‘High Sea’ – Short Victorian Romance Coming Soon to Smashwords

'High Sea' will be free on Smashwords in the run up to Valentine's day

‘High Sea’ will be free on Smashwords in the run up to Valentine’s day

To celebrate St Valentine’s Day, my short Victorian romance, ‘High Sea,’ will be published on Smashwords on Thursday 5th February and will be free initially.  The story is already available on Kindle and has some good ratings on Goodreads.

To readers who have said that, whilst they’ve enjoyed my short historical romances, they wished they had been longer, I’m happy to report that I am -finally!- working on a longer-length historical romance, and I’m really enjoying the process of writing a fuller story in this genre.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Anne Brontë: Giving the Forgotten Sister and Badass Feminist Author Her Due

Happy birthday Anne Bronte! Here’s an interesting article about her. Personally, I have to admit that ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ is a novel I found very hard-going, to the point that I gave up on reading it. However, ‘Agnes Grey’ is a little gem of a Nineteenth Century novel and, if you haven’t already read it, I would heartily recommend it!

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Anne Brontë, born on January 17, 1820, is often the butt of Brontë jokes. She’s known as the forgotten Brontë sister, or the one with less talent compared to preternatural geniuses Charlotte and Emily. But this is a simplistic reading of her life. Anne lacked her sisters’ wild romanticism and affinity for dark heroes, but she had a strength and gift all her own, and leaves a strong feminist literary legacy.

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Review of Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Shirley’

Review of 'Shirley' by Charlotte Bronte

Review of ‘Shirley’ by Charlotte Bronte

New Year brings a renewed dedication to reviewing books I’ve been reading.  I finished Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Shirley’ a couple of months back, but have finally got around to writing a review.  Here it is:

I feel a strong sense of relief at having discovered Shirley.  I consider myself a fan of Charlotte Bronte but have in the past abandoned her novel The Professor and found Villette hard-going (though ultimately rewarding).

Shirley is certainly not ‘standard’ Charlotte Bronte.  It reads a lot more like a George Eliot (or even Charles Dickens) novel, in being a work which is much more socially aware than Jane Eyre, with a larger cast of characters.  In contrast with Jane Eyre, the book has a third person narrator, which brings it more in line with the standard model for the Nineteenth Century novel.  Also significant is the fact that it’s her only novel to really transcend her abiding obsession with the lot of a female governess – although, latterly, a male tutor does become a significant character.

But I found it refreshing to read heroines who were not as doom-laden and self-absorbed as Lucy Snowe (Villette).  Whilst Caroline is a more sensitive character, more akin to what we expect from Bronte, the feisty Shirley herself defies our expectations and, for me, this was one of the greatest revelations of the novel.

I found the first 100 pages (one-fifth) of the book rather arduous (although, it’s here that there is social scene-setting that is interestingly atypical of Bronte) but it’s necessary for what follows.  Whilst I acknowledge that Shirley is Bronte’s most ambitious novel in terms of providing a commentary on the society of early Nineteenth Century Britain, I found it most rewarding as the story of a love triangle and, when this strand of the plot develops later on in the book, I believe it becomes a much more compelling read.  We also see in this storyline CB writing with emotional depth to challenge Jane Eyre.

So it’s for this aspect of Shirley that I would recommend the book to any fan of CB’s writing.  But I would also say that, if you’re a fan of the Nineteenth Century novel but not a fan of Jane Eyre, I would give Shirley a go – it shows a very different side to Charlotte Bronte’s writing.

Happy New Year to everyone!