Genre: Historical Fiction

#BlogTour #GuestPost
The Bloomsbury Affair by Anita Davison
@AnitaSDavison @aria_fiction

#BlogTour #GuestPost The Bloomsbury Affair by Anita Davison @AnitaSDavison @aria_fictionTitle: The Bloomsbury Affair

Author: Anita Davison

Series: A Flora Maguire Mystery #5

Published by Aria on November 20, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 333

 

 

 

Synopsis:

1905 London is a heady mix of unimaginable wealth and simmering political tensions, and with war looming Flora Maguire wants to keep her family safe.

So when her beloved charge Viscount Edward Trent is accused of murder, she’s determined not to leave the investigation to the police. Flora has trodden the path of amateur sleuth before, but with so much at stake, this time it’s personal.

Slowly the body of the victim found stabbed on a train bound for Paddington starts giving up its secrets, and Flora and her husband Bunny become mired in a murky world of spies, communists and fraudsters. And with the police more sure than ever that Edward is their murderer, Flora must work fast to keep him safe.

Anita Davison’s compulsive story-telling, combined with the irresistible mix of historical drama and gripping mystery, make this unputdownable.

 

And now Anita Davison with:

 

The Positives and Negatives of Writing a Historical Series

When I began writing about Flora Maguire, my amateur sleuth, I intended it to be a standalone story. However once published, I received e-mails from readers asking me questions like: What happened to Flora’s mother? Will she ever see Bunny again? What is Edward like as a grown up? etc.

When I was contracted to write Books 2 to 5, I began to wonder if my characters’ pasts were interesting enough to impact on their futures? Apart from the unique mystery at the core of each book, how could I develop the characters so they were worth reading about in themselves?

I implied in the first book that Flora’s mother, Lily Maguire disappeared mysteriously when Flora was a child. An incident in her early childhood related to her mother haunted Flora, giving her unexplained dreams.  I carried this theme into the next story, and although some aspects were covered, what happened to Lily wasn’t fully explained.  I didn’t want to drag out the mystery too long, so the full story was revealed in Book 4, giving closure for both the reader and Flora herself.

A disadvantage of an accidental series, is that I gave one major character an upper-middle class nickname, which seemed a good idea at the time, but after four books, I began to regret it, although it was too late to change. Some of my readers love the name, while others find it puerile and annoying – but I’m stuck with it.

One of the challenges which face me in each successive novel, is to make sure the information I included in a later book doesn’t contradict an earlier one. Eye colour and appearance is straightforward, but things like personal idiosyncrasies need to be dealt with. Flora had a nervous habit of chewing the base of her thumb which she acquired as a child; a reaction to her nightmares about what happened to her mother. Later on, when her questions are answered and her nightmares stop, she doesn’t do it anymore. It occurred to me recently that I have rationalised this to myself, but maybe I should have explained it to the reader as well?

Also, if a character’s childhood was portrayed as happy and secure in Book 1, introducing some new trauma as a reason for not entering a lift, or a graveyard jars with the reader as they were unaware of this. Bunny is a self-contained, loving man with a progressive attitude to women. I discovered there were many more like him too, but to suddenly make him into a wife controlling misogynist would anger some of my readers who adore him; especially the ones who point out if he is missed from more than one chapter!

Technology did not change as quickly in the early 20thCentury as it does now. For instance, telephones were few and far between right up until after WW1, so I cannot have everyone calling each other all the time.  Fingerprints were in the very early stages of being used in criminal cases, first used to convict someone in 1902, so weren’t universally searched for or used.  Identification of blood groups, X-Rays and the use of motor cars were all in their infancy Most people still used horse-drawn vehicles and women who ate in public on their own were rare enough to be remarked open, even criticised. All this, while suffragists were marching on Parliament, but weren’t yet smashing windows in Downing Street. Getting the historical timeline right is imperative – as inaccuracies can spoil a good story.

In a murder mystery series, the focus is on the mystery itself, so the history of the characters takes second place. However, I’m aware readers like to read about those characters. How their careers progress, their relationships with parents, husband, how many children they have etc. I enjoy aging my characters, some by popular demand, for instance the thirteen-year-old boy who made an appearance in Book 1 reappears in a later book as a young man. Flora also had a child of her own, one who might even get to talk back if the series continues.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links!

                              

 

 

About Anita Davison

Born in London, Anita has always had a penchant for all things historical. She now lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, the backdrop for her Flora Maguire mysteries.

 

Thank you to Anita Davison for being featured on my blog today!

 

 

For more information on Aria visit them at:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

#BlogTour #BookReview
The Merest Loss by Steven Neil
@stevenneil12 @rararesources

#BlogTour #BookReview The Merest Loss by Steven Neil @stevenneil12 @rararesources

#BlogTour #BookReview The Merest Loss by Steven Neil @stevenneil12 @rararesourcesTitle: The Merest Loss

Author: Steven Neil

Published by Matador on November 28, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Rachel's Random Resources

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris.

When Harriet Howard becomes Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer and appears at his side in Paris in 1848, it is as if she has emerged from nowhere. How did the English daughter of a Norfolk boot-maker meet the future Emperor? Who is the mysterious Nicholas Sly and what is his hold over Harriet?

Can Harriet meet her obligations and return to her former life and the man she left behind? What is her involvement with British Government secret services? Can Harriet’s friend, jockey Tom Olliver, help her son Martin solve his own mystery: the identity of his father?

The central character is Harriet Howard and the action takes place between 1836 and 1873. The plot centres on Harriet’s relationships with Louis Napoleon and famous Grand National winning jockey, Jem Mason. The backdrop to the action includes significant characters from the age, including Lord Palmerston, Queen Victoria and the Duke of Grafton, as well as Emperor Napoleon III. The worlds of horse racing, hunting and government provide the scope for rural settings to contrast with the city scenes of London and Paris and for racing skulduggery to vie with political chicanery.

The Merest Loss is historical fiction with a twist. It’s pacy and exciting with captivating characters and a distinctive narrative voice.


Review:

Fascinating, engaging, and insightful!

The Merest Loss is an intriguing interpretation about the life of Harriet Howard, a young, impulsive, British girl who aspired early in life to become a distinguished actress but who ultimately became most infamous as the benefactor and mistress to Louis Napoleon.

The prose is descriptive and smooth. The characters are vulnerable, independent, and well drawn. And the story sweeps you back and forth between London and Paris during the mid-1800s and into a world filled with love, loss, deception, manipulation, riches, power, politics, and 19th-century horse racing.

I have to admit that I knew very little about Harriet Howard when I started The Merest Loss but Neil did such a lovely job of blending historical facts with captivating, alluring fiction that you’ll not only be left entertained but questioning whether the Comtesse de Beauregard was really a strong-minded, forthright woman ahead of the times or merely a lonely, heartbroken, naive young girl who was used and exploited by a government looking to secure beneficial alliances.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

          

 

 

Thank you to Steven Neil & Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Steven Neil

Steven Neil has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. In his working life he has been a bookmaker’s clerk, management tutor, management consultant, bloodstock agent and racehorse breeder. He is married and lives in rural Northamptonshire.

 

#BookReview
The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos
@r_veletzos @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos @r_veletzos @SimonSchusterCATitle: The Girl They Left Behind

Author: Roxanne Veletzos

Published by Atria Books on October 30, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A sweeping family saga and love story that offers a vivid and unique portrayal of life in war-torn 1941 Bucharest and life behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet Union occupation—perfect for fans of Lilac Girls and Sarah’s Key.

On a freezing night in January 1941, a little Jewish girl is found on the steps of an apartment building in Bucharest. With Romania recently allied with the Nazis, the Jewish population is in grave danger, undergoing increasingly violent persecution. The girl is placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by a wealthy childless couple who name her Natalia. As she assimilates into her new life, she all but forgets the parents who were forced to leave her behind. They are even further from her mind when Romania falls under Soviet occupation.

Yet, as Natalia comes of age in a bleak and hopeless world, traces of her identity pierce the surface of her everyday life, leading gradually to a discovery that will change her destiny. She has a secret crush on Victor, an intense young man who as an impoverished student befriended her family long ago. Years later, when Natalia is in her early twenties and working at a warehouse packing fruit, she and Victor, now an important official in the Communist regime, cross paths again. This time they are fatefully drawn into a passionate affair despite the obstacles swirling around them and Victor’s dark secrets.

When Natalia is suddenly offered a one-time chance at freedom, Victor is determined to help her escape, even if it means losing her. Natalia must make an agonizing decision: remain in Bucharest with her beloved adoptive parents and the man she has come to love, or seize the chance to finally live life on her own terms, and to confront the painful enigma of her past.


Review:

Evocative, absorbing, and incredibly affecting!

The Girl They Left Behind is a powerful, riveting tale that sweeps you into a country ravaged and oppressed by war and then forced to endure economic instability, political upheaval, social injustice, and lack of freedoms under Stalinist rule.

The prose is poetic and enchanting. The characters are multi-layered, resilient, and vulnerable. And the plot, set in Romania during the mid-1900s, is a profoundly moving tale about war, familial relationships, heartbreak, loss, guilt, grief, suspicion, desperation, resilience, courage, coming of age, and hope.

Overall, The Girl They Left Behind is the perfect blend of historical facts, compelling fiction, and palpable emotion. It’s a beautifully written story that is nostalgic, heart-wrenching, and impactful and does a remarkable job of highlighting not only the indomitable spirit of humanity to endure, survive, conquer, and even love under even the most atrocious of circumstances but also Veletzos’ passion for her maternal heritage.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Roxanne Veletzos

Roxanne Veletzos was born in Bucharest, Romania and moved to California with her family as a young teen. Already fluent in English and French, she began writing short stories about growing up in her native Eastern Europe, at first as a cathartic experience as she transitioned to a new culture. Building on her love of the written language, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge and has worked as an editor, content writer, and marketing manager for a number of Fortune 500 companies.

Photograph by Eric Lindstrom.

#BlogTour #BookReview
Chasing Ghosts by Madalyn Morgan
@ActScribblerDJ @rararesources

#BlogTour #BookReview Chasing Ghosts by Madalyn Morgan @ActScribblerDJ @rararesources

#BlogTour #BookReview Chasing Ghosts by Madalyn Morgan @ActScribblerDJ @rararesourcesTitle: Chasing Ghosts

Author: Madalyn Morgan

Series: Dudley Sisters Saga #6

Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on June 23, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 159

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Rachel's Random Resources

Book Rating: 7/10

 

Synopsis:

In 1949 after receiving treatment for shell shock in Canada, Claire’s husband disappears.

Has Mitch left her for the woman he talks about in his sleep? Or is he on the run from accusations of wartime treachery?

Claire goes to France in search of the truth, aided by old friends from the Resistance.


Review:

Historical, menacing, and intriguing!

In this latest novel by Morgan, Chasing Ghosts, she transports us back to 1949 as Claire embarks on a journey to find her missing husband, Mitch with the help of her contacts and friends from the Resistance after he mysteriously disappears during treatment for PTSD in Canada.

The writing is descriptive and smooth. The characters are fearless, clever, and relentless. And the plot, although a little slow to start, is a compelling tale about the psychological effects of war, family dynamics, friendship, suspicion, desperation, duplicity, and murder.

Overall, Chasing Ghosts is a sinister, fascinating, well researched, easy read that has a nice little twist and a satisfying ending. And even though it’s the sixth book in the Dudley Sisters Saga and the sequel to China Blue (Book #3) it can certainly be enjoyed and read as a standalone novel.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following link.

    

 

 

Giveaway:

Win signed copies of China Blue and Chasing Ghosts (UK Only)

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

*Terms and Conditions – UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

Thank you to Madalyn Morgan & Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Madalyn Morgan

Madalyn Morgan has been an actress for more than thirty years working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television. She is a radio presenter and journalist, writing articles for newspapers and magazines.
Madalyn was brought up in Lutterworth, at the Fox Inn. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live, as there were so many different characters to study and accents to learn. At twenty-four Madalyn gave up a successful hairdressing salon and wig-hire business for a place at E15 Drama College, and a career as an actress.
In 2000, with fewer parts available for older actresses, Madalyn taught herself to touch type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau, and started writing. After living in London for thirty-six years, she has returned to her home town of Lutterworth, swapping two window boxes and a mortgage, for a garden and the freedom to write.
Happy to be an Indie Author, Madalyn has successfully published six novels. Foxden Acres, Applause, China Blue and The 9:45 To Bletchley are set before and during WW2 and tell the wartime stories of Bess, Margot, Claire, and Ena Dudley. Foxden Hotel and Chasing Ghosts are both post war. Chasing Ghosts is a sequel to China Blue.
Madalyn’s books are available on Amazon - in paperback and all formats of eBook.

 

#BookReview
Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
@pcalhenry @ThomasNelson

#BookReview Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan @pcalhenry @ThomasNelsonTitle: Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Author: Patti Callahan

Published by Thomas Nelson on October 2, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 432

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Thomas Nelson, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice.

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy.

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had.

At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer’s life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.


Review:

Vivid, compelling, and immersive!

Becoming Mrs. Lewis is an intriguing interpretation about the life of Joy Davidman, the American writer and poet who through a shared conviction of Christianity and love of writing became a close confidant, friend, and wife of the famous fantasy writer, C.S. Lewis until her untimely death from breast cancer in 1960.

It is a story about familial responsibilities, strength, friendship, kindness, encouragement, support, passion, desire, loss, and love.

Davidman was a strong, intelligent, forthright woman who not only found peace, contentment, and fulfillment through Christianity in midlife but also found her true self.

The prose is clear and precise. And the plot takes us back to the late 1940s to the early 1960s, from Ossining, NY to Oxford, England and tells the story of a life filled with loneliness, abuse, poverty, grace, riches, success, motherhood, and romance.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a well written, captivating, rich story by Callahan that does a remarkable job of highlighting her incredible knowledge and research into this complex, historical figure who is often unknown, forgotten or overlooked.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

About Patti Callahan

Patti Callahan, who also writes as Patti Callahan Henry, is a New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels, including this latest novel BECOMING MRS. LEWIS – The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. A finalist in the Townsend Prize for Fiction, an Indie Next Pick, an OKRA pick, and a multiple nominee for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Novel of the Year, Patti is a frequent speaker at luncheons, book clubs and women’s groups. The mother of three children, she now lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.

#BookReview
Her Frozen Heart by Lulu Taylor
@MissLuluTaylor @PGCBooks @panmacmillan

#BookReview Her Frozen Heart by Lulu Taylor @MissLuluTaylor @PGCBooks @panmacmillanTitle: Her Frozen Heart

Author: Lulu Taylor

Published by Pan Macmillan on September 4, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Historical Fiction

Pages: 480

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Caitlyn, there’s something I have to tell you. About Sara.

Caitlyn thinks her marriage to Patrick is a success. For one thing, he is one of the few people not to fall head over heels for her beautiful friend, Sara. Life is lived on his terms, but they are happy.

Aren’t they?

When a devastating accident turns her existence upside down, Caitlyn is forced to reassess everything she thought about her marriage, what she truly knows about Patrick, and his real feelings for her best friend. In the refuge of an old manor house, she begins to discover the truth.

In 1947, the worst winter in decades hits England, cutting off entirely the inhabitants of Kings Harcourt Manor. For Tommy Carter, widowed at the start of war, it is particularly hard: the burden of the family falls on her. She has the solace of her children, and the interesting presence of her brother’s friend, Fred. But there is also Barbara, a mysterious figure from her past who appears to want a piece of Tommy’s future as well.

Her Frozen Heart is a thrilling mystery from Lulu Taylor, top ten bestselling author of The Snow Rose.


Review:

Simmering, menacing, and dramatic!

Her Frozen Heart is predominantly set in the Oxfordshire countryside during the late 1940s, as well as present day, and is told from two different perspectives, Tommy, a young widow struggling to keep her family fed, safe, and warm during the harshest of winters, continuing war rations, and an unexpected visitor with malicious intentions; and Caitlyn, a young woman who finds her life unexpectedly turned upside down by the sudden loss of her husband and a secret that threatens everything she thought she knew about her marriage.

The writing is descriptive and unsettling. The characters in both time periods are troubled, determined, protective, and strong. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel subtly into a mysterious tale filled with life, loss, family, survival, heartbreak, betrayal, obsession, romance, misdirection, manipulation, and violence.

Overall, Her Frozen Heart is a clever, atmospheric, brooding thriller that reminds us just how quickly life can spin out of control and just how parasitic some of our relationships can truly be.

 

This novel is available in Canada on September 25, 2018.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                        

 

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Lulu Taylor

Lulu Taylor moved around the world as a child before her family settled in the Oxfordshire countryside. She studied English at Oxford University and had a successful career in publishing before becoming a writer. Her first novel, Heiresses was published in 2007 and nominated for the RNA Readers' Choice award. It was followed by Midnight Girls, Beautiful Creatures, Outrageous Fortune, The Winter Folly, The Snow Angel, The Winter Children, and The Snow Rose. She lives in Dorset, England, with her husband and two children.

Photograph by Alicia Clarke.

#BookReview
The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell
@JulietBlackwell @BerkleyPub

#BookReview The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell @JulietBlackwell @BerkleyPubTitle: The Lost Carousel of Provence

Author: Juliet Blackwell

Published by Berkley Books on September 18, 2018

Genres: General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Berkley Publishing, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

An artist lost to history, a family abandoned to its secrets, and the woman whose search for meaning unearths it all in a sweeping and expressive story from the New York Times bestselling author of Letters from Paris .

Present day, San Francisco. During her free time, professional photographer Cady Drake shoots local carousels, a hobby inspired by a gift that transformed her childhood: a wooden rabbit supposedly created by master French carver Gustave Bayol a century ago. And when she’s offered a freelance assignment for a book on the antique merry-go-rounds of Paris, Cady can’t refuse the opportunity to visit the famous carousels for the first time….

1900s, France. In a small town outside of Avignon, a husband and young wife struggle to keep up their ancestral chateau–and start the family they so desperately desire. For the children they hope to have, the Clements hire the famous Bayol to build a carousel, but as the carver and his apprentice work on the beautiful and whimsical creation, fate will entwine them all in unseen ways–for generations to come…

Present day, Provence. As Cady’s research leads her to the dilapidated Chateau Clement and its fabled carousel that was lost to the ravages of World War II, she will uncover a shocking truth in a set of one-hundred-year-old photographs that could guide her in reuniting a family torn apart by petty jealousies over several generations.


Review:

Intriguing, atmospheric, and uplifting!

The Lost Carousel of Provence is an alluring tale predominantly set in the majestic southeastern region of France during the early 1900s, as well as present day, and is told from three different perspectives. Maelle, an independent, hardworking young woman struggling to showcase her talents and prove her worth in a male-dominated environment. Fabrice, a lonely, elderly man who has sacrificed, endured and lived a life weighed down by deception, regret, and unrequited love. And Cady an intelligent, independent, young woman who endeavours to photograph all the lost carousels of France and uncover all the stories and secrets that surround them.

The prose is expressive and eloquent. The characters are scarred, complex, and authentic. And the plot is a sweeping saga filled with familial drama, introspection, love, loss, life, family, friendship, community, mystique, heartbreak, romance, secrets, passion, loyalty, as well as a little insight into the designing and building of some of the most famous merry-go-rounds of all time.

Overall, The Lost Carousel of Provence is an informative, romantic, mysterious tale that is a well-written, exceptionally researched, beautiful, picture postcard of the history, landmarks, culture, culinary fare, and lost art forms of a country Blackwell obviously loves and knows well.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                        

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Berkley Publishing Group, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Juliet Blackwell

Juliet Blackwell is the New York Times bestselling author of Letters from Paris and The Paris Key. She also writes the Witchcraft Mystery series and the Haunted Home Renovation series. As Hailey Lind, Blackwell wrote the Agatha-nominated Art Lover's Mystery series. A former anthropologist, social worker, and professional artist, Juliet is a California native who has spent time in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France.

#BookReview
Daughters of Castle Deverill by Santa Montefiore
@SantaMontefiore @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Daughters of Castle Deverill by Santa Montefiore @SantaMontefiore @SimonSchusterCATitle: Daughters of Castle Deverill

Author: Santa Montefiore

Series: Deverill Chronicles #2

Published by Simon & Schuster UK on September 4, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 592

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

 

Synopsis:

The second book in the #1 international bestselling series about the powerful ties between three women and their determination to return home.

The war is over. But life will never be the same…

It is 1925 and Castle Deverill has burned to the ground. War and deception have divided the daughters of Ireland, but Celia vows to return her ancestral home to its former glory. Kitty raises a young family but longs for something more, and Bridie flourishes as a New York socialite consumed by revenge. Celia works to reunite her childhood friends and restore the place they once called home, but soon everything she knows is cast into doubt as the Great Depression looms.

In the second installment of Santa Montefiore’s sweeping generational epic, Celia, Kitty, and Bridie must once again face the dark shadows of history. Daughters of Castle Deverill is an unforgettable story of enduring friendship and the inner strength needed to start again.

Previously published in the US as The Daughters of Ireland.


Review:

Epic, intriguing, and mesmeric!

Daughters of Castle Deverill is a meticulous, fascinating tale that picks up where Songs of Love and War left off, taking us back to south-east Ireland during 1925 where Kitty is raising her father’s illegitimate child, Birdie has returned wealthy and intent on claiming her son, and Celia is determined to restore Castle Deverill to a more luxurious version no matter the cost.

The prose is polished and rich. The characters are flawed, driven, eccentric, and alluring. And the exceptionally compelling, well-paced plot is filled with familial dynamics, drama, emotion, self-discovery, secrets, revelations, love, loss, heartbreak, courage, duty, and passion all surrounded by authentic historical events of the time.

Once again with Daughters of Castle Deverill (Deverill Chronicles #2), Montefiore has written a novel that showcases her extraordinary talent as a writer and her passion for history in a tale that sweeps you away to another time and place and leaves you yearning for more. It’s a beautifully written, romantic, heartwarming tale that grabs you from the very first page and leaves you eagerly awaiting the final novel in the series, The Last Secret of the Deverills, due to be published in Canada in January 2019.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Santa Montefiore

Santa Montefiore’s books have been translated into twenty languages and have sold more than four million copies in England and Europe. She is married to writer Simon Sebag Montefiore. They live with their two children, Lily and Sasha, in London.

Photograph by Elaine Fattal

#BookReview
The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick
@NicolaCornick @HarlequinBooks

#BookReview The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick @NicolaCornick @HarlequinBooksTitle: The Phantom Tree

Author: Nicola Cornick

Published by Graydon House on August 21, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Harlequin Books

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

“My name is Mary Seymour and I am the daughter of one queen and the niece of another.”

Browsing antiques shops in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across a delicate old portrait – supposedly of Anne Boleyn. Except Alison knows better… The woman is Mary Seymour, the daughter of Katherine Parr who was taken to Wolf Hall in 1557 as an unwanted orphan and presumed dead after going missing as a child.

The painting is more than just a beautiful object from Alison’s past – it holds the key to her future, unlocking the mystery surrounding Mary’s disappearance, and the enigma of Alison’s son.

But Alison’s quest soon takes a dark and foreboding turn, as a meeting place called the Phantom Tree harbours secrets in its shadows…


Review:

Absorbing, heartwarming, and incredibly intriguing!

The Phantom Tree is a well-paced, evocative, time-travel novel set in England during both the mid-1500s as well as present day and is told from two different perspectives, Alison Banestre, a strong, heartbroken, young lady running from scandal, and Alison Bannister, a successful, driven, young woman searching for a way home.

The writing is effortless and immersive. The characters are multifaceted, tormented, and sympathetic. And the plot using a back-and-forth, past/present style captivates and enthralls as it sweeps you away into an intricately woven, suspenseful tale of life, loss, familial responsibility, coming-of-age, betrayal, deception, drama, mystery, love, and a touch of magic.

The Phantom Tree is a beautifully written, clever, unique story, and even though there is not much known about the life and death of Mary Seymour, Cornick has done a remarkable job of taking the barest of historical facts and surrounding them with fiction that is passionate, alluring, and exceptionally fascinating.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to Harlequin Books and Anna at ARO Publicity for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Nicola Cornick

International bestselling author Nicola Cornick writes romantic historical mysteries and witty and passionate Regency romance. She studied History at London and Oxford and was awarded a distinction for her dissertation on historical heroes. It was a tough study but someone had to do it. Nicola has a “double life” as a writer and guide at the stunning 17th century hunting lodge, Ashdown House. Nicola lives near Oxford and loves reading, writing, history, music, wildlife, travel and walking her dog. She also loves hearing from her readers and chatting to them on her blog.

#BlogTour #BookReview
The Daughter of River Valley by Victoria Cornwall
@VickieCornwall @rararesources @ChocLituk

#BlogTour #BookReview The Daughter of River Valley by Victoria Cornwall @VickieCornwall @rararesources @ChocLituk

#BlogTour #BookReview The Daughter of River Valley by Victoria Cornwall @VickieCornwall @rararesources @ChocLitukTitle: The Daughter of River Valley

Author: Victoria Cornwall

Series: Cornish Tales #3

Published by Choc Lit on July 17, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 329

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Choc Lit, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

Beth Jago appears to have the idyllic life, she has a trade to earn a living and a cottage of her own in Cornwall’s beautiful River Valley. Yet appearances can be deceptive …

Beth has a secret. Since inheriting her isolated cottage she has been receiving threats, so when she finds a man in her home she acts on her instincts. One frying pan to the head and she has robbed the handsome stranger of his memory and almost killed him.

Brought together by unknown circumstances, and fearful he may die, she reluctantly nurses the intruder back to health. Yet can she trust the man with no name who has entered her life, or is he as dangerous as his nightmares suggest? As they learn to trust one another, the outside threats worsen. Are they linked to the man with no past? Or is the real danger still outside waiting … and watching them both?


Review:

Captivating, mysterious, and incredibly atmospheric!

The Daughter of River Valley is a lighthearted, Victorian romance that transports you back to 1860s Cornwall where Beth, a fierce, independent, young woman is determined to live and survive on her own after losing her beloved grandfather, and a strikingly handsome, troubled stranger is struggling to remember who he is and where he came from after trespassing in the wrong cottage.

The prose is seamless and wonderfully descriptive. The characters are vulnerable, thoughtful, and intriguing. And the plot, including a series of compelling subplots, interweave and unravel to create a well-paced, engaging story about life, loss, familial love, friendship, secrets, class division, romance, as well as a touch of the importance of industrial mining, and the effects of the Crimean War on the British people.

The Daughter of River Valley is the third book in the Cornish Tales series, and even though it’s the first novel I’ve read by Victoria Cornwall, I can guarantee you it won’t be my last. It’s emotional, humorous, and exceptionally authentic, and is without a doubt a must read for historical romance lovers everywhere.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following link.

 

 

Thank you to Choc Lit and Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Victoria Cornwall

Victoria Cornwall can trace her Cornish roots as far back as the 18th century and it is this background and heritage which is the inspiration for her Cornish based novels.

Victoria’s writing has been shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction and her debut novel reached the final for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award.

Victoria likes to read and write historical fiction with a strong background story, but at its heart is the unmistakable emotion, even pain, of loving someone.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

 

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