Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Visit to a Castle!

Had an exciting day yesterday! After finishing my first historical novel, I've been immersed in all things, well, historic. So when my good friend suggested for our Christmas outing that we go to visit Casa Loma in Toronto, I jumped at the chance.

One of Toronto's richest men, Henry Pellatt, built this 'house on the hill' for he and his wife, Mary back in 1911. In its glory days, they entertained lavishly and employed over 40 servants.Even British royalty visited there. It was almost as good as going to Britain to visit a reall life castle!

Sir Henry's library housed wall to ceiling glassed in bookcases filled with really old looking books!

I loved walking through the underground tunnels to get to the stables whose stalls were built with pure mahogany! Since the hero of my latest book was a stable hand at a grand English mansion, this really hit home for me! And when the audio tour told us that Sir Henry's favourite horse was named Prince, I took this as divine confirmation that I was on the right path with my story - since the hero's favourite horse in the stable was - you got it - Prince! And to think I was going to change the horse's name!

I got to see the servants' rooms on the third floor, where my heroine, a kitchen maid, would have lived. And I got to see up close and personal the type of furnishings and fireplaces that I had tried to describe in my book. I especially loved the dining room all in pale blue, ornate plaster ceilings and ornate furniture.

Secret staircases and passageways, turrets and ghost stories, all combined to make it a super day!

I think I'm hooked on historicals!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happiness is...

finding a Christian book store within half an hour of my home!

I was so happy to find such a bookstore recently, only a twenty minute drive from my work. They didn't carry every author I like, but they sure had a great selection. Up until now, I'd been able to get some Christian romance authors at the library, but not in our local bookstore. So I've bought most of them on-line - costing a fortune - and now that shipping charges have gone sky-high, I've really had to cut back.

So this made my day, finding Speelman's bookstore - especially with big Christmas sales on as well!

Happy reading ahead!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Review of The Irish Healer

Recently I've had the chance to be an 'influencer' for a debut novel coming out in April 2012. The book is "The Irish Healer" by Nancy Herriman.

Right away the title drew me in because I love all things Irish! The premise of the story is that the main character, Rachel Dunne, is leaving the stigma of her past in Ireland behind to take a temporary position in London, with the hopes of starting a new life and eventually bringing the rest of her family to join her. Acquitted of murdering a child in her care, Rachel still can't outrun the disgrace and shame. She comes to work for Dr. James Edmunds, a man with many secrets of his own. Unable to overcome the horror of not being able to save his wife, James feels he must give up his practice. As Rachel works to help James pack up his house in London, she discovers the gift of healing is harder to ignore than she expected. And when an outbreak of cholera hits the city, Rachel finds herself trying to save the young daughter of her employer.

This is a wonderfully written tale of healing and redemption. Both main characters are richly portrayed; both suffer incredible guilt over the patients they couldn't save and both feel unworthy of happiness in their lives. Not only have they lost patients, they have lost faith in themselves and in God. Together they manage to find the courage to heal each other and restore their faith. Their tender romance is one of the best I've read to date.

From the docks of London where Rachel arrives, to the rolling English countryside, Ms. Herriman's depiction of the English setting brings 1830 London to life.

A wonderful debut novel. I can't wait to read more of Ms. Herriman's work!