Tuesday, February 03, 2009

a special milestone

Current work: Modern Heat
Listening to: Grieg, piano concerto in A minor
Reading: Bonded Heart, Jane Jackson (finished it last night and it’s fabulous – really good ending)

When I’m writing a contemporary novel, I tend to read outside my genre – and one of my big loves is historical romance. (And, yes, this is the question everyone asks me. I’m a historian; I’m a romance author. Why don’t I write historical romance? Good question. The Regency doctor is still stomping about in my head, but I’ve discussed it with my editor and writing for three M&B lines would be just too much. I’m not giving up writing medicals or contemporaries, so am still working out how to juggle it.)

Anyway, I’m delighted to say that the book I’ve just finished reading is a very special one. It’s my friend Jane Jackson’s twenty-fifth book – a real milestone. Jane writes beautiful (and realistic) Cornish historical romances – and this cover is just so evocative.

Very much Daphne du Maurier country. (Am a big DdM fan, and I would rate Jane on the same level as a rattling good storyteller, with the addition that her historical details are absolutely accurate, but she never makes you feel the weight of her research. Her characters react authentically, too – no anachronistic twenty-first century mindsets in nineteenth-century characters.) Roz is a very, very sympathetic hero; Bran is utterly gorgeous. Their mothers are realistic and well-drawn (both have the mother from hell, in different ways). There’s a fabulous sense of community in the book (I especially liked Jack and Nell, the pub landlord and his wife). There’s a villain and a half (Petherick is a very realistic nineteenth-century corrupt aristo); the gritty bits and social snobbery made me so angry on the heroine’s behalf (very much how I felt when I was reading George Moore’s Esther Waters, which I’d rate as one of my top ten nineteenth-century novels); and the ending is just brilliant.

Congratulations, Jane, on your milestone. And on such a wonderful read. (I could definitely see this as a TV series or a film. With Richard Armitage as the lead. He’d be perfect.)

PS - on Jane's website there's a really interesting article about how she started writing. And, yup, that's set a lightbulb or two going here...

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