Recent Reviews...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tour!! A Review of Illicit Love & an Interview with the Author, Jane Lark

Illicit Love (Marlow Intrigues #1) by Jane Lark 
(Now titled: The Illicit Love of a Courtesan)
Genre: Adult Fiction (Historical Romance)
Date Published: May 2, 2013
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing

The Blurb:
Trapped under the reign of a cruel keeper, Ellen Harding longs to be free. Under his oppression, her soul and conscience have died while her body lives on, fulfilling his dissolute desires. She is empty––a vessel––deaf to the voice of morality and blind to shame.

When her eyes are drawn to a beautiful man for no other reason than his looks, she imagines what it would be like to escape her chains for a night by giving her body to him.

But Edward Marlow is kind and gentle when he touches her, and her subconscious whispers, this man could be her salvation. Yet how can he help her when she has secrets which prevent her freedom?
Edward is restless, lonely, and a little angry with his lot in life—it is his only excuse for being drawn to another man’s mistress. The woman’s dark hair and pale eyes are striking, and he cannot take his gaze off her while she watches him over the top of a fan with an illicit intent in her eyes.

Once he’s known her, he cannot forget her, and once he’s seen the evidence of her supposed benefactor’s brutality, he wants to help her. But how can he when she will not run any more than she will speak of her past?

When a desperate Ellen finally relents and shocks Edward from his sleep, he doesn't hesitate, he helps her flee .He just doesn’t know he’s running headlong into the secrets of her past.

My Review:
Illicit Love is the debut novel by Jane Lark. It told a very gripping and emotional story about a woman who has no choice in the path her life has taken. The main character, Ellen, is a fiercely strong woman. She has her moments of breaking down, but what person wouldn't in her situation. While most would become hardened, she still can find it in herself to love. Edward also has tremendous strength to him. He tosses the rumors and Ellen's past aside and sees the real person within her. He's easy to love too. He's like a true Prince Charming. The circumstances these two found themselves wasn't an easy one in the best of time periods, let alone this one where reputation meant everything and was easily tarnished. There were times when the story dragged a little, and I really wish their first meeting had gone a little differently. Overall this story kept me deeply engaged in the lives of Edward and Ellen. As a reader, I really felt for Ellen. I couldn't imagine being in her shoes.

The ARC of Illicit Love by Jane Lark was provided to me by Reading Addiction Book Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

I'm very excited to have Jane Lark, author of Illicit Love here with us today to answer a few questions.

How long have you been writing?
I hand wrote three chapters of a novel when I was sixteen, but then never did anymore until I was thirty, which was the point I decided to include on my things to do before I am forty list, 'write a novel'. I think it took me two years to write the first, and I have been writing with intent to publish now for over ten years.

What inspired you to write Illicit Love?
The inspiration for Illicit Love came from a real 19th Century Courtesan's memoirs, and her description of her love affair. It was the intensity of her relationship which caught hold of my imagination and made me wish to recapture this in the fictional story within Illicit Love.

Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
That is a really hard question, because they are in my head, occupying a part of me. Because I write from an emotional perspective I have to be caught up in their emotion too, I really can't separate between Edward and Ellen, I have an equal connection with them.

What is a secret about you that nobody else knows?
Well, other than my husband and my daughter, hardly anyone knows I have my belly-button pierced. That was another before I'm forty thing.

If your real life was a fictional book, what would you, the main character, be like?
Well, my life has been full of adversity, it has frequently felt more like fiction. Which you'll discover if you read my Ankylosing Spondylitis blog from the beginning, and that's just half of it. But this life has been great for gathering incites to include in books. So, my character, is brim-full with determination, one of life's survivors, someone who insists on seeing life as a full-cup, and gets the most from it.

What book have you read too many times to count?
This question made me laugh, because people think I'm odd when I say, "I want to write books people read again and again", some other authors think it's a strange wish. But to me it means the book is one of those really special books, you'll never forget. I want to write, unforgettable stories. Actually here's a secret, I have hidden a couple of tiny one second points in Illicit Love, so they don't distract form the story, you probably won't even notice them on the first read, and you won't understand them until you read Book 2, so people may feel like going back to read it again. As for my, re-read book, it's Anya Seton's, Katherine.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
Just getting the points of view right, and making sure, even in third person, you are only speaking in a context which is from that character, because this is when the reader get's truly drawn in to the story, when they start to see, hear and feel, through a person.

If you could hop into the life of any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Oh, I used to do that all the time as a child, staring out the school window and daydreaming. But, again, I find that a hard question, now. There isn't a fictional character, there are plenty of real people. I would so love to know what it was like to have circulated in the demi-monde with the Courtesan, Harriette Wilson, who inspired Illicit Love. She had affairs with at least half the House of Lords, and the King, then later blackmailed them all to keep their names out of her book. I would love to have been at one of her sister's parties for these men.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Just how caught up I get in the stories, I can't believe how emotionally involving it becomes. It's like I go through everything my characters go through. Jane Austen used to speak of her novels, as children. I do totally get that, my characters really are living beings inside me. But I think they have to be, if you're going to write really engaging, realistic fiction. Otherwise a story just feels shallow.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Mmmm, when, am I not writing? Or at least that is what my husband and daughter would say.

The only hobby I have which takes me away from writing is researching. My husband and I visit historic houses, regularly, and always stop at the café for tea and cake. Then I discover really amazing odd little stories, like when I spotted a picture at Longleat House. The woman had a come-hither smile, so I asked the guide "Who is it?" It turned out she was the mistress of the Duke of Pembroke, and their elopement is quoted in a diary of the time, about how she and the Duke were overly attentive at a ball in London, and then ran away together, leaving his wife behind. Apparently the duke dressed up as a sailor and they fled to the continent on a boat. Honestly you couldn't make some real stories up. I write about all my research stories on my history blog.

Check out my reviews of a few of Jane Lark's other books:

About the Author:
Jane is qualified to the equivalent of a Masters Degree in People Management and is fascinated by the things which craft people's personalities, so she has great fun exploring these through characters. She lives in the United Kingdom near the Regency City of Bath and has just bought her 400 year old dream home. History has always tempted her imagination and she loves researching and also exploring ruins and houses to get ideas. She equally loves a love story.

Jane has always aspired to writing a historical novel so when she was thirty she put it on her ‘to do before I am forty’ list. She completed her first novel ten years ago, never sent it anywhere then started the next. She’s not stopped writing since, and escaping into a mental world of fiction is a great painkiller to help fight off her Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Jane is a member of RWA, RNA, and the Historical Novel Society.

To learn more about Jane Lark and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

1 comment :

  1. Thank you for taking the time to read and review Illicit Love, It's great to know you connected with both Edward's and Ellen's characters.

    Best wishes,



Thank your for stopping by. Please comment! I'd love to hear from you!