Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):
I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!
I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!
I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!
Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.
I received a complimentary copy of “Magic Sometimes Happens” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why Jorie Loves reading the Charton Minster series:
There is a whisper of a nod towards Dorset winding through the opening chapters – it’s the setting of Cat’s supposed wedding but it isn’t until she arrives to meet the people behind the wedding of her dreams giveaway where she meets Rosie Denham – a twenty-something assistant to the forty-something executive in charge of the arrangements. This is the moment where the past and the present start to collide and bend through the continuity Ms James is infamous for in the series.
In the Historical side of the series, everything is centred round the Denham family – as there is a strong presence of multi-generational connections – where the parents and the children are inter-connected as is the small community in which they are living. Even during the Land Girl generation, the family, friends and neighbours were strengthened through their close connections, however, as the series shifts forward into the latter half of the 20th Century (told through flashbacks to help pull forward Daisy Denham’s story-line) and the early start of the 21st Century (post-Harry Potter, as this is one critical reference to ‘when’ this story is set) we start to see the disconnections between family and community. It’s almost a map of how time has altered all communities and neighbourhoods – not just in Dorset but even here in America, as neighbourhoods are not as inter-connected as they once were I’m afraid. (at least not in all communities)
Rather than having the matriarch and patriarch at the head and centre – we are threading through where singletons have flat mates and where even if they have a strong bond to their parents, we do not see them ‘in-scene’ but rather as odd mentions here or there for the sake of realising they do have a connection to their Mums and/or Dad’s. Being Contemporary and Modern, there are other changes too – where the boundaries and guidelines of the war era are erased for a more causal acceptance of life and the harmony of how one gets on in their single life vs. the check point of having Rose in your life or looking after you if you were Land Girl. Rose was a mentor and a surrogate Mum to many but it was how she approached accepting the choices her children made and the choices others made on their behalf which made her a strong character inside the series. She had incredible strength running through her veins and she overcame so very much during her lifetime.
In this section of the series, we’re meeting two people who are at a proper cross-roads of their lives – where they can either turn right or left (cheekily this reminds me of that particular Doctor Who episode) effectively altering the course of where their path could take them. They aren’t even sure if they want what they thought they wanted out of life (ie. marriage and a steady life partner) as everything has gone quite sour in that regard. Yet, they aren’t quite able to ‘pick up and start anew’ either. Owning to the emotional upheaval of bad endings to relationships you never knew were one-sided.
I even had a smidge of a taste for what is going to greet me in Girl in Red Velvet – as Rosie Denham (in this story) is Lily Denham’s niece! You see – for each new turning of this series you get another glimpse of how Ms James has knitted it all together into one luscious saga!
-quoted from my review of The Wedding Diary
Notation on Cover Art: A perfect splice of dual-locales – it was interesting because this is a globetrotting story-line and the cover reflects this perfectly! It’s also a dash whimsy in how it’s arranged and the colours work well together to pull it off!
Passport to love
London-based PR and promotions consultant Rosie Denham has just spent a year in Paris where she’s tried but failed to fall in love. She’s also made a big mistake and can’t forgive herself.
American IT professor Patrick Riley’s wife has left him for a Mr Wonderful with a cute British accent and a house with a real yard. So Patrick’s not exactly thrilled to meet another Brit who’s visiting Minnesota, even if she’s hot.
Pat and Rosie couldn’t be more different. She’s had a privileged English upbringing. He was raised in poverty in Missouri. Pat has two kids, a job that means the world to him and a wife who might decide she wants her husband back.
So when Pat and Rosie fall in love, the prospects don’t seem bright for them.
But magic sometimes happens – right?
Places to find the book:
Published by ChocLitUK
on 7th November, 2014
Format: UK Edition Paperback
Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook & E-Book
Order of Sequence of Charton Minster series:
The Silver Locket Book One (review)
A writer to reader explanation of how to read the last three novels: I wrote to Ms James (whilst in the throes of reading ‘The Wedding Diary’) to understand my slight confusion on how ‘The Wedding Diary’ fits into the canon of Charton Minster wherein I learnt a few things quite extraordinary! In regards to time-line, the sequence ought to be this way round: ‘Girl in Red Velvet’ (hugs closer to ending of 1st trilogy being set in the 1960s) then ‘The Wedding Diary’ and ending off with ‘Magic Sometimes Happens’.
This is due to the fact ‘The Wedding Diary’ is set in modern day (ie. the 21st Century present day) and is only a handful (say two) years ahead of ‘Magic Sometimes Happens’. Ergo, I was at a deficient reading what I perceived as books 4 & 5: the truth is 6 becomes 4 and 5 becomes 6, thereby making the 4th book the 5th in sequence. I have re-aligned the proper sequence below as well as updated my slideshow of covers. This also makes the cover art illustrations more relatable as well – four books hug the war eras & emerge into the 60s; the latter two in sequence change style of cover art to reflect the new century they reside inside. Mystery solved!
PS: You know ‘The Wedding Diary’ is set in the 21st Century as ‘Harry Potter’ is referenced; mind you, the way in which he’s referenced it felt 2000+ not ending chapters of 1990s. It’s close though – it could be interpreted either way – I am only sharing where I feel it fits.
Girl in Red Velvet Book Four (see also Cover Reveal Notes)
The Wedding Diary Book Five (review) | Magic Sometimes Happens Book Six
NOTE: When ‘Girl in Red Velvet’ releases into print, I will be re-reading this series in order to anchour the sequence into the proper order and to see what I might have missed by reading the series out of it’s proper continuous time-line. This isn’t the first series I have read which was published out of sequence of the order of the story. I am truly blessed Ms James was available to help me work out the details and thereby giving me the chance to help you read this in the time-line she intended. My instincts of suspecting there was a switch-up was on the nose but it wasn’t until I spoke to Ms James all the pieces of the puzzle were fully understood. The truth in the pudding truly was the cover art illustrations!
Converse via: #ChartonMinster, #HistFic, #HistRom + #ChocLit