I’ve launched a new weekly featured concentration of book reviews on Jorie Loves A Story which celebrates my love and passion for the historical past! For those of whom are regular readers and visitors to my blog, you’ll denote a dedicated passion for reading Historical Fiction (and all the lovely segues of thematic therein) – I am a time traveller of the historical past every chance I get to disappear into a new era and/or century of exploration. There isn’t a time period I haven’t enjoyed ruminating over since  and there are a heap of lovely timescapes I’ve yet to encounter.
This feature was inspired by the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve yet to experience and the beauty of feeling interconnected to History through the representation of the past through the narratives being writ by today’s Historical Fiction authors. It is to those authors I owe a debt of gratitude for enlightening my bookish mind and my readerly heart with realistic characters, illuminating portals of living history and a purposeful intent on giving each of us a strong representation of ‘life’ which should never become dismissed, forgotten or erased.
I am began this feature with the sequel to a beloved historical novel I first read in  – it was one of the first ARCs I received and it was the first year I was a book blogger though it was through a connection outside my life as a blogger. I celebrated K.B. Laugheed’s literature to kick-off this feature and hopefully will inspire my followers to take this new weekly journey with me into the stories which are beckoning to read their narrative depths and find the words in which to express the thoughts I experienced as I read.
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! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring.
It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.
I received a complimentary of “No Stone Unturned” direct from the author Pam Lecky, exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
A conversation with Pam Lecky : Part One :
Victorian Cosy Mysteries are a lively mix of eclectic serial explorations of the era – how did you take us into the heart of Lucy Lawrence and make her stand out from the crowd? What were some of your favourite attributes of her character and personality?
Lecky responds: Firstly, thanks so much for hosting me today, Jorie, and asking such insightful questions.
From the outset of the story, it was important that the reader felt sympathy for Lucy and what made her tick. It was vital, therefore, to give a little bit of background to her situation: a troubled marriage, unexplained miscarriages and being ostracised by her neighbours because of her elopement. This all helped to build the picture of a woman ripe for change (and adventure!). For Lucy to stand out, I told the entire story through her eyes and as a woman of her time, not our modern idea of a heroine. She admits to being poorly educated (the heir was her parents’ focus) but she is of high intellect and yearns to learn about the world around her. As a youngster she was a bit of a rebel (hence the elopement) and that spirit was never entirely quenched when she married. But convention ruled, and Lucy played the part of the typical Victorian wife. It is only when her husband’s sudden death releases her that Lucy realises how much she sacrificed upon her marriage.
What I admire most in Lucy is her resilience and the fact she is a dare-devil at heart. She takes on situations I would have run away from! I guess I can live through her to some extent. Lucy’s ability to remain positive and to even see the humour in her circumstances when her world is falling apart, is probably what makes her so attractive to Phineas Stone, the male protagonist, and my readers.
If you had to select a quirk of a minor character, which one would you pick and why?
Lecky responds: One of the most interesting characters for me to write was Sibylla, Lucy’s sister-in-law. She is a terrible snob and resents Lucy coming back into the family like a prodigal daughter. Sibylla has a chip on her shoulder because she is the daughter of an industrialist and she has married well above her class. She brings with her a moralizing nature which is entirely hypocritical (she has an affair only a few years into her marriage!) The dialogue between her and Lucy and the rest of the family was a joy to write.
Do you remember the first time you read a Historical Mystery (it can be Victorian or another era) and how it made you feel to be immersed into that setting and timescape? What inspired you to develop your own Historical Mysteries and what did you hope to bring with you as you wrote them based on those initial early wanderings?
Lecky responds: Growing up I read a lot of historical fiction and classics but the majority of them would have been romances. Victorian writers such as Elizabeth Gaskell and Wilkie Collins wrote such wonderful characters in settings I found fascinating. Then I discovered the wonderful Georgette Heyer who is probably the biggest influence on my writing style. She was a master of character and setting creation; and all done with a sprinkling of subtle humour. But what Ms Heyer achieved isn’t easy at all. On the one hand, you need to explore practically everything in your era from idioms used, to mourning protocols. Then you must try to get the balance right between creating authentic settings, characters and believable plots, while not boring your reader with the minutiae. It can be challenging but I love delving into the past to build my worlds.
Added to all of this I had fallen in love with historical dramas on tv at a young age. I loved everything about them – the characters, the architecture and the way people behaved. But my imagination was really set on fire when I started to read crime. The first mysteries/crime novels I fell in love with would have been Dorothy L Sayer’s Lord Peter Wimsey series and PD James. What wonderfully twisty minds those ladies had! My debut novel, The Bowes Inheritance, was romantic suspense and I enjoyed writing it, but I wanted to write something a little darker this time.
So, with my love of the late Victorian era and wanting to explore writing more complex plots (I’m not a great fan of pure romance – I like a little more bite to stories with several threads running through them), it was inevitable I would end up writing historical mystery/crime. I deliberately set out to write a series, as the idea of developing the characters over time really appealed to me. It’s a wonderful opportunity to take my readers on a journey through the Victorian world. The second book is set in Egypt and I intend to visit Italy, Scotland and perhaps India, in other books in the series.
Cat and mouse stories are amongst my favourites – the timing of them is a bit on the trickier side as you have to have a thread of believability that the ‘cat’ and the ‘mouse’ are equal opponents. How did you temper the chase and yet still give the illusion of suspense between the characters?
Lecky responds: You are right! It is incredibly tricky to achieve. I used two devices in No Stone Unturned. Firstly, by writing it entirely from Lucy’s point of view, I was able to build up her anxiety and fear as the layers of the mystery began to unfold. To have used several points of view might have diluted that. Secondly, I deliberately told the reader very little about the antagonist, Marsh – he features so little he is almost a cameo. This, I felt, gave him a more menacing aspect.
What is the hardest part of developing a mystery? Is it the pacing, the sequencing of the revelations or bridging us (the reader) through this world where you know the outcome but you don’t want us (as readers) to ‘catch on’ too quickly and spoil the final reveal?
Lecky responds: It’s probably the latter. There is no final reveal as such in this story, more a continuous unravelling of several mysteries. I like to keep my readers guessing but not to torment them! I want people to engage in the process – the story arc – to become immersed in the protagonists’ lives and to root for them. If a reader is just waiting and trying to anticipate a big twist at the end, I think they miss some of the finer detail. This is what suited this story best; however, in the sequel, Footprints in the Sand, there is a twist at the end, but again, there are smaller revelations along the way.
AFTER YOU ENJOY READING MY RUMINATIONS ON BEHALF OF “NO STONE UNTURNED” – YOU’LL HAPPILY FIND THE CONCLUSION OF OUR CONVERSATION! BE SURE TO HAVE YOUR FAVOURITE CUPPA ON HAND TO ENJOY THE REST OF THIS POST!
A suspicious death, stolen gems, and an unclaimed reward: who will be the victor in a deadly game of cat and mouse?
London October 1886: Trapped in a troubled marriage, Lucy Lawrence is ripe for an adventure. But when she meets the enigmatic Phineas Stone, over the body of her husband in the mortuary, her world begins to fall apart.
When her late husband’s secrets spill from the grave, and her life is threatened by the leader of London’s most notorious gang, Lucy must find the strength to rise to the challenge. But who can she trust and how is she to stay out of the murderous clutches of London’s most dangerous criminal?
Places to find the book:
Published by Self Published
on 29th June, 2019
Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback
This is a Self-Published novel
Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
as well as #Victorian #CosyMystery and #HFVBTBlogTours
Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: