- Gilded Cages: The Trials of Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Novel
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What have you learned about yourself from writing fiction?
How is your own personality reflected in your novels? I have to agree about the autobiographical underpinnings of all fiction, but I think this means something different from what many people think. I am most comfortable telling stories about healthy, functional people who manage to thrive where they are, and have the courage to act to change what they can. Tension and conflict in my novels are far more a result of historical events, and the societal limitations put on women and men too, but women are my focus than they are brought on by nasty or villainous characters—although I have a few of those too.
The message I have for readers is the same one I have for myself every day, that life is manageable regardless of our circumstances, that people have the strength and character to rise to whatever the situation demands, and that tomorrow is always worth sticking around for. My novels have helped me to clarify and affirm those beliefs for myself and I hope readers hear those themes loud and clear in all my books. What can readers expect next from Laurel Corona? The story follows the daughter she gave birth to six days before her death.
Thank you, Laurel, for stopping by. I am delighted to welcome Jeri Westerson, the author of the popular Crispin Guest mysteries. How did you come up with this approach? Jeri: I certainly enjoyed those medieval mysteries, particularly the mother of them all, Brother Cadfael Brother of them all?
I knew I wanted something more action-packed, more angsty. And I wanted a true detective, not someone who just stumbles on corpses or is asked as a favor to find out whodunit. I took my cue from the hardboiled detective fiction of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett that I so loved and admired. After a lot of ruminating on it, I believed I could place a hardboiled detective with all the tropes—a femme fatale, disgruntled cops, tough-talking crooks—and place him in the Middle Ages while still keeping it true to the medieval time period.
The stories are darker and edgier than the average medieval mystery, with a twisting tale of dark secrets, dealing with a small circle of people that blossoms into a bigger, more complex plot. Sharon: When did you first meet your main character, Crispin Guest? Did he come to you all at once, or gradually? Jeri: I wanted someone with fighting skills, experience on the battlefield, a facility with languages, and able to read and write. And then, following the trope of the hardboiled detective where he is somewhat down on his luck with chip on his shoulder, I knew he had to be someone who had it all and lost it.
What better protagonist could there be but a disgraced knight? And once I decided on that, it all fell into place. So, a little like Athena, he sprang forth out of my forehead fully formed. I knew exactly who he was. Jeri: Crispin is a dark and brooding man. The man was like a father to him. But Crispin thought that his mentor the duke should take the throne and he joined with conspirators to make it happen. Unfortunately, all were discovered and executed. Except for Crispin. The duke begged for his life and Crispin ended up on the streets of London, devoid of his fortune, title, and status.
He reinvents himself as the Tracker, finding lost objects, solving the occasional murder, all for sixpence a day plus expenses. Losing who he was naturally makes him a bit grouchy and offers some interesting angsty moments. Writing a male character is fascinating and fun. I get to be a handsome, swashbuckling, honorable-to-a-fault man for three hundred pages. Jeri: Good question. I think the ideal reader would be someone who appreciates history with their mystery or vice versa.
I was terribly influenced by swashbuckling movies growing up and so I like a bit of that kind of action in my plots. Jeri: I started out in to pursue a writing career after having had a successful career as a graphic artist in Los Angeles. It was later suggested to me that I switch to writing historical mysteries and once I got too tired of all the rejections I finally made the change. It turned around for me rather quickly. Now I have a hard time imagining writing anything else.
Just as I sent in that manuscript to my agent, an editor from St. And it only took fourteen years and two weeks. I am the poster child for persistence. Jeri: I was raised by parents who were rabid Anglophiles. So I grew up surrounded by English history and the love for it. We also had great historical fiction by all the big names: Thomas B. Costain, Anya Seton, Nora Lofts. I think what I liked about those books was that an historical setting offered just that bit of fantasy, taking the reader to a different place and time. The medieval period seems particularly romantic, in a sense. Arthurian legends, Robin Hood, the pageantry of a bygone era.
And though it does offer a different sensibility of another time, it also affords the author the opportunity to comment on contemporary issues by couching it in the safe harbor of another era.
I get to explore that aspect of masculinity that is unique to men, the mystique of cleaving together in these intense relationships. Jeri: That would have to be Jack Tucker, who really is also a hero. He was only supposed to be a very minor character at first but then he would not go away! Crispin reluctantly takes him in. Jeri: Yes. Each novel deals with some sort of relic or legend. I like to think of the relics as the McGuffin.
Jeri: Several, probably. One I remember was the Big Golden Book of Fairy Tales with myths and legends from all over the world and all different eras. Some were really quite creepy and they had wonderful illustrations to go with them. I really like the fantasy aspect of these books, so it was little wonder that the Lord of the Rings saga enveloped me when I was in high school. The idea of that marvelous world building intrigued me as well as the whole heroes journey, the chivalry, the quest, and the suffering hero. Jeri: Crispin is hired by a Jewish physician from France to find some stolen parchments, parchments that may have to do with the gruesome serial murders of young boys.
Is a heartless killer stalking the streets and alleys of London, or something far more sinister? You can also friend Crispin on his Facebook page or follow me on Twitter. Cody had a delicate digestive system, too, despite looking as delicate as a tank.
Any one who has ever seen the slanting spine of a shepherd in a dog show can easily see why this breed is so susceptible to hip dysplasia. It is a sad list, one that goes on and on. And dogs are not the only victims. I think cats have been luckier than dogs in this respect—at least so far. Sorry for the digression. But one of the fun things about blogs is that we get to wander off the paved road into the fields from time to time.
Back to Shadow. This is a dog who had no reason to trust human beings; he now comes eagerly up to strangers for petting and praise. He was clearly an outside dog, for he was not housebroken, but it took him no time at all to realize furniture was much more comfortable than the floor. And now that he has put on some weight, he looks like a sleek white wolf—assuming that wolves like to take stuffed squeaky toys to bed with them at night. The Shadow-Bambi allusion comes from his first encounter with deer in our county park, acres of wooded trails. He stopped in his tracks to stare at them, eyes wide.
But because shepherds are not bred to be hunters, he reacted with curiosity, not blood lust. I feel blessed to have found Shadow and what is so nice is that it is reciprocal. Dogs are remarkably forgiving. I am reading a very compelling true account now about a Royal Marine who found himself trying to rescue fighting dogs and strays during his tour of duty in Afghanistan. Be warned, though, that it is not for the faint of heart; his graphic descriptions of the sad plight of these dogs do not make easy reading.
For that matter, I found it disturbing to read about the stressful living conditions of his troop of young marines; nor is there much hope for the Afghan people, still being terrorized by the Taliban. But it is a powerful story, one which shows human nature at its best and its worst and once again reveals the unique bond between people and dogs.
No one had ever shown these Afghan dogs even a scrap of kindness, yet they were willing to trust Pen despite a lifetime of experiences telling them that man was not their friend. I had an experience of my own last week in which I saw the best and the worst of human nature, all in the course of a single day. It has a two mile paved road in addition to all those wooded trails, and we were walking along the road when I caught movement from the corner of my eye.
A small cat popped out of the bushes and at sight of me, began to mew piteously. To my amazement, she then started to approach us—a total stranger with two dogs! She would come only so close because of my dogs, but she kept crying, as if begging for help. I did not know what to do.rajcheliti.tk
Gilded Cages: The Trials of Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Novel
But she preyed on my mind for the rest of the day and that evening, I found myself piling the dogs in the car and driving to the park. I am not sure what I intended to do; I just felt that I had to come back. There was no sign of her, though, so we continued on our walk. But on our way back, there she was again, only this time she was with a middle-aged woman and a young couple. I stopped, of course; they agreed with me that she had to have been abandoned and they were as troubled as I was about her fate.
My dogs were getting too interested in her so we went on. They told me that they could not leave her out in the woods and the young couple was going to adopt her. See what I mean—the best and the worst. What was amazing to me was that the cat was so utterly relaxed in the arms of a stranger, as if she knew she was safe now. Cats, too, can be forgiving, far more forgiving than I am. This is a first for me, no mention of medieval matters. But the people of the MA did not view animals as so many of us do in the 21 st century. Yes, they loved their horses, their hunting dogs, their lap dogs, their falcons and tame birds; cats seem to have infiltrated the nunneries, although in general, they were not viewed as pets.
But medievals saw animals through a religious prism—the belief that man was given dominion over the earth and all upon it. Another reason for the difference in attitude is rooted in living conditions then and now. We have the luxury of considering pets to be family members because life is so much easier for us than it was for people in the MA—or is for those living in Third World countries. Not everyone cherishes pets as so many of us do, of course; some people seem both mystified and vexed by our concern for non-human life forms. But I think my readers share my belief that all animals deserve to be treated without cruelty.
September 7, The delay was caused by my chronic back problems, which flared up while my chiropractor was out of town; the next time he goes on vacation, I am stowing away in the trunk of his car. But he has returned and I no longer have to severely limit my time at the computer. So before I plunge into Chapter 34, I am going to do a blog about a subject dear to all our hearts—books. The above books are reprints.
Detouring into the twelfth century, it has been a busy year for Eleanor of Aquitaine. I am not done doing damage to your bank accounts. And in February a novel is coming out that I really loved. I also have news about three of my favorite mystery writers. I highly recommend them, for they offer an amazingly intimate glimpse into the medieval world. When I compose a reading list of the books I consulted for Lionheart, I will put it up on my website, but I am holding off until the novel is done. A much older biography of Richard by Kate Norgate has stood the test of time surprisingly well.
There are so many books written about the Crusades, although oddly, not specifically about the Third Crusade. I may not always agree with his conclusions, but his research is very compre-hensive and if you want to read only one book about the crusades, this is the book. Sadly, many of the above books are rather expensive, but thank God for libraries. Fortunately, it now looks as if something may be worked out. I cannot imagine a city without a library, nor would I want to; just as an aside, my favorite Founding Father, Ben Franklin, is often given credit for establishing the first public lending library in the United States.
Lastly, I have a favor to ask. We are seeking to make all of my books available in the e-book format, no easy task at times, for the writer has no say in the matter. I would be very grateful if you could stop by Amazon. I certainly will thank you and probably Llywelyn and Joanna would, too, if they were magically transported from the 12 th century and somehow comprehended that the books laboriously copied out by monks can now be downloaded to computers in the blink of an eye. August 21, Nan is also one of my favorite bloggers; in fact, you can find the links to her blogs under Author on my regular website page.
Are you always this funny? Spilling guts are rarely humorous. When a friend and I were no more than eleven and twelve, we met at a week long summer camp and started acting out a story.
I always played the male characters in Pretend. Since we did not live in the same town, my friend and I started writing letters between Lawrence and Sunshine. We took pity on the royal couple and started writing stories so they could actually be in the same room together and not forced to write letters. Thus the stories began that years later I would turn into a novel. How did you decide that time period? On it you can post stories or letters as fictional or historical characters.
I decided to use my old characters, started rewriting some of the stories and discovered I really enjoyed it and was a much better writer after 35 years. For one thing, my obsession with sex in my adolescence meant uninformed love scenes.. As I rewrote I began to see a novel developing, and the rest is, to coin a phrase, historical fiction. I have castles and knights and all sorts of anachronisms in the first rewrites, but as I wrote I learned, soaking up everything I could find.
I fell in love with the era in the process. So now instead of castles and knights I have timber fortresses and shield walls. How did you do the research? The Internet is a marvel, turning much of the professional world into a level playing field. I found material on line and discovered pretty quickly that most experts are only too happy to answer questions from people sincerely interested in their arcanity.
I owe a lot to Jack, and I continue to rack up that particular debt. In a nutshell, a younger son of an Anglo Saxon king finds himself on the throne, having to prove himself. There is no supernatural element. Period fiction seems to be applied more often to romance novels, and strictly speaking, my novel is not a romance.
Right now I am working on a novel set around the time of the disastrous Crusade of which features a woman who goes to the crusade disguised as her late twin brother. Finally a female character I can relate to! That is precisely why I am writing it.
Do you ever sleep? I just have a hard time saying no to myself. I just got a song I wrote about characters in my novel recorded by Celtic musician Druidsong. Oh heck, it would take less time and space just to invite your readers to my web site, www. I adore your novels. The Welsh trilogy especially. Cried my eyes out, which I love to do. Picture me bowing and scraping. July 31, I have some important news about Lionheart. I wondered about that, too. Actually, I often felt haunted by that approaching deadline and I became more and more uneasy as the months slipped by. How did I get into such a predicament?
But instead he compiled more medieval frequent flyer miles than Marco Polo—France, Italy, Sicily, Crete, Rhodes, Cyprus, the Holy Land, Austria, and Germany, although in fairness to him, those last two countries were not on his original itinerary. They often read like battlefield dispatches, offering detailed accounts of the same fight as seen by the crusaders and the Saracens. They provided me with the names of men slain in a particular battle, with personal quotes from Richard and Saladin, and allowed me to see these two legendary historical figures through the eyes of men who actually knew them.
So it has been a very enjoyable experience—tracking the Lionheart from Marseille to Messina to Famagusta to Acre—but there was always that accursed deadline looming on the horizon. I needed a knight in shining armor to ride to my rescue, and they are in short supply in the 21 st century. Fortunately, I had something better than a knight errant, a dear friend who shares my love of history in general and the MA in particular.
Well, Valerie has exorcised my deadline demons by coming up with an idea that was so simple and yet so brilliant. Happily, my publisher thinks so, too. This is my news then—that I will be writing two more books about the Angevins. Lionheart will deal with the Richard of legend, Coeur de Lion, ending as he departs the Holy Land and sails for home in October of He leaves with reluctance and regret, for he sees the crusade as a failure since they were unable to recapture Jerusalem; he even denies himself the chance to visit the Holy City with his fellow crusaders and promises the new King of Jerusalem that he will be back.
Of course he has no idea what lies ahead—an unlikely encounter with pirates, shipwreck, capture, imprisonment, ransom, and betrayal. Yes, I will actually have two books coming out in consecutive years! This is one of those rare win-win situations. It saves my sanity. It keeps me from missing a deadline by a year or more, never a good thing. I am spared the danger of having to race through the last part of the story in a mad rush to finish the book on time.
His mother, the incomparable Eleanor of Aquitaine. His favorite sister, Joanna, who was the daughter most like Eleanor. Constance of Brittany, still grieving for her first husband, Geoffrey. As you can tell, I am very happy about this development. I hope you all will be, too, and I am looking forward to your responses.
Lastly, I have not had a chance yet to respond to some of your queries in comments posted for the last blog, Really Random Thoughts, but I will do so on that blog. July 2, Keep up with my blog on your smartphone! December 18, Welcome, Persia. How is it that they are being re-issued now? Sourcebooks is one such publisher; they read my Guinevere Trilogy and set out to find me. How does it feel to see them out in the world again?
They were originally all three Book of the Month Club alternates and were translated into seven languages. Sometimes I get posts from strangers on FaceBook telling me how much they loved them back 20 years ago, often saying they read and re-read them over and over until they fell apart in their hands. That sort of contact out of the blue is immensely gratifying. You became a journalist in and had two non-fiction books published by What was it that drew you to historical fiction at that point and why Guinevere?
When Mr. Kelly superbly recreates life during the Great Depression. She includes several holiday recipes for readers to enjoy. What gave me pause was my uncertainty of the audience for this book, but the magic of Christmas makes this a tale to treasure. Visit T. This fourth installment in the series is by far the best one yet. The dynamics between Sharyn and Nick heat up while those involving Winter promise that he will be a villain to despise when he and Sharyn finally have their showdown in a future installment.
Unraveling the twists and turns of Darva's death will prevent readers from closing the book. Those who haven't read the previous books need not worry. Until Our Last Embrace contains enough information to allow anyone to enjoy this delectable mystery, and the sinister teaser at the end promises that readers will return for the next case Sharyn Howard tackles. Regan MacLaren loves her husband, but an argument on their wedding night results in his departure, and the next day she finds herself a widow.
Her brother-in-law claims Iain Campbell shot Roddy in the back, and Walter convinces Regan they must right this wrong. Regan has second thoughts and sets off to stop Walter. The Scottish Highlands in are a dangerous place for a woman riding alone during a storm. When her horse spooks, she hits her head and is dragged far from home.
On regaining consciousness, she finds herself under the care of Iain Campbell and his mother. As she struggles to remember, she falls in love with Iain. History, however, plays a minor role, and as a result, the story could easily take place in another time without endangering the storyline.
Cindy Vallar. Blood Kin by Henry Chappell. She had risked her heart only to discover that the warnings of her female ancestors weren't absurd chimeras of previous firstborn daughters. To come to terms with both reality and her grief, she embarks on a journey of inner reflection that is intertwined with acceptance of the past, standing up for what she believes, and taking chances in spite of her own biasness in an ever-changing world in the aftermath of racial segregation.
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This rite of passage is hers alone to make, but each step intersects with others in unforeseen ways. Koma, an old Bushman and shaman, emerges from the vast nothingness of the desert to renew their acquaintance. Whether the deep sadness in his eyes is his own or a mirror of hers, a "thief of stories" warns that their destinies are intertwined. From the grave, her aunt and great aunt share a dark secret of the distant past that impacted their lives, while Dario Oldani, her co-worker and lover, compels her to go beyond the comforts of her research lab to continue his hunt for the birthplace of humans in the Kalahari.
But navigating the unknown doesn't come without risk. The Afrikaner is a story of self-reflection, of coming to terms with the past, present, and the future. Dagnino's poignant, compelling, you-are-there tale draws us so deep into Zoe's world that we experience each and every emotion. Her vivid depictions of time and place transport us to the turbulence of South Africa, before, during, and after apartheid until we share both Zoe's discomfort and her love for the land of her birth.
It is a haunting portrayal of devastating grief and rational resurgence; once read, neither Zoe nor her experiences are easily forgotten. Originally reviewed for Goodreads. Three years have passed since her father's death in , and the Oregon farm is in desperate need of repairs. Unable to do the work herself, she hires Jefferson Hicks, the former sheriff and town drunk. Jeff "died" soon after shooting a young boy, and he's just biding his time until death claims him. The he meets Allie, and his desire to live blossoms. Although the past imprisons both Jeff and Allie, their love offers them a chance to heal, but others have no intention of letting that happen.
Although set in the American West, there is little history in this story. That said, though, it is a good depiction of a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business, and where the slightest scandal results in ostracism and ridicule. It also shows the psychological torment caused when innocent people make mistakes.
An enduring read for historical or westsern romance fans in search of healing love and who don't mind if the history is more social than historical in nature. That jeopardizes not only her job, but those of the other female librarians, since no one made their temporary hiring at the Library of Congress permanent. Determined to learn the truth, she seeks help from a handsome, yet arrogant, congressman. After a failed attempt to prove congressional corruption, Luke Callahan needs another crusade to pursue and the quiet, sharp-witted librarian intrigues him enough to help her.
But the deeper they delve, the more dangerous the truth becomes — not only for themselves, but also the nation. This inspirational romance opens in late , when relations between the United States, Spain, and Cuba are tenuous. Camden tackles alcoholism and abuse with realism, while demonstrating how having faith, stepping outside of comfort zones, and trusting in others can overcome adversity to realize dreams. Undeterred, Grand continues to investigate until crossing paths with the head of the National Detective Police, who suspects that Grand may be one of the conspirators.
The only way for him to prove his innocence is to go to London and track down the Englishman. The same evening the president is slain, James Batchelor meets a prostitute whose body he later stumbles upon in a nearby alley. Tired of writing society-page stories, Batchelor sees the murder as his ticket to fame. Instead, his editor at the Telegraph fires him. This first book in a new Victorian mystery series vividly recreates the sense of loss and shock that permeated Washington after the assassination, while providing a vibrant glimpse into the seamier side of 19th-century London.
On a wintry day in and with great trepidation, they board a train for Texas. Nate Stanton never expected his father to arrange a marriage by proxy for him, but his Christian upbringing and conscience prevent him from putting the trio back on the train. Lucy, Nate, and his father are strong-willed people who prefer to maintain control to fix problems, rather than putting their trust in God. The obstacles and situations that arise emphasize this central theme.
Several spoonfuls of an elaborate mystery add ample spice to make this a heartwarming Western romance. The Breach recounts the events before, during, and after the Alamo from the viewpoint of the Mexicans. The recounting of how Mr. In February , Major General Isaac Brock must defend Upper Canada against American attack, but he lacks sufficient numbers to succeed in this endeavor.
If the Indians rise up against the Americans, he might have a chance. A young man, recently returned from a fur trading expedition, knows Tecumseh and has lived with the Shawnee. Jonathan Westlake never thought to join the British army, but in attempting to save a young woman from her abusive stepfather, Jonathan almost kills the man. Brock agrees to protect Jonathan from prosecution if he undertakes a secret mission.
His thoughts remain with Mary during his journey, but constant obstacles — captured as a spy after crossing the border, a brutal American sergeant, and a mysterious mercenary intent on killing Jonathan — delay his mission and his plans to return to Mary. When he goes to her rescue and to confront the murderer, the trio has disappeared. Rather than pursue them as he wishes, Jonathan must continue his secret mission or General Brock will face defeat.
Told from several points of view and from both Canadian and American perspectives, readers experience the Battle of Tippecanoe through the taking of Fort Detroit during the early days of the War of This is a gripping tale of brutality, treachery, loyalty, and friendship. Overall, however, Taylor spins a well-rounded and riveting tale of war, love of country, and friendship, a tale where the reader comes to understand some issues that caused the war and how those involved felt.
His death is neither natural nor expected. The front door crashes open. Strangers shout "Fenian lover" and "Traitor" just before they shoot him. No one deserves such a brutal death, but living in Belfast in is dangerous for everyone, especially if you're Catholic. Charlie isn't, but his wife, Mary-Jane, and their children are, even though they live in a Protestant neighborhood.
Thus it is that Mary-Jane reviews how she and her family arrived at this tragic point in their lives -- how they met, fell in love, and raised their family in a city divided by politics and religion, where even relatives can be bitterly divided. It encompasses the years through and unfolds predominantly from Mary-Jane's perspective, but also includes viewpoints of Charlie and their four children, as well as Mary-Jane's best friend and neighbor, Alice, and her family. Misspellings and missing words and punctuation are found throughout the narrative; towards the end of the tale it becomes a bit repetitive.
In spite of these failings, Charlie Mac is a poignant and compelling story, filled with both heartache and fortitude. Originally reviewed for Word Weaving. As Christmas approaches, recently-widowed Aletta Prescott loses her job and home. With one child and another on the way, possible employment for an upcoming auction seems heaven sent, but the position has been filled.
Although the carpenter's job remains vacant, Carton's mistress is reluctant to hire a woman with such skills. Jake Winston's wound has healed, but not his eyesight -- a requirement for a Confederate sharpshooter. Rather than return to active duty, he's sent to Carnton to assist "a bunch of petticoats. Aletta wonders why a man with no visible wounds isn't fighting. Hiding his affliction, he's amused when pride initially keeps her from asking for his help.
After the walls between them crumble, unexpected news leaves one feeling guilty and the other yearning for the impossible. Set in Tennessee, this novella introduces a new series at a historic plantation. Alexander intertwines love, war's cruelties, disabilities, and perseverance in a way that captivates readers.
Her well-developed characters and attention to historical detail sweep readers back to the American Civil War. Often novels of this period concern the battles and soldiers who fought them. Whiles this narrative touches on these, Alexander focuses on those left behind and the adversities they endured. Christmas at Carnton is a tale of emotional highs and lows that allow readers to experience the joy, sorrow, and hopes of women in a southern town surrounded by war, as well as witnessing the daily struggles of men who must come to grip with life-altering wounds..
Her curiosity piqued, she follows Nicholas to the Spirit Club but then loses him. From this vantage point, they watch her die from poisoning. In doing so, the Brisbanes soon find themselves the target of the murderer and others who search for the letters. International intrigue, arson, locked mausoleums, and secret identities abound in this spellbinding historical mystery, the fifth in the series. The intricate plot unravels with twists and turns that challenge us but keep us guessing until the end.
Don't bother picking up this book unless you can devote the time to read it in one sitting. Stafford snares you with the first harrowing chase and doesn't release you until you close the back cover. The life experiences of the author and her husband make A Deadly Exchange seem real.
Both have sailed around the Bahamas numerous times, and Commander Stafford was a pilot broken by the Viet Cong after his plane was shot down during the war. As you read this book you will find yourself aboard the Spencers' sailboat instead of being safe in your own home. Your heart will beat rapidly from fear and terror as Alex and Matt confront the head of the cartel and his men, none of whom have any redeeming qualities. Captain James Trevillion, an ex-dragoon, loves her in silence, protecting but never stifling her. He never expects footpads to kidnap her on London's reputable Bond Street in , but despite his crippled leg, he rescues her.
Perhaps because of her blindness, she sees past his lameness and wants to explore their relationship further. But when a second kidnapping attempt nearly succeeds, he blames his injury and resigns as her bodyguard. What nefarious plans does the kidnapper have for the sister of the most powerful duke in England?
Trevillion hunts for the true mastermind, who lurks in the shadows, manipulating others to do his bidding, because he loves Phoebe even though they can't be together. Hoyt weaves an intricate tale that demonstrates how those of us with sight can still be blind. While the mystery fades in the middle and, at times, seems a bit forced, the skillfully-drawn protagonists come to life and allow readers to experience their heartwarming story as love blossoms.
One person stands in her way — Brigit, the daughter of the former king. She, too, has her own designs to rule, which is why she marries a lesser lord whom she can manipulate to do her bidding. In the argument that ensues, Brigit slays her husband and then flees to Dubh-Linn where Harald, the father of her child, lives.
With his help and that of other Vikings, she intends to regain the throne of Tara. Uneasy alliances between enemies make for strange bedfellows, and no one truly trusts anyone else. Morrigan suggests a devious, but ingenious, plan to help her brother defeat the Vikings. Arinbjorn sees the impending battle as the perfect opportunity to kill Thorgrim.
Reminiscent of a twisting serpent, this second tale of The Norsemen Saga is deceptively complex and slowly builds to a stunning climax. Nelson deftly intertwines the two story threads — Viking and Irish — until they become as intricate as the artistic designs of the Celts and the Norse. His true-to-life characters, especially Thorgrim and Starri, capture our imagination and transport us back in time.
Originally published in Historical Novels Review , August Originally published at Historical Novel Society , May By the time her employer is invited to work in Los Alamos, New Mexico, the pair have married. When Katarina obtains the top secret plans for the atomic bomb, she can finally return a hero to her homeland, Nazi Germany.
Getting there poses problems, though. Ten years pass, and America has joined her allies in fighting Hitler. Meanwhile, in England, Andrew Taylor has recruited Harry Winterbotham to infiltrate the enemy as a double agent. With Katarina headed for England, Harry finds his impending mission put on hold. He assists in searching for this most dangerous of spies, but does so with his own agenda. His mission is paramount, for he means to secure the release of his Jewish wife, a prisoner of the Nazis, no matter what. The intriguing twists and turns in this debut novel capture the reader's attention offering no escape until the last page is turned.
While none of the characters is likeable, Katarina and Harry evoke respect for their ingenuity and determination to achieve their goals. An excellen thriller. Originally published in Historical Novels Review , May She finds money and a seven-year-old warning -- not to talk -- inside the locked drawer. Who threatened her father and why? The questions stir her curiosity, but the threat brings back memories of the murder she helped solve two months earlier at the Chicago radio station where she works.
When the money vanishes, she knows someone else knows what she's found.
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Then she uncovers a second key, but to what? Private detective Charlie Haverman could help, but she hasn't seen him since the other mystery. Viv longs to renew their acquaintance, but he refuses to play second fiddle to Graham Yarborough, her co-star in The Darkness Knows. She doesn't love Graham, but the radio station insists that the public think they are an item. Refusal would mean losing her job. Once she tracks down Charlie, he agrees to help her purely as a business proposition.
The more they learn, the more she realizes her father wasn't the man she thought he was. The closer she comes to the truth, the more determined someone is to keep her in the dark. Suspects abound in this second Viv and Charlie Mystery: a partner who drinks too much, a secretary with a green thumb, an assistant state's attorney, a secretive German companion, and a loyal housekeeper. The red herrings and diverse subplots will keep readers guessing, but the historical tie-in to her father's death is tenuous. The romance is less satisfying and the repartee between Vivi and Charlie is disappointingly absent in this sequel to The Darkness Knows ; in fact, Charlie doesn't show up until chapter ten, and he's more of a supporting character than one might expect.
Still, fans of Viv and Charlie will welcome their return.
Originally published in Historical Novels Review , November He sends Sir Blaidd Morgan, a trusted knight and friend, to determine whether Lord Throckton plots treason. To camouflage his mission, Blaidd woos the Lady Laelia, the most beautiful woman ever seen. Her younger sister, Lady Becca, however, is far more intriguing with her sharp tongue and stinging wit, harp playing, training as a warrior, and caring heart.
As love unfolds, Blaidd strives to learn the truth about her father. Originally reviewed for Historical Novels Review , February Some clan chiefs had pledged their support if Charles came with French military and financial support, but he came with only seven men. Still they raised the Jacobite standard at Glenfinnan and, for the next eight months, fought the last civil war on British soil.
Rather than a conflict between Highlanders and Lowlanders, Catholics and Protestants, or the English and the Scots, both sides were comprised of all these and more, and this new chronological history places the rebellion in international, national, and local context. The rising began with unparalleled success, reached as far south as Derby, and ended with devastating consequences that are still remembered today.
Using memoirs, letters, and other period documents, Riding provides a well-rounded history for lay readers that presents the last Jacobite rising from both perspectives and without a lot of technical jargon and military maps. The published version will include a color insert and an index, neither of which was available in the pre-publication galley. Her father is under suspicion for associating with and profiting from criminals; he may have been murdered. Although afraid, Gillian is determined to prove his innocence.
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She discovers a photograph of a beautiful stranger and a letter from her deceased mother that reveals her intentions to donate Winton Park to the Cause, a Christian mission for the poor. Her father never mentioned the letter, and Gillian had assumed her grandfather's home was now hers. She just doesn't have sufficient funds to restore the house to its form splendor. Further investigation must wait when Gillian is asked to design and sew costumes for a new production of Cinderella at the Theatre Royal.
The prestigious assignment will make her name known throughout London, but she needs additional seamstresses, an older woman and two young girls from the theater mission dear to her mother's heart. A handsome viscount and a police inspector's son begin to court her, but she questions their motives. Lord Lockwood shares her passion for the theater, but also wants to purchase Winton Park. A childhood friend, Francis Collingsworth may just be trying to find evidence to prove her father's guilt. The closer to the truth she gets, the greater the danger she encounters.
She needs to trust someone, but whom? Byrd deftly intertwines research with love and murder in this final book in the Daughters of Hampshire trilogy. She transports us back to Victorian England to view the startling differences between the world of the ton and the seamier sections of London. Her tantalizing web keeps us enthralled until the truth about the perpetrator and the romance are finally revealed. Originally reviewed for Ivy Quill Reviews. The purpose of such public executions is to force the remaining traitors into the open and entice neighbor to inform on neighbor.
As far as Jimmy is concerned, rebellions are foolish and the hangings will just stir up support for a free Ireland — a fact the British never learn. He has one dream: to make enough money to leave with his mother and start life anew in America. Among those present at the hangings is year-old Kitty Doyle. As they work together, their attraction grows. But this flaw is eclipsed by gifted dialogue that is more heard than read and the unexpected twists that leave you breathless from first page to last.
Intertwined throughout is a compelling ray of hope amid the misery and death. As an intelligence agent, he seeks information that will help his president, the Siberian Army, and their allies. To that end he accompanies his Russian liaison officer to Lake Baikal, where he meets captivating eighteen-year-old Zhanna Dorokhina and a Russian priest with underground leanings.
Zhanna hears saintly voices -- a definite sign of madness -- but her sincerity convinces Ned that she is just as sane as he is. Although Ned initially refuses, the New Year brings them together again and this time, he complies. Time is of the essence if Zhanna is to save her country and people from Bolsheviks, but there are powerful men who believe a woman's place is in the home. Others, including the enemy, have no desire for Zhanna to fulfill the prophecy that a virgin from Baikal will save Russia. Fleming expertly weaves corruption, status quo, survival, and chaos with Russian history and culture to create an intricate thriller that vividly reimagines "what if" the White Russian Army had triumphed over the Red.
To orient readers, he provides a character list, photographs, maps, and musical interludes that capture each chapter's mood. In this retelling of Joan of Arc's story, Fleming transports readers to the past with rich historical detail, intermingling bleakness with hope in a way that permits us to better understand Russia's complexities. Which is how he tangles with a mama grizzly.
She swats him off the mountain then chases after him. Which is how he encounters Shannon Wilde, his distracter. With nowhere left to run, they jump into the Slaughter River. Once she gets Matt out of the water and splints his broken leg, they explore the cave, hoping to find a way back to civilization. Matt likes the idea, but Shannon needs more convincing. But those problems seem small once someone begins trying to force Shannon off her property no matter who gets hurt. From first page to last, book two in the Wild at Heart series is a hoot! Connealy tackles the serious and the comical with equal aplomb, while her characters tug at heart strings.
An English priest rescues Len and takes her to live with the Leighs, a family with se crets. Her life becomes deeply enmeshed in theirs, especially that of their younger son, Piers. Growing political and religious unrest end anger the Leighs, and Len makes a fatal mistake. When only she emerges from the unfathomable nightmare, guilt strikes her mute and despondent until a wounded Spaniard sends her the medallion she gave to Piers, whom she believes dead. Piers Leigh confides his deepest thoughts and dreams to Len and, even when afraid, she shares his adventures.
His dream of becoming a sailor is destroyed when the Parliamentarians come to power, but their vindictiveness and a betrayal from within the family eventually allow him to join the Royalist navy. Part ing from Len is bittersweet, but he vows to return to her one day.
The war is not the grand adventure he expects, and his sins and news of Len's death spiral his life downward into piracy, from which there can be no redemption. This memorable tale pulls no punches. It occurs during the s, with earlier years recounted in flashbacks. After nearly pages of first-person viewpoint, the sudden switch to P iers's story, also told in fir st person, is jarring and less compelling, although the need for events to unfold from his perspective is vital.
The epilogue relates their final chapter but is revealed by a third character in first person. The translation is seamless and the tale rich in historical detail, vividly recreating 17th-century life in two very different worlds. A decade after the war, Callie wonders if her husband is still alive. With her father dead, her brother gone, a son to raise, and nowhere to live, she heads for the Kincaid ranch in Colorado.
Then Callie is kidnapped and only he can save her, but that requires his return to the cave where the fire happened. Third in The Kincaid Brothers series, Over the Edge is fast-paced and humorous at times, poignant at others. The numerous subplots of the story may overwhelm newcomers to this inspirational series, but Connealy neatly weaves the threads to a satisfying and enjoyable conclusion.
Koyla can no longer stomach such brutal and senseless killing. To survive he must go home, but desertion from the Red Army will make him a traitor. To thwart pursuit, he stages his death. The long trek home is fraught with danger, but thoughts of reuniting with his wife and sons drive him onward. When he arrives, though, the remote village is deserted. Have the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police, taken his family?
Are they dead? His search turns up only the tortured and massacred bodies of the men from his village. Koyla has no answers, but is determined to unravel the mystery and find his wife and sons. Time, however, is running out. If the men tracking him catch Koyla, he will die. Told in the first person, Red Winter is a riveting tale of the Red Terror that swept through Russia after Lenin came to power.
Each character and incident is memorable, so much so that the day may be sweltering as you read, but the wintry chills make you shiver. Smith transports you back in time to and rural Russia with the skill of a master storyteller. Many men participants are well known, but not so the women. With the help of gypsies and several fellow Texas Rangers, Jake Nelson, a former army reconnaissance officer and now a Ranger captain, rescues Elizabeth from her captors and returns her to El Paso.
Diego, refusing to allow anyone to thwart his plans, devises another scheme to kidnap this daughter of an important senator. But will he prevent Diego from killing Elizabeth to spark another war between Mexico and the United States? Set in , this border town springs to life within the pages of this historical romance.
The depth of her research is evident throughout yet never intrudes into the intricate, sometimes humorous, web she weaves in this vivid portrayal of Texas Rangers in the Old West. The rebels stay one step ahead of them and are gone when they arrive. Daniel, the older brother, focuses on doing the right thing to be a hero so he'll finally get permission to court his girl. But Christopher tends to get into trouble, which shines a poor light on Daniel. Christopher just wants to be a good soldier but is easily frustrated. He also drinks and, while stationed in Virginia, goes with a friend to a makeshift drinking establishment.
But the provosts are on their way and the friends get separated. Christopher is captured by bushwhackers, who take him to jail where he's imprisoned with a handful of others, one of whom is a violent bully. The torment Christopher suffers eventually drives him to do the unthinkable, an action that haunts him long after his release. This book encompasses April through September It follows the Galloways through boot camp to seeing the elephant and enduring the bloodiest single day of fighting during the war.
Hicklin does a commendable job depicting the brutal reality of war. While occasional scenes -- such as Daniel's dream or the pastor who gives up his place in the prisoner exchange to Christopher -- evoke strong emotions in the reader, the author maintains a distance between the events being recounted and the reading experience.
At least, the depiction of the Battle of Antietam provides a powerful and memorable ending. She fears for her sister, the wife of a Confederate officer, and requests a pass to cross into enemy territory. Against his better judgment, Grant agrees. After the bloody Battle of Shiloh, both women are found murdered and embalmed on the Union side of the line. Having been sent west to thwart Confederate plans, Harrison Raines finds himself under suspicion of being an enemy spy. When Grant learns that Raines is actually a U. The answer lies in Corinth, Mississippi, a town held by the Confederate Army and teeming with soldiers, gamblers, prisoners, and spies who want Raines dead.
The inclusion of Louise Devereux, a returning character whose life is irretrievably entwined with Raines, keeps the reader guessing from beginning to end of a mystery deftly told. Originally reviewed for The Book Report. To ferret out the truth, he enlists the aid of his trusted spy, Hugh of Wexford, and a learned but innocent scholar, Lady Phillipa de Paris.
This is an engrossing depiction of medieval historical romance. I was a bit thrown by the incorporation of courtly love into the storyline since its depiction is often at odds with its true definition. Yet the story is an intriguing treatise on courtly love gone awry. Some readers may object to the explicitness of the sexual escapades, but for those who seek a riveting and entertaining adventure you will be richly rewarded.
Later, he protects her from bullies. Her fluid grace spurs him to enter the dance contest at the Western Washington State Fair. Sally and her beau placed third last year, and if he and Mona win this time, Sally will have to notice him. First, though, Mona must teach him how to dance. Without telling the Garrisons about the contest, he convinces them to let her accompany him to the fair as a reward for her hard work.
He goes to war following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, while Mrs. Garrison, fearing her niece will adopt loose morals, has Mona institutionalized and a stranger appointed as her guardian. Spanning two decades, Thompson Road is a tale of how seemingly innocent actions have irreparable consequences and the struggles people endure because of the choices they make. It is set during a time when people with mental disabilities have no rights, and Wyatt provides a horrifying glimpse into what that means.
This poignant story portrays the social aspects of life, and the emotions it evokes linger long after the last page is turned. Fisk University, a school dedicated to educating former slaves, needs teachers. When she joins their staff, Alexandra is turned out of her house with only the clothes on her back. His problem is twofold: he's still looking for investors and he's an uncouth outsider.
He's also come to clear his father, a dedicated engineer who would never have caused the accident that killed so many people. In need of money, Alexandra agrees to teach Sylas about southern gentility, even though she thinks him more an outlaw than a gentleman. In turn, he agrees to share whatever he learns about the accident and when she is offered a chance to arrange a tour for the Jubilee Singers, he's the one who must help her conquer her fears.
This final installment in the Belle Meade Novels is a heartwarming tale of following dreams, standing up for what's right, facing fears, and learning to trust where the heart leads. Rich in details of time and place, Alexander transports her readers back to a United States attempting to recover from the wounds of civil war, where bigotry and prejudices exist in both the North and the South. Her three-dimensional characters bring to life an era fraught with danger in the struggle to change attitudes -- a struggle still relevant today -- while the story provides a poignant recreation of technology's impact on their lives, which also rings true today.
Rather than live with her estranged sister, Elizabeth seeks shelter in Warwick with her aunt. Even before she arrives, her rash tongue singles her out as an ungodly woman, and her aunt doesn't hide her displeasure at the unwanted attention. James Hart, a Royalist officer in the war, still wages war on Roundheads even though they beheaded the king five years ago.