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Lady Anne and the Menacing Mystic by Victoria Hamilton

Synopsis

While in Bath preparing for her upcoming marriage to Lord Darkefell, Lady Anne learns of a profoundly accurate mystic working in town whose uncanny predictions have stunned the gullible and the sceptical alike. Certain there’s a harmless rational explanation for the medium’s supposed otherworldly abilities, Anne’s tolerance turns to defiance when the seer’s dark pronouncements begin having a decidedly harmful affect on her friends—and a troubled local vicar takes his own life.

Convinced that the woman is orchestrating a devious scheme, Anne begins to suspect that she’s working in league with a shrewd newcomer who’s attached himself to many of the town’s wealthy widowers. As she navigates the swirling rumours of Bath society to confirm her suspicions and unmask the charlatans for what they are, she discovers that the treacherous conspirators are plotting to make her own future very dark—and very short-lived . .

 

 

My review

This is an entertaining historical cosy mystery set in late eighteenth-century Bath. Lady Anne is a very forceful heroine, in some ways ahead of her time but, sadly, still constrained by it. She’s quite austere and it takes a while to warm to her, but if you’ve read earlier books in the series this fondness might already be in place. She’s well-meaning and interesting, that’s for sure.
The setting is beautifully described and the era comes over very convincingly with the details about everyday life, dress, furniture, means of travel and so forth.
The plot, although perhaps a little slow to get established, is ingenious and absorbing. It keeps you guessing all the way through.
Much to enjoy.

Buy the book here

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Death Remembered (A Sleuthing Club Mystery: Book 1) by K E Coburn

Summer 1952

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, but Charity Nicholls is bored of her quiet life in a tiny English village where nothing ever happens. Other than her nagging, marriage-obsessed mother, all she has to fill the time are her dreams of becoming a writer, and the Sleuthing Club – the mystery-reading book club she attends every week.

But everything changes the day her father receives a poison pen letter.

With the help of the Sleuthing Club, particularly handsome Henry Taylor, Charity is determined to find the culprit. But when people start dying and the police arrive, led by the infuriating Inspector James Lawrence, her little village becomes a hotbed of crime.

Can Charity find the murderer before anyone else dies?

Perfect for fans of Helena Dixon and T E Kinsey.

My review

What an utterly enjoyable book! I revelled in every word.

The 1950s don’t seem to get much of a look-in when it comes to literature, but it’s a fascinating and important period when the world was pulling itself back together after the physical and emotional devastation of the Second World War. In a way Charity embodies the spirit of the time: tragedy in the background but quietly determined to live life to the full and to contribute as much as possible to making the world a better place. However, that’s not easy for a rather sheltered young woman.

The setting of a 1950s’ village is wonderfully portrayed. It’s not as quiet and calm as it might seem on the surface, but there’s a strong community spirit and eccentricities are tolerated, but probably commented on in private! So when murder rears its ugly head, the ripples spread throughout the village. Charity finally feels she can do something exciting and useful. She seizes the chance to get to know the suave Henry Taylor even better and spend time with him. Is he the one for her? Charity hopes so.

A lot of thought as well as talent has gone into the creation of this debut novel. Mystery, romance, historical insights and wonderful characters fill the pages of this absorbing novel, the first in a series. And the cover is super, don’t you agree?

I can’t wait to see what Charity gets up to next!

Purchase Links

UK –https://amzn.to/2LnXba7

US – https://www.amazon.com/Death-Remembered-Sleuthing-Club-Mystery-ebook/dp/B088FR2J99/

 

Author bio

K E Coburn lives by the seaside in Kent, England, and spends her time plotting murders and mayhem for her imaginary friends in the Sleuthing Club!

As well as having a master’s degree in history, she’s a huge fan of everything vintage, especially the 1950s, and loves researching this interesting period. Nothing makes her happier than looking at old photographs, drinking old-fashioned cocktails, and doing as little work as possible.

Her debut novel Death Remembered: A Sleuthing Club Mystery (Book 1) will be published in July 2020.

If you fancy keeping up to date with her murderous plots you can find her on Twitter at @KeCoburn or at her website: www.kecoburn.com and on Facebook at: https://bit.ly/2SYgQSo

or at her website: www.kecoburn.com and on Facebook at: https://bit.ly/2SYgQSo

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Sometimes in Bath by Charles Nevin

Synopsis

The stories and History of ‘Britain’s most elegant and intriguing city’. Sometimes in Bath is a captivating story-tour through the city’s history conducted by Charles Nevin, the award-winning journalist, national newspaper columnist, author and humorist. Beau Nash, Old King Bladud, young Horatio Nelson, Jane Austen’s Mr Bennet, the Emperor Haile Selassie and many more spring to life in episodes shimmering with the curious magic of Britain’s oldest resort and premier purveyor of good health, happiness and romance for the last 2000 years. Each story has an afterword distinguishing the fiction from fact, adding enthralling historical detail – and giving visitors useful links to Bath’s many sights and fascinations. Sometimes in Bath is warm, witty, wistful and will be loved by all who come to and from this most enchanting and enchanted of cities.

My review

This book is tremendous fun! I’m not quite sure how else to categorise it since it’s a mixture of history, geography, fact, fiction, social commentary and humour. This all makes for a fascinating read.

Even if you’ve never been there, the many mentions of this spa town in literature mean that pretty much everyone has heard of it and probably seen photos. It’s a distinctive city and in this equally distinctive book proves to be a very worthy setting. We get many glimpses of it alongside the interesting and eccentric characters we’re introduced to. In fact, it’s the only place you could get away with juxtaposing famous Admiral Nelson and fictional Mr Bennet so successfully!

The book is alive with humour. As well as appearing in unlikely combinations and situations, the characters are all wonderfully rounded and frequently ridiculous. In the first chapter alone there’s one named Britt Bakoff, and another cook, Sally, who in frustration utters the cry “Bloody health and pastry” when asked to bake a less calorific bun, and which is directly inspired by how the Bath Oliver biscuit came about. I know this for a fact because, since we’ve caught him red-handed in rewriting history, the author admits at the end of every chapter that he’s used his rich imagination in creating each fic-fact tales and he gives the relevant background explanations and biographies.

Immensely entertaining as well as educational, grab yourself a copy!

Purchase link: www.amazon.co.uk/Sometimes-Bath-Her-Stories-History/dp/1912881829/

About the author

Charles Nevin has written for, among others, the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday, the Daily Telegraph, The Times and Sunday Times, and the New York Times. Sometimes in Bath is his second book of fiction following Lost in the Wash with Other Things, a collection of short stories. He has also published three books of non-fiction – Lancashire, Where Women Die of Love, a paean to the neglected romance of his native county, which was as praised by Jeremy Paxman and Joanna Lumley. The Book of Jacks, a history and lexicon of the name and finally, So Long Our Home, a history of Knowsley Road, the famous old ground of St Helens Rugby Football Club. Charles lives in an old watermill near Bath, which is ideally placed for his forays into the enchanting city.

 

 

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Landing by Moonlight by Ciji Ware

Ciji Ware

on tour

March 2-13

with

Landing by Moonlight

 

Landing By Moonlight:
A Novel Of WWII

(Romantic thriller/Historical novel)

Release date: October 15, 2019
at Lion’s Paw Publishing

476 pages

Website | Goodreads

SYNOPSIS

Based on the lives of a small group of American women secret agents working for British intelligence parachuting into France to help the Resistance during WW II.

The year is 1942, and American secret agent Catherine Thornton has no idea whether she will be dropped behind enemy lines in an inflatable raft launched from a submarine or be flung through the moonlit sky from a low-flying British Halifax. Either way, the young embassy wife and erstwhile journalist knows there’s always the chance she’ll be picked off by German sharpshooters, although nothing in her imagination prepares her for the trial-by-fire to come.

Only she understands why she volunteered for such “unwomanly warfare” and the secret reasons she joined a handful of female American spies destined to risk her gilded life on French soil–yet former Vichy diplomat Henri Leblanc, code name Claude Foret, thinks he knows the answers.

As Catherine’s missions grow more harrowing each day, and she fears she’s fallen in love with a captured fellow agent, the German SS begin to close in on the world of Madame “Colette Durand” and her Résistance network embedded in coastal cities along the French Riviera—an exposure that could threaten the Allied victory itself.

And hanging in the air like a half-opened parachute is the life-or-death question: Who is the betrayer and who will be betrayed in this, their finest hour?

 

MY REVIEW

This book is thoroughly enjoyable for many reasons. The enjoyment encompasses plenty of breath-holding moments because our heroine walks on a knife edge in her role as secret agent. It’s hard for we readers to be as calmly confident as she always appears to be that things will go to plan, more or less. Catherine is determined, initially almost exuberant in her commitment to her role, but always professional. She loves life, has a sassy streak, but when push comes to shove she’s courageous, loyal and resourceful.

The author creates the wartime atmosphere brilliantly. Her fascination with history and particularly this pivotal time in the twentieth century is obvious. There are so many details lurking in the background adding richness but never becoming overwhelming, from mentions of clothes, food, transport and so on of the time. Most of all, the mentality of the period comes through – how people got through each day when truly horrific things could happen at any moment. How ordinary people were so brave, so heroic, which carries extra poignancy when read in contemporary Britain where certain politicians hide in fridges to avoid journalists, never mind armed enemies. But I digress a little…

This novel is exciting and engrossing. Every character we meet is convincing and rounded, every setting atmospheric, every event carefully choreographed and contributing to such a wonderfully crafted whole. You experience many different emotions as you read.

It’s a book that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading it and throws a new perspective on the wartime period.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Landing by Moonlight - Ciji Ware

Ciji Ware
is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
of twelve works of historical and contemporary fiction,
two of nonfiction,
and was short-listed for the Willa [Cather] Literary Award
for Historical Fiction in 2012.
A graduate of Harvard University in History,
she is an Emmy-award winning television producer,
a Dupont awardee for investigative journalism,
and an American Bar Association winner
of a Silver Gavel for her magazine work.
For eighteen years, she was a broadcaster and commentator for KABC Radio/TV in Los Angeles.
A recipient of Harvard’s prestigious Alumni Award in 2004,
Ware was the first woman graduate of the university
to serve as President of the Harvard Alumni Association, Worldwide.
Ware and her husband, Tony Cook, live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Follow the author on Facebook, Pinterest, and Amazon.
Visit her website

Buy the book:
paperback and ebook available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ibook/Apple, and Kobo.
***

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or on any other book blog participating in this tour.
Visit/Follow the participating blogs on Facebook/Twitter,
as listed in the entry form below, and win more entry points!

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour
will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open to all
5 winners will receive a copy of this book

***

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AND A GUEST-POST

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Cover reveal: The Walls We Build by Jules Hayes

Three friends … 

 Growing up together around Winston Churchill’s estate in Westerham, Kent, Frank, Florence and Hilda are inseparable. But as WW2 casts its menacing shadow, friendships between the three grow complex, and Frank – now employed as Churchill’s bricklayer – makes choices that will haunt him beyond the grave, impacting his grandson’s life too.

Two Secrets …

Shortly after Frank’s death in 2002 Florence writes to Richard, Frank’s grandson, hinting at the darkness hidden within his family. On investigation, disturbing secrets come to light, including a pivotal encounter between Frank and Churchill during the war and the existence of a mysterious relative in a psychiatric hospital.

One Hidden Life … 

How much more does Florence dare reveal about Frank – and herself – and is Richard ready to hear?

Set against the stunning backdrop of Chartwell, Churchill’s country home, comes a tragic story of misguided honour, thwarted love and redemption, reverberating through three generations and nine decades.

 

“Passion, intrigue and family secrets drive this complex wartime relationship drama. A page turner. I loved it.” #1 bestselling author, Nicola May

 

So here’s the cover:

Publication Date: 23rd March

Pre-order here:

 

About the author

Jules Hayes lives in Berkshire with her husband, daughter and a dog. She has a degree in modern history and holds a particular interest in events and characters from the early 20th century. As a former physiotherapist and trainer – old habits die hard – when not writing Jules likes to run. She also loves to watch films, read good novels and is a voracious consumer of non-fiction too, particularly biographies.

Jules is currently working on her second historical novel, another dual timeline story.

Jules also writes contemporary thriller and speculative fiction as JA Corrigan.

 

Jules Hayes can be found at:

Website: jules-hayes.com

Twitter @JulesHayes6 – @JulesHayes6

Facebook Author Page: JulesHayesAuthor – www.facebook.com/JulesHayesAuthor

Instagram: JulesHayes6 – www.instagram.com/juleshayes6

Writing as JA Corrigan, Jules can be found at: Website: www.jacorrigan.com

Twitter: @juliannwriter – www.twitter.com/juliannwriter

Facebook Author Page: JA Corrigan – www.facebook.com/jacorrigan
Instagram: corriganjulieann www.instagram.com/corriganjulieann

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The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright

When a time travelling Jane Austen gets stuck in modern-day Bath it’s up to avid Janeite Rose Wallace to save her… because she’s the only one who knows that Jane exists!

Rose Wallace’s world revolves around all things Austen, and with the annual festival in Bath – and the arrival of dishy archaeologist, Dr Aiden Trevellyan – just around the corner, all is well with the world…

But then a mysterious woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to the great author moves in upstairs, and things take a disastrous turn. Rose’s new neighbour is Jane Austen, whose time travel adventure has been sabotaged by a mischievous dog, trapping her in the twenty-first century.

Rose’s life is instantly changed – new home, new job, new friends – but she’s the only one who seems to have noticed! To right the world around her, she will have to do whatever it takes to help Jane get back home to write Rose’s beloved novels. Because a world without Mr Darcy? It’s not worth living in!

 

My review

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover but I totally disagree. One look at this book with its perky, bright and attractive design and its totally intriguing title and you know you’re going to enjoy every word.

As well as the time travel element, there’s mystery, history, romance and literary references in this very clever book. Jane Austen has got stuck in the future, and she copes with modern life with the straightforward, interested manner we’d expect from such a dauntless woman. Unless she can get back, her books won’t get written and our lives will all be the poorer for that. It’s untenable to think of there never being a Mr Darcy or Emma Watson!

As well as Jane, all the other principal characters are portrayed with great detail and enjoyment. They’re all fascinating and form delightful relationships. The setting in Bath with its festival is atmospheric and the plot is clever and cunning.

There isn’t a single thing not to enjoy in this imaginative, beautifully written novel.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Particular-Charm-Miss-Jane-Austen-ebook/dp/B07P6VPMFZ

Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Particular-Charm-Miss-Jane-Austen-ebook/dp/B07P6VPMFZ

Barnes & Noble (and Nook)

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-particular-charm-of-miss-jane-austen-ada-bright/1130732667?ean=9781788633697

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/ch/en/ebook/the-particular-charm-of-miss-jane-austen-1

About the authors

Cass Grafton

A proud bookworm since childhood, Cass writes the sort of stories she loves to read – heart-warming, character driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters.

She has an over-active imagination, is prone to crying with happiness as much as she is at sadness, but when it comes to her writing she leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’.

Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine, and enjoys them in any combination. She currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband, and England, where she lives with her characters.

 

Ada Bright

Ada has lived all her life in Southern California, which makes her intolerant to any weather above or below 72 degrees Fahrenheit. She grew up much more fond of reading than sports or socializing and still tends to ignore everyone she loves, all her responsibilities and basic life needs when she’s in the middle of a book.

She is luckily married to a handsome and funny man who doesn’t mind that the laundry never gets put away and she has three amazing children. Ada spent over a decade as a photographer before dedicating herself to writing, though she still believes that life should be documented well and often.

There is nothing she loves more than a good, subtle love story whether it be in real life, tv, movie, theatre or book form… well, except cake. She also really loves cake.

 

Social media links

Our Blog: www.tabbycow.com

 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/missyadabright

https://www.facebook.com/cassie.grafton

 

Twitter:

@CassGrafton

@missyadabright

 

Instagram:

 

@cassgraftonauthor

@adacakes

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A Crown In Time by Jennifer Macaire

A Crown in Time

In the far future, a convicted criminal is given a chance at redemption.

Her mission? To save the crown of France by convincing a young noble not to join the ill-fated Eighth Crusade.

But nothing goes as planned, and Isobel finds herself accompanying a hot-headed youth on his way to fight the infidel in Tunis: a battle Isobel knows is fated to be lost.

From the rainy villages of medieval France, to the scorching desert of Tunis – Isobel faces her destiny and tries to fulfil her duty, knowing she can never return to her time, knowing that a wrong move can doom the future, or doom her to be burned as a witch.

 

My review

This book is a fascinating and very successful mixture of sci-fi and historical fiction. Time travel is a theme that never grows old – for obvious reasons! – and the author uses it in an original and interesting way in this story.

Our unlikely by likeable heroine Isobel is hurled back in time and dumped unceremoniously in Medieval France. Her task of finding a certain Jean and persuading him not to fight in the next Crusade seems impossible, but she’s nothing if not determined. She is helped along the way by a variety of characters, some entirely fictional but others based on real people.

Both time periods are convincingly created, but I prefer the French setting. The author must have done a lot of research to conjure up such an atmosphere, sharing such details of the smells, food, clothes and so forth that you’d have encountered at that time.

I found the novel thoroughly absorbing and entertaining. As well as the excellent settings and characterisations, the plot is clever and interesting, the writing flowing and a delight to read and the whole experience is wonderful.

 

Purchase Links

https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-crown-in-time/jennifer-macaire//9781786157768

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZF4QWNP

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZF4QWNP

Amazon.com.auhttps://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07ZF4QWNP

 

About the author

Jennifer Macaire is an American living in France. She likes to read, eat chocolate, and plays a mean game of golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St Peter and Paul High School in St Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

 

Social media links 

Website https://authorjennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

Blog https://jennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TimeforAlexander/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jennifermacaire/

Twitter https://twitter.com/jennifermacaire?lang=en

Giveaway to Win a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate (Open INT)

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

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Children of Fire by Paul CW Beatty

I’m delighted to be taking part today in the book birthday blitz for ‘Children of Fire’ by Paul CW Beatty. I have an extract from this gripping novel to share with you, so please read on!

Synopsis

Can Josiah solve the puzzle before more people die, or is he out of his depth?

In 1841, at the height of the industrial revolution in the North West of England, Josiah Ainscough returns from his travels and surprises everyone by joining the Stockport Police Force, rather than following his adopted father’s footsteps into the Methodist ministry.

While Josiah was abroad, five men died in an explosion at the Furness Vale Powder Mill. Was this an accident or did the Children of Fire, a local religious community, have a hand in it. As Josiah struggles to find his vocation, his investigation into the Children of Fire begins. But his enquiries are derailed by the horrific crucifixion of the community’s leader.

Now Josiah must race against time to solve the puzzle of the violence loose in the Furness Vale before more people die. This is complicated by his affections for Rachael, a leading member of the Children of Fire, and the vivacious Aideen Hayes, a visitor from Ireland.

Can Josiah put together the pieces of the puzzle, or is he out of his depth? Children of Fire won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Prize for 2017.

 

Extract

There are vicious and violent forces abroad in Furness Vale. This time they have visited the religious community the Children of Fire at the least expected time. They have expressed themselves in a sacrilegious and apparently senseless murder. A murder that is designed to be seen as a matter of revenge. How will Josiah Ainscough, undercover for Stockport Police Force, cope with this outrage.

Here he comes, climbing the path towards your hiding place, his lantern swinging as he strides forward. You laugh inside yourself as you consider how appropriate darkness is for treachery and how easily this trap has been sprung. All it took was a simply worded note:

Information about Powder Mill. Come to Pulpit Rock two hours after sunset.

You step out in front of him and level your pistol at his head. He sees your face in the lamplight and gasps before he is struck down from behind.

You drag him to the base of the cross. There is a large wooden beam waiting on the ground. You lay him on it and bind his wrists so that he is stretched, open armed, along its length.

Slowly, he wakes up as you are finishing. You step back and watch as he becomes conscious. He looks around in a daze and tries to get up but the weight of the beam pins him to the earth. He wrenches at the ropes on his arms, twisting and struggling. He sees you and stops.

‘Do you remember me?’ you ask.

‘It cannot be you. You are dead.’

‘It is simply by chance that I bear a likeness of a face of someone you destroyed. Oh, I’m sorry, not chance, you don’t believe in that do you? Providence would, in any case, be a more appropriate term.’

‘Perhaps you are right,’ he says. ‘Either way I know who you must be.’

‘And by your own creed you are duty bound to do what you can to confess and prove that confession by trying to put right, the wrong you have done.’

‘And I do confess. I did your family a terrible wrong but I cannot amend it. All I can do is ask your forgiveness.’

‘Oh I think you can do something more practical than that and it will be a significant confirmation of the depth of your repentance, for it will take you the rest of your life. It’s just that the rest of your life is going to be much shorter than you might have thought.’

You cut off his shirt so that he is naked to the waist. You pick up a hammer and a nail and, stooping next to his left-hand, you push the nail into the soft flesh of the upturned palm and the hammer it into the wood behind. It takes several blows. One goes astray and breaks two of his fingers but he does not give you the satisfaction of crying out in what must be excruciating pain. Blood wells up round the shaft of the nail and pools in the palm.

You move round to the right-hand. You twist the nail repeatedly into the palm until it goes through to the back. Then you take up the hammer. Still he is silent before you.

You stand up and put your foot across his throat. Then gradually you throw your weight forward so that he starts to choke. After a few seconds he is not simply gasping for breath but uttering strange guttural sounds. Only then do you release the pressure; he is wracked by coughing.

Eyebolts have been fixed through the beam and rigged to block and tackle attached to the cross. He is heaved up so that his arms take much of his weight, but his feet are still just touching the ground. There is a terrible involuntary groan of exhaled air as his lungs are forced forward and downwards. More fierce, deep coughing.

You take the crown you have prepared from green twigs of sloe gathered in the wood. Its thorns are long and when you ram it down on his head, trickles of blood flow start down his face like red water tracks on a wet windowpane, as they merge with beads of sweat on his skin.

His shoes are pulled off and the stockings cut away. You bind his ankles and come up close to him, so your mouth is by his ear. You say something only you and he can hear and when he reacts and convulses his body in rejection, you laugh. You slip a blade in between his ribs and guide it towards his heart. You are careful not to kill him outright.

Around his neck you place a placard on a cord. You dip a finger in blood from his face and write across it. Then he is lifted clear of the ground until the extra crossbeam is at the same height as the original.

There are only two things left to be done. His legs are pulled back and two nails are driven between his tendons and the ankle bones, to pull the feet onto the upright. In a final touch, you take a sledgehammer and break his thighs.

He will die sometime before dawn, drowned slowly in his own blood from the chest wound. When is unimportant.

 

Purchase Links

 

Author bio

Paul CW Beatty is an unusual combination of a novelist and a research scientist. Having worked for many years in medical research in the UK NHS and Universities, a few years ago he took an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University emerging with a distinction.

His latest novel, Children of Fire, is a Victorian murder mystery set in 1841 at the height of the industrial revolution. It won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Award in November 2017 and is published by The Book Guild Ltd.

Paul lives near Manchester in the northwest of England. Children of Fire is set against the hills of the Peak District as well as the canals and other industrial infrastructure of the Cottonopolis know as the City of Manchester.

 

Social Media Links – Twitter @cw_beatty

 

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Christmas at Ladywell by Nicola Slade: charming and mysterious

 

A time for spilling secrets…

Having refurbished her inherited house and upcycled her whole life in the process, Freya – now happily married to Patrick, and with a small child – has to transform her tiny stone barn into a romantic hideaway for a mystery guest who is also looking for change. With Christmas only a week away, things don’t go according to plan…

In the past old uncertainties are resolved when an elderly woman seeks the truth of a legend on Christmas Eve and confesses to a deception; a Tudor wife listens to a story that must never be repeated and is given a precious relic that must never be displayed; and in the early nineteenth century an old woman tells a younger one the story of the hares at Ladywell.

Past and present are only a whisper apart when Freya learns of an astonishing discovery that will make Ladywell famous, but meanwhile her house is full of unexpected visitors, she has a turkey to cook – and a very special secret of her own that must be told.

 

My review

Christmas at Ladywell is a quick and charming read. It’s part of a series but you don’t need to have read the preceding books to be able to fully enjoy this one.

It’s a dual-timeline story that focuses on the past and the present at Ladywell. In having to do some rather quick renovations, Freya, who inherited the house, makes some interesting discoveries about former residents and royal connections. We get to travel back in time to witness events and meet some of these people. There’s a wonderful atmosphere of mystery woven into the historical element of the story.

There’s mystery in the present day too. Just what is Patrick’s surprise for Freya, and Freya’s own secret?

This is an uplifting, comforting sort of story, perfect for Christmas.

 

Purchase Links

US – https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-at-Ladywell-Nicola-Slade-ebook/dp/B07YNKPCJW

Author bio

Nicola Slade is an award-winning, bestselling author of historical and contemporary mysteries and romantic fiction, all set in and around Winchester and Romsey in Hampshire – which is where she lives. The House at Ladywell – a contemporary romantic novel with historical echoes – won the Chatelaine Grand Prize for Romantic Fiction at the CIBA awards in April 2019.

She is the author of the mid-Victorian Charlotte Richmond mysteries and the contemporary Harriet Quigley mysteries and The Convalescent Corpse, published November 2018, is the first in a new series, The Fyttleton Mysteries, set in 1918.

 

Social media links
Website:
www.nicolaslade.com

Blog: www.nicolaslade.wordpress.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nicolasladeuk/

Twitter: @nicolasladeuk

Pinterest: www.pinterest.co.uk/nicola8703

 

Giveaway to Win a .mobi or PDF of The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola Slade (Open INT)

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More Than A Game by Ralph Robb: energetic and engrossing

More Than A Game

Sabina Park Rangers is the first team of black players to reach the final of the Watney’s Challenge Cup. But coach Horace McIntosh has more selection problems than most. The First Division champions want to sign one of his best players – and right up until the day of the match he is uncertain that he will have a team for the biggest game in the club’s history because of arrests, a scam and an atmosphere of impending violence.

My review

This is a very energetic novel with a clever title, and the liveliness isn’t just confined to the football matches. The characters are full of life and the plot is fast-paced, clever and engrossing. It’s upbeat, even though there’s tension and difficulties to be faced in the novel and it deals with harsh realities of the period the book is set in, such as racism, hostile politics and heavy-handed policing. Life could be uncertain and dangerous for British people of West Indian descent.

There’s much that’s positive, as I hinted at with the ‘upbeat’ remark. Horace, the team coach and our main character, is a generous, encouraging person. He wants to contribute all he can to his community, despite this being made difficult for him by intolerance.  This community is caring and tight-knit. It’s reflected in the real camaraderie amongst Sabina Park Rangers’ players. There are some rogues amongst them and rules are there for the bending, but you see and sympathise the motives behind any slightly dodgy behaviour. What really comes over is the genuine wish and need to integrate and be accepted in their adopted country.

The book is set in The Midlands in the 1980s, both a place and a period I’ve experienced first-hand so I can honestly say that the atmosphere of that time and setting are convincing and atmospheric. There’s added pertinence in that the UK is sadly showing a worrying swing to the right at the current time and undervaluing certain members of society for shallow reasons. However, despite the more serious overtones this is an enjoyable and eye-opening slice of 1980s life, politics and people.

Oh, and about that clever title. There’s a reflection in it of the well known saying by Bill Shankly that football is more important than ‘life and death’ so it’s definitely more than a game. Also, given the extra challenges posed by discrimination that Sabina Park Rangers face, football is more than a game for them. It’s about self-worth and acceptance as well as demonstrating talent and scoring goals.

Author bio

Ralph Robb was born and raised in the industrial town of Wolverhampton, England, and now lives in Ontario, Canada with his wife, two cats and a dog. A proud father of four, Robb works as an engineering technician and loves rugby, martial arts and of course a good book. His world is balanced by his obsession with comic books, quality TV, global events and the great outdoors.

 

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Twitter: @RalphSRobb

Webpage: www.ralphrobb.com