New Author: India Holton

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New Author: India Holton

apr 27, 2021, 9:58 pm

There's a new author, India Holton, whose debut novel The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels is coming out in the next month or so.

I'd never heard of her until this tweet of hers showed up in my Twitter feed: "Romance novels are like pockets in dresses : they hold all kinds of things important to women, but are often dismissed because they change the supposed "ideal" shape for femininity."

I was curious and browsed her feed, and saw that she appears to be quite a fan of L.M. Montgomery, and in particular, of The Blue Castle. See here, here, and here for further Montgomery references.

There's not much available about the book, but the description and super-short excerpt on her website look like the main character may be a kindred spirit of Anne c.a. Anne of Avonlea / Anne of the Island, like when she accidentally falls through the roof when out collecting and has to hold an umbrella over her partway-through-the-roof perch while waiting for the homeowners to come back.

Anyway, too soon to tell if her writing style is at all evocative of Montgomery's, but I thought those of you in the group might be interested.

dec 2, 2022, 2:57 pm

I was just listening to the audiobook for her second book The League of Gentlewomen Witches, and heard a line I must have missed on my first reading. It's too squeeable not to share, but too arcane to make sense to highlight in something like a book review, so here I am again, trying not to spam.

Here's a brief quotation from about 30% through the book, where the heroine Charlotte (who takes much of her inspiration from book characters) is in somewhat dangerous circumstances with Alex:
He stopped, his body teetering on the narrow ridge. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" he yelled.
Charlotte put a finger against her lips to shush him as she continued to mutter the incantation. The ladies of the Wicken League would be aghast if they saw her. But those ladies were not present. And Elizabeth Bennet had nothing to say, since not even exploring the rooms of Pemberley equated to such a daring perambulation. Charlotte was alone and utterly bewildered by herself. She needed encouragement from a literary character who understood that walking the ridgeline was her only reasonable option. But if such a heroine could exist, she had not been written yet.

The detail of "walking the ridgeline" was just such a lovely nod to Montgomery's Anne, while not being jarring for those who didn't get the reference (it does seem that Pride and Prejudice is much more in vogue these days). It also kept to the constraints established that India Holton's Dangerous Damsels are set in a fantasy-version of Victorian England, and since Queen Victoria died in 1901, 7 years before the publication of Anne of Green Gables, Charlotte must necessarily be without Anne's experience to guide or caution her.