Monday, 2 April 2012

Release Date

I've just heard the release date for Reluctance will be 6th April - that's Friday of this week!
To whet your appetite, here's my first review:

Jen Black

"She’s lovely, with a peaches and honey glow and a wickedly devastating smile, an intellect a cut above her peers, and perhaps the wealthiest heiress in the country. He’s darkly handsome, all chiseled angles and fine bones, a faint aura of citrus and sandalwood, a tendency towards few words, and plenty of money of his own.
These two really should meet, and they do when Lady Frances Rathmere literally fishes Jack Slade, Marquess of Streatham, out of the river on her estate. Their relationship, begun under such untoward—and certainly unromantic—circumstances, progresses in a fashion that would horrify the denizens of society in early Regency London and Bath. But this is the North of England, where life is lived in tune with nature and definitely more colorfully, and where people, even the gentry and those with titles, are more full-blooded and multifaceted than their insipid and overly polite cousins to the south.

Frances is a widow in her late twenties whose husband, a childhood friend, left her with a decided aversion to “marital duties.” She is determined not to marry again, despite her family’s equal determination that she should and would, at the earliest opportunity. Jack is a widower who was so devastated by the death of his wife in childbirth that out of guilt he swore not only never to marry again but also to remain celibate for the rest of his life. Thus we have two protagonists who are reluctant, so say the least, to alter their present states, regardless of whatever attraction might develop between them or whatever circumstances might arise to change their opinions about what they should—or should not—do.

This is a historical romance in the best sense of the genre. Jen Black has captured the setting of the North Country with such precision and spare, elegant descriptions that the reader could be nowhere else but Northumberland. She has done the same with her characters who, from the two protagonists to minor figures who pass briefly through the novel, are rendered with precision and such beautiful detail that they become real, rather than one-dimensional actors from a stock play. One of the most difficult aspects of a book any book, is dialogue, and if the characters speak to each other as if they’re reciting lines from a very bad play, this ruins the story, no matter how inventive the plot. The dialogue throughout the story is crisp, funny, moving, emotional, and above all, believable for each character who speaks. Not an easy thing to accomplish, but Ms. Black is a master at it
This is not a formulaic Regency tale with a trite reliance on stilted drawing room manners and silly encounters in all the usual places with all the usual people.  Instead, it’s a story with enough twists and unpredictable turns to make you dizzy, while Frances and Jack will alternately endear themselves to you and drive you crazy.  In any event, you won’t be able to forget these two or their story.

A useful hint:  don’t begin to read this book until you know you’ll suffer no ill effects from reading throughout the night.  I learned this the hard way."

Margaret Scott Chrisawn, Ph.D


Vicky said...

Hi Jen! Great review! I loved seeing this book in an early version so I know your readers are going to love it, too!

Jen Black said...

Thanks Vicky. I'd forgotten I put the first draft through a crit group - that must be about three or four years ago!
How time flies!

Dean Crawford said...

Good luck with the launch Jen!