Sunday, March 24, 2013

Learn Great Writing From Great Reading – Review of “A Noble Groom” by Jody Hedlund

It’s rare to find a book that embodies all the elements of good writing - plot, characters, dialog, description, historical accuracy. On average, this happens one out of every ten books I read and it’s always a eureka moment, like discovering a rare gem. I found such a gem in Jody Hedlund’s latest novel, A Noble Groom.  I thought it would be neat to share some of the things I learned as a writer from this fantastic historical. I won’t give any plot details away, so you can read the book for yourself.


Great Writing Elements include in A Noble Groom:

1 – Similes and Metaphors – To find so many well-chosen similes and metaphors in one book is rare and I enjoyed every one. One of my favorites was “Annalisa’s lips were stiff, like the crusts of day old bread.” It’s difficult not to sound cliché when making use of these elements, but Jody found fresh and clever ways to describe her setting and characters. I tend to add these in my editing stage, but I try and make a note every time a creative phrase pops into my mind. Definitely a way to add an extra sparkle to our writing.

2 – Conflict – This book is loaded with conflict. As soon as one problem is resolved, another takes its place. From external conflicts with nature (the characters are farmers), to internal conflicts between the hero and heroine, there was never a moment where something wasn’t going on. Jody Hedlund says that before she begins writing, she makes a list of all the different obstacles and conflicts that could happen to her characters, and then inserts them in as needed. A great idea and one that would save many hours of writer’s block.

 3 – DescriptionA Noble Groom proved the point that you don’t need a lot of effusive description to effectively set a scene. Rather than describing everyone’s hair color and eye color, Jody used more memorable descriptions, like giving one character a wheezing cough. She didn’t go on and on in a “grocery list” description way, but described the few details so effectively that I completely pictured it. Giving each of your characters a tick or something different and using that as the basis for describing them can be far more memorable than the average description.

4 – Likable Characters – The hero and heroine were both likable and believable. They weren’t perfect, but had an equal balance of good qualities and flaws. I especially liked Carl, the hero. He was such a kind, considerate guy. J The secondary characters ranged from a villain I loved to hate, to a cute little girl who was a great foil for several of the characters. There was a perfect mix of good and bad and even one character that did some not so good things for very valid and admirable reasons.

 5 – Romantic Tension - Sparks flew between our noble hero and the heroine he wants to protect. Anyone who says CBA novels lack romantic passion should read this book. There weren’t a lot of kisses, but each one was swoon-worthy and provided lots of conflict for the lead characters. Dialog between the leads added sparks and the happily ever after was well-deserved.

All in all, one of the best books I’ve read this year. And when you’re reading it, you can say you’re working – (that is) improving your writing craft.


Recently widowed Annalisa Werner has the feeling her husband was murdered but can't prove it. Alone with her young daughter in 1881 Michigan, she has six months left to finish raising the money needed to pay back the land contract her husband purchased, and the land is difficult to toil by herself. She needs a husband. With unmarried men scarce, her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.

For nobleman Carl von Reichart, the blade of the guillotine is his fate. He's been accused and convicted of a serious crime he didn't commit, and his only escape is to flee to a small German community in Michigan where he'll be safe. He secures a job on Annalisa's farm but bumbles through learning about farming and manual labor.

Annalisa senses that Carl is harboring a secret about his past, yet she finds herself drawn to him anyway. He's gentle, kind, and romantic--unlike any of the men she's ever known. He begins to restore her faith in the ability to love--but her true groom is still on his way. And time is running out on them all.

I Just could part with my copy of A Noble Groom! But you can purchase it on Amazon real quick by just using this link:
Giveaway!!! In honor of great reading, I’m giving away a CBA historical romance to one commenter. (A surprise pick) Along with that, an elegant bookmark that goes along with Jody’s book, The Doctor’s Lady. Leave a comment to be entered and I will draw a winner on Friday.


Happy Writing and Reading,



Wilma said...

Love all of Jody's books and I'm about half way through with a Noble Groom . It's one of those books I want to rush through but at the same time need to read it slow to not miss anything. I already know I will hate to see it end.
Would love to be entered in your contest.

Wendy Newcomb said...

That is a beautiful bookmark. I've read A Doctor's Lady and loved it! Jody does a great job.


Shelly Daum said...

I have read a couple of Jody's other books and this one sounds like it will be just as good as the one's I've read. She has a way of drawing her readers into the story making it hard to put down. A true sign of a good book (and great author)! Thanks for the review of Jody's latest book!


Elisabeth Pettifor said...

Hi Amanda! Have not tried Jody Hedlund yet. I'll have to check her out.
Can you give me another writer's opinion on my latest blog post? I want to see what you think and I would value anything you have to say.

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Amanda said...

Congratulations to Shelly- the winner of the giveaway for this week. She has been contacted and will receive her package shortly. Thanks to all who entered.