Book Review & Author Interview: Four Thousand Miles, Jesi Lea Ryan
Posted by The Obscured Vixen on August 28, 2011
3 of 5 stars
When Natalie Spencer loses both her career and marriage in the same morning, the emotional shock sends her on a spontaneous journey to England. There, she is nearly mugged in a Tube station, but an introverted songwriter named Gavin Ashby scares off her attackers. Recognizing Natalie’s fragile state, Gavin offers help and invites her to recuperate from her trauma at his country home.
As she adjusts to her new role and surroundings, Natalie finds healing by helping others. Gavin and his family begin to accept Natalie into their hearts, leading her to a choice… abandon her old life in the States and trust in a new chance at love, or flee once again?
Poor Natalie Spencer! This girl has the worst day of her life by getting laid off, then coming home to find out that her husband is cheating on her. I can’t blame her for taking off to England to get away.
Natalie is an extremely relateable character, and you really feel for her. She is easy to connect to and put yourself in her place.
Gavin, a man that saves Natalie from being mugged in a Tube station, is a man with a mysterious past that slowly unfolds throughout the story. I loved the chemistry between Gavin and Natalie. You can feel their love for each other in the air.
This story begins wonderfully (even though poor Natalie keeps getting knocked down). The middle of this story slows down a bit, and I had to wait a while for it to pick back up towards the end. But the ending was well worth it. Natalie and Gavin have an argument, causing her to leave England. A few months later, Gavin appears outside her front door. I loved that Gavin was the one that came back to Natalie without any reservation. I was expecting Natalie to go back to England! I love happy endings 🙂
Jesi Lea Ryan has created such palpable characters that come to life and jump right off the page. Ryan writes with such emotion that you really feel for these characters. You can feel the attachment these characters have to each other, and to England (which Natalie falls in love with).
This is a sweet romance story about two characters that are at the lowest point in their lives, and help each other begin living again. If you love romance novels, you’ll love this story.
Interview with Jesi Lea Ryan
Jesi Lea Ryan was an absolute pleasure to work with! Here is an interview with the author herself. If you have any questions for Jesi Lea Ryan, please leave them below.
The Obscured Vixen: In the beginning of this story, poor Natalie goes through the worst day of her life. Have you ever been at a point that low in life that you pulled experience from?
Jesi Lea Ryan: About a month before I began writing Four Thousand Miles, I was laid off from my job. I really drew on this experience when I wrote the scene where Natalie loses her job. Those feelings were really fresh for me. I have also been divorced, but unlike Natalie, my ex didn’t cheat on me. He is actually a pretty good guy, even if we couldn’t live with each other.
TOV: In your story, Natalie gets on a plane and takes off to England without telling anyone because she needs to get away. Have you ever wanted to get on a plane and take off without telling anyone? If so, where would you go?
JLR: Just about every day of my life! Just kidding…sort of. Actually, I often dream about selling everything I own and taking off on a new adventure, but I would have to take my husband and my kitty with me. I’m also too responsible to go running off without some sort of plan for making money once I get to my destination. I really would like to live in England someday. That is a major goal of mine. I also wouldn’t mind places like Spain, Morocco, Italy or Ireland. I’m pretty adventurous, but most of Asia is too crowded and the poverty of Africa would be hard for me to live with.
TOV: A great scene in this story is when Natalie is on the train in the UK people watching. She describes the differences between what she is seeing and what she’s used to in America. Is this scene taken from experience?
JLR: Yes, I have been on the Tube in London. Honestly, the best looking men I have even seen were those commuting to work in the mornings. The British dress so much nicer than Americans do. Part of me really found that refreshing. Of course, like any big city, it also had its fair share of drunks and vagabonds.
TOV: Natalie and Gavin are remodeling rooms in Gavin’s family B&B in England. Is this a hobby of yours?
JLR: I have worked with homeowners insurance for about fourteen years. This has taught me a lot about building materials and techniques. Of course, I had to research how someone would go about restoring a 500 year old farm building. We just don’t have structures like that in the U.S. I haven’t done any remodeling myself, but it is a real interest of mine. I watch a lot of HGTV!
TOV: One of my favorite characters in the book is Emma, Maggie’s 11 year old deaf daughter. I love the scene when Emma is resting her ear against the piano while Gavin is playing. Is there a reason you included a deaf child in the story?
JLR: Honestly, I don’t know why I decided to make Emma deaf. I think when I began creating Gavin’s family, Emma just popped into my head that way. I have a sister-in-law who is a translator for the deaf, and she helped me to get a better understanding of what Emma’s capabilities would be as far as lip reading and things went. I also thought it would be interesting for Gavin, who as a musician is all about sound, to live with someone who couldn’t hear or appreciate his work fully.
TOV: Natalie and Gavin take a trip to Ireland and visit Leeds Castle. Have you ever been there?
JLR: I have been to every place in the book except Herrod’s Department Store. For that I had to watch YouTube videos filmed by other tourists. Leeds Castle is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. The day I was there was sunny and hot. The flowers were blooming. The stone walls of the towers reflected on the water as if they were floating. Amazing!
TOV: Gavin is a musician in your story. Do you write music?
JLR: Well, musicians are sexy, so Gavin is pretty much my ideal man. I love music, but I don’t have much talent for it. I was in choir when I was in high school, and I loved to sing. I always wanted piano lessons, but I grew up poor and my family just couldn’t afford it. I do read music though, so I can pick out tunes with one finger.
TOV: How long have you been writing?
JLR: I began reading at aged three, so I think writing followed soon after that. I published a children’s book when I was eight with the help of a local librarian. My high school did not have any creative writing classes, so I really didn’t start writing fiction regularly until college, where I majored in Creative Writing and Literature.
TOV: Do you write any genres other than romance?
JLR: In college, my favorite genre was non-fiction, personal narrative. I wrote an autobiographical piece for my thesis. I wasn’t very confident in my fiction, because I didn’t think my ideas were very original. A few years ago, I realized it wasn’t that my ideas weren’t original, it was just that I needed more room to develop them. I’m just not a short story writer. Out of my hundreds of attempts, I only have a few that turned out any good. But I found if I allowed myself to work on longer pieces, my fiction is much stronger.
TOV: What genre of books do you enjoy reading?
JLR: I honestly read more than anyone I know, around 175 books a year. I will read just about anything if it is done well. Most of my life I read literary fiction, but I’d get on a kick now and then for something else. In the past few years, I have almost stopped reading the literary fiction in favor of genre. I love paranormals. (Never met a vampire I didn’t like!) I also read a lot of young adult, romance and historical fiction.
TOV: That’s a lot of books! Besides reading, what is your favorite thing to do?
JLR: Honestly, most of my life revolves around books in some form. I write, I read, I collect books… I also love to learn. My interests are pretty varied. I’m in graduate school right now for business. Don’t know what I’ll do with it, but I’m learning a lot. I should also admit that I watch a lot of really bad TV. Reality shows, especially competitions, are a massive time-suck for me. I’m a pop culture fan, so I treat PerezHilton.com like my newspaper. Okay…and I spend way too much time on Twitter.
TOV: If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would buy?
JLR: I would take care of other people. I have a few friends and family members who are wonderful, hardworking people who are struggling to make ends meet. My first priority would be to help them out. That might sound like I’m feeding you a line to make myself look good, but seriously, how could I live with myself if I was blasting cash on cars and things when people I love need real help?
TOV: What is your favorite movie or TV show?
JLR: My favorite TV shows right now are probably Project Runway, Ghost Hunters, Being Human, True Blood, Game of Thrones and The Tudors. I would love to see Showtime continue The Tudors with the Mary and Elizabeth storylines. Movies are probably a bit harder, because it depends on my mood. I admit, I’m a Robert Pattinson fan, so I watch everything he is in. I also really like Emma Stone. Easy A was brilliant!
TOV: If you could travel in time, would you go to the past or the future?
JLR: I am ADD and tend toward impatience, so I think I would have a really hard time living in a time period before high speed internet and automobiles. That probably sounds terrible of me! I love the book Outlander, but I really don’t see how Claire could have adjusted so easily to eighteenth century Scotland. That said, I am slightly afraid of what I would learn in the future. Do I want to know if animals or cultures have died out, or if my country were destroyed in some terrible war? I think I better stay right here in 2011.
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