Category: Women’s Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Unexpected Love: A Marriage of Convenience” (anthology) feat. stories by Heather Chapman, Mandi Ellsworth, Paula Kremser and Ashtyn Newbold on the ‘eve’ of Jorie’s 4th Blogoversary!

Posted Thursday, 30 March, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Unexpected Love” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I personally love mail-order brides & marriages of convenience stories:

I disclosed a bit about why I love this particular sub-genre whilst ruminating about my first Historical reading of a Liz Harris novel! She has become one of my favourite contemporary British Historical authors, especially in the umbrella of ‘Westerns’, as she had a particular knack for that setting and era. However, her convicting and moving sweep of Eastern culture and tradition truly touched my bookish soul (within ‘The Road Back’).

– see also my Review of ‘A Bargain Struck’

There is something about finding someone to love without the pretense of courtship and the complexities of meeting your in-laws which I suppose does have it’s particular allure! The merits of the union are generally worked out to be beneficial to both parties for different reasons and thereby, entering into a new approach on how love and marriage can be unified and bonding. Most of the stories of this nature, have a set of circumstances leading into how the two parties meet and why or how a marriage would be the best option for both to explore.

Your heart tugs against your soul, whilst trying to sort out for yourself – is this in their best interest or should they hesitate to go through with the plans!? When brides were sent West from the East on the rails, you have to wonder what was going through their minds, hearts and spirits. Did they have personal fears or doubts about what they were endeavouring to accomplish or did they simply embrace the unknown and take a gigantic leap of faith towards securing a better future than they had at present?

When I learnt of this anthology through Ms Chapman, I was overjoyed – I personally have a love affair at the moment with anthologies – generally swayed to dig inside Fantasy, Science Fiction and/or Cosy Horror short story and/or novella anthologies (or the collections known as ‘Nebula Award Showcase’) but in this particular instance, I get to move back into a familiar niche I used to read quite regularly before I became a book blogger! The tender and sweet INSPY Romance anthologies where you get to ‘meet’ #newtomeauthors and settle into their own personal styles of conveying a Romance that is dramatically told with an uplifting bent towards a positive outcome. I used to love collecting and gathering those anthologies – a few of which have come into my life since I started blogging but of whom still reside on my shelf ‘to be read’. The ill-fated expression we bloggers use to express our dearest desires to get to each of our lovelies but find the hours a bit fleeting to do so!

She contacted me in January and had the joy of ‘catching me’ in a good moment – as so much of December & January is a bit of a blur to me now, as those were the months where I was still moving out of the crisis of my father’s stroke and return home. If those blinked off the clock into oblivion imagine how I feel about February & March which were the months where I required a bit more ‘breathing space’ to reacquire my bookish joy (per this tweet I recently shared). One unexpected blessing has been finding a new ‘station’ to listen to with my headphones (via Slacker Radio) which is happily giving me back new hours of bookish contemplation! It’s called: Classical Tranquility and it is a wonderful ‘collection’ of compositions and composers I have known throughout my life! It’s quite brilliant, truly! It’s a nice change of pace from ‘ambient electronica’ of which is my fail-safe and station of choice when in need of a calming soundscape whilst reading, blogging or knitting.

I positioned this review to go LIVE on the day *before!* my 4th Blogoversary! Yes, can you imagine – I’m about to become a 4th Year Book Blogger this FRIDAY, the 31st of March, 2017! I cannot quite fathom this myself – but the joy for me will be surprising the authors I discovered throughout 2016 who shaped my literary world and bookish ruminations with stories which have never quite left me since I read them! It’s become a tradition of mine – a retrospective glimpse into which stories breathed in the most light into my bookish life! Coincidentally, due to naughty seasonal pollen allergies, I had to reschedule a review for Friday as well: Sally Christie’s The Enemies of Versailles, so it will be a lovely ‘kick-off’ into the weekend, whilst I host #ChocLitSaturday (@ChocLitSaturday) for April Fool’s discussing ‘Rom-Coms’ and the joy of comedic romances!

I wanted to spend my 4th Year celebrating stories and authors – whilst entering into Spring with a firm peace of mind knowing I have healed my heart past my father’s medical crisis and have found my joy once more in digging inside the writerly minds of the authors who are penning stories which keep me wicked alert, blessedly awake and dearly enthralled with their creative synergy!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation on Cover Art: Can we take a pause to admire this lovely capture of nature & the innocence of youth? I love how the cover art fits well with first love, wilderness adventures and a tipping nod towards a different era. This is also part of the ‘Pure Romance’ series of stories released by Sweetwater Books – of which I am ready appreciator! I do love the sweetness of the Roms!

Blog Book Tour | “Unexpected Love: A Marriage of Convenience” (anthology) feat. stories by Heather Chapman, Mandi Ellsworth, Paula Kremser and Ashtyn Newbold on the ‘eve’ of Jorie’s 4th Blogoversary!Unexpected Love
Subtitle: A Marriage of Convenience Anthology
by Ashtyn Newbold, Heather Chapman, Mandi Ellsworth, Paula Kremser
Source: Direct from Publisher

"Ashbrook Abbey"
Though decidedly against marriage, when Ambrose Notley discovers it may win him his uncle's good opinion (and his inheritance), he marries the orphaned Kate Mowbray. But will Kate be able to break down the walls that Ambrose has built around him?

"First Comes Marriage"
When Mae's sister and husband unexpectedly die, a greedy uncle threatens to steal custody of the children and their money. David, Mae's brother-in-law, marries Mae in the hopes of retaining custody of their niece and nephew. But will this love for show become something deeper?

"The Price of Her Heart"
When Faith MKinney witnesses a crime she shouldn't have seen, she's forced into hiding to protect her own life. As part of this, her uncle arranges her marriage to small-town sheriff Geoffrey. But when the men searching for her find Geoffrey as well, will he be able to protect her?

"Beauty and the Beholder"
When a marriage arranged by chance brings Fanny and Percy together, they quickly learn that clashing personalities and battles of wit are not a recipe for a happy match. How could a marriage between quick enemies ever result in something such as love? But fate has a way of bringing even the most unlikely hearts together...

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462119790

Also by this author: Mischief & Manors, The Second Season, Author Interview (A Second Season), Sophia, To Suit a Suitor

Also in this series: Willow Springs, Sophia, The Second Season, To Suit a Suitor, Mischief & Manors


Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Romance Fiction, Short Story or Novella, Sweet Romance


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 1st March, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 256

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

I have happily read stories by each of these authors and blogged my reactions to their stories previously with one exception: this was my first entry into the writing style of Ms Ellsworth! This is the one grace of finding anthologies – you might know a few authors or you might not know any of them, but there is the potential for discovering even just ‘one’ new author to love! Even though I have previously read debut novels & other stories by the other three authors, I was still undecided about one of them in regards to her narrative voice and pacing (Newbold) whilst remaining neutral going into this collection. I wanted to walk into the sections of this anthology as if i hadn’t read any other story by each of the authors – to give myself a fighting chance to have no expectations except to delight in what I would find within the stories themselves!

Converse on Twitter via: #UnexpectedLove + #Anthology

About Ashtyn Newbold

Ashtyn Newbold

Ashtyn Newbold discovered a love of writing early in high school. Inspired by regency period romance, she wrote her first novel at the age of sixteen. Because she can’t vacation in her favorite historical time periods, she writes about them instead. When not crafting handsome historical heroes, she enjoys baking, sewing, music, and spoiling her dog. She dreams of traveling to England and Ireland. Ashtyn is currently studying English and creative writing at Utah Valley University. She lives in Lehi, Utah, with her family.

About Heather Chapman

Heather Chapman

Heather Chapman currently resides in Soda Springs, Idaho, with her husband and four children. She graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University. Heather has worked in various administrative assistant roles and as an event planner. Heather has also worked as a piano accompanist and piano teacher on the side. She currently spends her time writing and working as a stay-at-home mother.

About Mandi Ellsworth

Mandi is an avid reader, a slow jogger, and disinterested in board games of any kind. She lives in Utah with her husband, three children and no pets.

About Paula Kremser

Paula Kremser

Paula Kremser focused on a career in science for a few years after graduating from Brigham Young University. Several years later when she moved with her young family to England, Paula seized the opportunity to focus on her love of the Regency Era. The enchantment of the aristocracy and the fascinating stories from every stately home she visits have been both research and inspiration for her first novel. Paula lives with her husband and four children in a charming village nestled in the Chiltern hills in Buckinghamshire.

For a hilarious look-see behind-the-scenes of how this photograph was captured read her Outtakes post! I believe that the photograph that was chosen captures her 'in the moment' with a spark of joy. Sometimes the best photographs are the ones we do not overly plan but rather happen spontaneously!

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Posted Thursday, 30 March, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Anthology Collection of Stories, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Birthdays & Blogoversaries, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, England, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mail-Order Brides & Marriages of Convenience, Mental Health, Romance Fiction, Singletons & Commitment, Sweet Romance, the Nineteen Hundreds, Unexpected Inheritance

Blog Book Tour | “Courting Carrie in Wonderland” by Carla Kelly

Posted Sunday, 26 March, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Courting Carrie in Wonderland” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I personally love soaking inside a Carla Kelly Historical:

Carla Kelly shines her soulful grace of the craft of story-telling within this novel, which accomplishes much more at it’s core than merely telling us a story wrought out of the Western genre within the folds of a Historical Fiction. No, this novel seeks a gentle truth towards telling a story rooted in the realism between the continental divides of race, identity, and personal worth as related to station, lifestyle, and locale. She interweaves a gentle hand of guidance within the minds of her characters, but it is how each of her characters bespeak of their innermost beliefs I found endeared me the most to the novel itself.

Kelly has captured my heart for the American West and given me a novel fully supported of cultural integrity and diversity of spirit, soul, heart, and the pursuit of finding your own path when life gives you an intercession of pause to choose how you want to live rather than having a life dictated to you.

-quoted from my first reading of a Carla Kelly novel in 2014 on behalf of ‘Softly Falling’

And, I had the pleasure of reading a second novel by her in 2015:

She has such a wicked clever wit about her dialogue and the conversational exchanges she induces her characters to evolve inside, I find myself happily immersed in her novels post haste! As reflected when I had read Softly Falling I fell so close to the lead characters, I had not begged to exit the story anytime soon! She draws you in with her command of setting and timescape; as this story Summer Campaign held within it all the ferocity of a Jane Austen novel set around the period of time in a young woman’s life where she has become the object of marriageable age.

-quoted from my reading of ‘Summer Campaign’

You can see why I was excited about the prospect of reading a ‘third’ Carla Kelly novel! There have been a few of her novels which have toured which I passed over reading – either the story-line was outside my comfort zone (ie. The Civil War era) or I simply did not have the free time I wished I could have had to consume it. One thing is for certain, I will be spending many a moon in the future seeking out her titles and enjoying the journey I take into her collective works! For awhile now, I have simply felt blessed and overjoyed in finding a few of her novels have been available to review on blog tours! It’s become such a delightful way to be ‘introduced’ to her characters and the different periods of the historic past she loves to write about!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Courting Carrie in Wonderland” by Carla KellyCourting Carrie in Wonderland
Subtitle: Is Kissing Against Army Regulations?
by Carla Kelly
Source: Direct from Publisher

Mercy, he was a fool for this woman. Why on earth had Major Pitcher told him to look for a wife? This was more trouble and heartache than he needed right now since his affairs had suddenly turned south.

Struggling through college and balancing her summer job with the Wylie Camping Company, Carrie simply doesn't have time to consider romance. War veteran Sergeant Major Ramsay Stiles isn't looking for love either because of his own complicated job. But as the magic of Yellowstone Park makes its way into their hearts, both see love making its way up their priority lists.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462118724

Also by this author: Softly Falling, Summer Campaign

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 1st March, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 391

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #CarlaKelly

About Carla Kelly

Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas for Donald I. Fine Co., Signet, and Harlequin, Carla is the recipient of two Rita Awards (think Oscars for romance writing) from Romance Writers of America and two Spur Awards (think Oscars for western fiction) from Western Writers of America. She is also a recipient of a Whitney Award for Borrowed Light, My Loving Vigil Keeping and Softly Falling.

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Posted Sunday, 26 March, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Horse Drama & Fiction, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Military Fiction, Nature & Wildlife, Old West Americana, PTSD, Singletons & Commitment, The Natural World, the Nineteen Hundreds, Walking & Hiking Trails, Western Fiction, Wilderness Adventures, Wyoming

Book Review | “The Penny Bangle” (Charton Minster No.3) by Margaret James #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 25 March, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Penny Bangle” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Why Jorie Loves reading the Charton Minster series:

This is such a heart-warming series – this section of the saga was very family-centred, about how you can grow closer through adversity and how being industriously hopeful towards your circumstances can lead to new tomorrows. The parents and the children alike never wavered in hope for their futures, whilst sorting out small ways to contribute to building a tomorrow they could all be proud to claim as a hard-won victory over the events that led to their financial insecurity after difficult situations affected their securities. I especially enjoyed seeing how returning to land and farm, built a strength of hearth and home; whilst giving new possibilities of how to self-sustain yourself along the way. Love can move mountains and in this case, the love of family is a bond made of sturdy fibre that can weather any storm that threatens to destroy them.

One of the best methods of delivering a sequel to a series in-progress for me is knitting up the characters’ story-lines whilst expanding on the supporting cast and the other curious sorts who take up residence in the background of where the central leads live and take our hearts for a walkabout. This is exactly what Ms James has done with the Charton Minster series, as she dropped us back inside the story soon after the close of the first novel – wells, time shifted forward a small bit, but evenso, Rose and Alex were right as rain against the page; just as I had remembered them. They were still two against the world, living their lives despite the adverse strife they ebbed in and out of, they were content and happy because they chose to be together.

Boiling behind the romance between Rose & Alex is a deeper scar that hasn’t healed through absence nor of the passage of time – seeing what had become of Charton Minster and the seething anger of who took up residence inside the ancient estate was difficult as one would hope time could heal even the most difficult of hearts. I applauded Ms James for keeping the continuity moving forward whilst owning the truths of difficult characters who truly haven’t quite learned how best to live. Throughout this installment, the flaws which gave the characters the most depth became the connective threads of where personal growth matured into such a warm new beginning.

I truly liked seeing how Rose & Alex alongside their children continued to ban together as a family, through thick and thin; rights and wrongs and all the lovely moments in-between. They were a true blue family, letting each other grow and make mistakes, but giving each other the warmth of encouragement only given out of the pureness of unconditional love. Their family was beyond blessed in that regard, as they understood each others worts and loved each other all the same! It will be quite interesting to see how the story picks up in the third installment ‘The Penny Bangle’ where Daisy’s brothers take centerstage as the series shifts forward. I grew quite found of Robert and Stephen as they became such enterprising young gentlemen!

-quoted from my review of The Golden Chain

You can well understand why I am quite delighted I can continue to read each installment of this series, and become caught up in the drama and lives of each of the characters as they make their entrance and take their cue to exit. It’s one of those timeless classics you hope you can stumble across & dearly love!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

 Book Review | “The Penny Bangle” (Charton Minster No.3) by Margaret James #ChocLitSaturdaysThe Penny Bangle
by Margaret James
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Steve West
Source: Direct from Publisher

When should you trust your heart?

It’s 1942 when Cassie Taylor reluctantly leaves Birmingham to become a land girl on a farm in Dorset.

There she meets Robert and Stephen Denham, twins recovering from injuries sustained at Dunkirk. Cassie is instantly drawn to Stephen, but is wary of the more complex Robert – who doesn’t seem to like Cassie one little bit.

At first, Robert wants to sack the inexperienced city girl. But Cassie soon learns, and Robert comes to admire her courage, finding himself deeply attracted to Cassie. Just as their romance blossoms, he’s called back into active service.

Anxious to have adventures herself, Cassie joins the ATS. In Egypt, she meets up with Robert, and they become engaged. However, war separates them again as Robert is sent to Italy and Cassie back to the UK.

Robert is reported missing, presumed dead. Stephen wants to take Robert’s place in Cassie’s heart. But will Cassie stay true to the memory of her first love, and will Robert come home again?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 9781906931773

Also by this author: The Silver Locket, The Golden Chain, Girl in Red Velvet

Also in this series: The Silver Locket, The Golden Chain, Girl in Red Velvet


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Realistic Fiction


Published by ChocLitUK

on 15th March, 2013

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 286

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook & E-Book

Order of Sequence of Charton Minster series:

The Silver Locket Book One (review)

The Golden Chain Book Two (review) | The Penny Bangle Book Three

The Wedding Diary Book Four | Magic Sometimes Happens Book Five

*Wicked good news!* This series has a *sixth!* title! As I learnt this via a lovely convo with Ms James whilst conversing about the #ChartonMinster series on Twitter! More news lateron in 2017!

Converse via: #ChartonMinster, #HistFic, #HistRom + #ChocLit

About Margaret James

Margaret James

Margaret James was born and brought up in Hereford and now lives in Devon. She studied English at London University, and has written many short stories, articles and serials for magazines. She is the author of sixteen published novels.

Her debut novel for Choc Lit, The Silver Locket, received a glowing review from the Daily Mail and reached the Top 20 Small Publishers Fiction List in November 2010 and in the same year a Reviewers’ Choice Award from Single Titles. The Golden Chain also hit the Top 20 Small Publishers Fiction List in May 2011. The Wedding Diary was shortlisted for the 2014 Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Novels: The Silver Locket, The Golden Chain, The Penny Bangle, The Wedding Diary and Magic Sometimes Happens which are part of the Charton Minster series.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Saturday, 25 March, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, British Literature, Brothers and Sisters, Child out of Wedlock, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Coming-Of Age, England, Family Drama, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Green-Minded Publishers, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Modern British Author, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Multi-Generational Saga, Romance Fiction, Siblings, Small Towne Fiction, Twin Siblings, Unexpected Pregnancy, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Health, Women's Land Army (Land Girls) Britain

Audiobook Review | “The Secret Life of Anna Blanc” by Jennifer Kincheloe Jorie re-visits one of her beloved reads of 2016!

Posted Monday, 13 March, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

How I first came to read ‘Anna Blanc’: 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. I received a complimentary copy of “The Secret Life of Anna Blanc” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared therein. This selection marked my ‘first’ choice of novels from Prometheus Books – which is why being able to listen and review the audiobook was such a sweet blessing!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

How I acquired this Digital Audiobook and my connection to the author: Jennifer Kincheloe

I remained in touch with the author – as I had hoped this would turn into a series – where this would only be the first installment of Anna Blanc’s life. When I caught sight of the audiobook being published on Twitter, I reached out directly to the author, to ask if she were seeking reviews on it’s behalf. Blessed to say, she was and I offered to re-read this novel via the audiobook in exchange for an honest review in December 2016, thinking I would post my ruminations on behalf of the narrator’s vocalisation of Anna Blanc in January 2017.

Except to say, I couldn’t get motivated to re-listen to this title – I was still adjusting to my father’s recovery from his stroke as he was just getting through his recovery period at home. I struggled with finding the inspiration to read in mid to late December and throughout January; although I did find a few stories which took hold. Sadly, this story I pushed forward to listen too, as I wanted to be in a better frame of mind to listen to Anna’s story for the second time, as became such a dear joy of mine the first time round! I had mentioned to the author about possibly contacting the Audiobookworm about promoting the audiobook, too. Turns out whilst I had a few months of a reader’s rut to trudge through, this audiobook and story made it into Audiobookworm Promotions!

I requested to be an ‘additional’ reviewer and to interview the narrator originally as I didn’t want to affect the blog tour – yet at the same time, I was so inspired by the narrator’s take on Anna Blanc, I was wicked excited about setting up a conversation with her about her performance. This conversation ended up being canncelled on my end, as I simply couldn’t pull it together on a short deadline. I also remained on the blog tour to be a ‘second time reader’ of the novel.

Therefore, I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The Secret Life of Anna Blanc” via the author Jennifer Kencheloe in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein nor for recommending her to use Audiobookworm Promotions for publicity for this title or series.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

What I initially loved about the story of ‘Anna Blanc’ – quoted from my original review of the print edition:

Anna Blanc is self-assured and a women who doesn’t take kindly to be ‘put in place’ by her controlling father – as soon as she announces her presence on the scene, you want to know more about her as she’s a formidable woman straight from the gate! Her cheeky cleverness to hide whilst attempting to flee by rail and to be fashionable even though necessity dictates that to be a difficulty when trying to outfox someone from finding out your whereabouts – Anna Blanc has a charm about her that lends well to become entranced by a character you can tell is going to surprise you at each new turning of her story! How can you not help but smile when things go her way? She has this curious aplumb about her that delights the expectation of where she’s about to take you on her adventure!

Kincheloe has this cheeky sense of humour threading through her ink, as right when you think Anna Blanc has mastered the art of deceiving her father for the goodwill of her future, he pulls back twice as strong as before – leaving Anna with a shattered bit of hope and a firm displeasure of injustice. When she meets up with the Suffragettes, I was not too shocked to find her winning a wink towards their cause – as their cause was her cause!

The best attribute Anna Blanc has within her is a self-motivating resolve to become self-educated as it was such a joy to watch her expand her mind in a fervent attempt to understand the underpinnings of motives and causes of the crimes that were leeching through her city at such a fast rate of alarm. She did not just want to sleuth for the sake of detection but to fully understand the methodology behind the crimes and I think this is a nod to the writer’s (Kincheloe) curiosity being piqued by true crime stories straight out of the historical archives from whence she draws her inspirations. Kincheloe also under-writ a stunning historical survey of early Forensic techniques which inspired Anna with her investigating – especially in regards to understanding the differences between murder and suicide. This became quite pivotal in the story as Anna Blanc made her transition from socialite to female detective.

The beauty of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc are the little bits of plot your not expecting to find encircle through the evolving story – there were little clues fluttering through it’s context, but the joy was not completely sorting it all out until the very last chapter – wherein, your heart swoons with glee and you champion the success Anna Blanc had in closing her second case! This is a bit of a guilty pleasure for historical fiction readers – Kincheloe has tempted us with her wicked sweet prose where a heroine peppers the scenes with her feisty personality and a penchant for seeking out the truth from a sea of lies!

Sophisticated in her ascertainment of conception behind Anna Blanc, Kincheloe has writ such a lively character, you drink in her words with such a joy of delight! She has a fast paced narrative, where the humour is smitten by the sophisticated edging of her character’s personality, matched equally brilliantly by the grace of a Cosy Historical Mystery backdrop! She’s captured the turn of the century atmosphere aptly, as she tucks in recognisable familiarities to alight in your imagination as you turn the pages; replete with gaslights and other bits which correlate with the era.

I loved the way in which Kincheloe turnt a phrase, using words not oft found in historical fiction as her novel is a good primer of words that are wicked to say aloud and used in descriptive narratives such as this one! The phrases themselves are a delight for readers who love words as much as wordsmiths, which Kincheloe definitely excels at including whilst giving Anna Blanc a crafty choice of words to express her emotional duress! She also found a clever way to include Anna’s religious background by having her talk to the Saints when a mood or a moment fitted the hour; it was quite an interesting way to thread faith inside a mainstream novel and I liked the author’s candor.

I found this unputdownable – I read it straight through in one sitting!

I found it deliciously refreshing as Anna Blanc is a heroine who made her mark on the world on her own terms whilst owning the truth of her heart. I cannot wait to see what Ms Kincheloe will give us to devour next when this novel’s sequel is released – with a bit of hope, she won’t leave us in suspense too long!

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Audiobook Review | “The Secret Life of Anna Blanc” by Jennifer Kincheloe Jorie re-visits one of her beloved reads of 2016!The Secret Life of Anna Blanc
Subtitle: Read by Moira Quirk
by Jennifer Kincheloe
Source: Direct from Author
Narrator: Moira Quirk

It's 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels—but must disguise them behind covers of more domestically-appropriate reading. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals.

Determined to break free of the era's rigid social roles, Anna buys off the chaperone assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are unwilling to investigate. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself.

If the police find out, she'll get fired; if her father finds out, he'll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he'll cancel the wedding and stop pouring money into her father's collapsing bank. Midway into her investigation, the police chief's son, Joe Singer, learns her true identity. And shortly thereafter she learns about blackmail.

Anna must choose—either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Also by this author: The Secret Life of Anna Blanc

Also in this series: The Secret Life of Anna Blanc


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Historical Fiction


Published by Jennifer R. Kincheloe Ltd

on 14th November, 2016

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 12 hours 44 minutes (unabridged)

(Audiobook) Published By: the author herself

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook and Audiobook

Converse via: #SecretLifeOfAnnaBlanc

About Jennifer Kincheloe

Jennifer Kincheloe Photo Credit: Fola Akinyemi

Jennifer has been a block layer, a nurse's aid, a fragrance model, and on the research faculty at UCLA, where she spent 11 years conducting studies to inform health policy. A native of Southern California, she now lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two teenagers. She's currently writing book three in the Anna Blanc Mystery series. Book two, THE WOMAN IN THE CAMPHOR TRUNK, is coming out in Fall of 2017 from Seventh Street Books.

Photo Credit: Fola Akinyemi
Biography updated: March 2017

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Monday, 13 March, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Father-Daughter Relationships, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Prometheus Books, the Nineteen Hundreds, True Crime, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Rights, Women's Suffrage