At 5’11”, V.R. Christensen is very tall. How this qualifies her to write historical fiction is anybody’s guess. In the way of training, she attended Brigham Young University, Idaho, where she earned a degree in Interior Design, while, at the same time studying English Literature, Art History and Sociology. When she is not writing, she is designing impractical clothing, redecorating her historical homes, or making impossible demands of her husband of seventeen years. She travels a great deal and considers herself a citizen of the world.
Currently, V.R. makes her home in Appalachian Virginia, where she lives with her three children, seven cats and a dog named Jasper.
V.R. is a member of Historical Fiction Authors Cooperative, Past Times Books, Authors Anon and Literary Underground, all of which are aimed at ensuring that the independent publishing world produces some of the finest work available to the reading public. To find out more about her and her work, visit www.vrchristensen.com/
Where to find VR Christensen online
When Arabella and Mariana Gray are presented with an invitation to assume residence in their landlord's grand country estate, a decision must be made. It isn't as simple a matter as it seems.
The Invitation is bonus material—the first five chapters of the original version of Cry of the Peacock—reworked to be told as a short story.
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Smashwords book reviews by VR Christensen
- Still Life With Murder (Nell Sweeney Mysteries, Book 1)
on Dec. 14, 2011
I really loved this book. As someone fully enthralled with the Victorian era, I really was not disappointed. Ms. Ryan has certainly done her research. Nell may have some modern sensibilities, but I didn't think they were out of place here. Considering her background, her unique situation, she might very well have been one of the women (a few decades later) to bring about reforms for women. The dark horse, a flawed hero if ever there was one (or is he a hero at all?) is an accomplishment in characterisation. Complicated, dark, brooding, an addict, and yet we root for him as if he were one of our nearest and dearest. I found the solution to the mystery completely unexpected, the twists and turns breathtaking. I'm looking forward to reading all the books in this series. I haven't been able to put them down since I started just a few days ago. It's been a long time since I was hooked like this. Well done, Ms. Ryan! You have a fan in me.
- Murder in a Mill Town (Nell Sweeney Mysteries, Book 2)
on Dec. 14, 2011
I read this book in a day and a half. It was absolutely captivating. I think I'm in love with the would-be hero, he's so dark and flawed, and yet quite obviously capable of so much good. Perhaps with Miss Sweeney's direction... I digress. Again, I was surprised by the conclusion. It's a diverting, captivating story, and I'm hooked on the series. I finished this and went straight into the next. I haven't had this much fun in a long time.
- Murder on Black Friday (Nell Sweeney Mysteries, Book 4)
on Dec. 17, 2011
Besides the first, I think this is my favourite so far. The romance aspect grows more intense and subsequently more complicated, particularly for Nell. This was the first mystery I knew the answer to before it was properly solved, but it was the revealing of all the elements that went into making it happen that really intrigued and surprised me. I'm learning to truly loath Harry Hewitt (as if I didn't have reason enough before) and to like Will all the better. All the little looks and hints and subtly dropped suggestions between he and Nell create a feeling of subtle and cloaked intensity that I really appreciate in British Literature. I disagree that the motivation was based on his professional pride. Certainly that was part of it in an age of honour, but he also felt a duty to learn the truth, and to uncover what others would prefer to have covered up. If Will were to just go along with the findings of others, even if they didn't make sense, he'd be doing nothing for the credibility of his career (something that's already in question by most) and therefore would have nothing to keep him in Boston. And yes, he did leave, but for good? I think not. There are still two books to go!
- Death on Beacon Hill (Nell Sweeney Mysteries, Book 3)
on Dec. 17, 2011
These mysteries are so much fun. Rarely predictable. And even when one guesses it just about right, the hows and whys of it all turn out to complex they mystery so much, one wonders how Ms. Ryan imagines it all. And yet, for all the complexity, they never seem overly contrived, or confusing. It's like a great ball of string that eventually gets unwound. For all the fun of watching a mystery get solved, of a murder and its evidence and its suspects being examined, I think what truly has me hooked is watching this relationship slowly develop. As it does, Nell's life grows increasingly complex. Ms. Ryan has written their story with such subtlety and care that it reminds one of more serious literary fiction. It's the best of both worlds, really, a slow, character driven saga, broken up into shorter, action packed, digestible chapters. I'm really relishing in them. I'll be very sad when I've finished the last one.
- Murder in the North End (Nell Sweeney Mysteries, Book 5)
on Dec. 18, 2011
Some really interesting characters are introduced to us in this installment of the Nell Sweeney mysteries, including an oversized brothel matron and a street rat with a good heart and a great deal of potential. None are more engaging, however, than our hero and heroine, together once again to rescue a friend from the hangman's noose. This slowly drawn love affair is TORTURE! But I love it, from the moment he shows up, quite unexpectedly, to the cliff-hanger ending. I didn't even pause this time before beginning the next book. The last book! Oh what will I do when there is no more Will and Nell?
- A Bucket of Ashes (Nell Sweeney Mysteries, Book 6)
on Dec. 19, 2011
I finish on a sigh. This relationship between the hero and heroine is fraught with emotional and situational complexity. The mystery this time was a personal one, dealing with the last of Nell's demons. My only complaint is that it was rather short. I could have read on for quite a lot longer. But then I like long books. The mystery was secondary, but that was perfectly fine by me. The characters were so richly drawn, it seemed natural that their story would take the spotlight. I'm rather sad to say goodbye to this series. The characters, Will, in particular, will stay with me for some time.
- Fame and Infamy
on March 07, 2012
Fame and Infamy is a very interesting look at the life of a young woman, who, despite her good intentions, finds herself the victim of her own lofty aspirations. When offered the opportunity to leave her dirty home in the wilds of the American West and travel Europe as a lady's maid to a titled and newly married heiress, she jumps at the chance. Events unfold she could not have expected, and she soon finds herself answering questions in a police station. In embarrassed circumstances, and forced to hide for her life, and yet unable to return home, she suffers very nearly every deprivation, but is saved just in time, only to find herself in a very different sort of hot water.
Nell's story is a rare glimpse of the 'other side' of stylish Victorian Society. The concerns of etiquette and propriety are still very much Nelly's, but in a very different way than we are accustomed to seeing in our typical Victorian heroines.
As far as heroines go, Nell is as strong as they come, yet her flaws continually threaten to undo her. But if a sharp-shooting girl can make it in the Wild West, certainly she can make it in Paris. Can't she?
I found this book to be a truly engaging adventure, well written. With memorable characters and witty dialogue throughout, I don't think this is a book I'll soon forget. Any fan of Historical Fiction should love Fame and Infamy.