A Spark Unseen Blog Hop, Day 5

I read and loved The Dark Unwinding (me review), the first in this series, soon after it released. I was swept away in Katharine’s story because of the lavish descriptions, unique characters and beautiful historical setting. I am honored to be part of this blog tour celebrating the next book, A Spark Unseen (my review). Thank you Sharon for your insightful and horrifying information on Lunatic Asylums in the 19th century.

Location Scouting, Charenton Lunatic Asylum

In A Spark Unseen, Katharine is horrified by what she sees in the Charenton Lunatic Asylum. As anyone would have been. The curing of the insane in the 19th century looked more like torture than treatment, and was just as successful as the curing of diseases before we understood the concept of germs. In other words, not really successful at all! Look at this partial list of the number of admissions to Charenton in 1841, and what was considered the cause of these patients’ “lunacy”:

Domestic Chagrins
Libertinage, excesses of all kinds
Suppression of habitual evacuations (constipation!)
Reverse of fortune
Disappointed love
Political causes
Excess of study
Reading of romances

278
146
54
49
37
32
16
13

Chains and cold water shocks were certainly not going to “cure” anyone of these “mental illnesses!”

Charenton Asylum, as it is today, about five miles outside of Paris. Now called Hopital Esquirol

But in spite of all it got wrong, Charenton was actually a very progressive asylum for its time, allowing its quieter inmates menial tasks, fresh air, and the opportunity to socialize. One of its more famous patients, the Marquis de Sade (the man from whom we get the modern term “sadist”) was allowed his own rooms, the ability to publish his writings, and even visits from his wife and female servants. Some of these privileges may have been kinder than was wise!

But whether kindness or cruelty was intended, it doesn’t take away the scariest fact about 19th century asylums: Once you went in, it was very difficult to find a way back out again.

A Spark Unseen (The Dark Unwinding, #2)Summary (via Goodreads):
The thrilling sequel to Sharon Cameron’s blockbuster gothic steampunk romance, THE DARK UNWINDING, will captivate readers anew with mystery and intrigue aplenty.

When Katharine Tulman wakes in the middle of the night and accidentally foils a kidnapping attempt on her uncle, she realizes Stranwyne Keep is no longer safe for Uncle Tully and his genius inventions. She flees to Paris, where she hopes to remain undetected and also find the mysterious and handsome Lane, who is suspected to be dead.

But the search for Lane is not easy, and Katharine soon finds herself embroiled in a labyrinth of political intrigue. And with unexpected enemies and allies at every turn, Katharine will have to figure out whom she can trust–if anyone–to protect her uncle from danger once and for all.

Filled with deadly twists, whispering romance, and heart-stopping suspense, this sequel to THE DARK UNWINDING whisks readers off on another thrilling adventure.

A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron releases September 24th 2013 by Scholastic Press

Find Sharon Cameron:
Website 
Twitter
Facebook

Enter to win a finished copy of A Spark Unseen
Find out more about the hop and giveaways here.

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Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour

Trailer Reveal: A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron

A Spark Unseen (releases September 24th) is the follow-up to the wonderful historical, steampunk inspired The Dark Unwinding. I loved The Dark Unwinding so jumped on the opportunity to be able to post the trailer for the next book and be in the blog tour next month, running from September 9-20th. My tour date is September 13th–be sure to come back and check it out.

If you’d like to participate in the tour you can find information here. (participants receive an arc of A Spark Unseen)

If you’ve not read The Dark Unwinding you can check out my spoiler free review and my interview with Sharon Cameron

Want to win a copy of this ARC?
Tweet or post on your own blog about the trailer release and be entered in to in win an arc of A Spark Unseen. You will need to include @CameronSharonE in the tweet in order to receive credit. Please tweet all blog links to the same twitter account. Retweets will also count.

About A Spark Unseen
The thrilling sequel to Sharon Cameron’s blockbuster gothic steampunk romance, THE DARK UNWINDING, will captivate readers anew with mystery  and intrigue aplenty.

When Katharine Tulman wakes in the middle of the night and  accidentally foils a kidnapping attempt on her uncle, she realizes  Stranwyne Keep is no longer safe for Uncle Tully and his genius  inventions. She flees to Paris, where she hopes to remain undetected and also find the mysterious and handsome Lane, who is suspected to be  dead.

But the search for Lane is not easy, and Katharine soon finds herself embroiled in a labyrinth of political intrigue. And with unexpected  enemies and allies at every turn, Katharine will have to figure out whom she can trust–if anyone–to protect her uncle from danger once and for  all.Filled with deadly twists, whispering romance, and heart-stopping  suspense, this sequel to THE DARK UNWINDING whisks readers off on  another thrilling adventure.

A Spark Unseen Book Trailer:

The Dark Unwinding
The Dark Unwinding:
When Katharine Tulman’s inheritance is called into question by the  rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune,  she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum.

But  instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and  preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply.

And her  choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a  secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle’s world at stake, but also the state of England as  Katharine knows it.

About Sharon Cameron
Sharon Cameron was awarded the 2009 Sue Alexander Most Promising New  Work Award by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators  for her debut novel, The Dark Unwinding. When not writing Sharon can be  found thumbing dusty tomes, shooting her longbow, or indulging in her  lifelong search for secret passages.

Review of The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

The Dark UnwindingThe Dark Unwinding (The Dark Unwinding #1)
By: Sharon Cameron
Release Date: September 1, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press

My Rating:
star

The Summary (via Goodreads):
When Katharine Tulman’s inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his remote English estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of childlike rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London. Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she has grown to care for—a conflict made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a mysterious student, and fears for her own sanity. As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle’s world at stake, but also the state of England as they know it. With twists and turns and breathtaking romance at every corner, this thrilling adventure will captivate readers.

The Story:
I first read The Dark Unwinding long before I was blogging and found it to be a creepy and engaging book.  When I purchased this book I knew nothing about it, I picked it up solely from the title, cover and summary. Often times, I am vastly disappointed when reading a book I buy for the cover (you know, don’t judge a book by the cover…but don’t we all?) but thankfully this time I was not. Upon rereading I found I enjoyed it thoroughly all over again.

The story follows Katharine as she is sent to Stranwyne Keep by her calculating and cold Aunt Alice to see what her uncle has been doing with the family inheritance. Katharine finds an uncle as eccentric (he builds realistic and complicated automatons) as he is endearing and the strange community he’s built around him. Nothing is as it seems at the estate and parts of what Katharine goes through had a distinct creepiness that wasn’t blatantly scary but gave me chills nevertheless.

Sharon Cameron states on her website that Stranwyne Keep is in part based on Welbeck Abbey

The Characters:
The strongest aspect of  The Dark Unwinding are the characters Cameron created. Katharine is at times selfish but in a very realistic way. While reading I tried to put myself in her position and see if I would be any less selfish. We really see a drastic change with her character as we traverse the story through her point of view. To me, it seemed that she was shaking away the façade she had learned to wear because of her aunt and emerges as she truly is.

My favorite character by far is Uncle Tully, I adore his childlike nature, innocence yet his ability to really see the point of things where others might not see it.

Uncle Tully frowned, “You got confused, little niece. Sometimes people get confused. They forget. They make mistakes. You forgot about stairs.”

Lane Moreau is Uncle Tully’s caregiver and apprentice; he is a quiet and thoughtful man. He has immense depth but only allows those that have earned his trust and affection to really know him.  I yearned for Katharine to get in his good graces; I wanted to see what shaped him. The secondary characters didn’t really feel like secondary characters. Each was fleshed out and given motives for their actions.

Final Thoughts:
A very engaging book that has an edge of mystery and creepiness that kept me captivated. I eagerly await A Spark Unseen the next in the series.

Extras:
I have an interview with Sharon Cameron- check it out HERE
You can find Sharon Cameron online on Twitter, her website and Facebook

Waiting on Wednesday #1

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where we post upcoming releases we are highly anticipating. This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is: A Spark Unseen (The Dark Unwinding #2)  by Sharon Cameron

A Spark Unseen  (The Dark Unwinding, #2)Summary (via Goodreads):
When Katharine Tulman wakes in the middle of the night and accidentally foils a kidnapping attempt on her uncle, she realizes Stranwyne Keep is no longer safe for Uncle Tully and his genius inventions. She flees to Paris, where she hopes to remain undetected and also find the mysterious and handsome Lane, who is suspected to be dead.
But the search for Lane is not easy, and Katharine soon finds herself embroiled in a labyrinth of political intrigue. And with unexpected enemies and allies at every turn, Katharine will have to figure out whom she can trust–if anyone–to protect her uncle from danger once and for all.
Filled with deadly twists, whispering romance, and heart-stopping suspense, this sequel to THE DARK UNWINDING whisks readers off on another thrilling adventure.

I really loved The Dark Unwinding (picked up because the cover was just so beautiful) and I can’t wait to see where Cameron takes the second book in the series. And look at that cover! So pretty!

What are you eagerly anticipating? Leave your link in the comments if you have a Waiting on Wednesday post.

Check out my interview with Sharon Cameron