Author: Cat Porter
Date of Publication: November 20th 2014
A sensual 18th century tale of deception, revenge, and the hunger for love and absolution.
My resurrection, they call it.
They have no bloody idea
Shipwrecked and lost, left for dead,
Abandoned by my own family.
Drugged and addicted.
My wife saved me, brought me home.
I didn’t even know I had a wife—can I trust her?
I know I want her.
We are two of a kind—the manipulated, the tossed off, the rejected.
Bitter disappointments, painful secrets, age-old jealousies are my new shipwreck,
and my wife my new opium.
Is satisfaction to be found in revenge or revenge in satisfaction?
One thing I do know, without each other we’re both doomed.
A sensual 18th century tale of deception, revenge, and the hunger for love and absolution.
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Author Q & A
How did you come up with the idea for this story?
I’ve had an obsession with the 18th century since I was a little girl watching Masterpiece Theatre with my parents every Sunday and from a young age I’ve always enjoyed reading the classics and historicals, both romance and adventure, like the “Poldark” series by Winston Graham.The notion of an arranged marriage used to fascinate me to no end. But what happens if the husband and wife actually, truly, fall in love...how does that happen? I wanted to track that. Then I thought wouldn’t it be interesting if the two knew each other before, but in a totally different capacity and now they were being forced to see each other as husband and wife and live that new reality. There would be this interesting chemistry of being comfortable with one another, yet also living the tension within this new spousal/sexual relationship that was forced on them. I also wanted to explore reaching the point where you have to grow up and take control of your identity in your own way.
Tell us about your first book. What would readers find different about the first one and your most recent published work?
My first (traditionally) published book is a religious children’s myth, so it’s very different from “Lock & Key” and “Wolfsgate”! But the differences between L&K and “Wolfsgate” aside from
the obvious- a bike club in contemporary South Dakota vs upper class society of 18th century England- is a remarkable two sides of the same coin idea, I think. In the bike club there aren’t the typical rules or restrictions (just those of their “tribe”), they live on the fringe of society and their moral compass is off the standard chart.
In the 18th century it’s all about following the formal rules and restrictions of society. People spoke indirectly and with much art about the all the stuff bubbling under the surface; it became a talent, that cleverness. In the biker world, talk is bluntly laid out in a raw, unabashed way without such rules governing behavior. In the 18th century world, there may be rules and restrictions (and bindings on their corsets, but no panties!). There is so much not said outright yet implied in their fancy speech and formal behavior, so much struggling to get through, so much crudeness and rule-bending going on underneath the gilded niceties. All that fascinates me just as much as the raw, brash in-your-face-no-shame culture the biker world represents.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Brandon, my hero is a privileged aristocrat who all his life took all that he had for granted. It’s not until it all gets taken away and he’s on his knees, that everything spins in a different direction for him. It takes an exile, a shipwreck, a near-death drug addiction, a forced marriage, and realizing that he’s lost everything through the deceit of members of his own family to bring him to his Ah-ha moment forcing him to get real. He realizes that the way he used to live his life, the way all his peers continue to live theirs, is about mindless self indulgence and game playing, which the new Brandon surprisingly abhors. The best part is that the wife that was forced upon him is someone he knows, his step-cousin whom he always treated like a little sister. Now she’s all grown up and there’s an intense attraction between them. Justine our heroine is the lifetime outsider who has her own struggles, but she’s the only one in the family who’s grounded at Wolfsgate physically and spiritually. She saves Brandon from certain death and saves him from himself. The big, brave love and vision of this quiet, unassuming young woman is his salvation on a personal and professional level. At the core of this story is the healing of two souls.
What books have influenced your life most?
My first big classics, I think. Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, DH Lawrence’s books, and Edith Wharton’s novels and A Tale of Two Cities, War & Peace, Crime & Punishment. The haunting, bittersweet scenarios, these strong characters who are trying their best and have these huge needs and wants for themselves, and especially the women who have to overcome such harrowing odds. Historical fiction I adored the Kristen Lavransdatter series set in post Viking/medieval Scandinavia- talk about world building! Also modern works like Henry Miller’s books recounting bohemian random wanderings and musings but so tightly written and incredibly free at the same time. Also, the “Autobiography of Malcom X”, that searing search for self and truth had a huge impact on me in college.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I really enjoy Kristen Ashley’s early work, and Shay Savage is one of my absolute favorites. I just started reading CD Reiss- she’s fantastic. I recently read a Jay Crownover novel for the first time and enjoyed it very much.
Tell us something that people would be surprised you know how to do.
I’m a trained actress. After I graduated from college and worked for a few years in a couple of art galleries, I decided to make my actress dream come true and got into a theatre school in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of NYC and studied for several years. I auditioned and did the whole struggling actress thing, working odd jobs of all kinds both day and night from hostessing at restaurants to the night shift at law firms to special event planning and catering companies to make a buck. There was never a dull moment!
★★★★★ starsI still can not figure out how to tell you about this book. The fact that it's five stars says quite a bit, but it still doesn't tell you everything. I knew the story wasn't going to light and fluffy from reading the blurb, but I wasn't expecting it to be all consuming either. I read this book in two hours from the first page to the last page. The Gothic feel of this romance will captivate you, just as it did me.
My interest was captured the moment I read the prologue and only deepened as I continued reading. Brandon and Justine were fascinating characters. Both of them knew each other, but were strangers at the same time, and dealing with not only their own demons, but fighting off those who wanted to hurt them. I loved Justine as much as I wanted to avenge her. She may have seemed calm and collected, but she had a core of steel. In a time when a woman was considered nothing, she managed to be resourceful. I so badly wanted to avenge Brandon for the wrongs done to him too. He seemed so sad and lost, trying to find his bearings after returning to find everything he had known had changed.
Part of what I loved beyond the characters, was the intricate story itself. There were quite a few surprises and plot twists that made me gasp and sit up straight. There were very few times when I laughed, but there were plenty of times when I cheered for Justine and Brandon. There were also a number of times when my blood boiled by all the injustices that were revealed. I'm so glad Justine and Brandon found each other. I have no idea how they managed to cope and I REALLY do wish the villains in the story had been punished further, but then again no amount of suffering visited upon them would've satisfied me.
I'm so very glad I read this book. It's stimulating and deep, while still managing to entertain and take you on a journey you won't soon forget. Cat Porter's intricate novel is a wonder and I'm glad I've found her books now, although the wait for her next one will be excruciating. In the mean time, I've got her debut novel Lock & Key to read.
*Thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for them in any manner.*
About Cat Porter
CAT PORTER was born and raised in New York City, but also spent a few years in Europe and Texas along the way. As an introverted, only child, she had very big, but very secret dreams for herself. She graduated from Vassar College, was a struggling actress, an art gallery girl, special events planner, freelance writer and had all sorts of other crazy jobs all hours of the day and
night to help make her dreams come true. She has two children’s books traditionally published under her maiden name. She now lives in Athens, Greece with her husband and three children, and freaks out regularly and still daydreams way too much. She is addicted to the History Channel, her iPad, her husband’s homemade red wine, really dark chocolate, and her Nespresso coffee machine. Writing keeps her somewhat sane, extremely happy, and a productive member of society.