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Jennifer Mueller

Dear Author

REVIEW: A Ruined Season by Jennifer Mueller

Dear Mrs. Mueller,

To begin, congratulations on your first print book. I liked the different “Impressionistic” cover. Your publisher did very well by you but I must say that I hope a less expensive, paperback edition will eventually be available for readers in the US.

Two years ago, The Honorable Miss Sophie Greenwood had just arrived in London for her first Season when it was over before it had barely begun. Her father’s attempt to increase the family fortune ended up costing them almost everything they had. But what was worse, at least in the eyes of the ton, was her mother’s desperate attempts to marry her off before the news became widely known.

She was unsuccessful, Sophie was humiliated and the family retreated to their modest country estate. Her brother bought a commission in the Army with what little funds they could scrape together and since then, Sophie has endured her mother’s tantrums and veiled comments making Sophie out to be the villain of the story.

She looks at her bleak future with dread until the day Mariah, a cousin, arrives with Lady Sandbourne who is to present Mariah for her first Season. Mariah has inveigled an invitation for Sophie to join them. Not expecting much, Sophie jumps at the chance to escape her mother, if only for a summer.

Has London society forgotten the disaster of two years ago? What is behind the mysterious letter her brother sends after the battle of Vitoria? Why is a madman chasing and attacking Sophie in the streets? And will Sophie finally find a man who doesn’t care about her past or her lack of fortune?

In Jane’s recent post on the resurgence of the historical, several posters indicated that they would be interested in reading about a man from *gasp* trade who is the hero of the story. At the risk of giving away the game, here is such a novel and brava for it. While Jane Austen might not have had a hero in trade, she certainly populated her books with plenty of plain Misters and see how beloved they still are.

Sophie is certainly an outspoken miss and states her mind about a lot of things. At first it was a bit of a shock but after thinking on it, it’s understandable. Why bother to be nicey nice when no one is nice to her? She’s seen everyone’s true colors and feels under no obligation to play along as they ignore or embarrass her. I also love that it is this very quality which her hero admires and demands from her.

Mariah is a sweetie and one of the few people in Sophie’s life who is looking out for her and trying to help her. Sophie’s own mother is a harridan and I laughed to hear of her father’s wedding present to Sophie – that he wouldn’t allow Lady Canmore to visit the newly wed Sophie for a year!

As she says, the price of her “made over” gowns is almost too much to be born in the humiliations Sophie suffers. When Sophie learns of the bets placed on the outcome of her time in London, I felt for her. But in the end, it made her triumph all the more sweet. Not that she would, but she could thumb her nose at the lot of them and say to her beloved father, I found the gem among the dross.

Lady Sandbourne pays the price in the end with her marriage to the wolfish Lord Wolfenway who apparently has no more money that does she. I almost hate that Mr. Asquith will win his bet but crowed with delight that Aunt Sandbourne would not.

I was so glad when Halestrop was finally tackled and caught. I mean, how many times can one man evade Sophie’s guards to get within striking range of her then escape yet again? And wouldn’t his leg have festered to the point where he’d be down for the count anyway?

Phillippa and her older husband are wonderful people. Along with Sophie and Mariah, she knows of, and adheres, to noblesse oblige. Tilly is taken care of as well as the Beresford’s neighboring family which has fallen on hard times. While the jumped Marchioness acts like a guttersnipe. Mr. Dyson is a darling as well as he tries to go into matchmaker mode along with Phillippa.

William Kittridge is just the most delicious hero. He’s got a wicked sense of humor – keeping Sophie in the dark about his true worth and acting the rake with Sophie late in the evening when her arriving parents can’t see her face. He impressed Sophie’s father with his determination to wed her and he likes Sophie just as she is.

Details of Regency life are worked into the story in a “matter of fact” way but not overdone. It’s not fact after fact after fact shoved at us. Those who are sticklers might want more but those who just want a good story should be satisfied.

I did notice some confusing inclusion of and lack of commas that would stop my eye as I read. And perhaps a few more “tags” would have made it clearer which characters were being referred to in various passages. But for readers searching out something other than the standard “yet another Duke hero,” A Ruined Season is a nice change. B

~Jayne

This book can be purchased at Amazon in hardcover. No ebook format.

REVIEW:  Egyptian Nights and Egyptian Days by Jennifer Mueller

REVIEW: Egyptian Nights and Egyptian Days by Jennifer Mueller

Dear Ms Mueller,

One thing I know is that I’ll always get something new and different when I begin one of your stories. I realize I mention the unusual settings you utilize in almost every review but I appreciate it so darn much that it just has to be said. And this is one of the most interesting ways of doing TT though one that’s hard to read at times. But thanks for not pulling any punches here. Sorry, no joke intended as spousal abuse is no laughing matter.

Time travel novels can irk me. Will the time traveler wander about babbling “this just can’t be happening?” or will he/she act too modern? Will the person in the correct time freak out or accept things too easily? TT novels have ‘issues’ but you’ve dealt with them in ways that worked for me.

Victoria is puzzled at first when she wakes in the body of Mayati and still thinks she’s in modern times. The two weeks of dreams / images / thoughts she gets after collapsing in fear that her husband will find her are enough to convince her of what’s happened. I like how you don’t magically make her be over her long term fear of her modern husband – she knows he’s not here, that he can’t hurt her there but still sudden movements and people quietly coming up behind her frighten her. I also like how you didn’t make the two women almost identical twins and that Victoria has to get used to a new physical body. Thank you for having Victoria have to learn to deal with life as it is there – ie the bare breasts, sheer linen skirts, and going almost nude in heat instead of acting too modern.

The fact that being a priest of Osiris makes Khaemhat already believe in the dead coming back to life solves half of his problems with what has happened. Being an Egyptian takes care of any problems he might have had with soul transference. There, my usual TT niggles are done away with and in a manner that makes sense with the setting and time. He seems awfully willing to go without any nookie for a long time. Very Phil Donahue. I think that the hotter sexuality than normally found in your historicals and contemps fit the context of the story while also being hawt. I love the inscriptions that Khaemhat brings home from his work.

"I breathe the sweet breath from which comes forth from Thy mouth," he started whispering in her ear. "I behold Thy beauty every day. It is my desire that I may hear Thy sweet voice, even on the north wind, that my limbs may be rejuvenated with life through love of Thee. Give me Thy hands, holding Thy spirit, that I may receive it and may live by it. Call Thou upon my name unto eternity, and it shall never fail."

Who wouldn’t love a guy who sees that and thinks of you?

The descriptions of the gardens, tombs and land were all very realistic and I loved reading about the everyday details of life running an ancient Egyptian estate though Victoria seems to learn her new role as mistress of the household fairly easily. I was surprised that none of the servants ever suspected anything.

What was the reason for the almost TT transference back? To give complete closure of Victoria’s past? Aso, her thoughts and questions to herself about why she never left her husband kinda put too much blame on *her* for what happened to her. She had an education, could have left and found new job anywhere, could have evaded Neal. It all sort of makes her seem dumb too. But then if she had left, she never would have traveled back and found Khaemhat.

on to Egyptian Days –

Victoria has to finally deal with others finding out about Mayati’s past and the swicheroo. Which makes sense based on what you said about Mayati in book one. Somebody had to notice the difference or they all would have come across as thick as as Nile mud. Victoria also got to make amends for what Mayati did in the past and use her knowledge to solve a murder. Maybe that will help poor Mayati’s ka find some kind of eventual resting place. I love what Khaemhat did to their tomb to ensure (at least in his own mind) that Mayati’s ka won’t be with him for eternity!

It was inventive how you used this form of TT with an Egyptian setting since they were the masters of worrying about one’s ka for eternity. This book is a little more sex heavy than the first which also makes sense as Victoria and Khaemhat were only just getting to know each other in “Egyptian Nights.” I like that when the bell finally tolled for what Mayati did in the past (sleazy ho) Victoria and Khaemhat didn’t panic. They used the knowledge for good and saw to the punishment of a killer and the restoration of their family relations. And both books have got great covers too. B for each.

~Jayne

ebooks from Fictionwise or Linden Bay Romances