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Release day: The Brothers of Brigadier Station

17 May 2017

Today is the official release of The Brothers of Brigadier Station by Sarah Williams (ebook and print, Serenade Publishing). Here’s the blurb:

She came to the outback to marry the love of her life. She just didn’t expect him to be her fiancé’s younger brother.

When Meghan Flanagan, a vet-nurse from Townsville, moves to Brigadier Station in outback Queensland to marry the man of her dreams, she is shocked to discover that perhaps her fiancé isn’t the man she wants waiting for her at the altar. The man she’s destined to marry just might be his younger brother.

Cautious of women after a disastrous past relationship, Darcy is happy living on his beloved cattle station, spending his spare time riding horses, going to rodeos and campdrafting. He didn’t expect the perfect woman to show up on his doorstep. Engaged to his brother.

With the wedding only hours away, Meghan must make the decision of a lifetime. But, her betrayal could tear the family apart. She knows all too well the pain of losing loved ones and being alone.

Now that she has the family she so desperately wants; will she risk losing it all?

Set in the drought stricken plains of Julia Creek, North Queensland and the coastal city of Townsville this is a rural romance that will leave you asking: Will she marry the right man, for the right reasons?

The Brothers of Brigadier Station is the first in the Brigadier Station series and can easily be read as a standalone. Each of Sarah’s stories are linked so you can find out what happens to the other brothers and your favourite characters in future books.

Sarah dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:

I first realised I was a romance writer two years ago when I attended a workshop by Barbara Hannay, here in Townsville, north Queensland. The workshop was call ‘How to write a romance’. At the beginning of the workshop I said I wanted to write like Nicholas Sparks and have his fame and fortune, by the end of the workshop I still wanted the fame and fortune but romance was my new genre, including the HEA (happily ever after). Two years on I am so glad I switched. With awesome groups and communities such as ARRA and Romance Writers of Australia I have refined my craft and learned so much about writing and business. I am thrilled to finally be releasing my debut novel—inspired by Barbara’s workshop—The Brothers of Brigadier Station. It is set in two locations close to my heart: Townsville where I am currently living and Julia Creek, a town so community-oriented and friendly I knew I wanted Brigadier Station to be located there. I hope I have done the towns justice and that, just maybe, readers will consider coming up and visiting us sometime…

You can find out more about this book at Sarah’s website or buy it from Amazon.

Feature book: The Governess was Wanton

17 May 2017

The Governess was Wanton by Julia Kelly

A governess relies on her reputation. They are the women at the top of their field. These three woman are friends through their work and their circumstance.

Lord Asten has a dilemma. He is a widow but wants his daughter to have the guidance of a woman. He hires Mary as she was the best governess and one who was available. Mary has to contend with Lady Laughlin, a baron’s widow, who has designs on Eric and tries to bully Eleanora, Eric’s daughter.

Eleanora admires Mary’s ability to put Lady Laughlin in her place. Mary also attracts Eric’s attention for her gentleness and kindness to Eleanora but also because he is attracted to her. He finally sees what his daughter had been trying to tell him about Lady Laughlin. Mary is also about reputation and is unable to reconcile that Eric wants her and is willing to marry her, despite the fact it would elevate her to the peerage (and well over Lady Laughlin!).

This story was a great read. It has many elements of the Cinderella trope all with the possible wicked step mother and step sisters. We also see the friendship between the three governesses as they talk, or don’t, about their love life. Each of them understands the anxiety they might feel about loving out of their circle.

Reviewed by Heather

A review copy of this book was supplied by the publisher.

Feature book: The Governess was Wicked

17 May 2017

The Governess was Wicked by Julia Kelly

A governess relies on her reputation. They are the women at the top of their field. These three woman are friends through their work and their circumstance.

Elizabeth is the epitome of elegance as a governess. She is very strict in her strictures and determined to provide the best education for her charges. She is in a house where the employers are not the most caring and sharing people. They are more concerned about appearances and where this is likely to take them, into the elite circles via any connection. One of the girls has been pretending to be sick so the doctor can come to the house. While Elizabeth is concerned about any illness, she doesn’t mind seeing the good doctor. Then the girls get scarlet fever, and the parents leave the house with the baby, and heir, leaving Elizabeth to care for the two girls. She is exhausted which is noticed by the doctor.

Edward Fellowes is new to being a doctor. He is keen to look at new ideas and will be travelling to America to advance his knowledge. He really likes Elizabeth but is reluctant to push her. He can’t wait until he sees her again. An indiscretion with the doctor leads to Elizabeth being fired. Edward finds he wants Elizabeth more than the internship in America but first he has to find her.

This was a great and quick read. Both the characters are likeable although a little frustrating at times especially when Edward needs to convince Elizabeth of his affection and love for her. It is her friends who convince Elizabeth to take the chance. I would like something to happen to the two hypocrite employers, but that may be another time.

Reviewed by Heather

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Memberships for 2017-18

15 May 2017

Renewals for the 2017–18 year are now under way.  All members should have received an email regarding renewals. If you have not, please contact Wendy at arra.inc@gmail.com as soon as possible.

We are now also accepting new member applications for the membership year ending 30 June 2018. Membership is open to anyone in Australia who has an interest in romance fiction.

Membership costs just $20 for the period 1 July to 30 June each year. Benefits of membership include:

  • a discount at ARRA events, plus discounts from a number of independent booksellers
  • our exclusive newsletter, Romancing the Tome
  • you can join our exclusive members loop to connect with other readers
  • you can vote in our annual awards.

You can download the membership application form here: http://www.box.net/shared/1p57aiochy

For readers and authors outside Australia, ARRA also offers associate membership. Associate membership costs A$15 and includes the same benefits, but does not include voting rights. You can download the associate member application form from here: http://www.box.net/shared/ovx8s3fyaun67r4p1pek

Come and join us!

ARRA newsletter #94

15 May 2017

Purple news

The April issue of the ARRA newsletter is out today. Members should have received the download code via email.

Here’s a quick run down on some of the information you can find in the newsletter this month:

  • we have dates for three upcoming events—our next two Romantic High Teas, plus the awards dinner in 2018
  •  it is renewals time again!
  •  the minutes from this year’s AGM are now available—see page 3
  • a special giveaway from Isolde Martyn—you could win a copy of her latest release (see page 7)
  •  book launches galore—it has been a busy month with launches from six of our members
  •  the next #AuthorHour is on 31 March
  •  don’t forget to try your hand at the Find the Heart giveaway
  •  Rhyll and Charlotte’s web watch column this month is on the website Romance Novels for Feminists

Plus our regular columns—romance roundup, publisher news, events, reviews, freebies, author interviews and upcoming releases.

If anyone has any publishing news or deals to report, please send information through. And we are always looking for authors to do a Q&A for the newsletter. If you haven’t done one yet, please contact me at arra.editor@gmail.com.

Happy reading everyone!

PS – if any authors are interested in being part of an #AuthorHour, please email Mary-Lou at arra.mediacontact@gmail.com.

PPS – we’ve had a drop-out for our guest blogging on 11 June. If you want the spot email us at arra.webmaster@gmail.com

 

Guest blogger: Isabella Hargreaves

14 May 2017

Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating your special mother, and your importance to your family if you’re a mother too. I look forward to morning tea or lunch with my family, usually at a new-to-me café or tea shop—I’m a complete sucker for Devonshire or cream teas (call them what you will). Over the years, we’ve visited heritage-listed properties, had BBQs and picnics in bushland settings, in parks and on beach foreshores. In my home town of Brisbane, the month of May means the heat of summer has finally passed, days are usually fine and the temperature is just right for outdoor events. This year I’m revisiting a favourite pancake place of my youth for the first time in about 30 years.

The relationship between mothers and daughters is a special and complicated one. Just how complex and important we sometimes don’t realise until our mother is no longer with us. I discovered this at age 27 when my mother passed away. That relatively early loss has had a large impact on my life. Hope Edelman’s book: Motherless Daughters*, about the effects of losing one’s mother early in life, shows that the younger one is, the greater the effect, but also found that it doesn’t matter what age you are when your mother passes away, there is still a major impact.

This is definitely a wound that romance writers have used with the heroine often adrift in life because of her motherless state. Sometimes another woman has stepped into the mothering role, such as Lady Russell, Anne Eliot’s godmother in Jane Austen’s Persuasion. The stepmother without motherly empathy for her stepdaughter is a well-known villain (think Cinderella, Snow White).

This year, with the importance of mothers and Mother’s Day on my mind, I decided to write a few short stories about women whose lives are at crossroads. Two of the stories in Regency Rescues: Three Short Sweet Romances, which is published today, feature Regency-era mothers and this role is an important factor in the stories.

The central question within Regency Rescues is: Can the gentlemanly heroes save the women they love? Here’s a little about the individual stories:

‘Gentleman to the Rescue’: Clarissa Lanstone has been dragged to the altar by her cousin to marry old Squire Barns. Will Captain Tom Whittlesea, the love of her life, arrive in time to save her?

‘An Officer and a Gentleman’: Marianne Chaseley receives the worst news a mother can hear. Can Major Oliver Hurst convince her to let him help her one last time?

‘A True Gentleman’: Lady Emma Blanche is trapped in a situation no woman should endure. Her husband’s valet, John Wright, knows he must help her, but can they escape Sir Henry Blanche?

To help celebrate Mother’s Day I’m giving away two copies of the book. Just go to my website here and leave a comment in response to my post about Regency Rescues.

Isabella Hargreaves

You can find Isabella here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

(* Hope Edelman, Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss, 1994.)

Feature book: Daughter of the Murray

10 May 2017

Daughter of the Murray by Darry Fraser

Set in the Echuca area of Victoria, this is a story of ambition at the end of the paddle steamer era.

Georgina Calthorpe is a burden for the family. She has to go. As Georgie is not directly related by blood, she is being sent away from the place she loves. Georgie decides that she will leave and takes her belongings and a horse to go to the man she loves, Conor Foley. On the journey, Georgie encounters many difficulties, such as bushrangers, but is able to overcome them.

Conor Foley has always wanted Georgie and he is determined to marry her. He is a self-made man. He has started to build his boating empire and wants to acquire more boats and he now has added the Jacaranda property to his assets. Soon he will add Georgie as another asset.

Dane MacHenry has returned home. His father tells Dane that he needs money to stop foreclosure on the family property. Dane has noticed how derelict the property has become in the last four years. He is told that it is the fault of Georgie’s stepfather in England who has taken to gambling, drinking and wasting Georgie’s allowance. As the story progresses, Dane learns it is in fact his father who is the drunkard and who lost the family property in a card game, which is a big dent in his ego.

This is a love triangle between Georgie, Conor and Dane. The reader can discover which man Georgie ends up with at the end. 😉

The story is well written technically, but I didn’t feel the characters as I was reading. I really wanted more for them and the interactions between them.

There is a lot of historical information in this book. There are the paddle steamers that plied the Murray, the suffragette movement, bushrangers (sort of), the women’s rights movement, and the economic depression of the 1890s. While I find all of these historical aspects fascinating, some aspects used in the story were underdeveloped particularly the ideas around Georgie and her belief in women’s rights. When blocked she would sit back and appear to give up, not someone who is determined to fight for women’s rights. I do understand that writers sometimes take liberties with historical events so it can fit the story, but in this story it felt like it was trying to fit as many events in as possible. At times, it felt like a list of facts or trying to place the character within an event. There were aspects of the story that seemed very modern to this reader, which took away from the story.

This story may be of interest to those who would like to read a book based in Australia’s past.

Reviewed by Heather

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.