Publisher: Cool Gus Publishing

+Blog Book Tour+ East India by Colin Falconer

Posted Friday, 15 August, 2014 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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East India Blog Tour via HFVBTs

East India by Colin Falconer

Author Connections: Facebook | Blog

Converse on Twitter: #EastIndiaBlogTour
OR Tweet @Colin_Falconer

Published by: Cool Gus Publishing (@CoolGusPub), 8 July, 2014 | Page Count: 314
Available Format: Paperback | E-book 

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Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a stop on “East India” Virtual Book Tour, hosted by HFVBT, in which I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Cool Gus Publishing in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Reason I felt compelled to Read:

I previously read: Isabella: Braveheart of France whilst it was on tour with HFVBTs, however I did not make a strong connection to the narrative voice nor the content therein. I always give authors the benefit of the doubt when I first pick up a novel by them where I felt disconnected; as it could simply be that that one particular story-line was not one I could soak into. This is why I always keep my mind open to re-examining a novel by an author I previously did not connect with directly and/or felt that perhaps either the style of their story-telling might not have been the best fit for me as well. We’re all individual readers, and our approach into stories is as varied as the seven seas, but when I read the premise of this particular selection, I found at the heart of East India were two classic story-telling elements that I instantly can connect with: high seas epics intermixed with adventure! I previously adored Close to the Wind by Zana Bell and The Lost Duchess by Jenny Barden, hence why I felt perhaps with this vein of narrative, I might find a connection with Colin Falconer’s style of historical fiction.

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Book Synopsis:

In any other circumstance but shipwreck, rape and murder, a man like Michiel van Texel would never have East India by Colin Falconermet a fine lady such as Cornelia Noorstrandt.

He was just a soldier, a sergeant in the Dutch East India company’s army, on his way from Amsterdam to the Indies to fight the Mataram. Such a woman was far above the likes of him.

But both their destinies intertwine far away from Holland, on some god-forsaken islands near the Great Southland. When their great ship, the Utrecht, founders far from home, surviving the Houtman Rocks is the least of their worries.

As they battle to survive and the bravest and the best reveal themselves for what they are, Cornelia’s only hope is a mercenary in a torn coat who shows her that a man is more than just manners and money.

He makes her one promise: ‘Even if God forsakes you, I will find you.’

But can he keep it?

Described by one critic as ‘Jack and Rose in the seventeenth century’, East India will keep you wondering until the final page.

Author Biography:

Colin FalconerBorn in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.

His most recent novels are Silk Road, set in the 13th century, and Stigmata, set against the backdrop of the Albigensian Crusade in Southern France in 1209. He currently lives in Barcelona.

For more information please visit Colin Falconer’s blog . You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

 

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA high seas epic adventure:

Falconer presents the cast of his story well as when you first open the pages of East India, you are brought full circle and center into each of the different character’s lives you are going to become fully acquainted with by the end of the story. What I appreciated was having a modern spin of focus at the opening, where you learn of how some of the main characters befell in death rather than in life; as the opening sequence is a forensic archaeological dig site, uncovering the skeletal remains of one of the key blokes of the story itself. I have a penchant for murder mysteries, and this non-traditional opening gave me a bit of insight as to the full scope of where the novel might take me over its course of being told. I liked how he kept the details simple yet telling in their depth of what was being revealed on the dig site itself. It left a curious taste of suspense, as to whether or not this story had more to share than first realised.

He paints the picture quite grim, as the conditions of tall ships and sailing great distances during centuries past is a well-documented living hell for those who dared to live and die by the sea. The rations of food being dispensed before land is seen again and the living squalor of having to deal with unsanitary refuse of living in tight quarters without ventilation and proper means of disposing of waste. Within this space of his narrative, he breathes a bit of light into how not all the men on the ship are hardened by their life’s work nor are they blind to how to best treat the gentler few who travel amongst them. The only bit that I denoted might have been a bit obvious was giving the captain a garnishing of brutish vile attributes, as that felt a bit cliche to me, but aside from that, I was caught up in the life above and below deck.

My Review of East India:

What stood out to me about East India is the energy Falconer stitched into the story, as he starts the novel off on a high note of intrigue, where a divide of class are brought together for the intention of leaving Holland in order to reach the Far East. A motley mix of everyday citizens, soldiers, and crew for the ship itself by which they are sailing are compelled to learn to live with one another for a sailing that will last nearly six months to reach their final destination. Each of them facing conditions that are riddled with strife for anyone taking to the high seas during that period of sea travel, as it was not the best of conditions aboard ship with the volatile seas churning against the ship itself provided the most arduous adaption for a person’s constitution, but it was also in how for a swallowing of time your entire world is confined to quarters and a few merciful glimpses of the deck.

I personally liked the interaction between Cornelia and two of the serving members of the crew, one is a soldier named Michiel van Texel and one is a Commander Ambrose Secor. Her fortitude of spirit to reach her husband currently settled in the East Indies enables her forward to transition through her own personal fears of leaving behind her country and the only life she knew whilst she was there. I like how her character is honestly written, including how she breaks her society’s etiquette by forging a bond with the two men as a way to not only give her hours a bit of worth, but to give her spirit a sense of connection outside the blight of her present circumstances.

Unfortunately for me, before I even went half-way into the novel I found myself in a bit of a quandary, as the vulgar aspects of the text were turning my mind against the story rather than merely showing a gruffness of the characters who live and die by their honour living on the sea. It was harder to shake off the choices Falconer was making to convey the darker pieces of the character’s souls against the thread of the story which interested me the most: the interactions Cornelia was having with Commander Secor and Texel. I decided for myself personally, I could not finish this novel as I simply did not want to even consider what might come next in the dialogue or narrative sequences. I think the writings of Colin Falconer are better suited to a reader who does not mind a rough approach to telling a story and for inclusion of passages that are more starkly raw in their contentions of narrative thought. I, personally appreciate an approach similar to the stories I mentioned earlier as to being of my liking.

On the writing style of Colin Falconer:

I’ve read two stories by this author now, and although the first disappointed me, this one held my attention to a certain point. His personal style of creating short chapters and cunning narrative within the short space of where each chapter begins and ends works for this particular story, as he is giving you just enough knowledge of where the characters are and where they need to be next to satisfy the curiosity you have as you read. I did not notice this to be jolting as I had originally with Isabella, as I rather noticed instead that the pace for me felt more tangible and true in East India. Except to say, in the end, I did feel disappointed as the momentum I felt when I began the novel ended up being dissolved by turns of phrase and descriptive choices that simply did not sit well with me visually.

Fly in the Ointment:

I did add the tag for Vulgarity in Literature, but blessedly, the occurrences are few and far between, although given the time and era of the novel, the brutish and disrespect for women aboard ship was par for course. However, the main reason I flagged this as a novel that twitched my brow a bit is the method of delivery and the insinuations that followed the stronger words of choice. There are various ways to approach language and supposition of where said language can take a reader whilst it is used to convey different emotions and actions per use. However, I do draw the straw a bit towards what I’m willing to read and what I am willing to accept. There are a few instances inside East India, where I felt a line was crossed or could have been better abated by a different choice of visual imagery.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comVirtual Road Map for
“East India” Blog Tour:

East India Blog Tour via HFVBTs

Be sure to scope out my

Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva

 to mark your calendars!!
As well as to see which events I will be hosting with:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBT

{SOURCES: Author photograph, Book Synopsis, Author Biography, and Book Cover of “East India” were provided by HFVBT and were used by permission. Blog Tour 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.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
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Posted Friday, 15 August, 2014 by jorielov in 17th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Arranged Marriages in Royalty, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, East India Company, Edward II, Fly in the Ointment, France, High Seas Epic, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Late Middle Ages (1300-1500)

+Blog Book Tour+ Isabella: Braveheart of France by Colin Falconer

Posted Tuesday, 21 January, 2014 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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Isabella: Braveheart of France Blog Book Tour via HFVBT

Isabella: Braveheart of France by Colin Falconer

Author Connections: Facebook | Blog

Converse on Twitter: #IsabellaTour
OR Tweet @Colin_Falconer

Published by: Cool Gus Publishing, 3 September 2013 | Page Count: 218
Available Format: Paperback | E-book 

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a stop on “Isabella: Braveheart of France” Virtual Book Tour, hosted by HFVBT, in which I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Cool Gus Publishing in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Book Synopsis:

She was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel.Isabella Braveheart of France by Colin Falconer

Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of England. For the young princess it is love at first sight – but Edward has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage – and England apart.

Who is Piers Gaveston – and why is his presence in the king’s court about to plunge England into civil war?

The young queen believes in the love songs of the troubadours and her own exalted destiny – but she finds reality very different. As she grows to a woman in the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she must decide between her husband, her children, even her life – and one breath-taking gamble that will change the course of history.

Does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death – or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself?

This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England – and win.

Author Biography:

Colin FalconerBorn in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.

His most recent novels are Silk Road, set in the 13th century, and Stigmata, set against the backdrop of the Albigensian Crusade in Southern France in 1209. He currently lives in Barcelona.

For more information please visit Colin Falconer’s blog . You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comLife in Medieval England & France:

I had a sneaking feeling Isabella’s marriage to Edward II was not only arranged but love would have sprung on her side of the ledger far sooner than having alighted in his own heart. A mere girl of twelve to wed a King! I sometimes cannot comprehend the strength the women had at such young ages as they were arranged to marry to secure land, peace, and the reign of their parents; if not for themselves to secure the sanctity of their lines. The weight placed on young Isabella’s shoulders is quite great, but I think what I appreciated about her as her story first starts to unfold is how well she wants her marriage to Edward to succeed! She cares more about winning his heart and being in love with a husband she always knew would be picked for her, rather than worried about anything else a typical pre-teen might even start to consider!

Her wedded husband treated her with such warmth and care of spirit, that I nearly felt as though the foreboding I felt whilst I picked up the book might disappear completely! Except to say, this is the Middle Ages and whether I like it or not, you always have a proper sense that the King is going to be devious and elusive towards the truth he may not want to be fully brought into light!

My Review of Isabella: Braveheart of France:

Despite the youth of her age at the time in whence Isabella married the King of England (Edward II), her eyes were fully open and aware of her surroundings. To be inquisitive and intuitive of her husband’s favour for another, which in this particular day and age would be devastatingly controversial, she chooses to take the upper road. In some ways, I am noticing that due to her ability to see the fuller picture as a child, she is able to endeavour to see the fuller picture as an adult. To the brink that perhaps its this first knowledge of how everything became interconnected that led her first to believe in her ability to invade a country few dared feared possible for a woman to attempt!

Isabella at twelve and thirteen had far more on the ball than her wedded King; as the narrative focuses rather heavily on his affairs in passion, rather than giving her full reign to advise him on counsel of politics and noble errants. I found some of the passages a bit droll in that she is always catching him feeding his vanity and his selfish wanton desires rather than focusing on his court, his statesman, and his command of England as a country. Isabella on the other hand, I think could have led England far better in her tender years than Edward could have in his!

I was betwixt finding the pace of the novel a bit tricky to sink into verse the slowness of carrying forward Isabella’s determination to invade! I think perhaps this section of history is going to be a bit difficult for me to absorb into due to the nature of the characters who are found inside. Its more of a story for those who do not mind the grit over the light, and appreciate the bold bluntness of passages which fuse the reader into the time of the age itself. I suppose I could contend that part of me likes history to be a bit more romanticized rather than shocking, but in this one regard, I felt as though I kept being pulled in and out of the context of the story.

Isabella, herself, is the keen interest of mine in Isabella Braveheart of France, because of how she was groomed from birth to take over as Queen, I believe she is inherently the character who will stand out in all eyes who cast upon this novel! I only regret I could have enjoyed watching her journey progress a bit more as I felt a bit muddled in the execution.

Fly in the Ointment:

There are instances of vulgarity included in the novel, but they are minute and limited to the exclamations of characters who are besotted with vile words bubbling inside them due to the circumstances surrounding them. I would be further surprised if the language of their feelings were not heated and blunt in one way or another. I might choose to use different words, but the strength of their vexations cannot be denied. No, honestly, what puzzled me a bit is how the exchanges between the scenes and chapters were settled in the novel. Sometimes I felt the chapters could have been extended to include ‘several’ individual chapters as the sweeping of the arc inside them were carried over from the one ahead of them. I am not sure why the chapter breaks were arranged in this manner, but I cannot deny the setting and placement of the story was well-researched as it were.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comVirtual Road Map for
“Isabella: Braveheart of France” Blog Tour:

Isabella: Braveheart of France Blog Book Tour via HFVBT

Be sure to scope out my Bookish Upcoming Events to mark your calendars!!
As well as to see which events I will be hosting with:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBT{SOURCES: Author photograph, Book Synopsis, Author Biography, and Book Cover for “Isabella: Braveheart of France” were provided by HFVBT and were used by permission. Blog Tour 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.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
Divider

Posted Tuesday, 21 January, 2014 by jorielov in 14th Century, Arranged Marriages in Royalty, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Edward II, Fly in the Ointment, France, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Late Middle Ages (1300-1500)

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