Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Persuasion of Miss Jane Brody

Title: The Persuasion of Miss Jane Brody
Author: Isabella Hargreaves
Genre: Historical Romance
Publication Date: November 28, 2013

Jane Brody is a passionate follower of Mary Wollstonecraft's beliefs about the rights of women. She campaigns for better education and employment opportunities for girls so they can be independent of men. Conservative Jonathan Everslie, Marquis of Dalton, needs a wife and heir, but can't find a woman who doesn't bore him. Then he meets Jane Brody. He finds her attractive, but her politics dangerous.

After Jane’s father dies, she is left to raise her younger siblings. Her efforts to support them by running a girls’ school fail because Society decries her beliefs. Marquis of Dalton wants her, but can Jane overcome her fears and put aside her beliefs to marry him to save her family? Will Dalton risk his political career to win Jane’s love and persuade her that they belong together?

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Excerpt #1:

Elizabeth introduced them in her breathy voice and Jonathan courteously responded. “Charmed to meet you Miss Brody. My sister insisted that I accompany her to hear your views.” And I will certainly do so again after seeing how very much more attractive you are close up.

“I’m delighted to meet you Lord Dalton. I trust I have convinced you that women have voices which ought to be heard. This fraternity needs people in high places such as you to spread the word and convince men that women are entitled to equal rights.”

Surprised by her calm expectation that he was a supporter of her women’s cause, Jonathan felt compelled to disabuse her. “I’m afraid that I do not yet believe there is reason or need for women to demand an equal place in our society.”

“If they do not need equality of rights, then why do women die every day from too many confinements weakening their health?” she demanded quietly.

“Unfortunately they do die,” he replied. His face was impassive. “But that is an issue for man and wife to debate and settle – not society as a whole. And surely not a subject for an unmarried woman to concern herself with?”

“And how do you expect women to control their reproduction if they are not permitted to discuss the question and the means before they are wed? Afterwards it becomes a fait accompli, does it not?” she queried.

Excerpt #2:

She spoke quietly. “I took you for a man of greater moral fibre my lord. I see I was mistaken.” She turned to his sister and then Mrs Courtice on her right offering them tea and cake.

He was dismissed – as if of no further interest or use to her. It was an unfamiliar feeling – of being ignored by an unmarried woman, or by anyone else for that matter. Stunned, he stepped back from the group and strode away to talk with Dr Logan, the middle-aged doctor who aided a mission in Wapping for unmarried mothers. It was a charity to which Jonathan had given funds for some time but in which he had never taken a close interest, preferring instead to let his money do the work. He listened distractedly to the doctor but his mind was churning.

This woman, this Miss Jane Brody, the daughter of a clergyman, had challenged his very usefulness in the world and found him wanting.

Megan's Review:

The Persuasion of Miss Jane Brody by Isabella Hargreaves - 4 star review

 I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, for which I received no compensation.

Jane Brody is the daughter of a clergyman who has the task of raising her younger siblings after the death of her mother. Being one of few highly educated women in her time she has taken it upon herself to become a voice for women's liberation in society advocating for women's equality and right to choose for themselves rather than be the property of their fathers, presiding male family members, or husbands. Through her charity and advocacy work she meets Jonathan Everslie, Marquis of Dalton who is being pressured to marry and produce an heir by his overbearing aunt. Being the only male heir presiding over many female dependents he struggles with the responsibilities before him, until he meets Jane. As wrong as she is for him and his political career with her unconventional ideas that are greatly frowned upon in their time, he can't imagine not having her. Jane has sworn off marriage and children focusing on her work with oppressed woman, until she meets Jonathan and she must struggle to retain her principles while she finds herself falling in love with a man whose beliefs are the polar opposite of her own.

Jane's character was wonderful, though stubborn and quite irritating at time because of it. She is strong-willed, argumentative, and passionate in her beliefs almost to the point that she sacrifices her own happiness because of her unwillingness to accept that which is different from what she has made herself believe. Though her cause is admirable it is almost her personal undoing.

Jonathan's character is honorable, intelligent, and just as stubborn. He is traditional in his beliefs almost to the point of tunnel vision, until Jane comes into his life. I enjoyed watching his character transform throughout the story and become more accepting and willing to change because of his feelings.

Aside from the main characters there were a slew of secondary characters that were engaging and entertaining, though I do wish there had been more background on some.

Being an avid reader of historical novels, thanks to my grandmother, I love the details of the time. Things we, in modern times, take advantage of as well as behavior and actions that are sorely lacking in this day and age if you ask me. This was a very well-written an intriguing story. Unlike a lot of historical romance novels I have read this was not filled with sex scenes, though there was definite sexual tension and passion that existed between the Jane and Jonathan. The story focused on the peril of women in the time, the abuse of power by men in society and how one woman fought against it with honor, respect, and class. I completely admired Jane's struggle to define her role in society that would benefit the less fortunate while falling in love with an aristocrat, who stood for traditional social values, and trying to get him to understand that change was needed.

That being said, though it started out a little on the slow side for me I was essentially captivated by the internal and external struggles of the characters. I do, personally, wish there had been more detail into the pasts of certain characters it did not take away from the story at all for it not to be there…that's just my opinion. However, I would definitely recommend this to any reader who enjoys a clean and engrossing historical romance that actually focuses on the emotional aspect of an unconventional relationship rather than the physical one.

I’m an Australian author of historical romances mainly set during the Regency period. My first novel, The Persuasion of Miss Jane Brody was awarded joint second place part in the Steam eRead’s 'Some Like it Hot' Romance Writing competition held earlier this year. It was published by Steam eReads on 28 November 2013.

Upcoming novels are set in eras from Anglo-Saxon England to 1920s outback Australia.

· Facebook: isabella.hargreaves.14

· Twitter: @IsabellaHauthor

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