Saturday 18 July 2020

Spirited by Julie Cohen @julie_cohen BLOG TOUR Guest Review @jaustenrulesok @RandomTTours @orionbooks @Leanne_Oliver1

Viola has an impossible talent. Searching for meaning in her grief, she uses her photography to feel closer to her late father, taking solace from the skills he taught her - and to keep her distance from her husband. But her pictures seem to capture things invisible to the eye . . .

Henriette is a celebrated spirit medium, carrying nothing but her secrets with her as she travels the country. When she meets Viola, a powerful connection is sparked between them - but Victorian society is no place for reckless women.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, invisible threads join Viola and Henriette to another woman who lives in secrecy, hiding her dangerous act of rebellion in plain sight.

Faith. Courage. Love. What will they risk for freedom?

Driven by passionate, courageous female characters, SPIRITED is your next unforgettable read!

Spirited by Julie Cohen was published by Orion on 9 July 2020  

I'm delighted to welcome guest reviewer Louise Wykes to Random Things today, sharing her review of the book for the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour.

You can find Louise on Twitter @jaustenrulesok

Louise's Review of Spirited

Spirited by Julie Cohen was published in hardback on 9th July 2020 by Orion. I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy to review and Anne Cater for agreeing to host my review on her blog.

I have been a fan of Julie Cohen’s fiction (and her tweets) for many years and I was very excited to discover that for this novel, Julie would be exploring the world of historical fiction which is one of my favourite genres to read and was even more excited to learn that the time period to be explored was the Victorian era which along with the Tudor era, is one of my favourite time periods to read about.

Spirited opens with a grieving daughter Viola Goodwin on her wedding day to Jonah Worth who was a childhood friend.  Even though she seems uncertain about marrying Jonah after a change in character upon his return from a trip to Delhi in India, Viola goes ahead with the marriage as it was the dearest wish of the father whom she loved so very much.

The novel goes on to explore the unhappy and unsettled marriage of Jonah and Viola  when they move to Dorset to help with Viola’s ailing health after the death of her father.  It is here that the couple encounter Henriette Blackthorne, a famous medium who will change the couple’s lives unalterably.

I thought this was a fascinating novel (I especially loved learning about the techniques used in early photography and learning more about the British Empire in India which was a period of history that I knew little about and this novel has inspired me to find out more thanks to a list of books recommended by the author at the end of the novel. 

It worked well on a historical level because of the detail involved but also worked on a modern level as well as it dealt with a whole host of questions of who people love, how they live and how they identify themselves to society and to each other in private.

This was a slow burner of a novel and although it does not have much fast action, it provides tension by illuminating the obstacles that existed in Victorian society (and which to some extent still exist today) to people who find love in unusual places or circumstances.  I hope that this will not be Julie’s last foray into the past because after this passionate and compassionate tale, I’d like to read more.

Julie Cohen grew up in the western mountains of Maine and studied English at Brown University and Cambridge University before pursuing a research degree in nineteenth century fairies. 
After a career as a secondary school English teacher, she became a novelist. 
Her award-winning novels have sold over a million copies worldwide. DEAR THING and TOGETHER were both selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club. 
Julie runs an oversubscribed literary consultancy which has helped many writers go on to be published. 
She is a Vice President of the Romantic Novelists' Association, founder of the RNA Rainbow Chapter for LGBTQ+ authors, and a Patron of literacy charity ABC To Read.

You can find Julie on Twitter: @julie_cohen or you can visit her website: 

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