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Hi everyone! Today, I'm a part of Author Marion Croslydon's Blog Tour for her Novel: Oxford Whispers, the first one of her Trilogy I may add. This whole Blog Tour is presented by Goddess Fish Promotions. Below, you will read a Guest Post, my Review, and details for the Tour Wide Giveaway, so make sure to check that out! :)
Two star-crossed lovers in the English Civil War
A painting with haunting powers
A murderous ghost back for revenge
Madison LeBon is dead set against the dead. She has vowed to ignore her Voodoo-stamped heritage and the psychic gift passed down through her Louisiana family. The world of the living is where she wants to belong.
But her resolution shatters when the ill-fated lovers in a painting—the subject of her first history class at Oxford—begin to haunt her. The lovers warn her against their own nemesis, a Puritan from the English Civil War.
In misty present-day Oxford, Madison embarks on a quest to unravel the secrets of the past and understand her personal bond with the painting. To protect herself, she must learn to accept her gift before life imitates art, in all its tragedy.
College becomes more complicated when she falls hard for Rupert Vance, a troubled aristocrat and descendant of one of the characters in the painting.
With the spirit of a murderer in hot pursuit, Madison comes to realize that her own first love may be doomed…
Based on a real Pre-Raphaelite painting, Oxford Whispers is full of romance, drama and suspense.
Fall in love for the first time… Again
Guest Post By: Marion Croslydon
Thank you very much for having me on your blog. I really appreciate the invite to talk about my debut novel, Oxford Whispers.
Oxford Whispers is a New Adult Paranormal Romance (Upper-Young-Adult / Mature YA). It tells the story of Madison LeBon, an American student at Oxford University, with psychic powers she prefers to ignore. But when the tragic lovers in a painting begin to haunt her, she must learn to accept her gift. Otherwise, life will imitate art and Madison's own first love will be doomed.
I’ve drawn inspiration from my own time at Oxford and my passion as a romantic teenager for a Pre-Raphaelite painting by William Shakespeare Burton, The Wounded Cavalier. It is set during the English Civil War, in seventeenth-century England.
Also, there’s a strong Voodoo component through Madison—who is kind of an “Ivy-League Sookie Stackhouse”—because I was born in West Africa where Voodoo originates, and spent a lot of time in New Orleans and Louisiana.
As part of my business degree, I was selected to spend a year at the prestigious Oxford University. For me, it was a dream come true. During my time there, I explored every corner of the city. Some of its most famous landmarks have now a personal resonance: The Randolph, the Turf Tavern, the Queen’s Lane Coffee House… I even celebrated my birthday at Freud’s, just like my heroine Madison did.
I stayed for a month in one of the collleges, Exeter College (where Pippa, Madison’s best friend, studies), and I use my room there to model Madison’s.
I really do believe in destiny. When I met the gorgeous Englishman who was to become my husband, I found out the most intriguing coincidence. His parents, who met and fell in love while studying at Oxford in the 1970’s, had bought their first house there, the same house I lived in when studying in Oxford twenty-five years later… before I even met my husband.
My daughter’s godfather is a fellow in one of the most prestigious Oxford colleges. We often stay at their place and wander through the cobbled streets of Oxford. If you have the chance to visit Oxford, and want to see where Madison studies and lives, I recommend the “Behind the Scene” tour of Christ Church College (http://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/visiting/behind-the-scenes).
Oxford is in a secret corner of my heart. I am so happy to share it with my readers.
The Wounded Cavalier by William Shakespeare Burton
This is how Madison describes the painting the first time she saw it:
“Madison dragged her attention back to the painting, spread by the slide projector all over the classroom wall. In a forest clearing, a blond Cavalier lay in the arms of a young girl. Judging by his limp posture, he’d been badly injured. On the right side of the scene, a man dressed in black—the Puritan—watched. A plain hat covered half of his face. But Madison could see enough of his expression. He reeked of jealousy.”
I hope her description gave it justice, but nothing can compare with the original. It is such a pity William Shakespeare Burton does not enjoy a wider appeal. I used to have a poster of the painting in my room as a teenager instead of Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt. Does that make me weird? Probably…
Of course, I’ve made up the whole story behind the painting for the purpose of this novel.
Voodoo and Me
I was born in West Africa. When I had to leave, aged four, I left a piece of my heart behind.
Elizabeth was the name of my nanny. She looked after me as if I were her own, carried me on her back in the traditional African way, and sung for me while I fell asleep. Today, I can still hear her deep voice when I close my eyes to find the sleep that is eluding me.
This proud and kind lady gave me one of my most precious possessions: a Voodoo gris-gris. It was a leather pouch with a small shell on top of it. She had hung it on a rough thread so that I could carry it around my neck. It was meant to protect me from evil spirits and bring me luck.
I took that gris-gris everywhere with me: Each time I took an important exam at school, on my first day in a new job, even when I went to hospital and gave birth to my daughter.
Elizabeth passed away many, many years ago, but I know she still looks after me from above and uses a few Voodoo tricks to make my life a happier path to follow.
So that’s pretty much how Oxford Whispers came to life…
This was a very good debut novel, and a great New Adult Romance! First of all, the writing style throughout, was consistent and just flowed nicely. The story itself was greatly creative and I just got caught between the history and romance. Those were two components that to me, were intriguing, as I enjoy history, historical fiction, and this just has a good balance of the past, the historical part, and the present, a college setting at Oxford. I first like, how this story partially surrounds a college setting, and that the main characters are in their early twenties. Madison is an American, who goes to Oxford to start her Masters, and is caught up with a part of her ancestry that she does not want a part of, but it keeps catching up with her, no matter what. There are two love interests, an American professor, and a student named Rupert, who is of course eye candy and a guy that all the girls want to be with, and that includes Madison, but she's afraid to open up about her family, about her secret abilities. Another element of her 'past' comes to haunt her as well, let me just say, it's definitely a page turner and story twister, because someone that lived long ago is out to get Madison, or whatever her name was before... This was a different type of read, and I enjoyed it, and look forward to Book 2! :)
My Rating: 4/5
I say in between a strong PG-13 and R-Rating (Some Mature Content)
About The Author
I am a true citizen of the world. I was born in West Africa, grew up in the South of France, and studied in Vienna, Paris, Berlin, Cape Town, and Oxford before finally settling down in London. This wide variety of cities has provided lots of inspiration for my writing. Talk about culture exposure!
In addition to being an author, I work as an entrepreneur, wife and mother-of-one but spend a good deal of time with books, DVDs and listening to my mp3 player; all for the sake of inspiration, of course. My debut series, The Oxford Trilogy, has been a blast to write because I can indulge in my favorite types of music: Country and English rock.
My main goal as a writer is to make readers dream bigger and cause their hearts to beat a little faster. Since my writing is all about sharing dreams and stories, I love connecting with fellow readers and authors.
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