Publication Date: January 28, 2016
Paperback & eBook; 465 Pages
Series: The Hembry Castle Chronicles
Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary
From Meredith Allard, author of the bestselling Loving Husband Trilogy, comes When It Rained at Hembry Castle, a lush historical novel set in Victorian England. Perfect for fans of Downton Abbey, it’s the story of an aristocratic family, a mysterious death, secrets that dare not be told, and the wonder of falling in love.
When the 8th Earl of Staton dies, his eldest son, the unreliable Richard, inherits the title and the family’s home—Hembry Castle. The Earl’s niece, the American-born Daphne, is intrigued by Edward Ellis, a rising author with a first-hand knowledge of Hembry Castle—from the servants’ hall. And Edward, though captivated by the lovely Daphne, has his own hurdles he must overcome. Can Richard come to terms with his title before bringing ruin on his family? Will Edward and Daphne find their way to each other despite the obstacles of life at Hembry Castle?
When It Rained at Hembry Castle is a page-turning, romantic novel with vivid characters and an engrossing story that will keep you guessing until the end.
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo
My novel When It Rained at Hembry Castle was 20 years in the making. Being the Dickens fan I am, in the mid 1990s I came up with an idea for a novel that would be set in Victorian England. While I always loved the concept, it was put on the back burner while I pursued other projects. Finally, in 2014, my other projects completed, I was able to focus my attention on this idea I had been kicking around for nearly two decades.
A funny thing happened in 2013—I discovered Downton Abbey. Yes, I was three years late to the Downton Abbey party, but better late than never. When I realized I would finally have time to pursue this Victorian novel I’d wanted to write, I knew I had to incorporate aspects of this TV show I had grown to love. While this is not fan fiction in the literal sense, it is a fan fiction of sorts since When It Rained at Hembry Castle would not have evolved into the novel it has without my love for Downton Abbey.
I had a discussion with a fellow author about the book the writers think they’re writing versus the book the readers read. Think of it this way—when we’re writing a story, we know what we intend to do, why the pieces of the puzzle are set out the way they are, why this character says one thing when she means another. But when readers read, they’re not in our heads, they’re in their heads. Which is just as well. My head is crowded enough with only me in there. Readers have their own experiences, their own likes and dislikes, their own tastes. In the end, it doesn’t matter what I intended to do when I was crafting the story. It only matters what the readers bring when they engage with the story.
Here’s a case in point, and one close to my heart because it involves Hembry Castle. When I began writing Hembry in 2014, I had just come off some success with the Loving Husband Trilogy and I thought Hembry would be a great way to go back to writing a love story that readers would cheer for. Edward Ellis and Daphne Meriwether were always the focus for me as I was writing the novel. Yes, Daphne has a crazy family (don’t we all) in this Downton Abbey-like world, but all along I saw When It Rained at Hembry Castle as a great love story.
Yet readers who emailed me about Hembry weren’t gushing over Edward and Daphne. They were asking about Richard, Daphne’s uncle, the 9th Earl of Staton. In the reader’s mind (at least those who contacted me), Richard was the center of curiosity. He is the Earl of Staton, after all. But I was fascinated by their questions about Richard when to me Edward and Daphne are the stars of the show. Is it wrong for readers to focus on Richard? Of course not. But realizing that readers were not necessarily reading the book I had written was a huge revelation to me and a continuing fascination for me.
Have you ever read a book where you had a different reaction than you expected?
Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling novels The Loving Husband Trilogy, That You Are Here, Victory Garden, Woman of Stones, and My Brother’s Battle. Her newest release, the historical novel When It Rained at Hembry Castle, is a great read for fans of Downton Abbey.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, April 18
Review at Book Nerd
Wednesday, April 20
Review & Giveaway at A Holland Reads
Friday, April 22
Excerpt at Historical Fiction Addicts
Saturday, April 23
Guest Post & Giveaway at Brooke Blogs
Sunday, April 24
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
Thanks to the generosity of the author, I have a great giveaway for you! One lucky winner will receive a copy of When It Rained at Hembry Castle by Meredith Allard. If a US winner is selected, they can choose a paperback copy or an ebook copy. An international winner would receive an ebook copy. Enter below for your chance to win.
Brooke Blogs is not responsible for prize fulfillment in this giveaway. Giveaway ends 5/2/16 & winner will be randomly selected from all eligible entries. Winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond to notification email before a new winner is selected. Void where prohibited. Please see giveaway tools widget for complete rules.