Saturday, May 23, 2015

THE BLUE NIGHTGOWN by Diana Stevan



When Anna, the landlady of a rooming house in the 1950s, finds a blue nightgown in a tenant’s trash, little does she know it’ll bring out the sexual longings of anyone who comes in contact with it. 


                                Image by © Camerique/ClassicStock/Corbis

My Review

The Blue Nightgown, a novelette by Diana Stevan is a delightful escape back to the fifties. An era where women were second class citizens in many ways. Woman's liberation wasn't even a consideration.

The author writes a crisp, enticing story that takes place in a rooming house in Winnipeg. She manages to bring you right into the story and somehow it seems familiar. There is an honesty to the writing as the story feels authentic.

In a way, this is a coming-of-age story. Going back to Anna, the landlord of this rooming house, in the beginnings of her married life and discovering sex. Revealing disappointments and the fantasies of what she thought her sex-life would be. Reminds me of how little I knew, as a young girl and how vague my mom was in explaining it to all me. Then there is Donna, her daughter who is coming into own and discovering herself, as well.

 There is something sexy and alluring, yet very innocent about The Blue Nightgown. A nice escape back to a more simpler time. Or was it?

Quote ~

"Things were changing in the movies and everywhere. Anna found she couldn't even listen to the music on the radio without hearing words that had to do with sex. There was that song Great Balls of Fire that the announcers kept playing over and over. And look at the fuss that was made about that singer Donna liked, Elvis Presley. He was on Ed Sullivan, and they wouldn't show him from his waist down because he was shaking his hips too much."




A Cry From The Deep is a time-slip mystery and adventure about a love so powerful it spans several lifetimes. Is it fate that we meet the right one? How do we know? And when we die, is it over? 

When Catherine Fitzgerald, an underwater photographer about to cover the hunt for one of the lost ships of the Spanish Armada, buys an antique Claddagh ring, she becomes troubled by nightmares that set her on a path to fulfill a promise made centuries before. As she unravels the mystery of the woman who haunts her dreams, she has to come to grips with her own struggle to find true love. 

Set in Provence, Manhattan, and Ireland, this mystery not only exposes two women’s longings, but also the beauty of the deep, where buried treasures tempt salvagers to break the law. 




My Review

A Cry From The Deep by Diana Stevan is a striking book with an intriguing plot and realistic characters that came alive on the pages.

I love how the story moves from one time period to another. Just when I thought the unknown would stay that way, we go back in time, in a unique way, satisfying my curiosity. Gripping and extremely well-written, I fell into this mesmerizing tale with ease. This emotional, sentimental, suspenseful story had me reading with great enthusiasm all the way through.

Quote ~


"A sudden breeze ruffled her skirt and she turned toward the sea. A young woman in a white gown stood about fifty yards away, by one of the old headstones. Her long auburn hair danced in the air as the wind picked up and rustled the trees overhead. She looked eerily like the woman in her dreams. Catherine was about to call out when a speck of dirt flew into her right eye. By the time she blinked a few times to expel the speck, the woman was nowhere to be seen. Catherine glanced in all directions and then hurried back to the entrance, thinking she might catch the stranger, but whoever had been there had vanished."




From the Author

Having grown up in the fifties, it's a period I look back at with fondness. At that time, sex was largely kept under wraps. Though women had done their part in World War II, they were back in the kitchen by the 50s, waiting for the men to come home with their lunch boxes. They were back fulfilling their domestic duties but they were also expecting more from life than that. The double standard was still rock solid but cracks were beginning to surface. Younger women were going to secretarial college or normal school to get a teaching certificate. 

Though it was an innocent time publicly, times were quickly changing, and with that freedom, came excitement and a lot of loose threads. It ushered in a time of self-examination and a questioning of the morals of the day. 

I found about some of this when my family moved to a rooming house in Winnipeg when I was eight and my mother was the landlady. She gave counsel to the girls upstairs. That much is true in my story. The rest is my imagination pulling at what I know, what I heard, what I suspected, and what I imagined. 

Just the other day, I heard on CBC radio that rooming houses were becoming fashionable once again in Toronto. They are no longer a haven for those suffering from addictions or mental health. With the high cost of living, more and more young people are searching for rooms to share or have for themselves. With people living in such close quarters with one another, there's bound to be more tantalizing stories. I hope you enjoyed the read. 

About the Author

Diana Stevan has published poetry in the U.K. journal, Dreamcatcher, and a short story in Escape, an anthology. A CRY FROM THE DEEP, a romantic mystery/adventure, is her debut novel. THE BLUE NIGHTGOWN, women's fiction, is a novelette set in the 1950s.




Bio

Diana Stevan likes to describe herself as a Jill of all trades. Her eclectic work history serves her well in her writing. She's worked as a family therapist, a professional actor, professional model, teacher, and a freelance writer-broadcaster for CBC Televisions Sports Journal. 

Diana was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Home Economics with honors and Master of Social Work, graduating on the Dean's honour list.

She's published poetry in the U.K. journal, Dreamcatcher, and a short story in Escape, an anthology. A CRY FROM THE DEEP, a romantic mystery/adventure, is her debut novel. She has also published a novelette, THE BLUE NIGHTGOWN, women's fiction.

A mother of two and a grandmother of three, Diana lives with her husband Robert on Vancouver Island, in beautiful British Columbia. 

You can visit her Diana at:



TWITTER  @DianaStevan

Buy Links:

The Blue Nightgown
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada

A Cry From The Deep
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada



2 comments:

  1. Brenda, thank you for the wonderful post here. You are so talented,the way you put things together. On top of your writing! Are you sure you don't have nine lives? There's a story here. :)

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    Replies
    1. You are too kind Diana. I appreciate good writing and nice people, such as yourself. My pleasure.

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