Hello everyone! Sorry for this being a day late. Yesterday was… crazy to say the least. But, before we get into this week’s post, there’s something I have to take care of first. Last week’s winner!
And the winner is… *drumroll* Beverly Allen! Congratulations on your copy of that amazing book, Beverly!
Now, for this week’s post, and guess what? ANOTHER GIVEAWAY! A very special thanks to today’s author, Sarah E Ladd, for offering one copy of her book to a US resident. Be sure to read down to find out how to enter.
Now, what book is being given away? Why, that would be her latest, The Curiosity Keeper. Let me tell you, this book was incredible! But, before I get into that, why don’t I let you know just what the book is about.
“It is not just a ruby, as you say. It is large as a quail’s egg, still untouched and unpolished. And it is rumored to either bless or curse whomever possesses it.”
Camille Iverness can take care of herself. She’s done so since the day her mother abandoned the family and left Camille to run their shabby curiosity shop on Blinkett Street. But when a violent betrayal leaves her injured with no place to hide, Camille has no choice but to accept help from the mysterious stranger who came to her aid.
Jonathan Gilchrist never wanted to inherit Kettering Hall. As a second son, he was content working as a village apothecary. But when his brother’s death made him heir just as his father’s foolish decisions put the estate at risk, only the sale of a priceless possession—a ruby called the Bevoy—can save the family from ruin. But the gem has disappeared. And all trails lead to Iverness Curiosity Shop—and the beautiful shop girl who may or may not be the answer to his questions.
Curious circumstance throws them together, and an intricate dance of need and suspicion leads the couple from the seedy backwaters of London to the elite neighborhoods of the wealthy to the lush, green Surrey countryside—all in the pursuit of a blood-red gem that collectors will sacrifice anything to possess.
Caught at the intersection of blessings and curses, greed and deceit, two determined souls must unite to protect what they hold dear. But when a passion that shines far brighter than any gem is ignited, each will have to decide how much they are willing to risk for their future, love, and happiness.
So… intrigued? Well, here are my thoughts on it:
This book is yet another shining example of this author’s wonderful spin on the regency novel. She takes the regency setting, the class situations, and weaves them with a unique and intriguing tale. I may have stayed up past midnight finishing it, but let me tell you, it was so worth it! The characters just jump from the page, crawl in your heart, and refuse to let go. Camille is a wonderful example of a strong woman. She practically runs her father’s store, makes her own decisions as to her future, but is not afraid to accept generosity and help when needed. She is humble in her receiving of assistance, and only accepts what is needed. I loved that she was so strong, but not arrogant to refuse help when handed to her. And she doesn’t shy away from an adventure; she may be grounded, with a level head, but she’s open to new possibilities when presented, and is more than willing to adapt when needed. Then there’s Jonathan. He is a bit reserved, perfectly content in his work as apothecary, and not all too thrilled at being the heir to his family’s legacy. The very last thing he wants is to go on an adventure, but doesn’t have a choice when his father throws him into it. I love watching these two together, especially since Camille is such a strong, almost stubborn, woman and Jonathan has a deep heart to help others. Throw into the mix a ruby of extreme value, and desperate, and dangerous, people bent on finding it. I love the intrigue surrounding the gem, the mystery about its location, and even the rumor of the curse that comes with it. With so many after the item, Camille and Jonathan must learn who to trust, and whether they can even trust the one person they’re falling for. This is certainly an enjoyable read, a great regency mixed with a suspenseful mystery, and one I dearly recommend.
I have to say a very special thanks to Sarah Ladd for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review. And honestly, I loved it! lol.
BUT the fun’s not done yet. I have the very special honor to welcome Sarah Ladd here! She was gracious enough to take some time from her busy schedule to answer a few questions for me. I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did. 🙂
1: I have to say, I love that you write regency with a little ‘meat’ on it. What draws you to the regency era?
There is so much to love about the Regency Era – the gowns, the manners, the balls … but as wonderful as these are, there is so much more to the Regency Era to appreciate! I am especially fascinated by the complexities of the social structures of this time period. This is the time that the middle class was emerging. The Napoleonic Wars were underway. The Industrial Revolution and the Romantic Eras were in full swing. With so much going on, the setting is rich for creating complex and interesting plots and characters.
2: As this book is the beginning of a new series, did you find it difficult to leave your previous trilogy and characters behind to start a new story?
I love my characters in the Whispers on the Moors series, and I really enjoyed writing their stories, but I always like starting new projects. New stories are a fresh slate, and once I finish a book, my mind just starts planning the next one!
3: I have to say, you have some very unique names for your characters; they’re ones that I don’t read every time I turn around. How do you decide on the characters’ names?
Sometimes it can be tricky naming characters in historical novels because you have to make sure the name is historically accurate for that time period and that the name was used in the social class you are writing about. For me, I always make sure I can find historical evidence that the name was used during the time period, and as I learn of new names from that time period I form a “name bank” that I can choose from as I write. In The Curiosity Keeper, Camille’s mother was Portuguese, so I selected her name by researches first names common in Portugal at the time. (As a side note, I change characters’ names SEVERAL TIMES as I write … the book never ends with the characters having the same names they do when I start writing!)
4: You had a very non-traditional ending for this book, and I have to say I loved that. Is there a chance we will be seeing some of the characters return in future books?
I am so glad that you enjoyed the ending! I am currently working on the 2nd and 3rd books in the series, and while the main characters, Jonathan and Camille, are not in the subsequent books, some of the secondary characters do make appearances – especially the characters associated with the school.
5: And my personal favorite question: do you have any advice for aspiring authors out there?
This may sound very cliché, but DON’T GIVE UP! Write every day, even if it is only fifteen minutes. Writing is like exercise, once you fall out of the habit of daily writing, it is hard to get back into the swing of it. My other piece of advice is to get connected. I joined a couple of writing groups and made some writing friends early on in my career, and those relationships have been such a blessing. Being a writer is much easier when you can share the journey with friends who are on the same path. I wish you the best of luck with your writing!
Wow, those are all great answers. And thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to join us!
Now, for the moment I’m sure ALL of you were waiting for. lol. The GIVEAWAY! So, in order to enter for this copy, (unfortunately US residents only) you have to answer this one simple question as a comment: What is your favorite era to read, and why? Write down your comment, and I certainly look forward to reading them!
But, if you just have to get our hands on this awesome book (lol) then feel free to pick up a copy either for Kindle or NOOK, or of course paperback. And feel free to check out the author’s website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks again for joining me, and I will see you all next Friday with the announced winner and another post! 🙂