We’ve finished the first month of the Unlocking the Past 2022 Reading Challenge: Around the World. This month we traveled to Asia, and my choice of story was Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy Once you read my review, don’t forget to comment to be entered for your chance to win a copy.
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Every Word Unsaid
by Kimberly Duffy
This month I had the incredible privilege of listening to Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy. She’d long been an author on my TBR pile and I was determined to use this reading challenge as an excuse to force me to pick it up. Oh my goodness! I ADORE Gussie and the whole cast of characters. Gussie is a free-spirited woman who struggles with the confines of her parents’ and society’s expectations of what a woman should be and do. She runs from place to place, taking photographs and travel articles for Ladies Weekly as means of trying to satisfy this deep longing for something more.
When scandal forces her out of the country, she escapes to India for experiences, photographs, and articles. What she finds, is a personal growth experience that transforms her into the fullness of her herself and God’s plan for her. She is forced to confront the pain of rejection for others and finds acceptance in a people in place that speaks to her soul. It is an incredibly beautiful story with a swoony hero who is atypical, but rock steady and exactly what Gussie needs in her life. While necessarily a romance story, there is plenty of romance to knock your socks off. But at the core of this story is a woman discovering who she is and accepting the fact that she is enough despite what others say about her.
I highly recommend this story to those seeking to experience other lands, real characters who also seem larger than life, love heroines and heroes who don’t quite fit the mold of expectation, and are looking for stories that go beyond entertaining to speak to your soul.
Genre: Historical, 1897, New York and India
Augusta Travers has spent the last three years avoiding the stifling expectations of New York society and her family’s constant disappointment. As the nation’s most fearless–and reviled–columnist, Gussie travels the country with her Kodak camera and spins stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. But when her adventurous nature lands her in the middle of a scandal, an opportunity to leave America offers the perfect escape.
Arriving in India, she expects only a nice visit with childhood friends, siblings Catherine and Gabriel, and escapades that will further her career. Instead, she finds herself facing a plague epidemic, confusion over Gabriel’s sudden appeal, and the realization that what she wants from life is changing. But slowing down means facing all the hurts of her past that she’s long been trying to outrun. And that may be an undertaking too great even for her.
What I loved: Gussie’s whole story just pulled me along on an adventure and eye-opening experience of a world not my own. Her personality, struggles, and experiences just left me desperate to not put the book down. Or in my case, get out of the car.
Favorite Character and Why: This book has a full cast of characters that I love, but Gussie remains firm as my favorite. She is unapologetically who she is on the outside, but inside she struggles and hurts like so many of us in unseen ways. She is beautiful soul, and I loved walking her story with her.
Who would like this? I highly recommend this story to those seeking to experience other lands, real characters who also seem larger than life, love heroines and heroes who don’t quite fit the mold of expectation, and are looking for stories that go beyond entertaining to speak to your soul.
Amazon Baker Bookhouse Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million Book Depository Bookshop.org Christianbook.com Indiebound.org
For your chance to win a print copy, comment with what book YOU read for this month and you will also be entered into the year-end Grand Prize Reader Basket. Use the Rafflecopter below for extra entries and to mark that you left a comment. Entries end on March 7th at midnight EST, and the winner will be drawn sometime that week and notified by email. The winner will be announced don’t the Rafflecopter widget. *Open to all residents of the contiguous USA, legally able to enter, and an e-book format or Amazon Gift Card will be awarded to those outside that range who are legally able to enter.
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What did you read for February’s Challenge? What do you hope to read in March?
This month I have the great pleasure and honor to introduce to you author, Kimberly Duffy. I met Kimberly through a mutual friend just before her debut book came out. Kimberly is a wonderful mom, wife, and author. I hope you enjoy getting to know her better as much as I did.
Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of twenty years. He doesn’t mind.
You can connect with her at:
Newsletter (free short story): http://kimberlyduffy.com/index.php/newsletter/
Now for the fun stuff! I have to admit I am partial to my Fast Five. 🙂 So settle in as I hit Kimberly with some rapid-fire.
CC: Milk or Dark Chocolate?
KD: Neither. I’m allergic to caffeine.
CC: Ugh! That must be so hard! I stress eat chocolate way more than I should.
CC: Print or e-book?
CC: Cat or Dog Person?
KD: Allergic to those, too.
CC: You poor thing! I guess the best pet in those instances is a fish.
CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?
KD: Night Owl.
CC: The night seems to be when everything is finally quiet.
CC: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?
KD: Fall or spring. I love both seasons.
CC: They really are each pretty in their own rights. I could do without the tree pollen though. LOL
Before we dive into your book, let’s learn a bit more about you. What has been the biggest challenge for you on your writing journey??
KD: Not falling into the trap of comparing my journey with someone else’s. Especially with social media, it’s hard to resist that temptation. It’s in your face all the time and typically, you only see the very best parts of someone’s journey.
CC: Hugs. Comparision is so incredibly hard. I think it is a trap we can all be tempted to fall into, and often do.
Why do you write with settings in India?
KD: India is the most vibrant, colorful, energetic, warm place on the planet. It lends itself well to beautiful imagery and descriptive writing, as well as being so diverse which makes writing each book an opportunity to dive into new research. Though, only the first three books are set there. I’m looking forward to writing other places as well.
CC: I am looking forward to seeing India through your writing. It is such a unique location, although, any location you write is bound to be wonderful.
So let’s talk about A Tapestry of Light.
Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.
When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie’s English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.
But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn’t forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.
CC: If you could be any of your characters, which one would it be? Why?
KD: If I could be anyone from Tapestry, it would be Damaris who is my heroine’s closest friend. She has a larger-than-life personality, kindness tempered by a realistic outlook and sharp sense of humor, a stunning figure and mound of red hair, and purpose. She’s also loyal, lives with a wealthy, permissive aunt, and honestly deserves her own book. Maybe one day?
CC: She definitely deserves her own book! And I have a feeling you will have many readers clamoring to read it.
What drew you to this story?
KD: Initially it was the beetle-wing embroidery. I stumbled across a piece of 18th-century ruffle at an Indian fabric exhibit and was just fascinated by it. The Victorians were big fans of using things from the natural world in their fashions and elytra are the most beautiful green, iridescent, and have a long history of being used in embroidery. Then I was drawn to Ottilie’s fierce strength, her pursuit of truth, and her willingness to wade through hard things.
CC: That is so cool. For our readers, here an image of some beetle-wing embroidery to feast your eyes upon.
Dress fabric embroidered with beetle wing-cases, makers unknown, 1858, Hyderabad, India. Museum no. 4498:1/(IS). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London (https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/indian-embroidery)
Thank you so much for joining me today and providing us with a taste of you and your story. The last question is always my fun one:
If you could have any super power, which would it be?
KD: Teleportation definitely. I’ve actually seriously considered this question in case I’m ever offered the opportunity. I love to travel. I wish I could wake up in Paris, eat a croissant, then hop on over to India for lunch and a visit with friends, then be in Greece for dinner time and a walk along the ocean.
CC: I’d definitely jump on board with that one, but for a completely different reason. LOL It would be so nice to get my family where they need to be in seconds instead of taking all day. 🙂
Seriously, thank you again so much for the interview. It’s so neat to get to know you a bit more.
Readers, you can purchase Kimberly Duffy’s book at any of the following retailers or your favorite bookseller.
Amazon Baker Bookhouse Barnes and Noble Books-A-Million Bookshop.org Book Depository Christianbook.com Indiebound.org
Reader Question: If you could have a superpower, what would it be?