This blog is a celebration of novel, novel characters!

I love reading novels, and as an artist I know a great exercise to stretch one's illustration skills is to portray characters from a description in a book. This blog is a challenge to myself to do just that so I'll be posting illustrations from whatever book I'm currently reading. Feel free to add comments and send me your fan art for these great titles too!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Independence Day! 2013

It’s Independence Day!  Are you feeling Patriotic?

Thinking about our country’s history always brings me back to its beginnings, to the time of the revolutionary war.  When I was a little girl, my first introduction to historical novels came by way of Kirsten and Felicity from Pleasant Company’s American Girl dolls & books.  Now, over 20 years later from when I read my first books with my cute dolls almost qualifying as “vintage,” I readily admit that I still enjoy their stories, and am enamored with the illustrations.  It’s very refreshing to read a children’s book every once in a while. Even if you don’t have the excuse of reading it to kids, I promise, it’s still fun.  The great thing is, when you’re an adult, you can read a whole kid’s book in one sitting!

Having been introduced to historical fiction when I was too young to hardly recognize it as a genre, inspired and taught me about our countries history while I didn’t even know I was learning anything.   I learned about period clothing, events in world history, and friendship.  Felicity’s books are great for giving you a picture of the times at the start of the Revolution.  With a best friend whose parents are loyalists she learns how to stick to her own beliefs while respecting others, which is a lesson that we adults should also take to heart.

America is such a diverse county; more and more it’s filling up with people who not only have very different opinions, but also morals.  We should not take our freedom for granted.  Independence Day is a day to celebrate, to be thankful for those who made our freedom possible, to love each other, and continue trusting in God. 

The wonderful illustrator for the Felicity books is Dan Andreasen, you can view more samples of his work here:  http://www.shannonassociates.com/artist/danandreasen#url=5184  His American Girl illustrations have been inspiring me for years!

Here's my Felicity inspired sketch!

And while on the topic of art, I came across this cute piece of fanart showing all the American Girls drawn anime style!

American Girl by *SOLAR-CiTRUS on deviantART

And I adore this one; the flag in the back is great!

American Girls: 1774-1944 by =Acaciathorn on deviantART

Monday, July 1, 2013

Arabella Beckett from A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano

It’s time to turn back the clock gears of history for a very odd event, “A Most Peculiar Circumstance.”  

I find the title to be rather appropriate to Mrs. Turano’s writing style.  Meticulously proper and rather according to the times in which her tale is set.  If you like classic stories like “Pride and Prejudice” but need a bit more adventure than one usually associates with Miss Austen’s stories, then “A Most Peculiar Circumstance” is not to be missed, my dear readers!   I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy switching between genres and time periods, but I do also enjoy variety in writing styles.  After having just finished a couple contemporary stories by Dani Pettery, switching to Jen Turano’s novel was certainly something completely different.  Not all historical fiction novelists choose to be as heavy with period specific words and dialog, but I found it fitting that the upper class characters sounded so proper.  The banter was quiet amusing if I do say so myself.

I love Arabella's dress on the cover!  It's too bad...

This story is Jen Turano’s second novel in a series of four, along with a novella (“Gentleman of Her Dreams”) which serves as a companion to her first book, “A Change of Fortune.”  I have yet to read her first book, and the novella, both of which I’m sure I’ll enjoy catching up on at some point.  If a story is a part of a series, I usually like to read them in order, and I may have enjoyed starting with the first book, but it was fine to read this story by itself.  The few hints about what happened in “A Change of Fortune” have served to entice me.
...by the time she meets Theodore, her dress looks like this!

It was clear from the beginning in, “A Most Peculiar Circumstance” that the main characters Arabella and Theodore were made for each other so it was a fun journey to follow along with them as they fell in love despite themselves, despite each other.   

Theodore is a great character.  The very essence of manliness, while Arabella is feminine yet strong willed.  Her personality makes her a wonderful heroine.  What woman wouldn’t want to be smart and strong, yet pretty and kind at the same time?  While she’s a suffragette, she really isn’t a feminist.  She holds her own, but still respects men and acknowledges her need for them… on occasion.  It’s exciting to see her take action, and romantic when Theodore comes to her rescue.

Rest assured, there's a very good reason for the soiled state of Arabella's lovely dress!
I have more than a hunch that strong-willed, mischievous women will be a theme for this series.  Arabella and her friends seem to have a knack for trouble, and the plot certainly took its twists and turns as she got herself into more than one desperate situation.  The way the ending played out surprised and thrilled me.  I was left very satisfied and excited to read more stories by Mrs. Turano!

Here's a link to her site:

Thanks for stopping by the blog!  I received an advance reading copy of this title.