Okay, first of all, my good friend Carolyn gave me a fabulous bloggy award several weeks ago, and somehow, I’ve neglected to acknowledge this fact and pass the award on to other bloggers. I plan to rectify that right now.
See this? It’s my award. It’s beautiful for several reasons, but mostly because it is one of those positive-type awards. It has nothing to do with the appearance of my blog, or how popular I am, but more about how my positive words affect others. To me, that’s something that really matters.
So, thanks Carolyn! I love it. And because of that, I’m going to pass it on to five other bloggers who have in some way helped me find a silver lining when I needed one.
1. Ali Cross, who faces down adversity with grace and class.
2. Christine Bryant, who has pushed forward through odds I can’t even fathom.
3. Jodi Brown, my cousin who is the ultimate survivor. I could only hope to have a fraction of the grace with which you have accepted your circumstances.
4. L.T. Eliott, who always, always comes through with a positive word and a hug whenever I blog, or see her in person.
5. Keith Fisher, who always comes through for me, even when others forget. You rock.
Speaking of awards, we’re heading into April, and with the beginning of spring comes conference season and the Whitney Awards. This is definitely one of my favorite times of year. Not only do I get to hang with all my favorite writing peeps, but I get to attend a classy shindig and wear a fabulous dress while people I love and respect are recognized for their exceptional writing abilities.
And I have to say, simply being nominated for this prestigious award is quite an honor. This year, the list of finalists is crammed with awesomesauce. One of those nominees is my good friend, Joyce DiPastena. Joyce’s book, Illuminations of the Heart is a fantastic regional romance that will make your heart sigh while your stomach clutches with suspense. I adore regency era romance, but it’s so hard to find these without gratuitous love scenes. Joyce has managed to give her characters the honor of not only overcoming the odds of marriage laws and customs, but they’re able to do so while retaining their virtue.
And I simply love her style! Check out the blurb:
He spoke the name on a breath like a prayer. Then he lowered his head and kissed her.
Her heart is lost in that first embrace, her world shaken to its foundations. There is just one problem: her name is not Clothilde. It is Siriol de Calendri.
Trained in the art of illumination in the far-off city of Venice, Siri is directed by her late brother’s will to the county of Poitou in France, where she enters the guardianship of her brother’s friend, Sir Triston de Brielle. Once in Poitou, Siri hopes to find employment in an illuminator’s shop—until Triston unexpectedly snatches her heart away with a kiss.
Triston is a man of quiet honor and courage, but the guilt he carries for the death of his late wife, Clothilde, has left him numb and hesitant to love again. Worse yet, Siri bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love. Or does she? Her merry laughter and twinkling eyes are very different from his late wife’s shy smiles and quiet ways. Yet when he gazes into Siri’s face, all he sees is Clothilde.
Then Triston’s past returns to threaten them both. Will his tragic life with Clothilde be repeated with Siri? Trapped between the rivalry of the king’s sons on the one hand and a neighbor out for vengeance on the other, Triston realizes it would be safer to send Siri away. But how can he bear to lose her again?
Siri is determined not to be cast off and not to live in another woman’s shadow. She has illuminated many a priceless book with pen and paint. But can her own vibrant spirit illuminate the darkness in Triston’s soul and make his heart beat for her alone?
I loved this book, but have to tell you that if you’re going to read this book, you really first ought to read Joyce’s first book, Loyalty’s Web, which involves some of the same characters. Well, okay, not Siri, but Tristan. They’re both fantastic. You can read my review of Loyalty’s Web here and Illuminations of the Heart here. Joyce, good luck at the Whitneys!
Illuminations of the Heart is available in Deseret Bookstores and some Arizona Barnes & Nobles. It can be ordered directly through Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores, or ordered online at DeseretBook.com (http://deseretbook.com) Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com), BarnesandNoble.com (http://www.barnesandnoble.com), and Borders.com (http://www.borders.com).