This week, I have been reading non-stop before writing reviews of some of the books that have landed on my doormat. As well as creating regular non-fiction features for my editors, another aspect of my work is reviewing novels written by some of my SWWJ colleagues. There are four new titles on the shelf - each one so very different in style and subject and these will be discussed on Phoenix 98fm Book Club monthly show over the next few months.
Our super energetic presenter, Michelle Ward enjoys meeting my never ending list of authors in her studio.
The first novel TWELVE DAYS TO DREAM by Bradley Bernarde has been useful in filling in my lack of knowledge of the British Regency era. Well, with the commemoration of Jane Austen's demise in 1817, she and her village of Chawton are currently constantly in the news. Members of our SWWJ enjoy visting Chawton and its connection with Austen and the support they provide our Society. Some of our members make regular trips to this lovely place in Hampshire.
In Bradley Bernarde's new book, her protagonist Anne Reed is a legal Partner employed in a legal firm based in London's Gray's
Inn. A hardworking lawyer, Anne is a rather solitary character. Her literary idol is Jane Austen and the reader soon realises that Anne is an expert in all matters Regency. She regrets not having been born during this interesting period.
After taking some
medication purchased from a strange elderly gentleman in old fashioned chemist's shop, Anne finds herself
transported back two hundred years into the world of Lady Arabella Clyde, whose husband, Sir
Andrew, bears a strong resemblance to Andrew Hargreaves, her colleague in Chambers.
Anne learns from an apothecary that she is destined to stay in the year 1816
for twelve months, which will only correspond to twelve days in the present time. So much happens to our heroine who, at first, finds herself in a mystifying world where her lack of knowledge of the everyday running of her mansion and estates is put down to loss of memory following an accident. In the following period she is flung into numerous situations, such as helping to deliver a baby, discovering the mysterious
influence of Lady Arabella's companion, Hortense, and witnessing a
public hanging at Newgate prison before escaping from a murderous mob.
As the date approaches for Anne's
return to the 21st century, she learns of an underlying secret which enables her to
overcome problems in her past life, and educates her to love in her present
life. This is an intriguing story, certainly for lovers of the Regency period, and those with a penchant for the world of Jane Austen. Soon to be released as an ebook by Scriptora - the publishing arm of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists - the plot for this novel was inspired by a visit to one of London's four Inns of Court and catching sight of a very modern young lady who captured the author's imagination. Tremendous research ensued for information on the early nineteenth century and the story and characters gradually took shape.
I did enjoy reading this book and it has helped my own research into the world of Jane Austen and her six famous novels. Twelve Days to Dream by Bradley Bernarde will be available as an ebook in September by SCRIPTORA PUBLISHSING. Further details and price will be published in The Woman Writer magazine asap.