Sunday, 15 May 2016

Blog Tour: Side by Side, Apart by Ann Galvia - Review

Side by Side, Apart by Ann Galvia - Blog Tour
Today the blog tour for author Ann Galvia's debut novel, 'Side by Side, Apart' drops by for my review. Read on to see what I thought of the story, and for links to other stops on the tour where you can find out more about the author, the story and even win a copy of the book for yourself.

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This story is set 11 years into the Darcys’ marriage. Elizabeth is alarmed to wake and find two men in her bedroom – she recognises one as Mr Darcy, though she has no idea why he would be there. She learns that she has received a head injury and has been unconscious for 12 hours. The awful truth dawns on her that she is married to Mr Darcy. She cannot understand this, because the last she remembers is him leaving Hunsford Parsonage. She can’t remember reading his letter, or conceive of how she could have been convinced to marry him. Did he force her hand in some way?

Imagine the shock you would feel if you woke up and had lost such a large chunk of your life – you look in the mirror and see your twenty year old self is suddenly 32; your slim figure is now the body of a mother, and you are pregnant again; you have children who you neither remember nor recognise and you are married to somebody who you actively dislike and mistrust. It is the stuff of nightmares. You would feel like you no longer knew yourself.
‘She could find the ghost of her former self in the mirror. Behind the face of a matron and mother, she thought she could find traces of the maid she once was.’
Imagine too, how awful this is for Mr Darcy. He has the worry of his wife’s health, the effect this may have on his children, and the emotional distress of having your loving wife’s feelings towards you being completely changed through no fault of your own. To Elizabeth’s credit, despite her dislike of Darcy and the greater problems she is dealing with, she is compassionate enough to realise that he is also a sufferer of her accident.
‘Darcy’s disappointed feelings where his wife was concerned had already become an object of her pity, but Elizabeth was pleased for Darcy’s sake that, while she could not love him, he had four children to do so.’
Aside from mental distress and confusion, Elizabeth also has other symptoms to deal with in recovering from her injuries. She is very easily fatigued both physically and from activities requiring concentration. This means no long walks, no reading, no sewing. Jane lives at an estate only thirty miles away but is initially unable to visit as she has just had a baby. This means that Elizabeth is unable to do much of anything aside from spend time with her family of strangers and integrate into the household. Her only adult companionship is provided by Mr Darcy, who of course is not at ease, knowing what Elizabeth’s feelings must be toward him. One thing that Elizabeth is able to do is study the characters of Darcy and the children and slowly come to know them. But will knowing Darcy better mean that she is able to come to love him again? They are working through this situation side by side, but apart. Is there a way to fully bridge the gap?

This story was originally published online as a fanfiction called ‘Bruises’ which was recommended to me as a wonderful read and I was really pleased to see it published to a wider audience. I found 'Side by Side, Apart' to be a really absorbing story which I read in one sitting. It’s a story that is much more of an emotional journey than plot driven. I felt for the whole family as this was such a sad and worrying situation to find themselves in. I thought all the characters were well-drawn, most particularly Elizabeth. She is upset to find herself in her situation but I have always seen Elizabeth as very pragmatic; she isn’t a character to wail and wallow in misfortune but she will get on with whatever situation she is forced into. Here she is irrevocably bound to somebody she dislikes but she needs to get on with him civilly and she is not so unreasonable to close her eyes to his good qualities and his loving relationship with his children. She doesn’t have any particular feelings toward the children because they are strangers to her, but she is a compassionate person and is anxious not to upset them because she knows that to them she is their mother, even if she doesn’t feel like it.

I had such a lot of pity for Elizabeth in this situation, and the children too, but I almost pitied Darcy more! It would have been painful for him to have lived through Elizabeth hating him once, before they married, but to work through that and then have to go through it again must have been excruciating.
‘Elizabeth had maintained her silence on that score out of compassion, but such was in vain. Admitting she wondered whether she had ever loved him accomplished all the evils that asking him would have done.’
He is really stuck between a rock and a hard place here, because he’s Elizabeth’s only companion so she needs him so she isn’t too lonely and to fill in the gaps in her knowledge and yet, hampered by the knowledge of how he knows she feels towards him each conversation must be torturous for him, yet necessary for her and their future relationship, whether it recovers to what it was or not.

The only thing I would have liked in this story was a little more detail towards the end as I thought emotionally things moved a little quicker then than in the rest of the story. I was a little surprised that the story didn’t have an epilogue because Austenesque stories often do. It wasn’t required, but it would have been nice to have known what happened after we left the family, because the story was left on a realistic happy ending rather than a happy ending where all loose ends are tied up neatly.

I liked the author’s style very much. I thought the dialogue was nicely Austenesque. The spelling was British, which was a nice surprise, and there were only a few words which I felt were out of place. There are no sex scenes in this book.

I would recommend this book wholeheartedly. Although it’s a sad situation and an emotional read it’s realistic emotion and not made too angsty. I really enjoyed the book and when I was looking through it for the parts I’d highlighted to look for quotes to use in this review I found myself reading it again! ‘Side by Side, Apart’ gets five stars from me.

5 star read

* My thanks to the publisher, Meryton Press for providing me with an e-ARC of this book for my honest review as part of the 'Side by Side, Apart' blog tour, organised by Leatherbound Reviews


Blog Tour: Side by Side, Apart by Ann Galvia
Book Blurb:
“You see what a strange circumstance it is,” she said, feeling some fleeting relief. “You know our acquaintance has not been easy.”

Elizabeth Bennet—stubborn, quick to judge but slow to revise her opinions, and entirely prejudiced against the man who had just proposed marriage at Hunsford—awakens to learn she has been in an accident. Bedridden in an unfamiliar house, she learns eleven years have passed since the last moment she can remember.

She finds herself a married woman, the mother of four, and pregnant yet again. Her children are strangers, and most mystifying of all, Fitzwilliam Darcy is her husband! How could she have married a man she loathes?

Confined to the house by her injury, Mr. Darcy’s company is inescapable. But is just being side by side enough to overcome their differences? What happens when Darcy, improved in manners and happily married to Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy, is faced with an obstinate, bewildered Miss Elizabeth Bennet?

'Side by Side, Apart' is available to buy for kindle now!

Amazon UK •  Amazon US • 

Author of 'Side by Side, Apart', Ann Galvia
Author Bio:

Ann started writing sometime before she knew how letters functioned. Her first books were drawings of circus poodles heavily annotated with scribbles meant to tell a story. Upon learning how letters were combined to represent words, she started doing that instead. This has proven to be much more successful.

Sometime after that, she decided she wanted to study Anthropology and sometime after that, she decided she liked cats more than dogs. And sometime after that, she decided to become an educator and teach a new generation of kids how to combine letters to represent words, and use those words to express ideas.

And sometime after that, she realized all she really wanted to do was write, which probably should have been evident from the beginning.

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Side by Side, Apart by Ann Galvia - Blog Tour
Blog Tour Schedule

2 May: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
3 May: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope
4 May: Excerpt & Giveaway at Romance Novel Giveaways
5 May: Author Interview & Giveaway at Skipping Midnight
6 May: Review at Just Jane 1813
8 May: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice
9 May: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
10 May: Guest Post & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
11 May: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars
12 May: Guest Post & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton
13 May: Review at Margie’s Must Reads
14 May: Excerpt & Giveaway at Liz’s Reading Life
15 May: Review at Babblings of a Bookworm
16 May: Excerpt & Giveaway at So Little Time…

31 comments:

  1. probably expecting her children to be like Darcy - well the man she thinks he is

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    1. One of the things I really liked about the book is how the children help her understand Darcy better. She sees things in them, particularly their eldest child, that make her realise that she has misinterpreted Darcy. Things that she thought were arrogance she realises arose from other feelings.

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  2. Interesting... I would love to read it!

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    1. I would recommend it, Tere, I really enjoyed it :)

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  3. I was so looking forward to hearing what you thought about this book and I'm glad you liked it! :D

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    1. I did enjoy it Monica. I knew if you recommended it then I would enjoy it because you have such good taste!

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  4. Lovely review! I enjoyed this book as much as you did and every time I dipped in to refer to a certain part, I found myself reading for much longer than intended!!

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    1. I'm glad it wasn't just me, Claudine! I really enjoyed Ann Galvia's style, it drew me in every time.

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    2. Absolutely. For me, it's now what you refer to as a "guilty pleasure."

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  5. A very interesting premise and a wonderful review. Looking forward to reading it.

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    1. Thank you so much, Debbie. I was very intrigued by the premise too. I hope you enjoy the book when you read it.

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  6. A very interesting premise and a wonderful review. Looking forward to reading it.

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  7. Thank you so much for the lovely review!

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    1. You are welcome, Ann, I really enjoyed the story. Thank you for taking the jump into publishing and sharing your story to a wider audience! All the very best with the book :)

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  8. I was so looking forward to hearing what you thought about this book and I'm glad you liked it! :D

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  9. On my wish list at amazon. I can't wait to read this one!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it when you read it, Pamela. Remember that there are giveaways on other stops on the blog tour so you could see if you could win a copy :)

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  10. I've read this as a fan fiction a while back and enjoyed it. Can't wait to read it again!

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    1. I am sure you will enjoy it when you read it again, Nissa!

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  11. Oh yes, this is one that I could easily slip back into from time to time. I felt the situation was an interesting one to place this pair and they acted as their older selves would act.

    Insightful review, Ceri!

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    1. Yes, I thought that their behaviour was really in line with how I see their characters, it was very well done.

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  12. Do you have to travel much concerning this book?

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    1. Hi Mai. No, there is very little travel at all in this book. Because of Elizabeth's injury and her pregnancy she doesn't even manage to get outdoors! She gets some visitors though; Mr and Mrs Bennet take a trip to Pemberley to see her, as do the Bingley family.

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  13. Carole in Canada16 May 2016 at 16:07

    Wonderful review and it is on my wishlist! Looking forward to reading this one!

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    1. Thank you so much, Carole. I hope you enjoy the book when you read it, and remember that there are giveaway posts on the blog tour, so perhaps you will win a copy :)

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  14. Like you, I was a huge fan of "Bruises," and I love "Side by Side, Apart" even more! I adore the same things and feel the same heartaches as you mentioned in the review. As for epilogues, JAFF uses them with greater frequency than most romance novels. It's hard to think up a good end scene, and the timing once the story arc is complete is critical. Some continue on with a new plot-line, resulting in an epic. Some drag it out with every grandchild's name. Some rush to the finish line like it's a race, and the reader wonders if they got tired of writing. Some authors haven't even imagined much of what occurs once the story arc is complete, preferring to leave readers an opportunity: imagining the minor characters' fates just the way they want them! Thanks so much, Ceri!

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    1. Hi Suzan, I was surprised by the lack of an epilogue because like you say, JAFF often has them and so you get to the end of the story and expect to find one. I felt the story was complete without one, though I would have been interested to know what happened afterwards.

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  15. Read this twice: once as unpublished and then the published edition. Loved it.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it too, Sheila!

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