Welcome to my Blog Tour stop for Matronly Duties
by Melissa Kendall!
Read my review below plus I have an excerpt and a great giveaway for you!!
Release Date: May 21 , 2015
Published by The Writers Coffee Shop
Genre: FICTION / Romance / General / Science Fiction
ISBN e-book: 978-1-61213-369-0
ISBN e-book: 978-1-61213-369-0
Available from: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and TWCS PH
Bethanie Greene’s life has been planned out for her since the age of thirteen. Beautiful and intelligent, she’s spent the last twelve years training to become the next Matron of the underground nation of Oceania. But when Bethanie is kidnapped by rogue extremists just six weeks shy of taking office, her world is turned upside down by the handsome stranger who rescues her.
Howard James’ life has been the polar opposite of Bethanie’s. Struggling to survive in a world where those in power wished he didn’t exist, he harbors a deep-seated resentment of the government and all its representatives. Together with his unconventional family, he shows Bethanie a life she never knew was possible, while at the same time, opening her eyes to the injustices of the government she is meant to lead.
But can she trust a stranger? And can a few days change everything she believes and desires? Against all odds, Bethanie must decide if her heart and her duties can coexist.
ADD TO GOODREADS BOOK SHELF
So regular readers of the blog will know I do love the dystopian genre, today I'm reviewing Matronly Duties by Australian author Melissa Kendall.
Set 200 years after an asteroid has slammed in to the Earth, the lucky few escaped the asteroid by sheltering underground, massive underground cities house what is left of the Earth's population but space is at a premium and life today is very different than what the original survivors encountered.
25 year old Bethanie Greene has been training to be a Matron for the last twelve years, each nation that has survived has a Matron in charge who acts as their leader. Bethanie is six weeks away from taking up her new post.
She will be in charge of Oceania which is underneath Australia, now because of the fact there is more men than women below ground, births have to be monitored to the extent that babies are now implanted in the womb rather than being conceived the natural way, there are no marriages and women can do their duty by creating a baby with more than one man. Fornication is illegal!
During a break from her pre-matron training, Bethanie takes time to indulge in her love of running in the catacombs below the city but her run is brutally interrupted by a gang of men attacking her but she is saved by a young man.
His name is Howard, he brings Bethanie back to his house but she notices it is nothing like she is used to, meeting his mother she discovers that Howard's parents are married and they have had more than one child together, this is against the law, they are considered traitors by the government.
Bethanie is appalled but she is also intrigued plus she is attracted to Howard which she knows is a bad idea but she finds herself drawn to him.
Howard and his family live in the outer limits of Oceania, far away from the privilege than Bethanie knows, she has to get back to her duties and when she is "rescued", horrified that Howard is arrested for kidnapping her, the time she has spent with him though short has been intense. They shared a electrifying kiss she is not going to forget him in a hurry.
As Matron in waiting she hopes she may be able to help Howard but she discovers that Matron's have next to no power, it is all done by the ministers below her, the pull the strings and they are not letting her anywhere near Howard. She is just the figure-head and they make all the decisions.
She ascends to become Matron and discovers that it is nothing like she imagined, she struggles to trust her staff. She also seems to be on a need to know basis but she finds that some of her closest staff members are to be trusted and with them she tries to find out more about what goes on in Oceania.
One thing she is not allowed to do is attend Howard's trial but she can listen and is horrified that this sweet, caring man pleads guilty to kidnapping her as well as being a leader of the resistance who disagree with everything the Matron and her government stand for, needless to say she is shocked but a letter arrives from him explaining his motives, will she open it?
She does open it and is overjoyed to find out that his motives have not been untoward, they begin to exchange letters and open up to one another letting their words do the talking. However she is the Matron, he is a prisoner nothing is going to happen unless both of the are free from their duties and prison.
Of course fate is on their side and their prayers are answered but to what cost?
So that's all your getting without me giving you any spoilers, So let me talk about the good first of all, it is a great idea of having a Matron in charge, plus I do love a story that is set underground, it adds a claustrophobic element to the story.
Bethanie and Howard do make a lovely couple and share some steamy scenes together plus Howard's family are the sweetest bunch! The story is very engaging I read it over the course of a rare peaceful afternoon, it was nice to read something set somewhere other than America with Australia being the setting or rather beneath Australia being the setting.
The bad, well there was just a couple of things that came up, the first was the ending happened very quickly without saying what happens I would like to have experienced more of how the characters felt as they reached what they reached (sorry cryptic I know), it would have been nice to have explored that area a bit more rather than just the epilogue - maybe there is another book coming? I also wondered what happened to the citizens she left behind with the dodgy ministers, it would be nice to see how they fared.
I nearly didn't read this book because of the title I first of all pictured the British Carry On films of old like Carry on Matron, then I pictured a romance novel set in a hospital but I am glad I read it despite my little niggles this is a well written novel which offers the reader something a bit different from the usual zombie/plague/nuked dystopian novel. Bethanie was a very determined character, she was both feisty and vulnerable not one of these heroines who straight away can kick ass.
Matronly Duties is a great addition to my dystopian shelf and I think any reader of this genre will find this enjoyable.
Thank you to The Writers Coffee Stop for providing me with a copy
My body shakes at the thought of what could have happened to me yet again. I’ve heard stories about the slums, and I have to take a few deep breaths to calm myself.
“I was silly running away, I get it. I just couldn’t stay in your home any longer.”
Howard sighs. “Just because my parents raised us with traditionalist values doesn’t mean we are anything like the Trads. You accused us of being a drain on society, but you don’t even know us.”
“You’re right, I don’t. But you don’t know me either. If you did, you would understand why it’s hard for me to understand your way of life. It goes against every law, moral, and convention I’ve been taught. So I can’t be sorry for what I said, even if I’m sorry I ran out of the house.”
Howard takes a deep breath, then exhales long and slow. The expression on his face looks a bit like pity but with a dash of guilt mixed in. “Look, maybe I’ve judged you unfairly based on preconceived notions, but—”
A loud bang echoes outside. Howard glances at me with a panicked look on his face, and then pulls me off the crate onto the floor behind. I sit up, and turn to yell at him, but male voices outside keep my mouth closed. I instead huddle closer to Howard as he puts his hand around my shoulders. He pulls me in until I’m tucked against him.
“Did you see where she went?” a man’s voice asks.
“Nah, she just vanished.” The voice of this one sounds young.
“Damn, the boss isn’t going to be pleased about this.”
The crunch of shoes against pavement indicates they are on the move again. The sounds trail off until they’re no longer audible. I sigh in relief, all the tension fleeing my body.
“Are you okay?’ Howard asks, rubbing my shoulder.
I glance up, only then noticing how little space is between us. His blue eyes have flecks of grey in them, and there’s a smattering of freckles covering his nose and cheeks. His warm breath tickles my cheek almost like a caress, and his jaw has the barest hint of a five o’clock shadow. He really is captivating.
“I’m fine,” I eventually say, the words a mere whisper.
The butterflies in my stomach return with a vengeance. Howard licks his lips as they turn up ever so slightly in a smile.
I can’t stop the sigh that slips past my own lips. Howard leans forward a little, then moves closer still until his mouth is pressed against mine. I don’t dare move. A zing of something, I’m not sure whether it’s pleasure or fear, shoots through me. His lips are soft and wet, and the sensation is unlike anything I’ve felt before. I can’t even decide if I want him to continue or stop. When he pulls away though, a feeling of disappointment bubbles up inside me.
My first kiss.
Goosebumps cover me from head to toe, and unbidden, my fingers move to my lips. Glancing at Howard, he stares at me for a minute, then moves to sit further away.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.”
I shrug. “It’s okay.”
Howard frowns and then looks across the room.
Part of Matron training is learning not to form close relationships. It doesn’t mean it never happens. I’ve heard the odd story here and there from the other women, and I realise that’s probably what Gail was trying to tell me at breakfast the other day. But in all honesty, I can’t remember the last time I had real physical contact with anyone, above all with a man.
We sit in uncomfortable silence for a few minutes. Tension rolls off Howard in waves.
“Nothing. Come on,” Howard whispers. “We need to get to the house before those guys come back.”
~~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~~
Melissa Kendall is an almost forty-year-old mother of two from Perth, Western Australia, the second-most isolated capital city in the world. Predominantly a stay-at-home mum, she works a few hours a week as a software support consultant. She has always loved to read and write, and spent most of her teens writing poetry and short stoies. Over the years, daily life got in the way and she lost the passion for it, but after the birth of her first child, Melissa discovered e-books and her interest in writing rekindled. She is now the author of two published short stories. Matronly Duties is her first full-length novel.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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