A Castaway in Cornwall, by @Julie_Klassen, #BookReview, #BlogTour, #HistoricalRomance, #RegencyRomance, #InspirationalFiction #ChristianFiction, @Bethany_House   

A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen 2020From the desk of Katie Patchell:  

In this holiday season, acclaimed novelist, Julie Klassen, returns to the Regency world with her latest historical romance, A Castaway in Cornwall. Featuring dangerous wreckers, shifty smugglers, and mysterious strangers, readers may well detect a similar refrain to the haunting melody that is Daphne du Maurier’s classic, Jamaica Inn. Readers brace yourselves: prepare to be transported outside of the lights and glare of the 21st century to an old-world bathed in mists and deafened by the roaring of the sea. Prepare to meet a heroine who, against all odds, bravely fights to reclaim what the ocean has stolen.

“Sometimes I wonder how I ended up here in Cornwall, so far from my childhood home. I feel like a castaway, set adrift on the tide…” 

Laura Callaway has lived along Cornwall’s unpredictably beautiful shores since the reported death of her parents while en route to the Isle of Jersey years ago. With no closure from her own loss, Laura combs the shores for items to save from greedy locals in order to return them to the families of loved ones who have perished in shipwrecks. When a man washes up on the shore one fateful night, half-alive, by instinct Laura spares him from a wrecker’s death blow. Little does she know that this man isn’t the only survivor of the wreck, and this final survivor will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

“In a haze of confusion, Alex had seen the blurred image of a red-haired woman bending over him, her windblown hair falling around her lovely face, her eyes as dark as the depths. He’d thought the legend of the mermaid had invaded his dreams. Now he knew the woman was real…” 

On waking in a strange bed on foreign shores, Alexander knows instinctively that he must keep his surname and mission a secret. If someone were to find out who or what he was, the consequences could cost his family their lives. When an enemy from his past hunts him down, Alex has no choice but to trust the woman who has saved his life so recently: the brave Miss Callaway. Thrown together by the sea yet bound together through layers of an unsolved mystery, Laura and Alex must work together to find out the truth–whatever the cost–before it’s too late.

“All around me is the sound of the sea. Not a roar but a rhythm–a watery hum, strumming like a vibrating chord, a quickened heartbeat.” 

I had the amazing fortune to road-trip around the United Kingdom twice. Each country–with its people and places, mountains, and moors–was an unforgettable experience. Yet, for me, Cornwall will always stand out in memory as a bright blue gem does against a black velvet stand. Close your eyes for a moment and remember with me the winding cliff paths around Lizard Point. Listen to the sound of the waves far below and the long grass rustling against ancient stone boulders. On gray days it was as if Daphne du Maurier’s broodingly atmospheric novel, Jamaica Inn, had come to life around me. By sunlight, the ghosts of wreckers and smugglers vanished, and all was aquamarine waters and the golden sun glinting off seaside quays. A Castaway in Cornwall’s setting was a breath of fresh, salty air. It effortlessly transports readers to a unique place and will likely put Cornwall on many post-COVID travel lists.

I found the romance to be a blend of Daphne du Maurier and Anne Bronte; there is passion mixed with restraint, and life-threatening secrets bound up with a grey-shaded world where nothing is exactly black or white. The thrilling premise of a woman, lost even to herself, making the choice to save and return what was lost, was one that held strong from the first page to last. Never once did I grow tired of Laura or Alex, especially when his backstory became as important to the main plot as hers.

My only mixed response to A Castaway in Cornwall was that I wanted more. I enjoyed the tantalizing glimpse of the war between England and France and of what their proximity did to the citizens living on the coastlines nearest, but I was still left with many questions. For example, why was Alex so accepted to the people in England, even after finding out his French nationality and wartime past? Sometimes the best course really is a massive tome to while away the chill Winter evenings, and ‘more pages’ is what I would have wished for this novel.

With its captivating romance, hauntingly beautiful setting, and heart-pounding adventure, A Castaway in Cornwall is sure to appeal to fans of Regency and Gothic reads. Yet there is something else that causes it to shine even brighter; its compelling narrative of love, loss, and love again will remain in readers’ hearts long after the final page closes.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

A Castaway in Cornwall Blog Tour Graphic

Austenprose is delighted to be participating

in the blog tour of A Castaway in Cornwall.

Learn more about the tour and follow along with us.  

Join the virtual blog tour of A CASTAWAY IN CORNWALL, bestselling author Julie Klassen’s highly acclaimed new historical romance novel, November 30 – December 6, 2020. Thirteen popular blogs specializing in historical romance, inspirational fiction, and Austenesque fiction will join in the celebration of its release with reviews of this new Regency-era novel set in Cornwall, England.

A Castaway in Cornwall, by Julie Klassen

Bethany House Publishers (December 1, 2020)

Hardcover, trade paperback, & eBook (400) pages

ISBN: 978-0764234224

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP INDIEBOUND | BAKER BOOK HOUSE BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

Disclosure of Material Connection: We received one review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. We only review or recommend products we have read or used and believe will be a good match for our readers. Austenprose.com is an Amazon.com affiliate. We receive a modest remuneration when readers use our links and make a purchase. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Cover image courtesy of Bethany House Publishers © 2020; text Katie Patchell © 2020, Austenprose.com

Q&A with The Bridge to Belle Island Author Julie Klassen

The Bridge to Belle Island

Happy Holidays Janeites. Today, I am so pleased to present an exclusive interview with bestselling and award-winning author Julie Klassen who has just released her latest historical romance mystery, The Belle to Bridge Island. Set in Regency-era London and an island on the River Thames, it is her return to historical suspense after writing her trilogy The Tales of Ivy Hill. Julie has generously answered my questions about the book and a few other intriguing topics as well.

Welcome, Julie:

Congratulation Julie! You have just released your 14th Historical romance novel, The Bridge to Belle Island. Can you share your inspiration for this new work?

Thank you! It’s always difficult to trace an idea back to one “aha” moment, but for this book, I would say I was inspired by learning of all the smaller islands that exist within the island of Great Britain, especially in the Lake District and on the Thames River. I enjoyed researching several of these tiny, fascinating places with intriguing names like Eel Pie Island, Pharaoh’s Island, Monkey Island, and others. Some of them have fine homes on them, others are uninhabited. Some are reachable by bridge, others only by boat. Many have colorful histories.

How do you select a title, and is there any significance in your choice of The Bridge to Belle Island?

Actually, The Bridge to Belle Island wasn’t my original working title. Determining titles is a group effort between me and my editors. They ask me for several ideas and we go back and forth until we all agree on a winning title. I felt strongly about having “island” in the title since that was part of my original inspiration, plus an island setting is so appealing for a mystery. (And Then There Were None, anyone?) I suggested this title, because the bridge plays an important role in the novel (the main character is unable to cross it at the beginning) and “bridge” also hints at one of the themes of the book. I LOVE that the designer featured a bridge on the cover.

After your trilogy, The Tales of Ivy Hill, you have returned to Regency mystery/suspense. What intrigued you do so? Continue reading

12 Terrific Historical Christmas Novels and Short Story Collections for Your Holiday Reading

It’s that time of year again when the holiday spirit takes hold and I am compelled to read Christmas stories in between shopping and baking. I especially appreciate short stories during this busy time and there are a lot of historical anthologies to choose from along with novellas, and novels to get me in the mood and distract me from the craziness at work and home. Here are twelve books in my personal collection set in Regency and Victorian times that Jane Austen and historical romance readers will devour. Be sure to add to them to your #TBRpile. You won’t regret it.

How the Dukes Stole Christmas: A Christmas Romance Anthology, by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, and Joanna Shupe

Make some time in your busy holiday schedule for yourself with a cup of tea, Christmas cookies, and this delightful short story collection by four bestselling historical romance authors that will sweep you away and into the Regency ballrooms of London, to Scottish castles, and to the Gilded Age New York. I always enjoy Tessa Dare’s novels and the other three authors are at the top of their game too.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

“Meet Me in Mayfair” by Tessa Dare

Louisa Ward needs a Christmas miracle. Unless she catches a wealthy husband at the ball tonight, the horrid, heartless Duke of Thorndale will evict her family from their beloved Mayfair home. But when her friend begs to switch dance cards, Louisa finds herself waltzing with the enemy: the horrid, heartless–and unexpectedly handsome–Thorndale himself. Now the duke’s holding her future in his hands…and he’s not letting go.

“The Duke of Christmas Present” by Sarah MacLean

Rich and ruthless, Eben, Duke of Allryd, has no time for holidays. Holidays are for whimsy and charm–the only two things his money cannot buy. Lady Jacqueline Mosby is full of both, even now, twelve years after she left to see the world. When Jacqueline returns for a single Christmas, Eben can’t resist the woman he never stopped loving…or the future that had once been in reach. It will take a miracle to convince her to stay…but if ever there were a time for miracles, it’s Christmas…

“Heiress Alone” by Sophie Jordan

When Annis Bannister’s family leaves her behind in the rush to escape an impending snowstorm, she finds herself stranded in the Highlands, left to fend off brigands terrorizing the countryside, robbing homes locked up for winter. Her only hope falls on her neighbor, a surly hermit duke who unravels her with a look, then a kiss … until she fears the danger to her heart outweighs the danger of brigands and snowstorms.

“Christmas in Central Park” by Joanna Shupe

Women all over America devour Mrs. Walker’s weekly column for recipes and advice. No one knows Rose, the column’s author, can’t even boil water. When the paper’s owner, Duke Havemeyer, insists she host a Christmas party, Rose must scramble to find a husband, an empty mansion, and a cook. But Duke is not a man easily fooled and she fears her perfect plan is failing–especially when Duke’s attentions make her feel anything but professional. To save her career will she give up her chance at love?

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas, by Stephanie Barron

Continue reading