Because you can't judge a book by its cover

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It’s hard to believe that 202 years ago Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was first published. I wonder if Jane had any idea, as she sat writing out her manuscript with ink and quill stewing over the exact words Elizabeth and Darcy would say to each other, that over two hundred years later fans would still be enjoying the trials and tribulations of the Bennett household?!

The first publication in the US happened in 1832. Since its original publication, Pride and Prejudice has never been out of print. I know that I personally own five different copies of this fabulous novel (I know, I know, a little excessive but one is in a hardbound complete works of Jane Austen, one is the marked up copy I used in college, one is a pretty small bound edition that is just fun to hold and read, one is the hardbound single edition my husband brought with him to the marriage that matches his other hardbound classic novels, and of course I have it in ebook). Bravo Miss Austen! Bravo! I know that I will be celebrating this momentous occasion by watching one of the great film editions (okay, any excuse to rewatch one of my favorite shows) but the hard question, as always, is which one to watch, BBC miniseries or Kiera Knightly version?!

Heyer estate reading challenge

georgette_heyerAsk just about any romance author which author had the greatest impact on them and their writing and they will almost always say Georgette Heyer. Credited with creating the Regency Period genre, Heyer was an amazingly prolific writer who published her first novel, The Black Moth, at the age of 17 and it has never been out of print since (info from Georgette Heyer Fan site found here). There have been numerous essays, articles, fan gushings, and books written about Heyer, including this latest biography that I am itching to read (Georgette Heyer by Jennifer Kloester). It is not just that Heyer creating fun characters with dashing adventures, it is truly her attention to detail that has helped her capture the hearts and minds of readers for decades.

black moth originalMy mother first introduced me to the wonderful writings of Heyer when I was a teenager. Not only are Heyer’s novels filled with adventure, spunk, sass, and love, they are also clean so no graphic sex scenes. But Heyer’s writing is so great the sex scenes aren’t needed. Years later (I’m not going to share how many years since I read my first copy but know that it is more than a few) my print copies are literally worn out, bindings broken, pages falling out, all because I (and my sisters) have reread them so many times. While I do have almost her entire collection in ebook format now, I find that I just can’t give away my well-loved print copies.

Now I can’t say I love all of her historical novels (not a huge fan of The Convenient Wife) but I do love a number of them. It has been years since I have read some of them so I thought, what better way to kick off a new year on Novel Reaction than by reading a Georgette Heyer novel each month?! For those of you old fans, it is a good excuse to dust off your copy and enjoy a reread. For those of you new to Georgette Heyer, you are in for a treat! The first couple of novels I have chosen but as the year progresses I will post some polls and see what everyone is interested in reading. For this month (and I realize I am late getting this posting up and the month is already more than half over) I thought we would start of reading Heyer’s “series” beginning with These Old Shades.

Set in the Georgian period, about 20 years before the Regency, These Old Shades is considered to be the book that launched Heyer’s career. It features two of Heyer’s most memorable characters: Justin Alastair, the Duke of Avon, and Leonie, whom he rescues from a life of ignomy and comes to love and marry.

The Duke is known for his coldness of manner, his remarkable omniscience, and his debauched lifestyle. Late one evening, he is accosted by a young person dressed in ragged boy’s clothing running away from a brutal rustic guardian. The Duke buys “Leon” and makes the child his page. “Leon” is in fact Leonie, and she serves the Duke with deep devotion. When he uncovers the true story of her birth, he wreaks an unforgettable revenge on her sinister father in a chilling scene of public humiliation.

Novel Reaction is excited be a part of the Blog Tour for Katharine Ashe’s I Adored a Lord, the second book in the The Prince Catchers series. First let’s get to know a little more about Katherine.

Katharine Ashe author photo finalAward-winning, best-selling author KATHARINE ASHE writes intensely lush historical romance, including How To Be a Proper Lady, among Amazon’s 10 Best Books of 2012 in Romance, and eight other acclaimed novels set in the era of the British Empire. With the publication of her debut novel in 2010, she earned a spot among the American Library Association’s “New Stars of Historical Romance.” She was a nominee for the 2013 Library of Virginia Literary Award in Fiction, and in 2011 she won the coveted Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Historical Romantic Adventure. Katharine is also a finalist for the 2014 RITA® Award, the highest honor in the romance fiction industry, for How To Marry A Highlander. She lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her beloved husband, son, dog, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of European History at Duke University, Katharine writes fiction because she thinks modern readers deserve high adventure and breathtaking sensuality too. For more about her books, please visit her at www.KatharineAshe.com.

I thoroughly enjoyed my way through I Adored a Lord (your can read my review here) and am thrilled to be able to share with you an excerpt from it.

He was nearly a head taller than she and certainly the most handsome man she had ever stood so close to, with his shirt of close-woven linen and waistcoat of brocaded silk. The whisker shadow of the night before that had scratched her chin had gone; his cheeks were smooth and high-boned, his jaw firm. “You seem remarkably comfortable with all of this.”

“I was at war, Miss Caulfield. There is little that can discomfit me now.”

But that was not the entire truth. He was not at ease as he seemed to study her features now.

“As you can see, I have knowledge that can help you find the murderer,” she said.

“What suggested to you that I have any intention of pursuing such a course?”

“Of course you have, or you would not have brought the body here and bribed the servants to keep it a secret from everybody else.”

“I did not bribe them.”

“You must have. I would have. After you tell the prince, I suppose he will summon the local law to investigate. When it arrives, let me help.”

“I cannot in good conscience allow that.”

“Then allow it in bad conscience.”

“Miss Caulfield—”

“You must allow me to help.”

“And yet I will not, despite my wish to please you.”

“You don’t wish to please me. You wish to thwart me.”

“You are correct. In this at least.” His gaze slipped to her shoulder, then her arms she was hugging to her waist, passing over her breasts as though they were not there. “Your lips are blue. You must retire to the warmth of your bedchamber. I will instruct Monsieur Brazil to send up a maid to build your fire again.”

“Aren’t you concerned that the murderer might realize we have discovered the body and will know that I know about it, and will come after me?”

That muscle twitched in his jaw again, but she did not know if humor or pique inspired it. “Yes.”

“If you keep me close, he won’t be able to get to me easily.”

“Interesting choice of words from the woman who vowed not two hours ago that she would not in this life come close to me again.”

“To solve the mystery of the murderer,” she said, her tongue abruptly dry, “of course.”

“Ah.” A smile caught at the corner of his mouth, the dent peeking out. “Of course.”

“I have plenty to recommend me to this investigation that the local police will appreciate.”

“An expertise in deaths involving medieval armor, perhaps?”

“A female body.”

That stalled him. Again his gaze dropped but this time it more than grazed over her breasts; it lingered. “I will admit I am not seeing how that makes you an expert investigator to murder.” He lifted his eyes to hers. They were decidedly dark and not entirely focused. The night before, his eyes had looked like this when his body atop hers had become aroused.

“I can speak to the women at this party in a manner in which I suspect you cannot. In regular conversation that seems like gossip I can encourage them to reveal information that could be valuable to discovering why this man was murdered and stuffed into a suit of armor. I will investigate this murder whether you or the local police wish me to or not.”

There was a stillness about his contemplation of her that at once made her breathe more deeply and unnerved her.

“You have me against the wall, it seems,” he finally said.

“I do.”

“The moment I have cause for concern over your safety, I will remove you to the village.”

“You will do no such thing. You haven’t the right. I may not actually be a lady, but I am a guest of the prince—”

“Who will do as I advise.” He seemed entirely confident of this.

Suspicion prickled at Ravenna. “Who is to say you are not the murderer, and now that you know I have useful information you won’t dispatch me too?”

“None but me.”

She glanced into the darkness where the butler had disappeared, then back at the tall, dark man who had subdued her quite effectively in a stable the previous night. “This is the part where you pull out the bloodstained dagger, isn’t it?”

“Why wouldn’t I have done it earlier, before Monsieur Brazil knew of your involvement?”

“No doubt you only thought of it at this moment.”

“It seems I am carelessly shortsighted.”

“It does.”

“Miss Caulfield?”

“You are not the murderer?”

“Go to bed.” He grasped her fingers and tucked them around the lamp handle. For a moment his large, strong hand encompassed hers, and she thought that no man who murdered another could possibly have such a marvelously warm, gentle touch. Then he released her. “The prince will call the party together after breakfast. If you truly intend to assist in this—”

“I do.”

“You must have your wits about you.”

“I always have my wits about me.”

“I think I am coming to see that.”

“You haven’t dispatched me because you know you need my help.”

“Do I?” He took a half step closer. “Or perhaps I have not yet dispatched you because, as depraved as I am, when I look at your lips I can feel your body beneath mine in the straw. If I were to do away with you now, that scenario could never be repeated.”  …

 

I missed reading the first book in The Prince Catchers series but I will definitely be reading the rest of the books in the series.

The Prince Catchers Reading Order:

I Married the Duke

I Adored a Lord

I Loved a Rogue (February 2015) 

 

Novel Reaction is excited to welcome author Christine D’Abo as part of her blog tour for Quicksilver Soul, the second book in her The Shadow Guild series. Let’s get to know a little more about Christine first,

Multipublished author Christine d’Abo loves exploring the human condition through a romantic lens. She takes her characters on fantastical journeys that change their hearts and expand their minds. A self-professed sci-fi junkie, Christine can often be found chatting about her favorite shows and movies. When she’s not writing, she can be found chasing after her children, dogs or husband. Christine is published with Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Cleis Press and Berkley. Please visit her at her blog and come chat with her on Twitter @Christine_dAbo.

Christine was kind enough to answer some questions (even I have to admit they are a little random but this what happens when I write interview questions late at night after a day spent wrestling with my six month old):

Novel Reaction: What made you decide to make Nicola Tesla female?

Christine: With the creation of this series, I wanted to pull my characters from people in our history, but I wanted to give them a twist of my own. I created my own mythology with Jack the Ripper in book one, GILDED HEARTS, and wanted to do something similar with QUICKSILVER SOUL. I’ve always loved the history and rivalry between Tesla and Edison. I thought it would be fun to incorporate that into one of my stories. I had my hero already and wanted to pair him up with a heroine who was both independent and smart. Turning Tesla into a woman became the next logical step.

Novel Reaction: If you could have a super power what would it be?

PRIDE-AND-PREJUDICE-1995_400Christine: I’m terrified of heights, so no flying or super jumping for me. If anything, I’d want to be able to be super-fast, like the Flash! Running around to get all my errands done while making lunches for the kids and writing 10k a day…yeah, being super-fast would be amazing. And I’d love to be able to run a marathon, so that would also help.

Novel Reaction: Favorite or least favorite books-to-movie?

Chrinstine: Guh there are so many!! I’m a sucker for a good period piece and even better if it’s based on a book that I love. Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth version), Emma (the A&E version), Jane Eyre (the A&E version) are all re-watches for me. I have to say one that I came too late in the game was North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I have to admit to seeing the miniseries before I read the book. The book is great, the miniseries has Richard Armitage. He’s pouty and broody and that smile. Yeah, I’m a HUGE fan of that adaptation.

____________________________

Thanks Christine for answering my questions. I was also late in the game to North and South, which was great! (If you haven’t seen it yet I highly recommend it!) 

The Shadow Guild Reading Order:

Gilded Hearts (read my review here)

Quicksilver Soul (read my review here)

DAbo_QuicksilverSoul_EbookNicola Tesla has never needed a man to complete her life. A gifted engineer, she has always had her experiments to keep her company-or she did, before her vile boss stole them. Now she’s working at the Archives in New London, where the memories of the dead are stored. But it isn’t long before Nicola discovers she’s being watched . . . by a most intriguing, sinfully sexy man.

Archivist Emmet Dennison should be busy extracting memories from the dead. Instead he’s been asked to keep an eye on the brazen, strikingly beautiful Nicola Tesla. Soon Emmet and Nicola are shaken by an attraction neither of them wants. Yet when a nefarious man takes them hostage, Nicola and Emmet will need to rely on their attraction, and the growing bond between them, to stop a madman hellbent on destroying New London forever

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Why Ratings?
It is true you can't judge a book by its cover, you also can't judge a book's graphic content by its cover. NovelReaction's goal is to provide readers with a graphic content so they can make an informed decision regarding the books they want to read. (Also, to have a great place for people to discuss books.) So sit back, pull up a beverage, and read on!
Graphic Ratings*

1 = kissing
2 = kissing, some fondling
3 = descriptive stripping but no sex
4 = sex scene but not descriptive in details
5 = full descriptive sex scene

*I am rating a specific book by an author, not the author's style. If I am aware an author writes a specific way, I will let you know.

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