Book Review: Forever, Lately by Linore Rose Burkard

About Forever, Lately::

1816, England
Julian St. John needs a wife. An oath to a deceased guardian must be kept. Miss Clarissa Andrews, a vexatious beauty, has dangled after him all season but he has no intention of choosing such a she-devil.

Maine, Present Day
Author Claire Channing is desperate to write a bestseller to save her failing career. She moves into her grandmotherʼs abandoned cottage to write the book, but a local resort baron wants to raze the place. Without the deed, the clock is ticking on how long she can stay. She thinks she’s writing St. Johnʼs story. But when she discovers an old prayer shawl and finds herself in his Regency world, she falls in love with him, a man she thought she invented! Miss Andrews, however, is also real—and she’d rather see Julian dead than in another womanʼs arms!  Claire must beat the clock to prevent a deadly tragedy, but can love beat the limits of time itself?

My Review:

A wonderful romp through the world of the Regency England through the eyes of a modern-day woman. Truly fun time travel by supernatural means rather than a time machine. The romance is poignant and sweet with both the hero and the heroine having to make tough choices. Julian St. John and Claire Channing seem to be meant for each other. The only thing that separates them is time! Author Linore Rose Burchard adds clever plot twists and dialog. It’s the kind of book worth reading a second time. I truly enjoyed it. Highly recommend!

Character Interview with Serena Winthrop from Miss Serena’s Secret by Carolyn Miller.

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Today we have the pleasure of hearing from the protagonist of Carolyn Miller’s new novel!

 

Q: Miss Serena Winthrop, welcome. I’d like to start by asking about your pretty name, Serena, and whether it is a family name passed through generations of Winthrops.

 

A: Thank you. Serena is not a family name as such, but a name my father chose, as he was hopeful it would prove indicative of a calm and temperate character. I believe some might think it well chosen, although those who know me well would likely beg to disagree.

 

Q: Would you mind telling us more about your family?

 

A: I am the younger daughter of Lord and Lady Winthrop. My father, the Baron, died last year, and circumstances led to a distant cousin inheriting the title, which proved quite shocking at the time. Now, however, my mother and sister are reconciled to the situation—and to him. My sister, Catherine, recently married Jonathan, so I am very pleased to have someone so kind and generous as Jon look out for me as an elder brother.

 

Q: I’m so sorry to hear about your father. That must have been extremely trying. Would you mind telling us about where you went to school and your time there?

 

A: I attended Miss Haverstock’s Seminary for Young Ladies in Bath, Somerset. Beyond that, I have nothing more to say.

 

Q: Oh! Well, now that you to graduate from the school room, I imagine you will be embarking upon your first London season soon. Could you please tell us about what you most look forward to?

 

A: While I understand it is the usual thing for young ladies to look forward to such things, I have no great desire to attend balls or dinners or engage in the sorts of flirtations most people seem to think appropriate. In fact, the only thing in which I would take any real pleasure would be a visit to Somerset House for the Summer Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Art.

 

Q: Yes, I understand you are something of an artist. Would you care to tell us about your interest in this field?

 

A: I loveart. I love to draw, to paint, to see how a scene of beauty or an image in my mind can be translated to the page. I find myself getting lost to all else when I am in the throes of sketching or painting, much to my mother’s chagrin. I like both portraits and landscapes, but I’m afraid I have no patience for still life. I know it can prove helpful for developing my technique, but truly, I cannot take any great pleasure in painting a bowl of fruit. A bowl of fruit? I ask you!

Whilst I have worked mostly with watercolors, I would love to try oils even though some consider it an unladylike thing to do; there is something so rich and vibrant about the colors and textures of oils. And while my art never feels like it reaches that sense of truly being complete, in the process of creating, I imagine it must be a tiny bit like what our Heavenly Father must feel in His creation of the world. Not that I think I am like God, though. Far from it!

 

Q: You sound like you do have faith, though.

 

A: Of course! I might live in Christian England, but I would call myself a Christian, someone who not only believes in God and in His forgiveness of sins through our Savior Jesus Christ, but someone seeking His direction and guidance every day, through reading the Bible and prayer. I certainly am aware that I need God’s help, as my blunt manner of speaking canlead to trouble sometimes.

 

Q: Oh my! I hesitate to enquire, but would you care to share an example?

 

A: I’m afraid I have at times been rather too candid in my assessment of Lord Henry Carmichael’s character. He was dining with my family one time and made one of his usual tiresome remarks which I dared to point out. My mother hushed me to not bother him, and I mighthave said something about his not being bothered by what anyone might say, but rather always feels a sense of superior amusement. I believe my mother despairs at my prospects at ever contracting an eligible match.

 

Q: Forgive me, but were you truly so bold to the most eligible bachelor in England?

 

A: (Sniffs) He might be the heir to the Earl of Bevington, and some might call him charming and handsome, but I mistrust gentlemen of manners too smooth; one never really knows where one stands with such a man. And his reputation as a flirt and a gambler does not impress me one jot.

 

Q: After the gambling debts incurred by your own poor father such a sentiment is understandable. But truly, you do not consider the Bevington estate in Derbyshire something to aspire to? I understand the house and gardens are extremely beautiful, and possess something of a mysterious treasure.

 

A: I have heard the estate is very grand, but I hold no desire to evenseesuch a thing if it means marriage to a man of Lord Carmichael’s character. However, as he is one of my brother-in-law’s best friends, avoidance of him will likely prove impossible. So I shall just have to grit my teeth for Jonathan and Catherine’s sake, and try to remember to practice charity.

 

Q: To love one’s enemy?

 

A: It would be amiss to say Lord Carmichael is my enemy, perhaps better to admit he is merely someone I find intensely irritating. But I am hopeful that I shan’t have much to do with him, and can concentrate on my artwork instead. My dream is to one day have a painting exhibited in the Summer Exhibition, so such a thing demands my full attention.

 

Q: Our best wishes for your artwork, Miss Serena, and for all your future plans. Perhaps in time your mother’s wishes for your matrimonial success will come true.

 

A: Thank you. Though I think such an event unlikely, one must surely possess the promise of hope, mustn’t one?

 

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked part-time as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher. E 011 copy 2 square.jpeg

A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Winning Miss Winthrop and Miss Serena’s Secret, all available from Amazon, Book Depository, Koorong, etc

 

Connect with her:        website | facebook | pinterest | twitter| instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview of Tavin Knox and Gemma Lyfeld from The Reluctant Guardian, a LIH Regency.

susie coverThe pair arrive in the drawing room of a Mayfair townhouse. After exchanging pleasantries, taking our seats and pouring tea, we begin with small talk.

Novel PASTimes: Gemma, I like your red cloak.

Gemma: Thank you, ma’am. So do I.

Tavin: I wish you’d have worn something else. That cloak has caused naught but trouble.

Novel PASTimes: Trouble?

Gemma: Mistaken identity. Someone else has one like it.

Tavin: Someone dangerous. And it almost cost your life.

Gemma: Well, it didn’t, thanks to you.

Novel PASTimes: Can you elaborate?

Gemma: A female smuggler who operates near my home wears a red cloak like this, and a smuggling ringleader known as The Sovereign thought I was she. Since I am not—and I saw his face and can identify him—there is some concern I might be in danger. Which I am not. The Sovereign does not know who I am, and dozens of ladies wear red cloaks. Besides, he is in Hampshire, and I am now here in London for my Season.

Tavin: I agree that you are not in danger, but I still say you shouldn’t wear that thing anymore until things are. . . settled.

Tavin’s gaze occasionally flickers to the door and windows, as if certain someone will barge in on our interview.

Novel PASTimes: Let’s move on. Where were you born?

Gemma: Hampshire. The New Forest area. ‘Tis beautiful, so green.

Tavin: Scotland.

Novel PASTimes: Oh? I detect no noticeable Scottish burr.

Tavin: I was educated in England. My mother was English. It was important to her family that I sound English. I haven’t been to Scotland in years.

Novel PASTimes: Would you like to go back shortly? To visit family?

Tavin: I’m a little busy these days.

Novel PASTimes: Ah, yes. You’re a spy for the Revenue Agency.

Tavin: No, you’re mistaken. I’m in the import business.

Gemma: *shaking head*:We may speak freely here, Tavin. She won’t tell anyone. *Turning to interviewer* Of course he’s a spy. “Import business” is a euphemism for his secretive work for the Revenue Agency. He was hunting down the Sovereign when I intruded upon his investigation. He’s been ordered to guard me for the time being.

Tavin: I’m not accustomed to playing nursemaid. I should be back in Hampshire to bring that rogue to justice.

Gemma: If it was up to me, you would be. Believe me, I do not like you watching me, disapproving of everything I do.

Tavin: I don’t disapprove. Unless you’re careless. Which you are, far too often for my liking.

Gemma: You’d have us live in a cage. The boys cannot be confined.

Novel PASTimes: The boys?

Gemma: My brother’s children. They adore Tavin. Their parents allowed me to bring them to London with me for the Season. They’re my greatest joy.

Tavin: She’s more of a parent to them than their own mother. And they love her, those imps.

Novel PASTimes: You’re smiling, Tavin. Thinking of the boys?

Tavin: They’re a mischievous pair. They love castles and knights and making trouble. I’m. . . fond of them. In my line of work, a family is out of the question. Perhaps spending time with them is making me realize what I shall never have.

Gemma: You could, someday.

Tavin: Not in my line of work, and I’ll not leave it until—well, that is neither here nor there. I have one occupation: capturing The Sovereign.

Gemma: Then let us finish this once and for all. Let’s make a plan I shall return to Hampshire and lure the Sovereign out. If he wants to kill me because I can identify him, he is sure to take the bait—

Tavin: Ach, no—that’s the maddest thing I’ve ever heard—

Novel PASTimes: Wait a second—I hear a trace of Scottish burr in your voice that I didn’t detect before, Tavin.

Gemma: That happens when he’s upset.

Tavin: *scowling* Forgive me.

Gemma: There’s nothing to forgive. It’s the real you.

Tavin: *still scowling* Next question?

Novel PASTimes: Um, all right. There’s been gossip about town regarding your relationship. People think you’re courting.

Tavin: As I’ve said, a man like me cannot have a family. I’ve had to stay close to her to protect her, but everyone has been told we are family friends. ‘Tis no lie. Those gossipmongers say what they like.

Gemma: His closest friend is my brother-in-law.

Novel PASTimes: So you wouldn’t be together at all, ever, by choice?

Gemma: No. I mean—if circumstances were different. . .

Tavin: I—well, I suppose not.

Gemma: But we are friends, are we not?

Tavin: Of course. And it hasn’t been all bad, spending so much time together.

Novel PASTimes: So you’re friends and that’s all? You’re sure there are no romantic feelings underlying things here?

Tavin: No. Next question.

Gemma: None whatsoever. Our relationship is strictly platonic. A matter of business ordered by the Crown. Tavin doesn’t. . . and I do not. . . there are no feelings of that nature.

Novel PASTimes: That’s not what your book says. I see a kiss on page—

Gemma: Oh my.

Tavin: That’s enough. Interview over.

The Reluctant Guardian Blurb: When Gemma Lyfeld inadvertently interrupts a dangerous smuggling operation in her English village, she’s rescued by a mysterious Scottish spy. Now with criminals after her and her hopes for an expected marriage proposal recently dashed, she will make her society debut in London. But not without the man tasked with protecting her…

Covert government agent Tavin Knox must keep Gemma safe from the criminals who think she can identify them—a mission he never wanted. But as he escorts her and her rascally nephews around London, the lovely English lass proves braver than he ever imagined. Suddenly, the spy who works alone has one Season to become the family man he never dreamed he’d be.

SD author photoSusanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s the award-winning author of over a dozen historical romances who’s seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and enjoys fancy-schmancy tea parties, genealogy, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos.

If you would like to connect with Susanne Dietze, you can sign up for her newsletter or visit her website, Facebook, Twitter or Amazon pages.