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.
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!
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.
Converse via: #SpooktasticReads + #PNR, #ParanormalSuspense
#HistFic or #HistoricalFiction, #HistoricalFantasy, #ghoststory / #ghoststories and #17thC England
Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook
About 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.
When it comes to ‘Jane Eyre’ – one could say I’ve had a unique connection to both the original novel & the  adaptation; being that the version of the story I knew best all of these years was the film adaptation rather than the novel! I started reading the novel in  as there was a readathon which was really quite cleverly assembled whilst I also found the Books of Eyre reading challenge shortly thereafter. The only trouble of course, is the fact I was pulled in and out of the context of the story multiple times – the most of what I shared ended being the first half of my readings of Eyre.
My main takeaways were the following from that initial reading of JANE EYRE:
In walked Jane Eyre, as calm as a willow bending in the wind,…
or should I say, that attribution belongs to another, a Ms. (Helen) Burns, of whom, Ms. Eyre draws a readily acquaintance and confidence as she’s removed from Gateshead and placed into custody of Lowood Institution for Oprhans! No, pray give leave, to express that Ms. Eyre is a firecracker of unrequited internal rage and admonition for her plight as thus handed down to her in life, as her parents are long since dead; her last surviving relation put to rest in the grave prematurely, and she is left to the dealings of her Aunt, [Sarah Reed, of the late Uncle Reed, her direct relation] of whom, is presented rather apt to reflect Angelica Houston’s character in “Ever After”, as she presides such blatant disregard for her niece, Eyre! It’s only in the reflections of Jane, as an older self, that we find a disconnect between the younger Eyre’s presumption of what was occurring and the wiser Eyre’s imparted understanding, that not all was as first known when the story starts to unfold!
The edgings of the story are wantonly haunting, as the world around Ms. Eyre is draped in grey tones, rain sodden exteriors, and the atmosphere of Gothic underpinnings, as there is rumours of a potential haunting of her Uncle, whilst alive was tender and kind towards Jane, but in whose death, wrecked a miserable state of affairs to unfold and befell her! I was quite appalled at her nephew’s extensive violence towards her, [in this regard, young Harry Potter lived comparatively comfortably!] and her Aunt’s diffidence not to correct the improper and unkind behaviour! Such grievances I can only try to attempt to tolerate, as I know the resolution of the story in-full, but that does not make it any easier to read or rather, observe her humble and caustic beginnings! If anything, it sets up in my mind how far Ms. Eyre had to transmorph into the resolute and strong adult she became!
As Brontë, deftly brings to life the under kernels of Eyre’s hardening and the porticoes of her knowledge that if she were to embark down certain pathways, she might not soon return! Much less, would she want to be such a creature!? To walk through this world, fully hardened and affaced to all the goodness that surely must still be present!? I can sympathise with her on this level, as when your day-to-day existence is presented in a continuous imprisonment of harsh punishment [solitary confined to the nursery, never allowed outside or downstairs, always finding reprimand rather than nurturing, and an absence of time being measured by usual perimeters!], I can understand her reasonings and her deepest of questions regarding not only the state of her personal affairs, but her state and place in the world itself! How angst ridden we should all feel, to have no Hope, no Light, and no perceivable exodus of our allotted circumstance!?
What staid with me throughout the entirety of the opening chapters, is the elucidation of Ms. Brontë, who thus effused her fictional work with counterparts of reality at each turn! She mastered the ability to absolve and absorb what weighed heavily on her heart, pouring out her grief and emotional keenings into the breath she gave Jane Eyre! She took the tragedies of her own life [her elder siblings died as a result of a school similar to Lowood!] and gave them a proper tomb to cleanse herself of feelings she most likely could not dissipate otherwise. I believe, its through her pen, she tapped into a greater purpose that gave her life meaning and worth, than anything she could readily achieve in her everyday life. She suffered greatly by her own experiences, as I read she and her sisters [Anne and Emily] were afflicted by anxiety disorders, but with her pen, she cast aside all of this, in order to cast into the world a tome of her intellect and wisdom.
Noting a juxtaposition from an after canon to the original within “Keeping Kate”:
From the first moment Kate Evans walks across the page, I felt a tightening in my heart towards her, as her spirit of self-awareness and of place within the folds of her life were very true to course! Kate is the kind of character I am oft-times in search of uncovering; not merely in Classical Lit but within the Contemporary realms as well! She has a captivating way of giving you just enough of a pause of thought on what is happening to her as to ground you within her scope of the story itself. She hasn’t had the easiest of lives but she’s not despondent about it either! No! She’s as bold and direct about her circumstances fate has dealt her as Eyre with the moxie of her predecessor for digging deep into her faith and placing a firm foothold into a future that surely must lead to something not quite as darkening as her childhood!
Rather than being taken to a Gothic estate set far away from active society, Kate is led to a small mountain towne in Utah, where the community she felt she would uncover would be quite ordinary turnt into an extraordinary settled development where estates were more regular than cabins! Tucked away from most conveniences, her new dwelling was a far cry of being the center of modern life and had a more natural bent towards embracing the natural world of which surrounded the ranch where she was accepting employment.
Thornfield Hall is turnt into ‘Thorne Field Ranch’, where Adele becomes Addie, and Mrs. Fairfaxes name receives a change of ‘firsts’. The ambiance of the place remains intact, to where opulence and finery outweigh sensible style and pleasure. Rochester has surely met his match in Mr. Thorne! I never thought you could quite elicit out a duality of whom Rochester was in both origin and spirit, but Tyler Thorne has nailed him in such a justifiable way as to honour him through reincarnation!
The main difference of course, is that instead of a dark secret in the attic that causes the most angst in the climax of Jane Eyre, in Keeping Kate Tyler Thorne is betwixt knowing how to shift forward in life after his wife abandoned him, claimed infidelity, and straddled him with a child of whom she insisted was not his own. Yet dealing with the reality of this situation and the layers in which are knitted into the in-between moments where Kate and Tyler find themselves quite bemuseful of each other’s company, therein lies the best choices Farnsworth gave the novel!
She doesn’t allow this to be a ‘quick fix’ nor does she make the situation feel ‘contrite or predictable’. She took the harder road — to show realistic choices, raw human emotion, and levelled it with honesty about the depth of the human heart. The pace of the story is the most beautiful aspect of Keeping Kate because it allows you to let the tides of the narrative wash over you, lull you into the shoes of the main characters, and take a reprieve from your own affairs.
Whilst I peered into the darker corners of ‘Bertha’ through poetic verse:
| Vintage Bertha Triptych : The Gothic Grotesque |
Segmented into three equally telling installments of Bertha’s psychological state, Martinez taps inside Bertha as she had lived and how her actions were precipitated by her awareness of how despairingly dire her need to free herself from her imprisoned state (as she saw it). For her, the only solution was to transcend the physical world and opt-out of this existence that was taking out her will to survive – she was shut-off from everything and everyone, completely isolated and left undone. Bertha could no longer conceptionalise reality much less equate out a living she could conceive that would stand her back on solid ground. Her choices were set in motion by the loss of her life long before she died – she was an empty husk of a woman who was no longer the girl of her younger years.
In this poem, her desolation is perceptively acute and her state of unwellness is keenly portrayed by a woman whose unravelled her mind to where nothing else matters but the release of the pain which has become her living hours. It’s a sobering snippet of a woman’s life whose lost the battle to gain wellness in the face of an obstacle she could not surmount. I felt Martinez expertly gave Bertha a voice in this poem, and granted a bit of new insight into her state of mental health at the time of the fire itself.
All of this was preparing me in many regards to seeking out “The Other Wife” and uniquely towards a passage back into “Jane Eyre” itself. On Friday, the day and night before #SatBookChat, I re-entered the realm of JANE EYRE through the audiobook adaptation by Naxos Audiobooks with the narrator Amanda Root. It was through this listening period I started to shift into the darker corners of Rochester’s life with Bertha as previously I hadn’t reached the point in the novel where her presence was more pronounced, explored & brought to the foreground of Jane’s own journey at Thornfield Hall.
I knew JANE EYRE was a darker tale – somewhere in the back of my mind, however, the film adaptation painted the portrait of this being a darkly lit romantic tale with unknown suspenseful elements that worked well with the Gothic undertones. If anything, for me, having come through the film adaptation first – it felt more like a Dark Romantic Suspense rather than what it truer is shaping up towards being which is a keenly insightful & dark work of Women’s Fiction. The difference was only seen as I started to shift forward past what is known (to me) and what was yet unknown – where the layers are being peeled back a bit further – to where Rochester is being seen slightly differently than I remembered him in the film – where you took pity on his character for his plight and how it seemed to be unravelling into a grimly dark romance with a spark of hope at the end of the dark tunnel.
I also knew THE OTHER WIFE would be equally as dark – as not just owning to the canon, as this is a tale “inspired by” rather than strict re-telling, sequel or re-imagining of the original – I wanted to explore the components of what made this Contemporary tale uniquely different before broaching into a book discussion with its co-authors: Ms Alison May & Ms Janet Gover.
I wanted to develop a unique interview with them as the writing team of “Juliet Bell” as a precursor to the discussion which would arise through #SatBookChat – thus giving everyone who wanted to attend the chat a solid idea about what THE OTHER WIFE involves and what kinds of inter-related topics could be broached during the chat itself. I decided to keep their responses intact as they gave them to me – as I wanted this to be a bit of a round robin interview – where I would pitch the same questions to each of the authors & they in turn would respond. You’ll find this is one of the more interesting conversations I’ve shared – as it has a duel perspective attached to it whilst it gives you a keen insight into collaborative writing styles & the inspirations to telling the stories which motivate our writerly hearts to write.
You’ll also note I left this informal rather than formal – as I never actually have an interview where I don’t mention an author’s last name in the response lines – however, this was organically knitted out by the authors themselves and I liked how it flowed through the conversation. I decided to keep it authentically honest as it developed & share the conversation as it moved into the harder hitting aspects of JANE EYRE whilst it also talks about what separates THE OTHER WIFE from the canon.
Kindly brew your favourite cuppa & grab something to eat as you settle into the convo!
Be sure to follow our chat’s tag #SatBookChat | use it to contribute to the discussion
Starting @ 11a NYC | 4p UK – follow @SatBookChat for updates!
On my connection to the authors:
From approx. January 2014 – June 2018, I was a reviewer for ChocLitUK whilst I hosted a bookish chat featuring ChocLit novels & their authors entitled #ChocLitSaturday (@ChocLitSaturday). The chat was renamed @SatBookChat in January, 2018. During this period of time, my path crossed with a lot of authors publishing with ChocLit and I had the grace of being able to read nearly all of the Coorah Creek novels during that experience, however, I did not have the chance to read “Little Girl Lost” which is the latest Coorah Creek novel outside of the Christmas novella (a Digital First release) which correlates with the series itself. Coorah Creek was the series penned by Ms Gover whereas in regards to the works by Ms May – I was able to feature a spotlight on her Christmas novellas which were re-released into an anthology in print – an edition I had sought to read and review but didn’t get the proper chance to do so. I also was keenly intrigued by her after canons for Shakespeare as I love the Bard & the original stories he gave us to enjoy. These stories are part of my TBR of ChocLit novels, novellas & pocket stories which I look forward to one day being able to read properly (either in print or audiobook).
I am disclosing this connection to you as I have maintained an active connection of communication with the authors I’ve read through ChocLit whilst being a conversationalist on Twitter – either for the chat I hosted and/or outside of it. Even if I have a connection to an author, I am still able to feature their current stories, their backlist titles or any other projects their developing hereafter as I approach each story separately from the ones I’ve read or experienced in the past. I go into each new story with an open mind and thus can give my honest impressions on its behalf.
The Other Wife Subtitle: Beautiful places hide terrible secrets by Juliet Bell
Outback Australia, 1981
After a terrible childhood, Jane comes to Thornfield as nanny to the adorable Adele, watched over by the handsome and enigmatic Edward. Plain and inexperienced, Jane would never dream of being more than his hired help. But swept up in the dramatic beauty of the Outback, she finds herself drawn to Edward. And, to her surprise, he seems to return her feelings.
But Jane is not the first woman Edward has pledged to make mistress of Thornfield.
As a child, Betty was taken from her English home and sent for adoption in Australia. At first, no-one wanted her, deeming her hair too curly, and her skin too dark. Until the scheming Mr Mason sees a chance to use Betty to cement a relationship with the rich and powerful Rochester dynasty…
When Jane discovers Betty’s fate, will she still want to be the next Mrs Rochester?
#Classics Retold OR Stories Inspired by #ClassicLit; #CharlotteBronte or #Bronte200 & #Brontes
As you have re-imagined two Classical stories thus far along “Wuthering Heights” and “Jane Eyre” – how do you select the stories you’re going to re-tell and re-imagine? Is there a process to it or is it a bit more serendipitous? What pulled you in the direction of co-writing these kinds of stories as well?
Janet says :Wuthering Heights was my choice. It has always fascinated me. It’s a dark and violent book – not a romance at all, despite what some people would say. I always wanted to explore the how passions and emotions of the characters would evolve in a different, but equally tumultuous time.
Alison says :Wuthering Heights was the easier choice of the two – Janet suggested it and I felt very connected to the setting and the time period we chose for our adaptation. Jane Eyre was trickier. In some ways it’s the obvious follow on from Wuthering Heights, but it’s a subtler, less in your face, book in a lot of ways. What drew me to it though was still that question of ‘is this a romance?’ And if not, what makes people think that it is? Read More
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 ARC copy of “The Phantom’s Apprentice” direct from the author Heather Webb in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I was so enamored with the premise behind ‘The Phantom’s Apprentice’:
Aside from being an admirer of the author’s collective works (as hinted at through my conversational tweets attached to the bottom of this review) and having had the joyful blessing of being able to follow her career whilst I’ve been a book blogger – all of this aside, I’ve been a girl whose appreciated Broadway and Musicals since I was old enough to listen to original soundtracks on cassette tape. I used to go to sleep with a tape of Annie – not the stage play version but the original motion picture soundtrack. From there, I graduated into more familiar Musicals – including listening to the Michael Crawford soundtrack for Phantom until it etched itself into my blood.
I continued to follow Phantom – from watching the PBS broadcast of the anniversary production from London to celebrating the motion picture adaptation starring Emmy Rossum. Whilst I was writing my ruminative thoughts on behalf of this novel, I was playing the motion picture soundtrack channel for Phantom via Pandora Radio which showcased all versions of the play and musical.
I am also an appreciator of Gothic Literature – something I haven’t actively pursued on my blog – except in short spurts and showcases – however, in the back of my wanderings is a keen interest to resume my Gothic readings, as I’ve had my eye on Kate Morton for several years now. She’s only one of the authors whose winked out a recognition of the kind of Gothic vein of interest which whets a healthy appetite to explore. Closer to finishing is my reading of Jane Eyre which I always held in high esteem – mostly stemming out of a love of the author’s vision for Eyre and what I found in a film adaptation I felt owned to the strength of who Eyre was and is for all of us to know through this beautiful novel.
The music of Phantom – irregardless of which incantation of performance and artistic vision are the songs which lift my soul. The sound of Phantom is individually distinctive and the story within it’s heart is one of gutting emotions surrounding the suspense of what is truly happening to Christine and of what motivates the Phantom himself to pursue her to such an extent of invested interest. It is also part cautionary tale about obsession and misguided love.
Knowing this story was in the hands, heart and mind of Ms Webb was enough to convince me I needed to read this evocative re-telling. She’s one author I appreciate reading due to her tenacious approach to drawing forward the strong female leads I personally find myself engaging with as I read their stories. I have a newfound interest in Feminist Historical Fiction and of finding the voices out of History who are celebrating #HerStory. You’ll find many writers who write these kinds of stories peppered throughout my archives and featured within my Story Vault. It is a pleasurable joy each time I get the chance to read a story which evokes such a strong reaction and provides me with hours of cherished happiness for having found the characters and the world in which they live.
In this re-imagining of Phantom of the Opera, meet a Christine Daaé you’ve never seen before…
Christine Daaé sings with her violinist Papa in salons all over Paris, but she longs to practice her favorite pastime—illusions. When her beloved Papa dies during a conjurer’s show, she abandons her magic and surrenders to grief and guilt. Life as a female illusionist seems too dangerous, and she must honor her father’s memory.
Concerned for her welfare, family friend Professor Delacroix secures an audition for her at the Nouvel Opéra—the most illustrious stage in Europe. Yet Christine soon discovers the darker side of Paris opera. Rumors of murder float through the halls, and she is quickly trapped between a scheming diva and a mysterious phantom. The Angel of Music.
But is the Angel truly a spirit, or a man obsessed, stalking Christine for mysterious reasons tangled in her past?
As Christine’s fears mount, she returns to her magical arts with the encouragement of her childhood friend, Raoul. Newfound hope and romance abounds…until one fateful night at the masquerade ball. Those she cares for—Delacroix, the Angel, and even Raoul—aren’t as they seem. Now she must decide whom she trusts and which is her rightful path: singer or illusionist.
To succeed, she will risk her life in the grandest illusion of all.
as well as #ThePhantomsApprentice w/ #PhantomOfTheOpera
About Heather Webb
HEATHER WEBB is the author of historical novels Becoming Josephine and Rodin’s Lover, and the anthology Fall of Poppies, which have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Elle, France Magazine, and more, as well as received national starred reviews.
RODIN’S LOVER was a Goodreads Top Pick in 2015. Last Christmas in Paris, an epistolary love story set during WWI released October 3, 2017, and The Phantom’s Apprentice, a re-imagining of the Gothic classic Phantom of the Opera from Christine Daae’s point of view releases February 6, 2018. To date, her novels have sold in ten countries. Heather is also a professional freelance editor, foodie, and travel fiend.
Acquired Book By: I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.
I have a special note of gratitude to the publicist who works for the publisher of this novel because I am wicked excited to be a part of this blog tour! As soon as I read the premise of the story, I felt smitten and intrigued. I received a complimentary copy of “House on the Forgotten Coast” direct from the publicist in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I was smitten to read this novel of #MagicalRealism #Suspense:
As soon as I returnt the request to read this novel on the blog tour, there was something quite attractive about the story-line. I remember, fearing only how Suspenseful it might be, if it would push me outside my comfort zones or rather, if it would be more horrific than I could handle – but my first instincts told me this was a Psychological Suspense story which would broker into elements I love reading within Magical Realism, Cosy Horror and the paranormal – of where time spilts into a veiled reality between here and there and back again.
I also remember being wholly excited to spend time in this narrative,… the story spoke to me dear hearts, and I hadn’t fully understood why until I read the story itself. It is everything I had hoped it would be and a bit more,… the author bewitches you with her narrative, by giving you characters you feel attached to at first meeting and with a back-story which stretches from one century into ours… it is a story which pulls into your heart, gives you a pensive repose and doesn’t fully leave you,…
Like a monarch surveying her domain, the house has stood for over a hundred years in the fishing village of Apalachicola on Florida’s northwest coast. She has known life. She has known passionate love. She has known brutal death. But she has guarded her secrets well . . .
Then eighteen-year-old Elise Foster and her parents arrive from Atlanta in their silver Jaguar, bringing with them their own secrets and desires. Seeking friendship in their new community, they find instead that the townspeople resent their intrusion. But this intrusion on the house’s privacy also provides a pathway for the past and the present to merge—and for the truth behind an unsolved murder to finally be brought to light. As you strive to solve the mystery, you and the Fosters are forced to address two critical questions: What is real? What is delusion?
Ruth Coe Chambers takes pride in her Florida panhandle roots and her hometown of Port St. Joe has inspired much of her writing.
She is indebted to the creative writing classes at the University of South Florida where she found her “voice” and began writing literary fiction. Listed in the Who’s Who of American Women. She has recently republished one novel, and published it’s sequel, and has written two award-winning plays. She is currently working on the third novel in her Bay Harbor Trilogy. She has two daughters and lives with her husband and one very spoiled Cairn terrier in Neptune Beach, Florida.
Her two earlier novels include The Chinaberry Album and Heat Lightening.