2 May 2018

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Perfect Bride by Debbie Lynne Costello

Genre: Historical Fiction, Medieval 
Details: 113 Pages, April 18th 2018 
Avice Touchet has always dreamed of marrying for love and that love would be her best friend, Philip Greslet. She’s waited five years for him to see her as the woman she’s become but when a visiting lord arrives with secrets that could put her father in prison, Avice must consider a sacrificial marriage. 

Philip Greslet has worked his whole life for one thing—to be a castellan—and now it is finally in his grasp. But when Avice rebuffs his new lord’s attentions, Philip must convince his best friend to marry the lord against his heart’s inclination to have her as his own.

My Review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Although this was described as a 'novella', its actually a decent length at 113 Kindle pages. Nevertheless, I got through it in just over 2 hours before work yesterday. 
It was a lovely, short foray into late 14th century England, and although it complements the author's full length novel (with a couple of the characters from that one appearing in it), it can standalone as well. 

The basic plot is of two childhood sweethearts who are clearly in love, but for various reasons don't think they can marry: Philip because of his career aspirations, and because he thinks he's not the man Avice needs. 
Such a story could easily degenerate into cliche, but this one did not. It was original and well told, and also managed to avoid many of the pitfalls of stories set in the Medieval period, with a reliance on myths and misconceptions about the period. What was interesting is that the characters served a lord living not in a castle, but a Manor House. Its often (wrongly) assumed that everyone of remotely royal blood lived in fairy-tale castles. They didn't and this reflected that well. 

Another couple of details were very interesting. Who knew there was such a thing as a 'talking' starling? I never knew it, but I did some research and found there have indeed been cases of European starlings mimicking noises from cars and cellphones, and even being taught to mimic human language. 
I doubt I shall see the little birds, which are commonly seen in gardens in Britain, the same way again.

My only complaints were really related to the language: don't get me wrong, there was no swearing: but I did doubt the authenticity a couple of times. The nobly born characters seemed to have exactly the same vaguely Northern accents as the commoners, which did always not ring true. Unless they were born and raised in the Cumberland region, they would not have had the same accents.
Also, there was a reference to a character using a Gaelic, which also didn't seem credible for a 14th century English nobleman living in modern Cumbria. 
Gaelic is a Scottish language: Cumberland did once have its own language or dialect, but linguists think it was probably more closely related to Welsh, and seems to have become extinct by the 12th century.

Despite that though, The Perfect Bride was a beautiful and very enjoyable story. Two hours well spent and thoroughly recommended. 
I did receive a PDF from the author for review, but read the Kindle edition which I borrowed through Kindle Unlimited. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Author Bio

Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children's Director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland Sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, she and her husband take pleasure in camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses.

Connect with Debbie Lynne:

 Author Interview

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’d love to! I used to think I was an extravert because I certainly am not an introvert, but I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I am a people person, but I’m not always the greatest at starting conversations when I meet someone new—unless I know of something we have in common. I am a person who lives by lists. I love to check things off and have even been known to add something to my list that I did just so I can check it off! I am a go getter. I like to get things done. Now that isn’t always an asset let me tell you. But I am the type who if I see a job that needs to be done or an opportunity, I will be the one who volunteers. Sometimes I forget that my schedule is already bulging at the seams. When we moved and found our new church 11 years ago, our pastor was asking us what we did in our last church. As I was telling him some of my jobs my hubby spoke up and said, “all jobs for my wife will be run through me first. She doesn’t know how to say no.” LOL.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Oh my. Well, if we are talking this year, we are building our house. I am out working, drilling holes, pulling wires, wiring fixtures. I will be tiling the whole house, painting, and helping my husband put up the hardy back siding as well as putting a stone facing on the front basement wall and chimney. I also keep my 7 year old mini-me granddaughter for 3 to 4 days and nights a week (she’s in bed sleeping right now). I fix meals for us and my vegan hubby. Keep the house up…okay… this one maybe not as well as I should! And I feed and care for our horses, dogs and ducks. The ducks being more work than the dogs and horses!

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I have always loved writing. My mother saved a lot of the stories I wrote when I was 8 years old and up and gave them to me when I started writing again. I went to college for journalism but married and started a family shortly after so never finished my degree. We chose to homeschool my last 2 kids and when they reached HS they really didn’t need my help constantly, however, I needed to be there in case they did AND to keep them on track and motivated. ;) One day as we sat at the dinner table and I told my hubby about the book I had read and how I thought it could have been better he said, “Why don’t you write a book?” I thought about it for 2 weeks then sat down and started to write. That was about 11 years ago now. I finished that book in 5 months.

How did you choose the genre you write in?
It was easy for me because I loved the medieval time period and read so much in that era. So I naturally gravitated toward that. But I also enjoy the 19th century, too.

Where do you get your ideas?
I wish I could say I had this dream, like many authors do, but I don’t. I usually have a nugget of an idea, a what if? And then I start expanding until it starts speaking to me.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Oh do I ever! I just came off writers block with this book. It is NOT fun! High stress can cause that with me. It seems to drain my creativity and I struggle for each word and sentence. But God in His great mercy has lifted the fog from me each time.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I loved Beverley Cleary as a child. I loved Ribsy and Henry. I was a tomboy so could relate to the boy in the book and I have always loved animals. I was forever bringing home an injured animal and trying to nurse it back to health. I fell back in love with reading after having all four of my children and my daughter was a teenager. We read Gilbert Morse’s books. It was his writing that rekindled my love for reading.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Yes! Medieval in the Christian market is not accepted with publishers unless it is YA. I don’t write YA so getting a medieval published was impossible. Even my agent suggested I self-publish. So that’s what I did. But even that wasn’t easy. There is so much to do to get a book ready for publishing. SOF went through 3 in depth edits. I had to learn how to format (Thank you Marylu Tyndall!), find someone to make a good cover, learn about ISBN numbers, and so much more.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

It is mostly fictional. I do talk a bit about the Peasant Revolt which is history and I try to give a flavor of the time period. It is a novella so squeezing those little tidbits with a limited word count is a bit more challenging.

How did you come up with the title?

This question made me smile. I agonized over this title. It went without a title while I was writing it, through my crit partner and even into my edits. It was while I went through my edits I got to one point in the book where the hero makes a realization. At that point the title hit me—The Perfect Bride!

Blog Hop

April 29th Overcoming With God

April 30TH Anne Payne Blog

May 2nd Cross Romance

May 4th Amy Booksy

May 7th  The Sword and Spirit

May 9th Singing Librarian Books

May 12th Stitches Thru Time

May 15th- Heroes, Heroines, and History- Mid Month Madness

May 17th Jodie Wolfe Blog

May 21st  Sunnie Reviews

And finally: a giveaway! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for having me on your blog, Anne! I'm looking forward to meeting your followers. And thank you for the lovely review!

  2. I'm sure a lot of my followers are already yours as well. Thanks for dropping by and including me on your blog tour.

  3. This book sounds good. Your review is very honest, I admire that. I love Deb's writing.

    1. Its very good indeed. Thanks for visiting and for your comment,

    2. Hey Chappy! Thank you so much for your kind words! Its so easy to get discouraged in this profession. And thank you so much for coming by!

  4. This is a great review and interview! As much as I already knew about you Debbie Lynne, I learned a few new things. :-) You know, I've never read a Gilbert Morris book. My SIL recommended them to me long years ago but I hardly had time to read then.

    This a fun blog tour and I'm delighted to meet some 'new' bloggers!

    1. I've heard of Gilbert Morris, but not read anything by him. Its a very interesting interview. Thanks for following me.

    2. Anne!!! Thanks for coming by! OH my goodneess, especially if you like details, you must read his books. He so good with that. And his medieval/renaissance are the best! Anne, you would love them. They are set during Cromwell.

    3. Cromwell's republic? You know I think I may have seen those books: though I have to admit, anything after 1600 we Brits would call the Early Modern or Stuart period. Medieval for us ended about a century before.

  5. Loved your review! And, I loved the questions which you asked. Id love to subscribe to your blog!

    1. I did not actually make up these questions, but thanks for visiting, and please do consider subscribing!

    2. Hey Grace! Its good to see you here. The questions were fun and Anne has given me something to work on with her review. Although, I will say it is very hard to copy a dialect and accent that you can only read about but have never experienced!

    3. True, it us hard. I know you do your best don't worry. Welsh is even harder, and I would not recommend even trying to tackle the actual Welsh language. Although, you know, if you can grapple with Gaelic ;)

  6. Great interview! Thanks for featuring Debbie Lynne. I have enjoyed her books!

    1. Awe, Thank you, Connie. I am blessed by your comment. :)

  7. Great review. I am blessed to know Debbie Lynne and live Inn the same town!

    1. Hey Susan! Thanks for coming by! Anne, I live in a very small town so to have Susan living here is super cool!

  8. Great review and I enjoyed the interview too!
    So I have a question for English lady. You talked about dialects and I find that one of the most challenging aspects of writing historical dialogue. Can you recommend a good resource for learning more about it?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. HAHA! Kathy, I just made that comment to Connie then scroll down to see you have said the same thing! Great minds and a crit partners. ;)

    2. I know two men from from Carlisle, which is one of the main towns in Cumbria. I have to confess though, their accents are not so prominent because they have not lived there for years.

      Historical dialects are far from easy. I have to confess, I basically just googled the Cumberland dialect and Gaelic, and it came up with a few maps and common terms, but its not easy to represent that on the page.
      Also, I'd say in some ways, researching the history of the region helps too. Cumberland is very interesting, because its history is varied and quite complicated. For several centuries before the Norman Conquest, it wasn't officially part of England, but instead part of a British/Celtic Kingdom called Rheged: and then until the 12th century it changed hands between Scotland and England several times.
      So, there is a really strong linguistic influence from Gaelic, Welsh and Norse, as well as English there. In fact, even the name 'Cumberland' or the modern name of the country 'Cumbria' is a clue to its past, because its related to 'Cymry' or 'Cymru' which is the name for Wales in the Welsh language.
      They also have a word 'beck' for instance, which means a stream or brook, which is hardly used in any other parts of the country, and is believed to be a hangover from the ancient British languages of the region.

      My own perception of some regional accents have been shaped by TV shows set there. We had about a year of watching Catherine Cookson adaptations (she was a popular author from Northumberland), and Vera, which is a detective series set in the same region, and just listening to how people speak.

      One thing I also found myself doing, for a totally different reason, but ended up being a sort of accidental exercise in learning about accents, was reading Middle English texts out loud. It looks really daunting; but its not hugely different from Modern English, and everything was spelled phonetically, so people ended up writing words the way they sounded in the area they came from.

      Sorry, this comment is absurdly long, and I have rambled a lot, but I hope that helps.

  9. Enjoyed visiting your site.. Review was great, I've read the book and enjoyed the information you've shared.

    1. Hey Deanna! Thanks so much for coming by. I'm glad you enjoyed the review! God Bless!

  10. Thanks for the great review. As one not well versed in Medival language, I did not know the differences in speech depending on your station, other than the obvious ones. I am now a follower and am looking forward to more interesting blog postin

    1. Its not easy. I think as today, differences depended on background and upbringing as much as station.
      If a person grew up in a certain area, and had a childhood nurse or servants who spoke a certain language or dialect, they would become 'saturated' in it.

      Then again, in later life if they spent a lot of time outside the region of their birth, and especially if they were discouraged from using a regional accent and encouraged to speak French, or in the manner favoured at court, they might lose any accent they had.

      One good example might be David Tennant, who played Doctor Who for a few years. He is actually a Scotsman but was encouraged to 'drop' his accent for the series.

      Thanks for following me. I will probably have another post up today for a reading group I belong to. Look out for that later.

    2. Betti, how did I miss your comment?! I admit I struggle with this also. And not being from England doesn't help with the different dialects! Thanks so much for coming by!

  11. Great interview and sounds like a good book.

    1. Thank you, Ann! I hope you get a chance to read The Perfect Bride!

    2. Hi Anne

      You've been picked as the winner of the book on my Giveaway, but I'm afraid you have not left an email. Please could you send it to me or Debbie to choose your prize .

  12. Great author and love all her books!

  13. Hi English Lady & Debbie!
    I enjoyed visiting your site and the review/interview.
    I enjoy reading Debbie's books and have this one on my very looong TBR list.

    1. Hey Tina! Thanks so much for coming by! And THANK YOU for putting The Perfect Bride on your TBR list! I am honored!!!


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