Her One True Love
Jane Charlotte Danes has loved the squire of her idyllic country town for as long as she can remember. He is good, kind, and alluring beyond words… and he chose to marry another. Tired of dwelling on her futile longings, Jane plans a move to Bath, where she dreams of a new beginning. But the man who has so imprisoned her heart is only a few steps behind…
Until now, Matthew Cleaves has endeavored to meet the responsibilities of his position with dignity and good spirits--including his dutiful marriage. But when his wife leaves him for another man, Matthew is at last free to pursue his one true love. Only one vital question remains: will the captivating, stubborn, beautiful Jane allow him the challenge, and the pleasure, of winning her back?
Rachel Brimble will be awarding $25 Amazon/BN to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Set in England around the late 1800s, Her One True Love focuses on the theme of women’s rights and the journey of Jane making a life for herself, without a man to support her. The Victorian Era brought forth a change in Society even when women were still not considered to be free to do what they wanted. Jane at first, has the mindset to change that. She wants to support women’s rights and join groups catered to that cause. However, Jane does not take into account the personalities of other women who may yet sabotage that very cause. Her focus then turns to underprivileged children and helping at a boarding house.
Although I enjoyed the character and what she stood for, I found that her other characteristics were somewhat annoying. She kept going back and forth about her attraction to Matthew, a married man. Part of the reason why she decides to venture on her own and escape the town that she loves is because of her attraction to him. She was running away, from her feelings, that is. It was the constant inner battle within herself and at times her adolescent way of thinking that made me want to reach through my Kindle and shake some sense into her. I find that I also had that feeling with Matthew as well.
Being the Squire of his town, Matthew has a duty to uphold and his pride becomes hurt after his wife has an affair and leaves him for her lover. It was that pride, his lack of awareness of Jane’s feelings, and his somewhat mean reasoning towards his wife and his unwillingness to forgive and forget, that made me want to shake him as well.
Both Jane and Matthew are stubborn. But two butting heads make for a better story. The story had a slow but steady pace and I found that I quite enjoyed it. I think if a story makes you feel certain emotions towards the characters, whether it’s annoyance, hate, displeasure etc, then the author did a good job in conveying their personalities. The author’s writing is easy to follow and although the plot was not an exciting one, it still was a pleasurable one.
*I was given a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
How do you research for a story? What works best for you?
I set my Victorian books in Bath and its surrounding villages which are all very close to where I live. I know the areas well, but still use reference books, the Internet and the Bath Archive Center for the things that aren’t easily accessible. As I write romance, I tend to focus on emotion more than anything else and love, heartbreak, joy, disappointment and every other emotion would’ve all been felt the same way in the 1800s as they would today.
Which character was your favorite to write? Your least favorite?
Jane (my heroine) was my favorite to write and I really got to know her over the course of the book. She was a secondary character in my previous Victorian novel, What A Woman Desires (both can be read stand-alone), and every time she appeared on the page, I knew she deserved a story of her own.
I haven’t a least favorite because I tend to love all my characters – even the villains!
Do you outline before you write? or just dive right in?
I do – I’ve planned more intently as I’ve written more books in order to avoid my pet peeve, the ‘sagging middle’ as much as possible. I tend to write a 2-3 page synopsis, followed by a chapter plan these days. The first draft I write from beginning to end without looking back – the hard part comes in the following drafts.
Which one of your books would you visit in person and why?
Ooh, hard question! I’d like to visit them all – I’ve got a particularly soft spot for Templeton Cove which is the fictional UK seaside town where my Harlequin Superromance novels are set.
Do you base your characters on real life interactions with people?
I think my characters are based on my different experiences, views, beliefs, pet peeves, you name it. It’s hard to write when you don’t understand a character so I tend to veer toward what I want to say or an issue I think is important.
Is snacking something you do while you write? and if so, what is your weakness?
No, I don’t snack when I write, but I am prone to eating my lunch at my desk if that counts!
What is one thing you can’t live without?
An object rather than people? That would have to be my laptop – sad, but true.
What are your hobbies?
I love to knit – it’s a real stress reliever and, of course, I can do it in synch with my other hobby…watching TV!
Who are your celebrity inspirations? If you were to cast your characters, which actors would you choose?
I start every new book by trawling the Internet for pictures of my hero, heroine and villain (if I have one). For Her One True Love, Jane would be played by Poppy Drayton and Matthew by Richard Armitage.
If you were presented with the opportunity to travel through time, which period would you choose and why?
Ooh, another hard question! There are so many periods I am fascinated by, but if I have to choose, it would be Victorian (obviously), Edwardian and Tudor.
Matthew turned and faced Jane. “When are you leaving for the city?”
She took another step back, her gaze darting over his face. “The day after tomorrow. Why?”
“Because I will escort you. We can travel together in my carriage.”
“No, I do not need your––”
“I will be going anyway. I planned to visit some contacts in the city in the hope of securing guaranteed trade for Biddestone in the coming year. It seems unnecessary for us to make the trip separately when I have a carriage plenty big enough for us both.”
“There is absolutely no need. Jeannie will be coming with me.”
“My offer still stands.”
She glared. “It’s my intention to start on the path of independence, of finding out what the world has to offer me on my own merit. I will hardly be carving out my own path when at the first step from my home, I lean on you.”
“You are being stubborn.”
She pulled back her shoulders. “And you are not?”
The longer he looked at her, the more Matthew saw the quiet beauty he’d desperately tried to ignore. He took a steadying breath. “Please, Jane. Let me escort you to Bath.”
The seconds passed, but Matthew held his tongue. It was imperative she spoke next, that she understood he didn’t mean to bully her but wanted to ensure her safety to a city ravaged by danger, as much as opportunity.
She sighed. “Fine. On one condition.”
He held her gaze. “Which is?”
Her eyes softened, slowly lighting with mischief. “You smile. Now. You smile at me like you did before she left.”
Heat rose to his face. “You want me to smile?”
“Yes. Smile for me, Matthew.”
Empathy and passion swirled in eyes, but they also bore a deep, painful awareness that scratched hard over his heart. The longer he stared, the more he wanted to make her happy.
He smiled, his gaze on hers…and was surprised to find the trade no effort at all.
Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had five books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and recently signed a contract for three more. She also has three Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical with a fourth due for release in March 2016.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!