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Emily Larkin Interview - author picture

I’m delighted to welcome Historical Romance Author EMILY LARKIN to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Hello, Carol! Many thanks for inviting me. It’s lovely to be here.

~~~~~~~

 

R&R:
Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Emily:
I was born in Napier, the art deco capital of New Zealand, and grew up in Nelson, the sunshine capital of New Zealand. My father was a novelist, and when he started writing fulltime my parents moved to Nelson and bought an ugly little stucco house high up on a hill, with a wonderful view of the bay and the mountains. That hill was the bane of my school years (I hated climbing it every afternoon), but it left a lasting legacy; I now voluntarily climb hills every day. In fact, if I don’t have my daily hill walk, I get an itchy, frustrated feeling. Hills are in my blood…

This is a picture of my parents, my sister, and me, on our Nelson hillside. (I’m the one with the glasses.)

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R&R:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Emily:
Pretty easy-going, although I am a perfectionist, so I’m not easy-going about doing things right! I rarely lose my temper, but when I do … watch out.

 

R&R:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Emily:
Definitely savoury. I love salty butter and gooey, stinky cheese on freshly baked bread. And chips. Chips are my downfall!

Here’s a rustic loaf still warm from the oven and some very smelly cheese, one of my favourite breakfasts.

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R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Emily:
I was going to say that I don’t have many possessions and that most of them have been in storage for the past eight years, so I can’t really call them treasured … and then I thought about the few possessions that aren’t in storage and it was obvious: my yoga mats!

I had a back injury in my twenties, and if I’m not careful it still bothers me. Yoga really helps. I try to do 30-60 minutes a day, mostly stretches to increase my flexibility. It counteracts all the hours I spend at my computer. (Or at least, I hope it does!)

These are my two favourite mats: the thick, squishy black one, and the ultra-thin travelling one.

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R&R:
If you could afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Emily:
I don’t actually have any home at the moment (unless the storage unit counts?), so for me this question should be: If you could afford a home anywhere in the world where would you choose? The answer is Scandinavia. I was an exchange student in Sweden in my teens and fell in love with that country, so Sweden would be my first pick, but maybe I’d choose Norway because it’s hillier and I need daily hill walks. My dream home also has to be near the sea. I love the coast! You remember that itchy, frustrated feeling I get when I haven’t climbed a hill? Well, I get that feeling when I haven’t seen the sea for a few days, too. So, somewhere in Scandinavia by the sea and with hills. That would be my dream!

This is a postcard someone sent me from the Lofoten archipelago, which is at the top of my list of places to visit. Who knows? I may end up living there!

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R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Emily:
Oh, man. Did you have to ask? Well … picture a large university hostel with eight floors and several hundred students … and picture someone (me) in the shower on the eighth floor when the fire alarm goes off. Seeing as how there had been a real fire on the seventh floor only a few weeks previously (someone’s curtains caught fire), I didn’t stop to dress, just flung a towel around me and went running down the stairs. The firemen thought it was amusing; I can’t say that I did.
~~~~~~~

 

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and share these interesting facts about yourself, Emily.

Thank you so much, Carol! I’ve loved talking with you. Hopefully one day we’ll meet face to face.

 


If you would like to find out more about Emily and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook

 

 

 

 

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unmasking-miss-appleby

(Baleful Godmother, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Late Georgian, 1805)

Cover Blurb:

She’s not who she seems…

On her 25th birthday, Charlotte Appleby receives a most unusual gift from the Faerie godmother she never knew she had: the ability to change shape.

Penniless and orphaned, she sets off for London to make her fortune as a man. But a position as secretary to Lord Cosgrove proves unexpectedly challenging. Someone is trying to destroy Cosgrove and his life is increasingly in jeopardy.

As Charlotte plunges into London’s backstreets and brothels at Cosgrove’s side, hunting his persecutor, she finds herself fighting for her life—and falling in love…

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I was a little nervous when I saw the synopsis for this book as I’m not a big lover of historical romance with paranormal elements. However, having read a number of excellent reviews from trusted friends, I decided to take the plunge and I wasn’t disappointed. I loved this imaginative, intelligently written and delightful romance.


The Story

It’s the day of Charlotte Appleby’s 25th birthday, but her life is not the one she had dreamed of. Orphaned when her father died, she has lived with her uncle and aunt for the past 8 years. Treated as little more than a servant, Charlotte longs to be independent and earn her way in life, but her uncle has made it clear that if she leaves, she can never return. Charlotte appreciates that at least she has a home, safety and security and has resigned herself to a life of drudgery. However, her life changes that evening when a strange and slightly scary woman appears, claiming to be a faerie and offers her the choice of one magical gift. After considering the various gifts offered, Charlotte chooses the ability to transform herself into any human or animal but still retaining her own mind. Now, as Christopher Albin, she secures the position of secretary to Marcus Langford, the Earl of Cosgrove.

Someone is waging a hate campaign against the Earl of Cosgrove – his windows have been repeatedly broken and night soil left on his doorstep. Now he has suffered a physical attack in which his secretary, Lionel, has been badly injured and is recuperating in the country. Marcus knows  it could be politically or personally motivated and there are plenty of potential suspects. As an active supporter of the abolition of the slave trade, Marcus has political enemies among the Anti-abolitionists. In his private life, his beautiful wife was known to be an adulteress and there are rumours that Marcus’s ill-treatment of her may have driven her to commit suicide or he may even have murdered her. His brother-in-law makes no bones about the fact that he hates Marcus, blaming him for his sister’s death.  Then there’s his spineless, drunken heir who expects Marcus to pay his debts and fund his profligate lifestyle. Marcus needs a new secretary to help him uncover who is responsible and, although Christopher Albin isn’t the ideal candidate, he is the only one who doesn’t balk when warned of the potential danger.


My Thoughts

I have read books where the heroine dresses as a man but I have never read a book where the heroine actually becomes a man. I feel Charlotte’s reactions to adjusting to the physical aspects of being a man are realistically portrayed by Ms. Larkin. I could imagine having difficulty tying a cravat properly like Christopher or finding it strange to write with overlarge hands.

She watched her fingers wield the quill—large, blunt-tipped, male—and the dizzying sense of wrongness came again: her hand was too large, the quill too small. The letters came out lopsided and awkward, like a child learning to write.

As would be the case for most unmarried ladies of that era, Charlotte knows virtually nothing about men and her ignorance of how a man’s body works and her naivety about sexual matters provide for some humorous moments, especially in relation to one particular appendage or “pego” as Charlotte calls it, and in the brothel scene.

In her role as a man, Charlotte has independence and the freedom to do things and go to places that would have been forbidden to her as a woman. I like it when authors make subtle social comments within a story.

She could do things she’d never been able to do, go places that had been forbidden, grab opportunities no one would ever offer a woman.

A genuine friendship develops between Marcus and Christopher and I love how Marcus feels a genuine sense of responsibility and protectiveness towards Christopher whom he sees as ‘green as an unbreeched babe’.  As Christopher, Charlotte gets a real insight into Marcus’s character. He seems to have everything – looks, wealth and a title – but his life is far from a happy one. I admire Marcus for his stance against the slave trade, not only in words but also in deeds.

I was glad that Charlotte only uses her gift to aid Marcus in his search or when they are threatened with violence.  I also like the fact that when she changes, it takes time for her to adapt and it isn’t all plain sailing or flying in this case.

Charlotte veered away in a wild swoop, losing height. The floor lunged up at her. She cheeped in terror, clawed at the air with her wings, found herself plunging upwards.
    It took two lurching circuits of the bedchamber before she found her balance in the air. Dip of wing, flap of wing, became natural and effortless.

The ability to become any animal she wishes enables Charlotte to search for evidence in circumstances which would prove impossible for humans, and is therefore an important element in the plot. I thought Marcus’s response to discovering Christopher’s magic ability was realistic given the circumstances. He couldn’t deny what he had seen with his own eyes.

Faerie magic. It was ludicrous. Preposterous. Impossible. And yet I see it with my own eyes.

I like how Ms. Larkin explores Charlotte’s growing attraction for Marcus (which causes some problems when a certain part of her anatomy insists on standing to attention) and how she creates a believable way for Marcus to meet Charlotte as herself. Their romance develops during a series of meetings, awkward at first, but gradually with a growing sense of warmth, tenderness and intimacy.

I understood Marcus’s initial angry reaction when he discovers Charlotte’s deception, because he sees it as yet another betrayal by someone he trusted. It takes a life-threatening situation, a letter and a journey to bring him to his senses and make him realise that he loves Charlotte.

I found the plot kept my interest throughout and the denouement was quite shocking, not at all what I expected. 


MY VERDICT: A charming romance with a touch of
magic and an intriguing mystery. Highly recommended and I will definitely be reading the rest of the series.

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

Baleful Godmother series (click on the book covers for more details):

Prequel – The Fey Quartet by Emily Larkin Unmasking Miss Appleby (Baleful Godmother, #1) by Emily Larkin Resisting Miss Merryweather (Baleful Godmother, #2) by Emily Larkin Trusting Miss Trentham (Baleful Godmother, #3) by Emily Larkin Claiming Mister Kemp (Baleful Godmother, #4) by Emily Larkin Ruining Miss Wrotham (Baleful Godmother, #5) by Emily Larkin

 

 

 

 

 

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