Welcome to our blog stop on the blog tour for The Englishman by Nina Lewis.
Author: Nina Lewis
Genre: Contemporary Romance /Fiction
Publication Date: May 12 ,2013
Publisher: Onmific Publishing
Event organized by: Literati Literature Lovers
Anna has landed her dream job as an Assistant Professor of English literature at a prestigious college in the South. Instead of charging ahead with her career, however, she is confronted by hurdles, pitfalls and mysteries. Why does no one restrain the demented hoarder who secretly uses her office as his private storeroom? Who is responsible for her sudden loss in salary? What is behind the vandalism in her department? Is it a personal attack against her irreverent and somewhat unconventional teaching style?
Professor Giles Cleveland is supposed to mentor her in all this, but he’s arrogant, sardonic, condescending, disconcertingly attractive and – Anna keeps reminding herself as the temptation to start a kamikaze affair with him becomes overwhelming – absolutely out of bounds. Anna and Giles grow increasingly reckless and it is only a matter of time before they will be caught and Anna’s career will crash and burn. But when the crash comes, it’s worse than Anna imagined. And far better than she could have dreamed.
“Well, come on then!” I draw him up by his hand—surely in an emergency, innocent physical contact is allowed?—and to my surprise he holds on to it.
“I don’t want you involved in this,” he says.
“I am involved! He rifled my desk for it!”
“Giles!” I fairly shout at him, all excited and impatient to have at least one of my Ardrossan mysteries solved.
“It’s no use yelling at me. Do what you like when you’re tenured, but for the next five years you must be as untainted by scandal as a newly hatched spring chicken!”
The implications of this harsh statement hit me as if one of the stone statues had been knocked against the back of my head. But this is a piece of his mind that I will have to chew in private, and not in the middle of the garden, in the middle of campus, still holding hands with him, for Chrissakes!
“Be that as it may,” I say, pulling my hand from his clasp. “I must know about the file! Is it in your office?”
“No,” he says mechanically, but he is in as much of a hurry to get back to the Observatory as I am.
“Hey, sir, you’re going in the wrong direction!” some students shout across at us. We are swimming against the current because everyone is now streaming toward the stadium for the evening game.
I am almost running now to keep up with his long strides.
“Anna, go and powder your nose!” he says curtly when we have reached the first-floor hallway.
“Boo-hoo. That’s tenure track for you.” He pushes his hands into his jacket pockets for his keys. “Off you run. Will you be at the—and you needn’t make Bambi eyes at me, Miss Lieberman! I’m proof against ’em! Well,” he corrects himself punctiliously, “maybe that’s overstating the case. But I don’t hold with corrupting vulnerable young women, and I won’t let you read that file. Stop that!” He turns away from me, and I can see his ears have gone red. I only did as he said; opened my eyes at him, fluttered my lashes, pushed out my lower lip and pouted.
“What if I sit across the room from you, and you just tell me whether it’s there or not?”
This makes him laugh, but he is still barring my way into his office. Just as well that the hallway is empty and nobody can see our ridiculous mating dance. Non-mating dance.
“What if I sit across the room, with my face against the wall and my eyes closed?”
“If I touch you, you can scream,” I challenge him quietly.
The Englishman tells the story of Dr Anna Lieberman, Assistant Professor of English literature at Ardrossan University, a prestigious college in America's South. Anna is young, intelligent and extremely passionate about her profession. She takes up her position at Ardrossan having spent time teaching in England and is set on progressing her career and ultimately gaining tenure at "the Folly" (the nickname given to Ardrossan). Being the new kid on the block is never easy, and within the academic world I suspect it is even more challenging than usual. The ever present need to 'publish', the challenge of teaching adult students, the competition amongst peers - all add to create a less than ideal work environment. Throw into this mix a beligerant old professor who uses your office for his personal storage, university scandal, politics within your department and a number of other frustrating events and 'settling' into a new job becomes much harder than you would have hoped.
Of course, then there is Professor Giles Cleveland, Anna's mentor - the English professor in both senses of the term (he's English and he teaches English!). Anna is attracted to him from the get-go. He is older, quite aloof and 'typically english' in his style. I'll admit, I didn't really buy the connection between Anna and Giles - for her it seemed almost instantaneous, although in fairness it was initially lust. I found their interactions to be almost combative (even though there was a flirty undertone) and so kept wondering whether they were ever really going to get together.
"When we're alone...I'll call you anything I like, and you'll stick it." He pauses for effect, and into the silence crowds a cornucopia of terms and phrases. "Not because I'm a male and more powerful than you -- I'm not by the way, more powerful than you -- but because I'm not calling you anything that I don't believe to be true. In company, rest assured it'll be 'Dr Liebermann, my esteemed colleague.'"
Without being cliched, the Englishman wasn't my cup of tea. I struggled to stay connected with the story. There was an awful lot going on and I was never really sure when a new 'issue' was introduced whether it was going to be instrumental to the outcome for the story or just a sideline. The Englishman is beautifully written, very academic in its style and referencing to literature, which is completely appropriate given the subject matter, but I struggled to read it and often had to re-read sections to really get the gist of what was going on. My preference is not to have to work quite that hard when I'm reading for entertainment.
There is much to enjoy in the story, some excellent supporting characters and Lewis has the ability to make scenery and places come alive off the page. For me, there was too much complexity and this impacted my reading. I think personal preferences will play a huge part in whether you enjoy The Englishman.
3 out of 5 stars
Nina Lewis wrote her first story when she was nine years old, a drama of love and jealousy set in a circus. Her best friend and she performed it to themselves over and over again, for ever changing the dialogue, conflicts and endings. It strikes her as ironically appropriate that her first published novel is set on a college campus – the habitat of many a strange, loveable or fierce creature. When she isn’t busy training animals to jump through the hoops of college education, Nina is knee-deep in her second novel, which is set in England during the French Revolution – historical romance being her favourite genre of fiction.
A Tour Wide Giveaway of Two (2) Signed Paperback Copies of The Englishman
Into the Night Review followers also have a chance to win one (1) eBook copy of The Englishman (open internationally). The book will be gifted from Amazon or emailed by the author as an epub copy.
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