Penguin Publishing contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reading and reviewing the new release “A Rather Charming Invitation” by CA Belmond. I had never heard of the series, but it sounded intriguing so I told them I’d love to read and review it. She sweetened the deal by offering one of my blog readers their very own copy (WOOO HOOO!!! I LOVE giving away goodies to my friends) As soon as I knew this was the third in the series I got online and ordered the first two books. I just knew this was going to be a book I enjoyed and I’d definitely want to read the other two. You can learn about Ms. Belmond on the web here.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Dateline: London, Paris, Antibes. It’s time to get down to wedding planning. But while heiress Penny’s distant relatives insist that the nuptials be held in their native France, Jeremy’s kin won’t have it anywhere but England. And either choice might just re-ignite the Hundred Years’ War…
Then, in a family chÃ¢teau high above the perfume fields of Grasse, Penny’s French cousin offers her the loan of an ancient bridal tapestry. But Penny has barely begun to crack its perplexing imagery before a series of strange events unfolds, threatening to derail the wedding. From a secret chalet on Lake Geneva, to a nostalgic stop at the opulent Train Bleu, to a winner-take-all gamble in Monte Carlo, Penny and Jeremy are off on another romp…while the clock is ticking down until they say, “I do.”
Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade; 1 edition (February 2, 2010)
When my book arrived (compliments of Penguin Publishing–yep, received the book for free, but I didn’t receive any other compensation for my review) I eagerly started reading and soon fell in love with Penny and Jeremy. A Rather Charming Invitation begins with Penny and Jeremy planning their wedding and soon twists and turns through family history and mysteries.
Penny and Jeremy travel through England, France and Monaco trying to solve the crime and you, the reader, get to travel along. Everything is described in such wonderful detail that I felt like I was right there with them.
Just when I thought I had it figured out it would take another turn. There was enough intrigue to always keep me guessing and keep me reading (me: “yes, I know it’s 1 a.m., but Penny and Jeremy are being held hostage on a boat and I have to make sure they are ok” Husband: “groan”—rolls over and tries to go back to sleep). I can’t help it, who needs sleep when there is a great book to read.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys wonderful characters and a page turning mystery.
My Rating: 5/5
Ms. Belmond agreed to a short interview. I’ve never interviewed anyone before, but I had this opportunity and didn’t want it to pass it up. I hope you enjoy this short Q&A.
JSOC: Tell us about yourself.
CA BELMOND:I wanted to be an author at a very early age, and I scribbled little poems and novels as soon as I could hold a pencil and write. Nowadays, I like to write with a â€œbenevolent but satiricâ€ eye, examining the way people behave under changing circumstances. Iâ€™m American-born, so I love open space, frankness and a can-do attitude. But my lineage is European, so I also have a strong affinity for the continental values of privacy, quiet and a genteel respect for the everyday quality-of-life.
JSOC: How did you come up with the idea of Penny and Jeremy?
CA BELMOND: People tell me that Penny and Jeremy are like a modern-day Nick and Nora. I like that. Pennyâ€™s first-person â€œvoiceâ€ was in my mind for some time, and I knew that I wanted to write about an American girl abroad, a kind of modern Henry James heroine. Meanwhile I was travelling to Europe oftenâ€”initially when I was awarded a writersâ€™ residency in France, and then I kept returning for work and study. So I soon envisioned an American girl and an English guy in a great vintage car on those winding French Riviera roads, and I asked myselfâ€”how did they get here? Then I was off and running!
JSOC: What is the last book you read?
CA BELMOND: Well of course I do a lot of research for each book. But purely for pleasure, I love to read Victorian and Edwardian novelists, and the â€œmodernsâ€ like Evelyn Waugh and George Orwell. For contemporary, I got hold of Margaret Atwoodâ€™s newest novelâ€”sheâ€™s my mentor and a wonderful friend.
JSOC: Do you have a blog or a website for readers to keep up to date with your books?
CA BELMOND: Yes, my website is www.cabelmond.com . It has lots of info about me and my books, and also a link for readers who want to e-mail me directly. Iâ€™ve posted some of their comments on a special page called ReadersCorner.
JSOC: Do you travel to all the interesting places that you write about?
CA BELMOND: Yes, indeed! All the â€œRatherâ€ novels involve London and the French Riviera, but thereâ€™s always a couple of wonderful new spots in each bookâ€”Paris, Provence, Rome, Lake Como, Corsica, Lake Geneva… Penny and Jeremy just love to get around! I sometimes attach these jaunts to my husbandâ€™s business trips; but often we just pack up and go off together whenever Iâ€™m onto a new novel.
JSOC: Tell us about your new release, â€œA Rather Charming Invitationâ€.
CA BELMOND: â€œA Rather Charming Invitationâ€ is the third novel in the â€œRatherâ€ series, and now Penny and Jeremy are ready to tie the knot. Because of their impending wedding they are invited to meet the French side of Pennyâ€™s family. But when a family artifact that was loaned to them for the wedding is stolen, Penny and Jeremy have to find it fast, so it doesnâ€™t de-rail the whole ceremony! There are other complications that cause them to have to deal with some very rich and some very shady characters as they go off on a romp across Europe.
You donâ€™t have to read the earlier novels in the â€œRatherâ€ series to catch up, but it helps to know that it all began with â€œA Rather Lovely Inheritanceâ€ where Penny and Jeremy got an unexpected inheritance from Pennyâ€™s English great-aunt. Then came â€œA Rather Charming Engagementâ€ when Penny and Jeremy decided to launch a joint business, using Pennyâ€™s art research expertise and Jeremyâ€™s legal prowess. Also, thereâ€™s always a little history and mystery in each novel, and Pennyâ€™s humorous observations about the world today. One reviewer summed it all up nicely, by saying that Penny and Jeremy are a couple who genuinely enjoy each otherâ€™s company, as they go off to see the world together!
Now for the giveaway. Up for grabs is one brand new copy of “A Rather Charming Invitation” compliments of Penguin Publishing (I think Penguin publishes all of my favorite books â˜º–I’ve never really paid attention to the publisher of my books before, but after browsing their new release list I see A LOT on there that I want)
To enter the giveaway just leave me a comment telling me one or more of your favorite books. Make sure you leave your email address as well.
That’s it. One entry per person. Giveaway will end Sunday, February 28th at 5 p.m. EST. I will email the winner and they will have 48 hours to respond otherwise another winner will be chosen. This book giveaway is open to US and Canada.