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CONVERSATIONAL REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Yorkshire by Lynne Connolly

When Jayne and I first began reading ebooks, one of the first epublished authors we read was Lynne Connolly. Actually, it was Jayne, being adventurous, who paid $17.00 to obtain a paper copy of the book. Jayne recommended it to her friends. Jan picked it up next and after all the chattering between Jayne and Jan, I bought it as well. Today, Lynne Connolly’s Rose and Richard series is finally being re-released through Samhain Publishing. Angela James has offered up 10 free copies of the first in the series, Yorkshire. The following is a recreated chat that Jayne, Jan and I had many moons ago about the series. I tried to edit out much of the spoiler information and keep the discussion primarily to Yorkshire, although, there is some overlap. Please drop a comment if you are interested in a free copy.

We’ll let Jayne start out with her plot summary:

What we get is a period (Georgian) detailed look at two people falling in love against some pretty tall odds. Richard Kerre is a handsome lord who could have his pick of women. Rose is frankly amazed that he seems to love her. And Richard is floored to have finally discovered his soulmate when he least expected her, and when he’s in no position to make her an honest offer. He’s contracted to marry a society beauty and in those days, a signed marriage contract was legally binding and if broken, could lead to expensive legal payouts and being shunned in society.

Rose’s family also has doubts about Richard’s true intentions. He’s known as a seducer and worldly man. Why would he choose a plain, twenty-five year old, on the shelf, provincial nobody? To add to that, there is an old scandal involving Richard’s twin brother and a possible one if the identity of a killer is not determined. Though it was originally listed as an out of niche romance/mystery, the mystery actually takes second place to the romance though there are already two more books in the series and perhaps they contain more of that element.

Connolly has done her research and I felt I was in the 18th century. The characters don’t act like transplanted 21st century people. Richard has a habit of glacial aristocratic hauteur that can depress the most forward social mushrooms. There is no sign of hobnobbing with the servants and everyone knows his place in society. It’s a fascinating world to look in on but one that has its moments of unease for a 21st century reader.

I think societal rules were a bit more relaxed than what we’re used to in historical regencies. Plus Richard was an aristocrat and Rose was gentry so they could bend them just a bit if they wished and took precautions to mollify the sticklers. I do love how Richard and his family use their consequence to kind of get their own way at times. And though all are polite to servants and underlings, they never, ever indulge in democratic flights-of-fancy of any degree of equality nor do the servants expect it.

From Jan:

I wasn’t sure what to expect of these, because to be honest from Connolly’s online posts I always felt she cared more about historical detail than what to me was important in romance, a great story with emotional resonance. But boy was I wrong. Once I started reading them I literally couldn’t put them down.

Richard and Rose were more real to me than most characters I read in romance, and I felt along with them. They were very romantic. And while they acted of their time, they didn’t behave like they had to constantly be proper and within the confines of societies rules (what I’d expected). To the contrary, they both see what they want, they examine the consequences, then accept them and go for it. I liked that. I liked the honesty between the two, and how Connolly never resorted to misunderstandings or TSTL heroine actions to further the plot. All of this served to create a romance I could really believe it, which made it all the more effective.

I enjoyed the settings, because she drew them carefully, the first book more so than the second. She made the time feel more real than it often feels in romances. She doesn’t always supply a lot of detail and lush prose, but she supplies all the necessary detail, and it makes you feel like you’re in the manor having dinner with the characters. It’s really a wonderful piece of worldbuilding. And accurate. I thought I’d caught her three times and she was correct each one.

RE: the first person story telling

Jayne: Richard is a great hero and I never felt like I was in the dark about his thoughts after that first little bit in Yorkshire when Rose is still trying to figure out what’s going on. Remember, he loved her first and it took her a bit to get over her awe at his appearance (I love the way he uses that to control what people think about him).

RE: Richard

Jan: I felt that way about all the characters really, that I understood their motivations and emotions despite the fact that we never see inside their heads. It seemed skillfully done to me.

I loved Richard’s use of awe too. He’d planned and used his status so well to keep everyone at bay. It made the times when his mask slipped so much more meaningful. And I also loved the fact that he used his advantages ruthlessly, just as a man of the times would, without PC interferences.

Jane: Richard is a spectacular hero. I loved his uppityness and how Rose couldn’t change him if she tried, but it was clear over the course of the books that love was changing him – making him more open, perhaps even more trusting.

RE: Gervase, Richard’s twin:

Jane: Gervase. Fabulous and heartbreaking. Connolly did a great job of turning conventional thinking on its head with these twins. Gervase was observed by outsiders as the match for Rose and not the popinjay. Connolly reinforced the idea through small touches such as the horse, the clothing, even the mannerisms, that Gervase was the masculine, hearty one while Richard was the snuff pinching, makeup wearing, bewigged dandy.

Jayne: “Waiting for Gervase!” He just has to get his own love interest or I’m going to explode with frustration. He’s really a great character.

RE: Societal conventions

Jan: I think the rules were looser then too. But what I liked so much was that they took the rules into consideration, then made the very difficult decisions they did, knowing what the consequences would be to themselves and their families. It made their passion seem much more real and overwhelming.

Jayne: And I like that Lynne makes sure the readers know exactly what those consequences would be. Not only for R/R but for their families as well.

RE: The sex scenes

Jayne: Lynne really has been able to slowly but realistically show their growing love and comfort with it and each other. The love scenes were hot. None of this “no sex please, we’re British!”

Jan: Oh, no kidding they’re hot! That was another thing I noticed. Normally in romances the first sex scene is all that the writer really concentrates on, and after that it’s kind of “then they had sex again in another position”. Here, as their intimacy grows in other ways, it grows in the sex scenes as well, and they are more and more fulfilled as the series progresses. Which is how it really is in good relationships.

This book can be purchased at Samhain.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

67 Comments

  1. Katharina
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 04:45:40

    Ermm, so you didn’t give the book a grade? I mean it’s from Lynne, I expect nothing less then the best myself, and I am so happy that finally (after a little detour), her series has found a great publisher. YEHAA. Oh, as an aside, I love the review style *g*.

  2. sandy l
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 06:41:13

    This sounds interesting. Kudos to Samhain for making it available.

  3. Jayne
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 06:46:25

    Katharina, I’ve done individual reviews for the four books that have already been published from another publisher years ago (and will be reissued by Samhain in slightly edited form) and gave all of them B’s. Click on Lynne’s name up in the tags section (either beginning or end of this post) and you can read them.

  4. penny
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 06:48:46

    Sounds great! I haven’t heard about this author before, but I’m looking forward to reading the book!

  5. Katharina
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 06:57:53

    Thanks, Jayne. I already know them *g*. It’s just that this time the review is from Jan and Jane, and I was wondering whether they would give the same grade as you.

  6. Susan G
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 07:03:23

    This sounds exactly like the kind of book I love!
    And since I hope Santa is bringing me an ereader for Christmas I will add a copy of this book to the list!

  7. (Jān)
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 07:12:00

    My grades changed as the series progressed. They were A-, B+, B, C+. However, I understand that the books have been rewritten since their initial release, so those grades should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Though in case you’re wondering why my grade dropped it had to do with the way the plots were constructed, especially the conflict. In the first book it was lovely, arising naturally from the characters and their social circumstances. As the series went on, because the relationship between R/R was so good and trusting the conflict became increasingly external and artificial, and the last book to me was really pushing it in terms of what I’d accept.

  8. GrowlyCub
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 07:33:36

    I’ve been very interested in this first book for a while. Would love to win a copy. Does one have to do something special to win?

    Congrats, Lynne, on finding a new home for this series!

  9. Sheryl Nantus
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 07:52:42

    looks like the original publisher dropped the ball when they let this series go!

    :D

    better for everyone, it seems!

    on my shopping list!

    huzzah!

  10. Jane
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 08:50:25

    @GrowlyCub: just leave a comment. I changed that in the post. Sorry.

  11. Lizzie (greeneyed fem)
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 08:51:09

    Free book? Yes, please!

    It sounds like a wonderful read.

  12. Sayuri
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 09:12:47

    I have been eyeing this over at Samhain. If there’s any left I’d love a copy.

  13. Lynne Connolly
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 09:15:56

    My original idea for the series was a kind of Georgian Thin Man, with two wisecracking detectives. Richard was originally conceived as a self-effacing man with a minor title, enough to get him into the social milieu, but not enough to make him stand out.
    Then I dreamed Richard, I really did. I woke up, jotted it down, and well, I might write the other stories one day!
    But this was as much a suspense series as romance. I’m rewriting it all, with the help of Angie James, getting rid of the plethora of speech tags and exclamation marks, and generally tidying it up. The last two books, as yet unpublished, are great sprawling stories, and I need to trim them more than somewhat.
    Another influence was soap operas and romance novels. I wanted to show the development of a relationship, a successful relationship, not the constant parade of broken relationships we see in soap operas. You sometimes have to work very hard to make a relationship work, and Rose’s character doesn’t change once she marries. She still hates public attention, still doubts herself and her ability to keep her husband, even though he shows her nothing but devotion. People keep trying to break them up, and I want to see how that can put a strain on a relationship, even damage it if they’re not careful. And a long lasting relationship changes, too, and has its ups and downs.
    The sex also varies. In the first book they are courting, in the second, preparing for their upcoming wedding, and the third is the honeymoon book, so the heat levels vary.
    Most of the events were sparked by accounts I’ve read in the magazines and newspapers of the time, and some I’ve had to tone down, rather than perk up. If I base the story on real life, then I know it catches the spirit of the age, rather than imposing my twenty-first century ideas on them. Steven and Julia are very much the Mesmers of the books, with a bit of Mary Blandy and Cranstoun thrown in. If you want some astonishing vignettes, take a look at the Newgate Calendar! (hint – I got the story that is the basis for the upcoming Tantalizing Secrets straight from the Newgate Calendar).
    My love affair with the eighteenth century is the longest of my life, starting when I was nine years old, so really, writing the books was a natural development of that. I don’t think I’d want to go back though, not permanently, anyway. I love my computer and central heating and running water too much.
    Anyway, I hope readers enjoy the journey. I’ll go away now and let you get on with it.

  14. Christine McKay
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 09:18:34

    I met Lynn at the 2008 RT Convention. What a classy lady. So cool to see her featured on your website!

  15. muñeca
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 09:19:58

    Sounds cool, I’d love a copy of this!

  16. LoriK
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 09:37:30

    I noticed this when I was looking at websites for the Kindle contest. Getting a free copy would be great.

  17. che
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 09:41:36

    Fantastic review. I’m sold. I wonder though if it’s paper or e copies that are being given away. If it’s the former, sign me up. If it’s the later, no, as I don’t have an e-reader and I don’t want to do my reading on a computer. Thanks.

  18. Lori
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 09:43:09

    Oooh, sounds yummy. I love Lynne’s books, just love them. First person isn’t always my thing, so I’ve been trying desperately to read them from authors I trust.

  19. Jane
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 09:45:27

    @che: It’s ecopies, che.

  20. che
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 09:48:58

    Oh, drat! Thanks anyhow. If I ever get an e-reader, I’ll keep this author in mind.

  21. Randi
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 09:53:50

    It does sound very interesting. I, too, would be interested in a copy. ;)

  22. Jayne
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 09:57:06

    che, I think the idea is to eventually release all these books in print form as well. Perhaps Angela or Lynne could comment on that.

  23. Lynne Connolly
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 10:04:59

    Angie had computer problems (it crashed on her) so she’s a bit awol today.
    But yes, all Samhain books come out in print 10 months after the ebook release. A bit like the old hardback/paperback model. So they should be in print eventually. I do have some books in print from Samhain, and now the whole of the Triple Countess series is available (Last Chance My Love, A Chance To Dream and Met By Chance).

  24. ms bookjunkie
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 10:17:43

    *holding out hand -oh, §#%* that!- I mean computer, for a copy*

  25. MaryK
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 10:30:43

    I’ve been waiting for this to come out.

  26. LauraB
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 10:41:49

    Book me please… I used to live in York and loved it.

  27. SandyW
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 10:55:57

    I have heard wonderful things about this series, usually followed by laments that they weren't available anywhere. Good to see that this has been fixed.

  28. Denise
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 11:23:18

    I’d love a copy.

  29. kathybaug
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 11:45:02

    I, too, heard good things about this series, and was sorry it wasn’t available. Please put me in the drawing for a copy.

  30. romsfuulynn
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 11:48:03

    I’m so glad they’re going to be available again. I have them as ebooks and love them. If there are significant changes, put me in the drawing.

  31. ruth
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 12:06:07

    What a wonderful book. Thanks for this great giveaway.

  32. KarenB
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 12:31:56

    I have heard so many good things about this series and I am thrilled to see it available again. I can’t wait to snatch up a copy.

  33. Karen
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 13:20:28

    I’d love a free copy. Thanks for letting us know it was available.

  34. Phyllis D
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 13:21:49

    It sounds fantastic. I can't wait to read it!

  35. Kathy B
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 13:26:29

    The book sounds wonderful! I’m sure that I won’t qualify for the free copy since there are so many comments ahead of me (but if there is one available I’ll take it) that I know I’ll be reading this in the very near future.

  36. J L
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 14:17:01

    Lynne and I have been critique partners for a few years and I’ve followed the saga of the R&R books for a while. So happy to see that they’re getting out into new hands!

  37. cyclops8
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 15:14:48

    Sounds like a great read. I’ve never read Lynne’s books before.

  38. Keilexandra
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 15:15:03

    Oooh, sounds interesting! Do count me in if you’re drawing for the free copies.

  39. K. Z. Snow
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 15:45:46

    I’ve been dying to get my hands on a well done historical. This subgenre is still new to me. Just tried reading one from a major print pub, and it was a monumental STINKER. The dialogue tags alone were enough to put my head in Exorcist spin mode, and anachronisms abounded.

    I know Lynne’s a wonderful writer, so I’m not surprised by the Js’ reactions.

  40. Sandy (Strlady)
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 15:51:30

    Love the cover to this one.
    I am so intrigued with the book I had to jump over from by blog reader and drop a comment. I have never read Connolly but this one definetely sounds like an excellent first.

    ~S

  41. Michelle
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 15:55:57

    This sounds absolutely wonderful. I’ll try to get it 10 months from now. I’m still resisting the ebook world.

  42. Cauterize
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 15:58:24

    I would love a copy, I’ve never read any of her books – and this one sounds great – but my library doesn’t carry any of her work :(

  43. Anji
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 16:27:26

    Ooooh – I’ll be adding this to my holiday reading list!

  44. Amanda
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 16:33:04

    Great review! I like the style of your discussion about it. Thanks!

  45. Kerry D.
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 16:49:48

    Putting my hand up to be in the giveaway draw. These books sound lovely.

  46. Karin
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 17:17:11

    The series sounds fantastic. I love books that have a lot of historical detail because I really enjoy history. I’d love to get this one.

  47. ldb
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 18:59:08

    I just searched her whole backlist and everything sounds great.

  48. Phyl
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 19:51:51

    Yorkshire was the very first ebook I ever bought. I loved it and went on to buy the others in the series. I’m so excited to see these published again because Lynne has said there are more books to come. Finally, the wait is over. I’ll be buying this updated version. No need to enter me in the contest. To those of you new to these, you’re in for a treat. Congrats, Lynne!

  49. Jane A
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 19:58:27

    What a fun coincidence you’ve started this contest! Due to several mentions here at DA I recently picked up Met By Chance and just loved it. I’ve been devouring my way through Lynne Connolly’s Georgian historical backlist, but haven’t gotten to the Richard and Rose books yet. Please sign me up!

  50. Tabitha C
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 20:26:55

    Wow, this sounds like an interesting read. I have to check her out sometime.

  51. wonderings
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 22:25:22

    Wow, I just ran across this title the other day when browsing covers as part of Samhain’s contest. Thanks for the great review – I’d love to be entered!

  52. Julia B.
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 22:28:46

    Sounds fascinating! I have been intrigued by this series and I am glad that Yorkshire is available now.

  53. Dana
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 22:37:07

    I love the Georgian time period. This sounds like a great series. I would love a copy. :)

  54. trisha
    Dec 05, 2008 @ 23:51:49

    Ooh, is the contest still open? The story sounds great.

  55. SonomaLass
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 01:41:34

    I love Georgians! And while I mostly read paper books, I do have a growing collection of ebooks now, in PDF format for my laptop (blame Baen and Tor, for giving away fabulous sci-fi and fantasy books that I could not resist). These books sound like they belong in my set.

  56. Pam P
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 01:52:17

    This was a very good series, recommend it. So glad to it back out again, I’ve been waiting a long time to read those new ones still to come. Don’t need to be entered as I have all the ones prevoiusly published already.

  57. hanne
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 11:00:13

    The book sounds great – count me in :)

  58. Rylie
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 12:00:26

    I agree — this sounds fantastic. Count me in, too!

  59. Deb Kinnard
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 12:40:52

    Don’t usually read stuff set later than 1500, but…want. Want. Want.

  60. Jennygirl
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 14:02:32

    This sounds like a can’t put down historical romance that I just have to read.

    Please enter me in the contest. I look forward to reading this book, even if I don’t win.

  61. robin
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 14:38:07

    I would love to win one of the copies

  62. Mare
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 15:43:28

    Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks Dear Authour, Samhain/Angela James

  63. Kimbelina
    Dec 06, 2008 @ 19:03:30

    I would like to be entered in the drawing. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  64. Teddy
    Dec 07, 2008 @ 00:43:17

    We did a interview with Lynn over at Historical Tapestry. This book is on my TBR and I would love to win.

    I blogged about your giveway here:

    http://teddyrose.blogspot.com/2008/12/this-weeks-giveaways-galore.html

    teddyr66(at)yahoo(dot)com

  65. Alyce
    Dec 07, 2008 @ 15:45:32

    This sounds like a great book! I would love to be entered to win!
    akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

  66. orannia
    Dec 07, 2008 @ 16:22:01

    Not sure if I’m too late, but the book sounds amazing…and I always love a story in which the heroine isn’t a society beauty :)

  67. Allison
    Dec 08, 2008 @ 00:41:00

    Can I still enter the giveaway? Sounds like a great read, would love to check out this author.

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