Letter O The April A to Z Blogging Challenge #AtoZChallenge

April Author Spotlight 2015

Letter ‘O’ is for Lara Ormiston, author of Unequal Affections

O

Why do I recommend Unequal Affections?

When I finished reading Unequal Affections, I felt as if I had been transported through a time-tunnel to Longbourn and Pemberley and into Elizabeth and Darcy’s lives two hundred years ago. I had been an invisible visitor, observing them both throughout their month of courting. I loved the way Lara Ormiston gets inside both their minds equally, something I always miss in Austen. I felt I knew them, and understood their reasons and motivations perfectly.

Unequal Affections is one of the most beautiful, engrossing, and haunting books I’ve read. It’s clever, original and enthralling, and I relished every chapter, every page, and every word, and I’ll no doubt be reading it again, because it’s a book to be savoured slowly and repeatedly. Absorbing reading if you’re in a romantic mood.

By the way, I’m begging for a sequel. I hope Lara S. Ormiston writes one, because I need to go back and see how they coped with the challenges their marriage would no doubt face.

Unequal Affection 9781626361003

What kind of readers would enjoy Unequal Affections, Lara?

I think my book would appeal to anyone who enjoys character-driven romances, and in particular anyone who loves period stories—and of course, Jane Austin fans! It’s a character study, really, that focuses on attitudes toward love and marriage, in the early 19th century but now too. People were more practical about marriage then, but questions of physical and emotional intimacy are just as complicated as they are now. Among other things, it asks: how far will the desire to love someone take you? What does it mean to truly love? How can you begin to build a life and relationship with someone you don’t really know?

What are you working on now?

I am working on way too many books! I have a hard time focusing on just one project, with the result that I can write a lot and still not get much of anything finished. I’ve never been a very quick writer, either. I think a lot and write a little most of the time. The next thing I hope to publish is a volume of humorous short stories and novellas featuring the cast of Pride and Prejudice. I’m very fond of writing comedy, and Austin’s characters provide all sorts of possibilities for the inventive writer. The stories in question range from a few thousand words to almost 40,000, and all of them are very funny.

Lara

What would you like readers to know about you?

That I’m a Christian. While I don’t always write directly about faith or religion, the things I believe definitely form the philosophical basis for all the ideas that permeate my writing. Someday I hope I will be able to write a truly Christian novel, but in the meantime, I enjoy writing about both some of wonderful things that God created and put in human hearts, such as love, laughter, imagination, courage, honor and beauty.

How can we find out more or contact you?

My Facebook

My Blog (not very active, but has lots of my shorter stories):

Find me on Goodreads

Unequal Affections on Amazon.com 

Unequal Affections on Amazon UK

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Please take some time to check out some of the other blogs on the A-Z Challenge. There are plenty of interesting and varied topics.

Book Review: Unequal Affections by Lara S. Ormiston

Unequal Affections is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice. It’s also one of the most beautiful, engrossing, and haunting books I’ve read. It’s clever, original, and enthralling.

You all know how much I love novels both set in and written in the 19th century, and you also know I’m especially fond of character-driven novels, well, this is the most obsessively perfect character-driven novel I’ve read in a long time!

Unequal Affections

Unequal Affections has very little by means of a plot, and there is very little action. On the other hand, the outcome is no surprise; we all know that Elizabeth married Darcy in the end! Yet, in spite of it all, this is a compelling, unputdownable read. I relished every chapter, every page, and every word, and I’ll no doubt be reading it again, because it’s a book to be savoured slowly and repeatedly.

I was never Jane Austen’s greatest fan, and one of the reasons why I prefer contemporary renderings of Jane Austen’s works, is because she never got inside her characters’ heads. It is true that she portrayed her characters through ample conversation and actions, but to my post-Freudian mind, I really miss getting inside the characters’ minds, and understanding why they say and behave the way they do. It’s probably my fault. I may lack imagination, or knowledge of the era, but I need the characters to tell me why.

Another fabulous aspect is how the author gets inside both their minds with equal balance. It would have been easy to give a one-sided account of how Elizabeth feels, with some hints at Darcy’s predicament. Some may argue that this is what Jane Austen did herself. However, the author gets into Darcy’s mind just as easily and convincingly as he gets into Anne’s, which is no easy feat, as his point of view is far more difficult to both ascertain and convey.

The best part is how both characters evolve in just a month their courting lasts, and even better is how the reader also evolves with them. I felt I saw all the characters in a new light, because although we are given Elizabeth and Darcy’s points of view, we are given insights to all the other characters, too, such as Elizabeth’s supposedly ‘awful’ mother, who finally seems far less awful to Darcy, and so to the reader.

When I finished, I felt as if I had been abducted. I felt I had been transported through a time-tunnel into Elizabeth and Darcy’s lives two hundred years ago. I was an invisible visitor, following them around, and impatient to know what would happen next. When I came back to January 2015, I wondered melancholically how marriage and relationships between men and women had changed so much. If romantic love and how it comes about and evolves can be explained, this novel comes very close to doing so.

By the way, there must be a sequel. I hope Lara S. Ormiston writes one, because I need to go back and see how they coped with the challenges their marriage would no doubt face.

If you’ve read Pride and Prejudice, you’ll love it. If you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice, you’ll love it, too. If you love historical romance, you’ll love it. If you love novels that deal with relationships between men and women, within and between families, you’ll love it. If you love psychological dramas, you’ll love it, too.

If you’re a Jane Austen fan, or if you like 19th century novels, or historical romance, see my review of Captain Frederick Wentworth’s Persuasion by Regina Jeffers, another fabulous retelling of a Jane Austen novel.