Tag Archives: Julia’s Story

ElizaBeth Adams: her take on Julia’s Story

When I read the first few words of this review back at the end of May, I must admit I was a bit taken aback ….

“All I have to say is, “Nooooooo!” Not, “No, don’t read this book,” or, “No, it isn’t any good.” “Nooooooo,” …… AND THEN I COULD BREATHE A SIGH OF RELIEF BECAUSE SHE SAID “……because the book ended.”

You can see the full review –

https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?t=108875

Now, a few months on, I checked back to see what comments there were about her review – fun to read but I’m pleased those who commented stayed with it to realise it wasn’t the ‘worst book’ she had ever reviewed, which her first few words might have implied!

As authors, we never quite know what people are going to say about our books. But a good review is heartwarming.

I hope it’s a chance to introduce American readers to Australian fiction.

Oh, and yes, there is another book of the Belleville family in the works. Miraculously a trilogy turned into a …. I don’t know what the word is for a series of four books. Anyone?

 

What authors want to see ….

What do authors want to see? They want to see their books nestled on the shelf in a quality bookstore – in this case HARRY HARTOG BOOKSELLER in Maroochydore – alongside authors whose names they recognise – in my case, Melina Marchetta to the left and Frances Mayes to the right. Then comes Fiona McIntosh and back to the left, David Malouf.

If you’ve been planning to dip into my Belleville series, you’ll find book 1 of the series – Julia’s Story – on the shelf.

I recommend a visit to Harry Hartog – for the simple pleasure of entering a beautiful bookstore.

For British readers: Your history within my Belleville novels

Watching the coverage of the commemoration of the D-Day Landings, I was reminded of the contribution young Australian men made to the air war and the defence of Britain in World War II. More than 10,000 Australians served with Bomber Command

And I was reminded of the history that underpins my fictional story of the wealthy Australian Belleville family.

Richard Belleville, the elder son and Julia Belleville’s brother, heads to Canada as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS), a Commonwealth scheme designed to address the shortfall of aircrew for the RAF.

Later, my fictional pilot Richard follows in the footsteps of many Australians with a posting to 460 SQN, a heavy bomber squadron (Nov 1941-Oct 1945) flying from RAF Binbrook in Linconshire. At 24, he would have been too old for Spitfires. Instead he flies the Avro Lancaster in bombing raids on Germany.

In his rare downtime, what else would a good-looking young Australian officer do but woo a beautiful young woman of aristocratic lineage?

Haldon Hall, Catherine Cavendish’s family home, is fictional but draws its inspiration from a number of fine country houses in England. 

The action moves between Australia and England. And America too.

Which means Book 1 of my Belleville series – Julia’s Story – is far more than the story of Julia Belleville as she emerges into womanhood in wartime Australia. 

It is also the story of her family. Her mother Elizabeth, her father Francis, her brothers Richard and William.

It is the story of events precipitated by war and complicated further by deception, a deception that impacts all their lives. It is a story that spans three continents. It begins in 1942 in book 1, Julia’s Story and ends in 1960 in book 3, Return to Prior Park.

FREE READING

For the first four chapters of each of the Belleville novels, go to jmarymasters.com and download the PDF.

British readers can buy Julia’s Story online from

WATERSTONES – LINK HERE
FOYLESLINK HERE
BOOK DEPOSITORYLINK HERE
or from your favourite ebook retailer BUYING OPTIONS CLICK HERE – or Amazon.co.uk

BOOK DETAILS:
JULIA’S STORY
BOOK 1 OF THE BELLEVILLE FAMILY SERIES
By J Mary Masters
Published by PMA Books * ISBN 9780994327642 

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

 

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 …..

A free read & my first author talk booked

If you head west of Brisbane (Qld, Australia) on the highway, past Ipswich, for an hour or so, you’ll soon find yourself in the heart of the Lockyer Valley, which is where my career as a ‘speaking’ author begins on Friday 29 April 2016 – 10.00am at the Laidley Library (pictured) and 12.00 noon at the Gatton Library, which is close by.

LaidleyLib

The Lockyer Valley is an area of rich farmland. It is intensively cultivated, growing the most diverse range of commercial fruit and vegetables of any area in Australia.

The regional council (local government) runs the Library service. There are literally thousands of small libraries throughout Australia, supported by local government. I’m thrilled to be asked to speak to the locals about my book.

I’ve created a new FREE link for THE HOUSE OF SECRETS: Julia’s Story

http://data.axmag.com/data/VIP/201603/U7668/F376128/index.html

for anyone who may be interested in dipping into the book. It’s probably hard to read the entire book this way (we use this method to create digital copies of our magazines in my day job) but it’s a good way to see if it is of interest.

I’m beavering away on Book 2 ….. more on that soon.

 

Authenticity the key, says Eat Pray Love author

I’m currently reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic – I like her style and what she has to say.

Her advice is practical – don’t give up your day job because you think it interferes with your writing, you have to pay the bills – well, that is me, paraphrasing her words from her Brisbane Writers Festival appearance.

In her latest book, Elizabeth Gilbert writes about originality versus authenticityauthenticity, she says, has quiet resonance.

I agree with her. I think every writer would like to be hailed for their originality but is that possible? Yet every work is original (well, unless there has been undetected plagiarism going on).

In fact, readers who have commented favourably on my first book say it is ‘authentic’ – I think they mean in its country setting, its understanding of the social mores of the day and the anxiety of wartime. The bombing raid sequence over Germany is carefully researched, for example. I have a shelf of Bomber Command books.

I’m really pleased when I get such feedback.

HoS JuliasStoryFC

I’ve dropped the price for the Kindle and Amazon.com editions of The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story – Kindle is only US$3.71 – link here if you are interested in checking it out.

I haven’t given up my day job to live on the royalties! Maybe that’s some happy day in the future to look forward to, when I have several books out there. But I enjoy the writing and the creating and that’s what is important to me.

Most of all I respond to Elizabeth Gilbert’s advice to be authentic in my writing – and in my life. I enjoy feeling a part of the writing community, especially the big online writing community.