She Walks In Beauty by Siri Mitchell

Without a doubt, this is the BEST historical novel Siri Mitchell has written to date. And the hero? Completely adorable. What’s even better, is that there is fantastic repartee, dancing, and…humor. Oh my, Siri – this novel is second only to your contemporary novel Kissing Adrien.

So, what’s this story all about?

The novel twirls you away, lost in the middle of pretense, expectations in New York’s Guilded Era, truth, lies, and what a ‘living’ faith looks like. Harry De Vrie sweeps the reader’s heart away with his humor, sincerity, and faith. In the middle of the whirlwind of money, status, and deception, Harry stands out with his honesty and endearingly confused reaction to the social ‘expectations’ of the Age. It goes without saying, that poor Clara Carter’s innocent heart is pulled between two desires: the belief that she MUST marry for status over love & and the realization that God can be personal instead of a distant deity.

Clara is lovable, and sweetly unaware of this ‘game of life’. We experience the expectations, heartbreak, and confusion along with her. We learn the steps of an affective snub, how to wave a fan, and spin across the dancefloor with our eyes closed. It’s a brilliant, glamorous, and perplexing journey.

There are so many lovely scenes, I will not recount them, but leave curious minds to uncover the treasures in She Walks In Beauty. Be prepared for elegance, extravagance, romance, and enough humorous snubbing to make you fall in love with Harry along with Clara.

The question is – what will Clara choose? A woman in 1891? Does she have a  choice?

Siri has a unique way of weaving faith into her novels like a gentle whisper instead of a clanging gong. Hints, faded hues woven throughout scenes, and tiny sprinkles of well-placed dialogue speak to the characters as well as the reader. Wonderfully done. I’m still glowing from the aftermath of the book J

If you enjoyed Siri’s novel A Constant Heart, you will adore She Walks In Beauty. Visit Siri’s website to learn more about her books – www.sirimitchell.com

REMEMBER to leave your name and a comment about which book/character you like best of Siri’s – your name will be placed in the drawing for Siri’s newest novel, A Heart Most Worthy

Sizzling First Encounters with Siri Mitchell

I’ve been a fan of Siri Mitchell’s writing for years, and wait with anticipation for her next book. She writes in a mix of genres, but recently she’s been writing a lot of historicals – and her latest one, She Walks in Beauty, is one of  her best. The romantic tension is great and the hero – SUPERB. LOVE the hero.

Siri, I can’t decide if Harry DeVries matches the marvelous Adrien in your contemporary novel, Kissing Adrien, but he’s pretty close.

Another thing that makes Siri’s novels a little more unique is they are written in first person, sometimes from both hero and heroine’s pov, and other times only the heroine’s. A fantastic way to create intimacy.

To learn more about Siri’s books, visit her website at www.sirimitchell.com

Okay, Siri, what do you think makes for great romantic tension?

I think one of the often overlooked aspects of good tension is an element of fear in at least one of the characters. Fear of what other people will say, fear at losing all sense of propriety, fear of being made vulnerable, being made fun of, losing control, etc. Romantic tension is even more effective if the reader knows that this character senses the world sliding out from under their feet in the presence of the other person. If they understand that this character is fighting just as hard as they can not to fall under the spell of the other person. After all, we know that true love casts out all fear. The resolution of romantic tension comes when the characters decide to commit to each other because they’ve learned to trust each other.

The following is clipped from a scene in my Puritan-era novel, Love’s Pursuit. It’s the first time the hero/heroine have had a chance to truly interact. Susannah has twisted her ankle and tumbled down a hill. In the process, she believes she’s come upon one of the savages who have been stalking the villagers. The captain has been sent to the village in order to train up a militia to fight off these savages.

*******

 I tried to shout, to send up some warning, but my breath was expelled by the force of the savage as it pounced atop me.

I squeezed my eyes shut. Waited for death.

To my amazement, instead of words spoken in a heathen tongue, I heard laughter. “And here I was, waiting for savages!”

I opened my eyes and found myself looking straight into the captain’s.

“Are you all right?”

I gasped for air as I tried to speak. Finally succeeded in pushing the words from my throat. “I would be better if you would remove yourself from me.”

“I am certain you probably would.” With amusement flashing in his eyes, he rocked forward, off my stomach. Then he dropped a knee to the ground and extended a hand to me.

I ignored it and tried my best instead to sit. Successful, I took a careful deep breath. It caught. I coughed. Tried again. My chest trembled as it expanded.

The captain leaned close and began to pluck grasses from my sleeves. “Did all savages look like you, I would quit my worries and welcome them here without another thought.”

“You did not have to dive down upon me.”

“Neither did you have to roll yourself into me. Although I must say, it was completely unexpected and therefore tactically sound. Perhaps I should have the men at watch post themselves right there,” he gestured toward the ridge, “in preparation for launching themselves in a roll at the enemy. Tis as good a strategy as I have ever devised.”

I pushed his hand away from my sleeve.

His gaze left my eyes and came to rest at some point beyond my shoulder. “Tsk.” He leaned closer.

My breath caught once more.

He reached out behind me but then almost immediately straightened, putting distance between us. “Such a bad end to such a dreadful hat.” He handed it to me.

Streaks of dirt were smeared across the crown. The brim had been battered. “You do not like my hat?” Why did he not like it? It was just like everyone else’s.

“I could never look without prejudice upon anything that would hide your lovely locks from view.” He reached out a hand to capture a curl that spun in the breeze below my shoulder. It was then that I realized that my coif had disappeared as well.

I gathered up my hairs, spun them around my hand into a bundle and slapped my hat atop them. Then I scrambled to my feet, intending to start a search for the coif. As I gained my feet, however, my ankle buckled once more. I cried out in pain as I stumbled.

The captain, still on one knee, caught me as I fell. “I place my humble person at your service.”

I could only protest his falsehood. “You are not humble!”

He chortled as he gathered me to his chest and came to his feet. “Nay. I have been graced with many things, but that particular quality does not number itself among them.”

Had he no shame? No remorse? To clutch my person to his broad chest in the plain light of day? Such things were not done. And why was I so fixed upon his chest and his eyes?…those eyes that were as varied as the ocean, shifting from light blue to indigo with every glance.

With great effort, I brought my fascination with his person to a halt and concentrated upon his words instead. Had he not just recognized within himself a sin? But though recognized and identified, he appeared to suffer no guilt from it! What kind of man was he?

A shout from the ridge above us made the captain turn. As he did so, he wavered for an instant as if trying to keep his footing.

I threw my arms up around his neck.

“I wish I always had my arms filled with such a grasping woman! T’would be Paradise indeed.”

He made as if to drop me and when I screamed, he tossed me above his head instead. And then he caught me up close against his chest again. He smelt of tobacco and leather and…the wind.

“You must let me go!”

“Must I?” We both watched Mary as she appeared at the ridge. He called at her to come join us.

“Truly, you must.”

“But then how would you get home?”

“You cannot carry me.”

“I cannot? I think I can. I am.” He glanced at me. “Ah, I see. You mean I should not. Are you certain?”

“Tis not…seemly.”

I felt his shoulders shrug beneath my arms. “As you like. I suppose there are other ways of going about it.” He shifted me within his arms and then threw me over his shoulder. Gripping me at his chest about the knees with his arm, he let my own arms and head flop loose at his back.

Beating upon him with my fists did nothing but make him laugh. I doubted a hammer could knock a dent in that rigid back of his.

Mary was smiling long before she reached us.

“A new manner of transport, Susannah?”

I might have glared at her could I only have lifted my head high enough to see her.

“I would think walking more comfortable, if not more prudent.”

“She has turned an ankle.”

“And so you turned her over your shoulder?” There was a sauciness in Mary’s retort that ought to have shamed her. Indeed, it ought to have shamed me. But the thing of it was, she had me wishing that I were walking beside the captain, talking with him, looking into those changeable eyes instead of being flung over his shoulder like a sack of meal.

“What else was I to do when she eschewed my arms?”

“I did not—“

My words were jolted from of me, as the captain began the descent toward home. Mary walked beside him, keeping him in conversation as I tried to keep my hat on my head and clutch at the captain’s waist for security at the same time.

 Oh Siri, I loved that scene from Love’s Pursuit. You write heroes so well. The captain was a beautifully written hero, with a sound faith to dig at Susannah’s pretense. The ending was just so…well, I’ll let readers figure it out, but I wept. And then read it again.

Thanks so much for joining the series today, Siri, and I can’t wait to learn what’s coming next from you? Would you share? What’s in the works?

Up Next:  Grab a handful of southern hospitality as Love Inspired Author, Missy Tippens joins us tomorrow.

I Need A Hero – Confidence with Siri Mitchell

With her newest book She Walks In Beauty recently released, Siri Mitchell easily outdid herself. This turn-of-the-century novel is fabulous, with an amazing hero and beautifully spiritual core.

Siri writes a mix of contemporary and historical, in first person. To read more about her wonderful books, check out her website at www.sirimitchell.com

To read my review of She Walks In Beauty follow this link: https://pepperbasham.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/she-walks-in-beauty-by-siri-mitchell/

So…. What are Siri’s top hero characteristics?

 Here are my top three:

1)      Considerate

1)      Confident

2)      A Terrific Smile

 Hmmm, we’ve just talked about Clueless Cowboys and now we have a Confident hero? Can these two things coexist in one hero? 

Sure they can.

We’ve discussed a guy being competent, which builds confidence, but vulnerable with his lady love.

 Most heroes have an area of expertise, where they can shine as brilliant. All of Siri’s heroes breathe confidence onto the page, even her social fumbler, Harry in She Walks in Beauty.

Adrien, in Kissing Adrien, is fabulous and confident. Lytham in A Constant Heart is smart in business and in the workings of the court, but he is extremely vulnerable in his love for Marget. Beautiful.

 According to the dictionary, confident means “having strong belief or full assurance; sure of one’s own abilities.”

This does not mean arrogant, of course, but certain. Sometimes a person who is self-confident appears comfortable in their own skin. They like who they are.

Again, I refer to Siri’s character, Harry DeVries in She Walks In Beauty.

If I hadn’t loaned the book out, I’d give an excerpt from it or Kissing Adrien, but they’re both on loan. 🙂

 So… a character who knows who he is, but is vulnerable in some way – particularly toward the heroine. This vulnerability and growing love causes him to be considerate to her. George Knightly in Jane Austen’s Emma is a very considerate & confident man.

And, of course, the terrific smile is back. Boy, it’s quickly moving to the top 5 character slots. :0)

Hero Quote:

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Inspirational Quote:

From where does your confidence come?

In Christ.

Because of His love, His grace, we can stand before God – accepted. Confident that what Jesus did on the cross has paid our debt to God, IN FULL. Not our goodness, but Christ’s goodness.

2Corinthians 3:1-5

 1Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

 4Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. 5Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life