Book Jacket


rank 12
word count 59563
date submitted 25.04.2010
date updated 23.04.2014
genres: Fiction, Romance, Fantasy
classification: moderate


Tina Rath

"Governesses never are heroines in a romance - perhaps that is just as well. If romantic heroines behaved like governesses there would be no story."


Vermilion Massingberd is eminently practical. She acknowledges that she is so ordinary as to be almost invisible, and she has very little choice in the way of career - but if she must be a governess she can comfort herself with the thought that at least she is getting away from her brother-in-law - and that she is saving most of her salary towards her chief ambition: retirement to a respectable lodging where she will have independence and the chance to indulge her hobby of reading sensational novels - even if she must obtain them from the circulating library.

But perhaps it was not very sensible to accept a post so very far from home and civilisation. And why was it important that she should not be easily shocked? - or easily frightened? And why has no one in the capital ever seen her aristocratic pupils?

And will her recommended method for dealing with ghostly apparitions - "I should pull the bedclothes over my head and hope very much that it would go away" - always work. Especially with upires. And worse.

And even the most practical lady can be betrayed by love...

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alternative universe, comedy, fantasy, gothic, horror, romance, vampires, ya/adult cross

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K A Smith wrote 1358 days ago

Lyrical and evocative and seemingly effortless, a charming narrative that slowly builds atmosphere and suspense as Vermilion comes nearer to the heart of the mystery and the mystery of her heart. the remainder of the book is so present in the first 11 chapters that I don't feel I need read the rest of the book, but I want to, nevertheless, to see just how beautifully it is accomplished. In some ways reminiscent of Ursula LeGuin, in the ease with which a milieu is characterised, with pellucid prose that rivals the clarity of Mary Renault, I don't think I'll have to wait too long until it is published.

Famlavan wrote 1456 days ago


Thought the title was idiosyncratic until I got into the character names!
This book is a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y fantastic. It’s fun, intelligent, brilliantly structured and a great read – no one should miss this!

Beval wrote 1458 days ago

This is wonderful stuff. High gothic romance at its best.

Jonathan Rowe wrote 5 days ago

ZAMORNA chapter 2

Ah. There I was concerned that the arch Victorian pastiche might become wearisome if stretched out over a novel, but I was wrong because you have a powerful device - Wit. Much of this is very funny. I know we're all supposed to conform and avoid speaker adverbs, but you make them do great work (dubiously, relentlessly) and the sovereign tonic of ginger drops are a revelation. As indeed is a penitentiary for Unsuitable maidservants.

The setting is taking shape - not Victorian Britain at all, but something wilder and more sumptuous. The names (Fancy, Fritha) still dazzle. I'm from Lincolnshire and it was nice to see the Massingberds get included too. The descriptions of the hereditary household positions was a fantastic touch and Mervyn Peake is starting to emerge as your influence. Brilliant - 6 stars


Jonathan Rowe wrote 5 days ago

ZAMORNA chapter 1

Great fun opening chapter that handles pseudo-Victorian pastiche with aplomb. I loved the wild names and the sonorous dialogue with its Portentous Capital Letters. I think you draw the reader in enough that, when you need to start laying down the exposition, it's not painful. There's foreshadowing which is effective without being heavy handed. In fact, nothing in this is heavy handed and you clearly have a terrific ear for the conventions of Victorian ghost stories (there are allusions here to Turn Of The Screw) and Ruritanian romances - OK, those things are Edwardian, but the point is they're great and you homage them beautifully.

So, 5 stars with 6 pending. I wonder how you can sustain this without it becoming precious, so I'll have to read on and see what you do. I also want to see how you present horror and fear. I'm writing a historically set horror/thriller and I want to see how other writers handle this genre. Your writing is amongst the best I've seen on Authonomy so far, so I'll take notes ;)


Jonathan Rowe wrote 5 days ago

ZAMORNA chapter 1

Great fun opening chapter that handles pseudo-Victorian pastiche with aplomb. I loved the wild names and the sonorous dialogue with its Portentous Capital Letters. I think you draw the reader in enough that, when you need to start laying down the exposition, it's not painful. There's foreshadowing which is effective without being heavy handed. In fact, nothing in this is heavy handed and you clearly have a terrific ear for the conventions of Victorian ghost stories (there are allusions here to Turn Of The Screw) and Ruritanian romances - OK, those things are Edwardian, but the point is they're great and you homage them beautifully.

So, 5 stars with 6 pending. I wonder how you can sustain this without it becoming precious, so I'll have to read on and see what you do. I also want to see how you present horror and fear. I'm writing a historically set horror/thriller and I want to see how other writers handle this genre. Your writing is amongst the best I've seen on Authonomy so far, so I'll take notes ;)


PMS wrote 8 days ago

Loved this, the language the lyricism, the intense buildup of the mystery and the wonderful characterisation.

Poppygb1415 wrote 10 days ago

Chapter Four:

Oh, this remains splendid. I continue to enjoy the development of Fancy and Vermillion's friendship, and wonder what it could lead to, while the scene when they come across Zillah was perfectly coordinated, the result entirely different from what was expected. You pull off the insertion of the gypsy with panache - no easy job, as it could so easily have fallen into cliche. Wonderful.

For further nitpicks, and oohs, and aahhs of admiration:

She was vaguely aware John Coachman - that John...?

precipitancy - wow, that word is a mouthful! Wonder about haste, or recklessness? or indeed, reckless haste...

fascinated attendance - fascinated? really? I wouldn't be fascinated, I'd be scared! gawping/gaping attendance? wide-eyed attendance? (sorry - that's out of order! I'm a bit on the tired side!)

and a large and savage looking - perhaps cut the second and, swap for a comma, and hyphenate savage-looking?

authoritative tones - tone could be singular? though I understand that pluralised may give more of the period feel you are after

Zamorna's man, I am - insert comma

wide, tiered skirts - might be better with a comma?

Oooh, complex situation! Not a one of them up to any good!!

get off out of it - caps on open quotes

Vermillion, abruptly remembering...into a fit, hurried - insert commas

had bargained for - bargained on

and it trundled off - not sure you need the 'it', as it's fairly evident what you mean...

a fine, strong-boned face - insert comma?

oooh, fortune telling - great device for raising tension, as the reader will now be anticipating the signs of the enumerated episodes...

granddaughter - one word? You've got it as two a few times...

call her by name - called

switching into was - what was

and so she will - caps on open quote

all the time - the whole time might be better

very soon need - needed

but to recognise - but even to recognise?

plain she must now return - plain that she must

what happened to the kitchen - I know you mean the staff... but perhaps say so?

with Vermillion going to bed ill at ease, I wonder that she allow Fancy's tale to override the kindness shown to her at the camp?

novel-reading - hyphenate?

confused about Vermillion's reflection on novels doing Fancy no harm, as in my experience, the real novels of the period, I'm thinking Hardy, the Brontes, George Eliot, have women falling victimn to rich villainous types!

old enough, one of her mother's - insert comma?

between knowing and doing, especially - insert comma?

herself, but she was prepared - as above

Unfortunately for Vermillion, Fancy was - as above

very little more... very little time - repetition - see if you can vary the phrase?

under his eyes - think it's under his eye

it does take your mind - caps on open quotes

countryside - one word

easy-going landlady - hyphenate? Though easy-going seems quite a contemporary expression...

it was worse - caps on open quotes

not sure about mountains like clouds... clouds like mountains, yes, but even when shrouded by clouds, mountains aren't really like them... too... terrestrial! But that could just be me. it's your world, here, after all!

By all I've heard, that Zillah's - insert comma?

against what, is what I'd like - as above

Ha ha! I love the gypsy followers at the end - you offer the reader a new twist or development with every chapter, keeping us guessing - fabulous.

Hope some of that's useful, as ever, and to see you back in Mandi's China before too long!


Dawn Wessel wrote 10 days ago

It has all the qualities of a great novel, mystery, intrigue, suspense, romance...I'm only beginning to understand everything and want to know more as once I started to read I was immediately drawn in and didn't stop reading until I had finished all the posted chapters...I know the characters, both good and bad (and I'm sure I will be further surprised at who is what) will be developed and I am anxious to read how you will do that...Vermilion was raised to be practical and to blend in but every now and then a spunky side shows as in her thought, "wondering if she should tell there was madness in her family which rendered it highly dangerous for her to remain in a room with knives after nine o'clock"...I will purchase this novel just to find out the ending, which is a rarity for me...full stars and a backing.

I personally don't think the books' cover does it justice, but that's just me.

A few errors I noted (or perhaps it's meant to be that way?):
Chap. 7: "in John" - I think it should be "of John"
"ever week" - should it be "every week"?
Chap. 10: "much too sold" - should it read "much too solid"?
Chap. 14: :"the Duke Saw" - should it be the Duke saw"?
"isn't that beauty" - should it be, "isn't that a beauty"?
Chap. 17: "the looked" - should be "they looked"
"nodded knowingly and" - I think it should be "nodded knowingly at"
Chap. 18: "with a detachment of" appears twice in the same paragraph
Chap. 21: ""finder herself" - "find herself"?

Dawn Wessel

Soulfire wrote 15 days ago

I've come back for another look and found myself in an action scene, namely chapter 21. I don't feel I do your book justice by jumping in so late; however, perhaps it's a good way to assist, as later chapters are usually not as well edited.

The dialogue and atmosphere confirm my feelings of this being a period drama, with it well written to capture the feel of that time.. I have made some editing points as I read. I don't have a huge amount of time tonight, so I had to stop before finishing the chapter; my apologies!

My main observation is that the use of the word 'and' is liberal throughout this chapter. Maybe some of the sentences would read better if there weren't quite so many. Here are some other points I found:

'she opened her eyes to finder herself hand in hand'.. I think you mean 'find', not 'finder'.

'Conal released her hand'.. I think more explanation is needed here as it looks odd when I read it. 'Conal released Fancy's hand' may be better.

'She heard Fancy...' In this sentence there are four 'and's. It doesn't read right to me. Perhaps you could reduce the number to one or two?

'Their troop streeled out'.. I must admit to never having seen the word 'streel'. Do you mean 'spread out' or something similar? I don't believe 'streel' is a word?

'Their desperate speed slowed, slowed to a stumbling walk...' I think you can remove the second instance of 'slowed' and the comma.

Congratulations on an atmospheric book which is obviously well received by the community.

Soulfire wrote 17 days ago

Well, I came here in the belief that this is a fantasy novel. In truth, it appears to be a period drama, which is possibly the last genre of book I would take from a shelf. Having said this, I have worked my way through most of chapter 1.

I will rate it highly, as it seems well suited to the atmosphere I have seen in various movies set between about the 1800s and 1900s. The dialogue appears very authentic, with clever alterations to the language to invoke the period concerned.

For no apparent reason (as I have not read any of the following books), titles such as 'Gone with the Wind' and 'Little Women' sprang into my mind as I read this, along with snippets from French and English period dramas I may have seen on television.

It's certainly not my personal cup of tea, but I can appreciate the effort and detail that has gone into the writing. I will give it a 5 star rating and leave it at that. Thank you for suggesting that I take a look.

Poppygb1415 wrote 28 days ago

Chapter Three

I love the growing relationship between Vermillion and Fancy here, the portentious reflection on the traditions of Gothic literature, and the growing picture we are gaining of your off-kilter version of Victoriana.

For notes:

After all, only the - comma needed

Marvellous backstory, to everything from the madness running in the Royal family to V's work history. Suc reference points bring your world to vivid life.

Vermillion did wonder briefly - this sentence gets quite long...

remarking shrewdly if she - I'd make it 'that if she' - this sentence also does run on... making sense of it might be assisted by slicing it into smaller portions...

But you do do a fabulous job with your tongue-in-cheek conjuration of Gothic Lit!

Moreover suspect this conversation to be a portent of kinds... 'then there would be no story' - very good.

as she remembered another drawback... - that another drawback

Considering the Duchess's use of wtchcraft, when you've told us that V's considered opinion is that magic doesn't work... Seems a bit of a contradiction 'regardless of whether you believed in the efficacy of magic or not' might help?

with her own linen - this pronoun is slightly confusing, as you are discussion Vermillion, and also have a 'them'. With linen from the ducal household or something along that line might help?

murdering travellers and putting them in... - ha!

her journey might be - I would make it 'return journey' for clarity's sake

of sending them to be sober and tranquil - something off about the grammar here - sending them a sober and tranquil mood, perhaps?

drreams, on in particular - should be one in particular

probably no need for it, not at this inn - I am guessing that you mean he's sleeping there to keep an eye on the coach and it's contents, but this isn't altogether clear...

which made this impossible - what impossible? Seeing out? You need to say so!

And what an exciting note to end on!!

Hope some of that is useful to you, and to see you back in Mandi's China before too long!


Nabbya wrote 35 days ago

The way that you write is beautiful, and the way the words flow are great. You no doubt have a wonderful talent for writing, and I only hope that one day I can be as great as you are.

Poppygb1415 wrote 35 days ago

Onwards with Chapter Two and into the unknown perils of the north! Another fantastic chapter, well paced, Vermillion's wit neatly balanced by her indecisiveness. I would say that she seems the kind of person who knows what she doesn't want, but finds it a deal harder to identify what it is that she does want. Like so many of us. Realistically drawn against the more fantastical backdrop, with its history and rumours of witches and magic. Lady Sophronia's urgency to remove her governess to the north post-haste is cetainly intiriguing, and I have a strong feeling that the charm donated by the maid will play a pivotal role at some stage. Had thought I'd watch-listed this, but perhaps I failed to hit the appropriate button. Doing so now.

Few petty notes, if you want them:

arm's length - needs an apostrophe

as she often told herself, she was - needs a comma

turban wound around her head, was directing - needs a comma

through night and storm - I'd swap these around, to end on the hard sound of the 't', and also perhaps because the ear expects 'stormy night', with storm being the descriptor... But that's just me!

expended on under linen - I'd say expended upon has a nicer ring to it - again, just personal preference!

governess's shockability - need comma after this


Poppygb1415 wrote 39 days ago

Tina -

I have read your first chapter, with delight and admiration for your wit, your vivid characters, and your teasing introduction to a world which is slightly askew from the history books. Despite the fact that Victorian governess tales are something of a mini-genre to themselves, you never slip into cliche, even deliberately flout it. The whole bit about the breakable china and the motion-sick maid, a sterling, humourous bit of detail. Already I loath the irksome Erconwald (oh, what a marvelous phrase. You really have given your characters spectacular names), and am fully allied with your heroine. The second hand reportage of her interview also works very well for both bringing the reader up to date, and pointing towards the story-telling mechanisms of the period: the Brontes, James - they all do this, all the time! Filtering information through your characters is a very effective way of both moving the plot ahead or 'downloading' information and bringing the reader into your characters' heads!

I suppose, being so far up the charts, you may not feel the need to change a thing

Long Pitch - And will her recommended... As this is a question, it need a ?

if it chanced to be for... handing it over... Think it should be 'handed'

Can we be sure... This too should be a question... So I would stop after the first Vice? Then start a new sentence. Also gives his explanation more impact.

No, apart from the fact that the roads are so poor... Very long sentence here. And as it's spoken, where on earth would she breathe in all that? Also, the roads are so poor... Sounds bit too much like reportage from a textbook on the period to me. But then, I was cursed to read all number of books on such exciting subjects during my degree, so that could just be me.

both spoiled and neglected - I don't think you need the 'if you can imagine such a thing'. Standard practice, in Victorian England! Only think of Rochester's ward!

The dubiousness of Lady Lilias's own credentials... The suggestion that she may be something of a handful - followed so soon by 'children can be truly evil' instantly raises the reader's suspicion that this girl may be trouble - deft touch.

the Duke was unsound - I would give this a ? and open a new sentence with the next bit of speech

Both sons dying in the wars - highly suspicious!

Remember how cross Erconwald was... Needs a ?

All that said, a very enjoyable read. I shall return to see how that carriage - china, sick maid and all - progresses!

'Amanda Cute and the Case of the Pussycat Sex Club'

AshNau wrote 75 days ago

I immensely enjoyed this! It's captivating from the very opening, especially with your wonderful prose. You fit into the setting and genre so well. It really felt as if it could have come from one of the Bronte sisters. Backed and high stars!

Joley Stephenson wrote 84 days ago

What a lovely story with all the feel of a classic with mystery and love and interesting character names. Really enjoyed this. Good luck getting it published.

Sue G. wrote 87 days ago

Brilliant! This deserves to get to no 1!

LanetD wrote 89 days ago

I was planning to write a really great review for you after finishing this...but I'm just SO MAD that the whole book isn't here. I stayed up until 2 am reading this...and now I have to wait for the rest. BAH. That's a good thing, though. It means I loved it. And spent hours in one sitting reading it. And wish I could have spent hours more. When I'm in a less frustrated state of mind I'll write a real review.

YvonneMarjot wrote 90 days ago

Hello Tina,

I'm indulging myself in the pleasure of another read through, but in the process a couple of things have occurred to me.

Ch2 begins "She had plenty of time to wonder..."
Ch3 begins "It did not take Vermilion long to think..."
Ch4 begins "Vermilion gave herself no time to think..."
It's not that the story doesn't move along effectively, for it does, but it might be worth re-examining those opening sentences to provide a bit more variety.

In Ch15 "It was perhaps unfortunate that Mrs Barbary came in just at that moment..." Why was it unfortunate? It strikes me that it was probably quite fortunate that they were interrupted, as Vermilion and Fancy were sharing a moment of discomfort.

I still absolutely love this, and it won't be leaving my shelf any time soon.

Neuravinci wrote 92 days ago

YES! I loved the first chapter. Gosh, you set up character personalities so well, I can envision their manners quite easily. Hello Jane Austen.

Jane Poe Keenan wrote 92 days ago

Beautifully written and entertaining. Evokes the spirit of the classics in the richness, style and simple fluidity of the words chosen.

Jane Poe Keenan-Love, Joys & Sorrows...

Lara wrote 96 days ago

I think I've reviewed this before, but here's a boost as this charming book nears the desk. With only 5 to shelve, it's been my policy this year to only shelve favourites, particularly as they need help in being one of the Editor's chosen. First of all, I love the outrageous names in this book. Fancy, for instance. Perfect for her post. Vermilion was bound for greater things in life than if she'd been called Dimity or Prudence! I love your characters voices, and the tone of the piece. There's plenty of sparkly dialogue, while the narrative becomes increasingly exciting. I have peeked up to 14.
High stars
Rosalind Minett

Cass Madsen wrote 97 days ago

l'll be shocked if this doesn't make it to the editors' desk. I'm a fan of Jane Austen, and you've nailed the tone.

Just focusing on chapter 1, I will be peevish and picky because you can take it: You sometimes go overboard with the clauses ("oddly enough," "as it will," etc.) and when you do the narrative, especially dialogue, gets clunky.

Also, more importantly, you share chunks of back story I didn't need here (but the actual information wouldn't hurt to know in bits and pieces here and elsewhere). I don't find it believable that the sister doesn't already know something about the notorious Duke. I also didn't need to know how the sister came to be married to the jerk, because it was already obvious in the way he spoke to and over the women. You weren't repeating yourself, yet it felt repetitive because I already saw his character traits. (I like his use of capital letters. I could imagine him enunciating each of those to make his points.) Backstory about mom isn't necessarily out of place, but I would think the memory of pretty dresses would come up when Vermilion interacts with a young lady, not just in conversation at the table.

Vermilion is a character I can believe in and follow. I love Jane Eyre and Villette, and this feels like reading those again in its best moments. It's just heavy and clunky right now where it really could be focused by thinking about what pieces are necessary for me to relate to Vermilion and understand just her NEXT problem or two, not the next TEN problems.

I noticed somebody else suggested changing the cover and possibly the title. I agree with that. Your short pitch got me to look at the book. I would have had no idea from the cover and title that this was an Austen or Shelley style book. Definitely recommend giving that some thought. Your pitch had me smiling, though, so you're on the right track there, as far as I'm concerned. Will add this to my shelf tomorrow.

secretbanker wrote 101 days ago

this is a fascinating book and one that surely deserves more of a look-in. As I am new here I will only apply a very perfunctory criticism, however the characters are well etched, the plot fast-paced and the dialogue strong and of a distinctive hand. I am particularly drawn in by the dark and stormy atmosphere which echoes my own work....Kudos

tgreen wrote 106 days ago

This is a marvellous book balancing the highwire between pastiche and innovation in the most sense-shuddering manner. The names have clearly sprung from an unusually evocative imagination. Having just recently been in the home town of Emily Bronte I'm reminded of a certain wildness of perception that comes through, like the wind-torn moors. It also has the dark gothic stillness of Dracula with its Vermilions and Lady and Witchcraft. I am looking forward to reading more, but must say that writing, or rather imagination, like this is a rare thing and very hard to criticise!

Layla Harding wrote 124 days ago

This is by far and away one of the best books I've read on Authonomy. Absolutely in love with everything about it! I'm so glad I stumbled upon it in the forums. One small complaint - I want to read the rest!!!! Please let me know when you post more :)

Heidi Whatcott wrote 134 days ago

I read all that you've posted and greatly enjoyed it. I will back this at the end of December when one of the books on my bookshelf makes the desk. This is very well written with beautiful phrasing. I love how you've slowly worked in the supernatural elements to make them feel very natural. I love the interplay between Vermilion and Fancy.

In the first chapter I was confused by the Duke's history and had a hard time keeping the people straight. Since that's an important backstory, I would rewrite that a bit. The problem comes because you are referring to two men (both Justinian and his father) as the Duke in the same paragraph. If you name Justinian's parents, and refer to them that way (along with their titles if you want), that would clear up the confusion. As it is we have mention of two dukes and two duchesses, and it's hard to separate them out.

I do think you should add a bit more to the relationship of the Duke and Vermilion. She says she fancies herself in love with him, and we get a few very rare moments when she mentions his beauty or wonders about him, but it doesn't feel as real as it could. I think you need to show her comparing him favorably to other men she's known. Perhaps at the fort, the next morning, he remarks that he knows that incident of the night before was not her doing, and commends her on her handling of the situation. That would compare favorably to Erconwald, who would immediately blame her for the situation. Maybe when he sits down and talks with his children over tea, he is a much more involved father than the fathers of her previous charges. She should occasionally notice how he looks, or something he does. When she is thinking of going home, she should feel a keen sense of loss that she won't see him again, but tell herself she deserves to feel terrible because she shouldn't have been thinking of him in the first place. When she helps him in the library, despite the pain in her hands, she should feel gratified that he needs her at that moment, and perhaps fantasize that she is the only one who would know what to do to help him. Just adding in a few more small moments would make her feelings seem much more real and natural. The moment when he admits he can read minds would be even more dramatic. We would have actual thoughts to recall. That is my favorite moment of the book by the way. It was unexpected and immediately opened up so many possibilities. The Duke seemed strongest in that moment.

I also think you should strengthen their first meeting a bit. We have been waiting five chapters to see the two of them meet, and we only get a few lines. Then we have the long buildup to them meeting the next morning, but it's over in two little paragraphs. I was like "What!!!?" I have been waiting and waiting for this moment (all those sinister hints about the duke and his family), and the moment is almost nothing. I felt we spent more time with the captain of the fort, and then later, with the duke's brother.

I do think you have a great story here, and I love how it's written. I loved Fancy pretending to have been bitten by the upire! I'm giving you six stars because it is one of the best books I've seen on authonomy and because it fits my preferences so well. If you do some editing or upload more, let me know.

Thanks for the fun read,
Heidi Whatcott--Crayton House

YvonneMarjot wrote 135 days ago

The first time I read Zamorna, I told you that there was no need for me to read past the first two chapters - I was already in love with your protagonist and her story. Today I'm off work, feeling poorly, and I've treated myself to reading all that you've posted here: and now I have changed my mind. I want more!

It's been a joy to read, and I can't remember the last time I had the pleasure of sharing the work of someone who, perhaps, loves words as much as I do. Whoffling! And sarcenet - how dismal life is now that we talk about lycra and spandex, and we've forgotten all about lawn, and samite and bombazine.

I find it inexplicable that this wonderful book hasn't made the desk yet. It seems trivial, but perhaps some of your supporters are right to suggest a change of cover art? I have also observed a trifling number of text errors:

Ch3 'Reflecting, that in view of Fanny's proclivities (). She...' (proclivities (), she...)

Ch3 'On their return, refreshed, to The Fiend of the Forest...' ('The' should be italic)

Ch4 'Well the, it's the sign of a true seeing...' (Well, then...)

Ch 14 'There was a ring truth in Fancy's words,' (ring of truth, or perhaps the ring of truth)

Ch 18 'There is plenty left,'... Or I thinks these little bowls...' (Or I think...)

I've kept Zamorna under my eye since I joined authonomy, and I cannot but believe that it will succeed. It's a gem (chrysophrase? tourmaline? perhaps beryl?) and deserves to go all the way.

Etienne Hanratty wrote 137 days ago

I'll start by saying I'm sorry. I wanted to give you a constructive and well-thought out critique, highlighting the strengths and helpfully pinpointing the weaknesses. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do that because I don't think I can fault this book(beyond wondering if it should be 'handed' rather than 'handing' in the ninth line of the first paragraph, at any rate). It's a superbly executed patische, very funny in places with well-drawn characters and strong descriptions. It's not a genre I usually read which might reduce the value of my opinion but I don't think there's anything you need to change. I dislike following crowds on principle but the momentum behind your book is so richly deserved that I'll happily be part of it and back it when time permits. (Hope that wasn't too cloying).

Sue G. wrote 140 days ago

Oh, goodness, this is doing well! Hurrah!

Miss Wells wrote 141 days ago

This is written with a fabulous compelling exuberance. One of those books that gives you a warm glowing grin on every page. I love all the detail. “Fancy crunched the ginger drop and went on” – little observations like that which make Zamorna such a vivid and delightful read. Great stuff. Not sure why I didn’t discover this earlier.

Kathy K G wrote 150 days ago

Twenty-two chapters weren't enough. I want more. Backed.


JP1944 wrote 151 days ago

Hi Tina, this is brilliant. My son jemahl told me to take a look because I love the genre (making him read Shelley as a child probably scarred him). This is intelligent witty and I look forward to it being pubished. Wonderful, thank you.

L.Lombard wrote 156 days ago

Zamorna has kept me smiling through most of the seven chapters I’ve read. Vermilion is quite a character. I almost wish I could meet her, and Fancy, well, she’s a gem and a little firecracker in one. The language and writing style are perfect for this time and setting. The writing is beautifully crafted and witty, leading the reader through the mystery that engulfs Vermilion’s future. I most certainly look forward to reading more.

High stars,

granny mead wrote 175 days ago

I read it all and very much enjoy it. Very colorful too.

Robyn Quaker wrote 176 days ago

Zamora by Tina Rath
A rich and delicious first chapter! What wonderful names. The writing flows as in my opinion it is word perfect. The dialogue and descriptions are good.
I loved the piece about the apple peel. Very imaginative. High stars and on my watchlist.
Robyn Quaker
Halfpennies And Blue Vinyl

sensual elle wrote 178 days ago

Vermilion Massingberd, Viridian, Zillah– what wonderful names! And what a wonderful story.

This author plays with names like a musician plays with arpeggios. They lilt, they simmer, they shimmer in the breeze.

It's also a fun plot. Rarely have I been so entertained. If anyone watched that British-American telly show called The Nanny, they'd know the unique position Nanny's have into the heart of the house's master (in the Wuthering sense).

I'm delighted to back.

page turner wrote 178 days ago

This is fun, a romantic classic.

Temulkar wrote 181 days ago

So, I read this because I saw a reference to it on the forums. I wasn't hopeful, I hate vampires, gothic horror, romance and most horror in general. I loved this it was brilliantly funny, I devoured three chapters. I've given it 6 stars and put on my watch list, I will try and find space on my shelf at the end of the month as well.

Deborah Aldrich Farhi wrote 197 days ago

Haven't given this a proper read yet, just on watchlist, but it's looking like a really fun read!! Straight off the bat, because I'm being a fininicky fellow writer who likes to put two oars in: the morning's post seems to many possessives in one sentence to roll off the tongue and I think it's not necessary; 'morning' post would work fine. And, in the sentence 'then he sliced the seals' it doesn't sound consistent with the verb tenses!
Can't wait to

Twistedbiscuits wrote 203 days ago

This is just me and I'm far from the best writer or editor on here, so take it with salt. The first line might read better if you said brother-in-law rather than sister's husband, and removed the 's from morning post.
Erconwald makes me want to strangle him.
This is a good read, especially when it's not something I'd usually go for - the characters are too stiff and formal but it suits the story and doesn't put me off, where in other books it did.

sherit wrote 238 days ago

Hi TIna...Just a quick note to say I read chapter one and had such a great time. This book is right up my alley, I can just tell. Wish I had a life of leisure where I could just lay back on the divan with bon bons and keep reading but...there are kids and pets...and you know all that. Anyway...keeping you on my you high stars and i shall return to read more. Good work. I could see it all in my head. Can't wait to see what happens when she gets to her new position!
All the best,
Sheri Emery / Crazy Quilt

Inkstain wrote 241 days ago

Beautifully written and completely addictive! I feel that behind this book lies a great deal of research into the Victorian period - neither the tone nor the details ever falter. Well deserving of publication. I await future chapters with eagerness.

Jeffery George wrote 283 days ago

I'm just scanning through authonomy looking for a list of reads, so I've only read the opening chapters. I found them luscious, though. I loved the character names and the language in general and will be coming back for a proper read when I have more time. For now I'm giving you five stars.

Sue Harris wrote 286 days ago

Hi Tina

Have just read the first two chapters. I love your characterisation, your humour and your intrigue. I am quite hooked, and will definitely read on when I have a bit more time to devote to it, but I wanted you to know that I have loved what I have read so far, it's brilliantly written and truly entertaining. Will feedback again when I have had a chance to read further. Well done!

Sue Harris (alias Lucy Bennett)

Geowonderland wrote 293 days ago

The names of the characters are enjoyable by itself. Of course, the story is a pleasure to read, too. I like the description of the thoughts of Vermilion. Highly starred.
Best wishes,

benoit wrote 313 days ago

Written in true style of old school victorian era "Hold, there is a plot but it has yet to come . . . . Hold, there is a plot it has yet to come but its close . . . Hold there is tension . . . A plot to come . . .

Great read for the Little Women, and Black beauty type fans which I am not.

Janet/Helen wrote 315 days ago

Zamorna. Ch 1 to 5

Read these opening chapters following a recommendation on the forum threads. I think this is absolutely fantastic. That's not much of a literary comment but it's exactly what I think. I'm limited by time otherwise I would happily have read the whole lot in one go. I love the names of the characters, the story so far, the pace, the humour - it's all there and beautifully structured.
I'm sorry but this is another I've got to back in the coming weeks. For now, 6 stars and onto watchlist. Janet

The Stranger In My Life

Edward Gardner wrote 331 days ago

Ah, another book I've just got to read, and I only discovered it when Yvonne backed it. Excellent opening chapter - love the names and the rhythm of dialogue. Will return to read more and comment, but for now I'll just leave you a line of stars.

YvonneMarjot wrote 332 days ago

I've devoured two chapters and I don't really care what happens next, because I already know it's going to be entertaining and beautifully written. Vermilion and Viridian - what better names for sisters to catch my attention and promise bizarre and unexpected outcomes? The writing tone is just right: a rich brocade of description, narrative and dialogue, linked by a subtle thread of sardonic humour.

I'm always a bit wary of fiction that references Austen or the Brontes, because it's frequently turgid and over-written. But this is perfect: plenty of froth, but with a deep layer of piquant bitterness underneath. Surely this has to make it to publication? I'll be doing my bit to get it to the editors' desk anyway.

Good luck. Yvonne.

Lauren Grey wrote 363 days ago

This is polished, professional, intelligent and extremely entertaining. I will admit that initially I had a bit of confusion over the character's names, but once I sorted them out I was on my way to a great read. Six stars and remains on my WL to finish reading. Well done and this does belong on the ED and to be published.

Barbara W. Bland wrote 383 days ago

I enjoy your book, which I have backed. There is a hint of Mrs. Radcliffe's 'The Mysteries of Udolpho', except that Vermilion is a much more sensible heroine than Emily. Also, of course, Mrs. Radcliffe explains away all the seemingly supernatural elements. In fact, the Duke also seems to have some affinity with Miss Brontë's hero Mr. Rochester, as Vermilion has with Jane Eyre. Lilias is a more lively character than little Adèle. The taste for horrid romances is one that Vermilion shares with Miss Jane Austen's heroine Catherine Morland in 'Northanger Abbey', except that Vermilion is more sensible than that young lady! Best wishes, Barbara