Author: Zana Bell

Book Review | My 2nd Historical by a #ChocLit author I already love “Fool’s Gold” by Zana Bell #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 24 October, 2015 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By:

I am a ChocLit reviewer who receives books of my choice in exchange for honest reviews! I received a complimentary copy of “Fool’s Gold” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

On wanting to continue reading Bell’s historicals:

Being able to return to New Zealand is quite the treat – as I fell in love with this country through friendship, as I used to correspond with two girls who lived on opposite ends of the country. One appreciated city life whereas the other one grew up on a farm where her family was self-sufficient and able to live off the land. It was a wonderful exchange of letters and conversations, whilst getting to see the differences between the two girls and thus, how where they lived provided them each with a different perspective as a whole.

Whenever I can ‘visit’ a country where a friend of mine has lived (either in the present or past) it’s a special treat indeed as I haven’t had the chance to hop a plane and visit the countries in person. This is one reason postal correspondences are quite dear to me; they allow you the grace of bringing the world closer to home and by introducing you to friends who stay with you through the tides of life. I had to smile when Ms Bell mentioned appreciating writing about Kiwis because one of my friends used to hand-write her letters on Kiwi stationery.

In regards to reading my second historical by Ms Bell, the pleasure is mine! After reading Close to the Wind my mind was lit afire with a happiness of finding a writer who knew exactly what I was hoping to find inside a high seas epic romance! I loved the combination of her settings and the interactions between Georgiana and Trent, as she gave us such a welcoming depth of their character’s evolving journey.

Here is a short quote from my review which I believe explains what I’m referencing:

There is a sudden depth of knowledge ebbing out of Trent’s past life which provides a kaleidoscope of emotions; as you presumed he lived his life more of a pirate than a gent. A glimpse into his rough-hewn past reveals a vulnerable vein of humanity. It’s the choices that each have to make in successive chapters which will give way to where their fates are directing them. I personally was enthralled from the first chapter until the last — not wanting the action, the danger, or the intrigue to let up even an inch! This is definitely an enjoyable read for those who like a bit of a daring risk towards seeking freedom of its most innocent ideal! As much as it is an exposition on self-identity and the assurances we all seek to understand where we belong.

This next novel by Bell has already garnished quite a heap of attention and notoriety by the time it’s reached my hands to read. I sort of had a sense this novel might resonate with readers – I loved it from the moment I first read the synopsis because I liked how the set-up of the plot sounded. Sometimes you gather a proper sense about novels before you read them; this surely was one of those for me! I’m thankful and full of thanksgiving for being able to read it a year after it’s release.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.Book Review | My 2nd Historical by a #ChocLit author I already love “Fool’s Gold” by Zana Bell #ChocLitSaturdaysFool's Gold
by Zana Bell
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Love – is it worth its weight in gold?

It’s 1866 and the gold rush is on. Left to fend for herself in the wilds of New Zealand’s west coast, Lady Guinevere Stanhope is determined to do whatever it takes to rescue her ancestral home and restore her father’s good name.

Forced out of his native Ireland, Quinn O’Donnell dreams of striking gold. His fiercely held prejudices make him loath to help any English person, let alone a lady as haughty and obstinate as Guinevere. But when a flash flood hits, Quinn is compelled to rescue her, and their paths become entwined in this uncharted new world.
Though a most inconvenient attraction forms between them, both remain determined to pursue their dreams, whatever the cost.

Will they realise in time that all that glitters is not gold?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9781781891834

Also by this author: Close to the Wind, Guest Post by Zana Bell: Ingredients for a Ripping Tale

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

Published by ChocLitUK

on 7th October 2014

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 320

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLitUK)

Formats Available: Paperback, Audiobook and E-book

Previously I was introduced to her style of historicals by way of Close to the Wind!

Converse via: #ChocLit

About Zana Bell

Zana Bell

Zana lives in New Zealand. She describes herself as a big fan of Georgette Heyer and combines the elements of light-hearted romance with travel and adventure. Zana’s first book was a young adult time travel, published in New Zealand and Australia. Her second novel was an historical, based on the life and times of Charlotte Badger, convict, pirate and New Zealand’s first English woman immigrant. It was voted Single Titles 10 Best Books in 2008.

She is also the author of two contemporary romances from Harlequin’s Super romance line. The first won a Cataromance Reviewer’s Choice Award 2010. Close to the Wind was her debut novel with Choc Lit and the return to her love of writing historical novels. Fool’s Gold won the 2015 Koru Award for Excellence from the Romance Writers’ of New Zealand.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Posted Saturday, 24 October, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, Adoption, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Art, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Castles & Estates, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, England, Father-Daughter Relationships, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Immigrant Stories, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Life Shift, New Zealand, Photography, Rescue & Adoption of Animals, Romance Fiction, Single Fathers, Small Towne Fiction, Treasure Hunt

+Author Guest Post+ with Zana Bell, ChocLit Author of “Close to the Wind” #ChocLitSaturdays!

Posted Saturday, 29 March, 2014 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Guest Post by Parajunkee

Zana Bell stops by to discuss

her passion for Kiwi Historicals!

I had the pleasure of reviewing

Close to the Wind

as a #ChocLitSaturdays Feature!

#ChocLitSaturdays | a feature exclusive to Jorie Loves A Story

Proposed Topic for Zana Bell: If she could expound on her cross-genre exploration of the book, as it combines “Adventure, Historical, & Victorian” and perhaps a bit about what motivated her to select those genres in particular and how she found her personal niche in bringing the characters and story to life? I love genre-bending fiction as it adds such a healthy dynamic to what your reading!

I am thrilled to welcome Ms. Zana Bell to Jorie Loves A Story, on this ChocLitSaturday special feature where I had become a bit curious about her inspiration behind her writing style and asked her to expand a bit on her craft! Ms. Bell is one of the first four ChocLitUK authors I had the pleasure of becoming introduced too this year! You can follow along with me on my reading adventures as I read one ChocLit author at a time! And, as my new badge describes: “Romance, chocolate, and a cuppa tea is simply divine on the weekends!” Consider this my new “ChocLitSaturdays” tagline! If you are dropping by today for the first time, I welcome you and ask what is your favourite kind of chocolate and tea?! Do you prefer loose leaf or bagged!? Dark or white chocolate barks?! I look forward to seeing your engaging answers in the comment threads!

I am honoured to be able to read British Romantic fiction by the gracious offerings of ChocLitUK, as I have such a hearty penchant for British Fiction! The stories I find inside each ChocLit novel uplift my very soul as they are endearing stories of courage, strength during adversity, and most of all romantically realistic! I implore you to sit back a bit and read Ms. Bell’s musings on where her writer’s heart leads her!


Ingredients for a Ripping Tale

I’m often asked why I write NZ historicals – even by Kiwis!
The simple fact is that the 1860s gold rush has all the ingredients for a ripping tale.

First there is the setting: huge, snow-capped mountains, clear, fast flowing rivers, dazzlingly blue lakes, treacherous mountain passes, deep forests and huge moors. Remember being wowed by the scenery in Lord of the Rings? It’s the self-same terrain.

Now bring in the men – thousands of them. At the first cry of, “Gold!” they began flooding in from all over the world, from every walk of life. Aristocrats pitched tents next to lawyers, shepherds and bankers. They were a fine-looking bunch, noted Lady Barker approvingly. Strong, tanned, hard-living, optimistic sorts, many with a fine education behind them. They were there for the gold certainly, but also for adventure. These were not men who sat waiting for life to come to them; they were men who went out and conquered it.

And then there were the women. They left Britain where they vastly outnumbered the men (the colonies, the Crimean War, the Indian War etc.) to arrive in New Zealand where they were suddenly in huge demand. Such high demand that colonists desperately sought the plainest maids they could find – but to no avail. Most of the immigrants were in their teens and twenties and almost all were married within two years of arriving here. With such a huge range of intrepid, good-looking men to choose from, the air must have been redolent with whirlwind romances.

I love Victorian women. They were to be found, petticoated and bonneted, in the most remote, dangerous and exotic places in the world. And while they were meant to be tending hearth and home, a quiet revolution was going on. They were beginning to challenge laws that disadvantaged women. They were learning to be scientists, mathematicians, photographers and astronomers. There were women masquerading as men in the American Civil War – often following a loved one. There were wives accompanying their captain husbands on the high seas. There were girls as young as 12 and 14 deciding to travel across the world, alone, to find a better life.

Finally there were the dreams: of escaping grinding poverty, of providing children with better opportunities, of founding better, classless societies. Amongst the gold diggers and opportunists there were visionaries of courage and conviction. New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote and was one of the earliest adopters of extensive social welfare. The diaries and letters of the time are filled with high hopes, excitement, danger, opportunity, fear humour and – of course! – love.

So, as you can see, with all these ingredients, it’s simply impossible to resist writing rollicking adventures set in 1860s New Zealand. It was an extraordinary era.

Close to the Wind by Zana BellBook Synopsis:

What would you give to be free?

Georgiana da Silva is catapulted out of the Victorian drawing rooms and into a world of danger when she escapes her fiendish fiancé to engage in a mad dash across the world to save her brother before an unknown assassin can find him.

Meanwhile, Captain Harry Trent is setting sail for New Zealand. With a mission to complete and the law on his heels, he’s got enough trouble of his own without further complications.

Thrown together, unable to trust anyone, Georgiana and Harry are intent on fulfilling their missions despite the distractions of the other. But liberty comes at a price and the closer they get, the more they must question the true cost of being free.

Author Connections:

Personal Site | Facebook | Twitter 

Converse via: #CloseToTheWind

Oh, my goodness Ms. Bell! You have tapped into the very key ingredients of why I appreciated watching The Lord of the Rings on the silver screen! The breath-taking natural wonderment of beauty enraptured my eyes with such a fierce conviction it was as though I had known Middle Earth by some coincidence of foreknowledge! The wilds of New Zealand of her rugged coastline which in effect create this natural vagabond wonderland would be the most brilliant setting for a historical romance! I oft wondered how the natural environs play a part in creating an impetus of creativity for writers, in this I thank you for giving my readers and myself a bit of a nodding of what motivates you personally in this regard!

The Gold Rush was such a leveling of the playing field insofar as creating an equality of skills and prospects out of those who ventured off to seek their claims of fortune. No one was above the other and everyone had a fighting chance of succeeding towards financial freedom and endowed wealth. I would imagine at first, the men might have found it a bit odd to be hugged so close together given that in their previous lives their paths might not have crossed as easily as they were now! Or, perhaps not?! Perhaps the equalising pursuance of their endeavours held strong!?

New Zealand’s amorous embrace of the women reminds me a bit of how Alaskan men still struggle a bit to seek out the women they are in hopes of meeting themselves! Ever so often I come across another Alaskan Men story which warms my heart and tickles my romantic fever of optimistic matches sought out of hope! I have a feeling had I been bourne out of the era I was placed inside, I would have been one of those daring souls who ventured far, far afield in search of ‘something quite different’ in the pursuit of where to land my feet! I still recollect musing about travelling aboard ship like the strong-willed souls in MaryLu Tyndall’s Forsaken Dreams.

The history of women’s suffrage has always fascinated me as to how hard we fought for our individual rights and liberties, but also, the upward battle women had to face even on smaller levels within their own families. The world might have taken awhile to hinge their ideals to the rights of women, but I oft wonder the kind of strength it would have taken to strike out on your own and dare to give your family the opportunity to recognise not only your self-worth but your free spirit?! I have always had one foot in science and one foot in the creative arts. I am a modern Renaissance girl in that one regard, and I am everso thankful I had the option to be wholly true and unique unto my own inclinations!

The journals left behind by generations past are some of the best keepsakes and glimpses into how our everyday lives were lived. A true internal introspective reflection of the inner workings of change as it was being laid to mind. I can imagine your well of stories runs deep and true! How fascinating it will be to follow you along and seeing where your next published novel takes all of us! I am one ChocLit girl who is *excited!* for more Kiwi-inspired fiction! The land of New Zealand has been cherished for such a long time, as it was the home of one of my very first overseas friends! I have been a correspondent by postal mail for the near-full of my days, and I’ll never forget my early letters sent off to Auckland to this far-off place which was such an extraordinary breath of fresh air! I loved learning about the natural ecosystems and how the communities there were a bit more forward in thinking towards slow food movements, local harvesting of crops, and the ability to balance environmental conservation with the preservation of resources. It was always a land I wanted to visit, and I thank you for giving me a bit more of her essence in your wickedly divine stories of love!

This Author Guest Post is courtesy of ChocLitUK,

ChocLitUK Reviewercheck out my upcoming bookish event and mark your calendars!

Readers and Romance enthusiasts, what do you think about the exotic nature of New Zealand and the heart-warming courage of her inhabitants?! Of being of strong mind to seek out a different continent during the age of land & gold claims having the ability to change ones stars of course!? Do you think you could have been as daring & adventurous as the women of the Victorian age!? What do you like the most about adventure, danger, and romance inside novels similar to “Close to the Wind”!? What stirs your emotional heart!?

Stop back next Saturday, as I resume my ChocLit book reviews! Which story will I select to read next!? Flight to Coorah Creek by Janet Gover, The Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina Courtenay, Romancing the Soul by Sarah Tranter, The Road Back by Liz Harris, The Secret Kiss of Darkness by Christina Courtenay, OR The Maid of Milan by Beverley Eikli! You’ll have to stay tuned to my #ChocLitSaturdays tag to discover which one will be featured!

+ Previous #ChocLitSaturdays Features +

{NOTE: Similar to blog tours, when I feature a showcase for an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog.}

{SOURCES: Author photograph, Author Biography, and ChocLit Reviewer badge were provided by ChocLitUK and were used by permission. Jorie requested an Author Guest Post from Zana Bell through ChocLitUK of which she received a reply. She was curious after having read “Close to the Wind” about the author’s writing styles. Blog dividers are provided by Shabby Blogs. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Jorie Loves A Story badge created by Ravven with edits by Jorie in FotoFlexer.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.


Posted Saturday, 29 March, 2014 by jorielov in Action & Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Historical Romance, Indie Author, New Zealand, Pirates and Swashbucklers, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Romance Fiction

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