Splendor – by Shehanne Moore

 “Never judge a book by its cover, unless there’s a gown on it.”

Genre: Historical Romance.

Much like a game of chess; this tale has moves, and counter moves. Is it checkmate, or stalemate? Read the book to experience the final play!

Although a woman in days when women were mostly property, Splendor finds a self chosen path. She will marry Gabe, the man of her breast’s heart. He will become a man of the cloth. Together they will help the poor.

Enter: the Earl of Stillmore, a chessboard, two Kings, two Queens, four Bishops, four Rooks, four Knights and sixteen Pawns.

Shehanne’s characters are vivid, interesting and all with purpose. I particularly adore the settings she recreates of time and place. I’m amused by the very appropriate, and humorously creative names Shehanne has given her characters. All throughout the novel her wry sense of humour prevails, but never assails nor assuages.

The thing is, it is romance. It’s romance with all the ardour lovers find in love’s wake. The main scene of passion is quite worth the reading and waiting for. It reaches just a tad deliciously beyond cutting to waves crashing on rocks, fireworks or a volcano erupting.

Furthermore, the Art Gown in me feels a hearty prick of the needle at the main peril Splendor puts herself in. Drawn like a moth to the flame of fine silk every time she passes Madame Renare’s shop and without means, Splendor finds herself sinking deeper into debt. T’is dire! The turnkey of the debtor’s prison workhouse  is upon her doorstep.

“In italicized quotations” are excerpts from the book.

“Mrs. Ferret set the beribboned hair comb Splendor had found impossible to resist, the robin’s egg blue one with the tiny cream rosettes attached,”

A bill is presented:

“She had spent a little money, it was true. She hadn’t meant to, but now she was back in credit again. Why shouldn’t she have the odd this and that?”

Splendor is a Fashionista:

“she had perhaps gone a little far with the silk parasol and the shoes to match, but if she hadn’t, Topaz would have stolen them and ended up in Newgate. Then there was the matter of just how respectful Madame Renare had been when she’d seen the address and the name, the new one she’d furnished herself with. Lady Winterborne, Countess of Stillmore.”

Although unrequited, Splendor retains her arrogant impudence:

“And that comb, this peignoir, the new day dress with the lace insert in the bodice, were all very nice. Too nice to leave feeling neglected in the shop. And the comb had been reduced by half a guinea. She had saved him half a guinea by buying it.”

❦ ❦ ❦ ❦ ❦

I needed to ask Shehanne, whose blog runs the tagline “Smexy Historical Romance”,  a few questions.

1.  What does SMEXY mean?

A…an easy one this. It means smart and sexy which I like to think my heroines are even though they can behave incredibly stupidly at times.

2.  Where does the historical location inspiration come from… the castles and halls near where you live?

I squirrel. I find locations and ideas everywhere. With Loving Lady Lazuli– another book in the series–it was from visiting Mount Grace Priory, especially the monk’s cell there. It’s in Yorkshire actually and not what we’d know as a cell either. Catterton House in Splendor was based on a Georgian cottage where I then lived in Newport-On-Tay, except it wasn’t a cottage. It was a mansion build down the cliff face.

 3.  London Jewel Thieves – Where will I be able to read the ongoing serial?

As we speak Loving Lady Lazuli  which features Sapphire as the heroine and Ruby and Pearl as her sidekicks, is being formatted for kindle.. Now I have my rights back to this series I will be giving you the stories of Diamond, Jade and Amber. I may even yet turn Ruby into a heroine. I have an idea there.

Shehanne Moore is an author who writes historical romance novels. If you visit her Home Page , you will find out about all of her books.

Click on pic for better view

Take some time to visit Shehanne’s Blog Pageand you will realize that a very cute Pack of  Hamsters have hijacked her book reviews, interviews and other relevant endeavours. If you haven’t visited her blog, you should. You will enjoy the Hamsters & get to read a fab post! As crazy as it seems, I was inspired to draw a Hamster in a hamster gown, Hamstor Splendor. I hope Shehanne & all of her Hamster pals enjoy it!

You can pre-order “Splendor” in ebook format, on Amazon! It comes out October 1, 2018, with a hard copy following soon after.

Click on “Splendor”  to pre- order!


98 thoughts on “Splendor – by Shehanne Moore

      1. I tried to find that on Twitter. My notifications page only had 1 page with a swirling circle at the bottom. I’ll have to return later.
        I adore your enthusiasm about my work.
        However, you were right the first time. I read the book because there was a gown on the cover, and I like Shehanne. I did not make the gown. It is stunning! I was rewarded, because the book is very good.

        Twitter is like gossip. It’s too, fast and too, brief.

        My next Art Gown will put it to rest. I’m about 1/2 the way in.

        SO… fab idea! After this current gown, I am doing a White Cat Wedding Gown to be dedicated to GiGi.
        We are talking a post 6 months away. Perhaps you would be interested in penning, or donating an appropriate poem for the post? I’d love it, and I’m sure it would be a perfect surprise for Gi.

        Just a thought!

        Sending love to you, dear Holly!

  1. Resa!!! I can’t stop laughing and crying at this review and blog xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx you. I LOVE and I don’t where to start thanking you for your kindness
    PS I think I mailed you privately to say that when it comes to certain a\ction in books this one is my one with the least because of where they were both weer and needed to be as people xxxxxxxxx

    1. Laugh, cry and everything in between! I truly enjoyed this book. I know many others will.
      You may think I am kind. Well, I think so, too. LOL! However, here on Art Gowns, we have a definite agenda.
      It is to promote love of planet, and kindness for the well being of all through true beauty.
      I am not speaking of the beauty we are physically born with. I speak through the beauty of creativity.
      Art Gowns are my creative expressions, and each is an ambassador to a charitable cause. Splendor echos that expression.
      It has been my honour to have you here!

      1. I am so honoured to be here. SO touched. Truly. I love your gowns…indeed I worship at their feet, so effortlessly beautiful. (Although I bet they weren’t effortless to create.) And I’m thrilled you loved the book. I had a lot of fun creating Splendor. x

        1. I can tell you had fun creating her. I’ve written a couple of books, and if you love your characters the story comes easier.
          I’ve started my new gown! Today will be a day to gather the skirt. As I sew them completely by hand,(just like in Splendor’s day) it does take some time. xoxoxo

        2. That is what I mean by effortless. It’s very clear that these gowns would have to be done by hand but you see them and just think Wow, as if you’d waved a magic wand only. Totally agree re loving your characters. I fancied doing something a little lighter with her when I wrote her. In some ways she seems much more …okay, I will just do this and avoid the hassle in order to get where I’m going, than my other ladies but in terms of the scrapes she gets into, she’s actually probably worse than them.

  2. A great review, Resa; if this doesn’t awaken the romance within, nothing will… 🙂
    Yes, the gown is simply gorgeous; it certainly tells a tale of what is to come within the pages of Splendor! And the little Hamster looks stunning in her romantic era Art Gown.
    All the best, Shehanne!

    1. Thank you so much Carolyn. There’s a lot of different bits to this book, that choosing a cover was difficult. Would I go with the chess theme, the duel she fights, the fact she masquerades as a man to enter that chess comp, the real world she inhabits, the glittering one that sways her from that, him her, or the emotional tug where she is involved with this other guy she’s known for years…the Buttons character sort of thing. Then I saw this image on a page of period images for book jackets and I thought…there it is…go with what the title is because the title is the name she gives herself and the way she sees herself. Also make the series, the woman only on the cover as branding. So I am delighted with the response the cover is getting. And I do love the hamstah gown and willb e showing it off on my blog later today x

    2. Hello Carolyn! 😀 It was a very romantic story! 🧡
      Lol! it’s a good thing I don’t have a pet hamster, or I would surely try making a gown for it!

    1. I love the hamster. I will be showing her off later on my blog. And on facebook tomorrow. It’s wonderful being here. I’m a huge fan of Resa’s gorgeous gowns. Thank you so much for the lovely comment x

  3. This sounds like a story which should have gorgeous dress illustrations on every second page! Oh wait, maybe the clothes will come to life if someone makes the book into a movie, like Outlander sort of thing. 😉

    1. Sounds like a fab idea! “Outgowner” A series about a seamstress who makes gowns for people of all different times and places. Through a mystic cloud created by aliens, people travel through time to have her make the most important gown they will ever wear.
      😀 Just an idea! 😀

  4. Carolee Croft

    Cool interview, Resa and Shey! I already read Splendor and loved it. I hope more and more people check it out. It’s a very clever, funny and smexy romance. xoxo

  5. I love a Smexy heroine! And I once again gaze in awe of all the dresses created you have pictured on your right margin of your blog. Very Smexy! A glamorous Fantasy indeed. Nice work Resa!

  6. Ohhh it’s all so exciting to see my favorite ladies here. SMEXY is what I’d say your minds are ~ smart and sexy 🙂 Well done with this feature, Resa, and to Shey I say “you’re awesome!” ~ Oh heck you’re both awesome xo

        1. EeeYaa! I make all of my Art Gowns out of trash. Their components are up-cycled, or from the bargain bin outside or at the back of the shop.
          I’ve used wine corks, pics from books, old men’s ties and rags I wanted to throw in the garbage.
          The only thing I allow myself at retail is paint. I have painted several now.
          Although I do not sell my Art Gowns, I’m hoping one day they will sell as art.
          The Art Gowns don’t write books, but they read like a book. 😀

    1. Thank you Sally. I’m so pleased that people seem to like the cover. After searching high thinking what bit of the book should be reflected here, chess, duelling, her masquerading as a man, the Cinderella on the stairs at midnight bit. Then I saw this and thought… how she sees herself even down to the fact her name is plain old Dora, and the glittering world that does ensnare her. Here it is. But obvi till a cover is out there you have no idea how it will pass muster.

  7. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Meet the #Reviewers – Friday September 28th 2018 – Jill Dennison with John Fioravanti, Pamela Wight, Resa McConaghy with Shehanne Moore | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  8. Thank you! I admit, the covered lured me in. It was a fab read. Shehanne is a wonderful writer, and I love the historic element. Looking forward to the riddle resolve! 🙃
    Oh, yeah, I never drew a hamster before, but I’m quite happy with it. 🤩

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