Friday, May 22, 2015

Liza reviews Matronly Duties by Melissa Kendall Blog Tour-May 14-28 Blog Tour

I am pleased to present & review
 Matronly Duties by Melissa Kendall
but first, I have a challenge for her:

 Find someone in history who reminds you of Bethanie and explain their similarities.

Ill be the first to admit I am not good at these guest posts and this question was one I really had to think long and hard about.  And the reason is I dont think there is any one person in history that reminds me of Bethanie (not than I am hugely knowledgeable of historical female leaders). Her situation is very unique and not one I think any woman has ever faced. Shes is the leader of a civilization that has been living underground for 200 years because an Asteroid hit and made living on the surface deadly.

If I had to pick there is probably a few that partially make me think of Bethanie. She reminds me a little of Princess Diana she was a pretty face for the British royals that the public adored much like Bethanie is for the Government of Oceania. But Princess Diana was so much more and that is also true of Bethanie.  I think both them also ended up in a situation that was not what they thought it was when they started and probably felt trapped with no way out.

I think Joan of Arc is someone who comes to mind as well, an unexpected Heroine who inspires the people to rise up.  Though Bethanie has yet to help her people rise up it is something in her soul she needs to do and will try as hard as she can to achieve.

I think the other thing that Bethanie has in common with both Joan of Arc and Princess Diana. At 25 she is a little older than both when they were thrust into the spotlight Joan of Arc being 17 and Princess Diana 20 but still 25 is very young for a leader of any nation let alone one in such an difficult situation as Oceania.
But even though she has some similarities to women in history she really is an individual.

Release Date: May 21 , 2015
Genre:  FICTION / Romance / General / Science Fiction ISBN e-book:    978-1-61213-369-0
Available from: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and TWCS PH

Hundreds of years after an asteroid slammed into Earth and sent it into a new ice age, what remains of the human race lives on in underground sanctuaries. Now, as the bicentennial anniversary of the impact approaches, a new leader prepares to take her place at the head of the government. At least, that’s what she thinks.

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.


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.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Come on,” Howard whispers. “We need to get to the house before those guys come back.”

A bleak Urban future is rejected for the right to love and be human.

What happens when you give your whole childhood and young adulthood to your country, because you believe what you’ve been taught? You stand for its principles, and you’ve been chosen to become it’s supreme leader, only one day you’re kidnapped by the enemy and discover everything you’ve been taught is a lie and you’re only a pretty figure head to distract from the true ruthless leaders of the future world.

Welcome to Bethanie’s life. No job could be worse than being chosen to become the matron of the world. No person could have less control of her life and thoughts than a matron.  No one could feel more alone. Yet over and over ‘the enemy’ and even people who are hired by the system prove she’s not alone. She’s got friends to help her deal with her impossible situation, even when matters turn deadly.

After a quaint beginning where you discover the rebellious nature in Bethanie, despite their subtle efforts through her education to make her compliant to authority, tension pulls you along as you worry about every person she friends and all the enemies she makes along the way. One young man named Howard saves her from a rape, and they quickly fall in love. Yet politically, they are enemies. But her love for Howard is far more real than the fake power she holds.

This story entertains and subtly captures you under its spell as it takes you on a journey of survival and truth. It is well written, well-conceived, and well executed and after a short entry into the world, it is action packed. The first half of the book sets the stage for the series, and I was enthralled the entire time. In the second half, more truths are revealed, and Bethanie fully discovers what being human and love means. When new possibilities to survive come to light, some people brave the new options while others stay and fight the old world, determined to make it a better place.  

Loved it from beginning to end and cannot wait for the next book. The book is a testament to the importance of a family unit and love, and the need to resist a world where neither are accepted.  

Melissa Kendall
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 stories. 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.



  1. Liza Thank you so much for the lovely review i'm glad you enjoyed the book and the second will be published just as soon as i get off my butt and write it ;)

  2. Great Review! I can imagine Bethanie like Joan and Diana. Sometimes we see their lives as glamorous (I was thinking more of Diana-it seemed like a Cinderellla tale) yet they have their own challenges. I can't imagine having to live with learning that everything I knew was not really what it seemed.

  3. Excellent review, Liza, so I know its an excellent book. What I immediately thought of was The Matrix and learning that the life you thought you had lived was a lie. Such a cool premise for a book. Good luck, Melissa!


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