Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Heart of the Ocean: Review and Interview with Heather B. Moore

Heart of the Ocean
by Heather B. Moore

A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost  . . . a handsome stranger  . . .
What more could Eliza Robinson want?
Except for maybe her life.

In Heather B. Moore’s enthralling 1840’s historical romance, Heart of the Ocean, Eliza Robinson has turned down the very pretentious Mr. Thomas Beesley’s marriage proposal. As a business partner of Eliza’s father, Thomas quickly discredits the family and brings disgrace to the Robinson name.

While her father scrambles to restore his good name in New York City, Eliza flees to the remote Puritan town of Maybrook to stay with her Aunt Maeve. Although relieved to be away from all- things-male and unforgiving gossip columns, odd things start to happen to Eliza, and she is plagued by a ghostly voice. Her aunt’s explanation? That Eliza is being haunted by a woman who died of a broken heart twenty years ago.

After Aunt Maeve is tragically killed, Eliza's life is put in danger as she tries to uncover the mystery of her aunt's death. She encounters Jonathan Porter in Maybrook, whose presence in the town seems suspicious, yet she finds herself drawn to him. When she discovers that Jonathan’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust.

Purchase your copy here:
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 My Review

Heart of the Ocean intrigued me. Not only because the novel was a departure from Heather B. Moore's usual historical fiction, but because her characters were well drawn, the plot and settings were carefully crafted, and Heather's skill drew me right into the book. The paranormal aspects of the story added a suspenseful touch to the romantic story of Eliza and Jonathan. If you've been following the blog tour, you have the gist of the story, so I won't go into it here more than to say you won't find a sexually graphic context in this novel.

I had a few quibbles with details in the digital ARC I was given in exchange for this review. The dates on a headstone were wrong. A wagon became a carriage. A character went to bed, then was said to be still talking with others. A few historical touches that I knew about were missing or called by a more modern name.

However, I can overlook such details in favor of a compelling story. Recommended for readers of clean historical fiction.

Heather B. Moore is the award-winning author of ten novels, two inspirational non-fiction books, and two anthologies, including The Newport Ladies Book Club Series, A Timeless Romance Anthology, and Christ's Gifts to Women (co-authored by Angela Eschler).

Her historical fiction is published under the pen name H.B. Moore. She is the two-time recipient of Best of State in Literary Fiction, two-time Whitney Award Winner, and two-time Golden Quill Winner for Best Novel. Her most recent historical novel under H.B. Moore is Daughters of Jared (2012 LUW Gold Award of Excellence, and 2012 LUW Best Book Trailer).

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The Interview

Heather has written many books, as you can see above. However, with Heart of the Ocean, she has stepped away from her usual type of novel. When I agreed to participate in her blog tour, I asked her about this move, and added a few other questions I had for her in this initial appearance on my blog.

Heather, you are a renowned writer in several genres. I'll mention a few: historical scripture-based fiction, contemporary women's fiction, nonfiction, and now, historical romantic suspense. In which of these genres do you like writing the most? Or is there another genre you're aching to try?

I’ve written a couple of contemporary novels over the past two years, and I have really enjoyed them, but I will admit that historical is my greatest love. I’ve always loved historical fiction because I feel like I’m learning about the past as well as enjoying the read. The past fascinates me, so it was a natural combination of the two loves—history and writing.

You're a woman after my own heart. How did you come to write Heart of the Ocean?

I actually drafted Heart of the Ocean several years ago. I loved the story and characters, but it didn’t seem to fit with what I was currently publishing—it was too much of a tangent. A publisher likes an author to build up a “brand” so this book sat around for a while. With some measured success in publishing A Timeless Romance Anthology: Winter Collection with a group of historical romance authors, I took courage and decided to dive into revisions for Heart of the Ocean. As far as the writing went, Heart of the Ocean was a very organic book, meaning I had an idea for a girl coming into a Puritan town and finding out a dark secret. That was all I had to go on. I didn’t plot in advance, but plotted as the story unfolded. Then as I started writing, the voice of the past came up, and I realized that it would be the ghost who is trying to tell her story.

I loved the character of the ghost, Helena Talbot. Let me ask, who are the authors who inspire you the most?

One of the most inspirational books I’ve read is Kitchen Privileges, by Mary Higgins Clark. I’ve long been a mystery fan and when I read this memoir, I realized that it was possible to be a writer and a mother at the same time. Ms. Clark inspired me when she said she’d write from 5:00-7:00 a.m. every morning so as not to interfere with her job and her kids (she was a widow at the time). I thought, “I can do that.” And I did—it took three novels before I finally got one published, but Clark’s story inspired me not to give up.
What an inspiration she is! Writers are known to be voracious readers. What genre, author, or novel is your "guilty pleasure" in reading?

I’d have to say Historical Romance—surprise! Or historical with at least some romance in it. I’m currently reading The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani, and I’m loving it. It’s more of an epic love story, but heavy on the historical era. Also, since a lady in my critique group (Sarah M. Eden) is a regency romance writer, I’ve read several of those this year. Some of my favorite historical authors include Michelle Moran, Elizabeth Kostova, Anne Perry, and Daphne Du Maurier.

Oh yes. I can't get enough of Anne Perry, and I recently reread Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca. They are both memorable writers—and women! How do you want to be remembered, 1) as an author; 2) as a person?

1)      As an author, as someone who was well-respected and was always
willing to help out another author.

2)      As a person, it wouldn’t be for a spotless house, that’s for sure, so maybe as someone who was willing to put others first and make the world just a tiny bit brighter.

Thank you, Heather. 

Check out the giveaway below:

Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 1/31/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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  1. Marsha, thanks for posting the interview & review. Glad you enjoyed the book :-) (the headstone dates have been fixed, will have to double check on the others)

  2. I can't wait to read this wonderful book.



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