Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Legacy of Darkness by Jane Godman

Book One
LEGACY OF DARKNESS (single title released 1st April 2014)

What They Say: 

1837 Cornwall, England
Orphaned, penniless and reduced to the role of lady's companion, Lucy Alleyne is relieved when a distant relation spirits her away to Castle Athal. But gratitude soon gives way to fear—and unlooked-for pleasure.

The ancient Cornish castle is a dark monument to family, fortune and blood. Within its walls, the Jago family keeps its wards close…and its secrets closer. Lucy is drawn to Tynan, Earl of Athal. The young heir is handsome and caring, yet tortured in his mind like his father before him. Tynan is utterly different from his uncle Uther—a commanding, seductive presence whose leonine power radiates from his every word and gesture.

These two Jago men have innocent Lucy enthralled—mind, soul and body. But if she remains within the poisonous castle keep, with its history of ill-starred passion and madness, a mere broken heart will seem a mercy.

What I Say:

I would like to thank author Jane Godman for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

We meet Lucy as she is travelling on her way to her new life at Castle Athal, having been given a generous opportunity by a distant cousin she can't seen to shake the feeling that something would go wrong and she would need to go back to her old life.

Once at the Castle she meets the mesmerising Uther, he instantly has Lucy under his spell but deep in her guy she knows that something is wrong, especially when she meets the incredibly sweet Tynan.

This is a gripping story with many twists and turns, you know they are around the corner but not sure what they will be, Jane has you gripped from page one.

A really enjoyable book that once you start reading you can't put down until you finish it.

4 out of 5 stars

Book Two
ECHOES IN THE DARKNESS (available now in the April 2014 SHIVERS box set)

Not betrothed, but beguiled.
In artistic circles she is the Divine Dita, Paris’ most sought-after nude model. But now she’s not so much posing as playing a role: fiancée to the next Earl of Athal. The charade is a favor to Dita’s friend, Eddie Jago, a dissolute painter…and the aforementioned heir. As deceptions go, it is innocent compared with what will come.

On the grim Cornish coast, from the ashes of a ruined castle rises the Jagos’ sumptuous new manor house. The fresh-hewn stone, however, cannot absorb the blood of centuries or quiet the echoes of past crimes. Dita struggles to decipher the family: the infirm Earl and his inscrutable wife; resentful Eddie; sheltered sister Eleanor. And Cad: the handsome second son whose reputation is spotless in business—scandalous everywhere else.
Drawn by friendship, ensnared by lust, Dita uncovers a sordid tangle of murder, desire and madness. It will lay her bare as no portraitist has done before.

Book Three

The third and final book in the Jago Legacy series is coming soon.

Author Interview

I have the pleasure of interviewing author Jane Goodman.

How old were you when you started writing?
I can’t ever remember not writing! My mum talks about a story I wrote when I was about eight. I described a scene in which I was looking down on a beach. There was a girl below me on the sand who was in danger and I was trying to call out to warn her, but she couldn’t hear me. When she looked up and I saw her face, it was me!
I still enjoy writing stories with unexpected twists, sub-plots and macabre details. I’m not just about the romance…as anyone who reads my Harlequin Shivers novels will know!

Who are your favourite writers?
I really love historical romances so Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer are probably top of my list of favourite authors. I also enjoy Jean Plaidy’s books and it was through her that I started to read Victoria Holt (one of her pseudonyms). These were classic gothic romances which really gripped my imagination and have influenced my own writing.
I also quite like thrillers and I’m not averse to a bit of horror so I like Stephen King (I prefer his early stuff), James Herbert and Chelsea Cain.  

What books did you read as a child?
I read anything I could lay my hands on! All the children’s classics: The Railway Children, The Secret Garden, Treasure Island, Heidi. I loved The Wind in the Willows and Alice in Wonderland but my favourite book as a child was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I loved the way the four girls in the family had such distinct personalities yet their stories were so closely interwoven.

Your favourite book and why?
Can I have a few? These three are books I’ll come back to and read again.
I love ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier. Her scene setting and build up is second to none. We know something bad is going to happen and she drags us along, powerless to resist. I like the way the heroine starts out so naïve and helpless and grows up before our eyes as a result of the awful things that happen to her.
Georgette Heyer’s ‘Venetia’ is another favourite. The hero, Damerel, is the ultimate scarred and damaged bad boy and Venetia should run a mile from him when they first meet. I love the witty exchanges between them and the way they become friends when they really shouldn’t have anything to do with each other.
And then there’s the ultimate romance novel, Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Every time I read it, I find something new in it. The first time, of course, you focus on the love story. But then you find the hilarity of Mr Collin’s proposal or Mrs Bennet’s ridiculous outpourings. Now, I just love Mr Bennet and Lizzie’s interactions and their shared appreciation of the ridiculous. It’s those little details that make Jane Austen such an enduring—and endearing—writer.      

Do you have a favourite place you like to write and why?
I’ll write anywhere because, as soon as I open my laptop, I’m lost in my writing. I like my comfy writing corner at home because it’s familiar and I have everything I need close at hand, but I’ll happily write in any place I find myself.
If I could pick the ultimate place to write, it would be on a beach with clear blue skies, golden sands and the waves gently lapping the shore. Probably on a picturesque Greek island like Santorini.  There would be the smell of fresh fish on a grill and something cold to drink …

What inspired you to take up writing?
As a teenager, I lived in South Africa, and my best friend and I discovered the novels of Kathleen E Woodiwiss when we were thirteen. We used to spend our evenings writing books in the style of ‘The Wolf and the Dove’. I had a big birthday (let’s just say it had a zero at the end) two years ago and my friend gave me an amazing present. She had kept one of the books I wrote when I was fourteen! It’s a medieval romance, written in felt tip pen. I’m very proud of it and it gave me the push I needed to start submitting my work to publishers. My first book, The Rebel’s Promise, was published by Front Porch Romance in February 2013.
My first Harlequin book, Legacy of Darkness, was published in the January 2014 Shivers digital box set and has just been released as a single title. My second (the sequel to Legacy of Darkness) is called Echoes in the Darkness and was published in the second Shivers box set on 1st April 2014. The third book in the series, Darkness Unchained, is now finished and ready to be sent to my editor after a final read through.
I also have two ‘stand alone’ Shivers titles due for release over the coming months. Both are set in the 1930s. One is located in a Welsh valley and the other story takes place on an isolated Italian island. I’m really excited about them both because they feature stronger elements of horror alongside the romance in the stories. The contrast really does increase the shivery element.

Are any of your characters based on people you know?
I don’t tend to base my characters on real life people. At least, I don’t think I do, but I suppose I do bring elements of people I know into my books, either consciously or unconsciously. At the planning stage, my head is like a scrapbook full of ideas, so I store away snippets of conversations or people’s mannerisms in there to use in the next story. And if you do something memorable, foolish or bizarre in front of a writer…well, you are just asking to end up in her next book, aren’t you?  

Do you have a support network for your writing?
My family are my support network. My family are very proud of what I’ve achieved. Because I write under a pseudonym and don’t really talk to many people about my writing, my family are the people who get to hear all about it. If they ever get bored, they do a very good job of covering it up!

What items are on your desk/where you write?
I can’t go anywhere without my notebook and pen. But otherwise, as long as I’ve got my laptop, I’m happy.

Do you have a routine for your writing? ie a time of day.
I work full time, so I have to fit my writing around that. I’m a morning person…and I mean early morning.  After nine o’clock at night I’m rubbish. So my most productive time is the few hours before I go to work and weekends.
I’m not a methodical writer. I might decide I’m going to work on a particular part of a book, then, when I actually sit down to write, I’ll do something completely different. I am quite productive, in that I get things done and always meet deadlines, but I‘m in awe of writers who can write thousands of words a day. It takes me a long time to get my words onto the page.    

Any tips for writers who are just starting out?
Be yourself and stay true to your story. Don’t try and make your book something it’s not just to get it published, or to please other people. Listen to readers, but also think about what the advice they give you is actually saying. Is it saying something about your writing or about their personal preference? You have to accept you can’t please everyone. Oh, and stick at it. As Winston Churchill said, “Never, ever, ever give up!”

Can you share a sneak peak at what you're working on at the moment?
Now that my third, and final, book in the Jago Legacy series is finished, I’m adding the finishing touches to my haunted island story, Island of Shadows. It’s been a tricky story to write because there is a story within a story. From my perspective, as the author, it has been like writing two distinct books and then bringing them together. Which has been challenging but fun. I like to think of it as two love stories. There is the one between the main characters and another between an island and its undead!

Have you ever heard a strange/different story that you thought would be great in a book?
Well, all of my Shivers stories are quite strange! It goes with the territory of gothic romance. But I do love to hear bizarre stories and think of the ways they might fit into a book. I’d love to write a time travel story (when I can find the time) and there are some true stories from history that I’d love to throw my characters into. One of those is the story of Sophia Dorothea of Celle. She should have been Queen of England, because she married the man who became George I. Because she had an affair, however, she was locked away by her husband for thirty years and not allowed to see her children or family. She was better off than her lover, Phillip von Konigsmarck, who disappeared and was apparently brutally murdered.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Um, I’m always writing! Seriously, I love reading. I’ll read most things but gothic and historical romance are my preferred genre although I do love a good thriller. I also love travelling. Sometimes I just like a quiet beach so that I can recharge my batteries, but I do love visiting those European cities that bring the history books to life. Some of my favourites are Venice (which features in one of my forthcoming Shivers books), Dubrovnik and Vienna. When I went to the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna I loved walking in the gardens and imagining a young Marie Antoinette playing there with her dog.

Do you like it quiet when you're writing or do you need background noise?(music or TV)
It really doesn’t bother me. I can tune out background noise, but my personal choice would be for quiet.

If one of your books was made into a film/TV series, who would you like as the leading lady/man?
It would be amazing if my first Harlequin Shivers novel was made into a film! It would be incredibly dark and atmospheric and the key character would be Uther Jago. I’d like to see Rob James-Collier (Corrie, Downton Abbey) play him. He’s just so good at injecting the right amount of bad boy arrogance into the roles he plays.

Do you have a process for planning your books? do you talk over an idea with a friend or a partner.
My writing process starts with a lot of gazing out of the window, thinking and then discarding the last thing I thought of! Then I tend to jot down disjointed ideas. My husband and son and daughter get random ideas thrown at them (usually about whether a fiendish murder plot would work out).
I do plan, but my plan generally bears no resemblance to the finished book. I start to write scenes as they occur to me, with no idea where they will fit into the story (or even if they will make it into the finished book). Once I’m ready, I’ll sit down and make a start on writing the first few chapters. That’s generally the point at which the characters come to life and start taking over the story. Minor characters suddenly start demanding more of a role, major characters do things that I hadn’t planned for them. They develop their own voices.

Favourite holiday place?
Somewhere with a quiet beach. I love Spain and Greece so anywhere there where I can just relax with a sunbed, parasol and my kindle.

Favourite food?
I have a really sweet tooth and I love desserts, so when I eat out that’s my favourite part of the menu. Anything gooey, creamy and preferably meringue-y gets my vote!

What kind of music do you listen to?
I call my tastes eclectic and my husband calls them bizarre. My mum is a country music fan and I think I’m influenced (or perhaps brainwashed?) by her. I’m a creature of habit and I tend to stick with the same music I’ve always listened to. I think I have comfort music as well as comfort food! The soundtracks to Dirty Dancing and Mama Mia are always well worn in my car.

Favourite film?
I love musicals. From the moment I fell in love with Howard Keel in ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ through Patrick Swayze telling us that ‘nobody puts Baby in the corner’ to the bizarre sight of Julie Walters, Pierce Brosnan and Meryl Streep belting out Abba songs, I’ve been hooked.
I also love Cary Grant. For me, he is the ultimate romantic hero. And he stars in my favourite film, ‘Notorious’, with Ingrid Bergman. They play a pair of star crossed lovers so well. They pretend to hate each other, but you can feel the longing coming off the screen.

Favourite Chocolate?
Good old Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut.

Favourite drink?
You can’t beat a nice cup of tea!

Thanks Jane for the interview and for allowing me to review your book.

Jo x

Jane Godman Bio
I am an avid reader, particularly of historical romances, and my favourite authors are Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen and Victoria Holt. I have always enjoyed writing (I still have a copy of the medieval novel I wrote, in felt tip pen, when I was 14!).
Gothic romance (love stories with a dash of horror) is my favourite genre. I love the lush atmospheric settings of the true gothic, the dark, unexplained secrets and feisty heroines.  The heightened sensuality the new gothics sends an extra shiver down the reader’s spine.

I also write historical romances, with heroes and heroines you fall instantly in love with, fascinating supporting characters and luscious settings.

I live in England and love to travel to European cities which are steeped in history and romance. Venice, Dubrovnik and Vienna are amongst my favourites. I am married to a lovely man, mum to two grown up children and slave to a spoilt-brat cat.

I write gothic romances for Harlequin Shivers. The first two books in the Jago Legacy series are available now.

I love to hear from readers and can be contacted at:

Legacy of Darkness: http://tinyurl.com/ovr4vta
Shivers box set 2: http://tinyurl.com/nvkj7l3

Mills and Boon:
Jane Godman page: http://www.millsandboon.co.uk/jane-godman


  1. Thanks Jo for inviting me to join you on your blog and for a great review of Legacy of Darkness.
    Jane Godman