To Laura, who’s masterful pen spins lore and imagination into a mesmerizing tale that follows me throughout my days, until the stories very end. But who am I kidding? A Bound Heart sweetens my musings—well past the reading of the last richly written word—all for envisaging Lark MacDougall, Granny, Larkin, Magnus and Rory, the handsome captain of the Merry Lass. Their struggles are a glimpse into the anguish, which hundreds of immigrants suffered after they were spirited from their homes—willing or not—to arrive in a vastly different land. The cost to these brave souls, whether they welcomed the New World or feared their indenture was inspired by Laura’s own family history. Dedicated to her sixth great-grandfather, I find this story appropriately named. A Bound Heart has enriched my appreciation for my own ancestors daring and dangerous trip across the Atlantic, which planted them in a young country whose culture proved strange compared to their heartfelt home. This story is filled with dreams, ache for what was and what could be as well as danger met with courage. Laura has put her heart and soul into this novel and I feel this to be true for how her words reached out to me.
This novel was given to me by Laura, and I’m honored to present a true and accurate review of this more-than-worthy read. If you enjoy adventure, beautifully written depictions of location, eighteenth century time period, and characters that leap off the page with authenticity, then I recommend this novel to you. In fact, I doubly recommend this story to you! I plan to purchase the audio version of A Bound Heart for I have enjoyed every audio rendition from Laura’s collections of novels. Hearing her tales unfold with turns of phrases—uniquely Laura’s—makes the mundane seem so much less common as her lively tales even stir an eagerness for me to put my hands in the suds!
QUESTIONS FOR LAURA:
I’ve loved the photo you shared from Kerrera, Scotland on Facebook! How did you settle on this location?
I’m so thankful I was able to take several trips to Scotland, one with my pastor brother in Spain, and other trips with Liz Curtis Higgs. Scotland is a very compact country so I found, after taking the train and driving all over, that the Hebrides and that stunning coast with all its rich history would be an ideal setting. The castle ruins and vistas provided so much inspiration!
Was Kerrera Castle modeled after your sixth great-grandfather, George Hume’s Wedderburn Castle? Did you ever see Wedderburn Castle in person or if it is not standing—its ruins?
Yes, to modeling the fictitious Kerrera Castle after the rebuilt Wedderburn which had fallen to ruins but has been restored, thankfully. Though it looks very different now than the original castle where my kin lived, it’s on the same grounds.
Oh, Larkin has stolen my heart! Was the baby photo on your website the beginning of his character’s creation for A Bound Heart? What an excellent addition to your story he is indeed!
So happy Larkin stole your heart, too! I hadn’t thought to include him then found that amazing photo of a red-headed infant on the web. When Lark was boarding the ship for Virginia, I thought her life would be wonderfully complicated by a baby. I love babies so tuck them in books whenever it suits the story 😊
Granny said the most amazing things! Thank you for her and for Lark’s amazing love interests: Lard Magnus MacLeish and Captain Roy MacPherson. Which one of these characters was your favorite to write?
I loved Granny, too. So happy you want to quote her! I enjoyed Magnus very much as a character yet felt the heaviness and responsibility of lairds back then tending their tenants and sheep and heartbreaking things that stretched their lives to the seams. So here is a fun Granny quote! Thank you Laura!
"His whiskers need trimming," Granny said in the next breath. "He has the look of a pirate, he does."
Elsewhere, you’ve shared about reading diaries from the time period of your story. Where did you find such treasures to glean the authentic thoughts and attitudes of the people in your story?
Much can be found on the web if you take care to check the legitimacy of your sources and through inter-library loan for out of print books, etc. What helped, most of all, was the collection of letters penned by my Scottish ancestors, written back and forth between Virginia and Scotland in the 18th-century. A true treasure trove! Somehow those letters were lost about 1900 by the family but thankfully someone had copied them, so we still have what was said. Also remarkable are the legal documents and business dealings and surveys signed by my George which also include the signature of George Washington as well. Truth really is stranger than fiction!
Will you pen another winsome tale from your beloved Scotland? (I hope so!)
Readers have said they’d love a sequel to A Bound Heart. So happy about that though I’m not sure it will happen as I’m slated for other stories. Something about Jamaica in winter sounds quite nice!
Where do you wish your readers to connect with you?
Shall I start by telling you how I felt at the end of the novel? Sure, it was like a holy hush as the splendidness of story washed over my heart and mind.
This story has depth and take-away, excellent character if you will. Jane writes with unique dazzling detail that kept me turning pages as fast as I could during this extremely busy Christmas holiday.
Evelyn Lewis is amazingly complex and quite likable. I believe there will be many who can relate to her struggle with a past that will not stay forgotten. The hero, Taylor, well let’s just say that he was also believable and worthy of the heroine’s notice.
I love how Jane used an innocent and exuberant child to tie these pages together in a memorable knot of love and southern down-home welcome. I’ve had a Bonnie Sue in my life a time or maybe two. Are you curious to find out if you could say the same? There are so many perfect-to-fit personalities represented that I felt that this was a unique and interesting story all the way through--till the very last word.
Bravo Jane! I’m giving this shout out with hope that you’ve already started book two. This is a novel to read and re-read for sure and I've already gifted this book to another excited reader. (Who will love me forever for sharing this debut novel. I’m sure!)
QUESTIONS FOR JANE:
How long has this story brewed in your inner being?
Some of the elements of the book are from my childhood--the sunset porch, a farm, Tennessee. It's been brewing for years but begged to come to life over the last few years.
Your characters sparkle with authenticity. How did you accomplish this in your first novel?
Thank you so much for that! I've had some excellent mentors in my life, some fabulous friends, and a terrific editor. Plus, I rewrote the book 1,000 times, more or less.
Have you known an Evie or two?
Maybe we all have a little bit of Evie in us--it is easier to avoid some of the past because we don't know what to do with it. And I do love her strength and survival skills.
Do you enjoy writing fiction or non-fiction better? Or is this not a fair question?
That's a good question. My first non-fiction book, Quiet Places, took a zillion years to write. My last non-fiction series I wrote four books in a year! So The Forgotten Life of Evelyn Lewis as a first novel took a long, long time to write--so it would be tempting to say "I like writing non-fiction better" but that would mostly be because the novel took a long, long time to bring to life.
What is an important theme in this story that you want your readers to realize?
That no one's past needs to be unconquerable, and no one's future needs to terrify. And that healing happens best in community.
What other types of books do you write that could relate to this fiction story?
Part of the lure of fiction is to flesh out in "real people" the principles I know to be true in my own life. So, exploring issues of fear, trust, healing in fiction, as I do in my books such as Resting Place, Worry Less So You Can Live More, and others, was super appealing.
How should your readers reach out to you?
Oh, I'd love to hear from readers! You can reach me through my website, JaneRubietta.com and also find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Amazon best-selling author of Her Deadly Inheritance, Beth Ann Ziarnik, is back with another romantic suspense. This is the sequel that I’ve been waiting for! Jill Shepherd is to meet her father for the first time at the Gates Mansion in Wisconsin. (Which in our real world is the Pabst Mansion from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.) Clay Merrick, the hero, has his own struggles, so my question to you is—will he be there when the heroine needs him most? Jill faces extreme rejection from those in the household as well as welcomed love and acceptance from her father. Someone tips her off that her father’s illness may be caused by poisoning. Jill and Clay investigate all who have visited her father recently in order to find any possible mysterious murderer—before it is too late. Yet no one seems to be a likely suspect. I enjoyed this read and do recommend this novel. If you have not read Her Deadly Inheritance, I suggest that you begin with that novel and read this one next!
QUESTIONS FOR BETH ANN:
When a historic home is used in story I feel that adds pizzazz, immediately. How did you come to the decision of using the Pabst Mansion instead of any other?
I had looked at a book about mansions in Wisconsin and liked the Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee. I knew that Jill’s father lived in Milwaukee, though she didn’t. Oshkosh Senior Center sponsored a bus tour, which included this mansion and I attended. A bocent, who is a trained guided tour specialist, was assigned specifically to me to show me all the nooks and crannies of this mansion in case I could use those areas in the novel. They were so excited about Pabst Mansion being used for a story setting.
Do you have a favorite room in that mansion?
If I had to choose one it would be Captain Pabst’s study, which has four German proverbs painted into the design of the ceiling area that are meant to encourage people. I chose one of those sayings and included it in the story. This room had 14 secret compartments! ( Beth told me more about this grand place and I plan to Google it later to look up how special and interesting this mansion is.)
Which of Jill’s half sisters did you enjoy writing the most?
They were both interesting to write. I really enjoyed Lilly and how she developed. That she became one of the pivotal secondary characters was a total surprise to me.
What is a message woven into this story that you wish your readers to benefit from?
The message that love covers a multitude of sins, I Peter 4:8. We need God’s love to cover the wrongs we’ve done. The characters in this novel had to come to this place in one form or another. They also had to forgive one another.
Will there be another book for Jill and Clay?
Yes, I’m already writing Her Deadly Vows.
How can your readers reach you?
Beth’s other social media is listed on that website. Thank you Beth Ann for a wonderful read and interview! I look forward to book three! I will watch for it!
DEAD SEA RISING spans contemporary Manhattan, New York City to 200 BC, Ur of the Chaldees with seamless procession. Included are some scenes from the Vietnam War—another well laid facet to this story. This first novel for a new series by Jerry B. Jenkins delighted me. Jenkins master story-telling kept me questioning and flipping pages, while pure regret followed when I put the novel down to take care of life-in-general. A friend of mine looked at my copy of Dead Sea Rising and stated, “Oh, a bathroom book!” Of course, I asked the intelligent question, “Hugh?” She replied that the short chapters are easily finished when one is in the bathroom! Well, I learned something there! These short chapters keep the tension and curiosity thrumming the whole way through the story.
I enjoy the mix of ancient and then modern-day events. The various personalities and how they ‘play’ together on the page had me flipping emotions from concern, laughter, curiosity, and more. I love the professionalism that Jenkins used to create this memorable tale, for instance: historical and archaeology research was aided by Craig A. Evans, BA, MA, MDiv, PhD, Dhabil and John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins, Houston Theological Seminary. These men brought an authenticity to Ur and the characters of that time period. I would have to say that Terah was the most entertaining character in this novel as well as the most alarming. His wife, Belessunu showed such strength of character! Of course, Nimrod the self-proclaimed god, was an absolute jerk. I know, I’ve never said that in a book review before but the man earned it!
I enjoyed the contemporary characters too. Nicole Berman and the quirky NYPD Detective Sergeant George Wojciechowski were excellent! Even though I’ve finished the novel, I’m now playing the audio version with matched enthusiasm! I’m looking forward to the next in this series and in my opinion, book 2 will not come soon enough!
It is not just that Sandra writes with skill and imagination. And it isn’t just that she leads her readers into the Victorian time period with realistic yet exquisite flair. This writer has a unique voice that captivated me immediately. I am a fan from the very first page and she held me securely till the last exquisite word planted her very satisfying ending.
The story-telling drops off the page as vibrant characters—those quite likeable and those not so much—intermingle to lead this reader on a journey raptured with intrigue, mystery, and heart-felt desire to know more. Who can one trust? Will Miss Eleanor Sheffield discern the false from the genuine concerning the most important relationships and individuals surrounding her? Much responsibility is laid upon this fine lady’s shoulders and the hero who’d been silent for so long is questionable to say the least. Especially when someone with influence—not dampened by the grave—reveals information that must be considered.
Re-read- most definitely- most desirably. Lady of A Thousand Treasures is a novel this reader will crave to read. I understand without question that the mood to experience Sandra’s books will drop upon me and I will have to seek the treasured tales hidden within her pages.
If you enjoy historical fiction, which includes actual people and plants your feet in the time period so naturally that you don’t know that you’ve been transported, then your will appreciate this first of THE VICTORIAN LADIES SERIES.
QUESTIONS FOR SANDRA:
Your novel is lush with historic atmosphere, yet what you paint with words only accents the story and adorns your characters. What was your favorite scene to embellish with historic props?
Anything having to do with the house. I love those old stately homes in England, with their secret rooms and corridors, the back stairs and the front stairs, the creaking hallways and the walls hung chock-a-block with pictures. It’s such a pleasure to bring my readers to those houses!
I appreciate your main character, Miss Eleanor Sheffield. How did you decide on her personality? What is the very best quality about Miss Eleanor and the hero, Henry?
I love that Ellie had many difficulties thrust upon her, and yet did not allow herself to become a victim. Victorian women had major constraints, and the heroines in my books cannot just solve their problems as you or I might—but I love them the more for that; they are forced to cleverly use the tools at hand. Truthfully, all of us, then and now, are constrained in some way from the full self-determination we would prefer, and perhaps that is one way we identify with them. And yet ... the human spirit, a strong woman's spirit, faces those challenges head-on, tries to think through what she wants, and then plots a way toward it. When roadblocks occur, she finds a way over, around, or through. That was true a thousand years ago, and it is still true, now.
Also—we must all be risk-takers to gain what we want: love, respect, a meaningful life, and personal fulfillment. Today's readers certainly have that in common with yesterday's women, my historical heroines. Ellie had to learn to do all of that and to trust herself. When she did, life unfolded for her!
Harry is a man after my own heart. I often find that, in novels, readers want the heroine to have to grow, but they expect the hero to be nearly perfect from the start. But that’s not a real man! Harry had to learn to leave behind trying to please everyone and prove himself and allow himself to be the strong, loving man that he is. No approval required!
How did you choose the Sheffield Brother’s evaluator of antiquities business?
My husband and I are devoted fans of British television and film, and we are especially partial to the early seasons of Jeeves and Wooster. In one episode, the older men are after one another’s silver collections, stooping to all manner of shenanigans to acquire them. Wodehouse uses humor, as always (the lowly silver cow creamer!) to wryly remark on an upper-class habit, the collecting of things and envy of others’ possessions.
I do admire the many collections the British have amassed over the years, though. Some are in country houses, as in my book and the Wodehouse episode, but some are in tiny cabinets of the middle class, and others consist of large numbers of pieces that have been donated to museums. I have always loved the V & A just for its sheer size, and I loved learning a wee bit about its predecessor, the South Kensington, and how some collections came to partially populate museums.
I think that we are all collectors of sorts. I moved recently, and one of my friends noted how many baking pans I had collected—Bundt pans in 10-inch, 9-inch, 8-inch, and 6-inch sizes, for example. Why? Baking is a way I provide affection to my family, and therefore it wasn’t so much about hoarding as what those pans meant to me. Jewelry, tea sets, artwork, even pennies and empty perfume bottles all carry an emotional value for those of us who treasure them. I wanted to explore that in the book.
What was your favorite collection that Miss Eleanor Sheffield worked with?
I loved exploring the difference between what her mother treasured -the valuable and showy jewelry, and what Harry’s mom treasured, the pelican pendant, and what it said about each of them. Ultimately, our treasures tell others a lot about us.
Who is your favorite troublemaker in this story? Or if you wish not to answer that, who is your favorite support character?
Marguerite is my favorite support character. Every woman needs a BFF, no matter what time you live in, someone who is unfailingly faithful to you but also loves you enough to speak the truth.
What experience or person triggered the “writing bug” in you?
I was always a reader; I learned to read and love reading at an early age. It followed, for me, that I wanted to create stories, too. The many historical books I enjoyed reading as a child and then as a young woman influenced me, too. I loved American set books such as the Little House on the Prairie series, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and others like that. I also fell in love with Jean Plaidy/Victoria Holt and her books definitely influenced the topics I choose to research and write about.
How do you like to begin writing a novel?
I think of a main character, and the situation, and the romantic difficulties. Then I plot in layers. I research extensively, and those learned bits get put on my outline. Dates, and the mystery’s clues and outcome, are layered on next, and then the various threads: romance, character arcs, spiritual aspects. When I have the house framed, as it were, then I feel free to let my creativity loose because—hopefully—I haven’t forgotten anything.
I don’t think I could write historicals without setting a plot and a timeline ahead of time. It’s too much for me, personally, to keep in my head. Then once the math is done, so to speak, I relax and let my character command the pages.
How do you wish for your readers to connect with you? I would love for them to visit me at my website: www.sandrabyrd.com There is a contact button there if they wish to email me, and links to all of my social media pages!
This eighteenth century story slips the reader into an era when severe expectations cruelty thrived. Thankfully, those bondages are foreign to our time and experience. Revolutionary France had turned upside down as the guillotine destroyed way too many lives. Innocent people were disgraced or worse, all because of their wealth or wealthy connections. I will never be able to flippantly speed past any mention of this piece of history without thinking of the awful cost of lives and dignity. When hate flourishes so much is thrown into terror, wounded, and lost.
Jocelyn paints with vivid brushstrokes of elegant language the challenges, angst and depth of her character’s crisis and joys. Vivienne Rivard, lacemaker for the royal and wealthy, is in danger of losing her life, and she has lost so much already. Liam Delancy’s character is strong and compelling and ever so necessary for this story to develop. The varied characters and exciting plot decorate the pages, making this a must-read-again story for years to come!
A unique quality about this story is that Vivienne’s French ancestry is connected to the heroine, Liberty, in The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz! So, if you should follow my best advice and purchase or borrow A Refuge Assured from the library, make sure that you also do the same with The Lacemaker. I love a story with character connections to other series and this one leaps further to link authors and two publishing houses! This is a highly recommended read!
Questions for Jocelyn:
How did you get interested in studying the French Revolutionary War times? Somehow I came across a mention of refugees from the French Revolution making their way to Pennsylvania for political asylum. I dug deeper and deeper, reading narratives of people who fled, and I was hooked on this aspect that I had never heard of before. When I read that the entire lacemaking community of Chantilly was executed, I was shocked and intrigued. That’s when I began thinking of writing the story of a lacemaker who escapes to America.
I loved the real people you wove into this story. Which one was your personal favorite?
Eliza Hamilton. She only makes a brief appearance in my novel, but she was an incredible woman.
Was Asylum a real place? If so, are there any original buildings left to peruse?
Yes, it was! From 1793-1803, French Azilum, or Asylum in English, was a real settlement built in a horseshoe bend of the Susquehanna River in northern Pennsylvania. It was meant to be a refuge for Marie-Antoinette and her son, but even though they didn’t make it, dozens of aristocrats, priests, military and tradesmen did. You can still visit the location today, as I did for my research. None of the original buildings are left standing, but there is a reconstructed cabin and other structures built after 1803.
If you were to write a sequel to this story, what kind of heroine would you write about?
I would want to write about Tara Delaney, the hero Liam’s sister. In A Refuge Assured, she’s a feisty tavern owner in Philadelphia, widowed since the American Revolution. She’s full of personality, and I just have a feeling her story isn’t over.
Is there anything you would like to tell your readers about this story?
The primary theme is that of finding refuge in the Lord, when no physical place of safety seems to exist. But a secondary theme popped up through a character I didn’t plan on creating: Armand, the father from whom Vivienne had been estranged her entire life. The two flee France together, and through their relationship, a picture of reconciliation emerged. At one point Armand says to Vivienne, “One is never too old for a father’s love.” None of us are ever too old –or “too far gone”—for our heavenly Father’s love, either. And that is the greatest reconciliation story of all time.
Do you have other novels that are or will be published soon?
My next novel, Between Two Shores, will release Feb. 5, 2019. It’s set during the Seven Years’ War in Montreal, and the heroine is half-French, half-Mohawk. You can find more about the book here: http://www.jocelyngreen.com/books/fiction/between-two-shores
What an excellent interview Jocelyn! Thank you for taking the time and for caring for your readers! I did an earlier review for MARK OF THE KING, which was the first novel I read by Jocelyn Green! It was captivating! Again, thank you, Jocelyn!
Suspense and entertainment at it’s best! I super enjoyed this romantic-suspense novel. When I thought I’d figured out what was going to happen next, the characters—good and bad—surprised me. The elements of mystery and challenge provided opportunity for the characters to grow. DiAnn shines in her delivery of this contemporary and succeeded with keeping-me-in-my-seat till I finish this fiction experience! She generously sprinkled in mystery and surprise, while triggering my curiosity.
Yes, it is true that I suffered when I had to stop reading to go to work. The absolute worst was when I forgot “Burden of Proof” in the classroom—over a weekend! Not to mention the night that I was reading the middle of a crisis and had to go to sleep so that I could function the next day! You will feel sorry for me once you peruse this novel!
I’ve never read a book where a quite capable FBI agent was abducted—and for good reason—couldn’t break free! This wonderful plot fit perfectly with interesting characters who made me admire and fall in love with them! Special Agent April Ramos and Jason Snyder chase around small town Sweet Briar, Texas. The two questions haunting the agent are ‘who can be trusted’ and ‘who did it’. I love this city girl maneuvering though small-town adventure!
This is a re-read and one of my favorite DiAnn Mills books. I did receive a free copy to read for review, and since I trust this author's ability to entertain and inspire me, I agreed to review this story before I received the novel. I was not disappointed and have never been with DiAnn’s stories. She asks her readers to ‘expect an adventure’ and she delivers from the first page to the last! Thank you DiAnn!
QUESTIONS FOR DIANN:
1) What unique experience inspired this story, DiAnn? I’m thrilled that you wrote this!
While taking a drive through East Texas, my mind went to story mode: What kind of woman would be really out of her element and in danger? What problems plagued her mind? What skills did she have and still needed? Strengths and weaknesses?
2) How is it that you can delve into the deep personalities of your characters and keep us wanting more?
I have no clue, but I appreciate the kind words! But I have a method of mentally walking into my character’s “closet” and dressing myself in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual clothes of the character.
3) Is Sweet Briar, Texas a real place or a figment of your imagination? Possibly modeled after a real town?
It’s a fictitious town but it’s modeled after a real town. Because of the crimes, I couldn’t use the real name.
4) What is your favorite message from this novel?
5) I believe this is a stand-alone story, will Special Agent April Ramos and Jason Snyder ever show up in another of your novels? Nope! This is a stand-alone story. but we can imagine what happened next!
6) What would you like to tell your readers right now?
Readers are why I write. When you enjoy a story, I’m thrilled. Thanks! I appreciate you.
How do you wish your readers to contact you? Through my website and email:
Beth Ann Ziarnik’s New Book is Almost Here!
“Her Deadly Reunion” will arrive mid-November. This sequel to “Her Deadly Inheritance” has captured my special attention. Yes, I’ve pre-ordered this novel. The first of the series is Beth’s debut novel. Her pages held me spellbound and curious all the way through! “Her Deadly Inheritance” won “Writer of the Year” at Write to Publish Conference in 2016 as well as the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Selah Award for “First Novel.” And just recently one can acquire this novel on Audible Audiobook! I love listening to novels when I’m washing dishes or dusting the house.
The second book continues with the same main characters, Jill and Clay. I’m eager to meet up with them again. I invite you to explore Beth Ann Ziarnik’s novels. I’m always up for a good read.
You may find her on www.bethziarnik.com or https://www.facebook.com/beth.ziarnik
You are a delightful writer and a favorite for me! I applaud your excellence and imagination! I always look forward to one of your reads! :)
Yes, Roseanna, how does someone steal a family’s history and their name? What a fun adventure to read! This unique 1914 London, England historical delighted me through and through!
Rosemary Gresham is the protagonist who stole my heart, and not just like any common thief, but one who captured my full admiration and sympathy! Anyone who knows me would gasp to read this declaration for I don’t condone stealing. So, if you want to know why I highly recommend this novel—I suggest that you purchase a copy or request it at your local library. 😊
Peter Holstein—the romantic interest and family member with the name at risk—has secrets of his own and Rosemary is out to find them. This novel has a personality and freshness that appeals to me. I find the diverse characters amusing and or entertaining and can say they are perfectly fitted for the intrigue that began brewing near the onset of the World War I. I delight to share this wonderful novel and would be thrilled if you came back and told me how you felt about it also!
Questions for Roseanna:
Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.
Yvette De Maupassant needs a place to hide! Well, shouldn’t any worthy and exposed English spy melt into obscurity—away from French spies bent on taking revenge? This story takes place in Surrey, England in April of 1812, when exciting interactions between England and Napoleon’s France take place. Meredith Thorn and her cat, Fortune, have their own difficulties to overcome and decisions to make, but that doesn’t stop Meredith from placing Yvette with a snug and secure family of means.
Gregory, Earl of Carrolton, cannot hide his thoughts, yet now he has to hide a spy that the French deem an excellent catch. This is an entertaining novel, which is an excellent read. The heroin, Yvette, was an absolute favorite character of mine from the previous novel and I was thrilled to see Regina give her a story to tell in Never Envy an Earl. There were other fun re-visited characters that the reader could view with a different perspective. I enjoyed this switch-up and expanded view of those who were not as well known in a previous novel.
If you are looking for a clean read and a make me feel good to my toes novel- Never Envy an Earl is a great choice! But don’t stop there for it is more fun to read the series! I was given this novel and this is my honest opinion of these pages. Regina’s stories have always given me a smile and “I think this author is so clever” enjoyment! This is a highly recommend novel!
Questions for Regina:
What fantastic fun-fact about Napoleon can you tell us? (One you wanted to share in the novel but couldn’t.)
Napoleon was such a character! He once imprisoned the Pope and held him for ransom. When people tried to rescue the poor fellow, Napoleon kept moving him around Europe. Can you imagine?
The way you wrote Yvette’s story was as though you’d crawled inside her head and looked through her eyeballs. How did you do that?
A very good imagination? Ha! I guess it’s like method acting. When I’m writing a tense scene, my shoulders get tight. I sigh when the heroine sighs. I always have to smile when I realize what I’m doing. Maybe that’s why I don’t usually write in the point of view of the villains. I don’t like getting too close to all that darkness.
I love the Grecian style home you described. Here is a quote: “The warm stone of the rest of the building made the entrance look like a pearl in a gold setting.” Have you seen a home like this one or just photos?
I have an ever-growing list of places I want to see when I go to England. One of those is Osterley Park, a beautiful estate not far from London. I haven’t been there, but I used it as the basis for Carrolton Park in the book. You can read more about it here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/osterley-park-and-house.
If you could spend a day with one of these characters, who would it be and what is the first question you would ask?
Strangely enough, I think I’d like to spend a day with Marbury, the butler. He started as a footman in the household then worked his way up to butler. I’d like to ask him how things have changed since Gregory ascended to the title. The answer might surprise Yvette, and Gregory.
What theme, laced in your book, would you wish to have your readers benefit from?
That the past doesn’t have to define you. You may have had a terrible childhood. You may have made mistakes. You may have let “the one” get away. But there’s always hope, always a chance for something better, if you’re brave enough to grasp it and believe.
What was your favorite costume you described in this novel?
I don’t have an entire costume, but I am very pleased with the hats Yvette, the countess, and her daughter purchase to attend a wedding. I wanted something befitting each of them. The countess gets a showy turban with enough bling to resemble a crown, just right for a lady of her station and disposition. Her daughter Lilith gets something tall and elegant, with a touch of military swagger. Lilith is all about control, so that fits hers nicely. Yvette gets a lovely velvet bonnet with a spray of pink silk roses, classic with a touch of fun, very much in tune with her character.
Is there anything else you would like to share about this or upcoming novels?
Thank you to all those who have read and reviewed the books. Your kind words warm my heart. Those who have been following the series may enjoy “Always Kiss at Christmas,” a novella in the Timeless Regency Collection coming in October, which tells the story of how Fortune’s mistress, Meredith Thorn, fell in love as a girl. The next full-length book in the series, Never Vie for a Viscount, is due out the end of November.
How do you wish your readers to contact you?
Readers can reach me via:
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Thank you Regina for an excellent interview and the Osterley link! You have such a wonderful WEB site! :)