Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tour Review/Giveaway!! Her Dear and Loving Husband, by Meredith Allard



Welcome to the Blog Tour for
Her Dear and Loving Husband,
sponsored by
Bewitching Book Tours!!

For my stop, I'm featuring 
a book review!!
There's also a tour-sponsored giveaway!!



Her Dear and Loving Husband
(The Loving Husband Trilogy, Book 1)
Meredith Allard
Trade Paperback, 282 pages
Copperfield Press
March 26, 2012
Digital Edition, 289 pages
Copperfield Press
November 13, 2013
Cover Artist: LFD Designs 
Source: Barnes & Noble Bookstore
Historical Fiction, Paranormal Romance,
Mystery, Urban Fantasy


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11494770-her-dear-and-loving-husband




 How long would you wait for the one you loved?

Her Dear & Loving Husband, the new novel from Meredith Allard, is part literary fiction, part historical fiction, part romance, and part paranormal fantasy. With elements of Twilight and The Crucible, Her Dear & Loving Husband is a story for anyone who believes that true love never dies.

James Wentworth has a secret. He lives quietly in Salem, Massachusetts, making few ties anywhere. One night his private world is turned upside down when he meets Sarah Alexander, a dead ringer for his wife, Elizabeth. Though it has been years since Elizabeth's death, James cannot move on.

Sarah also has a secret. She is haunted by nightmares about the Salem Witch Trials, and every night she is awakened by visions of hangings, being arrested, and dying in jail. Despite the obstacles of their secrets, James and Sarah fall in love. As James comes to terms with his feelings for Sarah, he must dodge accusations from a reporter desperate to prove that James is not who, or what, he seems to be. With the help of their friends, witches Jennifer and Olivia, James and Sarah piece their stories together and discover a mystery that may bind them in ways they never imagined. Will James make the ultimate sacrifice to protect Sarah and prevent a new hunt from bringing hysteria to Salem again?




It was the cover that first made me notice this novel, in spite of the creepy vibes I got from it. I still thought it was stunning! So I picked up the book, and skimmed a few pages. This allowed me to see right away that this definitely is not a horror novel. Had it been one, I would have never bought it, as I certainly do not enjoy reading that genre. Instead of that, I found a very sweet, beautiful romance that totally totally enthralled me! Yes, there's a vampire in the story, but definitely NOT of "the Dracula type". There's also a mystery in the plot, but not of the type to be solved with a detective, or the typical amateur sleuthing.

The story begins in a rather casual manner, one that would lead the reader to believe that this is a contemporary romance novel, with absolutely no paranormal elements, although there's a Prologue that does hint at the existence of the mystery woven throughout the novel. 

Chapter One begins thus: "Sarah Alexander didn't know what was waiting for her in Salem, Massachusetts. She had moved there to escape the smog and the smugness of Los Angeles, craving the dulcet tones of a small town, seeking a less complicated life." What the author does not state, at this point, is that Sarah is also leaving behind a loveless marriage. Newly divorced, she feels lonely and vulnerable in a big city, and Salem seems to be the perfect place for her to start off a new life. In addition to this, she has an ancestor who perished during the Salem Witch Trials. Perhaps she can find out more about this person.

James Wentworth is a vampire, working as an English Literature Professor at the local university. This was, of course, music to my ears! I LOVE reading about characters who are involved with classic literature in some way, especially as teachers. So that made me like him right away! I also enjoyed reading about how caring he was with his students, and how he encouraged them to ponder the truths of life the classics have to offer. I sure wish I had had a Literature professor like him when I was a college student!

Professor Wentworth knows about the Salem Witch Trials through firsthand experience. His wife, though innocent (as most of the accused were), was arrested and thrown into prison, there to await trial. However, she died before she actually appeared before the sham of a court the accusers set up.

At the time of her death, Elizabeth Wentworth was pregnant with their first child.

James has somehow managed to exist as a vampire for over 300 years, but has never gotten over the loss of his beloved wife. He maintains no close ties with anyone, keeping mostly to himself. So it is with a shock that he realizes, upon first meeting Sarah, that she looks EXACTLY like his lost wife....

The story moves back and forth from the present day to the year of the witch executions -- 1692, which was also the year of Elizabeth's death, as well as James's transformation into a vampire, at the hands of a male vampire known only as "Geoffrey", who disappeared afterward. This type of story, with constant historically-related flashbacks, is a very intriguing one for me. With each flashback, we learn more and more about life in the Salem of the 17th century, and ultimately, what caused the witch hysteria that took so many innocent lives.

The contrast between that long-ago time and the present day is a fascinating one, as we now have Wicca, which is the religion of modern-day witches, recognized as a legitimate religion, in the US, as well as in the UK. In fact, the two main secondary characters, Jennifer Mandel and Olivia Phillips, are Wiccans. They are also mother and daughter (Jennifer is the daughter), and run a metaphysical bookstore, "The Witches' Lair", together.

Jennifer is also the head librarian at the local university, and thus, Sarah's boss. Before leaving LA, Sarah had applied for work at the library, and was subsequently hired. This, too, was something I totally loved! Novels featuring books and libraries will ALWAYS pull me right into them!

This novel deals primarily with the romance of Sarah and James. Every other plot ingredient, including the history involved in the Salem Witch Trials, revolves around that. It's a gently flowing tale, with no sudden twists and turns, and not that much action. Some readers might feel put off by this, but I wasn't. I simply allowed myself to go along with the flow of the story, totally mesmerized by its gradual development.

As I stated above, there is a mystery included in this poignant story of a man who lost the love of his life. And this mystery is of the supernatural variety. Jennifer and Olivia thus play a very important part in helping to solve it, along with a friend of theirs, Martha, who specializes in solving just the type of mystery that needs to be solved here. 

There are hints about this mystery sprinkled throughout the novel, and I did figure it out long before the author finally revealed just what it was. I didn't mind, though, as I had actually been hoping that things would lead to the conclusion I had been wanting to find. That might not seem to make much sense, but I can't reveal more without giving out spoilers, which I certainly don't want to do. Suffice it to say that the solution of this mystery is a very satisfactory one, romantically speaking. Therefore, it's the type of solution that would have romantic folks like me wishing that they could have the same thing happen in their lives..... Sigh....

I am not that familiar with the Salem Witch Trials, and am not sure that I'd like to be. They were a horrible example of the extremes religious bigotry and fanaticism can lead to. We all know about the horrors of the Inquisition, which was instituted by the Catholic Church. But the Salem Witch Trials were the work of Protestants -- in the form of a branch or denomination, known as "Puritans". The same fanaticism and rigid thinking was present at these trials, too. Allard deals with the events of the trials in a very objective manner, however. I really liked that James's father was not the type of Christian to go along with the rigid opinions of his neighbors. Instead, he condemned them. He was an example of true, Christ-like behavior at a time when everyone around him was all too ready and willing to "cast the first stone". With his son, too, he was a model of unconditional love, accepting James totally when the latter revealed what he (James) had become. Thus, the author totally avoided the blanket condemnation and stereotyping of Christians I have seen in other novels of the paranormal romance and urban fantasy genres. Kudos to her!!

There is some conflict in the novel, in the form of a reporter who keeps digging into the details of James's life, determined to expose him, as well as others in Salem, as vampires. Fearing the outbreak of a modern mass hysteria, James does his utmost to convince this man that he is totally wrong. The way he goes about this is very poignant, and threatens to tear him and Sarah apart.

Throughout the novel, Sarah knows she can count on Jennifer and Olivia for support. Indeed, they are wonderful secondary characters, and become good friends with James as well as Sarah. Through them, I learned a bit more about Wicca than I already knew. Far from a being a devil-worshipping religion, Wicca is instead a nature-based belief system. Although I don't like its polytheism, it's not what most people believe it is -- black magic.

This was a very believable story, and that's due mainly to Allard's thorough, meticulous research. The scenes dealing with the late 17th century were very real, very compelling.

I also LOVED the reference to Ann Bradstreet, the 17th century New England poet who penned the immortal poem, "To My Dear and Loving Husband", which is part of the inspiration for this novel, as well as for the title itself. The last two lines of this poem are especially moving, and so appropriate for this story! Allard quotes them toward the end:

"Then while we live, in love let's so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever."

I am not at all ashamed to confess to tearing up when reading these beautiful, simple, and yet, so profound lines.

The characters in this novel were all so very real, so very believable. I felt their emotions and thoughts right along with them, and knew that they did what they had to do, in order to protect and nurture the fragile romantic relationship of two people who had clearly always been destined for each other. 

Far from being a horror novel, this is a novel about what makes life worthwhile for all human beings -- love. It's poignant, enchanting, and a well-written portrait of a love story as eternal as that of the young lovers of Verona, but with a happy ending. Needless to say, this is the type of story that will always pull me in, holding me until the last page is turned. Then I will inevitably want it to continue!

Happily, this is a trilogy, so I will definitely be reading the next two books, Her Loving Husband's Curse, and Her Loving Husband's Return!

MY RATING:

    


Be sure to check out the 
next two installments in this 
wonderful series!



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13742103-her-loving-husband-s-curse




https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18126401-her-loving-husband-s-return





 

Purchase Links




a Rafflecopter giveaway




  
 Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling paranormal historical novels, The Loving Husband Trilogy, a great read for fans of Outlander and A Discovery of Witches. Fans of Downton Abbey will love her newest release, When It Rained at Hembry Castle. She is currently writing Down Salem Way, the prequel to Her Dear and Loving Husband
She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.





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https://bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com/2017/10/now-on-tour-her-dear-and-loving-husband.html





6 comments:

  1. This is a super post Maria.

    The book sounds really good. I also like books connected to literature and also history. This book seems to dig into such intriguing things. As you know I have read a few books on the witch trials in both Europe and America. They were indeed horrible events and examples of religious fanaticism.

    I agree that the quote that you posted is moving and meaningful. I also agree that the cover of this book is atmospheric and artistic.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Brian!

      Thanks so much for the compliment!

      Yes, this book is really good!! And, like you, I enjoy reading books that reference literary classics, as well as historical events. The information about the witch trials in this novel is very interesting. What I really like is how the author puts the reader right into these historical events, and lets us see just how horrible they were.

      I also like that she didn't stereotype ALL Christians, but gave a more objective picture. Although the character who was totally against these unfair and unjust proceedings was fictional, I'm sure he represents real-life people who opposed the trials, and whom we know nothing about nowadays, simply because the likelihood is that no one at the time wanted to record their opposition.

      The Ann Bradstreet quote is certainly very moving and I love how Allard used the poem as inspiration for her story of immortal love.

      As for the cover, I do find it stunning, but think it's too creepy. Besides, it's a bit misleading, as this is not a horror novel. I still love the novel, though!

      Thanks for your wonderful insights!! <3 :)

      Delete
  2. Sounds really interesting! I love that the story got two mysteries in it. I love a good mystery story. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Nina!

      Oh, it DEFINITELY is! But the plot actually has only one mystery in it. It's a FASCINATING one, too!!

      Thanks for the compliment on my review!! <3 <3 :) :)

      Delete
  3. You had me at Salem Witch Trials. It's a time in history I am fascinated by--that and the inquisitions. I am glad this book turned out to be just what you hoped it would be. I admit the cover screams "horror" to me; it doesn't fit at all. From your review, I think I would really like this one. It has several elements that would draw me in. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention, Maria!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Wendy!

      Yeah, the whole thing about the Salem Witch Trials got my attention, too. I'm interested in the Inquisition, as well. It just boggles the mind to think about how innocent people were accused, and then summarily executed, with the flimsiest of evidence. SO terrible....

      I can't believe I actually picked up this book, because the cover screams "horror" to me, as well! But I'm glad I got beyond it to the story inside. This is definitely NOT a horror novel, in spite of the fact that there are vampires in it. The theme of the novel is the enduring power of love, across the centuries.

      I'm glad that my review has given you enough of an idea of what the book is about that you would be interested in reading it, Wendy! Yes, I do think you will enjoy it if you do!

      You're very welcome for the sharing! :) :)

      Thanks for such a lovely comment!! HUGS TO YOU & MOUSE!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

      Delete

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