Friday, July 29, 2016

Interview with Amanda Tero



Hello, everyone! Today I'll be interviewing Amanda Tero, author of Journey to Love and the to-be-published-very-soon-short-story-sequel, Letter of Love.


Hello, Amanda, welcome to Reveries. I must say, I was certainly glad to read Journey to Love. It actually inspired me to be a better Christian, which is something I can say for few books ... perhaps no books! I know that Journey to Love is the first novella in a series ... any hints about what the next one's going to be about? Do you have a rough idea as-to how many novellas/short stories will be in the series?

Hi Kellyn! Thanks for having me here! Wow, I am super humbled to hear that Journey to Love encouraged you to be a better Christian! That is indeed my goal in writing, and I praise the Lord for helping my few words to impact others!
 
The Orphan Journeys series is gradually evolving. ;) And in that, it is confusing a lot of people. So here's a breakdown:
 
- Orphan Journeys Novellas
Standalone novellas about fictional orphans who "rode the orphan train" and learned valuable lessons along the way. The novellas will not be connected to each other (as far as I know), which gives me the freedom to write as many as the Lord leads me to write, spanning different years.
- Orphan Journeys Short Stories
Spin-offs from either the novellas or novels about characters that we just didn't want to let go. Stories that had to be finished, but didn't quite need a full novella or novel.
- Orphan Journeys Novels
 
This portion of the Orphan Journeys series is connected. Currently, I have the first two books planned. Journey of Choice (in the works) is about an orphan, Nat. He didn't choose to be an orphan. He didn't choose to go on the orphan train. But there are things that he does choose in his life. Choices which might have consequences. Journey of Purpose (book 2) is about a young orphan, Micah, who is a pastor's son. His paths cross with Nat's as they both learn the purpose in living.
 
 

Will we hear more about Marie or any of the other characters in the second book?

This is where the Orphan Journeys Short Stories were invented. I had several people ask me about Edward, Marie's brother from whom she was separated. I just finished "Letter of Love," which tells Edward's story. Other than that, though, I don't have any intentions on revisiting characters from Journey to Love.

Was Journey to Love a hard book to write? Going back, was it a hard book to plot? To research for?

It was a hard book for various reasons. 1) I challenged myself to write about a character completely opposite of myself. Marie struggles with security, fear, love. She gets closed into her shell and doesn't want to let anyone in. This is not me at all! I never felt "connected" with Marie, but you know what? God worked through that and has allowed several readers to completely identify and connect with Marie. That has made me stand in awe of how God works. 2) I wrote this over a period of a year in which we were building a house, helping with a lot of different camps, and traveling a bit. I prefer to sit down and focus on a project, but in this case, God gave me grace to write little bits at a time. 3) I kept trying to write "the end" before the story was finished. I grew impatient. Several friends talked me into lengthening the story. In fact, chapters 10 and 16-19 were written less than two months before I published the book!

I didn't really plot this book. I had an outline (which I scratched), but I kind of plotted as I wrote. I find that plots kind of hem me in too much. I'm what some people call a "pantser" writer.

Researching was challenging as well, because I like to be historically accurate. I did a lot of research on the orphan trains and finally found two books, which I read after the bulk of Journey to Love was written (and caused me to realize that one of the plotlines would have been completely historically inaccurate! So...I hid behind a "historical note" in which I acknowledged that and kept my story). It was a little harder to find information on the orphan train than I thought it would be.
Did the characters evolve a lot during the writing of Journey to Love, or did they stay the way you imagined them from the start?
My characters usually evolve a lot as I write. Marie pretty much stayed the same. She was supposed to be a shy girl who shut out those around her and refused to let them love her. Celeste started out as a very sub-character, but as I realized that she could be a bubbly, fun character, she came more to the forefront. But other characters, like Mr. Bowles, changed as I wrote -- then I went back to edit them to stay consistent.

Did you learn anything while writing it?

The biggest lesson I learned was probably a mix between being patient and following God. As I wrote my first draft, I finished it thinking, "This really should be Journey to Freedom or Journey to Truth." But I felt like the Lord was leading me to write Journey to LOVE. The very next day, I visited my sister's church and the Sunday School lesson was on 1 John 4. It was like God was saying, "Nope, you're not done yet! You still need to put that message of love in there."
 

As a Christian, do you think you've expanded or stayed the same as you write books that tell people about Jesus Christ?

Writing Christian fiction definitely causes me to grow. Many times, I write about lessons that God has personally taught me (particularly with my short stories), but I have realized that God uses what I'm writing to "preach to me." For example, in thinking about and writing Journey of Choice, about a highly independent character, God has shown me areas in which I've begun to be independent and need to return to following Him.
Do you ever see yourself writing novels for a secular audience? Or will you always write strictly Christian books?

I personally believe that God has given me the gift of writing, and that in that gift, He has also given me the calling to write for His glory. Every time I write, I have an amazing opportunity to reach others for Christ. In a way, writing is just one of my ministries to help others. And the best way I can help them is to point them to Christ. So, in short: no, I don't see myself as ever writing secular books. I would love to reach a secular audience, but just this week I was reading 2 Corinthians (particularly 2 Corinthians 4:1-2) and realized that I'm not to try to "hide Christ" and use worldly tactics to lure people to Him. Rather, Christ is to be boldly preached. I realize other writers feel differently, and that's fine; it's between them and God.
 
 

What are your goals as a writer? Where do you see yourself in a year? Five? Ten?

Wow ... um ... I take my years one at a time. ;) I never know where God might lead next. Three years ago, I wouldn't have guessed that He would lead me to be a published author, but that's exactly where I am now. I would love to say that in a year, Journey of Choice is finished (as well as a few novellas and short stories spinning around in my brain). In five years, I'd like to see the Orphan Journey novels expanded to more than two books, and the novella series to have a few more stories in there. In ten years? Wow, if I'm going to crazy dream, I have two more series I'd like to see out there: a medieval series (currently two books) and a mid-west mining series (currently four books). But like I said, my main goal is to follow God and do what I feel Him leading me to do.

Besides writing (and reading, obviously), how do you spend your free time?

Well, I'm actually more of a musician than a writer. I'm about to start teaching the fall semester and it looks like I'll have between 20-25 violin and piano students. Also, I enjoy arranging hymns and am getting those available for other church musicians at www.withajoyfulnoise.com. I'm also a photographer and graphics designer, so if I have extra minutes from music and writing, that's usually what I try to do. Believe it or not, pursuing writing is kind of my "free time" hobbies. ;) But if I am to have just plain "do-NOTHING-business-related" free time, I'd have to say spending time with family and friends, having theological discussions and playing games.

Anything else you'd like to say before I have to post this post?

You have been very thorough, Kellyn! Your questions have made me stop and think and I enjoyed it immensely!
 
 
 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And ... that's all for today! Thanks for letting me interview you, Amanda; your answers were awesome! :D

Oh, and everyone else: I'll be reviewing Letter of Love (also a very good story, by the way, though soooo sad!) this coming Monday as part of Amanda's book-release blog tour!

~Kellyn Roth

About Amanda Tero

Amanda Tero is a homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again – starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels.

If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)
 
Find out more at https://amandatero.com/

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Silent Blade by Jesseca Wheaton

The Silent Blade by Jesseca Wheaton


 
Dromiskin, Ireland. 925 A.D.
 
Eira has no greater desire than to see her life returned to what it once was—before her older brother Kevin's sudden disappearance four years earlier. But the simple life she hoped for seems unattainable; on the contrary, her life is about to get all the more complicated.
 
 When she suddenly finds herself and Willem, her twin brother, taken captive by someone who claims to be Kevin’s enemy, things go from bad to worse. It soon becomes clear that she and Willem are to become bait in a trap set for Kevin, and Eira knows she must try to warn him. But how, when she herself is a captive?
 
 As mysteries of the past are unveiled, and loyalties are revealed, Eira realizes how precious her friends truly are. And when mortal danger threatens those nearest to her, will she be able to trust God with the lives of her friends and family?
 
 
Although I don't usually read novels set in medieval times, I made an exception for The Silent Blade after hearing great things about it from the beta-readers. I'm glad I did; it was a very good book! I liked it a lot more than I thought I would, and there were times when I definitely didn't want to put it down, even to eat. Unfortunately, my mother does not look favorably upon reading at the table. :D
 
The plot was intriguing, full of twists and turns. It was an adventure novel, another genre I rarely read. Again, I was pleasantly surprised by The Silent Blade. The action vs. dialogue was well-balanced (although I felt that there could have been a little more description), and I wasn't forced to read through fight scenes in great detail, although I certainly understood what was going on.
 
I loved the characters. There were quite a few of them, but they were all distinct and I never had trouble keeping track of them. And the names! If you know me well, you know I love names - especially Irish names - and the names were, I'm ashamed to say, one of my favorite things about the book! Eira, Casimir, Cian, Aeden, Rowen ... awesome names. They were pretty awesome characters, too.
 
I liked Eira. She was different than most strong heroines you read about - feminine and soft, but never weak. I enjoyed her thoroughly.
 
I think Casimir was my favorite character. He was witty and intelligent and a good swordfighter and caring and ... awesome.
 
Kevin was the most awesome big brother ever! I was almost in tears sometimes. Me: "I want a Keeeeeviiiiin!!!" *sobs* (not really ... but kind of)
 
Willem is another character who I really enjoyed. He was always so calm! This, perhaps, could have been played a little more (so some room for character development), but I still got the idea.
 
And I must say the thing with Henry was so ... unexpected. A little too sudden, too easy, perhaps? Like Kung Fu Panda 3? ("I hope you find your son." "I hope you find your father." XD)
 
I believe I talked about the writing a little up there already (sorry, guys ... I didn't mean to make this review so messy, but there it is!), which was pretty good, if a little confusing at times (at the beginning, for instance). As I said before, the description could have used work, but the action vs. dialogue was pretty good.
 
I do have one big problem with this novel, and that was the way the characters spoke. At the end of the novel, the author noted that the character don't seem to speak with an Irish accent because, technically, they would be speaking in Gaelic. While I understand not writing out accents, the modern language they used (even "okay" several times) really threw me off. It took away a lot from the novel. In the future, I'd advise the author to at least use a little less modern language in her historical novels.
 
I enjoyed the sibling-banter between Willem and Eira. It was cute and great character development. And, of course, every word Casimir said was ... <3 I'm sorry, Rylan, I've found a new boyfriend ...
 
Because of the lack of description, I didn't get a really good grasp of the setting. However, the author knows her stuff about the time period. As far as I could tell, besides the dialogue it was all historically accurate, and what I did hear about Ireland in that time period was pretty cool. I want to go to Ireland soooo badly! I don't even need a time machine; I'll happily go there now! *worst Irish accent ever* IRELAND ME HOMELAND!!!
 
Content
 
1.5/5, ok for all ages. There is some romance, but there were no descriptions of kisses or touching or anything - very sweet, clean, and innocent. There was also violence, but no blood or gore. No language.
 
Rating
 
4/5 stars. An amazing novel that could use just a little improvement.
 
~Kellyn Roth
 
About the Author
 
 
Jesseca is an 18-year old daughter, sister, and a child of God. Her days are spent reading, cooking, spending time with siblings, or playing piano.  And writing, of course! At an early age words fascinated her, and her love for the printed page has only grown. She lives with her parents and seven siblings in the sunny state of Kansas, and she’s convinced there’s no place like home.
 
You can find out more about Jesseca Wheaton and her works on her blog, Whimsical Writings.

Interview with Jesseca Dawn

 
It's time for yet another interview, this time with Jesseca Wheaton, author of The Silent Blade. I'm proud to be a part of her blog tour! Go to her blog (click) to find out more about her, the blog tour, and The Silent Blade.
 
Now, let's move on to the questions! :D
 
I was excited to be allowed to read The Silent Blade. Where’d you get the idea for the plot? How about the characters? Are they inspired by people you know, other book characters, etc.? Is the main character(s) similar to you? In what ways?
 
Aww, I'm glad you were excited!
 
I know this is going to sound bad, but I literally had no idea of the plot when I sat down to write. My family had just watched the Chronicles of Narnia DVD's for the first time, and I wanted to write something with a Medieval-ish feel. Also, I had just finished a non-magical fantasy series, The Arcrean Conquest series by Nicole Sager, and that combined with Narnia was enough to make me want to write a similar sort of story. But, since I don't write fantasy, I decided to try a historical fiction set in Ireland.
 
Well, there are two main characters and the POV is told equally between them throughout the book. I don't have a lot in common with Eira, but Kevin and I are very similar! We're both the oldest, we both struggle with letting others down and being over protective of our family. I enjoyed writing him. :) 
 
 
 
What is the main character(s) of The Silent Blade like?
 

Eira is quiet, but she's not shy. She'll generally obey what she's told, just trying to avoid trouble. She's a peacemaker. :) Kevin, on the other hand, is independent. He likes making decisions for himself, and he takes responsibility very seriously. He also has a strong sense of justice. 
 
Will there be a sequel to The Silent Blade?
 

At the present there are no plans for one... but you never know! :) 
 
What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser? Where do you prefer to write? Do/can you work on more than one novel at a time?
 
I get an idea, do some research, get a mental outline, and then sit down and write. Most of the time I'll start with the first scene in the book, though there are times an idea will hit me for a particular scene and I'll sit down and write it. But I like writing in order. ;) Umm, I'm more of a plotter. I like to have an idea of where I'm going, what Biblical principal will be woven in through the story (and what verses I'll use), what the characters will go through, etc. Of course, a lot changes as I'm writing, but I like to have at least a small idea of where I'm heading!
 
I can work on more then one story at a time, thought I normally will chose one to sit and work on every day, and the other one will just be my "for fun" book. 

Is there a book that influenced The Silent Blade more than any other? A movie?
 
The Heart of Arcrea for the book, and Prince Caspian for the movie. My family got tired of me re-playing the soundtrack for Prince Caspian over and over again while I was writing. But hey, it was awesome! 
 
Do the main characters of The Silent Blade have theme songs? How about the book?
Umm, not really. Most of the time when I was writing, I would just put on a playlist of Celtic hymns, or the soundtrack for Prince Caspian. Great music for writing inspiration! ^_^
 
Do you prefer to write with a pen or pencil?
A gel pen, whether black or purple ink. Yes, I'm picky. ;) 
 
Do you prefer to write on the computer or on paper?
 
The computer. Because then my writing looks orderly. In a notebook it looks like someone tried to write in a different language. Yeah, my handwriting is messy unless I really work at it. And... when I'm writing a book I never work on it. ;P 
 
Where you do usually write?
Either in our living room at night when most of my siblings have headed to bed, or on my bed with the laptop! 
 
What do you do for fun when you’re not writing?
 
Read! I also like cooking, baking, sewing, playing the piano, swimming at the lake, spending time with friends. All so much fun! :D
 
Do you have a favorite flavor of icecream?
 
Rocky Road or Chocolate!! Hands down! Of course, cappuccino is realllyyy good, too!
 
What’s one fun fact about yourself?
 
I am the oldest in a family of ten! And I frequently have people tell me my "kids" are so sweet. I've learned to nod and smile. It gets wayyy too complicated to try and explain that they're my siblings and there's just a big age difference. ;) 

Is there anything you’d like to say to wrap up?
 
Well, thank you so much for having me!!! Oh, and just 'cause I'm curious ... what is one fun fact about you? ;)
 
Well, that about wraps it up! And in response, one fun fact about me is ... I like cheese! (someone, tell me they get the reference! Please!) ... Not really. How about ... well, when I was little, my sisters were always getting asked "is she yours?" Yep. I look a lot more like my sisters than my parents ...
 
About Jesseca Wheaton
 
 

Jesseca is an 18-year old daughter, sister, and a child of God. Her days are spent reading, cooking, spending time with siblings, or playing piano.  And writing, of course! At an early age words fascinated her, and her love for the printed page has only grown. She lives with her parents and seven siblings in the sunny state of Kansas, and she’s convinced there’s no place like home.
 
You can find out more about Jesseca Wheaton and her works on her blog, Whimsical Writings.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Interview with Jennie Goutet




Hello All! Today I'll be interviewing the author of The Viscount of Maisons-Laffitte, Jennie Goutet. She's also the author of Stars Upside Down, her memoir. It will be on sale through this week for only $0.99 ... you can pick up a copy here! She's going to mention this later on in the interview, but I want to let you know RIGHT NOW in case you're reading this five seconds before it goes off sale. ;)

Hello, Jennie! Welcome to Reveries Reviews! Let's get on with the Q&A.

Why did you originally want to become a writer? Did you start writing when you were little, or did you start when you were older?

I wrote a short novelette in 7th grade, called “Pigtails to Lipstick”, but as it contained some veiled allusions of my friends’ poor treatment of me, it was not met with rave reviews. I think my career as a writer started when I began my blog, A Lady in France, seven years ago (originally under the title, Perfect Welcome). That’s when I gained confidence in my ability as I saw that people liked what I wrote, I received a few awards, and I was published on larger sites. It’s also when I started writing with some regularity.

What was the first (not necessarily published) thing you wrote?

If we don’t count the half-finished manuscripts – (ten chapters in, and my husband says, “But it’s boring! Nothing happens!”) – I suppose the first thing would be my illustrated children’s book, Happy People Everywhere, which I wrote for my ESL students when I was teaching in Taiwan. I did eventually publish it, and it’s available on Amazon.

But what I consider to be my first real manuscript (MS) is the one I actually finished: my memoir, called Stars Upside Down: a memoir of travel, grief, and an incandescent God. I learned how to write a full-length book in this memoir, and as the plot was already in place (my life), I only needed to work on the phrasing and flow from one scene to the next. This gave me a much-needed boost in my ability to finish something. I stored the draft in a file on my computer called, “Final Attempt” as I told myself that if I didn’t finish this book, I would abandon all dreams of being a writer.

The memoir’s first title was Life in the Trenches, with the suggested change to my blog name, A Lady in France, under which it was published in 2013. I finally edited the entire thing and republished it in January, cutting about 50,000 words, and abridging it to what it is today – a change I felt necessary as I grew as a writer. I also changed the title to more accurately represent the faith element and am happy to have taken this step, even if it meant starting over with reviews, etc.

What's your current writing project?

I am about 16,000 words into my Regency novel (out of an expected 90,000). I wanted to write Regency straight away, and The Viscount of Maisons-Laffitte is inspired by this era (classical language, a peer, a chateau, a pure love story, and (sometimes) a mystery standing in the way of happily ever after).

I was too afraid to write Regency for my first novel, that I couldn’t pull it off with historical accuracy and authentic dialogue. Now – after much research – I’m taking the plunge. I’ve studied Georgian and Regency architecture, the habits of Almack’s (an exclusive club at the time), the Peninsular Wars, central London at the time, the expressions, dress code, and proper forms of address. The list goes on. Of course, in the end, it’s all about likeable characters and interesting plot. But if it can be authentic at the same time, I’ll have no cause to blush.

How much planning/outlining do you do before you start writing a novel?

I usually write a couple of chapters with the barest whisper of a story so I can get a feel for the characters, language and setting. After that, I need to bring all writing to a halt and spend a few hours mapping out the plot, chapter by chapter. I then write the first draft, and end up shifting, cutting, and adding content before having something I’m ready to show other writers to get their feedback. I love thorough critique, and the resulting changes in my MS show how seriously I take them into account.
 
Where do you write when you're at home?
 
I work from a cheap desk in the living room for the moment, but when our house renovations are done, I’ll have my own office in my daughter’s bedroom downstairs (the basement part of our split-level house). My husband did create an office for me in the studio on our property, but I found I didn’t like to be away from the house. I like to be available for kids, and stirring food from time to time as it cooks. Of course, that usually means I’m writing while my two sons are fighting with toy swords and my daughter is showing me her new hairstyle. We mothers are nothing, if not multi-taskers.

What inspires you when you're stuck?
 
Reading Georgette Heyer, hands down. Her stories are so witty, her characters so brilliant, and it’s just the period to inspire me as most of her books are set in the Regency or Georgian period. Of course, I’ve devoured many of the classics (Dickens, Austen, Hardy, Twain, Dostoevsky, etc.) but Heyer has more of a modern-day pacing, which is just what I need. That’s why I read her books again and again. They usually make me want to rush  off and work on my own.
 
Do you have a favorite character from The Viscount of Maisons-Laffitte? Was he/she inspired by someone in real life?
 
I have two, and both are inspired by real life. One is Maude – Chastity’s best friend. She looks and acts like a very dear friend of mine from church – Alberte. I told her about it, but she can’t read English well enough to appreciate the story. The other is Jean-Fran├žois (Jef) who is based on my brother-in-law. He’s a professional actor, and I always thought that if my story could be made into a movie, he could claim his part. He also has that rebel-to-society / loyal-to-friends thing going on. Unfortunately, he also can’t read my book because of the English.
 
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When you started writing The Viscount of Maisons-Laffitte, did you intend to publish it? Was publishing exciting for you or just plain scary?
 
Even though I had published a memoir, I was still unsure about my ability to finish and publish a novel because that meant coming up with a workable plot. (Not my strongest point). When I began writing it, I put a chapter a week up on my blog to force myself not to give up when the plot got difficult. In a sense, I was fully intending to publish as I wrote it. But I was still scared I wouldn’t be able to, and only gained confidence when I finished the first draft. Even for my current WIP (work-in-progress) I won’t be fully confident until I get to the end, and I sometimes put snippets on my blog just to stay … published, so to speak. It’s hard to be silent for a year while you work on something, with no encouragement from your readers. This is my way of keeping at it.
 
Do you have anything to say in closing?
 
Mainly, thank you, Kellyn! I so appreciate your review and interview, and just having you interested in my work enough to feature it. And I can’t resist putting a plug in for my memoir in case some of your readers are interested in reading stories about faith. Stars Upside Down is on sale this week through Sunday. Kindle copies on Amazon US and UK for just .99.
 

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Here is the summary:

At seventeen, Jennie Goutet has a dream that she will one day marry a French man and sets off to Avignon in search of him. Though her dream eludes her, she lives boldly--teaching in Asia, studying in Paris, working and traveling for an advertising firm in New York. 
When God calls her, she answers reluctantly, and must first come to grips with depression, crippling loss, and addiction before being restored. Providence takes her by the hand as she marries her French husband, works with him in a humanitarian effort in East Africa, before settling down in France and building a family. 
Told with honesty and strength, Stars Upside Down is a brave, heart-stopping story of love, grief, faith, depression, sunshine piercing the gray clouds--and hope that stays in your heart long after it's finished.
 

About Jennie Goutet
 
Jennie Goutet
 
Jennie Goutet is the author of romance novel, The Viscount of Maisons-Laffitte, as well as the award-winning memoir, Stars Upside Down, and the children's book Happy People Everywhere. She is a contributing author to Sunshine After the Storm, and That's Paris - an Anthology of Love, Life and Sarcasm in Paris. She was a BlogHer Voice of the Year pick three times, and her writing has appeared on Huffington Post, Queen Latifah's website, Mamalode, BonBonBreak, and BlogHer.
 
You can find her on her author website, jenniegoutet.com, or her blog, aladyinfrance.com, where she writes occasionally about faith, food, and life in Paris with her husband and three children.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Viscount of Maisons-Laffitte by Jennie Goutet

The Viscount of Maisons-Laffitte by Jennie Goutet


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Is there such a thing as Prince Charming?

 Chastity didn’t take a teaching job in France to find hers, but a woman can dream, n’est ce pas?
 
If the father of one of her students—the Viscount Charles Jean Anne Monorie de Brase—is the best local example of princes, Charming or Otherwise, Chastity is ready to put aside any thought of falling in love again.
 
As much as she would prefer him to keep his distance, it seems there is no avoiding each other. With the ongoing pressure of a repentant ex-boyfriend, a nefarious drug dealer, and an art heist that spans the decades, Chastity and the viscount are thrown together by circumstances she would soon rather forget.
 
As the intimacy between Charles and Chastity deepens, they must decide if their love is enough to bridge the gap between their disparate worlds, and if happily ever after can exist outside of fairy tales.
 
 
Absolutely charming! Couldn't put it down. A beautifully written romance with nice subplots of an art thief, a drug dealer, and a father reuniting with his son. It flowed naturally and gave me a nice weekend read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
 
Chastity is a single, American mom working in France as a high school teacher. Charles is a rich viscount with a teenage son who he barely knows.
 
When Chastity and Charles first meet, there's a Pride-and-Prejudice-reminiscent thing going on between them. She's the pert, overbearing schoolteacher; he's the snobbish, gets-everything-he-wants-whenever-he-wants-it viscount. How could these two ever get together? Yet none-to-ideal circumstances throw them in each other's paths again and again.
 
I liked Chastity a lot. Her motivations all made sense to me - I even emphasized with her at several points - and it was nice how her decisions usually didn't drive me crazy (as in "NOOOOOO DON'T DO THAT!!!" ... all us readers know the feeling!).
 
I liked Charles a lot, too ... maybe even more than I liked Chastity! I also liked Chastity's son, Thomas, although I found him a bit too mature ... maybe a wee bit unbelievable?
Although I admit Alice is pretty mature for eight ...The minor characters were great, too ... I liked how some of the other teachers were so supporting of Chastity! Especially Maude.
 
As I've said before, the plot was wonderful! I sooooo did not see that twist at the end! I don't know if that makes me an idiot (once it was revealed, I was like "*facepalm* Yesss, I knew that!!!"), but I didn't see it coming! The subplots were also great, adding nicely to the main story.
 
The writing was mature in style (not as-in a 'an adult wrote this so it must be mature' ... even adults can write immaturely ... writing oftentimes doesn't reflect on the person's age at all!). Nice balance of description vs. action vs. dialogue. Maybe a little more description would have been nice (MORE FRANCE PLEASE!!!), but perhaps it would have drowned the story. Hmm. I don't know.
 
The setting ... well, it was France. I would have liked a little more on the setting. I got the idea that I was somewhere other than America, but other than that I didn't get a good idea of where we were. Of course, I knew that the novel was set in France, but ... a little bit of 'world-building' would have been nice.
 
Overall, a wonderful novel that I enjoyed for start to finish! Worth the read for lovers of romance, contemporary fiction, France, and ... books in general. :D
 
Content
 
2.5/5, parental guidance suggested for preteens. Some drug use (next-to-no details, not glorified at all), a child (Thomas) was born out of wedlock (no details), some violence (no blood and gore, might creep out extremely, extremely sensitive people a little ... though if it does, I reserve the right to call you a wuss). Overall, clean for high school teens.
 
Rating
 
4/5 stars. Adorable romance!
 
~Kellyn Roth
 

About the Author
 
Jennie Goutet

 
Jennie Goutet is the author of romance novel, The Viscount of Maisons-Laffitte, as well as the award-winning memoir, Stars Upside Down, and the children's book Happy People Everywhere. She is a contributing author to Sunshine After the Storm, and That's Paris - an Anthology of Love, Life and Sarcasm in Paris. She was a BlogHer Voice of the Year pick three times, and her writing has appeared on Huffington Post, Queen Latifah's website, Mamalode, BonBonBreak, and BlogHer.

You can find her on her author website, jenniegoutet.com, or her blog, aladyinfrance.com, where she writes occasionally about faith, food, and life in Paris with her husband and three children.