tea!

Reflections shortly after the ending is revealed:

Review: ? to be revealed later! ?

{NOTE: I actually originally read “Ghost Walk” through my local library, and thus went on to gather the rest of the series as known to me at the time {including starting “The Dead Room”} through our local branches as well as ILL’ing a few as well! What surprised me the most is that I couldn’t read one book past “Ghost Walk” because each book was tainted by the permeation of smoke! I have the most ghastly allergies which made it impossible to continue! This is why the gift my parents gave me was doubly sweet and appreciated! I have never again encountered this issue either as I regularly borrow books from my local library as much as through ILL’ing!}

All the posts interlinked to *Bout of Books, 8.0* are a work-in-progress post! Therefore, what you read on one visit, might alter/change or be added to by the time you swing back!!

{SOURCES: Bout of Books Badge created by Jorie in Canva to give readers & visitors who come to her blog a way to know of its existence and therefore increasing the mystery & lore surrounding it!! Seriously wicked bookish badges {entirely FREE!} provided by Squeesome Designs!}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013.

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Posted Tuesday, 20 August, 2013 by jorielov in Bout of Books, Civil War Era (1861-1865), Modern Day, Parapsychological Suspense, Revolutionary War Era