September 17, 2013

Bloggerversary Part Tres: Book Review, Interview & Giveaway: The Duchess Hunt by Jennifer Haymore

at 9/17/2013 01:46:00 AM
Alrighty, so this is Bloggerversary Part Tres and today I have an book review and an interview with the author, the lovely Jennifer Haymore! If you have not read her books, I highly recommend that you pick up her books ASAP. I am also giving away 2 ebook copies of The Duchess Hunt plus readers swag from various other authors. Jennifer was kind enough to put up 2 SIGNED print copies up for grabs as well. Thanks Jennifer! This giveaway is for USA only. Sorry International Peeps! But be sure to enter in my Bloggerversary giveway for 3 different prize packs!  click here! It's open internationally. :)

Simon Hawkins, duke of Trent, is no stranger to scandal. Rumors and innuendo have darkened the House of Trent for decades, and it has fallen to Simon to restore his tattered family name. He lives by a strict code of honor, but when he is called home to investigate his mother’s disappearance, the distinguished duke will tangle with temptation. For there waits the only woman he has ever loved-and the last woman he should desire . . .Sarah Osborne has spent her life dreaming of Simon’s touch. But dukes do not long for lady’s maids—or so Sarah believes, until a stolen kiss sparks a passion that could be her ultimate undoing. As the couple begins a forbidden romance, a cunning enemy plots to destroy the duke and everything he loves. Now, caught in a blackmailer’s web, Simon faces an agonizing choice: sacrifice his family’s future or break Sarah’s heart.
I had the misfortune to be scheduled to work on the same date and time as the SoCal RWA meet and greet! Luckily, my best school buddy, Devin, was able to go for me. It was his first time ever going to a romance novel convention. It was a new experience for him and despite being such an awesome guy, he didn't get mobbed by the ladies there (inside joke). ;) He even took a picture with the lovely Julia Quinn! :D He spoke to all of the authors there on my behalf and pimped my blog out! He's so awesome. Jennifer Haymore was nice enough to give me an ARC copy of The Duchess Hunt.

First off, I really liked this story. Really, really liked it. :D The story starts off with a prologue that introduces our heroine, Sarah Osborne, and her first meeting with Simon Hawkins, the Duke of Trent. They were little kids that the time and we also got a glimpse of the Duchess of Trent. The Duchess was portrayed as a kind woman with a loving nature. She didn't care that Sarah was dirty, scratched and bleeding from a tangle with some thorny bushes. She opened her arms and her home to Sarah and practically adopted Sarah into the family. Sarah was educated by the best tutors along with the rest of the Hawkinses. That was something that I adored about the Duchess. She took in other people's children and raised them as her own.   

Years later, the Duke hastily returns to the familial home in the country because of the mysterious disappearance of his mother. After some time of absence, he finally returns to his childhood home and Sarah. Sarah has grown quite nicely into a lady and with her impeccable manners it's super easy to mistake her for a member of the peer. Simon's family dynamic is certainly interesting. There are six children in total. There's Simon, Sam, Mark, Luke , Theo, and Esme. All are grown now and in light of their mother's disappearance, they decided to carry on like nothing is wrong, but all the while looking for clues to find their mother. The whole situation was shady from the start. This underline plotline is great because it helps alternate between Simon and Sarah's love affair. 

As Esme is slowing introduced to the ton, with the help of Sarah's soothing presence, things are looking up. As the only girl in the family, Esme was secluded at Ironwood Park and is very shy around other people. This is quite a handicap for her since the ton is a social environment and being shy was considered odd behavior. While in London, the Hawkinses meet the Baron Stanley, Lady Stanley and  their daughter Miss Georgina. Georgina, like every other society miss is out for the match of the Season. She has set her eyes on marrying Simon. As the Season progresses, Stanleys seem to have the upper hand over the Hawkinses. Blackmail, horse chases, elopement and steamy, intimate scenes run throughout the book. Everybody get's their just desserts and happy endings, but the question still remains: What happened to the Duchess of Trent?

Click this link to read an excerpt of The Duchess Hunt.

~*~BUY Links~*~

~*~Interview with Jennifer Haymore~*~

CR: As a seasoned historical romance writer, do you find it easier or harder to create a new series with new characters with extensive back stories?

JH: Now that I’m working on my third series, I’d have to say it’s easier. My first book, A Hint of Wicked, wasn’t meant to be the first in a series, so I sort of learned as I went. The House of Trent was a series planned from the beginning, so I was able to plan it more carefully and cohesively from the very beginning.

In the House of Trent, I also experimented with a plotline that threads through all three books—the missing Dowager Duchess. The mystery spans the three books, and you don’t find out what happened to her until the end of The Scoundrel’s Seduction! I’m not sure how readers will like that, but I had a lot of fun writing it.

CR: Which member of the Trent house do you relate to the most? Which character did you love to hate?

JH: I love all three heroes, Simon (the duke), Luke, and Sam. They are three very different men, but they’re all so heroic. Simon is responsible and good—always struggling to do the right thing and make the right choices for his family. Luke is the broken rogue who feels he can never be a good man but secretly wants nothing more than to be a hero. Sam is the stoic warrior who will sacrifice anything to protect those he holds dear. I love them all!

Who do I love to hate? That would have to be Baron Stanley, the Duke of Trent’s neighbor. Not only does he nearly ruin the House of Trent in The Duchess Hunt, but he changes every one of the siblings’ lives forever. He also has a son, Bertram, who has Down Syndrome (though it didn’t have a name back then) and whom he’s locked away and ignored for his whole life. Fortunately, Luke has different ideas about Bertram, which you’ll read about in book 2!

CR: Was there anything particular that influenced you to write about a romance between a Duke and a maid?

JH: I’m the kind of person who always roots for the underdog! I find love stories between intrinsically different people (whether it has to do with class, race, or whatever) so compelling.

CR: Does the world of House of Trent reside in the same time period as your other two series?

JH: I went back in time a few years for the House of Trent. My other books take place in the later 1820’s, but The House of Trent books take place in 1812-1813.

CR: I love the covers for the Donovan series. Do you a personal cover designer?

JH: My covers are designed by the awesome art department at Grand Central Publishing. I’ve loved all my covers and felt like they’ve done such a fantastic job!

CR: In the synopsis, the Dowager Duchess of Trent has gone missing. Will this be the running subplot throughout the series?

JH: LOL! Yes…as I said above, that’s a new experiment for me. The missing Dowager is what really brings this family together over the course of the three books.

CR: Is there any particular theme that you hope your readers will understand while reading The Duchess Hunt?

JH: Most of my books have themes surrounding the importance of family and how to overcome difficulties in familial relationships, and The Duchess Hunt is no exception to that. Luke and Simon, two of the brothers, have a very rocky relationship but they intrinsically love each other—and that’s another theme of my stories. Love can conquer all. Not only familial disagreements, but also things like the threat of scandal and ruin, and differences in class.

CR: What are your plans for House of Trent series? Can you share some details?

JH: I’m finishing up book 3, The Scoundrel’s Seduction (Sam’s book) as we speak. I’m so focused on that right now, I’m not sure what will be next! I know I won’t be ready to give up on the House of Trent, so hopefully there will be more stories to come…

~*~Lightening Round Questions~*~

CR: Favorite food?
JH: Chocolate.
CR: Favorite drink? (alcoholic or etc.)
JH: Coffee
CR: Favorite guilty pleasure?
JH: Getting massages
CR: Favorite fictional boyfriend?
JH: Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
CR: Celeb you’d like to meet? (male, female, or both)
JH: Oprah
CR: Did you ever have a fan girl moment? (Y/N)
JH: Yes…I do all the time when I meet other authors! I am the worst stammering blushing fangirl ever!
CR: Yoga or jogging?
JH: Yoga, lately. J
CR: Ice cream or gelato?
JH: Gelato
CR: Cats or dogs?
JH: Both

[Questions answered 4/18/13]

~*~About the Author~*~

Jennifer Haymore grew up in California and on the Big Island of Hawaii. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree in Education from UCLA. Before she became a full-time writer she held various jobs from bookselling to teaching inner-city children to playing bit roles in soap operas.
You can find Jennifer in Southern California trying to talk her husband into yet another trip to England, helping her three children with homework while brainstorming a new five-minute dinner menu, or crouched in a corner of the local bookstore writing her next novel.

Giveaway for residents of USA only; sorry peeps :(


Unknown on September 17, 2013 at 7:26 AM said...

I think its fine as long as you love each other

Connie on September 17, 2013 at 8:24 AM said...

Great book! I enjoyed it very much. Hope everyone will get a copy and enjoy it too.

Jane on September 17, 2013 at 11:32 AM said...

I like these type of stories because of the forbidden nature of their relationship. They're from different classes and are not supposed to be together.

Glenda on September 18, 2013 at 10:07 PM said...

When done well I enjoy the conflict presented by the couple being from different stations in life. It has the potential to make for a more interesting story and build a stronger relationship.

This series looks great! I can hardly wait to read the books. :-)

Maris on September 19, 2013 at 1:48 PM said...

I love those types of stories. It's like Pride and Prejudice. I love to see the differences between them and how they overcome them. Adding this book to my list. Thanks. Damaris dsr002(at)gmail(dot)com

Kim Perry on September 22, 2013 at 6:45 PM said...

I love those stories! It's fun to watch two people from different social standings fall in love and overcome those differences. Thanks for the giveaway!

Kamla L. on September 23, 2013 at 3:30 PM said...

I love Historical Romances and finding new series to feed my addiction! I love how House of Trent is built around family ties, mystery, and suspense. I have 'adopted' quite a few book families over the years and am looking forward to adding the Hawkinses to the lot.

Relationships between a peer and a working class have a lot of social obstacles in the way. I love when such a couple puts in the time, effort, and determination that it takes to overcome the obstacle. It makes the HEA so much more endearing.


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