I'm pleased to welcome author Georgina Guthrie to the blog for a review of her debut novel The Weight of Words. Stick around for the interview and giveaway!
The Weight of Words by Georgina Guthrie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Course of True Love Never Did Run Smooth
What a thought-provoking romance! It's rare for me to feel such fondness for the hero and the heroine, but I loved both Daniel and Aubrey. It's also rare for me to understand Shakespeare, but Georgina Guthrie provides an excellent guide to the Bard in this story.
Aubrey Price starts her last year at the University of Toronto with a tight budget, a set of close friends, and a passion for all things Shakespeare. She works as an assistant to Dean Grant in addition to taking a heavy course load. The TA for her Shakespeare course is Dean Grant's son Daniel, who's scruffy and gorgeous. Aubrey tries to suppress her attraction to Daniel's forbidden fruit due to the anti-fraternization policy. (Good luck, Aubrey.)
Daniel is a puzzle. He crisply calls her "Miss Price", at times seeming standoffish and pompous. At other times he smiles warmly and appears impressed by her depth of knowledge and wit.
Daniel had been livid with me, which was definitely not without its strange appeal. Angry-Daniel was something to behold. But then he was Tail-Between-His-Legs-Daniel, followed shortly afterward by Tiny-Piece-of-Heart-on-His-Sleeve-Daniel. The episode was rounded out nicely by Dimpled-Smile-and-Lip-Biting-Daniel. Smorgasbord, right?
Aubrey has no idea how he feels about her until Dean Grant invites her to a family dinner and Daniel unexpectedly shows up. When he has one drink too many, he reveals his true feelings.
O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! that we should, with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!
~William Shakespeare, Othello
Hehe. Before Daniel makes a total beast of himself, he attempts to rein himself in, though it's tough to avoid Aubrey's charm. The secret that likely drives him to drink that night also ups the professional stakes to dangerous levels.
Aubrey has a winsome sense of humor which her roommate Matt draws out of her:
"I didn't know you guys were headed in that direction," I said. "I knew you liked each other. Some nights I could tell you really liked each other." I rattled the headboard, and he shot me a poisonous glare.
Matt also made me laugh:
"I had to get up. My brain was screaming for Advil," he groaned. "And I have the worst case of the zacklies."
"What the hell are the zacklies?"
"You know, when your mouth tastes zackly like your ass."
The banter between Aubrey and Daniel kept me grinning. Her F-bomb explosions surprise and delight him. His pair of jeans with a hole over the knee makes Aubrey swoon.
"Now tell me," I said, eager to lighten the tone. "Am I going to get a look at one of those sweet knees tonight?"
Daniel sighed again. "Don't worry. Mr. Ratty Pants will be making an appearance this evening."
Instructors getting it on with students is abusive and wrong. But this story never feels icky that way. Aubrey is a strong, independent woman and Daniel does his best to exhibit self-control. Can they keep their paws off each other until semester's end? I look forward to finding out in the next two books in the series!
A very little thief of occasion will rob you of a great deal of patience.
~William Shakespeare Coriolanus, Act II, sc. 1
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And now onto the interview:
Jennifer Lane (JL): Thanks for visiting the blog, Georgina!
GG: Thanks for having me, and congratulations on your recently released Blocked!
JL: I obviously loved The Weight of Words. And I understand I have two more awesome books awaiting me in the series?
Georgina Guthrie (GG): Thank you, that's nice of you to say! Yes, you've read part 1 of a three-part series. Better Deeds than Words and The Truest of Words are books 2 and 3.
JL: So, Shakespeare! Aubrey and Daniel are both serious students of Shakespeare. How did you get interested in the Bard?
GG: I took an instant liking to his work after reading A Midsummer Night's Dream in ninth grade. Going on a school trip to see The Tempest at the Stratford Festival in tenth grade sealed the deal. When I was sixteen, I visited my hometown in England for a few weeks in the summer and traveled to Stratford-upon-Avon for the first time. This visit made Shakespeare's life so real to me. I was fascinated. My interest in his work grew exponentially from then on. I went on to study English in university, and spent a lot of time marinating in the Bard's lovely words.
JL: I really liked Audrey’s boss (and Daniel’s father) Dean Grant. Did you have kind academic mentors who inspired his character?
GG: I've had numerous mentors who have guided, instructed, encouraged and supported me over the years. Their impact has been inestimable. I don't know if David Grant is inspired by any one of those people. He's a bit of an amalgam of them, I suppose. Professor Brown, on the other hand, is definitely inspired by a particular person.
JL: What have been the pros and cons of writing a series?
GG: Well, I certainly know my characters. Lol. And that's wonderful...having the opportunity to flesh out characters, really explore what makes them tick and pull the threads of their stories to satisfactory conclusion. It's also great having relationships with readers who have become attached to characters and want to know "what next?" It's very gratifying to feel readers' affection for characters. One downside is it can be difficult to get yourself in a different head space when you've spent so much time with the same characters. I feared being a "one trick pony". I suppose that's one of the reasons that I continued to dabble with fic--to flex a different writing muscle. I also wrote a YA novel last year, and that was an excellent exercise in finding a new voice and tone.
JL: November 18th was the release date for book three, The Truest of Words! Readers: get it HERE. Please tell us about it.
GG: The third book in the trilogy allows Aubrey and Daniel to explore life after graduation. Without the ever present fear of being "caught," they're able to turn their attention to other concerns, namely, all the things that couples deal with at the beginning of a relationship, the baggage and personal quirks that can make or break a relationship. I also wanted to pursue the thematic ideas I had introduced in Book 1 and continued to tease at in Book 2.
JL: What’s next for you?
GG: I hope to be making an announcement about an upcoming project soon. I'll also be publishing my YA book next fall. Never a dull moment! :) Thanks again for having me, Jen.
Please comment with your answer to one of these questions:
1. What's your opinion of Shakespeare?
2. Hot for teacher? How do you feel about teacher-student romance?
3. What's a 5 star read you'd recommend?