Hey folks! With Like a Ship on the Sea releasing tomorrow, I thought now is as good a time as any to try to convince you to read the novel … right?
After I get through a giveaway and all the other fun launch stuff, I’m going to talk about that … but first, I’d like to introduce you to the basics!
About Like a Ship on the Sea
If God asks you to confront a storm, how dare you stay in the harbor?
Lady Mary Cassidy O’Connell has a dream that can be summed up in three connecting ideas: a loving husband, adorable children, and a home of her own. Her mother’s lack of care makes life difficult for Cassie, and an escape is necessary. The plan? Marry Aubrey Montgomery, the man her parents have chosen for her, and find the peace she craves.
Unfortunately, Cassie is uneasy about marrying Aubrey. Her apprehension grows as she witnesses her dearest friend’s loving marriage take place. At this wedding, she catches the eye of Patrick Hilton, son of a wealthy American. Like Cassie, he’s also set to marry a woman chosen by his parents—only, Patrick claims, he is content with this choice.
Torn between her desire for happiness and the knowledge that God is leading her in a different direction, Cassie confronts the impossible decision. Is a loveless marriage of obligation better than being alone, or will she set sail on a voyage without a safe harbor?
Like a Ship on the Sea is the first novel in The Hilton Legacy, a stand-alone trilogy featuring characters from the author’s first series, The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy.
About The Hilton Legacy
The Hilton Legacy will be a trilogy (with perhaps one standalone spin-off, depending on how I decide to do this!) set in 1880s and 1890s America and Europe.
The first novel, Like a Ship on the Sea, which is the one we’re celebrating today, features Patrick Hilton and his eventual love interest, Cassie. Of course, we know all about this novel!
The second novel, Like the Air After Rain, will feature Lorelei Hilton and her love interest and will primarily take place in England. There’s going to be a marriage of convenience angle that will be a lot of fun, methinks!
The second novel, Like Lightning in a Bottle, will feature Gwendolyn Hilton and her love interest and will primarily take place in England and America. This one is a little bit of a wild card, but we’re gonna have fun with it.
Monday, September 4th
Tuesday, September 5th (LAUNCH DAY!)
Wednesday, September 6th
Thursday, September 7th
Friday, September 8th
Saturday, September 9th
Monday, September 11th
Tuesday, September 12th
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! There will be a USA and International Winner, so even if you don’t live in my country, ENTER ANYWAY, because I made a prize just for you!
US-Only Giveaway: a signed paperback copy of Like a Ship on the Sea, a themed candle, two bookmarks, three character art prints, a themed charm bracelet, and extra special bonus scenes.
International Giveaway: an ebook copy of Like a Ship on the Sea, extra special bonus scenes, a themed phone wallpaper, and the first chapter of book 2.
Or paste this link into your browser: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cbb544c921/
The Bookish Tag
With the help of Grace A. Johnson (who is way too kind to me), I am hosting a bookish tag! This can be done on any social media profile (or even your blog) and is a fun way to join together to celebrate the launch! Starting today!
Sept. 4 // a book set in your dream destination
Sept. 6 // your favorite swoon-worthy romance
Sept. 8 // a book with themes that inspire you
Sept. 11 // a most remarkable heroine
Sept. 13 // a beloved mentor character
Sept. 15 // a hero with an inspiring arc
Sept. 18 // your favorite fictional sibling dynamic
Sept. 20 // a ship that took you by surprise
Sept. 22 // a theme that touched your heart
Sept. 25 // a series spinoff you loved
Sept. 27 // a topic you love to read about
Sept. 29 // your favorite historical time period
- There are prompts for every other weekday in September, but you’re welcome to share whenever you can and catch up at any time.
- Feel free to use any social media, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, your blog, and Youtube.
- Share about books that fit into the categories, and have fun!
- Don’t forget to use the hashtag #likeashipontheseatag and tag Kellyn (@kellynrothauthor on Instagram & Facebook or @kellyntheauthor on Twitter) to be shared!
Why You Should Read Like a Ship on the Sea
There are a number of reasons you might enjoy reading Like a Ship on the Sea! And I’m going to get into some of them below!
I mean, granted, every one of these reasons may also function as a reason why you SHOULDN’T depending on your age, experience, tastes, and so on, but that’s no fun. I’d far rather share the positive side of things. So if you’re reading these and going, “Well, that’s actually making me NOT want to read it!” … it may be possible you’re not the audience for this book, which is fine. No one is making anyone read things they’re not comfortable with (except high school English teachers, I guess).
1: Because you want to support your good friend, Kell!
1: You should read Like a Ship on the Sea if … you enjoy realistic-ish romances, inspired by the classics.
Here’s the thing. I’m a big believer in the romance genre. That said, I do think there are some romances that have fallen away from the original intention of the genre. When romance novels (in the modern sense of the world, as “romance” started out as a synonym for “adventure”) began to be written, it was an opportunity for both men and women* to write a genre that specifically catered to women … and not necessarily* in a shallow way, either, despite the fact that there were certainly critics who labelled all romance novels (and especially all novels written for or by women) as such.
*There were subgenres that were geared toward sensationalism and emotionalism. There always have been! I believe it appeals to a specific part of the female brain and emotions. This can be used for good or for bad, but I won’t get into that now.
Now, you can see that as a good thing or a bad thing in several different ways.
If you’re looking at it through the lens of modern feminism, you can either choose to see feminism as the driving force behind the genre (giving women a voice in a time when they had little opportunity to speak) or the “patriarchy” as a driving force behind the genre (forcing women to think only of their narrow role).
If you believe the former, well, you’d be right. If you believe the latter, I can see your perspective, but I would also point out that a) the romance genre was primarily established by women! and b) oftentimes the WAY in which some of these romances are written (see Jane Austen) was wildly feministic given the times (giving women a way to express a need for health and safety within romances).
If you’re more on the conservative side of things, you can see it as allowing women to express themselves in a uniquely feminine way (since many Christians do believe that women are uniquely designed for marriage and therefore motherhood*) or giving women a voice they don’t need (no comment, but … I just disagree is all! More on that later!).
*Note: despite this being my personal goal and calling for life, I am not amongst the Christians who believe that marriage holds a higher calling than singleness. Some women are NOT called to marriage or motherhood. See … literally all of the Bible!
I don’t fall into either of those categories personally, as I believe is true of many of my readers! Here’s my perspective:
Romance is the perfect genre for women writers to share Biblical truths about life and relationships … and not just within the “romantic relationship” category! Now, I’ll first go ahead and expand on that based on my personal convictions, noting that other people may view it in a different way.
First, I believe romances offers a gentle and relational way to approach deep topics with the audience uniquely eager to read about these topics … all the while not being so realistic that the reader is not able to detach themselves from their personal perspectives, convictions, and so on to hear another side of the story (or whatever the case may be).
Second, romance is a genre most marked by female influence. And don’t get me wrong, I love the men in my life. However, I feel less called to speak to men than to women with my novels, due to personal conviction and personal preference, so the fact that the genre is woman-dominated doesn’t bother me.
Third, I love exploring emotions, people, and how relationships work. Though romance is of course marked by its focus on romantic relationships, I believe a good romance discusses every aspect of the main characters’ lives, and that includes other relationships … parents, siblings, and friendships, included!
However, overall, my biggest source of inspiration would be romances written by authors such as Jane Austen, to a certain degree the Brontë sisters (not all of their novels, but some), Gene Stratton-Porter, Maud Hart Lovelace, Eleanor H. Porter … there are more, but those are the ones that come to mind.
But all this to say, if you find yourself in agreement with me on some of these points, you may enjoy Like a Ship on the Sea!
2: You should read Like a Ship on the Sea if … you enjoy history as a backdrop for your romance novels.
I’ll admit it … for a historical fiction author, I seldom use many historical events in my stories, even if I do mention a war or two. I don’t enjoy researching things like the minute battles of a specific war, so I like to stick to simply keeping it accurate while writing about more day-to-day events.
This is not to say I don’t appreciate big events. However, I also believe that writing history more as a backdrop – effecting everything but not necessarily becoming the main focus – is equally as effective.
Plus, for me, I admit there is a degree of “the author is escaping into her special interest.” I love learning about the way people thought in Ye Olde Days more than anything. I appreciate understanding how morality and social movements changed and shaped people. It’s not an easy subject of study, but I find it so much more fascinating than a list of dates.
Which means that I know there’s nothing new under the sun. Many of the issues we struggle with today have their historical counterparts … and unlike in today’s world, we are able to separate ourselves slightly from the preconceived notions we have about this or that if we view said issues through the eyes of historical characters rather than contemporary ones.
For me, the fresh perspective is helpful. If it’s helpful for you, too, perhaps you’ll enjoy Like a Ship on the Sea.
3: You should read Like a Ship on the Sea if … you appreciate strong Christian themes.
I’m a Christian. When people ask me how my faith works its way into my stories … well, it’s easier to answer how it doesn’t than how it does, frankly.
I don’t write sermons and slap them on the page. I don’t (usually, unless I have a very specific reason) have characters go off on rants about things that don’t pertain to their lives. I don’t always include a “salvation/gospel” message, because I believe the Gospel is a lot more multi-faceted than “Christ died for your sins.”
Further, even if that were all there was to the Gospel message, well, we are asked to “make disciples of all the nations” … not just convert them. I write for a Christian audience, those who are in great need of discipleship, and leave others who are more talented than I am to write for the non-Christians, those seeking salvation for the first time and lacking the background that many Christian fiction readers do.
However, what I do include in terms of “faith content” is multi-faceted. Expect to see characters praying, reading their Bibles, and seeking God. Expect their actions to be informed by faith. Expect them to be imperfect, riddled with flaws, and yet trying to seek God and move past their sins and accept His grace for their mistakes.
Expect them not to shut up about God, because much like many of us Christians … well, they can’t help it. (At least, some of them. I have definitely written some characters who haven’t found their voice or are drifting away from God!)
If you enjoy STRONG Christian themes in your novels – if you enjoy Christian fiction in general – then Like a Ship on the Sea may be the book for you.
4: You should read Like a Ship on the Sea if … you prefer novels that don’t shy away from somewhat taboo topics.
The Bible discusses so many topics that I only hear Christians speak about in hushed voices.
And that’s always bothered me because a) I’ve been reading the Bible since I could read, and b) my parents never shied away from discussing these topics. So I didn’t get why every other Christian I knew (mostly) seemed to!
When I first started writing and publishing, I hopped in with The Dressmaker’s Secret, a story that covers a multitude of difficult, even taboo, topics, from illegitimacy to sexual deviancy to divorce to … well, some other things that I won’t get into. There’s a content warning review available here, basically.
All this to say, I was unprepared for Christian fiction culture. I don’t judge y’all if you have personal convictions at all, but my personal convictions are not what the vast majority of Christian authors and readers seem to have decided upon. And I was far too young when I began engaging with many people in the Christian literary world, especially in certain subsets, to know what to do with my disagreements.
I took it all very much to heart, and though I began to go along with it, to harshly judge whatever was not “clean fiction,” in strict and limited terms that I myself didn’t truly believe in, I … well, I was floundering. In my heart of hearts, I knew I wasn’t clean enough. My writing was dirty. My heart was dirty. I was … dirty.
There was a period of my life in my mid-teens when I became very ashamed about the (practical, innocent) knowledge I had while also being wildly curious (as one gets at that age) about allllll the taboo topics. I won’t dump my story on you here, but basically, there was a lot of spiraling and agony and self-hatred and risk-chasing in rebellion to the standards I couldn’t uphold that eventually culminated in suicidal thoughts that I thankfully never gained the courage to act upon.
I was so convinced I was evil. I remember thinking that my only purpose on earth must be to hurt and destroy, for it seemed that everything I wanted to explore or learn about was wrong. Sinful. And because I am very independent and I internalize things much harder than I know, I also was unable to go to the people (my parents, namely) who would’ve been able to make everything clear and help me through my shame. I was paralyzed with fear. And I had very few places to turn that could release that fear and shame.
Thankfully, God had a hand on me, and He didn’t let me go.
He kept me from ever truly despairing of His love and mercy.
He even used some of the sinful things I did to turn me back toward Him!
He provided friends who were open to discussing the “taboo” topics (which had come to include more and more things as the years went by, as I always overdid everything in those days) in a Christian way, showing me that it could be done. These conversations with my close friends didn’t cause destruction or impurity. Rather, they clarified and encouraged us to pursue God and holiness through Him … rather than relying on our own understanding of what was “holy.”
And He put books in my life (largely Christian historical romances, because those were the books I was reading!) that helped me work through various tough issues. (If you see me really obsessing over a modern Christian historical romance novel, then it’s probably because it just about saved my life at some point. Or gave me a great insight. And so basically, I love these novels because they deeply touched me and helped me feel like I could seek God … even despite my “I am so unworthy” mindset. Some of these include books by Sarah Sundin, Roseanna White, Kristi Ann Hunter, and Tamera Alexander.)
And the Lord eventually helped me release the tightness and pain within me. He restored my relationship with so many people I didn’t believe I could talk to anymore. He helped me feel again, when I had become so numb and angry that I felt like a big ol’ castle with a moat about five miles wide and deep.
And He gave me a new perspective about writing for Him, specifically writing Christian fiction for Him.
He helped me see that not writing smut or loads of cussing or tons of gratuitous … well, anything … is a good thing, but there is SO much I can write about honorably that shares me deep convictions about many “taboo topics” while remaining totally pure and holy and God-honoring.
My books are not “clean for all audiences.” Sure, I write “clean fiction” if you mean “no sex scenes, no graphic violence, no cussing,” but not in the sense of “no references to sexuality,” “no adult-only topics covered,” “no darkness whatsoever.”
I’ve learned that cleanliness is NOT the gold standard of a godly book. I still am firmly against writing smutty scenes, but my definition of what makes a book free of ungodly content is no longer “safe for all audiences, including small children.”
The Bible is meant to be read by all audiences, yes, but all audiences shouldn’t be encouraged to deeply dive into, for instance, sexual ethics based entirely on Biblical understanding. And the Bible is great, because you can totally read and understand it as a child … and then go back as a teenager and get something more out of it … and then go back as an adult and get even more out of it.
But we are not God, and we are not writing the Bible! That is an unrealistic expectation. As a married adult, I am both able to read the Bible in a way that deeply digs into what it says about, for instance, sexuality … and then portray these factors that in my books and in my characters’ relationships …
WITHOUT showing sexual scenes, writing in such a way that the reader’s mind will feel dirty or their thoughts and feelings edge toward sexual arousal (which is the main purpose of smut – it is meant to arouse, to create sexual feelings outside of marriage, which is wrong), or dishonoring God.
Yet that does not mean my book is literally the Bible. Some topics in my books are not kid-safe because I confess I am writing for adults. The Bible is written for everyone. But the Bible literally has power, and if you believe you can mimic that power, dear author … well, I can’t convince you otherwise, but I personally am afraid I can’t mimic that power. I’m just me, not God, and the gifts He has given me do, um, not lend toward Bible-writing, somehow. 😛
And really, what’s happened to me is, God has said, “Kellyn, I want you to write for specific people. Leave the audiences you can’t reach for me. You aren’t everything to everyone. You are THIS AUTHOR for THESE PEOPLE.”
The key is ALWAYS balance … and audience. I wouldn’t hand Like a Ship on the Sea to anyone under 16 because it does briefly and tastefully discuss some sexual topics, and there is an obvious undertone of attraction between my main leads, especially after they are married. It’s not explicit. In fact, because of my personal tastes, it’s “cleaner” than most of the Christian romances out there in terms of “how much is described.” (I’m not really opposed to a higher level of kissin’, and most of my favorite authors write more. But I just … am an awkward kiss-writer. I get the point across other ways.)
That said, sexual topics are not the only ones I like to discuss in my books, Like a Ship on the Sea including! There are other adult topics I choose to discuss in a straightforward, no-nonsense way.
I believe some authors who discuss such topics can struggle because they try to write about things that are tough to talk about in poetic ways OR they really lean into the grittiness.
Neither feels appropriate to me.
One belittles pain and sin into something sort of artistic and dramatic, which honestly can sometimes make it seem attractive … or too light … or too dark. (Art is funny that way. It can be understood all sorts of ways. But I don’t believe sin should be an art, truly.)
The other embroils the reader in darkness without a steady thread of light.
I think sensitive topics deserve a light but honest touch. I’ll probably talk about this more later, but if you relate to some of this, or you’re simply curious about how these ideas communicate to a novel, Like a Ship on the Sea may be the book for you.
5: You should read Like a Ship on the Sea if … you’re willing to give Patrick the benefit of the doubt.
This one is more of a joke, but like … Patrick is … Patrick is a work-in-progress. I expect quite a few 1-star reviews with, “The hero wasn’t likable!” Yeah, I know. I’m sorry, guys! I could only write the story I was given. I like Patrick a lot, and so have some of my early readers, but I confess he has his moments of irrationality.
What can I say? The man is not following God! But I promise God tracks him down! He gets better! Just trust me! And if it really effects your enjoyment, stop reading. I am not here to make anyone read a book they don’t enjoy. (Really. If you hate Patrick, it’s okay to stop reading, mark it as DNF or rate it 1 star, and move on. Please don’t suffer through something you’re not having fun with for my sake!)
But if you didn’t stop reading … Like a Ship on the Sea may be the book for you! 😉
Okay, this may be the most fun I’ve had with a blog post in a while! Did you enjoy all my wildly scattered thoughts? I sure did! And what did you think about them? I know y’all have thoughts a-plenty, so let me have ’em!
Also, did you enter the giveaway? You should!
Are you interested in getting to know me & my books better?
I want to invite you to my super secret club. I mean, it’s not really a secret, because I’m telling you about it now, but here goes.
Join Mrs. Roth’s Society Column, my street team! We’d love to have you along for the ride!