I am delighted to by joined today by Rachel J Bonner who is sharing a fascinating insight on birthdays as part of the blog tour for Cloth of Grace, book four in the Choices and Consequences series. Many thanks Rachel for taking the time to write this piece, and also to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting my to be a part of the tour. Before I share Rachel’s post with you, here are the blurb and purchase details for Cloth of Grace.
When the fate of the world rests on your shoulders, how do you choose between what you ought to do and the only thing you really want?
Leonie finally knows who she is. But now she needs to decide who she is going to be. Her choice will affect not just her family, not just those she knows, but tens, hundreds of thousands, millions of people that she doesn’t. And every path that’s open to her will put Perry under the pressures that caused his breakdown before. How can she do what she must and still protect Perry?
Perry desperately wants to make things easier for Leonie. Somehow he has to find the strength to face the things that all but destroyed him in the past. But every way he turns, some aspect of his past lies waiting to pounce – even during his happiest moments. And he can never forget that Leonie’s life is in danger from someone, somewhere.
Gabriel has managed to negotiate peace, at least in theory. Now he must put that into practice and reunite Leonie with the family she never knew she had. Then disaster strikes right in the middle of his own sanctuary. Can he still protect those he loves, or has he been harbouring a villain the whole time?
Birthdays. We all have them, of course. We wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t been born. Most of us – though perhaps not all – know when our birthday is, and consider the date a fact, a fixed piece of information. It’s probably registered somewhere, on our birth certificate, our driving licence, our passport. But if you research your family tree you’ll find that birth dates are rather more fluid than you’d think.
For a start, the year can vary. Not so much now but in the past people might alter their declared age – and hence their implied birth year – for any number of reasons. I’m sure we’ve all heard of young men who’ve lied about their age to enable them to join the military in times of war. Both men and women would misrepresent their age at their marriage so that the woman appeared younger than the man – or so that they were both old enough to marry without parental approval. And I have several ancestors who have only aged six or seven years in the ten years between censuses.
It’s not only the year you can’t trust. In the early days of birth registration in England there were fines for late registration. Rather than declaring the correct date of birth and paying the fine, parents would give a later date of birth for their child to avoid the fine. And, once in the formal records, that later date of birth would then follow the child throughout their life. If the family celebrated the birthday on the correct day, this could lead to a lot of confusion as to when their birthday really was.
Of course, it’s much harder to create an incorrect birth date in today’s information age. But as a child, at what age do you learn and understand the significance of your date of birth? Perhaps around four or five, when you start school and learn about the calendar. If as a child you lose those people who know your birth date from first-hand experience, and you don’t have access to any records, how can you be sure you know the right date? You could tell someone that date in good faith, but equally how confident can they be that you’ve got it right?
In my Choices and Consequences series, the heroine, Leonie, loses her immediate family by the time she’s five years old. But she knows her birthday because it’s a distinctive date. As she says in the prologue to Weave of Love, book 3 –
“It’s my birthday,” she said to him proudly. “My first real birthday. The one that doesn’t happen every year.”
Her birthday is leap day, 29th February, a distinctive date, one a child can remember without knowing the actual date, and an adult can interpret from limited information. After all, there’s no other date that doesn’t happen every year. Of course, that causes its own problems as Leonie describes in Strand of Faith, the first book in the series –
The big problem was that if it wasn’t a leap year I didn’t know whether to have my birthday on the last day of February, or the first day of March.
And such a distinctive date makes it easy to work out how old Leonie is when the books start – this quote is also from Strand of Faith, just two months before Leonie’s eighteenth birthday.
“That’s Leap Day,” Prospero said. “Last year was leap year, and that means you’re seventeen.”
But now you know why Cloth of Grace, the fourth and final book in the Choices and Consequences series is launching on 29th February – it’s Leonie’s real birthday and, given it only happens once every four years, it would be a real shame to miss it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rachel J Bonner is the author of the compelling and enthralling four book Choices and Consequences series. The first book in the series, Strand of Faith, was published in November 2018. Book 2, Thread of Hope, released on 2nd May 2019, followed by Weave of Love on 24th October. The story concludes with Cloth of Grace, released on 29th February 2020.
Rachel has a degree in engineering, which she followed with a career in accountancy which is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in fantasy or romance. Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun. When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club. Shooting targets only, honest. Nothing to worry about. (Okay, sometimes we shoot Polo mints. Or cabbages. Still nothing to worry about.)
She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary. It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.
You can find out more about her books and sign up for Rachel’s newsletters at www.racheljbonner.co.uk.
Newsletter subscription link https://www.subscribepage.com/webpage
CHOICES AND CONSEQUENCES SERIES:
If you haven’t discovered the Choices and Consequences series yet, here are all the details for the first three books.
Strand of Faith (Book 1)
A girl. A monk. An unthinkable sacrifice.
When the choice is between love and life, how can anyone decide?
In a post-apocalyptic future, a girl and a monk, both with extraordinary mental powers, have compelling reasons not to fall in love. But their choices will have consequences for the rest of the world.
After the troubles of his youth, Brother Prospero has found comfort and fulfilment in the monastery. Then he discovers something that forces him to reconsider his whole vocation. How can it possibly be right to leave a life of worship and service for human desire? And if he does leave, will the pressures from his past destroy him?
Orphaned and mistreated, Leonie has found sanctuary and safety at the Abbey. When she comes into contact with Prospero everything spirals out of her control. Everyone she’s ever loved has died. She can’t do that to him. But how can she walk away from the first place she’s truly belonged?
Abbot Gabriel is faced with an impossible choice. He can do nothing and watch the world descend into war. Or he can manipulate events and ensure peace – at the cost of two lives that he is responsible for. Is he strong enough to sacrifice those he loves?
Thread of Hope (Book 2)
What if your secrets are so dangerous they could destroy the one you love?
Is honesty always the best policy?
Leonie may have run away but Prospero will find her. He loves her and he wants a future with her by his side whatever the consequences. Only when he does find her, he ought to tell her who he really is, outside the monastery. That’ll make her run again. Dare he risk it? But if he doesn’t tell her, someone else may…
Marriage to Prospero is what Leonie wants most and the one thing she knows she can’t have. If he found out what she was really like, what she’d been, what she’d done, he’d despise her and she couldn’t bear that. Better to leave now than live a lie – but it’s harder than she expected. If only…
Gabriel is starting to discover the secrets inherent in Leonie, secrets that not even she knows, secrets that will tear the world apart. And the secrets he is keeping are tearing him apart. How can sacrificing those he loves possibly achieve peace when everything he discovers risks the death of millions?
Weave of Love (Book 3)
What if the choice you have to make has devastating consequences for others?
How can anyone know the right thing to do?
Leonie chose to sacrifice everything to save other people. Now those around her have to face the consequences – and those consequences are not what they expected.
Prospero must deal with his own guilt. He was the one who gave Leonie the tools she needed – her life was in his hands. To make the most of what she did, he will have to face up to all the family issues he has avoided for so long. Whatever he chooses to do, someone he loves will be hurt. For Leonie’s sake, is he now strong enough to make the choice he couldn’t make before?
The crisis predicted by Lord Gabriel has come and gone. But his task isn’t over. Leonie’s very existence may be out in the open but Gabriel discovers that the past is never what it seems – and nor is the present. How can he use what he now knows to bring together those who have been enemies for as long as anyone can remember? If he fails in this, everything he’s had to do so far will be in vain.
Win a complete, signed Choices and Consequences series and matching bookmarks (Open INT)
- Prize includes signed copies of Strand of Faith, Thread of Hope, Weave of Love and Cloth of Grace.
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Don’t forget to check out the other blogs taking part in this tour for more information on Cloth of Grace, and the rest of the Choices and Consequences series.