Monday, May 13, 2024

Bound Across Time by Annie R McEwen Review, Excerpt Interview & Giveaway

Bound Across Time
Book One
Annie R McEwen 

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Ghost Romance
Publisher: Harbor Lane Books
Date of Publication: May 7, 2024
Number of pages: 324

Tagline: In a castle on the shores of the Irish Sea, she’s met the love of her life. Clever, witty, strong, fiercely attractive.  What’s the catch? He’s a ghost.

Book Description:

Historian CeCe’s dream job in a Welsh castle goes sideways when she’s ordered to ditch the history and lead ghost walks. That’s the worst of her worries until she meets Patrick: strong, handsome, irresistible…and dead since 1761.

Desire and hope flare in Patrick’s heart when CeCe touches him while, for CeCe, Patrick is everything. But she’s in the bright world of the living while he’s trapped in the shadows. 

Loving a ghost is deadly business. Patrick and CeCe struggle to outrace fate as it hurtles them toward disaster. Can the ancient riddle of an Irish seer save them? The spells of Welsh witches? 

Or can powers CeCe didn’t even know she possessed bridge time and defeat death?

Book Trailer:

Excerpt from Bound Across Time, by Annie R McEwen

You’re an idjit, Patrick. Death was always too good for you.

He should have gone slower with her, no doubt about it. He was a lout, a brute, to startle her so thoroughly, and that was never his intent. He could have—no, he should have—whispered, or moaned, or shimmered from a distance. Instead, he was hasty.

Hasty? He was a burning brand of desire. Who could blame him after two hundred-fifty…how long had it been? He’d lost count of the years.

That was still no reason to be an imbecilic knave, popping up like codswalloping Punch on a puppet stage while wearing the same filthy linen he was tipped overboard in when the Earl didn’t have the decency to give him a proper burial. At least the sea water had washed away the blood.

His honor, his common sense—perhaps they’d washed away as well. Within reach of this woman, he could remember nothing he’d learned of subtle romance and courtly manners. All he could think of was making her his, now until the end of time.

What an embarrassment he was, to his sainted mother, to his upbringing, to the gentleman he was reared to be. An embarrassment to every Irish bard who ever sang songs or wrote poems about women who were doves, and lilies, and other things he couldn’t remember.

He did remember that they were fragile and easily startled. Easily driven away.
Next time, I will be slow. I will slowly and gently explain things to her. Unusual things. Highly unusual, uncanny, frightening, nigh incomprehensible things.

Sure, now, Patrick, me boyo, that’ll be a stroll along the banks of the Shannon.

By the right hand of God, but she was beautiful. Slumbering on the stone floor, her skin smooth ivory but gilded, as though the sun had kissed her once and then fallen in love, unable to leave. She’d lost her cap, and her hair—rich, deep brown and burnished with red, like brandy—tumbled around her neck and shoulders. Her sun-brushed skin, high and perfect cheekbones, the delicate slant of her eyes, the plump swell of her br**sts above the top edge of her bodice, the curves of the body he could imagine pressed to his own aching and lonely one…

Beauty itself, she was, not only of body but of mind. In the weeks before she’d seen him, he’d watched her exercise that beautiful mind among the slower thinkers of the Castle, who doubtless envied her. She was stubborn, spirited, and quick-witted—he liked that.
He crouched over her crumpled form, not touching, only taking in her scent. Rose attar and mint—he liked that, too.

The only thing he didn’t care for was the name she went by, See-see. What sort of name was that? It was something you called a canary. He would never call her that, not when the French name with which she’d been christened was just like her.

Céleste, meaning heavenly.

She was waking now. He rose and backed away. Time for him to depart, as he must, and breathe a prayer. Not for himself, there was no point to that. If God had ever listened to him, he wouldn’t be where he was, and he deserved no better. His prayer would be for her, the angel who defied or escaped God’s curse to light his endless night.

Come back, Céleste Gowdie. Please come back.

About the Author:

Annie R McEwen is a career historian who’s lived in six countries, under every roof from a canvas tent to a Georgian Era manor house and driven herself to work in everything from a donkey cart to a vintage Peugeot. For her, it feels perfectly natural to create stories of desperate love and powerful secrets in faraway times and places.

Winner of the 2022 Page Turners Award, Genre (Romance) Category, Annie also garnered the First Place 2022 RTTA (Romance Through Ages Award from Romance Writers of America; Post-Victorian to WWI Category), the 2023 MAGGIE Award, and the 2023 Daphne du Maurier Award. Her Regency murder mystery “Death at Dunarven” appears in the 2024 Murder Most International Anthology. 

Annie’s books are published by Harbor Lane Books (US), Bloodhound Books (UK), and The Wild Rose Press. When she’s not in her 1920s bungalow in Florida, Annie lives, writes, and explores castles in Wales. 

Author Interview Questions from Deal Sharing Aunt.

ANSWERED BY Annie R McEwen, author

1.      What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I spend a few months in the UK every year. I’d have to say my trips there are all literary pilgrimages; each of the three books of the Bound series (which I began writing years ago) is set in the UK. Whether I’m exploring castles in Wales (Bound Across Time), Jacobean theater history in London (Bound to Happen), or Cornwall’s smuggling coast (Boundless), the landscape and history inspire me endlessly.

2.      What is the first book that made you cry? That would be Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.

3.      Does writing energize or exhaust you? Both, by turns.

4.      What is your writing Kryptonite? Arrrghh! That would be promoting myself and my books on social!

5.      Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? I write now under a pseudonym. I’ve a WIP for which I may need a different nom de plume: it’s a police procedural in historical setting.

6.      What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?  I’m IG buddies with Bianca Marais and Louisa Morgan. They have different approaches to a subject on which I also write: the evolution and definition of “witchcraft” in the context of women’s identity/social positioning. The three of us handle the subject quite differently, but our sisterhood is empowering.

7.      Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? Each of the books in the Bound series can stand alone if a reader discovers them that way, but there are intriguing and sustaining connections—familial, historical, magical—between the books that make the series much more captivating when read in order.

8.      What authors did you dislike at first but grew into? I had a hard time at first with Charlaine Harris. I blame that on starting with her Lily Bard mystery series which, for some reason, didn’t appeal to me. Then I began the Southern Vampire (Sookie Stackhouse) books! I became a huge fan. I even have a Fangtasia bumper sticker on my car and an Alexander Skarsgård (Eric Northman) key chain!

9.      What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? Not just one but the whole Spymaster series by Joanna Bourne seems to be fading from collective memory. That’s unconscionable, to me; Bourne was the absolute queen of historical romantic suspense. As both an HR writer and a career historian, I’m also sad that so few people know about Jane Austen’s longer-lived contemporary: Maria Edgeworth. Overshadowed by Austenmania for 200 years, Edgeworth’s books are keen social commentary, sneaky and wonderful humor, with more straightforward writing than Austen’s. Mind you, I adore Miss Jane! But when readers grouse about her highly mannered prose style, I always suggest they dip into Castle Rackrent by Edgeworth.

10.  As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? A cat. Any cat, but especially a striped tabby.

11.  How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Oh, lordy. I’ve traditional publishing contracts in place for eight books, four of which are written. That leaves four in various stages of writing/editing/marketing. In addition, I’ve got four novels either partly or mostly written but not sent out on query. One is a romance novel set in late 1800s New Orleans, another is a paranormal (time travel) historical romance set in 1912 Boston, New Orleans, and Wales, the third is a police procedural/murder mystery in 1910 Ybor City, Florida, and the fourth is a novel of romance and smuggling set on the Kentish coast in the mid-1700s. All of those have won awards for their opening chapters, so I better finish them! If I live to 120, I might get to an additional few books I have in early draft stages.

12.  What did you edit out of this book? I had initially devoted a lot more content to a secondary character, but shaved him to something between a tertiary and a secondary. He was always a good excuse for the MMC to show off his jealousy and protective instincts toward the FMC, but a little goes a long way toward that. As interesting as I found the handsome and affable forensic conservationist, I reduced his “face time” to a handful of pages across the novel.

13.  If you didn’t write, what would you do for work? Well, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I’ve done just about everything, from professional dancer/actor/singer to college professor to vintage goods dealer to historical museum curator to magician’s assistant to owner of a chain of tattoo studios and, now, a writer. But, you know, I’ve never been a midwife, and I think I’d like that.

14.  Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? I’m a career historian. Secrets from the past are my idea of huge fun. But they wouldn’t be secrets if I told you what they are, would they? Hint from Bound Across Time, Book One of the Bound series: “Uncommonly good.”

15.  What is your favorite childhood book? National Velvet. I read it four times—in a row.


My Review:
This was a great book. I loved everything about it. I loved that it had time travel, romance, witches, a ghost, and history. It even had Latin grammar and sayings in it. I really enjoyed translating the Latin before the author did. Patrick was a very virile man. He was definitely who you imagine on the cover of a romance novel. CeCe was a woman who loved history and was living in the past via her tours of an old castle. She was not ready to find out her family history, much less fall in love. CeCe learned so many things from her childhood that became pieces of a puzzle in her present life. Especially towards the end of the book when she realizes that she inherited what her mother had. I would have liked to learn what happened to her mom, but I have the feeling that she is living happily in the past. The epilogue also gives us insight to the next book in the series. Perhaps we can get a prequel somewhere down the road. I am giving this book a  5/5. I never give 5's but this book deserves it. I was given a copy, all opinions are my own. 

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1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this interview. A tattoo shop? I was wondering if Annie has ever watched 'Ink Master'?