If your a regular reader or frequent visitor of Jorie Loves A Story, you know I’ve been smitten with the novelists who publish their relationship-based Romances with ChocLitUK for a good two years now! I love being on the cusp of learning about a ‘new release’ whilst I remain patient to see if the Digital First new ChocLit novel will make it to a print release further down the road of it’s lifetime. I don’t mind the gaps between the ebooks and the print editions – as it’s always given me the pleasure of balancing my ‘next ChocLit reads’ to include both Front List and Back List offerings. Thus, I am enjoying being a member of the Reveal Team at ChocLit whilst it gives me a chance to introduce my readers to a variety of sub-genres within Romance I appreciate picking up to read!
Charton Minster : a series, a towne and a house
I love finding an author like Ms James who can curate such an authentic and historic setting which speaks to you in each of the volumes of it’s continuous story-line. #ChartonMinster for me is a threading of time set first during a backdrop of war-time strife and adverse circumstances befalling the Denham family whilst curating this incredible arc of characters and journeys of self-discovery per each character the lens of each novel is turnt to highlight to draw you further into what makes #ChartonMinster such a compelling series to be a part of through the two trilogies!
Rose Courtenay is being tested about her loyalty to her heart and the duties endowed her by being her parent’s daughter – a child raised at a certain level of station where the divides between classes is dearly outlined for her each time she tries to assert her voice. Never more true than a proposal that is not on the merits of love or romance, but because it ‘sounds good on paper’ to unite two people whose finances and families can unite together as one. The contriteness of this choice is not lost on Rose, but how she wars with her mind over her choices is what champions James as a writer of a war drama bent on highlighting a strong female lead who has her own story to share.
Denham went off to war and Rose found herself conscripted by her choice into a hospital ward as a volunteer nurse – a place where she fully came into her own and matured. She made a bit of a muck of things at first, stumbling her way through her rounds and not nearly as apt at doing routine requests as other young nurses, but somehow through perseverance she managed. In the midst of the hospital wards, Rose was given the rare opportunity to try her hand at living and serving others with a freedom she never had in her own life to give.
-quoted from my review of The Silver Locket
One common thread of the saga is the pursuit of independence, freedom of choice and the pursuit to fully embrace who you are whilst your growing into your own skin. Each of the women (and men!) of the series is struggling through growing pains and life situations which try their faith, patience and personal belief in alighting on a better path in their futures. They each have to embrace risk, chance and the hope of tomorrow – sometimes without even realising how things will turn round but to gather strength out of the Hope of what tomorrow might bring. This is something I love about the series – each of the characters being focused on in turn have something to prove and something to accomplish. They are finding themselves – whilst the world isn’t quite on solid ground but they have the gumption to endeavour a better future than the one they can see in the present.
Charton Minster : an estate, a towne and a legacy:
What truly is fascinating behind the curtain of events, is how Ms James roots us to the spot surrounding the emotional legacy behind Charton Minster; which is both an estate, a towne and a legacy of souls. There is a lot of deeply felt emotional baggage pertaining to the residents (both past and present) but it’s more than mere lineage and ancestral heirs that bespeak of the anguish that is a bit of a shroud around the estate itself, as the whispered rumours etch well into the towne as well. It’s an intriguing look at how society can chose to judge and take sides against issues they may or may not even truly understand; but they do so because they feel they have the right to judge people who live in their towne. In this one regard, Ms James paints the grim picture well for how small towne gossip and misunderstandings can abound as swiftly as one can add scuttlebutt to the gossip-mills!
It almost felt like the towne had trouble moving forward because the family whose ancestral heritage was once respected in residence at Charton Minster, had long since vacated it’s grounds. The new owner was not worthy of it’s holding, as his entire life was practically a sham but it’s also how he lived his life that truly was distasteful. Further interesting was watching how choices, judgments and the fine line of tolerance all started to intermix affecting the lives of those who would come up next in the generations after all the heartache first materalised.
-quoted from my review of The Golden Chain
There is more to this series than the characters – there is the history of the town inasmuch as the history of the house – #ChartonMinster is self-evolving as it moves forward through time. Sometimes things stay the same and yet, nothing is truly ever the same – the setting and the evocative way in which the series becomes transformative through time proves how temporal time truly is for all of us. We have to rise through our challenges, accept our tribulations and greet life with a cheery hope of joy for what it could bring to us in unexpected moments which grant us the best happiness of our lives.
This is a reader’s delight in finding a series you can allow your heart to move from one set of shoes to another, as you live the varied lives of the series’ characters who will deepen your appreciation for reading Historicals but also allow you the pleasure of alighting through a well-conceived portal of time.
Ms James brings back the issue of Charton Minster (the house) itself too, whilst giving us a good nod towards knowing what’s become of the other characters we’ve cared for throughout the series (thus far along). Daisy makes an appearance and in so doing, gives us a happy moment of reprieve knowing her life has turnt out quite well. She’s not just happy (in career and marriage) but she’s resolved her past and her origins; she even has a healthy outlook on the circle of her life. One of the things you love appreciating about how the series unfolds is how each character is still keenly important even if the core of the current story has shifted forward and away from them. Their still viable and their able to give insight into where they currently are now on their own life’s path.
The tug on your heart is waiting to find out what becomes of the young adventure seekers: Cassie and Frances whilst finding the twins (Robert and Stephen) keep you on your toes as to how their lives will become altered through service and war. Robert might not be the easiest bloke to warm too, but there is something about him that pulls at your heart as you watch him make the choices he needs too and the sacrifices which come from duty. Stephen is a bit head-strong even though you don’t think it at first; he’s the twin who feels he has the most to prove and yet never quite sees himself in a positive light.
What truly hits you throughout this third story is how difficult it is to accept the circumstances as they evolve; to embrace the future of tomorrow without understanding how the present will heal and feel less adverse. Each of the characters you’ve come to know how learning curves and situations to overcome, but at the heart of the series is always finding one’s path when the uncertainties are stacked against you. When being brave and finding courage are not easy attributes to always embrace but a strong will to survive can carry you through. What I loved most is how in each turning of the series, the women and men featured in Charton Minster have the capacity to endeavour to beat the odds and find true love in unexpected hours of grace.
-quoted from my review of The Penny Bangle