A queen and an autumn kiss
Welcome to Book Chat with Julie! With the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth, this month I would like to recommend a book that also highlights another long-term queen and her family, as well as a collection of novels set during the queen’s reign. Victoria.
My first recommendation is In the shadow of a queen by Heather Moore. Ms. Moore is well known in the reading world as an expert at weaving historical detail throughout a story and bringing historical figures to life – and In the shadow of a queen does not disappoint.
The book is based on a true story and focuses on Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter, Princess Louise. It is divided into three parts and begins with the untimely death of Louise’s father, Prince Albert. From there, Louise grows into adulthood and must learn to live a life where every facet is overshadowed by her mother’s grief. But Louise has her own hopes and dreams which collide with the perpetual mourning of her mother and their relationship is tested at every turn. And while we know the end of the history books, readers will love this riveting, fictional tale that blows history off the page.
Ms. Moore does an exceptional job of drawing the reader into the royal life of Princess Louise. The details included in the story lend a depth that makes readers feel like they’re getting a glimpse into palace life behind closed doors. Princess Louise is a complex person. She dreams of being a sculptor, which is almost unheard of for a respectable woman at that time. Readers will sympathize with Louise’s need to have her mother’s approval along with her need to create and be her own person with thoughts and opinions.
She is interested in the politics of the day and promoting women’s suffrage, which her mother struggles to truly understand. Louise has a stubborn determination, but also a soft heart, which makes her sympathetic and easy to understand. This story highlights the changing times of Victorian England and the challenges faced by royal and ordinary women alike, while shedding light on a family that has many of the same issues that most families face, but who must face on the world stage. The author’s tireless research into the entire royal family and the events and emotions that shaped their lives make In the shadow of a queen a book not to be missed.
My second recommendation is An autumn kissa collection of Victorian novels with an autumn theme from three historical novelists, Lisa Catmull, Annette Lyon and Laura Rollins.
The first story is Brave Miss Ruth by Laura Rollins. Miss Ruth feels like she’s living the same day over and over again. His life is extremely predictable, until Lord Lambert appears. He brings a spark that was missing, and Miss Ruth enlists his help to reunite her cousin with her lost love. The story is sweet and romantic, offering two romances in one story. Ms. Rollins is a new author to me and I will definitely be looking for more of her work!
The second story is Mr. Dowling’s Remedy by Annette Lyons. This is a very unique historical romance in that it takes place in an asylum called Sherville Retreat. Crandall Dowling meets Beverly Stanton, a new resident of the asylum and a person who immediately attracts him. Both are facing difficult circumstances and neither of them really belong in Sherville Retreat. They find a possible path that could lead to their release, but before their plans are in place, disaster strikes and they are separated. Readers will be turning the pages long after bedtime to find out how it ends and to see if Crandall and Beverly get their bliss forever!
The third story is A railway through the roses by Lisa Catmull. It was a story between friends with something more with a sigh-worthy ending. Adrian Everard’s father told him that he had to get married to save their family’s fortune and that he had to marry an heiress. Lady Anne Baxter, Adrian’s heiress and longtime friend, longed for someone to love him for herself, but when that didn’t happen, she focuses on being a good one. land owner. She watches Adrian woo a woman with a large dowry, worries that he’ll marry without love, and begins to realize that her feelings for him may be more than just friends. A delightful romance that will leave readers smiling.
Behind the Scenes – A Conversation with Annette Lyon
Annette Lyon is a prolific author with many awards to her name and some of my favorite books too! It was fun catching up with her and getting a behind-the-scenes look at her intriguing asylum romance in the An autumn kiss collection. I’ve included several questions here, but if you want to know more about our conversation, you can log on to my Book Chat with Julie podcast.
Julia: Your romance in the Autumn Kiss collection is quite unique in that it takes place in an asylum. How much research did you have to do for this? Did you find any strange or interesting information in your research journey?
Anette: I stumbled across the original research – a YouTube series of actual case studies from a Victorian asylum. The episode notes led to incredible resources, including many primary documents that have been digitized.
The amount of information was overwhelming, so I had to step back and narrow down what to use and what to focus on. As strange and interesting as the treatments and diagnoses were, I found the legal history of mental illness in England to be most fascinating, and that’s also where the story ended up going. (No spoilers on that!)
Julia: Your hero suffers from what I believe to be Tourette’s Syndrome. We didn’t seem to know much at the time. Have they found a cure for it now?
Anette: Exactly ! The story is set shortly after Tourette was officially identified and named after the French doctor who identified her. As history shows, it was seriously misunderstood at the time.
Although there is no cure, better treatments exist today, although many of them focus on specific symptoms and most people do not get complete relief. They manage the symptoms and manage to mask/hide some tics, but the condition will still be present to some degree.
One fascinating thing I’ve learned is that the most well-known symptom of Tourette’s disease is found in only 10% of those diagnosed: coprolalia, or verbal tics/outbursts, often swearing or other offensive. Even so, I gave Crandall this symptom so that modern readers have a good idea of his condition without it being specified.
TikTok user Katariina Raikkonen, a Finnish teenager who has Tourette’s disease and shares her experience, was a big help in writing about Crandall’s condition.
Julia: Would you agree that your story has a little gothic side to it?
Anette: I suppose! I hadn’t thought of it in those terms, but it fits the sense of a sprawling Victorian property with secrets and dark stuff, plus some of what happens in the story. The fall decor certainly helps.
Julia: When is your next book coming out?
Anette: My first suspense novel, just one morereleases March 21 with Penzler Publishing’s new thriller edition, Scarlet Books.
Julia: What are you working on now?
Anne: I’m researching and writing my next thriller while keeping an eye out for ideas to use in my next novel Timeless, which will be set in Georgian times.
Thank you so much for joining me for our book talk today. Hope you can enjoy the fall season snuggling up with a soft blanket and a good book!
In the shadow of a queen by Heather Moore published by Shadow Mountain Publishing, 416 pages, available in hardcover, audio and ebook.
An autumn kiss by Laura Rollins, Annette Lyon and Lisa Catmull, published by Mirror Press, 275 pages, available in softcover, audio and ebook.
After winning $10 in a sophomore writing contest, Julie Coulter Bellon knew she wanted to be a published author someday. This dream has come true and she is now the award-winning author of thirty books. She is also a podcast host for Authors Off the Page and Book Chat with Julie.