Rosie’s Book Review Team – The Widow’s Tale by @paulacmoss1 #histfic #bookreview

Today’s team review comes from Noelle, she blogs at http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

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Noelle chose to read and review The Widow’s Take by Paula C Moss

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Book Review: The Widow’s Tale by Paula C. Moss

The Widow’s Tale is a genuine romance and a debut novel. Set in the era of the English Civil War (17th century) in the Yorkshire Dales (a favorite part of the world for me!), it recounts the life of 17 year old Charlotte Hart, married by arrangement to a local gentryman, Captain Oliver Grimwell. Even his last name made me hate him. Grimwell had the misfortune to die before he and Charlotte consummated their marriage and Charlotte wants her dower, a small farm, returned to her. Although this is her right under British law, Grimwell’s grasping family, including his nasty brother Phillip, refuse to let the land go. Charlotte is mighty headstrong, as they might say here in the South, and is determined to recover her farm, by hook or crook.

On one of her usual wild rides on the moor, she runs into some of Oliver Cromwell’s Army, the Roundheads, and meets the ruggedly handsome Nate Weatherall, a Cavalry officer. She gets away from him, but he later leads a group of Roundheads who garrison her family’s homestead. This creates problems for the family because her brother, a Loyalist, is hidden in a cave beneath the house.

Charlotte and Nate could not be more different. Charlotte is an impetuous, emotional, and stubborn young woman who continually makes bad choices, so many that I wanted to shake her and yell “Stop it!” Nate is a Puritan who believes women should be subservient to men. Despite their differences, they are attracted to each other and begin a relationship that will never run smooth but definitely runs hot, with some sex scenes that will satisfy most romance aficionados. There is a mild element of SM running through their relationship, since Nate takes pleasure in smacking her bottom when displeased with her behavior. She smarts from the beating but doesn’t turn away.

Charlotte’s schemes create tensions with her family, particularly with her outspoken older sister Cat, start a battle with the Grimwells, and lead to constant bickering with Nate. When her brother-in-law tries to rape her, Charlotte clocks him and leaves him for dead, necessitating a trip through the landscape of war-torn England, in and out of enemy lines, to find Nate.

I did have a few problems with the story. The language and banter between Charlotte and Nate is very modern and the author uses words inappropriate for the time, like snarky. I also found Charlotte a little over the top, not entirely believable for a woman of that time in history. Perhaps if she had been older? Finally, there is way too much eye-rolling and blushing – enough that I was acutely aware of it.

That being said, first novels are always hard. The author clearly knows and loves this period, as evidenced the details and the way they are woven into the story. The landscape and scenes are descriptive, but not overly so, and the secondary characters are clearly limned and very enjoyable. The fact some speak in a Yorkshire accent adds to the authenticity.

I think romance readers who try this book will not be disappointed, and I suspect the next volume in this series will be even better.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

 

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT The Widow’s Tale by @paulacmoss1 #Romance

Today’s team review is from Alison, she blogs at http://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/

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Alison read and reviewed The Widow’s Tale by Paula C Moss

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Reviewing this book was a bit of a struggle for me. I love historical fiction, and this time period in particular, but I love my historical tales to be realistic and gritty. So why did I choose to read ‘A Widow’s Tale’? Well, the blurb reads as though this is a tale of adventure, of conflict, of the horrors of living through a time when war was literally on your doorstep. Indeed, the author says at the beginning of the book that she hopes to give an insight into the lives of ordinary men and women. But this book isn’t really a historical drama; in fact it reads more like a historical romance.

There are certainly some very good aspects to this novel. Paula C Moss can write. The historical details are good, and the settings are described well. Charlotte has real potential as a character. The situation she finds herself in – widowed, pursued by her late husband’s creepy brother, conned out of her land – are all issues that real women faced and her resilience, stubbornness and humour add a warmth and depth to the story. However, if this was a historical drama, then a character like that would be desperately trying to carve out a life as an independent woman, railing against authority, seething with pent up frustration at the inequality and unfairness of it all. But with Charlotte, these characteristics are simply a reason for her doing stupidly dangerous things and getting into scrapes from which she has to be rescued by the hero who alternately patronises her or punishes her.

There are places where the writing really shines, showing that, given a polish, this book could be so much more. Unfortunately, the text is full of typos, spelling mistakes that become annoying (steal and steel both used incorrectly for example, and repeated use of door jam instead of door jamb). Punctuation is used incorrectly, and there are capital letters where there shouldn’t be. This novel needs a thorough proofread.

It’s obvious that the writer loves her characters and is invested in her story, and that she has taken a great deal of care over the historical aspects of the novel. However ultimately, as a reader, I was left wondering what the book was really about and what it was trying to achieve.

3 out of 5 stars

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT The Widow’s Tale by @paulacmoss1 #Historical #Romance #wwwblogs

Today’s team book review comes from Babus, she blogs at http://ajoobacatsblog.wordpress.com

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Babus chose to read and review The Widow’s Tale by Paula C Moss

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This historical romance is set in seventeenth century England during the time of the civil war between parliamentarians and royalists. Charlotte was married off by her family at seventeen to a man several years older than her, after a month of marriage and barely knowing her husband she became his widow. Now she and her family are embroiled in a bitter dispute regarding her inheritance from her husband, who due to his royalist loyalties has been disinherited by his family who also refuse to give Charlotte land that was given to her husband in lieu of a dowry. Charlotte’s aspirations to be independent and running her own farm are under fire, but in an age where women seem to be traded like chattel can she truly find independence?

Defying expected propriety Charlotte goes riding and meets Mate Weatherall, a rebel soldier who could not be more different from her but with her families’ loyalties under question and the defeat of the remaining royalists, Charlotte is put in a position once again to make a match for the greater good of her family rather than a great love, which she feels should be the reason for her to marry again

I really enjoyed reading A Widow’s Tale; Charlotte, despite the attitudes towards women of the time, is quite a character and a challenge to those around her. Her attraction to Nate is bewitching to read but the path of attraction and love does not run predictably or particularly smoothly for them.

As a historical novel the facts, conditions and details of the time seem very much in keeping with the seventeenth century, however, if you are a historical fiction reader that requires all the language in a book to be periodically appropriate then I fear you will be disappointed as Charlotte’s language is littered with words and phrases not exclusive to the language of the time. This did not detract from my personal enjoyment of the book as I found the characters of Charlotte and Nate captivating and their story had sufficient twists and turns to keep me engrossed.

This book could have been made even better with a decent proofread and editing, but despite the errors in the book it is a very beguiling read and I would definitely want to know what happens next in the series.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT The Widow’s Tale by @paulacmoss1 #Historical #bookreview

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

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Terry chose to read and review The Widow’s Tale by Paula C Moss

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The Widow’s Tale by Paula C Moss

3 out of 5 stars

The Widow’s Tale tells the story of wild, spirited Charlotte Hart, a seventeen year old widow living in the time of the English Civil War. Land she sees as rightfully hers has fallen into the hands of her late husband’s family. Charlotte and her own family become embroiled in the crossfire between Royalists and Parliamentarians, especially officer Nate Wetherall.

The three stars I’ve given this book represent the fact that the author has clearly has much love for and knows her subject; I am not very knowledgeable about this period but most of the historical and domestic detail seems accurate, with details woven in subtly – all good. There is enough description about the landscape, etc, to set the scene, but not too much, and most of it is well done – another big tick. Many of the characters speak in a rural Yorkshire accent and this is convincing, too.

It’s never easy to review negatively, but, alas, I did struggle a bit with this book. Rather than a piece of historical drama about the clash between the two sides and the effects on the family, which is what I was expecting, much of it has the atmosphere of a jaunty, light romance. If this is what the author intends it to be, that’s fine, but the blurb does not reflect this. Aside from it needing a bit of tightening up generally, there are editing problems: repeated use of the adjective ‘snarky’, for instance, which did not make its appearance in the English language until the early 20th century, and the term ‘spooning’, in its modern sense (ie, a physical position involving two people), which originated in the 1850s. The other main downside is the punctuation. There are errors all the way through: numerous missing and ill-placed commas, random semicolons and capital letters inserted here and there, missing question marks. If the author has paid for a proofreading service she should ask for her money back.

I regret not being able to be more encouraging, but I hope that the author will take these comments as constructive, and bear them in mind for future works so that she may use her descriptive and dialogue capabilities and knowledge of her subject to greater effect.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com