#historical #Victorian #romance
Title: Jane Grey
Author: Nina Mason
Genre: Historical Romance
Time period: 1850
Heat Level: Moderate
Here’s the blurb:
Matthew Brontë, a true romantic at heart, believes the only happiness in life is to love and be loved. And yet, he fears he lacks the capacity to love…until he meets Jane Grey. Jane, a humble English governess, seems perfect for Matthew, apart from one significant snag: Jane can only marry a man of means and Matthew must give up his fortune if and when he marries. When faced with the choice between love and money, which will each of them choose?
More about Jane Grey:
Set in France’s Loire Valley in 1850, Jane Grey tells the story of a frustrated painter and a beleaguered English governess who comes to France to tutor a flirtatious young heiress in the social graces. Jane Grey meets Matthew Brontë when he takes a spill from his horse near where she is walking—the same way Jane Eyre met Mr. Rochester in the book our Jane is reading at the time. Jane finds it uncannier still that Matthew is a cousin to the author of Jane Eyre.
After Jane helps Gabriel home to his chateau, he offers her drawing lessons to repay her kindness. Regrettably, the only way she can accept his gift is to pretend the drawing lessons are for Lady Cecile Brousseau, her spoiled and selfish pupil.
As the weeks pass, Jane and Matthew discover they have much in common, including shared interests in art, poetry, literature, and gardening. They seem perfect for each other, apart from one significant snag: Matthew cannot marry without forfeiting his fortune, and Jane can only marry a man with the means to support her as well as her dependent relations back in England.
Will the strength of Jane and Matthew’s devotion be enough to overcome this seemingly unsolvable dilemma? Or will Jane be forced to choose her duty to her family over her own desires?
Jane Grey is an original work with subtle shadings borrowed from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey.
Here’s an excerpt:
“If you don’t mind my asking, was your relationship with the countess an affectionate one?”
Matthew’s candor pleased Jane on more than one level. “So, you didn’t love her?”
After an extended silence, he said, looking pained, “To be truthful, Miss Grey, I’ve never loved any woman—and often doubt myself capable of experiencing that most-coveted of emotions.”
His words crushed her hopes and brought more tears to her eyes. “Surely, you are wrong. For you strike me as a man of great passion.”
“I used to be.” His countenance grew even more sullen. “But now, my heart is like a tree in winter. Barren, leafless, and encrusted with ice.”
“Perhaps it will thaw when you meet the right woman,” she offered hopefully.
He brought his face very close to hers and, for a breathless moment, she thought he meant to kiss her. Instead, he said in a strained voice, “I probably should keep this to myself, but my cold heart has warmed some since making your acquaintance.”
For several hellish-yet-heavenly moments, they sat together in silence. His mouth was so close to hers she could feel his breath warming her lips. As her heart leapt toward him, her body impulsively followed. Their mouths met ever so sweetly. Then, mortified by her forwardness, she jerked back and turned away.
“Forgive me. I shouldn’t have been so presumptuous.”
“There’s nothing to forgive,” he said. “I rather liked the feel of your mouth on mine.”
She liked the feel of his, too—very much indeed—but carrying on like a common hussy would only lead to her ruin. “Perhaps we should return to the house and see if Cécile’s headache is any better.”
“Yes,” he said with audible strain. “Perhaps we should at that.”
He stood and offered her his arm. She took his coat sleeve between her gloved hands and let him lead her farther along the path. After they’d walked several paces, he said, “I don’t believe I’ve yet asked your favorite flower.”
“No, you haven’t.”
He waited a few moments before letting out a small laugh. “Will you not tell me what it is?”
“Very well.” She released a sigh. “I shall tell you. As queer as it may seem, my favorite flower is bleeding heart.”
He laughed, drew to a stop, and freed his arm from her grasp. Turning toward the bed to their right, he bent over the boxwood border and plucked several stems of the flower she’d named. Then, he offered the bouquet to her with a gallant bow. “Please allow me to offer you this humble token of my admiration.”
She accepted the flowers with joy in her heart. It was foolish, perhaps, to experience so much elation in response to so simple an offering, but no man had ever given her anything before. He’d also demonstrated tremendous compassion when she told him about her family—and had admitted to liking the brief intimacy they’d shared.
Might he have some feelings for her? Or was he just being kind? Oh—and what about his secret? She must take care not to let him turn her head, lest she end up brokenhearted when the truth came out.
Here’s the buy-link:
Note: Jane Grey will be 99 cents until May 21 and thereafter will revert to the regular price of $3.99
An expertly crafted Victorian Romance ~ 5 stars
I am familiar with reading Nina Mason’s erotic historical and paranormal romances such as her Royal Pains and Knights of the Tarot series of which I am a big fan. Jane Grey, a standalone historical romance is a departure from the erotic genre as the heat level of this work is classed as moderate and the romance between the main couple is a sweet one. Nevertheless the author’s storytelling ability and character development are once again flawless.
The tale expertly evokes the Victorian novels of the time, in particularly those penned by the Brontë’s, namely Charlotte’s Jane Eyre and Anne’s Agnes Grey, to which the work, although an original, pays homage: Matthew, the hero, is a cousin of the Brontës and the book references Jane Eyre in particular. The use of language in the book and the descriptions of the Loire Valley where the novel is set transported me to the time period perfectly. Jane Grey reflects the social mores and the moral dilemmas often found within the literature of this period – Jane, an impoverished governess can only marry a man of sufficient means to support her dependant mother and siblings and Matthew will lose his fortune should he marry. Can love triumph over this seemingly impossible situation? I was invested in the characters from the off and intrigued to find out where the narrative would go.
Matthew and Jane are perfect for each other, sharing many interests, such as art and literature, interests which Matthew, up until now a man who although having no difficulty in attracting the opposite sex, has never found in another woman. Indeed, before finding Jane, the romance his soul craves has eluded this handsome and passionate artist and his muse has mourned its lack. The quiet and studious Jane soon finds herself falling in love with a man of Matthew’s intelligence and depths, even as she doubts that her feelings will be reciprocated due to what she perceives as her own failings. However, their relationship is blighted at every turn by the selfish antics of Cécile, the jealous and capricious heiress who Jane is tutoring and the wastrel cousin of Matthew’s benefactor who will go to desperate lengths to wrestle Matthews fortune from him. The passion and longing between Matthew and Jane is evident in their every word and glance and I was willing them to break free of their self inflicted and societal bonds as I was anxious for their HEA.
If you enjoy reading historical novels set in Victorian times, which explore the relationships between men and women and the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ within society, coupled with a sweet yet passionate romance, then this book is definitely for you. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Tina Williams
Please note that an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
Here’s more about the author:
Nina Mason, the author of eleven published books to date, is an incurable romantic who strives to write love stories that entertain and edify. A research fanatic, she goes to great lengths to ensure the locations and time periods in her books are accurately portrayed (and thanks the Powers That Be for the internet). Born and raised in Southern California, Ms. Mason lived in Oregon briefly before moving to Georgia, where she lives with her husband and college-bound daughter. When she isn’t writing, she makes historic dolls, fairy babies, and putters in her garden.
Contact Nina: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Nina’s website: http://ninamasonauthor.com
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Thanks so much for featuring Jane Grey on your blog today, Tina. I’m so happy you loved the book!