Saturday, July 14, 2012
Tuesday's Child by Jeanette Baker
My guest today is Jeanette Baker, the award-winning author of fifteen novels.
About the Book:
Possessed of a luminous beauty and a delicate grace, Tess Bradford left Maryland for London with but one purpose, to secure the release of her husband, a devout American patriot, who had been seized by the British navy. Only one man could help her secure his release, James Devereaux, Duke of Langley, former aide to Wellington. But Tess wasn't prepared for the passion that burned beneath Devereaux's implacable demeanor.
Jeanette Baker is the award-winning author of fifteen novels, published by Pocket, Kensington and Mira Books, many of them set in the lush countryside of historical and contemporary Ireland where she lives and writes during the summer months. Her ancestors, the O’Flahertys, hail from Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands located off the coast of Galway. She takes great pride in the prayer posted by the English over the ancient city gates, ‘From the wrath of the O’Flahertys, may the good Lord deliver us.
Lauded as an author who has created a niche in the world of the time-travel paranormal, Jeanette’s previous stories have all taken place in Scotland and Ireland. Convinced that America has its own mystical elements, she set WITCH WOMAN in Salem, Massachusetts.
Jeanette graduated from the University of California at Irvine and holds a Masters Degree in Education. For the remainder of the year, she teaches in Southern California, reads constantly, attempts to navigate the confusing world of Facebook and, more recently e-publishing, concocts creations from interesting cook books and enjoys the company of friends and her grown children. She is the RITA award-winning author of the paranormal NELL.
You can visit Jeanette’s website at jeanettebaker.com
Guest Post by Jeanette Baker
Endings are hugely important, maybe even more important than beginnings. Bad beginnings can be forgiven if the rest of the book flows well, but an unsatisfactory ending lingers, destroying everything that went before. You know the endings I’m talking about, the to-be-continued endings when the sequel isn’t yet out, the choose-your-own ending, the surprise ending that introduces a completely new character. These endings inevitably leave the reader feeling cheated, resolving to choose the next novel more wisely, possibly even flipping to the end to be sure future novels don’t end in disappointment. What, then, constitutes a satisfying ending? How does a writer know when her novel is finished, the threads tied together, every “i” dotted and “t” crossed?
The answer lies in understanding story structure. Structure in prose is as important as bars in music. Just as musicians know a tune must “count,” writers know how and where to place the elements of a story. A satisfying story begins with a problem, moves toward rising action which complicates and, somewhere near the end of the novel, reaches a crisis point followed by resolution of the conflict. The ending is particularly satisfying when the characters, which the reader now cares about, are sorted out. While plots, characters, settings and conflicts change, story structure does not. Readers may not be familiar with terminology, but they know when conflict isn’t developed or a climax occurs too soon. Something won’t feel quite right.
Having said which endings don’t work, there are quite a few that do; the full circle ending is particularly successful. This involves a story begun after the fact, usually told by a narrator, one of the characters, who guides the reader through the story until it ends again with the narrator. The novel that comes to mind is the children’s classic, WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS. Another favorite ending is the emotional ending when someone, an animal for example, is presumed lost forever only to return as in THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY. The mystery is solved ending is another favorite. Loose ends are tied up, red herrings explained and the villain, a familiar character, revealed. Agatha Christie was a master of the mystery solved ending. In romance novels, the ending is always a satisfying one where the two lovers are united for life. Readers expect this kind of ending so much so that a novel isn’t labeled a romance unless the ending holds true to type.
Skilled writers are familiar with word count and shelf space. Depending on the genre, an author knows where and when a book should wrap up and works toward that end from the very beginning, usually with some type of outline. Even with electronic books removing the need to conserve shelf space, genre writers have a good idea of how long their books need to be to satisfy a fan base. Readers are sensitive and knowledgeable. Timing is crucial. Word choice is important. It’s a writer’s job to know when enough is enough. Having said that, I wish you a satisfying read.
Never in the history of the world has a people with the same language, the same customs, the same heroes and ancestry, evolved with two such different ideologies as the Englishman and the American in 1812. Nowhere was the difference more obvious than in their attitudes toward marriage, fidelity, and class distinctions.
America was different. In a desperate desire to carve out a country from the wilderness, keep Indians at bay, and expand the frontier, the American worked from dawn till dusk on the business survival. Because the land was thinly populated, even wealthy ladies and gentlemen worked side by side with servants who knew that if the job didn’t suit, another position was available down the road.
To take pride in one’s work was the American motto and the only unforgivable sin was laziness.
But it wasn’t her perfection of face or form that tugged at his heart and caused the blood to blow swift and hot, melting the ice in his vbeins. It was the expression in her eyes. Large and brilliant, her entire soul was revealed in those fathomless depths. Pain and rage, both tightly controlled, were reflected for all the world to see.
What he really wanted was to be a whole man again, to consign Daniel Bradford to the devil, carry Tess to the most remote corner of England, pull the pins from her hair until it fell past her shoulders in primitive splendor, and bury himself in the promise of that passionate mouth until the hatred died forever.
To win her husband’s freedom she must depend upon a man whose heavy-lidded eyes read the secrets of her soul, a dangerous man whose very charm weakened her resolve and stirred the slumbering blood in her veins to fevered heights.
Daniel Bradford’s wife was a woman of consummate grace and rare intelligence, the kind of woman a man searched his whole life for, the kind e once imagined would look beyond his enormous fortune to the man behind it.
Her need was far greater than the natural longing of a mother for her son, or sisters for their brother, or even that of a woman for a male companion. It was a desire far more intense and impossibly dangerous. Tess wanted James Devereaux with the craving hunger of a woman who had tasted the promise or passion only to be pulled back from fulfillment, time after frustrating time.
Succumbing to an instinct older than time, he bent his head, seeking her mouth. A low moan from the back of her throat enflamed him, and all resolutions dissolved at the velvet softness of her touch. His control snapped. Parting her lips with his tongue…
His eyes glinted steel-blue in the moonlight. “You were correct all along, my love. Marriage vows are very important to me. anything less, between us, is impossible.”
I love a great Historical Romance and this was one of those books. There is Tess Bradford, the American girl, in the midst of England when war breaks out. She is friends with the larger than life, James Devereaux, Duke of Langley’s younger sister. You just know that there is a love story in there somewhere.
The book was a fun read, as well as one of those books you just do not want to put down. Tess is outspoken, kind, beautiful, graceful, and so much more. I love this quote from the book as it describes Tess perfectly: “Tess is not a child. She is a woman of unusual intelligence and compassion. She is also a republican. If you understood her at all you would know that she does not respond to badgering. To tell her someone isn’t exalted enough to associate with our family is like forbidding Lizzie to speak at the dinner table. It only increases her desire to do the opposite.” And, I for one, love a strong woman protagonist! Tess exceeded my expectations.
From a technical standpoint, the book was well-written, boasts a wonderful exciting plot, developed characters, and just as it builds the reader up with the expectation of a wonderful love story, it delivers it amidst war, society, and family that span an ocean.
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