Get out your china and pour a cup of tea—it’s time for a blog tour with a romance novel...
On second thoughts, maybe you shouldn’t. Amber Stoke’s Bleeding Heart isn’t tea parties and roses, to say the least.
Bleeding Heart is a wild-west story, set just after the Civil War, with Virginia City’s silver mines and Californian logging towns instead of cowboys. When Sally Clay first arrived in Virginia City, the silver mines were a lure to a new life. Three years later, the place becomes a trap after she loses her questionable line of work and someone won’t take no for an answer. Sally will do anything to escape—anything that means a new start. Unfortunately, that means avoiding one man while trying to get another man’s attention.
From there, the story develops slowly through a series of twists and surprises. It’s the story of a woman who goes from runaway to castoff, an outsider who can never be free from her disgrace and only wants to escape the man she fears.
It’s the story of a two men learning to love again after pain and loss.
It’s the story of a man who knows he can’t have the girl he loves, but wants her to have flowers for her wedding day—even if it must be a marriage of convenience.
It’s also the story of a man who has lost a few too many times and just can’t learn when he should give up.
If that sounds like a lot going on—it is. Some parts of the story felt a little clunky, especially the number of names thrown into the first chapter. All the characters mentioned are important to the story, and reappear later with more explanation, but the oblique references to them seemed to muddy things at first. Still, the main event—Sally trying to get out of town—was very clear, while Amber’s characters and settings felt vivid and alive throughout the story. For that alone, it’s worth the read.
For me, though, Bleeding Heart was a fun read in more ways than one—I met Amber back in college and heard bits of her writing then. After following her blog the past couple of years, it’s been exciting to watch Amber’s work in publishing her first novel and to be able to review a copy of it for her. She's already working on other projects, including a prequel and possible sequel, as she posted about yesterday. So—congratulations to Amber!
As part of Bleeding Heart's tour, Amber is offering a "Journey to the West" giveaway for US residents. The giveaway includes:
- A signed copy of Bleeding Heart, once the paperback edition becomes available.
- A deck of playing cards with pictures of the Pacific Northwest
- A redwood bookmark
- Falk's Claim: The Life and Death of a Redwood Lumber Town, one of Amber's research sources for this novel.
- A wooden train whistle
- A postcard which Amber will send to the winner with a personal message.
a Rafflecopter giveaway