Bear No Malice

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

I really wanted to like "Bear no Malice" but the book felt slow at times and I didn't enjoy it like I thought I would. 

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
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Bear No Malice is literary fiction at its best, with a vivid historical setting and a story that unfolds with a delicate complexity. Its Dickens-like intricacy takes the reader on a journey right alongside Tom and Miranda as they grow through friendship and exhibit unconditional love (not just in romance but with friends, with family) through mistakes, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

At times, Bear No Malice made me laugh with its tiny bits of humor (the fish fork!) then wrenched my heart out, all in one chapter. Mostly it wrenched my heart out and put it back together one tiny piece at a time. The telling of the story is a TREAT with its brilliant pacing (just slow enough to leave you wanting more of Tom’s, and especially Miranda’s, backstories) and sloooow building romance. But oh, how it pays off and is exquisite! Sometimes, though, I would forget I was reading historical fiction because the characters are so relatable and the emotions raw.

Tom and Miranda are good for each other because he’s magnetic and opinionated and she’s quiet and steady, yet just as stubborn and steadfast. Their personalities complement and spur each other to grow beyond themselves. Part of the brilliance of Tom and Miranda is that I saw myself in their humanity. I am like Miranda in several ways, not that I have experienced anything like her journey, but that her character was so real on the page I could identify with her longings. Her sometimes-reserved, sometimes opinionated ways. And even Tom and his ultimate need for reconciliation, his desire to serve others. They exemplify flawed and grace-covered people.

Another wonderful thread of this novel is its message of grace. It is subtle yet still a beacon for the perceptive reader. The message of the Gospel is portrayed as inherent to the characters, a refreshing and beautiful inclusion for the general fiction market. Tom and Miranda experience things and make choices rarely found in the inspirational genre. This freedom and space to candidly explore such situations makes the story all the more powerful because this novel has such a message of grace and forgiveness, of peace and homecoming, at its heart. **now is a good time for me to mention the content of this novel. It’s clean, with very few mild expletives (I could count them on one hand)**

Beyond the character journey, this novel also draws attention to social issues of the era, such as poverty, penitentiary conditions (kinda like halfway houses of the time), and the evolving roles of women. All of this functions to shine a light on our modern ideas, standards, and complacency, in a positive manner. I believe its intent is for the reader to look around and take note of his or her own community and opportunities. 🙂 For me, it was encouraging.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the review copy. This is my honest review.
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Bear No Malice is a good historical fiction story. It's centred around Tom and Miranda. These are interesting characters because they are flawed and their personalities don't try to hide this. It makes them more relatable and likeable. The story is set during the Edwardian era which was a time of social rules and standards etc. The story moves at a good pace and unfolds with enough intrigue to keep the pages turning. It's a good read overall. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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The novel is written in third person point of view with an omniscient view of characters. Characters are developed through indirect characterization method as it is written as a narrative. The main conflict of blending internal and external as characters battle themselves, other characters, society and religion. Theme was about honesty to one's self, the members of one's community but also about being true to who you are and what you want from your life.

Thom Cross is a reformer and clergyman and a round character who goes multiple dynamic changes. Miranda Thorns is an artist and is also a round character who goes dynamic changes. The exposition brings forth mystery and very little of the characters past. The rosing action brings confrontation, deceit, and tales of the past. The climax reveals many pasts and layers of all main characters. The falling action brings change, dedication, and self-reflection. The resolution allows characters to come and grow together.

The story adds a unique twist to living in the 1800, as a clergyman, women's rights and many other political issues. It was insightful and educational but also enjoyable. Yes, I would recommend this book. To readers who enjoy historical fiction with some mystery, self-growth, and rising against standards but not to who those who do not enjoy affairs, abuse of power or hiding from your past.
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4.5 Stars

In the acknowledgments at the end of Bear No Malice, author Clarissa Harwood tells us that she wrote this book as a writing exercise; to see if she could take the villain of her novel Impossible Saints and make him into a hero. To say she’s been successful is putting it mildly. This is a fantastic story.

Tom Cross, a clergyman at a cathedral in London, isn’t living his life in a manner that his Bishop and parishioners would approve of. Although he works very hard helping those in need and demonstrates compassion and understanding when dealing with those in his care, he’s ambitious, dishonest about his background, and having an affair with a married woman. When his taxi is hijacked out to the countryside, he’s beaten and left for dead in a wood. Rescued by a sister and brother, Miranda and Simon Thorne, he stays at their cottage while his wounds heal.

As the friendship grows between Tom and the Thornes, it becomes clear that all three of them are keeping secrets. 

Why is Simon, and educated man, working as a farm laborer?  Why is Miranda, a talented artist, not studying art in London?  Who is behind the beating Tom received?  What are Tom’s true origins?

This is a story of redemption, of overcoming your past and learning to forgive those who have harmed you.  It touches on the unfairness of judging women and the poor more harshly than men who are in positions of power or wealth.  

What made this book for me was Miranda. She’s complex, imaginative, loving and driven by the need to to what is right and to act in a way that doesn’t go against her conscience.  I was rooting for her from the first moment we’re introduced to her.  In fact, although Tom is an interesting character, it’s Miranda who got to me on an emotional level.

I can’t wait to read what the author writes next.

Thank you to NetGalley and the author for a copy of the book.
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I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book and Harwood did not disappoint. I love historical fiction that takes me right into the era through the lives of the characters, and Bear No Malice does just that. Tom Cross and Miranda Thorne are both battling demons from their past. When Tom is beaten and left for dead near the Thorne’s cottage, Miranda nurses him during his recovery. Without revealing their pasts, they each find a champion in the other and when Tom returns to London they maintain their friendship.
Bit by bit, we learn more of Tom and Miranda’s pasts as it catches up with them. In Tom’s case it destroys his reputation and frees him from his lies. Miranda stands by him, but when she is given a chance to reunite with someone she’s left behind, she has to choose between her past and future with Tom. This book pulled me in from the beginning and kept me captivated right through to the end.
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Tom Cross is living a lie. Run out of the county, and nearly dead, Tom is saved by the secretive Thorne siblings. Miranda is an artist and she and Tom slowly learn to trust each other and develop a friendship as he works on his church in London. 

As the past is want to do, it slowly creeps back into Tom's life, upsetting his future plans for a life with Miranda.

This is a lovely book, about two people and mistakes from the past. It's not straight romance - it's historical fiction, history and a little romance. Clarissa Harwood captures the voice of two lonely people.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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This book was received as an ARC from Pegasus Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

This book was really dark at first when they explained Tom's past and I was not sure if I could finish it. As I read on with the introduction of Miranda and the genuine feelings she had for Tom and that she could be exactly what he needs to overcome his mental struggles with his past. This is a love/romance story unlike any other and some parts were a bit on the intense side but, overall with the moral to the story, it was a great read.

We will consider adding this title to our Adult Fiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 4 stars.
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First of all I wish to thank NetGalley for a copy of this book. I enjoyed reading this historical fiction very much. Clarissa Harwood knows how to develop and combine all characters in a very interesting story. I'm sure many readers will love the book as much as I did. I only can recommend buying/ reading it.
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Tom wakes up in a hotel room with woman,julia,laying next to him. They had been  having an affair   for a while. It was the first  time he spent all night with her. Tom quickly gets dress to get of there in a hurry and to go to a cathedral meeting.Julia yearns for him but she is married with three children, Tom tells her the affair is over. I couldn't relate to any of the characters
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Clergyman Tom Cross is living a lie and running from his past. After being driven out to the countryside, beaten, and left for dead, Tom is taken in by the reclusive Thorne siblings while he recovers. Miranda Thorne is an artist who seems to have as many secrets as Tom does. The two forge a friendship that continues after he returns to his reform and church work in London. Tom’s life slowly begins to unravel as his past comes back to haunt him. Forced to face the past, Tom begins to see a different future than he imagined – a future that has Miranda in it. What Tom doesn’t realize is that Miranda has to face her own past so that she can move on with her future. 

BEAR NO MALICE is a great companion novel to IMPOSSIBLE SAINTS – though both novels can be read separately. Personally, I enjoyed IMPOSSIBLE SAINTS a bit more because of the suffragette storyline. That being said, BEAR NO MALICE is a beautifully written, enthralling novel about two people who have to confront their pasts so that they can move on with their futures. Clarissa Harwood parcels out the details of both Tom’s and Miranda’s pasts throughout the novel, developing and changing them as they shape their futures. Their individual journeys and their mutual romance 

Clarissa Harwood once again brings to life the Edwardian Era and England through the fashions, customs, society, politics, and everyday life. Tom Cross’s passion for prison reform as well as helping the poor makes a compelling storyline throughout the novel.
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Bear No Malice was a really nice and refreshing read, not exactly what historical fiction/romance usually offers, and that was a very pleasant surprise. It felt quite rooted in reality, it wasn't just about the main couple being swept away by their emotions. There was Miranda's backstory and there was Tom's, and both were sad and heartbreaking. They both had their faults and pasts and "skeletons in their cupboards", it was very interesting to see them navigate around those, and change and grow as characters and finally finding a way to be together, despite everything around them that may be wrong.

The writing, as such, was not that thrilling but I guess that's also part of the charm as it gave me this vivid image of the scenery and felt so calm and... Victorian, I should say? One thing that kind of threw me off was, there were so many Christian themes and not being Christian, I was very lost in those instances but I don't think it hindered my understanding of the whole picture, really. All in all, I enjoyed this book very much, finished it in a day, and I hope I get to read more from the author!
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I enjoyed this on the whole, but it was often slow, and there were several things that didn't seem plausible to me. This is a spinoff of Harwood's previous book, Impossible Saints, which I liked a lot better. Similar elements - the constricting Edwardian Era and individuals who are pushing for social and political reform - are carried over in this book. I liked the main characters more or less, but they often seemed to showcase their circumstances more than their individual personalities. I'd like to read more by Clarissa Harwood, though. She's got a great handle on the times and issues she writes about, and I like how she portrays this contentious time in history.
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