Vintage Treasures

Escape to the Past

Thanks so much to fellow writer Pam O'Shea for comingOnly a few weeks’ ago, I had the pleasure of attending the launch of December Girl, the debut novel of fellow Irish historical fiction author, Nicola Cassidy. I’m a few chapters in and really loving this story. It grabs your attention straight away – I read the first chapter with my heart pounding!

Nicola has found some time in her very busy life to come along and  join me in the library this evening to share some insights into her life as an author.

 

 

You are very welcome, Nicola, please introduce yourself: 

Nicola Cassidy Author PicMy name is Nicola Cassidy, I’m a writer and blogger and I work as a marketing manager. I’m Mum to two small girls and when I’m not cleaning the house, writing or fussing over my daughters, I’m out singing or rehearsing with a pop and funk band I’ve recently joined. It’s a busy life.

Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

Yes, I loved books. It took a bit of persuasion mind – I wasn’t too keen on moving on from picture books to novels, but after being forced to read Sweet Valley Twins by my best friend around the age of eight, I was hooked. I read a huge amount in my teenage years, usually historical fiction. I’m pretty sure that’s where my love of the genre was born. I devoured Catherine Cookson and Helen Forrester. As an adult I found it difficult to find books I loved, it’s only recently, since I’ve made forays into the publishing world myself that I’ve discovered a whole new raft of authors. I choose books by their style – their language, their prose – the setting or genre isn’t important, it’s the writing that attracts me.

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

I’m published by Bombshell Books, which is a new digital imprint of Bloodhound Books.

Which genre do you write in and why?

I write historical fiction because I like disappearing into the past and imagining what it was like. I’m not opposed to writing in contemporary styles, however, and my short stories and a stage play I recently wrote were set in the present. I like trying everything and challenging myself. My novels, for the foreseeable, however, will be historical fiction.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

I’ve had many influencers. My English teacher Mrs McCartan in secondary school was a huge influence on me – she spotted my talent early on and encouraged it. She made me feel that I could do things with my writing, which I have. My writing tutor Greg Baxter, who taught me advanced creative writing in the Irish Writer’s Centre was also a big influence. He introduced me to so many fabulous literary writers and showed us how to try and attain that standard. We were encouraged to never settle for less. And then all the books I’ve read of course, the writers I’ve loved – the prose that I wish I could copy. Writing is an ongoing craft – I’m always learning, always striving to do better.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

Very much so. I didn’t find my ‘flow’ until I decided to set my book locally. I’d been searching for something to write about, but I didn’t know what. As soon as I decided I’d set a novel in the Boyne Valley at the end of the 19th century, everything fell into place. It was very important to me that I wrote about the area and tried to put across to readers what a spiritual, beautiful place it is. There’s a reason our ancestors came here thousands of years ago to build their temples.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

Lots of the writing process is difficult. None of it’s easy. Actually sitting down to write. Trying to come up with a good, believable plot. Weaving it all together. Pace. Structure. I’ve had to learn a lot and as I’ve only written one (proper) book I think I have a lifetime of difficulty ahead! That said, when I get into it and it’s just me and the laptop and my story and I write and finish a chapter that I’m happy with, there’s nothing like the high I feel. It’s probably addictive.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

It used to be the night time from 9pm onwards, and I’d have a glass of wine and just type. Now with two children under the age of three it’s difficult and bedtimes are erratic, so I grab my writing time whenever I can. Now I quite enjoy writing in the morning hours, during nap time, during daylight. I feel fresher.

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

The best thing is being able to be creative for a living. Getting recognition or a wage for using your talent, creating art and in some way influencing people is a most satisfying way to exist. The worst thing about being an author is being creative for a living. It’s so precarious and worrisome, especially when you have a family to support and a high cost of living in Ireland. That’s why I try to find the balance – working towards supporting myself with my writing, while keeping my feet firmly on the ground. No lofty notions now.

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

I wouldn’t call it a chore. As a marketer I think that’s a terrible thought to have about social media! But I do understand that it’s time consuming and can zap away precious writing and especially, reading time. I enjoy it though – I always have – I love interacting with others, and I learn so much from it. I have platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and would interact with those the most. I have Pinterest and Snapchat accounts but barely use them. I think you should find the medium you enjoy the most and get involved. Then it doesn’t feel like a chore!

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I don’t think my life would be that different in that I’d still be working in marketing or a marketing related discipline. I enjoy marketing and PR roles because they are so creative and you’re always trying to communicate in the best way to your target audience. The same as creative writing really.

It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?

I’d probably take out my battered copy of Star of the Sea by Joseph O’Connor and have a read and a bit of a cry. Though in fairness, if it was the last day on earth, I’d more likely be watching events on Twitter than curled up in my bed reading!

Please tell us about December Girl

Book 3My debut novel December Girl has just been published by Bombshell Books. It’s available on Amazon as a paperback and digital download. It’s a historical fiction novel, inspired by true events and follows the tale of Molly Thomas who is evicted from her home at the end of the 19th century in the Boyne Valley, Ireland. She faces a life of turmoil as she tries to overcome the challenges thrown at her, one of which is the kidnapping of her young baby, Oliver. (Click here to find out more about this book on Amazon).

Nicola’s book is on sale from 1st to 7th December, so don’t miss this opportunity to check out some wonderful writing.

Thanks, Nicola. It was lovely to have  you as a guest in the library this evening. I wish you all the best with December Girl and your writing career.

If you’d like to know more about Nicola, please follow her links below.

Author Website  Nicola’s Blog

Facebook Twitter  Instagram

 

 

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Do you love historical fiction? What makes you choose one book over another? For most of us, the cover is the first thing that attracts our attention. 

Each month I will be choosing my ‘Pam’s Pick’. Hopefully, you will be intrigued enough to look beyond the covers I feature and find your next favourite author. If a cover interests you just click on the image to learn more about the book and buy if you wish.

And the not so small print: the judge’s decision is final (that would be me!) and is highly subjective.

Please note this is a cover competition only and does not constitute a review of any of the books featured. It’s up to you to explore. Happy Reading!

My November winner is:

The Beauty Shop by Suzy Henderson

 

 

I love the colours and images used in this cover because they perfectly convey what the story is about. Having read this book last year, I can also confirm that the story is just as good as the cover!

***

War changes everyone, inside and out. The remarkable true story of the Guinea Pig Club.

England, 1942. After three years of WWII, Britain is showing the scars. But in this darkest of days, three lives intertwine, changing their destinies and those of many more.

Dr Archibald McIndoe, a New Zealand plastic surgeon with unorthodox methods, is on a mission to treat and rehabilitate badly burned airmen – their bodies and souls. With the camaraderie and support of the Guinea Pig Club, his boys battle to overcome disfigurement, pain, and prejudice to learn to live again.

John ‘Mac’ Mackenzie of the US Air Force is aware of the odds. He has one chance in five of surviving the war. Flying bombing missions through hell and back, he’s fighting more than the Luftwaffe. Fear and doubt stalk him on the ground and in the air, and he’s torn between his duty and his conscience.

Shy, decent and sensible Stella Charlton’s future seems certain until war breaks out. As a new recruit to the WAAF, she meets an American pilot on New Year’s Eve. After just one dance, she falls head over heels for the handsome airman. But when he survives a crash, she realises her own battle has only just begun.

Based on a true story, “The Beauty Shop” is a moving tale of love, compassion, and determination against a backdrop of wartime tragedy.

* * *

As ever, there was stiff competition this month for the top spot. Here are the runners up in no particular order.

 

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All in the name of love…

For as long as Richard Hartford can remember he has wanted to see Turkey, and explore the antiquities of the once mighty Ottoman Empire.

Now, he is fulfilling that dream alongside his sister, Olivia.

Since their parents died in a carriage accident when she was 16, the siblings have been very close. Now 23, Olivia is a strong woman who knows her own mind.

Before Richard left their family estate for Turkey, he sent Olivia to London for the season, hoping she would find herself a husband. But scandal erupted when Lord Craybook, a gambler with huge debts who knew he could not win her hand any other way, set out to compromise her, keeping Olivia away from home overnight.

Olivia’s aunt, who she was staying with in London, insists she marry Lord Craybrook, but Olivia refuses and is shipped off to Turkey to avoid the inevitable scandal.

Yet Olivia soon falls in love with the magical land of Turkey and she soon meets a number of interesting people, like Lady Hester Stanhope, niece of the prime minister of England, and intrepid world traveller.

And then there is the handsome Selim, cousin to the Sultan.

Selim works as an ambassador for the Sultan and Olivia quickly falls irrevocably in love with him. Things are looking quite promising for Olivia, until Lord Crayrook shows up, determined to win her hand.

Is Olivia destined to live a life of solitude and regret?

Or will her past stay buried long enough for her to have her happy ending?

Filled with the rich detail of the sunset of the Ottoman Empire, Scandalous Lady is a love story that crosses cultures and boundaries, showing what is possible when love is at stake.

 * * *

 

 

 

Sally Swann thought life couldn’t get much worse. Then a single coin changed hands.

A dismal cottage in the heart of Bolton, Lancashire, has been Sally’s prison since Joseph Goden ‘bought’ her from the workhouse as his wife. A drunkard and bully, Joseph rules her with a rod of iron, using fists and threats to keep her in check.

When Sally gives birth, however, she knows she must do anything to save her child from her husband’s clutches. She manages to escape, and taking her baby, flees for the belching chimneys of Manchester, in search of her only relative.

But with the threat of discovery by Joseph, who will stop at nothing to find her, Sally must fight with every ounce of strength she has to protect herself and her son, and finally be with the man who truly loves her. For a fresh start does not come without a price . . .

 

Watch out every month for the next featured selection of great covers, and don’t forget, if you read a book and love it, post a review and make an author happy.

Do you love historical fiction? What makes you choose one book over another? For most of us, the cover is the first thing that attracts our attention. 

Each month I will be choosing my ‘Pam’s Pick’. Hopefully, you will be intrigued enough to look beyond the covers I feature and find your next favourite author. If a cover interests you just click on the image to learn more about the book and buy if you wish.

And the not so small print: the judge’s decision is final (that would be me!) and is highly subjective.

Please note this is a cover competition only and does not constitute a review of any of the books featured. It’s up to you to explore. Happy Reading!

My October winner is:

The Beaufort Woman by Judith Arnopp

 

 

 

It’s hard to resist a cover as beautiful as this and it would certainly catch my eye in a bookshop or scrolling. Congratulations Judith – a great choice.

***

As the struggle between York and Lancaster continues, Margaret Beaufort fights for admittance to the court of the victorious Edward IV of York and his unpopular queen, Elizabeth Woodville.
The old king and his heir are dead, leaving only Margaret’s son, the exiled Henry Tudor, with a tenuous claim to the throne. The royal nursery is full, with two small princes securing York’s continuing rule.
But Edward and Elizabeth’s magnificent court hides a dark secret, a deception that threatens the security of the English throne … and all who lust after it.
In 1483, with the untimely death of the King, Margaret finds herself at the heart of chain of events that threaten the supremacy of York, and will change England forever.

* * *

As ever, there was stiff competition this month for the top spot. Here are the runners up in no particular order.

 

 

Gentleman Adventurer - Sean MacCotter

The Gentleman Adventurer by Sean MacCotter

 

In 1581 the old Templar chapel at Shalford gave up its secret to the hidden Key. Eighty years later the relic made its way from England to the new Province of Maryland in the belongings of the Gentleman Adventurer, George Yate. Before he even set foot on his new lands his companions began dying. Were they victims of the rebels attacking the government George served? Common thieves and villains? Or were they assassins sent by powerful forces willing to kill to regain control of The Key?

The Gentleman Adventurer is a historical thriller, a mystery, and the true love story of two of America’s early Colonists.

 * * *
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The Murmur of Masks by Catherine Kullmann

It is 1803. The Treaty of Amiens has collapsed and England is again at war with France. Eighteen-year-old Olivia must say goodbye to her father and brother, both of whom are recalled to active service in the navy. Not long afterwards, her mother, who has been her anchor all her life, dies suddenly. As a result, she loses her home. Adrift and vulnerable, she accepts the offer of a marriage of convenience from Jack Rembleton, an older man whose brother, Lord Rembleton, is pressuring him to marry and sire the heir to the title Rembleton has failed to provide. Olivia hopes that love will grow between them, but Jack’s secrets will prevent this and Olivia must learn that she has thrown away her youth and the chance of love.

When Luke Fitzmaurice, a young man prevented by ill-health from joining the army, meets Olivia at a ball, he is instantly smitten but she must tell him she is already married. Ten years pass, during which each faces up to life’s challenges but then fate throws them together again. Olivia is finally free, but before they can explore what might be between them, Napoleon escapes from Elba and Luke, who is determined this time not to be found wanting, joins Wellington’s army in Brussels.

 

 

 

Watch out every month for the next featured selection of great covers, and don’t forget, if you read a book and love it, post a review and make an author happy.

This evening in the Library, I am delighted to welcome, Lorna Peel­­­­­­, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome Lorna, please introduce yourself:

lorna-peelThank you for inviting me into the Library and interviewing me, Pam. I am an author of historical romance and romantic suspense novels set in the UK and Ireland. I was born in England and lived in North Wales until my family moved to Ireland to become farmers, which is a book in itself! I live in rural Ireland, where I write, research my family history, and grow fruit and vegetables. I also keep chickens and a Guinea Hen called Gertrude who now thinks she’s a chicken!

Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

Yes, I read a lot as a child – and I mean a LOT! My favourite author was Enid Blyton. I devoured everything she wrote and I remember saving up all my pocket money so I could buy the books from The Famous Five series at W.H. Smiths. They were 50p at the time!

I don’t read quite as much now as I simply don’t have the time. When I do read, I like to take a break from the genres I write in, so it’s mostly historical fiction, especially Sharon Penman (I’m working my way through her Richard The Lionheart novels at the moment) and C.J. Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake series.

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

Both. I have four novels with indie publishers and my two most recent novels are self-published.

Which genre do you write in and why?

I write historical romance and romantic suspense novels. I love writing romance but I don’t write insta-love. I prefer to write about relationships which develop over time, so I send my heroes and heroines on a journey in search of their happy ever after. As well as that, I’ve always had an interest in history and genealogy and I’m lucky that I have very varied ancestors – I’m of Irish, Dutch, Welsh, German and Scottish descent – so I like to combine romance with history and/or genealogy in my novels with plenty of suspenseful twists and turns to keep everyone on their toes!

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

A teacher (inadvertently) and myself and my own stubbornness. I was never encouraged to write imaginative essays at school and one teacher even refused to read or mark any of their class’ imaginative essays. I wasn’t going to allow that teacher to discourage me from even trying to write, but it wasn’t until I left school that I began writing and I’ve been writing ever since.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

The city of Dublin plays a large part in my family history so I’ve always wanted to write some novels set there. My paternal ancestors were from Dublin and I’ve done a lot of research on the family tree as well as research into the areas where they lived and also into what they did for a living. I’ve also lived in Dublin, so having all that work done and being able to visualise streets and buildings and know how long it takes to walk from A to B was a great help to me when I sat down to write A Scarlet Woman. I still had to undertake a great deal of research for the novel but the groundwork was already complete.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

The difficult part is finding the time to actually sit down and write something, especially in Summer. Summer is so short in Ireland (if we get one at all!) that I’m outside in the vegetable garden as much as possible or cleaning out the henhouse, whether I’m in the humour for it or not! To keep on top of my writing, and so that I continue to produce new novels, I now edit during the Summer months and write during Winter. 

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I used to write very late at night as I’m a night owl. More recently, it’s been in the afternoon (when possible) and in the evening. I must be getting old!

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

The best thing is when someone you don’t know tells you they enjoyed reading your novel(s). That makes all the hard work worthwhile. The worst is promotion. It has to be done, but I’d rather be writing.

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

I do find social media an essential chore. I don’t like Facebook, it’s far too Big Brother-like IMO, but I need a Facebook Author Page. I much prefer Twitter as tweets are short and to the point (for now!) and, so far, Twitter doesn’t restrict who can see them.

I recently joined Instagram, but my favourite social media platform is Pinterest. I can spend hours there. I have boards for all my novels, one board with some great old photos of Dublin (which was an enormous help to me in writing A Scarlet Woman) and many more, including my favourite TV series, films, music etc. 

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

Something involving historical research. I love research! I’m a research nerd!

It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?

If the earth is facing imminent oblivion, I don’t think I would be reading! I would be saying goodbye to family and friends instead. But if I was stuck on a desert island, my books of choice would be Sharon Penman’s Welsh Princes Trilogy – Here Be Dragons, Falls The Shadow and The Reckoning. I was brought up in North Wales so I’ve either been to or know of the places mentioned in the novels.

Please tell us about your latest published work.

A Scarlet Woman by Lorna Peel eBook CoverMy latest novel is an historical romance called A Scarlet Woman and it is the first in The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Series. A Scarlet Woman is set in Dublin, Ireland in 1880 and tells the story of Will Fitzgerald, an idealistic young doctor and Isobel Stevens, a fallen woman.

Will left his father’s prosperous medical practice to live and practise medicine in the poorer Liberties area of Dublin because he was tired of treating rich hypochondriacs and he wanted to do some good elsewhere. His parents were appalled and his fiancée broke off their engagement and married a rich barrister instead. So, when the novel opens, Will is nursing a broken heart and is expecting to be a poor, lonely bachelor doctor for the rest of his life. But when Will reluctantly spends a night in a brothel on the eve of his best friend’s wedding, little does he know that the disgraced young woman he meets there will alter the course of his life.

Isobel Stevens is the daughter of a cruel and vindictive clergyman from Co. Galway who ruled his family with an iron fist. Isobel was well educated and her father hoped to secure a good marriage for her but she was seduced and deserted by a neighbour’s son, leaving her viewed by society as a fallen woman through no fault of her own. Isobel’s father threw her out, so she travelled to Dublin and fell into prostitution, doing what she must to survive. On the advice of a handsome young doctor, Isobel leaves the brothel and finds work as a parlourmaid in a house on Merrion Square. Isobel never expected to see Will again, but their paths cross and their lives become intertwined and they find themselves falling in love. But is Will and Isobel’s love strong enough to flout convention and challenge the expectations of Victorian society?

A Scarlet Woman: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book One is out now on Kindle, in paperback and on Kindle Unlimited.  Buy Link: Purchase on Amazon

If you would like to know  more about Lorna and her work please check out her links below:

http://lornapeel.com

http://plus.google.com/+LornaPeel

https://www.instagram.com/lornapeelauthor

http://www.facebook.com/LornaPeelAuthor

http://www.goodreads.com/LornaPeel

http://author.to/LornaPeel

Do you love historical fiction? What makes you choose one book over another? For most of us, the cover is the first thing that attracts our attention. 

Each month I will be choosing my ‘Pam’s Pick’. Hopefully, you will be intrigued enough to look beyond the covers I feature and find your next favourite author. If a cover interests you just click on the image to learn more about the book and buy if you wish.

And the not so small print: the judge’s decision is final (that would be me!) and is highly subjective.

Please note this is a cover competition only and does not constitute a review of any of the books featured. It’s up to you to explore. Happy Reading!

My September winner is:

Britannia’s Amazon by Antoine Vanner

 

 

I love this cover and it has nothing to do with the fact that Antoine and I write in the same period (well ok – just a smidgen!). This cover says adventure and intrigue to me – two of my favourite things. Congrats Antoine -a great cover for a great story.

***

1882: Florence Dawlish stands at the quayside in Portsmouth and watches the Royal Navy’s newest cruiser, HMS Leonidas, departing under command of her husband Captain Nicholas Dawlish. Months of separation lie ahead, quiet months which she plans to fill with charitable works.

Witnessing of the abduction of a young girl shatters that quiet, bringing Florence into brutal contact with the squalid underside of complacent Victorian society. With her personal loyalties challenged to the limit, and conscious that her persistence in seeking justice may damage her ambitious husband’s career, not to mention the possibility of prison for herself, Florence is drawn ever deeper into a maelstrom of corruption and violence. The enemies she faces are merciless and vicious, their identities protected by guile, power and influence.

Florence has faced danger before but it was shared then with her husband Nicholas. Now she must make the hardest decisions of her life without his support. And when legal measures prove futile she must make very difficult choices…

Britannia’s Amazon plays out in a world of extreme wealth and limitless poverty, marriages of American heiresses to British aristocracy and children starving in foul garrets, crusading journalists and hideously disfigured match-girls, arrogant aesthetes and ineffectual benevolence.

This is the fifth volume of the Dawlish Chronicles naval fiction series – action and adventure set in the age of transition from sail to steam in the later 19th Century. But in Britannia’s Amazon the action is driven by Florence, the indomitable wife whom naval officer Nicholas Dawlish met – and fell in love with – in the first of the series, Britannia’s Wolf. Fiercely devoted to the welfare of seamen and their families, she is to find that Britain itself offers dangers as lethal as her husband faces overseas.

As ever, there was stiff competition this month for the top spot. Here are the runners up in no particular order.

 

 

Can Caitriona and Michael’s love survive when it is opposed by the warring families in their small Irish village?

Ireland 1835: Faction fighting has left the parish of Doon divided between the followers of the Bradys and the Donnellans. Caitriona Brady is the widow of John, the Brady champion, killed two years ago. Matched with John aged eighteen, Caitriona didn’t love him and can’t mourn him. Now John’s mother is dead too, and Caitriona is free to marry again. Michael Warner is handsome, loves her, and he hasn’t allied himself with either faction. But what secret is he keeping from her? Is he too good to be true?

 

Zeus of Ithome - Tim Taylor.jpg

Zeus of Ithome by T.E. Taylor

Three Hundred Years of Slavery. Greece, 373 BC. For three centuries, the Messenian people have been brutally subjugated by their Spartan neighbours and forced to work the land as helot slaves. Diocles, a seventeen-year-old helot, has known no other life but servitude. After an encounter with Spartan assassins, he is forced to flee, leaving behind his family and his love, Elpis. On Mount Ithome, the ancient sanctuary of the Messenians, he meets Aristomenes, an old rebel who still remembers the proud history of their people and clings to a prophecy that they will one day win back their freedom. A forlorn hope, perhaps. But elsewhere in Greece, there are others too who believe it is time that the power of Sparta was broken.

 

Penhaligan's Attic Terri Nixon.jpeg

Penhaligon’s Attic by Terri Nixon

1910. Anna Garvey arrives in Caernoweth, Cornwall with her daughter and a secret. Having come from Ireland to take up an inheritance of the local pub, she and her eighteen year-old daughter Mairead are initially viewed with suspicion by the close-knit community.
Anna soon becomes acquainted with Freya Penhaligon, a vulnerable girl struggling to keep her family business afloat in the wake of her grandmother’s death, and starts to gain the trust of the locals. As their friendship deepens, and Freya is brought out of her shell by the clever and lively Mairead, even Freya’s protective father Matthew begins to thaw.
But when a part of Anna’s past she’d long tried to escape turns up in the town, she is forced to confront the life she left behind – for her sake and her daughter’s too . . .

Watch out every month for the next featured selection of great covers, and don’t forget, if you read a book and love it, post a review and make an author happy.

Do you love historical fiction? What makes you choose one book over another? For most of us, the cover is the first thing that attracts our attention. 

Each month I will be choosing my ‘Pam’s Pick’. Hopefully, you will be intrigued enough to look beyond the covers I feature and find your next favourite author. If a cover interests you just click on the image to learn more about the book and buy if you wish.

And the not so small print: the judge’s decision is final (that would be me!) and is highly subjective.

Please note this is a cover competition only and does not constitute a review of any of the books featured. It’s up to you to explore. Happy Reading!

My August winner is:

Alvar the Kingmaker by Annie Whitehead

 

 

Ok – I have to admit to being a bit of a fan of Annie’s books. To Be a Queen was my introduction (and it had a lovely cover, by the way), so I wasn’t too surprised to see this great cover from Annie. It evokes the period beautifully.

The story, based on true events, begins when the king is caught in bed with his wife and her mother, and ends with the murder of another king, a crime attributed to his stepmother, the queen. Central to the story is Alvar, earl of Mercia. Having helped King Edgar to secure the throne, amid great unrest he must fight to clear the queen’s name, bring the country back from the brink of civil war, and stabilise the monarchy for Edgar’s son, Æthelred the Unready. He does this at great personal cost, and his enemies will stop at little: Abbot Dunstan, banished, recalled, and in no mood to forgive. Bishop Oswald, the ambitious foreigner who will let nothing stand in his way. They must not discover Alvar’s secret love for the wife of his deputy, whilst Alvar must keep her safe, and serve and protect the queen, who is in love with him and who harbours a dark secret of her own…

As ever, there was stiff competition this month for the top spot. Here are the runners up in no particular order.

 

 

 

*This is a cracking read by the way and first in a series on Roman emperors which I am galloping through with gusto.*

Debauchery. Depravity. Decadence. Just everyday life at the imperial palace. Whilst Emperor Nero plays with his new water organ and a cross-dressing eunuch, his wily secretary Epaphroditus manages affairs of state. But dissent and rebellion are growing across the empire, and Nero is soon to discover playtime is over.Praetorian prefect Nymphidius Sabinus, disgusted by the moral degeneracy, secretly plots the overthrow of Nero’s court. Motivated by the traditional Roman values of valour and nobility, yet blinded by his own righteousness, Sabinus is ignorant of what he has unleashed – The Year of the Four Emperors.Palatine is the first in an enthralling four-book series about the tumultuous ‘Year of the Four Emperors’ which will appeal to fans of Lindsey Davis and George R. R. Martin.

Savage_Wilderness- John Cahill

Savage Wilderness by John M. Cahill

 

The Boschloper Saga, Book 2

In 1687, the English Colony of New York is in dire financial straits. The flow of beaver pelts, the life’s blood of the colony, has slowed to a trickle. In response, New York’s governor grants licenses to Albany traders to enter French territory and divert the furs of the Far Indians from Montreal to Albany. Although only recently married to Laurentje, Sean O’Cathail joins the small group of adventurers who have the courage to face the savage wilderness. However, the governor of New France learns of their plans, and the traders must avoid capture by the French and their savage allies. Optimistic that they can avoid detection, Sean and his fellow boschlopers begin to cross the Great Lakes. But, when they are surrounded and captured, Sean finds that his adventure is only just beginning. He will need all his wits and the help of Kai, the beautiful Mohawk woman who was once his lover, to survive and return home.

 

men of the cross - char simser

Men of the Cross by Charlene Newcomb

War, political intrigue and passion… heroes… friends and lovers… and the seeds for a new Robin Hood legend await you…

Two young knights’ journey to war at Richard the Lionheart’s side sweeps them from England to the Holy Land in this historical adventure set against the backdrop of the Third Crusade.

Henry de Grey leaves Southampton in high spirits, strong in his faith and passionate about the mission to take Jerusalem back from Saladin’s army. Stephan l’Aigle’s prowess on the battlefield is well known, as are his exploits in the arms of other men. He prizes duty, honour and loyalty to his king above all else. But God and the Church? Stephan has little use for either.

Henry’s convictions are challenged by loss and the harsh realities of bloody battles, unforgiving marches, and the politics of the day. Man against man. Man against the elements. Man against his own heart. Survival will depend on more than a strong sword arm.

 

 

Watch out every month for the next featured selection of great covers, and don’t forget, if you read a book and love it, post a review and make an author happy.

Thanks to Michael for a lovely review – nothing like scaring a book reviewer!!

The Written Word

Synopsis

It’s Sally and Alex’s first weekend away together and romance is definitely on Sally’s mind. But why is Alex acting so out of character? When strange things begin to happen, Sally wonders if they are truely alone in their coastal getaway …

__________

Review by Michael Connery

Pam Lecky’s The Lighthouse Keeper is a modern day ghost story in the vein of the Victorian classics such as Gaskell, Dickens, and Riddell:  eery and haunting with tragic foreboding.

Atmospheric and vivid, the tale is well-written and tautly plotted. Within the brief twenty-six pages, Lecky unfolds a story steeped in past tragedy, unsettling encounters, and devastating consequences. Though short in length, the protagonist is well-rounded, the plot is driving, and the lighthouse is as much a character as it is the setting. Lecky does a stellar job in building the tension from the first page to the last.

Chilling and gripping,

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Do you love historical fiction? What makes you choose one book over another? For most of us, the cover is the first thing that attracts our attention. 

Each month I will be choosing my ‘Pam’s Pick’. Hopefully, you will be intrigued enough to look beyond the covers I feature and find your next favourite author. If a cover interests you just click on the image to learn more about the book and buy if you wish.

And the not so small print: the judge’s decision is final (that would be me!) and is highly subjective.

Please note this is a cover competition only and does not constitute a review of any of the books featured. It’s up to you to explore. Happy Reading!

My July winner is:

Deadly Engagement by Lucinda Brant

Deadly-Engagement-Lucinda-Brant

What a great cover this is! You know exactly what this book is about and would instantly go to the blurb to find out more (which is what I did!.  This promises to be a good’ shut out the world and escape book’. Now on the reading list for my hols.

Spring 1763. Career diplomat Alec Halsey returns to London to the shocking news his estranged brother, the Earl of Delvin, has not only killed his friend in a duel but is engaged to the woman Alec hoped to marry. The dead man’s mother wants Alec to investigate, so he reluctantly attends a weekend house party celebrating the engagement. Houseguests get more than they bargained for when a lady’s maid is murdered, the bride-to-be is attacked, and a guest is shot dead. Uncovering a connection between these sinister acts and his brother’s duel, Alec confronts a cruel twist of fate and why his brother will go to any lengths to ruin him in Polite Society.

 

As ever, there was stiff competition this month for the top spot. Here are the runners up in no particular order.

 

Including this children’s book by S.P. McArdle

The Red Letter Day - SP McArdle

The Red-Letter Day by SP McArdle

The Red-Letter Day is a magic history adventure for children.

 

Out of Time - Loretta Livingstone

Out of Time – Loretta Livingstone

1191: Giles de Soutenay has never liked or trusted John, Count of Mortain, but when John is taken seriously ill, it falls to Giles to ensure his survival.

2006: Marion Hart, visiting the ruined Abbey of Sparnstow, could never have imagined she would be called upon to help save one of the most dangerous men of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Falling through a gap in time, she finds herself administering first aid to John, inadvertently endangering both herself and Giles.

Book #1 of the Out of Time series – a time travel story, set in medieval England

 

Christmas Cure Dianne Ascroft

The Christmas Cure by Dianne Ascroft

During the Second World War, one song familiar to American servicemen and women around the world conjured warm, comforting memories like no other. But, for some “White Christmas” unbearably deepened their longing for home.

December 1942: Lieutenant Marjorie Baxter is an intelligent, competent U.S. army nurse newly posted to the 160th Station Hospital at Necarne Castle, Irvinestown, Northern Ireland. Preparing to spend her first ever Christmas away from home, she appears aloof as she struggles to hide her homesickness. And everywhere she goes, she hears “White Christmas”.

Reverend Herbert Lindsay, the widowed rector of a nearby village church and a keen herbalist, is rebuilding his life after his beloved wife’s unexpected death two years ago. Exempt from military service after a childhood accident left him blind in one eye, he is dedicated to serving his parishioners as well as the Allied military personnel he encounters in his community.

The pair cross paths when Reverend Lindsay brings a civilian woman, injured by a U.S. army vehicle, to the U.S. military hospital. Although they intrigue each other, the nurse’s determined reserve stymies the minister’s friendly overtures.

As they continue to be thrown together during the Christmas season, can Marjorie open her heart to Herbert’s friendship, homespun remedies and advice, and maybe more?

Watch out every month for the next featured selection of great covers, and don’t forget, if you read a book and love it, post a review and make an author happy.

Do you love historical fiction? What makes you choose one book over another? For most of us, the cover is the first thing that attracts our attention. 

Each month I will be choosing my ‘Pam’s Pick’. Hopefully, you will be intrigued enough to look beyond the covers I feature and find your next favourite author. If a cover interests you just click on the image to learn more about the book and buy if you wish.

And the not so small print: the judge’s decision is final (that would be me!) and is highly subjective.

Please note this is a cover competition only and does not constitute a review of any of the books featured. It’s up to you to explore. Happy Reading!

My June winner is:

Mr Monfort’s Marriage by Vonnie Hughes

This cover instantly said romance and mystery (two of my favourite things).

Mr Montfort's Marriage - Vonnie Hughes

Mr Monfort’s Marriage by Vonnie Hughes

 

A marriage of convenience is not always convenient.

The woman needs saving, so he’ll save her. A marriage of convenience should suit them both. But don’t expect him to trust her or love her in spite of those knee-trembling smiles and bright intelligence. Women of the ton are not to be trusted. But Verity certainly is enticing…

As ever, there was stiff competition this month for the top spot. Here are the runners up in no particular order.

 

 

Giselle Marks The Fencing Master's Daughter

The Fencing Master’s Daughter by Giselle Marks

 

Edward, Earl of Chalcombe, walking home, is attacked. He attempts to defend himself but is bludgeoned to the ground. Death seems inevitable when a fat ugly man carrying a stick and a beautiful slender young lady appear and rescue him. The rescuers bundle Edward home and the young lady, Madelaine, summons the Bow Street runners. Refusing reward she provides no address. But Edward, fascinated by both Madelaine’s beauty and swordsmanship, intends to pursue the acquaintance. Edward seeks his rescuers and the culprits who wish to terminate his life. He offers the elusive Madelaine marriage but she repeatedly declines. Madelaine’s father accepts an invitation to visit Edward’s estate with her over Christmas as he takes a liking to Edward. As Edward pursues Madelaine, the attempts on his life continue. The mystery intertwines as their romance progresses and Madelaine eventually reveals the secret making her refuse to marry him.

 

 

 

LookingForJamie Angela Rigley

Looking for Jamie by Angela Rigley

 

The first book in the saga of Jamie.
Set in the late nineteenth century this is the story of a young boy who is found bedraggled and starving, having lost his memory. All he knows is his name, Jamie. He is taken in by the household of The Grange on the Brightmoor Estate who soon come to love him as one of their own, especially the master David Dalton whose own son had been killed in an accident two years before. Some months later Tillie Raven is released from prison where she had been sent for stealing a loaf after holing up in a barn to escape a fire. Now she has to find her son, she does not even know if he is still alive, but where should she look first?

Sherlock_Holmes and the mystery of the broken window - Bill Todd

Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Broken Window

 

Sherlock Holmes shows a rare side to his humanity when he and Watson search for a missing fifteen year old girl who has been abducted from her home. The only clue: her window had been smashed through by a rock thrown by an unknown person the night before. With little to go on and no help from the local police, the great detective seems sure of only one thing: if he and Watson cannot find her before dawn, she will be lost forever.

 

Watch out every month for the next featured selection of great covers, and don’t forget, if you read a book and love it, post a review and make an author happy.

Do you love historical fiction? What makes you choose one book over another? For most of us, the cover is the first thing that attracts our attention. 

Each month I will be choosing my ‘Pam’s Pick’. Hopefully, you will be intrigued enough to look beyond the covers I feature and find your next favourite author. If a cover interests you just click on the image to learn more about the book and buy if you wish.

And the not so small print: the judge’s decision is final (that would be me!) and is highly subjective.

Please note this is a cover competition only and does not constitute a review of any of the books featured. It’s up to you to explore. Happy Reading!

My May winner is:

Perception & Illusion by Catherine Kullmann

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