Category Archives: Writing

4 Star Review: Julia’s Story

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I wanted to share this 4 star review of the first of my Belleville books, Julia’s StoryThe review was written by  ElizaBeth Adams » 30 May 2019, 21:31

4 out of 4 stars ****  BUYING OPTIONS CLICK HERE:

All I have to say is, “Nooooooo!” Not, “No, don’t read this book,” or, “No, it isn’t any good.” “Nooooooo,” because the book ended. It ended and so many plot lines are achingly unresolved. You just can’t do this to me J Mary Masters. I have to know what happens next! Forgive me for a second while I throw an unattractive grown-up fit. I want the next book and I want it now. Phew! At least there is a next book, two actually, and they are already released. Okay. I believe I can calm down now. Breathe, breathe, breathe. Let’s see, where was I? That’s right. I was getting ready to tell you all about the engaging book I just finished reading, Julia’s Story, Book 1 in the Belleville Family Series, by J Mary Masters.

So, here’s the scoop. The high-society Belleville family resides in Australia, and we are introduced to them during WWII. The culture described had many parallels to the antebellum period in the American South; fancy dresses for the well-to-do ladies, cattle farms instead of cotton plantations, house servants instead of slaves, and was complete with societal expectations shaping accepted public behaviour. These expectations played a large role in fuelling the conflict in this story.

Within the walls of Prior Park we meet Francis and Elizabeth Belleville’s family. Elizabeth is a strong-minded woman who is in charge, especially in regard to her children’s marriage prospects. Francis on the other hand is painted as a lazy, pampered man who drinks too much and never lives up to his full potential.

They have three mostly-grown children; Richard, William, and Julia. Richard, the oldest and favourite son unexpectedly joins the air force. He departs for training immediately after he drops the bomb that he plans to marry someone of lower-station who, of course, doesn’t meet with his mother’s approval, leaving a severe rift between himself and his parents. Will Richard’s love outlast the war? Meanwhile, with Richard away, William finds himself in the lime-light and uses this time to power-play his way up within the family ladder. When Richard returns, will William be willing to relinquish his new-found control? Julia, not long after her eighteenth birthday, falls in love with the American soldier, Dr. Philippe Duval. Knowing that her family would never approve, they keep their relationship a secret. Soon the American gets posted in Hawaii, and Julia finds her virtue in precarious standing. Will Julia and Philippe ever be reunited? As the tale unfolds and scandal ensues the Belleville family members must make decisions with consequences that could ruin their treasured reputation in society or tear their family apart.

I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this novel. It’s difficult for me to say what I loved the most, because multiple strengths synergistically worked together to make this an enjoyable read. The characters were well-developed and showed vulnerabilities. Elizabeth’s domineering ways could be easily imagined. Her actions were frustrating and yet at times a softer side of her character was shown and she was endearing.

Julia experiences heartbreak, and this wasn’t overdramatized or underplayed. I really appreciated the way the author meted out information and used foreshadowing to build suspense. We know in advance that Julia and Dr. Philippe Duval face heartache, but we don’t know of what nature. Also, we find subtle clues to Francis’ on-going affair well before it is concretely revealed. Then, there was the cliffhanger ending. When I swiped left and found no more story, the plummet into panic I experienced told me that the author had done her job. I wanted more. And isn’t that a sign of good storytelling?

Due to the depth of characters, an intricately complex plot, and suspenseful writing, I happily give this book a 4 out of 4 rating. If you enjoy family dramas set in historical time periods with romance elements woven throughout, this one’s for you. If plot lines centred on character relationships don’t sound appealing, steer clear. This book was an amazing ride. Just be prepared for the sudden stop. Better yet, go ahead and snag a copy of the next one in the series. You’ll be happy you did.

[An official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Julia’s Story” by J Mary Masters.]

BOOK DETAILS:

Julia’s Story
BOOK 1 OF THE BELLEVILLE FAMILY SERIES
By J Mary Masters
Published by PMA Books  www.pmabooks.com
ISBN 9780994327642 $24.95 in paperback

 

Tea with Mrs B: Alli Sinclair

This is what I meant to re-blog – the interview with Alli Sinclair, author of The Cinema at Starlight Creek

Mrs B's Book Reviews

tea with mrs b v2.jpgWelcome to Tea with Mrs B, an author interview series. Here to share a pot of tea and to chat about her brand new book, The Cinema at Starlight Creek, is Alli Sinclair.

Alli profile colour

Alli Sinclair, an adventurer at heart, has won multiple awards for her writing. She is Australian and has lived in Argentina, Peru and Canada, and has climbed some of the world’s highest mountains, worked as a tour guide in South and Central America and has travelled the globe. She enjoys immersing herself in exotic destinations, cultures and languages but Australia has always been close to Alli’s heart. Alli hosts retreats for writers and presents writing workshops around Australia, as well as working in film on international projects. She’s a volunteer role model with Books in Homes and is an ambassador for the Fiji Book Drive. Alli’s books explore history, culture, love and grief, and relationships between family…

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My Belleville family: Love affairs, seduction, temptation …. this story took on a life of its own

The story of the Belleville family had been in my head for so long I feel as if they are old friends. Yet I could not have imagined how book 3 would turn out.

Something amazing happened as I wrote it. My characters’ lives really took over the writing. I cannot describe just how satisfying that was.

As I wrote the story, it took so many surprising turns. 

New people inserted themselves into the story. New ideas and new directions for their lives took over the storytelling.

There is no one main protagonist. It is, instead, the story of a family and a story of their lives as they cope with tragedy, disappointment, failed marriages and love affairs that threaten to derail their lives.

Who will you fall in love with as you read about the Belleville family?

Is it the handsome war hero Richard Belleville? Or the charismatic James Fitzroy with his roving eye? Or will you be seduced by the suave charm of American surgeon Dr Philippe Duval? Or the polite and sophisticated Englishman Sir Edward Cavendish? Or does your heart belong to the steady and faithful William Belleville?

And of the women? Who would my women readers most like to be?

The controlling matriarch Elizabeth Belleville? Or her daughter Julia Belleville whose life is changed irrevocably in Book 1 by the actions of her mother?

Of is it the aristocratic beauty Catherine Cavendish who tries hard to love the Australian way of life but cannot settle?

Or Alice Fitzroy whose ambitions are simply for a good marriage and a happy family?

And then, in Book 3, we meet the new friends.

Kate Lester, a wife and mother who had settled for a loveless marriage until … (no, sorry, no spoilers here).

AND finally

Karen Clarke … glamorous, provocative, a temptress ….. a woman not used to be denied. 

Through all this there are two great family secrets. One ends in …… (no, no spoilers) … and the other ….. you must read the books. You must know the outcome of these Belleville family secrets. 

You must read the books, cover to cover. Only that will do.

And who am I secretly in love with? That will remain my secret …..

The pleasure of writing the story of the Belleville family

The Belleville trilogy is now complete

Some years ago, as I was completing a Year of the Novel course at Queensland Writers Centre, I had an idea for a story. Or more precisely, an idea for a story found me through a dream. Several years on, the story has now been told through the Belleville family trilogy with the third book – RETURN TO PRIOR PARK – being released this week.

As I wrote the third book, I was amazed at how the characters’ lives took over their stories. In some ways book 3 is quite a departure from the first two – so I will be very interested to hear what readers have to say.

I wanted to refresh the first two books – not the stories – but the presentation, so I have released each book with a new more contemporary cover design.

The Belleville story is a timeless story – of love, of betrayal, of secrets and tragedy. Its origins are Australian but its reach is international – from New York to London to Sydney and to country Australia.

The Belleville trilogy

Julia’s Story (previously The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story)
Book 1 – ISBN 9780994327642

To Love, Honour and Betray
Book 2 – ISBN 9780994327659

Return to Prior Park
Book 3 – ISBN 9780994327635

My one hope is that my readers enjoy reading the books as much as I enjoyed writing them. Will there be more Belleville books? Perhaps. 
For more information, including links to buy the books, go to
my website.

Return to Prior Park – book 3 of the Belleville family saga

OK a quick para about my life in the past few months.

I’ve given up my day job – well almost. I was publisher of Australian Defence Magazine which I started back in 1993. 25 years on it was time for me to wave goodbye (almost). Still offering advice and insight to the new management team (when asked) and keeping that very unsexy part of magazine publishing – the subscription list – up to date. In all the marketing talk I hear, I never read of anyone talking about the grass roots stuff that contributes so much to success …. attention to the smallest detail.

Why did I start a Defence magazine in Australia – that is now the most successful magazine of its type in the market? It seemed like a good idea at the time and I had a lot of luck along the way.

2018 has seen a big change in my life. Do I miss the grind of magazine publishing? Not at all.

My husband I have sold our house, moved to a retirement resort (pictured) on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast (which lives up to its name by the way). In deep winter it’s around 7 degrees in the morning warming to 23 degrees C during the day, with bright blue skies most days. We are about 10-12 minutes from the beach. The resort facilities include a cinema and a substantial library and the usual stuff like tennis courts and gyms and pools and yes, even vegetable gardens.

I’ve handed around copies of my book and just now ran into a friend who had just read them and of course wants book no.3 …. so rest assured I’m getting motoring on that.

By the way, mainstream publishers say FAMILY SAGAS ARE DEAD – no one wants to read them. That is not my experience!!!

Return to Prior Park is coming …. soon. To follow on from The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story and To Love, Honour and Betray.

Where to for the Belleville family in book 3 and most of all Julia Belleville. I’ll say no more now – I don’t want to spoil the story for those who will read the trilogy for the first time when book 3 is published. But consider the themes – the men may appear to play important roles but it is the women whose lives give richness and depth to the Belleville story. MORE SOON, I promise.

#romance #rural romance #J Mary Masters #Belleville family #Julia and Philippe

Thanks, Gatton, Laidley … and Ipswich #LitChat

One of the pleasures of an author’s life is to have the opportunity to speak about their work and I’ve been doing that lately, at Gatton and Laidley Libraries in the Lockyer Valley on Friday 3rd November and now today at the Indie Author Expo at Ipswich Central Library.

What a great resource the public library network is in Australia …. I invariably find the libraries are run by outstanding, dedicated professionals who are conscious of serving their reading public. Top marks from me.

If you look closely at my new banner you’ll see the prominent position still to be filled in my Belleville trilogy – that’s the book that will truly make it a trilogy. So I will have to get my head down very soon to finish the writing.

I so enjoy immersing myself in the lives of the Belleville family – there is still much to write about. They are real to me and, I hope, real to my readers ….. #realwomen

 

 

Gatton, Laidley, Ipswich & Nowra – that’s where you’ll find me in November

The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story and To Love, Honour & Betray – book 2 of the Belleville family saga.

OK so I confess – I’m still struggling to balance my day job and my life as an author but November will be a busy month for Library visits in Queensland and NSW.

If you are interested in hearing me talk about my writing, the era in which my books are set, the social settings that shape the stories and how the story has developed, I look forward to meeting you at one of these events.

Forthcoming appearances

November 3rd
Gatton Library    10.00am
Laidley Library     1.30pm
Further information:     https://lockyervalley.spydus.com/Events

November 11th
Ipswich Library    10.00am-1.00pm  Indie Author Expo
Further information:     http://www.library.ipswich.qld.gov.au/events/

November 24th
Nowra Library    11.30am
Further information:     click here