The semi-final cut in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest is over–and I made it through. I was informed of that via a tweet from a friend while I was stranded in a class analyzing literature to exhaustion, which prompted me to dash out disruptively, run to the bathroom, try frantically to open the link on my phone, fail, then finally see proof by picture that my friend was kind enough to attach in the middle of my near-meltdown. When my teacher asked if everything was okay, I labeled my absence an ’emergency.’
I thought that a valid description.
Out of an initial 10,000 entries, the ABNA are now down to 25 manuscripts. My book, A Man Above Reproach, is among the final 5 romances. This has all been a long and overwhelming process, but here I am: able to share with you the Publishers Weekly review of my novel. It’s wonderful and I wish I knew the mystery reviewer, because I want to hug them.
“A bluestocking and a Duke make an unlikely pair in this exceptionally entertaining historical romance. Elias Addison, the dutiful and put-upon new Duke of Lennox, expects tedium and disdain when his friend persuades him out for a night of debauchery. Instead, he is drawn to the brothel’s pianist, an untouchable woman known as the Bawdy Bluestocking, who refuses to succumb to his charms. The truth is that Josie is no courtesan — she is a disenfranchised lady, a bookseller, and a crusader, determined to bring a better life to women who, due to circumstance, are forced into prostitution. Convinced that Elias is another unrepentant rake, she makes every effort to turn him away, which only fans his interest. A drama of class, hidden identities, and a battle of the sexes unfolds, with witty banter and searing passion sure to entice. Though the social situations strain credulity, Elias and Josie are so likable, and their romance such a delightful whirlwind, that stretching the historical accuracy is easy to forgive. Fans of Kieran Kramer and Sabrina Jeffries will find much to like here.” **
There’s nothing I don’t like here, down to the flattering comparisons. I knew at the outset, of course, that “the social situations strain credulity,” which is a charmingly delicate way to put it, but the qualifier that my characters are so likable that it is a minor sin means the world to me. A Man Above Reproach was a blast to write, I completely fell in love with my characters, and now I know that translates to the reader.
Now–off to find some distraction from fretting the finals!
**Publishers Weekly is an independent organization and the review was written based on a manuscript version of the book and not a published version