Genre: Nautical Fiction

#EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads this #WyrdAndWonder | Book Review of “Sea of Lost Souls” by Emerald Dodge a story which echoes why I loved #Mythothon!

Posted Thursday, 23 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Earlier this Spring, I participated in an event uniting book bloggers and Indie Authors called #ReviewPit. One of the authors I discovered during this event was Emerald Dodge – her s/o about the novel on Twitter was most enticing (see also tweet) because I have a soft spot for Urban Fantasy! In fact it is one of my #mostread niches of Speculative Fiction! When I dug deeper into the plot for her story (via our private convos ahead of my acceptance to review the novel)

I was seeking stories during #ReviewPit which caught my eye for their uniqueness but also what was quite lovely is how most of the stories which intrigued me to read were actually within the realms of Fantasy! I found this wicked interesting and it is why I was thankful during #WyrdAndWonder Year 2 I could continue to celebrate my love of Indie Authors & Indie Publishers and Press!

I received a complimentary copy of “Sea of Lost Souls” direct from the author Emerald Dodge in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

I happily found #UrbanFanatsy & Mythos
uniting together during #ReviewPit:

When I first learnt of the #bookishTwitter event #ReviewPit, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect – I keep a watchful eye on twitterverse events where writers are seeking betareaders or where authors are seeking publication (ie. #PitchWars, etc) as I generally find #newtomeauthors this way and I do like to champion the writers who are on their path towards becoming published as this is something I can personally relate to as I’m a writer whose currently moonlighting as a book blogger and joyful tweeter! It is lovely to reach out into the Indie community on Twitter and continue to seek out the stories I desire to be reading. Ever since I first started blogging here at Jorie Loves A Story, I’ve had an eye out for Indie Press, Publishers and the writers who are seeking alternative publication – either through the Indie side of publishing directly through established publishers and press; or through Small Trade publishers or taking the full-Indie route into Self-Publishing or Hybrid publishing options.

This is what made #ReviewPit such a keen event for me – I decided to just jump into it and see what I would find. It is run similar to other events where you get a pitch about a story and you are given a clue of a nod towards its genre of interest. I quite literally had such a wicked joy just scrolling through all the lovelies being offered, I wasn’t entirely sure how many would be available to receive as print editions for review but I decided to give myself the chance to just seek out the authors first and request which ones were available lateron.

Sea of Lost Souls was resplendent of my joy in participating in #Mythothon last November! I had a good feeling about this novel when I first learnt of it – something about its premise just felt like it was going to become a cherished reading of mine and wait til you see how right I was in that assessment as I share my ruminations with you!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Notation on Cover Art Design:

I love how the art on the cover feels dimensional! You really feel like you know the sensation of your hair underwater as your swimming with an orb to guide your way? I love swimming underwater due to the disconnection you have with the surface and how everything under the surface feels like its own unique world. Imagine of course if you quantitate that by what you’d find in the depths of the ocean itself?

#EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads this #WyrdAndWonder | Book Review of “Sea of Lost Souls” by Emerald Dodge a story which echoes why I loved #Mythothon!Sea of Lost Souls
Subtitle: She Died... And Then Her Life Began | Oceanus Series, Book One
by Emerald Dodge
Source: #ReviewPit Author, Direct from Author

Freedom lies on the open sea. Danger lies within it.

Rachel Goldstein dreams of the vast oceans, and her job in the Navy seems to offer her everything she’d ever hoped for. Her heart seeks adventure, but her mind is still ashore, where the last time she saw her parents, they had a fight that left everyone in tears. She wants reconciliation… which becomes impossible when she dies in a tragic aviation accident aboard her aircraft carrier.

When she wakes up aboard a ghost ship, her new shipmates offer Rachel her only chance to seize adventure again, and she knows what she must do. Aboard this impressive and fearsome vessel is her opportunity to find new freedom — if she can survive it. The ghostly high seas are fraught with danger, from devious officers to murderous pirates. And lurking underneath it all is Scylla, the mythological monster set to destroy anyone who encroaches on her aquatic territory.

Normally ready for anything, Rachel will have to find out if she’s stronger than her enemies and the beasts that lie below the waves. And at the end of it all, can she pierce the veil of death and reach through to the world of the living, and to her parents?

Fans of K.F. Breene’s paranormal fantasy, Greek mythology, and Jessica Jones will love the action-packed nautical fantasy of Emerald Dodge’s Sea of Lost Souls! Pick up your copy and join the crew today!

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781732283039

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Military Fiction, Mythological Fantasy, Nautical Fiction, Stories of the FAE, Urban Fantasy, War Drama


Published by Self Published Author

on 1st March, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 254

This is a self-published novel.

The stories of the Oceanus series:

Sea of Lost Souls (book one)

House of the Setting Sun (book two) ← forthcoming!

Valley of the Shadow (book three) ← forthcoming!

Crown of Sorrows (prequel novelette) ← forthcoming!

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Emerald Dodge

Emerald Dodge

Emerald is a Navy wife, mother of two boys, and proud bibliophile. She grew up in Northern Virginia and moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia in her teens. It was there that she met her husband, Mr. Dodge, a naval nuclear electrician. They hit it off right away, and now they're experiencing the trials and adventures of parenting together.

In her spare time she likes to cook, go on walks, watch television (especially anything about the Tudors or British monarchy), and study esthetics. She'd love to become a certified esthetician one day.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 23 May, 2019 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Genre-bender, Ghost Story, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Haunting & Ethereal, Indie Author, Judiasm, Mediums & Clairvoyants, Military Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Self-Published Author, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, War Drama, World Religions

#SaturdaysAreBookish | Book Review featuring @SatBookChat’s 17th November Guest Author | “Stay” by Jennifer Silverwood part of my #Mythothon readings!

Posted Saturday, 17 November, 2018 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

In keeping with the change of name for my Romance & Women’s Fiction Twitter chat [@SatBookChat previously known as @ChocLitSaturday] – I am announcing a change of features here on Jorie Loves A Story. Since January, 2014 I carved out a niche of focus which I named #ChocLitSaturdays as I have felt the best time to read romantic and dramatic stories are the weekends. This spun into a Twitter chat featuring the authors of ChocLit whilst I supplied weekly topics which would appeal to readers, writers and book bloggers alike. We grew into our own Saturday tribe of chatters – then, somewhere round the time of my father’s stroke in late [2016] and the forthcoming year of [2017] I started to feel less inspired to host the chat.

I had new plans to re-invent the chat in its new incantation as @SatBookChat but I also wanted to re-invent the complimentary showcases on my blog which would reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of #ChocLitSaturday the chat were the stories I was reading which complimented the conversations.

After a difficult year for [personal health & wellness] this 2018, I am beginning anew this Autumn – selecting the stories to resume where I left off featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read whilst highlighting a story by the author I am chatting with during #SatBookChat. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – for the remaining weeks of October and most of November, I will be featuring special guest authors during #SatBookChat whose stories I have either read, are reading or hope to read in the future if their newer releases. The reviews on Saturdays might inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

Our holiday break for the month of December will find us resuming #SatBookChat the week after New Year’s, 2019 where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction.

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Acquired Book By:

I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

This particular review is slightly different from my regular blog tours and hosting features for Prism Book Tours – as an opportunity came along this Autumn to secure a spot on a ‘review tour’ rather than a ‘blog tour’ for the debut novel by Jennifer Silverwood entitled: Stay. Although she’s published different series and stories after this publication from 2013, I welcomed the chance to get to know her writing style from the moment it began being published. This differs as each of the reviewers and book bloggers who are committing to this review tour are posting at different intervals before the final deadline for the review tour concludes. In my case, this also included being able to anchour this review with my @SatBookChat showcase for the novel and the book discussion which came out of it.

I received a complimentary copy of “Stay” by the author Jennifer Silverwood in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I originally was keen on the writing styling of Ms Silverwood:

When I first discovered Silver Hollow, it was the genre-bending styling of the author which implored me the most to read the story. At the time, Silver Hollow was being re-released and the only version currently available back then in print was the older version. Sadly, despite my efforts to secure that copy by inter-library loan had failed. It still remains a story I want to read one day, however, what was interesting about moving inside Stay was finding the natural nuanced styling of a writer who takes cues straight out of the Mythological past!

As I hinted at during @SatBookChat today, there are moments within reading Stay where I could almost feel the presence of Poseidon and Zeus; except, I wasn’t naming them in my mind. There are enough elements of connection within the story itself to draw you closer towards naming them outright but it was the illusion of connection to these two which I appreciated even more because it deepened the suspense and the mythological proportions! If it could be them, what if it wasn’t? What if there are others out there who can behave and manipulate the elements just as cheekily and get away with it?

This bridge between the fantastical and the mythological is what made me keenly curious about Silverwood’s writing style. I wanted to see how she used the bridge itself, as generally speaking I do have a penchant for Urban Fantasy nowadays but each writer I read within that branch of literature has their own unique spin on how to make ‘modern’ settings warmly conducive to Fantasy realms.

Finding myself dearly enchanted by how she brokered a story out of the roots of Greek Mythos is only the tip of the iceberg I feel I shall be finding within her collective works! The joy of reading Stay and discussing it was finding out the sequel is arriving in 2019!

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On my connection to Jennifer Silverwood:

When our paths first crossed, Ms Silverwood and I shared a mutual interest and connection; however, our friendship did not form for awhile afterwards. It was truly after the interview went live and after I noticed I was reading her blog as much as she was reading mine – where I realised we shared a lot of commonalities in our reading lives as well as our writely lives! We decided to stay in touch and it is an honour to find someone who understands the bridge between reader, blogger and writer.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Ms Silverwood through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I hosted her Silver Hollow blog tour and privately as well. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available. This also applies to hosting a guest feature by the author I share a connection.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | Book Review featuring @SatBookChat’s 17th November Guest Author | “Stay” by Jennifer Silverwood part of my #Mythothon readings!Stay
by Jennifer Silverwood
Source: Direct from Author

Rona believes love is nothing more than a myth, a tale for little girls.

Until the immortal ruler of the seas appears from thin air and she is swept into a dark and dangerous affair, turning myth into a grave reality. Commanded to work as the savior of true love, Rona realises that love is just an illusion as grandoise as magic and after two thousand years, she is ready to give up. Until the night a human, deep in the underbelly f the city that never sleeps sees her. She recognises him instantly, a lost love. Trouble is, he has no memory of her. Tasked with mending a relationship between the love she lost thousands of years ago and another woman, Rona will have to learn what it means to be human all over agai when past and present collide.

Can love transcend time or will Rona be forced to roam earth alone, forever?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1484116890

Also by this author: Author Interview: Jennifer Silverwood (Silver Hollow), Book Spotlight: Borderlands Saga, Silver Hollow

Genres: Greek Mythos | Legacies, Nautical Fiction, Paranormal Romance (PNR), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Urban Fantasy


Published by Self Published Author

on 3rd June, 2013

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 214

Converse via: #PNR, #ParanormalRomance + #Mythos, #Mythology & #UrbanFantasy

as well as #WomensFic  or #WomensFiction

About Jennifer Silverwood

Jennifer Silverwood

Jennifer Silverwood was raised deep in the heart of Texas and has been spinning yarns a mile high since childhood. In her spare time she reads and writes and tries to sustain her wanderlust, whether it’s the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, the highlands of Ecuador or a road trip to the next town. Always on the lookout for her next adventure, in print or reality, she dreams of one day proving to the masses that everything really is better in Texas. She is the author of two series—Heaven's Edge and Wylder Tales—and the stand-alone titles Stay and Silver Hollow.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #Mythothon 2018
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Posted Saturday, 17 November, 2018 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 21st Century, After the Canon, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Dark Fantasy, Debut Novel, Earthen Magic, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore and Mythology, Gods & Goddesses, Greek Mythology, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Indie Author, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Mythological Societies, Nautical Fiction, Parapsychological Suspense, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Self-Published Author, Spin-Off Authors, Supernatural Fiction, Urban Fantasy

Book Review | “I, Walter” by Mike Hartner The first book in a #YALit series for #HistFic

Posted Friday, 30 January, 2015 by jorielov , , 3 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I joined Kate Tilton’s Book Bloggers as a way to seek out stories written by emerging Self Published and/or Indie Published writers who might not otherwise get highlighted by book bloggers. This was the first novel that interested me to request for review, as I enjoyed reading the premise inasmuch as the request was to read outside of a firm deadline. This is not an organised blog tour, thereby those of us who request to read the books and/or host the authors Ms. Tilton organises is scheduled around our own time frames. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Mike Hartner, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Book Review | “I, Walter” by Mike Hartner The first book in a #YALit series for #HistFicI, Walter
by Mike Hartner
Source: Author via Kate Tilton's Book Bloggers

I, Walter is the first in a series of books in a saga which will span continents and time to arrive in present day North America.

Each in the series will be connected, though that connection may not be obvious for several more books.

It's almost like looking at a menorah. Many lines, seemingly individual, connect to center at different points.

Walter Crofter was born into Elizabethan England.

In a country and a time where favor and politics were both deadly, can an honest boy stay true to himself?

Especially given his family background?

Places to find the book:

Series: The Eternity Series,


Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, Nautical Fiction, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Eternity4Popsicle Publishing

on 10th May, 2013

Format: Paperback

Pages: 225

Published by: Eternity4Popsicle Publishing (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #MikeHartner, #IWalter, #YALit

About Mike Hartner

Mike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He’s traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • CanLit Reading Bingo Card 2015
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Posted Friday, 30 January, 2015 by jorielov in 15th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Canadian Literature, Cliffhanger Ending, Coming-Of Age, Elizabethan Era, England, Father-Daughter Relationships, High Seas Epic, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Kate Tilton's Book Bloggers, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Nautical Fiction, Pirates and Swashbucklers, Spain, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Vulgarity in Literature, Young Adult Fiction

+Blog Book Tour+ The Lost Duchess by Jenny Barden

Posted Friday, 20 June, 2014 by jorielov , , , 5 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Lost Duchess by Jenny Barden

The Lost Duchess Virtual Book Tour with HFVBT

Published By: Ebury Press (), 5 June, 2014 (paperback)
an imprint of Random House Group, Ltd. UK ()

Official Author Websites: Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Author is Active on: English Historical Fiction Authors Blog

Available Formats:  Hardcover, Paperback, & Ebook
Page Count: 448

Converse on Twitter: #LostDuchessBlogTour & #TheLostDuchess OR

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Lost Duchess” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Jenny Barden, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Curiosity Inspired Me to Read:

I felt plumb delighted to read this novel as it sounded quite exciting if you ask me! I love the appeal of diving into the lost colonies and of course, who wouldn’t like a thriller set at sea and land?!

I am always a reader whose eye bewitches her attention from one period of history to another, and the one section of literature I have not yet rallied my will to venture into is that of the high seas epics! I have already earmarked off the novels of Patrick O’ Brian and others like him, who enhance my curiosity and warm me to the descriptions of life at sea. I am an adventurer in spirit, and as I had relaid to MaryLu Tyndall last year whilst she was touring the blogosphere for Forsaken Dreams, I felt inclined to tell her that if I had had the proposition to set sail for a new world and a new way of living, I’d have embarked on the journey forthwith! My mind furvoured over this recollection as I broached the premise of The Lost Duchess; twirling over in my mind if I was ready to set sail and fully breathe in narrative on the high seas! As you can see, the answer that bubbled to the surface was a resounding yes! And, I think a bit inspired by my fascination and delight in reading a ChocLitUK novel entitled: Close to the Wind!

I am always forever grateful when there are enclosures with the books I receive for review, in this particular case, the paperback copy of The Lost Duchess was signed by the author! She even went so far as to include a business card which features the book cover art and her contact information, as well as a lovely postcard which includes the book synopsis on one side and a framed book cover image on the opposite one! I am always marvelling at the little surprises authors and publishers tuck into books for book bloggers, because it is one step closer to keeping the circle between us an interactive experience. I even adore the Editor’s Notes that come inside ARCs or the extensive Press Releases which publishers generally tuck inside ARCs and finished copies alike! Little bobbles of joy which make me smile as I ease into the narratives at hand! A charming reminder that what we do as we blog is appreciated but more than that, that writers are as bookish as the readers who appreciate the opportunity to read their novels! In that, we all like to have little tangible memories to reflect back on our experiences, and I am always pleasantly delighted to find what is included inside my book parcels!

I cannot express my gratitude enough for the bookmarks, as previously mentioned mine are all packed along with my personal library (for the most part!). The little business card for The Lost Duchess held my place as I shifted through the pages, and it was as fondly used as the curious little business card I wished I had had for To Live Forever by Andra Wakins! I watched so many of Wakins “Natchez Trace videos” I nearly thought it would be a keen keepsake to have a little card as a nodding reminder of my connection to her experience and journey on the Trace! The happy bit for me is using bookmarks from various authors inside new books as they arrive to be read — little fingerprints of reflections drift through my mind and heart, as I nestle into the story at hand, and for that, I am one very blessed and thankful book blogger!

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Book Synopsis:

An epic Elizabethan adventure with a thriller pace and a high tension love story that moves from the palaces of England to the savage wilderness of the New World.

Emme Fifield has fallen about as far as a gentlewoman can.

Once a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, her only hope of surviving the scandal that threatens to engulf her is to escape England for a fresh start in the new America where nobody has ever heard of the Duchess of Somerset.

Emme joins Kit Doonan’s rag-tag band of idealists, desperados and misfits bound for Virginia. But such a voyage will be far from easy and Emme finds her attraction to the mysterious Doonan inconvenient to say the least.

As for Kit, the handsome mariner has spent years imprisoned by the Spanish, and living as an outlaw with a band of escaped slaves; he has his own inner demons to confront, and his own dark secrets to keep…

Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh’s settlement in Virginia was abandoned in 1587 its fate has remained a mystery; ‘The Lost Duchess’ explores what might have happened to the ill-starred ‘Lost Colony’ of Roanoke.

Author Biography:Jenny Barden

I’ve had a love of history and adventure ever since an encounter in infancy with a suit of armour at Tamworth Castle. Training as an artist, followed by a career as a city Jenny (Portrait 2)solicitor, did little to help displace my early dream of becoming a knight. A fascination with the Age of Discovery led to travels in South and Central America, and much of the inspiration for my debut came from retracing the footsteps of Francis Drake in Panama. The sequel centres on the first Elizabethan ‘lost colony’ of early Virginia. I am currently working on an epic adventure during the threat of invasion by the Spanish Armada.

My work has appeared in short story collections and anthologies and I’ve written for non-fiction publications including the Historical Novels Review. I am active in many organisations, having run the ‘Get Writing’ conferences for several years, and undertaken the co-ordination of the Historical Novel Society’s London Conference 2012. I am a member of that organisation as well as the Historical Writers’ Association, the Romantic Nevelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. I’ll be co-ordinating the RNA’s annual conference in 2014.

I have four children and now live on a farm in Dorset with my long suffering husband and an ever increasing assortment of animals.

I love travelling, art, reading and scrambling up hills and mountains (though I’m not so keen on coming down!).

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA notation on Cover Art:

There are moments of great joy to discover a book cover as captivating as the one on The Lost Duchess. The moment you lock eyes with the woman who graces the page, you instinctively realise that you want to venture into her life and follow where she will lead. Her clothes are quite ornate, but it is the unexpected notice she is giving you that eludes the story will no doubt capture your full attention once it is begun to be consumed. She has a story to tell, and I knew that in combination with the book’s synopsis, this was a story I wanted to walk alongside her and know intimately.

There is a common debate I have noticed recently in the book blogosphere and the twitterverse, about the presumption of selection on the books we elect to read. One side claims it is by the book cover alone and the other side laments that it is on the merits of the story’s premise. I, on the other hand, have claimed to say:

Truly though, about why I am drawn into a book!? It goes directly into the heart of the narrative — I look for book synopsis which etch out a story-line full of heart & soul characters, who either need to go on a journey of discovery or are going to live through a life experience which will either shape them, break them, or transform them. Thinking back on my own young adult years — it was the story which took central focus – I have not changed my spots! My blog is aptly named as you get to know me! I might love a book cover, but I cannot love it fully unless I get a sense of the story within it – the cover is the shell, the heart of the joy in reading lies in the pages between the covers! -quoted from my comment on Ellen Mulholland’s blog

Mistress of the Sea by Jenny BardenFor you see, I may well fancy a book’s cover illustrations and artwork, but for me, if the book itself does not ink out a reason to savvy my interest and eyes to become enthralled with its contents, I am afraid I do not pick the book up irregardless of how much I might admit the cover is quite a remarkable piece of art. For to me, it is art then, and not a story of interest. I am not sure if the debate will ever be settled, but one thing I wanted to mention is how I appreciate book covers in successive order of release from authors have a ‘turning nod’ to each other. Case in point, is the début novel (Mistress of the Sea) by Ms. Barden (seen in this paragraph) whereupon the filigree edges and the atmosphere of colours selected against the backdrop are in tune with the cover for The Lost Duchess.

Previously, I observed the same keen attention given to the books of Stephanie Thornton, as I reviewed her second novel, Daughter of the Gods recently on another Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour. The connectiveness in sequence and choice of design makes me smile inwardly, because the covers then become a bit of a triptych when viewed alongside each other (if there are three in sequence, such as the Daughter of Boston series by Julie Lessman). I like this attention to nuance detail and the methodology of selecting covers which help readers identify the collective work of an author when they go to borrow or purchase their books. I will need to remember to add notations each time I discover this amongst the books I read next, as it is one detail that I appreciate most.

Aside from period specific choices in clothing, as although I do not always realise when I am being duped by period designs and examples, there are moments where I have an inclination to feel that perhaps the clothing or manner of style on a cover is a bit of out time for the story it is attempting to reflect. Barden’s covers are an elegant grace in excellence and her tomes of work will delight all the senses a reader uses to soak into a novel’s heart.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comMy Review of The Lost Duchess:

The Lost Duchess by Jenny BardenThe wide-eyed innocence of a maid-in-waiting to the Queen is ripped out of her bodice and attacked by a most vile individual who did not see Emme Fifield as a woman to respect and honour, but an object to possess. Her most tender courage of youthful spirit encapsulated her from the worst of the attack by muffling her angst ridden heart and the screams she would have belted to heaven if not in fear of the Queen, her liege in finding out the truth. Barden opens The Lost Duchess in such a powerful way as to beg the reader’s notice that what was once felt in locking eyes with Emme on the cover, now turns to an increasingly beguiling sense of knowing.

Her steadfast knowledge of a woman’s place in the Elizabethan age purported her plight, as she knew very well that if any person learnt of her disgrace of being attacked, the brunt of the burden would be solely placed on her shoulders. The rights of women then and the rights of women now are not so very far apart from each other when it comes to domestic violence and the collision of unwanted advances from men. Barden writ inside the passages following the attack a wholesome truth of the inner workings of a woman attempting to balance her reality of the incident against the reality of her place in court. Her life was a fragile balance of obligation, duty, and expected service to her Queen.

As we are gaining insight into her strength of character, we are seeing further into her courage as she decides to carry-on and forge ahead as though nothing sinister had occurred at all; as who is there to confide in when women are always viewed as being the harbingers of their own fate?

Emme is a woman who has vision outside the plight of her own circumstances, and on the confidence of the Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth I, (Sir Francis Walsingham) she endeavours to change her stars by her own conviction and merit of industry by joining the voyage back to the New World. She knows her future is blighted at best if she stays behind to face the uncivilous rumours head-on, but to jump aboard ship and sail to Virginia? To help forge a colony in the Chesapeake that is stronger and sturdier than that of Roanoke?! I must confess, as her mind danced with images of fanciful new dreams and possibilities, I was alongside her rallying hope and encouragement for what this new beginning would mean to her well-being.

Besmirched with the tides of fate, Emme and Kit, the man entrusted to keep her safe aboard ship each have their own personal reasons for sailing for presumed sanctity in Virginia. As I had the pleasure of seeing Belle on the silver screen for my birthday this year, (a mere week ago) I could settle in my mind the joy of seeing a father acknowledge his child; a child of biracial origins and one he most earnestly loved. Reading the passages where Kit was attempting to explain to his brother the true reason he wanted to pursue a new life abroad warmed my heart, as foresaid Belle was only recently seen and has already stitched itself into my most beloved motion pictures of recent years; akin to Amazing Grace! I also appreciated the character of Manteo who is a Native amongst the Britons travelling to and fro the New World. He was given full respect for his person and I liked his ease in conversing with Emme, as he did not see her as others might and she was in full appreciation for the reprieve.

As their journey led them to the New World, so too did their adventure lead them to a rebirth of living with the full grace of freedom transformed. I appreciated the hearty realism stitched into life on ship as much as the curious details woven into the days in which they were ashore in Roanoke. Barden took a fissure of disjointed and fragmented history, and pulled together a pliable accountment of what ‘could have been’ but of which will quite surely ‘never truly be known’ of the ill-fated attempt to colonise Virginia at that point in time. I must commend her for her vision, as this particular slice of history always fascinated me in school, always thirsty for new details or curious scenarios of possibilities, and in reading The Lost Duchess, I find myself bemuseful of how this story could very well have a stock in reality.

The only bits that I found a bit disconcerning at times were the visual nature of some of the scenes, yet I did not attach a ‘fly in the ointment’ to this post because quite frankly they were very few and far between. They only entered a scene when needed to express the seriousness of an attack; especially a fatal one where someone was brutally murdered by Natives in Roanoke where the colonists were attempting to take residence. I flitted over the passages because within the whole of the book, my heart was enraptured with the evolving story between Emme and Kit, who are the heroes of the tale!

The wordsmith stylings of Barden’s narrative was rapturously exaulted:

I am forevermore blessed to have stumbled across such wonderful wordsmiths who enlighten our minds with words of which are not commonly used nor known in today’s literature. Even those words which would be harkened back to an age of the historical page in which the story entreats our imaginations to venture, not every author is able to knit the ties of that era in such a way as to unite a clarity of speech. I am always in a celebratory mood when I find a writer whose pen inks out a frothy amount of phrase, word, and era specific mentionings as to help alight us in the setting in which the story takes place. I feared not the moment I opened this particular novel, as between the Chapter Heading Quotation disclosures of passages taken from historical documents (I presume?) to engage our eye in the real characters behind the fictional story, to the benefit of the words in which grace the pages, my mind was lit afire with a truism of the Elizabethan Court!

She takes you inside this unknown world with such a propensity for details and enriched voices of the past, that you feel as though you are stepping directly into Emme’s shoes, casting footfalls where she alights in Richmond Palace as much as the shores of the New World. I found myself eating the words and pages as readily as my eyes were able to absorb their murmurings, because I had found another new author of whose story was soaking into my heart and that swelled a sea of thankfulness inside my heart! And, prompted a most curious thought as to seek out Mistress of the Sea!

A note on behalf of Ebury Press sustainability conscience:

On the reverse cover of The Lost Duchess, I was happily struck by the presence of the FSC recognisble label! I had mentioned their conservation efforts to source paper without hurting old growth forests on a previous post, as I am attempting to make a reference note of each book I read henceforth forward that has a mention inside its sleeves for stewardship and sustainable printing practices. More and more publishers (from major trade to independent press) are striving towards finding greener ways to print books and thereby, proving the point that those of us who can only read books in print can effectively read greener! A bit like how each of us who purchases second-hand books is taking a step towards the unnecessity of successive printings of the same novel. I applaud Ebury Press and Random House Group, Ltd. for being part of the forebearers of change and for giving all readers everywhere something to chew on about how reading green does not have to be electronically originated.

They mention briefly about their green-minded practices on their FAQ page, but go into greater detail on their page dedicated to how they acquire the paper for the books they bind into print editions. The best bit for me is seeing their green practices go a bit past paper production and more towards the whole concept of being a green publisher using green resources!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis Book Review is courtesy of:

The Lost Duchess Virtual Book Tour with HFVBT

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comas I am happily honoured to be a blog tour hostess for:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTPlease visit my Bookish Events page to stay in the know for upcoming events!

Reader Interactive Question:

I am curious, what are your impressions of the ill-fated colony of Roanoke!? Have you sought out previous stories set amidst the rumours of unknown truths!? What do you think is plausible to explain the fact they were never found and that the search continues to today for their ancestors!? There is a lovely ‘Author’s Note’ in the back of “The Lost Duchess” which goes into a bit of detail to explain not only the author’s take on the history but how history is continuing being penned as the research continues to seek out the truth of what happened to the colony. I was grateful the passages were included as they tethered all the pieces together in both fiction and reality.

{SOURCES: Book covers for “The Lost Duchess” & “Mistress of the Sea”, Author Biography, Book Synopsis, and blog tour badges  were provided by HFVBT – Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Friday, 20 June, 2014 by jorielov in 16th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Adulterous Affair, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Domestic Violence, Elizabethan Era, England, Green-Minded Publishers, High Seas Epic, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Modern British Literature, Native American Fiction, Nautical Fiction, Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Francis Walsingham, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sustainability Practices inside the Publishing Industry, Sustainable Forest Certification, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Tudor Era, Virginia, Women of Power & Rule, Women's Rights, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage