The Week: 9th – 15th October

Spring Flowers Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 10th October 2017 Pink Garden Nature 1

Spring Flowers Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 10th October 2017 Pink Garden Nature 2

Spring in Canberra this week.

It seems this was the week the Christmas ads started on television. Maybe not for the US  or Canada, with Halloween and Thanksgiving and all of that, but they did here!

This week marked a month since I returned from Spain. However, on Monday we booked a trip for next year: to Ireland and England, so I’m planning again!

We’ll take advantage of Qatar Airways’ new flights out of Canberra and fly into Dublin (where I lived and worked for a little while), and then travel up to Belfast and spend a few weeks in Northern Ireland. My surname is 100% Northern Irish. Even though I’ve only ever seen Northern Ireland in dreary late-November, I remember it as gorgeous.

After that we’ll fly to Leeds (in England) and then spend a few weeks in the Peak District and Yorkshire before flying home from Manchester. My dream Pride and Prejudice adventure…

The plans were changing for weeks. I still “have” to do a more extensive trip around Wales, and spend more time in Scotland. I also want to visit Cornwall, Devon etc. – I’ve seen quite a lot of the south over the years, but not that part. For a small place, there’s too much to see!

Interview: Rachel Brimble

My review of Pursued for the Viscount’s Vengeance by Sarah Mallory

My review of Ethan’s Daughter: Templeton Cove Stories (Templeton Cove #7) by Rachel Brimble

My review of A Baby for Christmas (Sweet Home Montana Book 2) by Joan Kilby

A Baby for Christmas (Sweet Home Montana Book 2) by Joan Kilby

Britain’s Libraries Week

Romance Books Category Romance

Ethan’s Daughter: Templeton Cove Stories (Templeton Cove #7) by Rachel Brimble

Ethan's Daughter Templeton Cove Stories (Templeton Cove #7) by Rachel Brimble

There’s safety in solitude isn’t there? Single dad and best-selling thriller writer Ethan James has no problem being Templeton Cove’s most famous recluse until a surprise visit from the past plunges him into a real-life crime drama just as feisty nurse Leah Dixon barges her way into his world. Ethan’s first priority is to protect his daughter. His second priority is to keep Leah out of this dark web and that means out of his bed. Except Leah isn’t going anywhere; she’s afraid little Daisy is in danger. Ethan couldn’t live with himself if anything happened to Leah but pushing her away may be even harder!

Ethan’s Daughter (Templeton Cove #7) by Rachel Brimble

Ethan’s Daughter is the seventh in a contemporary romance/ suspense series set in a coastal town, but there’s no problem reading these books out of order – they work as standalones.

I love that this series is set on the English coast. We have a plethora of series like this set all over the United States, but not many set elsewhere.

The focus of this book is strongly on characters and relationships: hero/heroine, father/daughter etc. It is a romance first and suspense second. I think the strong focus on a few characters, with people from past books in the background, is what makes this an easy read, no matter how many books into the series it is.

I liked the “normalness” of the characters. The hero who is distracted by his work, but trying his best as a single dad. The glasses-wearing heroine (yay!) who has her own interests outside any relationships she might have. The daughter who comes across as a real child, not a “romance book child”. The normal, everyday behaviour that goes along with the larger-than-life situations.

This is the strength of many books in Harlequin’s Superromance line: they make it feel like you could meet these people in real life. It is what sets the line apart from the publisher’s other books (and WHY are they discontinuing Superromance next year?!).

Ethan’s Daughter was a nice change from the books I’ve been reading lately – a solid contemporary romance.

Interview: Rachel Brimble

Rachel Brimble

British author Rachel Brimble writes both contemporary romance/suspense and Victorian romances. It’s always great to find an author who can write across subgenres.

Notable and unique about Brimble’s contemporary books is that they are in Harlequin’s Superromance line, where the vast majority of authors and settings are American (with the odd Australian or Kiwi tossed in).

I remember when the Templeton Cove series first began I was excited about a change of location.

I also have a bit of an obsession with the Victorian era, and am always glad to find authors of historical romance who choose to use it!

Rachel Brimble’s latest book in the Templeton Cove series is Ethan’s Daughter, which I will be reviewing here tomorrow.

What is the inspiration for your Templeton Cove books? Is it difficult to keep all the characters in order?

I’ve wanted to write a small-town series since I started writing novels in 2006 and it was a dream come true when Harlequin contracted the first book, Finding Justice, and then went on to contract 8 more! The setting is inspired by my childhood holidays in various UK seaside towns. I’ve combined aspects of Torquay, Bognor Regis, Lyme Regis, the list goes on…

The series is a mix of mainstream romance and romantic suspense stories so I hope the series is kept fresh for even the most devoted of fans of the series.

As for keeping track of all the characters… Yes! It’s very difficult, lol! I think my cast list is close to 40 now and one or more of them are always pushing themselves forward to ‘star’ in the next book.

Do you find it easier to write one romance subgenre or another? I know of authors who write historical AND contemporary romance, but say they feel more comfortable writing one of those subgenres. Is this the case with you?

I write both historical and contemporary and don’t really find one easier to write than the other – the difference for me is the time spent on research for the historical books. I tend to find a social issue I want to explore and need to read up as much as I can to make sure I have enough knowledge that the setting for the central romance is reflected accurately.

I don’t spend hours torturing myself with making sure everything is absolutely indisputable as it is the romance and emotions that my books really focus on. I just like to feel I’ve done my best to create the atmosphere and environment of the period.

What made you choose the Victorian era for your historical romances? I LOVE the Victorian era (it’s my favourite!), but most authors write Regency books.

I love the Victorian era, too! I like that it was a time of such massive change – from the industrial revolution, to the very beginnings of feminism, to medical discoveries and the huge poverty/wealth divide. All these things provide great beginnings of theme which I can go back to time and time again.

I’m just revising my first venture into the Edwardian era – wish me luck!

How much research do you have to do for your books? E.g. I wouldn’t know the first thing about police procedure.

Haha! See above – I definitely spend more time researching the historical books, but as for the romantic suspense stories, I have the most AMAZING detective contact who helps me a LOT. He’s a godsend! I don’t tend to dig too much into the forensic side of things, I leave that to the crime writers, lol 😀

What is coming up next?

Next up is a new romantic suspense, If I Want You, which is a stand-alone title set in a small UK town. It is fast-paced and gripping, combining a new crime with an old. I absolutely loved writing it! It’s out November 8th and up for pre-order on Amazon right now.

After that, it’s the eighth and final book in my Templeton Cove series (boo!) – A Stranger In The Cove is a mainstream romance and I hope it brings the entire series to a satisfying end. All books can be read stand-alone, though! Out January 2018.

Biography from Rachel Brimble’s site:

I live with my husband, our two teenage daughters in a small market town near the famous Georgian City of Bath. I have been writing contemporary romance and romantic suspense for Harlequin Superromance since 2012, and also have four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.

When I’m not writing, you’ll find me with my head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with my family. And in the evening? Well, a well-deserved glass of wine is never, ever refused.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and agent represented in the US.

The Week: 5th – 11th January

christmas-canberra-australia-blue-silver-1st-december-2014-sonya-heaney1

Busy week! Hot week. It was Ukrainian Christmas, which we celebrate over the 6th (Christmas Eve) and 7th. Now we have New Year next week, and then half the family has birthdays. Before we know it there’ll be two Easters to deal with! Apparently there’re already hot cross buns on the shelves, which is sad. Good on Paris for leaving their decorations up for the second (and original!) Christmas!

This guy isn’t ours, but when he stands out in the rain, looking pathetic…

Ernie Ragdoll Cat 9th January 2015 Oksana Heaney Sonya Heaney

Terrible things happening all over the place this week, too. Russian news claimed the terror attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris were organised by the CIA, while some of their Orthodox leaders praised the attacks. Too many terrible people in the world at the moment…

A cartoon from The Canberra Times made it all over the world after the event:

Charlie Hebdo Cartoon The Canberra Times

I found out this week that people in my family have been called up into the Ukrainian Army to fight the Russian invasion. On a better note, I received a letter from Australia’s Prime Minister (well, probably his office, but close enough!) addressing some of the issues we’ve had with his handling of Ukraine – and the fact he continues to call the country by the Russian insult ‘the Ukraine’.

Revisiting the Russian romance book thing…

Dimitri Her Russian Protector 2 by Roxie Rivera

Cover Love

The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

My review of What A Woman Desires by Rachel Brimble

What A Woman Desires by Rachel Brimble

My review of Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa Romain

Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress (The Matchmaker Trilogy #3) by Theresa Romain

My review of Cowboy Seeks a Bride by Louise M. Gouge

Cowboy Seeks a Bride by Louise M. Gouge

Weird book packaging…

The M.D. She Had To Marry by Christine Rimmer

What A Woman Desires by Rachel Brimble

What A Woman Desires by Rachel Brimble

From country girl to actress of the stage, one woman dares to live her dreams—but is she brave enough to open her heart…?

Monica Danes always wanted more than the village of Biddlestone had to offer. After a failed courtship to a man of her parents’ choosing, she fled for the city of Bath and never looked back. Today, Monica is the undisputed queen of the theater—a wealthy, independent woman. But when she is called home in the wake of tragedy, Monica returns—intending to leave again as soon as possible.

Thomas Ashby has been a groom at the Danes estate since he was a boy—and has been enamoured with Monica for almost as long. He knows he isn’t a suitable match for his master’s daughter, despite the special bond he and Monica have always shared—and their undeniable attraction. But now that she’s returned, Thomas has one last chance to prove himself worthy—and to show Monica a life, and a love, she won’t want to give up…

What A Woman Desires by Rachel Brimble

I had two strong reactions to this book early on:

  1. YAY! The Victorian era (late Victorian – 1897)! And not only the Victorian era, but the characters aren’t aristocrats. I’m in Heaven!
  2. I want to throw rotten tomatoes at the book’s editor! The author is English and the book is set in England. I was seriously annoyed by the Americanisation of not only some of the dialogue, but also the Americanisation of the spelling of place names. GRR.

Call me ignorant, but I had no idea Rachel Brimble wrote historical romance. I always get excited when I find an author of this genre who lives in and knows the area they’re setting their books. What A Woman Desires is set in and around Bath, but this is the Bath of a century after it was the hub of Georgian society.

I enjoyed quite a few aspects of the story. One of my favourite things to read about is middle class Victorians, so this book really delivered for me on that front. I was a bit worried about how the story would deal with a fairly well-to-do woman taking to the stage, but then I have to remind myself I’m reading a book set nearly a hundred years after most historical romances!

I just really, really appreciated that this book got published, because before I really got into historical romance I was really fond of historical fiction like this.

However, right at the start I had a little fit. Theatre cannot become “Theater” especially when it’s a proper noun, the name of a place that actually exists! To English (and Australian!) people, an “ass” is a donkey, not an arse! There was so much of this going on in the text, and I am genuinely perplexed why US editors feel the need to mess with books before publishing them. It’s just wrong. It’s wholly incorrect. And it pulls me right out of the story.

So. What I want is more books with themes like this. But I want the editors to recognise Britain is not the same as America and stop fiddling with texts because they assume Americans can’t cope with cultural differences (how insulting is that?!)!

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.