Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano
I just absolutely love the books Joanna Davidson Politano writes. She is truly the only first person POV author I can count on to pull me in and never let me go. Her latest release is no different for me in that regard. Though life was busy and I had to rely on taking sips of the story in the car rides in between picking up and dropping kids off, I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, the audio was so great, when hubby and I finally had a couple hours alone with nothing to do, I read the print copy as I listened to the audio while cuddled up against my hubby. TV shows just have no appeal when you can be reading one of Joanna’s books. Her lovely complexity of writing and keeping the reader guessing is well displayed and I loved following the mystery of it all. It’s definitely one I recommend and will be giving copies away at Christmas.
Genre: Historical Romance, Victorian England
Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London’s east end when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley and offers her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady. Things she could only dream of might be coming true. But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.
Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within–and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.
What I loved:
Finding Lady Enderly is a multilayered story. I love the mystery behind the story, the twists revealed, and the spiritual parallels which can be drawn. And who of course doesn’t love Sully? The poor man just wants to love and keep this stubborn woman safe. I’m sure my husband can relate to Sully. I’m always getting into trouble.
Favorite Character and Why: I really love Raina. You understand her struggle and fears, as well as get to grow with her. She really as a beautiful growth arc. And I can’t not mention Sully. The man is the sweetest thing, and hearing his voice on the audio? I still hear his swoony accent in my head.
Who would like this? If you love mystery, subtle romance, and literary connections, you’ll love this book. The way Sully and Raina communicate is absolutely amazing. It makes me want to sneak one of my husband’s books away, mark a page, and underline something to say him.
Of course, he reads ebooks, and the print books aren’t exactly romance, so sigh. I guess I probably shouldn’t underline the threats of death. Not unless, he forgets to pick up the dirty laundry again. 😉
Rating and Why: Five stars. I really love the way you just get swept into the story into another time and place. It doesn’t even feel like you are reading first person, which is an amazing accomplishment in my opinion.
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A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano
If you’ve not read Joanna Davidson Politano, YOU HAVE TO READ HER. LIKE NOW. GO!
There are very few authors (okay only two) whose books I will preorder without even knowing what the story is about, but Joanna is one of them. She has such depth of insight, such richness of story, character, and mystery that you are left pondering her book for years afterwards. Yes. Years.
When I went to write the review for her newest book Finding Lady Enderly, I realized I failed to let you know about A Rumored Fortune, which by the way is up for the 2019 Christy award. (Totally deserving of it.) So I decided to back track and do this one first.
*If you are an on-the-go person, I definitely recommend the audiobook. The narrator was perfect for the story. *
Because it has been over a year since I’ve read her book, I’m not going to follow my normal format, but I will tell you WHY you HAVE to read this book now.
The simple answer? A Rumored Fortune will leave you personally changed. Without even knowing how she did it, you are drawn closer to God and have a greater understanding of who you are in Him. You can’t read her books and NOT walk away changed.
On the plot level, it is an amazingly rich story in love, finding your worth, and enduring the hard seasons of pruning to become a fruitful branch of the vine. Woven with amazing details of vineyard care, you are drawn into a story of gentle romance where two people learn to grow toward God and toward each other. I simply adore the relationship between Tressa and Vance. He is a swoon-worthy hero who helps others and teaches Tressa a great deal about herself. He’s not perfect, but he is a hero worth loving.
Tressa Harlowe’s father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune–before someone else finds it first.
Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they’ll not soon forget.
– Blurb from Amazon.com
Purchase this irresistible treat at:
Amazon.com Barnes and Noble Christianbook.com
Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano
Lady Jayne is one of those rare books that I will absolutely force everyone I know to read. There is so much more this story than an intriguing and surprising plot line. This is a book so decadent and rich that if it were a food, your waist line would suffer from this irresistible treat.
The plot itself is intriguing and full of wonderful surprises, and my little writer’s heart just eats up all the emotions and struggles of Aurelie Harcourt as she takes up her father’s pen name. Plot twists abound, and when you are finished reading it, I would LOVE to talk about it with you, but I absolutely refuse to ruin the mystery now.
What really adds to the story for me is Joanna’s voice. It is so fresh, yet reminiscent of literature classics, that I absolutely cannot get enough of her writing. As I read, I feel like I am floating through a fantastic Gothic novel, although it is neither horror or truly dark, but it was the same awestruck feeling that I have only managed to have in those type novels.
The heroine of the story is Aurelie Harcourt, daughter of and scribe for the famous serial author, Nathaniel Droll. When her father passes on, she must take on the pen name and finish the mysterious story of her mother’s disappearance. After having grown up in debtor’s prison, she is brought into her father’s rich family and the setting of the novel. But Lynhurst Manor is a house built on secrets, and her arrival might reveal them all.
Oh my goodness, friends! I cannot rave about this book enough. So much mystery! So much intrigue! And a hero that makes me swoon. If that isn’t enough to entice you, I am doing something a little different with this book review. Below you will find a few more of my favorite quotes from the beginning of the book (because going any farther will reveal too much).
So here it is, a sample of this delectable treat that will not expand your waistline, only your mind.
When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.
When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance–and perhaps even her father’s death.
– Blurb from Amazon.com
Purchase this irresistible treat at:
Amazon.com Barnes and Noble Christianbook.com and other fine retailers
Check out last week’s interview with Joanna herself, and then check out her website.
Congratulations to last week’s winner of a copy of Lady Jayne Disappears, Paula S.!
So which quote was your favorite? What do yo think of this story? Are you intrigued yet?
*I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher. The opinions and ravings about this book are completely mine, without regard to how I received the book. But seriously, ya’ll it is AMAZING!!!*
Today I am extremely excited to present to you debut author, Joanna Davidson Politano. Joanna is an amazing writer with such a heart for God. Her writing transports you to another time and makes you forget the stresses of contemporary life. From the first time I read her work before it was ever contracted, she became my favorite author. Now that I have a physical copy of her book in my hands, I realize she is even better than I remembered!
And because I want to share her wonderful writing with you, one lucky entrant will win a copy of Lady Jane Disappears. Check out the details below.
Without further ado, allow me to introduce, Joanna.
Joanna is a work-from-home mom of one super cute little girl and one handsome little dude. She is married to her hero Vince, who is her love and polar opposite. She writes, he tears it up with the red pen. She breaks cars and other mechanical things, he puts them back together. He’s nailed the “speak the truth” thing, and she brings the “in love” part. But the real spark to her marriage is that he does not like chocolate and she… like it a normal amount. They love and live from their little house in the woods near Lake Michigan, which is undergoing a constant renovation.
WC: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy, crazy life to answer these questions. I am so excited for your debut release date! Too bad we can’t have a debutante ball to celebrate.
You have a beautiful, wonderful, young family. How do you manage to get writing done while chasing around a one year old and a four year old?
JDP: Two words: Nap time! I put important things first (God time, children), and somehow all the needed writing time materializes because God can do things like that. I live by the principal that children are never a distraction from the important work—they are the important work. When I’m living (and “momming”) well, I write well. So I guess it’s really about these two words: TRUST GOD!
WC: When writing a story, what is the most important thing to you? The plot, the characters, the journey, or something else altogether?
JDP: I enjoy the characters, especially their dialogue, but the entire process of writing is invaluable to my entire life. It’s the way God gets my attention, teaches me the nuances of his truths, and keeps me very dependent on him. There’s no room for self-reliance when you’re a slow writer who’s also trying to be a mom—and you have deadlines to meet.
WC: Writing historical fiction is a research heavy genre. What made you choose the Victorian era?
JDP: I chose this era because some of my favorite writers lived and wrote in those years. It’s a time of industrial change and interesting political shifts… and beautiful gowns and flowery writing.
WC: Your voice is amazingly refreshing! Like taking a stroll through a Victorian garden. What author’s inspired your writing?
JDP: Thank you so much! I think my conversations with God is where my writing voice originated. As far as writers, I’d say Daphne Du Maurier for atmosphere, Charles Dickens for characters, Martha Grimes for witty lines, and Mary Higgins Clark for tension. I could never hope to rival them, but I sure enjoy reading and dissecting their work!
Lady Jane Disappears is your debut novel. How does it feel to have something you wrote in other people’s hands?
A little like a voluntary invasion of privacy! I never intended this novel to be published—it was my practice novel in which I meant to explore all the elements of a book I truly enjoyed so I could find my own niche. Somehow the freedom of writing for practice loosened the most authentic storytelling in me, and it worked better than when I tried hard. Go figure.
It’s hard to release private thoughts and personal artwork into the world and open it up for critique, but I love being authentic and open, too. Hopefully something I say strikes a chord with someone else, and I believe it might, only because God put me on this path, gave me things to write about, and then facilitated the publication of those words. Hopefully he has a reason for it besides the exercise of me baring my heart.
WC: What has God taught you along this journey?
JDP: I can’t do anything—anything—without him. He can give and he can take away. Writing, mothering, or even breathing is all done by his say-so and can be taken away just as quickly. I’ve truly learned to trust-fall into God every single day. I’ve learned about writing, deadlines, marketing… but mostly I’ve learned how to have an intimate hand-in-hand relationship with God.
WC: What inspired you to write Lady Jane Disappears?
JDP: You know, it’s a funny story. As a kid, I had this way of meting out justice—I wrote kids in my class into anonymous stories that ended up getting passed around the class. How fun, I thought, if an overlooked girl did the same thing in a Victorian household? What sort of wonderful chaos would that create in a straight-laced era full of covered-up sins and thin facades? So I wrote about a serial novelist who writes everyone around her into her novels and publishes them under a pen name. Oh, the trouble she caused!
WC: Give us a high and a low. What was the best/easiest thing about writing Lady Jane Disappears? The worst/hardest part?
JDP: Honestly, I loved all of it. Because it was a “practice” novel, I simply enjoyed putting it on paper and it flowed quite easily. I included every element I love in a novel, not pausing to care about what should or shouldn’t go into a book. It was also published pretty easily (after many MANY failed attempts with previous stories—don’t get me wrong, I was no overnight success). I think the best part was writing the ending—oh, how I love endings! The lowest… wondering what to write next that would be as much fun!
WC: Last question and it is just a fun one that my husband asks when he interviews people. Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? Any particular reason why?
JDP: One horse-sized duck! I could never explain to 100 horses of any size why I was trying to fight them, because you could never get that many to listen at once.
WC: Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this interview and for writing such an amazing book. I absolutely cannot wait for others to read it.
Connect with Joanna: Facebook https://jdpstories.com/ Newsletter
What about you, my reader friends? Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck sized-horses? Why?
Comment below and then enter the drawing through the rafflecopter link below for a chance to win your own copy of Lady Jane Disappears. (After having trouble reaching the winner in my last interview, I think this might be the easiest way to contact a winner.) Then come back next week to find out the winner and read my review on her official release day, October 3rd! *Open to residents of the 48 Contiguous United States* comments close at 11:59 PM, Oct. 2nd.