Saturday, January 16, 2010

Book Review and Author Interview: Linore Rose Burkard, The Country House Courtship

Narelle here. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome Linore Rose Burkard to our blog. Today we’re giving away a copy of Linore’s new January release, The Country House Courtship (US and Canadian residents only) and a short story e-book by Linore (residents outside the US and Canada only).

Linore Rose Burkard creates Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul. Her characters take you back in time to experience life and love during the Regency England era (circa 1800 - 1830). Ms. Burkard's novels include Before the Seasons Ends, The House in Grosvenor Square and, The Country House Courtship. Her stories blend Christian faith and romance with well-researched details from the Regency. Readers experience a romantic age, where England from the past comes alive and happy endings are possible for everyone!

Book Review by Narelle Atkins

The Country House Courtship (Harvest House, January 2010) is the third book in Linore Rose Burkard’s delightful Inspirational Regency Romance series. A spirited romance for the Jane Austen soul is an accurate description for this entertaining story.

Miss Beatrice Forsythe, younger sister of Ariana Mornay, is seventeen and wants to experience her first Season in London high society. Five years earlier her elder sister married Phillip Mornay, known as The Paragon and personal friend of The Regent. Beatrice desires a similar match and hopes she can convince her sister and brother-in-law to take her with their young family to their fashionable London home in Grosvenor Square.

Whilst enjoying her stay at Aspindon House, the Mornay country estate, Beatrice is stunned by the arrival of Mr. Peter O’Brien, recommended to Mr. Mornay for the vacant Curate position in his local parish of Glendover. At the tender age of twelve, young Beatrice impetuously promised to marry the handsome churchman, and she hopes he’s forgotten the whole incident now she’s determined to marry a wealthy man of higher station. Mr. Tristan Barton and his sister, Anne, lease the Manor House neighbouring Aspindon House. The Regent enlists a personal favour from Mr. Barton, in order to confirm a date for Mr. Mornay to take up The Regent’s offer of a viscountcy. Mr. Barton catches Beatrice’s eye, and she starts to believe he could make a suitable husband.

Illness strikes and secrets are revealed, along with the true nature of certain characters during times of trial. Beatrice experiences a roller coaster ride as she discovers where her heart truly lies.

The ensemble cast of characters from earlier books in the series, Before the Season Ends and The House in Grosvenor Square, add to the authentic Regency flavour of the story. The story sparkles with fascinating plot twists and the inspirational element is artfully woven into the story. The Country House Courtship provides an interesting insight into the theology and church life of Regency England. I would recommend this book for those looking for a light hearted and exciting story set in the Regency period.

Narelle: I’m a Regency fan and I’ve enjoyed reading the three books in your series. What do you find most fascinating about the Regency period of English history?

Linore: I think it's fantastic that the Regency has so many wonderfully distinct characteristics for such a short period in history. Costume, politics, speech, manners, morals, lifestyles--not to mention that we have Jane Austen writing her masterpieces, Dickens was a child, the romantic poets were in full swing--and of course there was the Regent himself with all of his attendant scandals and jet-setting trends. I just love the whole period.

Narelle: Please share with us a few of your research tips? Have you visited the settings in your books?

Linore: I have yet to visit England, though it is high on my “to do” list! For research, I would suggest beginning with Daniel Poole's What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew. This book covers Victorian life and culture far more than the regency, specifically, but nevertheless gives a good introduction and “feel” for the century. There are scads of good online sources of information, too, such as the Georgian Index (just google the site), the websites of regency romance authors, and many period-contemporary books that can be accessed for free through Google Books. Reading period books is, for me, a great inspiration. I just thrill to the sound of the language as it was written at that time, and you can get dictionaries of commonly used words online, too; such as, Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, or Grose's Dictionary.

Narelle: Do many real life historical figures play a role in your stories?

Linore: I love including the Prince Regent, Princess Charlotte, a royal mistress or two, (just in passing, to add some colour and authenticity.) And I try to include references whenever appropriate, to other real-life figures, such as Beau Brummell, or Wellington, or Napoleon. I think it helps bring the period to life, and, in the case of the Regent, it gives me an opportunity to explore and reveal a character I find intriguing and interesting, despite his many faults.

Narelle: Regency romances tend to focus on family connections, with a significant number of minor characters related to the main characters. How important was family in the Regency era?

Linore: I'm not sure I can agree that most regency romances focus on family connections, unless you mean as in pedigree; Family history, genealogy, that sort of thing. It was very important, on a social level, to have, literally, “good breeding,” a respectable family line. So in that sense, yes, family was everything. For women, their choices in life were much more limited than today, and so marriage was the key to their future well-being, so again “family” was important. Austen's novels clearly show the importance of family to social standing, and in that sense, yes, “connections” were everything.

Narelle: Yes, I mean pedigree. Regency society is very different to the egalitarian society many of us live in today. At the beginning of The Country House Courtship, Mr. Peter O’Brien is the curate in a poor London parish. How did church life in the city differ to small country villages?

Linore: Depending on which part of the city your parish was in, church life could differ significantly. Take St. George's in Hanover Square; the curate or rector there would be dealing mostly with an upper class parish, though of course the servant class was very devout, and would also have been part of it. But that is still a far different church body than the poor of St. Giles' parish, or other poorer districts of London. In the country, vicars would have likely been farming their own glebes, perhaps serving in more than one parish, which meant presiding at a service in one neighbourhood and then hurrying off to another in order to perform services there. Neighbourhood life often centred around the life of the parish, so that a curate or vicar was an integral part of the social life of a village or town, not just a spiritual authority. It was a challenge to research the workings of the early 19th church, and yet I discovered so much in the process, that it helped to fuel the plot of The Country House Courtship, too.

Linore, thanks so much for joining us today. It's been a pleasure to interview you and learn more about the Regency era.

By commenting on today’s post you can enter the drawing to win a copy of The Country House Courtship (US and Canadian residents only). For those living outside the US and Canada, you can enter the drawing to win a short story e-book by Linore. The winners will be announced on Sunday, January 24. Please leave an email address [ ] at [ ] dot [ ] where you can be reached and specify which drawing you are entering.

"Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws."

To learn more about Linore Rose Burkard and her books, please visit her website.

Narelle Atkins writes contemporary inspirational romance. She resides in Canberra, Australia with her husband and children. To learn more about Narelle, please visit her website.


  1. Thank you, Narelle, for introducing us to Linore. I love historical fiction that is based on real research and not just romantic drivel from an idyllic past. And I love recognizing real people in the middle of fiction I will have to check out your books

  2. Hey readers,
    There are some great free downloads on my website for yout, too, such as, "Welcome to the Regency," or, "Fact or Fiction: Myths and Mysteries of the Regency." Find them on my Readers' Resources page, and have fun!

    Narelle, thanks for the interview and for having me on your blog. It was fun. : )

  3. Afraid I have yet to read one of your books, Linore and now they are a must. Thank you for sharing and thank you Narelle for introducing me to Linore. I love regency books and of course Georgette Heyer's books have been keepers' on my bookshelves for many years. Her biography is also very interesting for information about that period and her own writing years.

  4. LeeAnne and Mary, thanks for stopping by :-) I highly recommend reading Linore's books in order and I remember reading Before The Season Ends within 24 hours - I just couldn't put it down!

    Linore, thanks for sharing the links to Readers' Resources page on your website :-)

  5. Sorry about that. I'm sort of new to commenting on blog pages and wanted to edit, not delete. I am so glad I found this website. Looking forward to finding books by some of these authors and reading them.

    I have read both of Linore's books, and can't wait to reading her new one. Copies have been sold out, so I would love to win a free copy! I love reading historical and/or regency fiction, and learning about the customs and manners of the day.

  6. duhpaynes, thanks for stopping by :-) The first print run sold out in 2 weeks! Good luck in the drawing and check Linore's website for info on the availability of The Country House Courtship. She may have copies she can sell direct.

  7. My love for Regencies goes way back to when I first discovered Georgette Heyer, and I'm so glad that Linore is writing them for the Christian market. Thank you for the interview and chance to win a copy.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

  8. Hi Narelle and Linore. Interesting interview. I don't know much about the Regency era, so this was a fun interview to read. Thanks.

    sdjohnson (at) praisemail (dot) com
    (book drawing, not e-book; thanks!)

  9. Carole and Suzie, thanks for stopping by :-)

  10. The winner of The Country House Courtship is Carole and the winner of Linore's ebook short story is Mary Hawkins.

    Congratulations to Carole and Mary! I'm sure you'll enjoy Linore's books. Thanks!