Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Condemned and Admired; The Earls’ Cunning Wife by Bree Wolf. Don’t miss the fantastic Q&A with Bree Wolf, a short excerpt from the book, and don’t forget to enter the Giveaway to win a copy of Condemned and Admired & the tie-in novella Trapped & Liberated – The Privateer’s Bold Beloved.
Giveaway question: Have you ever fallen for a stranger? (Leave your answer in the comments to enter the giveaway!)
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Bree Wolf has always been a language enthusiast (though not a grammarian!) and is rarely found without a book in her hand or her fingers glued to a keyboard. Trying to find her way, she has taught English as a second language, traveled abroad and worked at a translation agency as well as a law firm in Ireland. She also spent loooong years obtaining a BA in English and Education and a MA in Specialized Translation while wishing she could simply be a writer. Although there is nothing simple about being a writer, her dreams have finally come true.
“A big thanks to my fairy godmother!”
Currently, Bree has found her new home in the historical romance genre, writing Regency novels and novellas. Enjoying the mix of fact and fiction, she occasionally feels like a puppet master (or mistress? Although that sounds weird!), forcing her characters into ever-new situations that will put their strength, their beliefs, their love to the test, hoping that in the end they will triumph and get the happily-ever-after we are all looking for.
If you’re an avid reader, sign up for Bree’s newsletter at www.breewolf.com as she has the tendency to simply give books away. Find out about freebies, giveaways as well as occasional advance reader copies and read before the book is even on the shelves!
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About the book
A French privateer’s daughter. A marquess’s son.
And a chance encounter on the high seas.
Twelve years ago, Lady Silcox fled England with her six-year-old daughter Violet to spare her the life she herself had been forced into: an arranged marriage to an older man.
Today, Violet Winters is a grown woman sailing the seas on her French stepfather’s privateer, dreaming of commandeering a ship of her own. However, when she stumbles upon a betrothal announcement of the man she was set to marry, Violet cannot help but feel honour-bound to protect the woman who had been forced to take her place.
Fortune smiles on Violet and delivers an English lord into her hands – and with him the chance to return to England unrecognised.
Oliver Cornell, Earl of Cullingwood, is trapped in a life he abhors. Not seen as a son, but merely an heir, he dreams of sailing the seas, the epitome of freedom.
By sheer happenstance, Oliver ends up on a merchant vessel, which is promptly boarded by a French privateer. On board the Chevalier Noir, Oliver meets the captain’s daughter, a woman unlike any other he has ever met. Utterly fascinated by the adventurous gleam in her eyes, he does not hesitate to offer his assistance when Violet finds herself in need of a guide to London’s upper society.
Revelling in his first taste of adventure, Oliver poses as her husband…only to realise before long that posing as her husband will not be good enough.
Can a privateer’s daughter and a marquess’s son ever have a happily-ever-after? Or is their love doomed to fail?
Q&A with Bree Wolf
Before we get down to business (i.e. talking about your book) I would like to ask a set of questions I call ‘Breaking the Ice.’
The last book you read? (Inquisitive bookworms want to know) Violet by Lauren Royal. Love her novels. Oddly, I read Lily first. Don’t know why. Will start on Rose next.
The last movie you watched that left a mark in your heart, soul, wallet? Room. Such deep emotions. Oh, I went through at least one box of tissues. Possibly more.
Are you more of a Game of Thrones or Outlander kind of gal? Outlander. Definitely Outlander.
What do you like to do when you want to relax? Read. Did you truly expect a different answer?
Which famous person (dead, alive, barely kicking) would you most like to meet?Can’t say. Do fictional characters count? I’d love to sit down to dinner with my novel characters. That would be something!
Something you treat yourself to, now and again? (Cream éclairs totally count) Mint chocolate chip ice-cream. I’m all about chocolate.
All of the above questions are actually a pretty elaborate pysch evaluation disguised as random questions. Have no fear here come the real ones. Let’s talk about Condemned and Admired.
I think readers enjoy your books, because you give them romance, conflict and strong characters in nostalgic settings with characters who fight against the archaic patriarchal rules of society. Why do you think they enjoy them so much? Rebelling against set rules is part of life, part of growing up. We all know these moments, have lived through them, and someone fighting for what they believe in, for what they believe is right and just echoes within us like nothing else. No matter how different our lives are, these emotions we all share.
Where do you get your inspiration for your plots, storylines and characters? From every book or movie that comes my way. Sometimes simply a glimpse out the window. Or from a stunningly insightful thing my four-year-old says. Anything. Everything. My home is littered with notebooks. Sometimes I jump out of bed in the middle of the night to write a thought down before it slips my mind.
You portray your female leads as strong independent women, who look out for each other and aren’t afraid of demanding the respect they deserve. Do you think readers need to see women with these traits reflected more often in literature and books? Regency romance provides a beautiful, fairy-tale like setting, and yet, I doubt that today’s women would truly want to live in that time. Life for women was fairly restricted back then, proving how far we’ve come with regard to equality. Still, women (as well as men) are often stuck in stereotypical roles even today, and I believe it is important to encourage people to be themselves and demand respect for who they are and not who others wish they would be. Literature helps inspire people to see that.
You combine the seductive pull of love and attraction with strong themes of independence and discovery of self. Romance meets the modern woman. How important do you think it is for today’s books to reflect a woman who makes her own choices? I think it’s paramount. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with leading a “stereotypical” life…as long as it is your choice. We should always have the right to choose and exercise it. There is nothing more important than discovering who we are and staying true to ourselves. How else will we ever be happy?
One of the other topics I loved in Condemned and Admired: The Earl’s Cunning Wife was what family really means. Blood and genetics aren’t as important as loyalty, support and the love of a person who behaves like family or are they? What do you think? Yes, again, I believe it is our own choice who is family and who is not. Why should we allow genetics to dictate who to love? After all, in historical romance, the love two people find in each other is what touches us the most. It’s about the opportunity to find new family. Someone we didn’t previously know. Someone who might always have been missing from our lives. Why should that not extend to the rest of our family? Why not also a sister? Or a mother? Why should there be any limitations?
Playing into that is Violet’s relationship with her stepfather. She considers the man who raised her to be her father, as opposed to the man she has a biological connection with. In an era where family systems and dynamics have been redefined, and patchwork family is becoming more common than the nuclear family, do you think it is important to reflect these new structures in your stories? I think family has many faces and should not be defined beyond “people who love each other and wish to share their lives”. Family is what we want it to be. It’s our choice. We make it. We define it. It’s our freedom. At least, it should be.
Violet feels responsible for the young girl taking her place in the arranged marriage, hence her return to England. The thought-process behind this storyline echoes the guilt an abused woman feels about the next in line if she manages to escape controlling clutches, was this intentional – the emphasis on the strong sisterhood between women and the need to support each other? Yes, it was. Today, we’re often so focused on our own lives that sometimes we don’t even see when another needs our help – even someone who is not a friend. Someone we might never have met before. If we see another’s need for aid, should we not respond to it? No matter who that someone is?
What’s next in the Love’s Second Chance series? Well, book 11 brings back Lord Ashwood, whom we’ve met first in book 5 as Sebastian Campbell’s childhood friend and who made a short appearance in book 9, Condemned & Admired. He often appears rather cold-hearted and calculated. That, however, is simply because he has a specific deficiency when it comes to human interaction that he feels ashamed of and tries to hide behind a detached exterior. Of course, his new wife will eventually see through his pretences and challenge him to be himself.
Still, before book 11, there will be another tie-in novella, which tells the story of Violet’s parents, of how they met on the beach below Silcox Manor one fateful night and of how Violet found her new family in France. Since the love story of Violet’s parents was such a constant presence in Condemned & Admired, I felt I needed to tell it through their own eyes.
Thank you for answering all of my questions!
This is book 9 in the Love’s Second Chance series. It’s a story about a young woman fighting against old dinosaur rules. The type of rules that say women are goods to be bartered with and sold to the highest bidder, women are to be seen and not heard, and they certainly aren’t allowed to have any say in their own life.
The only reason Violet is free to live the life of a sailing vagabond and potentially as the master of her own ship, is because her mother found the strength to leave her abusive and controlling father. In doing so her mother finds a man to love and a father figure her daughter can look up to.
Violet is happy with her life and the freedom she enjoys, however there is a part of her that feels guilty about the young woman who has to stand in her stead. The poor unfortunate soul, who has to marry the man she was betrothed to. She decides to try and save her, and to try and find some closure with the past she left behind.
Wolf writes about strong women, women who try to change and most definitely break the patriarchal rules of society. A small shimmer of empowerment in an era where women are possessions and treated like second-class citizens. She combines the sweet breathlessness of love, without the raunchiness of a bodice ripper, with social injustice and the oppression of women.
The author gives us strong female characters who fight for equality and their right to make their own choices. Showing the reader that although we are still confronted with the same oppression and systemic abuse, we have come a long way since the days when women had no rights at all. I guess the message is that we should never stop trying to achieve equality and always empower girls and women to find their own path.
It is a regency romance with a modern breath of fresh air.
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Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway to to win a copy of Condemned and Admired & the tie-in novella Trapped & Liberated – The Privateer’s Bold Beloved.
Giveaway question: Have you ever fallen for a stranger? (Leave your answer in the comments to enter the giveaway!)
Read an Excerpt Of Condemned and Admired:
As the ships were slowly being pulled toward one another, Oliver turned his gaze to the privateer and his crew. Two dark-haired men stood side by side, their expressions stern, their eyes sharp as they observed the merchant vessel’s crew with equal frankness. Both men were tall with broad shoulders and a pronounced chin, their resemblance suggesting a familial relation. Perhaps father and son as one looked about twenty years older than the other. The older man, Oliver assumed, was the captain of the ship.
On the side of the ship, Oliver could make out the vessel’s name: Chevalier Noir, the Black Knight. Oliver nodded, thinking it a fitting match for the dark-haired man with the sharp eyes.
Murmurs went through the sailors around him, and Oliver abandoned his observations, trying to catch what they were saying.
“That one’s a woman.”
“Are you daft? Women don’t sail.”
“I’m telling you, it’s a woman.”
“You must be losing your eyesight.”
Craning his neck, Oliver let his gaze sweep over the privateer’s crew, his pulse hammering at the thought of a woman on board. Had she been kidnapped? Was she a prisoner? Possibly an English prisoner?
When Oliver finally saw her, his heart seemed to stop, and his breath caught in his throat. Not because of her beautiful face or the figure she struck standing at the bow a sword in her hand and a pistol strapped to her hip. Nor was it the golden tendrils dancing in the wind or her stunningly blue eyes with a spark of violet in them.
No, it was the calm serenity that rested in her eyes. Here was someone–a woman no less–who knew exactly where she belonged, where her place in this world was. There was no doubt. No question. No hesitation.
How had she ended up on that ship? For she was clearly not a prisoner, but a member of the crew. Was she the captain’s wife? Never had he heard of a captain allowing his wife on board? Much less allowing her to carry a weapon?
Still, here she was, far away from the restrictions her gender placed on her. How had she freed herself? Oliver wondered, envy burning in his chest as he watched her.
Standing tall–proud!–she kept her gaze firmly on the group of sailors around him, her hair whipping in the wind as though she could not wait to charge and board their ship. Although it was tied in the back, her curls seemed wild, dancing around her face, doing little to soften her sharp features and the steely look in her eyes. Like the dark-haired captain, she wore well-fitting breeches, a white shirt peeking out from under her dark tailcoat as well as leather boots, allowing her to move as she pleased.
Never in his life had Oliver seen a woman more beautiful.
A shudder went through the planks under his feet as the two ships finally collided, and Oliver’s gaze was ripped from the vision standing at the bow.