Tag: Pride and Prejudice

Audiobook Blog Tour especially for #Janeites & #Austenites | A mini Review and a Conversation about “Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl” (Vol.5: the Quill Collective, series) narrated by Elizabeth Grace

Posted Saturday, 5 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , 18 Comments

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Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm Promotion I expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding my own traction into audiobooks and the way in which storytelling took on a deeper layer of immersion for me as a listerner. Meanwhile, I started to curate my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue as well as a regional library who uses CloudLibrary; I offset borrowing audiobooks through libraries with an active subscription to Scribd (for audiobooks). I batch my membership months with Audible to several months per year and purchase a few audiobooks whilst I have it active as well as enjoying selecting free Audible Original audiobooks.

This is the long history of how I entered into becoming an audiobook reviewer – it was through hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions I originally crossed paths with Ms Christina Boyd with The Quill Collective (via the ‘Rational Creatures’ audio blog tour) and thereby have enjoyed keeping in the loop with their after canon stories connected to Jane Austen. This is how I came to know ‘Yuletide’ and now ‘Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl’ of whom is my favourite character from ‘Pride and Prejudice’; my favourite canon novel of Austen’s.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Elizabeth: Headstrong Girl” via Christina Boyd @ The Quill Collective in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Being a Janeite,

I have a fierce appreciation for The Quill Collective:

I’ve been a Janeite for a very long time – during #AustenInAugust [2017], I had the joyful pleasure of submitting a guest essay to commemorate how Austen has been moving in and out of my life over the years which ran on a featured day on Roof Beam Reader’s blog. It is in of itself a quite all-inclusive look at how Jane Austen has left a strong impression on my life. Do read it if you have a chance to peer into how Austen and her stories have given me a lifetime of reflective rumination & joy.

And, ever since my essay was published I have made fervent attempts of re-establishing myself into my Classics Club TBR – to source and seek out works of Classical Lit I’ve earmarked to be read and for the vast majority of those pursuits, it is the canon of Jane Austen I desire most to focus upon. I have the canon in print in several editions but most of those are packed save three and it is those three which I am in pursuit of finishing first whilst continuing to seek out after canon novelists and short story writers who are giving me a well of presence within those worlds that not only honour Austen’s own words but allow us to carry forward into the worlds themselves.

Whilst I was working on this featured post for the blog tour – I had an unexpected discovery – Audible now offers a more friendly budget price for listeners who are not in a hurry to purchase audiobooks (as choosing one per month was enough anxiety for me to last lifetimes) but rather would love to listen to an unlimited amount of them which are provided within the catalogue of the new listen and return service. Similar truly to why I am a lover of Scribd’s services for audiobooks.

Guess what the vast majority of those ‘free to listen in unlimited amounts’ per month include!? *Classics!* Including a fair amount of Jane Austen!!! I even found Rosamunde Pike’s “Pride and Prejudice” and Emma Thompson’s “Emma”!! Imagine?! I was truly taken aback and gobsmacked — another reason I am blessed to have a tablet now for listening to audiobooks & music – as it allowed me to accept a 30 day trial right now and remain within the grip of the Classics!

That news aside, what I LOVE about the Quill Collective is how they honour Jane Austen and how they remain wholly passionate about publishing stories which celebrates the canon but allows the writers they publish to re-envision those characters in such a refreshingly new way as to give each of us a new reason to seek Austen and to seek after canon stories of her collective works. These are the stories by a publisher who understands why we are such discerning readers of Classical Lit and the after canon retellings and sequels which allow us to ruminate further on those worlds… they give us the same passionate response in story as we personally give ourselves over to ponder whenever we pick up a story of Austen. And, for me – the highest praise indeed is their propensity of producing quality over quantity and giving all of us such a wonderful catalogue of stories I truly believe Austen herself would be wicked giddy over seeing published.

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An informative conversation with Elizabeth Grace:

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva. Updated version July 2020.

the questions were ones I provided and I delighted in her responses!

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As you’re narrating an audiobook with a collection of stories inspired by Jane Austen – I was curious, what first drew your eye to the project and what do you personally love about the voice, style and legacy of Ms Austen?

Grace responds: I was drawn to this project by an author I had started working with called Elizabeth Adams who wrote “Something Like Regret” for the anthology. I was just finishing up with her novel, “Green Card” and was looking for a new project. She recommended me to Christina Boyd who then asked me to audition for OHG. I hadn’t narrated an anthology before but I loved it.

Each story has such personality and a style that is at once individual to the author yet also completely in keeping with Austen’s original characters and wit. I think that is my favourite thing about her writing, how well it translates. It makes me realise how recent her writing was in the grand history of time and that while we think their society and thoughts are vastly different to ours, we haven’t really changed all that much.

I believe that is the best singular truth of insight into Jane Austen’s writings I’ve ever heard – how continuously relatable she is due to how we’ve become such an unchanged society. For all the progresses and all the developments of how live has shifted forward per generation, there are still telling truths about how she wrote about society and the pressures of how life can sometimes become too measured by what society believes it can dictate out of a life. I love the serendipitous nature of how you became attached to OHG; I tend to think those are the better moments of our lives – how we cross paths with people who have an important reason of being in our life at any particular point in time. It speaks to how we’re all connected. Whilst at the same time – how some stories ‘find us’ rather than how we presume to believe ‘we find them’.

Of all the stories of Austen, my first introduction to her stories was through “Pride and Prejudice” and thus, Elizabeth has been my favourite Austen heroine ever since the adaptation featuring Keira Knightley was released (as it coincided with my first readings). As you were reading the stories you’ve brought to life – what did you intuit out of them about Elizabeth and about her nature as one of our leading ladies who has withstood time to affect us on such a personal level of appreciation?

Grace responds: I have been asked similar questions before and I am always brought back to Tessa Dare’s wonderful foreword from the anthology. She talks about why Elizabeth is such a popular character and why we continue to relate to her so well and she says it is because “Elizabeth is just like me – but awesome”. I think that is so true, because she is extremely human and altogether female. She is clever and yet judgemental, witty and at times cutting, self-aware and often a little self-deprecating. You can feel her battling with the same traits that we battle with today and she does so with this beautiful honesty and vulnerability which allows her to accept when she is wrong but also speak out against her better judgement when she needs to defend herself, her family or her opinion.

I have so much Elizabeth Bennett inside me (as well as Jane Eyre and Jo March, and lest I forget Anne Shirley) that it isn’t too remarkable to me to realise why I haven’t found myself attached to another novel by Jane Austen (as of yet – ‘Persuasion’ has a new audiobook narration waiting in the wings for me via NetGalley) inasmuch as my absolute admiration, dedication and passion for ‘Pride and Prejudice’; singularly it is hard to discern, is it strictly due to Lizzie or is it equally split between her and Mr Darcy – of whom I’ve previously disclosed is my first and only (thus far into my fourth decade) book boyfriend! I believe that’s the key draw really – seeing someone who is not shy about speaking her mind, bluntly so at moments and honestly evoking a reaction out of others in order for her voice to be heard when it infers an importance to her to be said. In defence of family and self – there are no truer moments for which we all need to remember to listen to our intuition and feel confidence in our voice.

Isn’t that the mark of true classically perennial stories? Where you can revisit them and still see why you originally loved them but then find these extra layers of genius within how they were writ? I felt that way when I first started watching “Anne with an E” via NetFlix and when I was listening to the audiobooks for the first three “Anne of Green Gables” stories via Post Hypnotic Press – wherein I was seeing Marilla in a whole new ray of light wherein previously (per my younger visitation into this world) I was finding myself only drawn to Anne.

Did you have a favourite story in the collection?
And if so, what was it about it that drew you in as deeply as it had?

Grace responds: I really enjoyed each of the stories for different reasons. I recently did a reading of “Atmospheric Disturbances” by Christina Morland for the book tour and I loved that one because I really enjoy narrating arguments! I am not sure why, but I think its because of the fast pace and the high stakes.

Other memorable stories are “Love in the Limelight” by Beau North because of the amazing backdrop of Hollywood’s golden age. The one that moved me the most during my narration was “A Mate for Life” by Christina Boyd, I am sure you can hear my voice crack towards the end. There is something so nostalgic and tender about Elizabeth as an elderly woman reflecting on a life well lived while watching her grand-daughter begin her own journey into adulthood that is so touching.

OOh! I love when a narrator has to go head to head – character on character and walk us through the paces of a full-on row! It gives such a realistic edge to the story and such a believable measure of time for seeing the characters move through their lives – likewise, between the rows and the emotional anguish sequences – I daresay, I credit a lot to the stamina and the performances by narrators who can take us tenfold into their journey by voicing stories with such beautiful dimension! Those are dearly my favourite moments – where you can really hear and sense the ’emotions’ behind a narrator’s voice and how through their performance you can feel intuitively closer to when they had originally sat to read the audio play. As to me, audiobooks bring back why live radio theatre used to be as popular as it had been – audiobooks are the new variant of those radio plays – where it is all vocalised and it etches into your heart, encompasses your imagination and gives you this immersive depth that you cannot get otherwise by print or screen. It is very interpersonal and I love the effect of it.

I oft wonder how narrators approach their performances – did you do any prep work for narrating this series of stories and/or how did you approach getting into the head and heart of Elizabeth through the different incantations that were presented therein?

Grace responds: I would love to tell you that I prepped for weeks to get into Elizabeth’s mind and understand her inside out but the truth is I learned more about her during the process than beforehand.

Working with such talented authors as those featured in OHG, they set up the circumstances so perfectly you are given all you need to know to get stuck straight in. Like you, I was familiar with Elizabeth from reading “Pride and Prejudice“, watching the films and TV adaptations and (as a girl called Elizabeth) being likened to her for a lot of my life! I had a good grounding on what she stands for and who she is. It helps that she is super relatable so it is easy to put some of  myself into her which is really what we, as actors do. Rather than thinking so much on the lines of “what would my character do?”, I try to think, given everything I know about my character, if I was in this situation what would I do/how would I react?

OOh no standing on airs here – I love getting the ‘behind-the-book’ trivia bits about how stories are writ and performed – whatever inks out of being the truthful accounting of how a story was either first created or thus after performed are the right answers to give to my readers. I oft wonder though – isn’t that similarly true for regular performances as well? To best get into the headspace of a character you first have to take that fuller immersion into performing them – rooting out their essence and getting a niche of a feel for how they ought to be portrayed? At least, that is what I gather from afar?

I also love the personal touches you etch into this performance – as you said, you took it to a personal heart to heart level and inverted it to being a reflection of your own reactions and responses rather than simply leaning on ‘what Elizabeth Bennett might have done herself’. I think that’s champion and the best route into how to have obtained the right balance in your performance; as said, I have noted things from afar (from loving theatre, radio, television and film) but I never knew if any of those observations had merit as I haven’t yet worked in theatre.

Were there any secondary characters in this collection of stories you felt stood out to you the most?

Grace responds: Darcy can’t not stand out in the anthology, he plays such a significant role. Again, harping back to Tessa Dare’s foreword, I love her line about loving Darcy because he is smart enough to love Elizabeth. While all the other men are fawning over Jane, he is drawn to Elizabeth for all the reasons we love her.

In each of these stories we really see his tenderness towards Elizabeth shine. This is really prominent for me in “Resistive Currents” by Karen M Cox where he really displays this kindness and loyalty we don’t always get to see. I think I realised that while he is often played as being super stoic and harsh, it is really important to also portray his nervousness and protectiveness. Again, these are traits we would all have to some degree given his experiences and what he has been through.

I was immediately thinking about Peter Calpaldi as ‘Doctor Who’ – who apparently became one of the most unrelatable Doctors (according to those I’ve spoken with) and yet, he was so endeared to me for reasons you’ve broached about Darcy. It goes back to the layers of a character’s soul and the artfulness approach in how through their story and the stories after those initial ones which reveal more of those hidden layers that might oft go overlooked or become discarded in favour of presumptive prejudgements on their character. For me, Calpaldi brought a richness to the role – the emotional unresolved angst of an immortal person who could no longer live with the guilt and conscience of what he had done, whom he could not save and the weight of how the universe constantly pulled him into circumstances to act in impossible situations to resolve whatever wrong needed righted. In essence, he was portraying another situation that Dr Beckett found himself in perpetually in ‘Quantum Leap’.

I believe Darcy fits into this bracket as well – people have such strong reactions to Darcy – to his manners and to his speech that they sometimes fail to see the ‘real’ Darcy behind the gruffiness of his personality and to peer into what is motivating him to act and speak in the ways in which he is presenting himself to his peers and neighbours. As you said – more layers there, we just have to be open to finding them, understanding them and accepting Darcy on his own terms – very much like Lizzie had herself.

What is more challenging – tackling a character as renown as Elizabeth Bennett (or any Classical character) or having to give life and voice to a character fresh out of an author’s imagination?

Grace responds: There are real advantages and disadvantages to both, as you can imagine. Taking on characters that are well know, you are faced with other peoples’ preconceived notions of how they believe the character should sound or behave. However, it also means so much more when they tell you afterwards how much they feel you encapsulated that character for them. I do love creating them for myself, having the time to really understand someone new and be able to guide an audiences perception but when I do this, I am always also working with author who gave birth to them and also has a view on how they should sound so it’s not so different in that respect.

What are your favourite takeaways from this collection as a whole and what did you feel was the greatest message that would impact listeners and readers alike?

Grace responds: I think for me, the fact that each story is set in either a different time period or a different scenario really brings back the idea of Jane Austen’s initial writing being so incredibly modern. That we can pick these characters up and transport them this way while maintaining their original character traits and even literally their words in some cases just goes to show how revolutionary and natural her writing was. I think the anthology is very pertinent for women at the moment during this feminist wave where we support each other, we have opinions and we speak our minds and ultimately, we strive to be obstinate and headstrong.

What do you feel are harder to narrate? Short stories or novels and why?

Grace responds: I think novels are trickier, simply due to the length of them. Short stories tend to be very dynamic and fast paced as they try to fit in a fair amount of drama into a relatively short amount of time. They are also less complex with regards to dramatic reading in terms of chronology and subtext. Usually we find the characters in short stories have very clear needs and obstacles from the outset which for a narrator requires a little less planning. Novels are longer and so you need to be more conscious of maintaining the momentum of the story throughout and you need to really consider the characters motives at each point – what do they know, what don’t they know, what is the immediate need and what’s the end game for them etc. However, I do love novels for this complexity too, it’s often more challenging and you can get really stuck into the story, whereas with anthologies, I can feel like I am on a roll, then the story concludes and I am on to the next.

How did your impression of Elizabeth change from “Pride and Prejudice” to “Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl”? What do you think became reflected through these new stories that perhaps Austen left out of disclosing herself on her behalf? As much as how did it feel to voice such a literary heroine as Elizabeth and share her name?

Grace responds: From a purely feminist perspective, when I look back on Elizabeth in “Pride and Prejudice” with all the knowledge I have now, it feels like she could have done more. Please don’t misunderstand me, I wouldn’t want the story to change but after reading of her in OHG doing all these amazing things, I feel bad that ultimately, by accident in a way, she ends up bending to societies’ expectations.

In “The House Party” by Janetta James, Elizabeth is surrounded by the suffragette movement and while she supports these women and their fight, she doesn’t get stuck in herself. It took me a moment to realise how very “Elizabeth” that is. And I am the same. I wonder what adrenaline and desperation Emily Davison felt before she flung herself in front of the King’s horse, but I will likely never know.

Like Elizabeth Bennet, I am woman of relative means, I have always lived a comfortable enough life to see the other side not so far away and to support and sympathise, say the right words but not necessarily feel that desperation to join the physical fight. Not everyone can feel like that, otherwise everyday would be a revolution I suppose, but did Jane Austen not feel desperate as a female writer in the early 1800s?

I wonder if it crossed her mind to make Elizabeth more revolutionary, but if she feared that it would make her a lot less likable at the time. I imagine she would be proud to see her heroine become one of the only female engineering students at Fordyce University, or sticking up for her sister to a big movie executive in Hollywood. We have the amazing ability to make Elizabeth’s options in life limitless. As a fellow Elizabeth, I thank women like Jane Austen for giving us a heroine that does withstand the passage of time and allows fantastic, modern authors to give new direction to her and inspire the next generation.

When you’re not narrating and performing what renews your spirit?

Grace responds: I love to travel which is why lockdown has been so hard for me. I am real social butterfly and love nothing more than seeing new places and being close to people – 2 meters just isn’t near enough! I have found solace however in my work, meeting some amazing, creative people in these authors and working with them to create something special. I write this from a hotel on an island in the Canaries called Lanzarote. It’s a little 10-day getaway that I will be paying for in isolation for 2 weeks on my return but will hopefully feel refreshed and renewed!

I am a traveller myself and fully respect the angst! Even though we, as a family have grown to love our car picnics and takeaway meals – there is something to be said for real sit down meals out of the house – which thankfully we did do the night prior to when this post runs on Jorie Loves A Story as we were craving an evening out where we could do something pre-pandemic normal and learnt our local pub was at half capacity and had an available table. I cannot express how comforting it was to order our favourite Friday night meal (ie. sloppy joes with fries) and try a new dark lager beer with a toasted after note! Even our server was thankful we were there and it was wonderful to see her after such a long absence! It was only the second time we’ve gone back to eat out – the first was during an epic storm ahead of a 12 hour shift for Mum and that was only a quick grab and go meal in a takeaway restaurant with no one else round. No, last night it felt more like we had captured a dose of normalcy and it felt brilliant!

Like you, I find solace in how I can adapt to what life brings to our path and how we can remain in contact with people in however they enter our lives. My blog is a labour of love and a saving grace which allows me to focus outside my personal adversities and give back to book world as much as it is a journalled collection of my readerly adventures and the curious thoughts which stories inspire me to share with fellow bookish geeks who seek out book blogs to read to find new inspiration in their own bookish lives. As bookish joy shared is tenfold better than never to have shared it at all.

I pray your holiday gives you what you are hoping it shall reveal and I definitely understand how it is worth the inconvenience of self-isolation on return because of what it will give you once you’ve arrived. We are all finding our way in this new situation and finding that if we keep ourselves adaptive and bendable we’ll make it through just fine.

Many blessings to you, Ms Grace and thank you for blessing me with this lovely conversation! Some of your replies I left as they were as I hadn’t had the chance to listen to the fuller contents of the audiobook prior to this being shared on my blog. I enjoyed your revelations and cannot wait to peer into those sections and re-visit your takeaways and comments.

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Audiobook Blog Tour especially for #Janeites & #Austenites | A mini Review and a Conversation about “Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl” (Vol.5: the Quill Collective, series) narrated by Elizabeth GraceElizabeth
Subtitle: Obstinate Headstrong Girl
by (Editor) Christina Boyd
Source: Direct from Publisher
Narrator: Elizabeth Grace

With timeless verve, the heroine of Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet, bares her intimate thoughts while offering biting social commentary through a collection of romantic re-imaginings, sequels, and prequels, set in the Regency to present day by ten popular Austenesque authors.

Foreword by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Tessa Dare. “I think her as delightful a character as ever appeared in print…” wrote Jane Austen in a letter, January 1813―and we think so too!

Stories by Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Christina Morland, Beau North, Joana Starnes, Karen M Cox, Elizabeth Adams, Leigh Dreyer, J. Marie Croft, and Christina Boyd.

Genres: After Canons, Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Classical Literature, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Re-telling &/or Sequel


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B08FCSJ33D

Also by this author: Rational Creatures

Also in this series: Rational Creatures


Published by The Quill Collective LLC

on 31st August, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 10 hours and 41 minutes (unabridged)

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 5 September, 2020 by jorielov in After the Canon, Anthology Collection of Stories, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Classical Literature, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Jane Austen Sequel, Short Stories or Essays

INSPY Blog Book Tour | “The Earl’s Winning Wager” (Lords for the Sisters of Sussex, Book Two) by Jen Geigle Johnson

Posted Tuesday, 9 June, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess began Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Earl’s Winning Wager” direct from the author Jen geigle Johnson in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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I had the lovely opportunity to read the first novel in this series which was “The Duke’s Second Chance” late last year wherein I found Ms Johnson’s writing style to be quite lovely for those of us who are seeking INSPY Romances set in the Regency. As a Romance reader – I regularly move between the Regency & Victorian eras – whether I am reading mainstream and/or INSPY.

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Let’s look back and find out what stood out to me as I first ‘met’ this series:

It isn’t easy to find a writer who can tap into that emotionally wrecking moment of personal loss – to find a way to entreat inside the gutting realisation that you’ve just lost the love of your life and to write it so eloquently within that static moment of disbelief – I found the way in which Johnson handled Gerald’s intense grief and the shocking blow it took on his soul to be beyond realistic because it is the moment he was in a heightened state of euphoria – the expectations of joyful celebration on the cusp of his spirit; his heart was not prepared for the news the doctor had to reveal to him and thus, his reactions to this newbourne child was one I felt keenly realistic to how Johnson presented his reaction. You cannot even begin to judge his words nor his responses because how can anyone fully understand the moment of that kind of loss? It would take time to heal and further time to resolve what is unthinkable to have happened. I felt Johnson excelled in this moment of hypersensitive awareness of a husband’s reaction and of a father’s unwillingness to see the positive out of the shock of despair.

As gentle as a cloud Johnson moved us from the point of loss into a teahouse – a place where you expect the serenity of time to drift against tea leaves and conversations but for Gerald this would mark the moment he would accept his heart needed to heal. I was thankful the route Johnson took to show how Gerald was making progress – the slowness of his healing and the purposeful intention he still had to honour his wife but with the unfortunate leaning towards denouncing his child. It was here in an unexpected place such as a teahouse where you first see how someone can interact with a grieving widower in such a way to break through that tide of anguished grief. His family and even Morley were just tip-toeing round him to the point of allowing him to wallow without letting him face what he needed to face head-on. This woman named Amelia was touching the cornerstones of his soul, allowing his mind to catch-up with his grief and for his spirit to allow someone else to linger over the words he needed to say even if he wasn’t the best at accepting the responses they would receive. It was a marked moment for Gerald and one I felt was written with the same earnest honesty as the death scene of his wife.

The confidence Morley shares with Amelia was one of my favourite scenes because it shows the interesting way a commoner can have a slight influence on the ton but also how the ton are not entirely shunning of the commoners! Johnson intermixed the social standings of her characters in such a way as to allow for a meet-cute situation to occur but in a unique fashion of interference. She built off that first meeting with an impromptu reaction on Amelia’s part and when it came time to respond to that obstacle, it was Morley who interfered next on the Duke’s behalf. I gathered Morley was the character who held the Duke’s conscience in his heart and as his best mate, attempted to steer Gerald on a course the Duke would lateron not regret. In that, Johnson held firm to the Regency – the traditions and the social classes notwithstanding but also the little ways in which even in the Regency, rules can become broken if will was fiercely strong as fire!

Such confounding ire to have in a dust-up just when you are attempting to give your best of impressions – at least, this is how I found Lady Rochester to be in front of Gerald! She was such a wretched woman who had her own issues to wrought out in front of him that I am uncertain if even Morley could’ve protected him from this disgrace if he had known first-hand of her nature! I admit, Johnson played the scene so dearly well – it was like I had mentioned previously, a play before your eyes as if the characters were on stage, taking their queues and entertaining you with a dramatic romance set in the Regency! This woman much to her ails was the fitting fool to besiege an audience with her lunacy but more to the point, half the time you’re observing her you’d think she was the one with the goose up her sleeve in an ill-attempt to pool the wool over the Duke’s eyes and to justify herself in sitting herself on a newly devised throne!

There is such a quick pacing of this story – before you even realise it you’ve reached the ending and part of the ending involves the curiously inherited sisters which I felt still have a place in the series! Finding out Lord Morley’s story is the sequel to The Duke’s Second Chance is rather fittingly brilliant because his story is the one I was most curious about seeing expanded! Anyone who would go to such lengths as himself to not just protect but aide a friend like Gerald deserves to have more of his own story told! Not to mention perhaps a bit of dashing happiness cast his way?

Johnson has written a wonderfully dramatic romantic comedy set in the Regency as at first I thought it was mostly a drama but in the end, it had such beautiful strokes of comedy which turnt it quickly into a dramedy! Laughs. You get swept into the lives of Amelia and Gerald; their slow-burning romance, the friendship which sparks something more between them and the world outside their rendezvous is equally fetching when you factor in his Mum and sister, her father and the extended relations of her grandparents. Everyone rounds out this feast of relationships and follies to be a wicked good reading for the romance reader who is seeking a lightly spun Sweet Romance with a touch of INSPY to guide them through the deeper context of the scenes!

-quoted from my review of The Duke’s Second Chance

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INSPY Blog Book Tour | “The Earl’s Winning Wager” (Lords for the Sisters of Sussex, Book Two) by Jen Geigle JohnsonThe Earl's Winning Wager
Subtitle: Lords for the Sisters of Sussex
by Jen Geigle Johnson
Source: Author via Singing Librarian Book Tours

Lord Morley's life will change forever when he wins a game of cards
and a family of sisters to go along with it.

Miss Standish in none too pleased to have become the responsibility of yet another Lord, even if he is full of charm and goodness. Her responsibilities are to her sisters first.

With the repairs on the castle moving forward nicely and concerted efforts in a season in Bath made to find suitors for them all, Miss Standish and Lord Morley must determine where duty stops and matters of the heart take over.

Read this warm tale of family, sisters, loyalty and love to get a huge dose of the best part of a regency romance fans of Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer would enjoy.

Genres: Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1734128826

Also by this author: Author Interview Jen Geigle Johnson (Regency House Party), The Duke's Second Chance

Also in this series: The Duke's Second Chance


Published by Self Published

on 22nd April, 2020

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 204

This is a Self-Published Novel.

Formats Available: Trade paperback and ebook

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The Lords for the Sisters of Sussex series:

The Duke's Second Chance by Jen Geigle JohnsonThe Earl's Winning Wager by Jen Geigle Johnson

 

The Duke’s Second Chance (book one)

The Earl’s Winning Wager (book two)

Her Lady’s Whims and Fancies (book three)
← a Digital First Release August 2020!

Suitors for the Proper Miss (book four)

Pining for Lord Lockhart (book five)

The Foibles and Follies of Miss Grace (book six)

Converse via: #LordsForSistersOfSussex as well as #INSPYRomance
#INSPY or #CleanRomance + #HistRom & #Regency or #RegencyRomance

About Jen Geigle Johnson

Jen Geigle Johnson

An award winning author, including the GOLD in Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards, Jen Geigle Johnson discovered her passion for England while kayaking on the Thames near London as a young teenager.

She once greeted an ancient turtle under the water by grabbing her fin. She knows all about the sound a water-ski makes on glassy water and how to fall down steep moguls with grace. During a study break date in college, she sat on top of a jeep’s roll bars up in the mountains and fell in love.

​Now, she loves to share bits of history that might otherwise be forgotten. Whether in Regency England, the French Revolution, or Colonial America, her romance novels are much like life is supposed to be: full of adventure. She is a member of the RWA, the SCBWI, and LDStorymakers. She is also the chair of the Lonestar Ink writing conference.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 9 June, 2020 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Family Drama, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Romance Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Sweet Romance, the Regency era

Blog Book Tour | “A Duel for Christmas” (Book Three: Jacob Pevensey Mysteries) by Rosanne E. Lortz

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary ARC copy of “A Duel for Christmas” direct from the author Rosanne E. Lortz in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What I previously enjoyed about listening to ‘To Wed an Heiress’:

The drama behind this situation is etched out through Lortz’s characters – as each of them are entering into the despair from different perspectives. Even the cousin, Eda has a role in the aftermath as this effected her the most by all rights and then, of course, the mother, Lady Angelsford who only wanted the best for her sons. Lortz showed the grief in Lady Angelsford by how she acted around Eda and how she hoped against the drastic measures Haro was considering to fix what her husband had left for them to resolve.

Ms Lortz has a keen eye for the fashions of the Regency – the way Ms Westbrook described the fashions within this installment of the series was a true delight! I loved how she brought to life the clothes Ms Lortz featured on her characters but also, of how classy she selected the clothes to fit the personalities of her characters. Each of them had their own unique style and that particular style brought out who they were in personality; as it rightly should but in this instance with the narrator moving us forward into the context of the story itself, it all came together rather beautifully.

Lortz brings an equal balance between the upstairs and the downstairs climates – letting us peer into the way the staff see their positions and the people they serve whilst we benefit from Ms Lortz dual perspectives of her settings. This was something I loved and championed about her approach of story-telling within the pages of The Duke’s Last Hunt and I was most thrilled to see was inclusive to her first installment To Wed an Heiress as it has its own appeal of realism for the Regency to find these perspectives brought forward.

To Wed an Heiress is the kind of Historical Romance I can honestly disappear inside as there is a keen sense of the prosperity and propriety resplendent of the Regency – as soon as you start listening to the audiobook: you are swept back into the years of balls, marriage markets and where the ton were unforgiving when it comes to changes in circumstances and status. You get caught up in how she’s set the stage for this first entry into the series – as there was an urgency running through the narrative. Of how time was of not just the essence but it was the one thing Haro could control if only in small ways to stem the effects of his errant father. He had the chance to find a way to circumvent the damages but it was time he needed to best sort out the right way forward – yet, Ms Lortz shows how sometimes when your young and determined, time is not something you want to forestall. You simply want to find the answer, act on whatever you need to do to ensure it and pick up your life from whence it was starting to take a downward ‘pause’. Even if of course, taking such a rash course of action might not yield the outcome you were most hoping to seek out?

This is how Lortz entices you into the folds of her Regency Romances – where they are equally divided between the allure of a Romantic Suspense and the keen sensibility of a Regency Romance – the benefit being your taking a lovely stroll of insight backwards into the Regency, populated by characters who are as realistic as the voices given to them by Ms Westbrook and of whom, you become immediately attached too. I love her innate style for these captivating mysteries but also for her cunning sense of how to give us new stories in the Regency which grab our hearts, our minds and our imaginations. She truly has a well-rounded style of Historical Romance to where you neither want to see one of her stories end or be too far away from reading your next installment!

-quoted from my review of To Wed an Heiress

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Notation about the Cover Art Design: In a word it is smashingly brill! I was in love with this cover art design from the very first moment I saw it! Seeing it up close as I pulled the ARC out of the bubbler mailer was a true delight as the snow in the background seems to burst to life even though it is not 3-Dimensional nor raised to feel textured under your fingertips. The bloke on the cover has such a fierce presence you almost instantly felt you knew of him even if you did not and what can I say? I love architectural design and ambiance – this cover is just smashing! They even made it a lovely addition to a book blogger’s library as this ARC has a special graphic on the cover itself but they also included a black and white inside copy of the cover art, too! Such a posh edition, truly! Only thing missing was a note from the Editor!

Blog Book Tour | “A Duel for Christmas” (Book Three: Jacob Pevensey Mysteries) by Rosanne E. LortzA Duel for Christmas
Subtitle: A Jacob Pevensey Mystery
by Rosanne E. Lortz
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

After seven long years in Devon, Lady Maud Worlington returns to London to reclaim life on her own terms, but a nefarious shadow and the prospect of financial ruin dog her steps. An impulsive and unforgettable kiss under the mistletoe creates a connection with Geoffrey, the handsome, young Duke of Tilbury. Yet as pleasant as it is to have a suitor, Maud is not sure how a boy of one-and-twenty can prove an equal partner in life and the equal of all the forces mounted against her.

The Duke of Tilbury considers himself as adept at managing matters as he is at swordplay, but his beautiful new acquaintance Lady Worlington has other ideas about how to manage her complicated life. Intrigued by their stolen kiss, Geoffrey pursues Lady Worlington’s affections, only to be foiled by the lady’s own doubts, by rivals for her hand, and by a sudden death that affects both their families. When Jacob Pevensey, the investigator from Bow Street enters the scene, the duke becomes a prime suspect in the murder case. Truths are unearthed that Geoffrey would rather keep hidden, and the twelve days of Christmas race toward a perilous end.

This novel takes the medieval events surrounding the sinking of the White Ship and transposes them to Regency London.

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9780996264877

Also by this author: The Duke's Last Hunt

Also in this series: The Duke's Last Hunt, To Wed an Heiress, A Duel for Christmas


Published by Madison Street Publishing

on 1st October, 2018

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 383

Published By: Madison Street Publishing (@MStPublishing)

Jacob Pevensey Mysteries:

To Wed an Heiress (see also Review)

The Duke’s Last Hunt (see also Review)

A Duel for Christmas

Converse via: #HistoricalRom, #HistoricalSuspense, #Regency, #RomSusp
Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook and E-Book

About Ms Rosanne E. Lortz

Roseanne E. Lortz

Rosanne E. Lortz is a writer, editor, teacher, history-lover, and mom to four boys. She loves to read, sing, draw, compose, write, and create. Education is one of her passions, particularly a classical, liberal arts education. She has taught English composition and grammar, Latin, history, music, and various other subjects for ten years at both the elementary and secondary level and is currently the Director of Academics and Admissions at Paideia Classical Christian School in Gladstone, Oregon.

Rosanne’s first book, I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince, was released in 2009. This book explores the tumultuous landscape surrounding the Hundred Years’ War and the Black Death and is a tale of arms, of death, of love, and of honor. In 2015, Rosanne began her Pevensey mysteries, novels of romantic suspense set during the British Regency (with inspiration from medieval characters and events). The first three titles are: To Wed an Heiress, The Duke’s Last Hunt, and A Duel for Christmas.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 8 October, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, Blog Tour Host, Castles & Estates, Clever Turns of Phrase, England, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, London, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, the Regency era

An Audiobook review feat. during #AudiobookMonth | “The Widow’s Redeemer” by Philippa Jane Keyworth I am dearly in awe of the narrator Alex Lee who completely changed my mind about this author!

Posted Thursday, 7 June, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The Widow’s Redeemer” via Audiobookworm Promotion in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to take a second chance on a novel by Ms Keyworth:

Last year, I was first introduced to the writings of Ms Keyworth on the Historical Fiction blog tour showcasing Fool Me Twice, for which I had this to impart upon that reading:

Keyworth has a different approach at writing her Historicals, as she’s very matter-of-fact and doesn’t spoilt you on long descriptive passages of what is happening ‘in scene’ but rather gets to the heart of the truth whilst disclosing the details which are necessary to understand her lead protagonists’ motives. It took me a bit to adjust to her style, as all writers have their own written voice and style of narrative. I have the tendency to read more writers who opt for descriptive narrative over the blunter style of only giving out parse details, but both have their place in Historicals, as sometimes the focus is not on the settings nor the period of the story itself but rather the angst of the situation we meet the characters.

Despite finding myself appreciating a few things within the story itself, overall, I couldn’t find myself attached to the novel. I was taken out of it’s depths more than once, finding it was ill-matched for my preferences of the genre but I never quite ‘let go’ of reading one of her other stories. In fact, even after I attempted to read this first novel of hers, I mused to myself, one of her older titles might be more to my liking – in effect, I had made an error in where to insert myself into her stories!

Thus, when I saw this title was going on an audiobook blog tour, I immediately listened to the sampler – finding myself smitten by Ms Lee’s approach especially for her clarity of ‘place’ and of ‘person’. You immediately feel drawn into her narrative styling due to how she fuses her heart into what she is narrating – she is as immersively captivating as the narrator for the Kay Hunter series (Alison Campbell) due to her passionate approach in voicing the characters themselves!

I was thankful I had a chance to re-approach her writings so soon after discovering them initially. I had a good feeling about going into listening to this audiobook, as sometimes, you can rather quite a lot about a narrator through the samplers – in this instance, I felt like I might have blessed myself tenfold: a new narrator to champion and a writer who redeemed my opinion of her writerly style. Technically, this happened earlier this year, when I borrowed a copy of an audiobook version of Cotillion by Georgette Heyer; a novel I previously could not attach myself inside. Narrators have an uncanny way of presenting stories in such a way as to heighten the words left behind by the authors which cannot always translate through a print edition!

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An Audiobook review feat. during #AudiobookMonth | “The Widow’s Redeemer” by Philippa Jane Keyworth I am dearly in awe of the narrator Alex Lee who completely changed my mind about this author!The Widow's Redeemer
by Philippa Jane Keyworth
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Alex Lee

A penniless young widow with an indomitable spirit. A wealthy viscount with an unsavory reputation. London, 1815: After her husband's untimely death, Letty Burton comes up from the country with her domineering mother-in-law. Hiding a past she wishes to forget and facing an uncertain future, all she wants is to navigate London Society as a silent companion.

A chance meeting with London's most eligible bachelor sets in motion a series of events that will bring her quiet life under the unfriendly scrutiny of the ton. With the net of scandal, debts, and rivals closing in, will she let her dark past dictate her life forever? Will she learn to trust again? And most importantly, will she allow herself to love?

The Widow's Redeemer was a finalist in the 2012 RONE Awards (Reward of Novel Excellence) hosted by InD'Tale Magazine.

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ASIN: B07CH4F4WL

Also by this author: Fool Me Twice

Published by Madison Street Publishing

on 19th April, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 9 hours and 35 minutes (unabridged)

Published By:  Madison Street Publishing (@MStPublishing)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook and Audioook

Stories by Philippa Jane Keyworth:

Fool Me Twice by Philippa Jane KeyworthThe Widow's Redeemer by Philippa Jane Keyworth

The Unexpected Earl | Synopsis

The Widow’s Redeemer

Fool Me Twice (see also Review)

Converse via: #HistFic + #HistRom

About Philippa Jane Keyworth

Philippa Jane Keyworth

Philippa Jane Keyworth, known to her friends as Pip, has been writing since she was twelve in every notebook she could find. Originally trained as a horse-riding instructor, Philippa went on to become a copywriter before beginning a degree in History. A born again Christian, Philippa lives in the south of England with her handsome husband.

Philippa has always written stories and believes that, since it is one of her loves and passions, she always will. In her early writing career, she dabbled in a variety of genres, but it was the encouragement of a friend to watch a film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that began her love affair with the British Regency. Since then, she has watched every Regency film and TV series she could get her hands on and become well acquainted with Georgette Heyer’s novels which gave her the inspiration to write her own.

Both as a reader and a writer, Philippa believes it is important to escape into a world you yourself would want to live in. This is why she writes stories that will draw you into the characters’ joys and heartaches in a world apart from our own. Her debut novel, The Widow’s Redeemer (Madison Street Publishing, 2012), is a traditional Regency romance bringing to life the romance between a young widow with an indomitable spirit and a wealthy viscount with an unsavory reputation. The novel has been received well by readers and reviewers who have praised the heartfelt story and admirable characters. Her second novel, The Unexpected Earl (Madison Street Publishing, 2014), explores another romance in the Regency era when an impetuous young woman has her life turned upside down by the reappearance of the earl who jilted her six years ago. Her third novel a Georgian romance will come out at the end of 2016.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 7 June, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Britian, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Inspired By Author OR Book, Life Shift, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Pride & Prejudice Re-telling, Romance Fiction