A Valentine Secret Review

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Welcome to my stop of the A Valentine Secret blog tour!

I’ve recently been working with Writerly Yours to put together a little blog tour of Emily Murdoch’s recent novella. Below is a little bit about the book and I will leave links to the author and Writerly Yours throughout .

Emily Murdoch is a medieval historian and writer. She has authored a medieval series and a regency novella series, and is currently working on several new projects. To stay updated on her writing and upcoming books, follow her WEBSITE and on FACEBOOK, TWITTER and INSTAGRAM

About the book:
The course of true love never did run smooth… 
 
Jonathan Brodie, the only son of Sir Roger and Lady Brodie, has lived in the village of Maplebridge his whole life. 
 
Penelope, the daughter of the local florist, was adopted by the Baldwins when she was just a baby. 
 
They could not be more different and yet, one blustery January morning, their paths collide in a chance encounter that is destined to change their lives forever. 
 
Jonathan soon discovers that Penelope is far from the quiet wallflower that she first seems, but rather a beautiful rose just waiting for its chance to bloom. After spending more and more time together, it’s not long before their feelings for each other begin to blossom. 
 
However, when Jonathan starts investigating Penelope’s past, in order to present her with the truth about her biological parents, his grand Valentines gesture threatens to destroy any hope of a future with the woman he has grown to love. 
 
Penelope begins to doubt Jonathan’s motives. 
 
Is he only concerned with placating his domineering father and convincing him that she is worthy of the Brodie name? 
 
Despite his good intentions, will Jonathan’s Valentine Secret ruin everything? 
 
Or are two people from opposite ends of society simply destined to remain poles apart forever? 
 
A Valentine Secret is a charming regency romance novella about never giving up on true love.
My Review

I’d never read a regency romance before so I didn’t really know what to expect. But I think Emily definitely exceeded the expectations that I did have. I asked Emily about what inspired her to write a novella set in this time period and she said:
I have always loved the Regency period, having read a lot of Jane Austen when I was growing up, and I just love the manners and traditions of the time – the clothes, the language, the courtships! I have my Masters in Medieval Studies which is the time period that my first book series was written in, but then I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone, and try out the Regency period!”

As you can see from the mini-plot given above, this novella follows the love story of two people who lead very different lives, living in the medieval/regency time period. The romance novels I’m used to reading are set in modern times, usually following the complicated love lives of modern-day couples – so clearly reading this story was going to be quite a change for me! One of the things I loved about reading this novella was feeling like I wasn’t sitting reading it in my bedroom in 2017. The research and the language put together in this story really transports you back in time – you feel like you’re learning some history as well as following a love story. When asked about whether it was challenging to set the scene and acquire knowledge of this era, Emily said:
I definitely found it hard at first, but this is the second book in the series, so I was a little more practised by then. There are some great blogs out there that mean you don’t have to worry about not being near a good library or museum, and there are so many fans of the Regency period out there that it’s been relatively easy to find out specific details that really bring a scene together.”

The leading female character, Penelope, is very strong-willed. I was relatively surprised to read her in this light considering the time period this story is set. I asked Emily about this and she said:
I think we have such a rosy idea of the past, that women just did what they were told, and that they meekly accepted all of the expectations of society – whereas in fact, there are hundreds of examples of women who challenged the system, had their own minds and thoughts, and really wanted to make their own way through life. I wanted to see that sort of women in romantic fiction, where they often just swoon away at the first sight of the hero!
I really liked this aspect of the novel. I think it’s important not to automatically have the perception of women in the past that they always came second. And I think it’s clever that Emily has portrayed this message through a regency romance – the one genre in which you’d think the opposite would be the case.

A Valentine Secret is great read to introduce yourself to the regency-romances, and I’m grateful that I had the chance to experience reading this kind of genre. If you’re a bit like me and you’re used to the romances about modern couples facing challenges, and reading/imagining the love scenes that occasionally make an appearance, you might not immediately fall in love with this book. I thought this at first, but the more I read it, the more I realised how much I enjoyed reading something outside my comfort zone.
However, I’m not going to lie and say I’m going to turn my back on my favourite type of romance novels – because I’m not. But, what I will say is that I’m very glad I was able to experience reading a regency romance as I think I will definitely give them a go again in the future!

I asked Emily what future writing plans she has, and for those of you who have enjoyed Emily’s writing (because I don’t see how you couldn’t appreciate it)…you’re in luck!
I’m working on a twelve novella series, and a four novel series, which is an exhausting process but something that I’m really relishing. I’m not sure on timings but I’m hoping to have several things out by the end of this year. “

Thank you very much to Emily Murdoch and Writerly Yours for giving me the opportunity to read this book and share my thoughts! It’s really opened my eyes to what other romances there are out there and I’m excited to see what I might come across next!

a-valentine-secret-6Check out Writerly Yours here
(I was sent a copy of this book for free but all opinions are honest and my own)


Twitter: @GlamourReel

Thank you for reading!
Sophie xx
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2 thoughts on “A Valentine Secret Review

  1. Hi Sophie. Love this review format where you’ve drawn insights from your conversation with the author. Also glad that you enjoyed your first regency romance read. Thank you very much for being a part of #AValentineSecret blog tour. 🙂

    Like

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