Local Author Review for August…
So once a month I read a book by a local author and for the month of August that author is Elisabeth Hobbes. Now I met Elisabeth at the monthly meeting of The Knutsford Literary Society when she came to do a reading from The Blacksmith’s Wife. I found her backstory of how she became a published author fascinating and so I have a little Q&A here with her to find out more and share that with you. She also very kindly gave me a signed paperback copy of her book to review which was an absolute pleasure to read! I was a HUGE Mills and Boon fan as a teenager and it has been a revelation for me to be reintroduced to a genre that now publishes books monthly to suit all fans of romance from every time period possible! There is Viking romance, Regency romance but Elisabeth writes Mediaeval romance and a damn fine job she does of it too!
About this author…
You live in Macclesfield. Are you born and bred there or are you originally
from somewhere else?
I’m originally from York (a great city for historical inspiration). I moved to Macclesfield in 1999. I’d been teaching in Greece and my husband had got a job in Wilmslow. The car broke down here when I was house hunting and we never left.
How did your publishing deal come about?
I started writing my first story when my husband was working away. I was at home alone in the evenings with young children and wanted something to keep me busy. A writer friend who I met through Wattpad told me about Harlequin’s annual So you Think You Can Write contest in 2013 so I entered the first chapter in secret (I hadn’t even told my husband that I’d written it). Against all my expectations I finished in third place. The editors said they loved the story but I would need to make some changes to fit in with the series guidelines- focusing more on the emotional conflict and bringing the characters together on the page more. I revised it and sent the manuscript back and was thrilled when I got the call to say that not only did they want it, but they were offering me a two book deal. Since then I’ve been offered two further contracts, had four books accepted for publication in total (The Blacksmith’s Wife is my third) and am now well into writing my fifth book.
When did you find out you had got the deal?
It was February half term. The contest had finished in December and I’d been working on revising the story. Just before going on holiday I’d sent my revised manuscript to Sarah at Mills & Boon and kept everything crossed that the changes I’d made were enough to fit with the series expectations. I was on a cross-channel ferry heading back to Dover in rough seas when I got the call so I was completely taken aback (and seasick) and not really in the position to be able to celebrate. Once I got over the initial surprise I was over the moon. The first thing I did once I was on dry land was call my mum and tell her. Friends and family have been thrilled for me, despite a bit of teasing about the subject matter- they say I’m the last person they’d expect to write romance!
Do you write full time?
Not yet. I teach three days a week which I enjoy as it’s great to interact with the children and have some adult conversation. Of course if the writing really takes off I’d love to be able to devote more time to it.
About The Blacksmith’s Wife…
A passion forged from fire
Rejected by her favoured knight, Joanna Sollers knows she will never love again. Especially when the man she’s now forced to marry is none other than her beloved’s half-brother!
For blacksmith Hal Danby, marrying Joanna makes his life-long dream of entering the Smiths’ Guild possible, even if the secrets in his past mean he’ll forever keep his distance. But everything changes with one stolen night, and in the arms of his new bride, Hal wonders if this loveless arrangement could transform into something real…
If you are a fan of romance then I will start with a warning that once you pick this book up, you better have nothing else to do for the rest of your day because you will want to devour it in one passionate sitting! Although I was a Mills and Boon fan throughout my misspent teenage years, I hadn’t read one for quite some time. So imagine my surprise and utter delight to discover that historical romance has moved on a bit since those days!
This is a medieval romance that is full of rich and authentic descriptions of the characters we meet and the setting of York and the North Yorkshire moors is brought to life so vibrantly that you feel like you are almost there with Joanna as she battles against misunderstandings on her path to true love. This is no soppy tale with an insipid heroine, Joanna is a strong minded and talented woman who has met her match in the ambitious but kind hearted blacksmith. I just loved her! And Hal too, whom I imagined in my head to look just like the gorgeous cover picture (and it may have helped that he bore an uncanny likeness to a certain actor who have been bearing his chest aplenty in recent BBC dramas!!!) and who would have had me swooning in his arms if I had been around in those days! And I have to mention Sir Roger as we all love a bit of a scoundrel don’t we?!
Elisabeth has really found a fabulous niche for her writing here. She has obviously done a huge amount of in-depth historical research and this shows in the way her writing just flows off the page. Her characters are instantly engaging and the interactions between them are realistic and believable. And being an old romantic at heart, I just loved them all, especially Hal and Joanna, and was egging them on to achieve their “happy ever after”.
I will definitely be keeping an eye out for future books by Elisabeth and due to those gorgeous covers I think paperbacks are the way forward for me from now on! Many thanks to Elisabeth for providing me with a review copy of The Blacksmith’s Wife and this is my unbiased review based on that book.
The Blacksmith’s Wife (Mills & Boon Historical) is available to purchase at Amazon UK