Dec 212015
 

Col Fitz coverA Grand Romantic Adventure for Colonel Fitzwilliam!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

After the completion of his wonderfully perceptive and thoughtfully-rendered Darcy’s Tale trilogy, Stanley Michael Hurd has once again put pen to paper to tell the tale of another beloved Austenesque character. While Colonel Fitzwilliam may only be a secondary character in Pride and Prejudice, in Mr. Hurd’s hands he is transformed into an honorable hero worthy of our attention and admiration.

Our story begins two years after the close of Pride and Prejudice with a dispirited Colonel, bored from inactivity and dejected about his lack of accomplishment with his career. Even though peace is established between France and England and the war is declared over, Colonel Fitzwilliam is assigned an espionage mission in France to determine what Bonaparte’s intentions are and if he is indeed preparing for another war. A mission of this magnitude is just the kind of employment our dear Colonel was wanting, the only thing is…it comes as a most awkward time. Just last night the Colonel met a lady he feels very much taken with – Miss Emily Chelwood.

Unlike his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam realizes almost instantly his emerging feelings for the charmingly open Miss Chelwood and acts with forthrightness to promote their future together. But Miss Chelwood has some reservations about Colonel Fitzwilliam’s fixed determination to bring down Napoleon and believes it is best to protect her heart and practice some caution. Can the Colonel convince her to do otherwise?

Colonel Fitzwilliam and The Countess of Sainte Toulours is an ambitious and comprehensive tale that intertwines two distinct sides of Colonel Fitzwilliam’s character – the dutiful and courageous soldier who is ready to conquer the enemy and the tender and ardent man, alive with love, yearning for his heart’s desire. Since this novel is both a romance and historical adventure, I thought it might be helpful to look at each side separately:

  • Romance: I loved seeing Colonel Fitzwilliam struck with love and witnessing how such a love can change him. Emily is endearing, admirable, and a supremely suitable wife for our dear Colonel. I loved Colonel Fitzwilliam’s intense pursuit of her and my jaw dropped when I read his heartfelt and swoon-worthy letters!
  • Historical Adventure: I’m not the greatest lover of war stories and histories, but I very much appreciated how the adventure and history was presented in this tale. The action was engaging and the events that followed not too challenging to understand. A spy mission is very well-suited for our intelligent and fearless Colonel, and it was definitely a plot-line I found exciting to explore.

I now must devote the next paragraph of my review to some of the captivating and colorful original characters introduced in this tale. In this tale we meet Lord Estéban de Esparza, who has “a very particular set of skills” and is assigned to accompany Colonel Fitzwilliam on his mission to the continent. You can’t help but fall in love with Esparza and his courtly manners, suave charm, sharp mind, and carefree reliance on luck. 🙂 In addition we meet a fair damsel in distress, Comtesse de la Sainte Toulours. Whose past and sad story presents a lot of intrigue, but also some doubts…is she a spy as well? Both characters are wonderfully engaging and I could easily have wished for a little more page time with each of them!

The only complaint I have about this story is its uneven pacing. The beginning of the story is more drawn out and leisurely told compared to the ending. The second half of the book is the more riveting half and it felt like the details started to become a little sparse in this section. Some of the action scenes weren’t as descriptive and sometimes events were summarized instead of taking place on page.

Regardless of my quibble, I found Colonel Fitzwilliam and The Countess of Sainte Toulours to be a grand romantic adventure! Brimming with action, drama, danger, and heart, Mr. Hurd presents a tale for our dear Colonel that is enthralling, introspective, and praiseworthy! I eagerly await to see which character Mr. Hurd will write a story for next! (I personally feel Colonel Brandon could use his own tale…just saying. 😉 )

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GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

In conjunction with my review Stanley Hurd generously offers 2 Kindle editions of Colonel Fitzwilliam and The Countess Sainte Toulours for me to giveaway!!  

   Col Fitz cover Col Fitz cover   

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment about my review!

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Stanley!
  • This giveaway ends December 28th!

 

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  53 Responses to “Colonel Fitzwilliam and The Countess of Sainte Toulours – Stanley Michael Hurd + GIVEAWAY!”

  1.  

    Meredith, I liked how you broke your review down by the ‘romance’ and the ‘historical adventure’. I enjoyed this story very much, but agree that the pacing at the beginning was a bit drawn out. The letters were swoon worthy and I think his feelings as he wrote surprised even him at times. Maybe not ‘surprised’ but ‘impacted’ him more than he realized (this is where you and others can express yourselves so much better than I when writing reviews!). The charming and resourceful Lord Esteban de Esparza was a favourite of mine and would love to see how his ‘relationship’ with the Countess eventually plays out! With, of course, further involvement with the Colonel and Miss Emily and the Darcy’s! However, I wouldn’t be the least upset to see Colonel Brandon’s tale!

    •  

      Hi Carole!
      What nice things you have to say! I don’t think you need to apologise to anyone for your reviews.

      It may surprise you to know that of all the things I write, the letters are among the easiest. I rarely have to do much editing to them. They are the most direct way I have of placing myself in the character’s shoes, and they always flow on very nicely as I write. It’s rather fun, actually.

      In any event, thank you again for your kind words, and a very happy Christmas to you.

      Stan

    •  

      Thank you, Carole! I sometimes worry I don’t touch upon everything I want to/need to in my reviews. I try to be organized and orderly, but sometimes it ends up being a bit more ramble-y. I agree with you about Colonel Fitzwilliam and the discovery of his depth of feeling. I think you said it well! 🙂 I agree about seeing a little more Esteban and the Countess. Some short little novella would be just the thing… 😉 (Stanley, please pardon my overflowing wishlist of works for you to write!)

  2.  

    Meredith, I’ve been noticing the artistry with which you break your reviews from the preview that shows on e-mail to the remainder of the review showing when you click through. You always leave us with an irresistible cliff-hanger! Am looking forward to reading this–once the giant doorstop of The Mysteries of Udolpho is out of the way (reading group assignment). I hope you have a wonderful first Christmas in your beautiful new house!

    •  

      Dear Abigail,

      You, too, are one of those people who seem to always have time to read new works; I’m so jealous! I usually only allow myself about four new books a year, since all productivity stops for a day or two each time I get one. Maybe one day when I’m rich and retired…

      Good luck in the giveaway, and Merry Christmas.

      Stan

    •  

      LOL! Sometimes it isn’t as strategic…but sometimes it is! 😉 Cliff-hangers are fun! I’ve never read The Mysteries of Udolpho and didn’t realize it was a big tome! Hope you enjoy finishing it soon! Happy Christmas to you, Abigail! Thank you so much!

  3.  

    I agree with you, Meredith: a spy mission seems the right place for Colonel Fitzwilliam and I´m glad to read that you find the action engaging and not very difficult to understand. When you speak about Esparza I´m willing to know more about this carefree character 😉 and speaking of mysterious Countess of Sainte Toulours it comes to my mind Milady de Winter in “The Three Musketeers”.
    Bravo Stan and thanks Meredith for your insightful review!

    •  

      By the way, don’t enter me in the giveaway, I’m a fan of paperbacks but not of e books LOL!. Good luck to the other readers 🙂

    •  

      Dear Teresa,

      I hope you enjoy the book when you read it. And please excuse Estéban for being Basque; it is not his fault! Merry Christmas; I hope Thursday evening is so pleasant you get no sleep at all! 🙂

      Stan

    •  

      Thank you for reading my review, Teresa! I always love to hear your thoughts! 🙂 I’ve never read or seen The Three Musketeers, but I have heard of them!

  4.  

    I haven’t read any of Stan’s books yet and I really like the sound of this one (thanks to your review Meredith). It’s nice to read about the secondary characters from our favourite books. I agree, a book about Brandon, lovely thought. I read Colonel Brandon’s Diary by Amanda Grange and loved it. Be nice to have a book with his own story.

    •  

      Dear Teresa,

      I have considered Colonel Brandon, but what a tough life he had until he met Marianne! It’s hard to imagine how to get him through twenty years of despair without going crazy myself. I’m having enough trouble dealing with Captain Wentworth for eight years, and he only had a girl say no to him!

      Stan

    •  

      You definitely should read the Darcy’s Tale trilogy, Teresa! You will love it! 🙂 I too read Colonel Brandon’s Diary, but would definitely love to see him get more works written about him.

  5.  

    I found this one a captivating look into Colonel Fitzwilliam. I like how you did a dichotomy review of his character and I noticed the change in pace and scope between the two halves of the story, too. Got exciting there in the end. 😉

    •  

      Meredith’s reviews are always well-done; she’s a real pro. But I really liked your own review on Goodreads, Sophia Rose—thanks so much. Perhaps my favorite comment you offered was on the style of my writing; I love Regency English. It’s so stately and rich, and it has an almost poetic rhythm to it. But, I have to admit, after about six years of nothing but Regency, I have started a modern work in a hard-boiled sort of Dashiell Hammett style, just for a break.

      Anyway, thanks again, and Happy Holidays!

      Stan

    •  

      Thank you, Sophia Rose! I enjoyed your review as well! It did get exciting at the end, quite a lot going on!

  6.  

    I loved your review. I haven’t read this yet but I’m looking forward to it. It has all the essentials as far as I can tell. Drama, danger, action, heart…whew.

  7.  

    I enjoyed this book also and have enjoyed all of Stanley’s books. How do you find time with moving in, Meredith? Good Luck. Great review as always. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

    •  

      I could ask the same question of you, Sheila—and Sophia Rose, and a half-a-dozen other fans who seem to post reviews almost daily. 😉 I am very envious!

      Merry Christmas,

      Stan

    •  

      Thank you, my friend! It was very easy to unpack…we did downsize a lot when we moved into the apartment. We don’t have anything on our walls yet, but every box is officially unpacked. It also helps that I’m an early riser and Mr. Bingley usually sleeps an hour or more longer than I do… 😉

  8.  

    Thank you so much for such a kind review, Meredith. You know, I kind of agree with your quibble, and others have made similar comments. But where all of my Austenite friends feel the romance was the slow part, I felt that it zipped by entirely too quickly for comfort, whereas the espionage bits plodded along at a day-to-day business pace. Fighting and taking risks is no more than a day’s work, after all, but losing one’s heart is a once-in-a-lifetime event. That’s how it seemed to me as I wrote it. Plus, I rather thought the action parts might put off the Colonel’s fans, who might be more interested in the operation of his heart than the execution of his duties; so I tried not to let them get too out of hand.

    What do you think? Are readers of Austenesque works prepared to take the romance aspects for granted, where the action part is out of the ordinary and more captivating to the imagination? Is it a male / female sort of thing? Or is it that my romance is so amateurish compared to my female counterparts that it is yawn-worthy? 🙂 I hope not. At least everyone agrees the letters are good.

    My very best holiday wishes to you, Mr. Bingley, and all of your devoted fans. Thanks again, and Merry Christmas!

    Stan

    •  

      Stanley, I read and watch a lot of TV shows with mysteries and some history thrown in, i.e., Poirot, Sherlock, Patrick O’Shea books, Inspector Morse, Castle, MI-5, and then Vikings on History and DaVinci’s Demons on STARZ, etc. I do love a good story (even romances) with twists and surprises. So from this female, take your time and give us both. But don’t forget the sexual tension – even from a man’s POV, there has to be some when two people come together. (And I am not talking about bedroom scenes.)

      I have read a lot of Grisham’s books, Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and modern ones off and on. Plus the Outlander series has both history with wars as well as romance.

      Merry Christmas.

    •  

      Thank you for your graciousness as always, Stan. I can easily understand the challenge of making the pacing and development of both sides of the story feel balanced and your explanation makes a lot of sense. For me, I didn’t feel it was so much romance vs espionage. I thought the exposition and first half of the book had a good balance of both and the pacing (while a little more drawn-out) was just fine. I more so felt that the events that happened later in the book (which were more exciting and dramatic in nature) could have used a little bit more page time. I hope that makes sense. Thank you for wanting to discuss it more! I hope you and your family enjoy a very Merry Christmas, Stan! Thank you, again, for your generosity towards me and my readers!

  9.  

    I am quite happy to read about the Colonel and action, sometimes reading about romance can get too much. Don’t enter me into the giveaway as I already have the book

  10.  

    I have not read this yet, but your review
    puts it near the top of my TBR! Intriguing
    and romantic and all about the Colonel.

  11.  

    I love the Colonel! And this sounds like a pretty interesting story. So here’s to hoping to get it!

  12.  

    Great review Meredith, I love the breakdown. I’m finishing my year of reading JAFF on a high note by reading Mr. Hurd’s series. Loving it so far and look forward to reading this one too!

    •  

      Dear Dung,

      I know Darcy’s Tale was on your TBR list for a long time; I’m so glad you like it so far. I hope it continues to satisfy you, and good luck on the giveaway.

      Best,

      Stan

    •  

      Thank you, Dung! I’m so glad to hear you are reading and loving the Darcy’s Tale trilogy! I thought they were fantastic! What a great way to end your year!

  13.  

    Oh I’m curious now about those letters!!! This sounds like a fine story Meredith so please count me in, thanks.

  14.  

    Having not read this novel, I like how promising it sounds. And Colonel Fitzwilliam is welcome to take centre stage since there are literally thousands of published books which feature Darcy as the male lead.

    •  

      Dear Lúthien84,

      I know: Darcy is such a bore! I get s-o-o tired of him! 🙂 Good luck in the giveaway!

      •  

        I am truly Laughing Out Loud at that remark. It had to be made “tongue-in-cheek”. Darcy has the lead in not only the books and the movies but also in the hearts of millions of women. (Don’t know about the men?) I am looking for another remake of P&P as it had been remade every 10 years up to this year!!!! David Gandy as the lead would suit me and a few authors/readers just fine.

        •  

          My dear Sheila,

          You are so easy to make laugh—and cry! Whenever I wondered if Emily was too tearful, I would reassure myself that she didn’t cry as easily as my friend Sheila. 😀

          Merry Christmas

    •  

      Very true! Hope you get the opportunity to read it soon, Sylvia!

  15.  

    I thoroughly enjoyed Darcy’s Tale (all 3 books) and look forward to reading his new novel. I have always thought that Colonel Fitzwilliam was a dashing character who took King and country seriously and who would fall deeply in love like his cousin. Thank you for the excellent review (as always) and the giveaways.

  16.  

    It’s great to find a book about Colonel Fitzwilliam! I’m very intrigued by the historical, spy adventure aspect.

  17.  

    Even though this is a bit late, plus I missed the giveaway, I wanted to say how glad I am to have another book from Stan to read. I don’t read much history per se but a good writer makes history interesting. Thanks, Stan for another book! It’s on my TBR list.
    Also, thanks, Meredith, your reviews are always awesome!

    •  

      Thank you, Cat! I quite agree with you about appreciating authors who make history interesting. It definitely takes some talent and finesse which Stan definitely has!

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