Complimentary copy

#Review A History Of Cadbury by Diane Wordsworth @DMWordsworth #AHistoryOfCadbury #Historical #NonFiction @penswordbooks

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When John Cadbury came to Birmingham in 1824, he sold tea, coffee and drinking chocolate in a small shop on Bull Street. Drinking chocolate was considered a healthy alternative to alcohol, something Cadbury, a Quaker, was keen to encourage.

In 1879, the Cadburys moved to Bournville and created their ‘factory in a garden’ – an unprecedented move. It is now ironic that today’s Bournville is surrounded by that urban sprawl the Cadburys were so keen to get away from.

This book looks at some of the social impact this company has had since its inception, both on the chocolate and cocoa business in general and on the community at large, both within and without the firm of Cadbury.

In 2024, Cadbury’s will be celebrating 200 years of the first store opening. This is the story of how the company began, how it grew, and how they diversified in order to survive

This book is a chocolate lovers dream!! After all who doesn’t love chocolate? If there is people out there in the big wide world who choose not to like chocolate, then they are definitely not amongst my sphere…I cannot think of anything worse then disliking chocolate! How can you not like Cadbury’s Roses? Or Dairy Milk? Surely that is a mortal sin? Anyway enough of my waffling, I need to tell you about this wonderfully delicious book – a book which was consumed along with – yes, you got it; Chocolate!

So for all those – in opinion – odd people out there who have a thing against chocolate and I am not talking about people with allergies or diabetics then maybe this not be the book for you, but saying that this is all about the glorious history of the firm – and not just the sweet stuff!

The book documents the entire history of this much loved company, I think everyone has fond memories associated with Cadbury chocolate and it was fascinating to read into it’s history. From it’s small start as a tea shop in Bull Street, Birmingham set up by John Cadbury in 1824, John was from a Quaker family and he was also an advocate for temperance which is why he chose to go down the chocolate path – and aren’t we all pleased he did? His tea shop was a hit especially as he sold hot chocolate but it wasn’t until the firm was passed to his son’s that the Cadbury name was really established. His son’s Richard and George had real vision, they saw an opening in the market, they knew with a little tweaking that their business could be a success – honestly these lads had smart heads on their shoulders.

What I particularly like about this book is that Ms Wordsworth really educates the reader not just in the history of the firm itself, but with the people. From reader this it is obvious that the Cadbury’s unlike other employer’s at the time genuinely cared for their workers’, they cared about the workers needs and most important they genuinely cared for their workers health and helping them progress in life and I found that far more fascinating then the history of the business.

Ms Wordsworth does a wonderful job at walking the reader through the many changes in the Cadbury history, right from those very early days, right to Cadbury’s lofty heights and back again to now and how it has changed with being apart of Kraft. The writer has obviously done considerable research and that passion for the subject comes through her writing.

This is a great little read and highly recommend not just for those who love their chocolate but also it is a fascinating insight into a family who strove to create a business that would last throughout the years.

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review, Thank you Rosie!

A History of Cadbury can be purchased from Amazon and Pen and Sword.

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#BlogTour : #Review A Forbidden Love by Kerry Postle @kerry_postle #AForbiddenLove @HQstories @HQDigitalUK

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Hello everyone, I have the very great pleasure to be todays stop on A Forbidden Love by Kerry Postle blog tour, I can’t wait to share with you all my review of this amazing book. So, take a seat, grab yourselves a cuppa and let me tell you a little about this wonderful book.

An extraordinary story against all the odds…

He vowed in his letter to one day meet her again, once the war was over. But it was a letter Maria couldn’t bring herself to read…

Growing up in the humble Spanish town of Fuentes, Maria dreamed of seeing the world and marrying one day. But before her life can truly start, civil war breaks out and Fuentes is torn apart by violence, secrecy and corruption.

Maria vows to take a stand, yet as an unspeakable tragedy rocks her trust in human decency, her heart hardens and the love she once believed in seems far out of reach. But when she falls for an occupying soldier, she questions whether she can truly love someone who is her enemy?

This is the first I have read by Kerry Postle so I did go into this book with my eyes wide open, unsure of what I would expect. But, I can honestly say that I will be reading more of Ms Postle’s work again. This is a spine-tingling, poignant and beautifully written book that is a must read for all historical fiction readers.

A Forbidden Love is set during the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930’s, I obviously have heard about the Spanish Civil War but I didn’t really know too much about it and what the people went through during that awful time, but from reading this it has made me want to learn more about this terrible aspect of history.

Growing up a little Spanish town; Fuentes; Maria has always dreamed of marrying and having a fairy-tale happy ever after, but unfortunately for Maria before she can find her Prince charming civil war breaks out and her much-loved village is torn apart by the war that is raging all around her. Her once quiet life has turned into one full of violence and she finds herself surrounded by secrecy, corruption and terror. Being faced with such horror, it understandably has an effect on Maria and makes her question all what she knew, she becomes jaded and cynical about whether human decency really exists any more. This war does change her and changes her views and makes her think that her once much sought after love was nothing but dream, but then she meets an occupying soldier who makes her again believe in love. But, with the war raging can Maria really have the happiness she so wanted?

I have purposely been very vague in this review as I wouldn’t wish to spoil the story for anyone and believe me this book needs to read without any hint of a spoiler. I am a huge fan of novels which you can really learn something from it and this one will definitely make you sit up and take notice. Because of the subject matter it is at times uncomfortable reading, it does make you stop and draw breath at what you have just read but it is a story that must be read, it shines a light on a part of history that is so rarely told. It is obvious that Ms Postle has done her research, it – at times – really bites and transports the reader from their comfy armchair to the savaged war-torn country. The writing is solid, full of passion for the story and compassion for the subject. Overall, this is a brilliant book that will both satisfy and educate the history lovers out there and it is very highly recommended!

This was an Arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, Thank you Izzy!

A Forbidden Love is available now and can be found at Amazon.

#BlogTour : In The Shadow Of War; Spies, Love & The Lusitania by Colleen Adair Fliedner @ColleenFliedner #Review #InTheShadowOfWar #Histfic via @HFVBT #HFVTBBlogtours

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Hello my lovelies, I have the very great pleasure to be todays stop on the In The Shadow Of War; Spies, Love & The Lusitania by Colleen Adair Fliedner blog tour. So grab yourself a cuppa and maybe a biscuit and let me tell you a bit about this book.

In 1915 while the First World War raged on in Europe, Americans, and especially New Yorkers, faced their own “silent war” at home. Disgruntled with America’s so-called promise of “neutrality” and overt trade deals with England and France, the German government set up a spy ring headquartered in Manhattan. Their espionage and terrorist networks had tentacles reaching all the way to the German Ambassador in Washington D.C. German operatives planted explosives on American and British cargo ships en route from New York to England, France, and Russia. They plotted to blow up trains, bridges, factories, and even the U.S. Capitol Building

Josette Rogers is the daughter of a rich businessman who must move his family to London when he inherits his uncle’s import/export business. Curtis Carlson is a rising star at the House of Morgan on Wal Street. They each have very different opinions about whether or not America should enter the war.

Josette Rogers is the daughter of a rich businessman who must move his family to London when he inherits his uncle’s import/export business. Curtis Carlson is a rising star at the House of Morgan on Wall Street. They each have very different opinions about whether or not America should enter the war.

Curtis and Mr. Van Camp, a senior partner at Morgan’s Manhattan offices, are sent to England to have $500 million loan documents signed that will help finance the nearly bankrupt British and French governments. Josette and Curtis are both traveling to England on the RMS Lusitania when Josette suspects there is a spy ring on board. Were they sent to divulge the location of the Lusitania?

This is the first I have read by Ms Fliedner, but I was so fascinated by the look and sound of this book, those who know me and who read my reviews will know I have a real passion for this era, and I knew that I just had to read it and I am so pleased that I did because In The Shadow Of War is a wonderfully powerful book that really sends tingles down the readers back. We all know the history of the Lusitania and yet there appears to be so few books out there that feature it’s tragic history, which is definitely one of the reasons why I wanted to read this book.

It’s 1915 and war is raging across Europe, a war that America as yet are in two frames of mind about entering the war, but they are fighting their own ‘silent’ war on their very streets. Which makes the government to set up their own network of spies, New York becomes thick in danger amongst all of this is Josette; an intelligent, opinionated young woman who resolutely does not believe that the US should even enter the war and Curtis a professor come Wall Street banker who thinks that America should help it’s allies; Britain and France. Really these two are so different, they are made from the same cloth, proud, intelligent, passionate but with completely different ideals of what should happen to their country. But, once they both find themselves on the ill fated Lusitania they then must become allies as there is spies and danger everywhere they turn. I can’t really say too much about the plot as there are plot twists and turns at every single corner, there is secrets and lies on every page that to go into to real detail would surely give too many spoilers away and I just can’t do that. But, I will say that the spy plot is amazing and it kept me completely and

This really is an edge of your seat thriller with the hint of romance, there is danger at every turn, spies, and a world that is facing the most brutal and bloodiest of wars where families on all continents are being effected and that human aspect really came across in this. The author does a splendid job at bringing to attention the none battle field struggles and perils that the everyday people from all over the world, from every walk of life had to face day in day out. Not only seeing their husbands, brother’s and son go off to war and worrying whether they will ever be seen again, but there is also the fact that people were starving and desperate. The main plot is brilliant, but is this side story that really captured my attention and I applaud Ms Fliedner for such immersive and powerful writing.

A definite must read for those like myself who love reading about this era, it is an atmospheric, powerful and poignant book that really shouldn’t be missed.

This was a complimentary copy from the author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour; Thank you Colleen and Amy.

In The Shadow Of War can be purchased at Amazon.

#Review A History Of Women In Medicine; Cunning Women, Physicians, Witches? by Sinead Spearing @sineadspearing #AhistoryOfWomenInMedicine #WomensHistory @penswordbooks

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I have the great pleasure to be sharing my review of this amazing book; A History of Women in History (Cunning Women, Physicians, Witches) by Sinead Spearing, so sit back grab a cuppa and let me tell you all about this brilliant book.

Witch’ is a powerful word with humble origins. Once used to describe an ancient British tribe known for its unique class of female physicians and priestesses, it grew into something grotesque, diabolical and dangerous. A History of Women in Medicine: From Physicians to Witches? reveals the untold story of forgotten female physicians, their lives, practices and subsequent demonisation as witches. Originally held in high esteem in their communities, these women used herbs and ancient psychological processes to relieve the suffering of their patients. Often travelling long distances, moving from village to village, their medical and spiritual knowledge blended the boundaries between physician and priest. These ancient healers were the antithesis of the witch figure of today; instead they were knowledgeable therapists commanding respect, gratitude and high social status.

In this pioneering work, Sinead Spearing draws on current archeological evidence, literature, folklore, case studies and original religious documentation to bring to life these forgotten healers. By doing so she exposes the elaborate conspiracy conceived by the Church to corrupt them in the eyes of the world. Turning these women from benevolent therapists into the embodiment of evil required a fabricated theology to ensure those who collected medicinal herbs or practiced healing, would be viewed by society as dealing with the devil. From this diabolical association, female healers could then be labeled witches and be justly tortured and tried in the ensuing hysteria known today as the European witch craze.

Well, what a fascinating, illuminating and at times quite harrowing book. I literally finished this in one day, I was completely hooked from the first page. I hate to say it, but before reading this I hadn’t heard of this author before – and I do feel awful for saying that. I’m very sorry, Sinead!

I was intrigued by the book the moment I spotted it and knew I had to read it and I am so pleased that I got the chance to. It is a remarkable read, I found it to be very hard-hitting and yet sensitive to those women it tells the stories of, it is a book that should be read by everyone, not just women who like me are interested in women’s history and celebrating how wonderful these women were but by all. I can guarantee there will be something within these pages that will intrigue everyone.

I really like how this is written, it not only tells the stories of these amazing women but it also highlights just what ignorance and fear can do, how when people fear or don’t understand something such what these fine women were doing or who then Ms Spearing’s voice comes through the history with such clarity that you feel her passion for the subject of which she is writing.

The book is all about the very early medicine women, or ‘cunning women’, healers and those that were basically viewed as witches; not quite people to be trusted. I loved the opening as Ms Spearing tells the story of how this book came about, all about when archaeologist found the remains of a women not buried in the grave yard but on the edge and buried with some very interesting and quite odd items. From there the book goes further in detail about who this women could have been, about the women like her from around the country doing good work healing and helping, these women who were basically the first doctors, these women who were respected one minute and the next tried for witch craft.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, it is a fresh and original book that looks into a different aspect of history.

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review, Thank you Rosie.

A History of Women in Medicine is available from  Amazon and Pen & Sword

#Review The Escape by Clare Harvey @ClareHarveyauth and #Exclusive Guest Post. #TheEscape #BlogTour #GuestPost #HistoricFiction @simonshusterUK

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I have the very great pleasure to be todays stop on The Escape by Clare Harvey blog tour. I have a brilliant exclusive guest post by Clare – it is an amazing post. Plus I am sharing my review of The Escape, so grab a cup of tea and have a look. 

About Clare

I was born in North Devon, and lived there until just after my seventh birthday, when my family uprooted and moved to Mauritius for two years. After living overseas, we moved back to Surrey, and then later back to Devon, where I went to secondary school and took a foundation course in art and design.

I read Law at the University of Leicester, but chose not to follow a legal path, deciding instead to do voluntary work in Tanzania and hitch-hike from Zanzibar to Cape Town, where I stayed for a year. After my African adventure, I worked for an overseas charity, picked up a journalism qualification, and fell in love with a soldier. Much to my parents’ dismay, a safe career as a solicitor never looked likely!

I’ve had an itinerant adulthood, working variously as a freelance journalist, radio reporter and English tutor in Nepal, Germany and Northern Ireland as the trailing spouse of a serving soldier.

I’m now settled in Nottingham, with husband, three children, a black German Shepherd dog, and a father-in-law who lives in a detached annexe in the garden – it’s a busy household. However, I haven’t given up on the wanderlust just yet. Although Nottingham’s home for now, we’ve got a camper van and a canal boat, so who knows where next…

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon / Instagram

Guest Post

Procrastination by Clare Harvey

Let’s talk about procrastination. No, wait, let me make a cup of tea and Google the definition of procrastination, and then we can make a start (see what I did there?)…

Procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something. Most of us, but authors in particular, are very good at procrastination. When you work from home there are tempting lollygagging opportunities a-plenty. This morning, for example, I promised myself I’d be at my desk by 9am, but six acts of procrastination delayed the start of my working day by an hour and a half.

I was a little late back from my morning dog walk (and as there’s no boss to shout at me if I’m not at work on time, I don’t tend to rush). Then, whilst the coffee was brewing, I decided to post a photo on my Instagram feed, which meant I got sucked into social media for a while, and there was an interesting person on Desert Island Discs on Radio 4, too, so I didn’t rush drinking my coffee. Just as I was giving myself a metaphorical kick up the backside, my husband phoned, then the postman arrived with a parcel a new hairstyling gadget, which I felt I just had to test out…I finally opened my laptop at 10.30. In any normal job this amount of shilly-shallying would surely get me the sack?

I should be stricter with myself, shouldn’t I? Shorten that dog walk, limit my use of social media before I’ve completed my to-do list, turn off the radio, ignore personal phone calls, leave the parcels unopened. In short, I should flipping well get on with things, right?

Wrong.

I believe that procrastination or at least a kind of managed mindlessness is positively beneficial to writers. Let’s go through my dilatory start to the day again, and I’ll tell you why:

1. The extended morning dog walk/run:

Writing is a sedentary occupation we need to get out from behind our desks and move about. Exercise has been shown to boost creativity, and running to thumping bass beats increases self-confidence, both of which are essential to authors. Being outdoors is also an ideal opportunity for a spot of mindfulness. When I’m out I try to spend a few minutes internally describing my surroundings (today it was the pink vapour trails criss-crossing the powder blue skies, my breath puffing dragon-clouds in front of my face, and the slide of my boots on the muddy path, for example); this has the twin benefits both of calming me down before the day begins, and also exercising my writer’s mind by practising a bit of word painting.

2. Personal phone calls:

As I mentioned, authors lead a hermit-like existence. I’m not sure about other writers, but I spend a lot of time talking and listening to the voices of made-up people inside my head! Real life – family and friends – are critically important in keeping me grounded and sane, and I’m sure that’s true for most other authors too.

3. Dithering on social media:

For authors, social media performs two critical functions: writing is a lonely job, and social media connects you with the world. Almost all the contact I have with fellow writers is via Facebook groups and Twitter feeds, and without it I’d run the risk of feeling increasingly isolated. In addition, social media is a crucial marketing tool. I usually post something every weekday so that I’m maintaining contact with my readers. This morning I posted a photo of some old graffiti I’d spotted on my walk, which I just thought was unexpectedly beautiful. I also put a promo link on a FB group for saga readers, inviting them along to my book launch. Social media helps market my work, connects me to readers and writers, and is sometimes an outlet for creativity, too.

4. Listening to the radio:

I like having Radio 4 quietly chattering along in the background in the kitchen, and although it doesn’t usually stop me from getting to work, sometimes it’s worth allowing myself to be diverted. A couple of years ago Hillary Mantel’s Reith lectures on historical fiction were an essential listen for hist fic authors like me. And only a few weeks ago an item on the radio sparked an idea that I developed into a synopsis, and is now my current work-in-progress. You never know when an obscure radio feature might send you off down a new creative path, so it’s always worth a listen.

5. Taking the time to brew a cup of real coffee:

Most authors probably swear by a caffeine shot to get their creative juices going, but it’s more than that. My morning cuppa is a ritual – I have a little Italian-style coffee pot that you heat on the hob, and I have to go through the rigmarole of filling the pot with water, spooning the coffee into the chamber, tamping it down with the back of the special coffee spoon, heating the milk in a separate jug, etc. Rituals give focus and structure to our lives. I might not go out to work, but making that coffee helps make my brain transition from home to job, and after I have finished drinking it, I’m ready to leave behind thoughts of shopping, washing, homework projects, and doctor’s appointments, and open my laptop, or pick up my pen.

6. Opening parcels:

Okay, I admit it, this one really does count as procrastination. I just wanted the fleeting thrill of unwrapping something, and once it was open, I couldn’t help giving my new hair styling gadget a try. I probably could have been at my desk a few minutes earlier but at least I’m definitely not having a bad hair day today…

Five out of six ain’t bad, I’d say. Stalling, temporizing, dilly-dallying, vacillation call it what you like, some kind of delaying tactics are an essential part of an author’s day, and for me this morning has definitely been a procrastination win!

The Escape is out now in paperback, e-book and Audible.

About The Book

A compelling wartime drama for fans of Lucinda Riley, Rachel Hore and Katherine Webb

Detta works as a translator for a Nazi-run labour camp for French workers. One winter morning in early 1945, Detta passes a group of exhausted British prisoners of war who are being force-marched westwards. The following day she receives an urgent message to contact the local priest. He is harbouring a group of escaped British prisoners of war in the manse: can she help?

London, 1989. Miranda is a 19-year old photography student in London, in thrall to her older boyfriend, a journalist called Quill. In November the fall of the Berlin Wall is all over the news. Quill asks Miranda to come with him to Germany: before they leave, Miranda’s grandmother gives her an old postcard of the village she was born in. Miranda hopes that working together in Berlin will help cement the cracks in her relationship with Quill, but one night his behaviour spills over into violence, and Miranda ends up fleeing through the rubble of the Berlin wall and into the East. As she travels further, she begins to suspect she’s being followed by the Stasi. If she goes on, she worries that she’ll be taken into custody and be accused of spying; if she turns back, it means returning to Quill.

At last her grandmother’s photograph offers the solution. She tells people that she is going to find her family in the East. The Catholic church, and the manse, opposite where her grandmother once lived, are still standing. And the secrets of the past begin to be revealed.

Wow, what a gripping and thought- provoking book. From the very first page when Detta spot’s the Russian planes flying over her office, I was hooked. I wanted to know what would happen to her and what came of Tom. I was turning the pages lightening quick, becoming more and more engrossed in a story that spans from 1945 to 1989. This is a truly thrilling and moving book, set during two unsettled and dangerous times, and centres around two women in particular.

This is the first book I have read by Clare Harvey, I didn’t know what to expect from her writing. Yes, I have read a lot of great things about her work, but I like to make my own opinions, and my opinion is that Ms Harvey has a true skill. She has a rare gift, time slip stories at times don’t always work and some can fall a little flat or become confusing the further into the story the reader gets. But not this one. Ms Harvey easily takes the reader from Detta in 1945 and jumps cleanly to Miranda in 1989, the transitions from one woman and one era to the next and then back again is perfectly timed and written.

As I said above the story is split between two era’s; in 1945, Detta lives in a little village in Germany working as a translator – which gives a real insight into what was going on at this stage in the war. The Russian are moving in, there is a quiet hostility that just jumps out at you read. The part with the mother and baby trying to get on the train and facing an onslaught of hostility was particularly moving. When she receives word from the local priest for help, she at first is uncertain as whether to assist as he is harbouring escaped British prisoners of war. Dare she help him and these poor men, while putting her own life at risk if she was ever caught?

The second part of the story set during 1989 the Berlin wall has fallen and trainee photographer is right in the thick of it. She is only in Berlin as her older boyfriend; Quill asked her to go with him, but one thing leads to another and the night ends in violence. As she flees the feeling of threats and danger is ever present, it leaped of the pages and your heart is in your mouth as your follow Miranda as she makes her way through some pretty harrowing moments, believing she is being followed she ends up using the old postcard her grandmother gave her, and says she is going to find her family in East Germany.

The threads that start to appear which link the two women makes for compelling and intriguing reading. The way Ms Harvey has entwined raw history throughout the story is beautifully done. There is a real sense of not knowing what’s to come, at not letting anything slip through your fingers as you never know if you will ever get the chance or see the person again. There are moments which had shivers running down my back and tears in my eyes; such as the march of the concentration camp workers, wearing nothing but rags and skeletal thin as they lumbered past Tom’s prisoner of war camp is harrowing.

This is an absolute stunning piece of writing, it’s sensitive, poignant, engaging, compelling, beautifully written, rich in historic detail, a thrilling story which will grab you and not let you go. Really this is a perfect book for all those who love historic fiction, if you love the likes of Pam Jenoff, Alison Richman or Kate Mosse then read this book.

It is in one word; Perfection! – Honestly, I can’t say any more it is really is.

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for a honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you so much Jess.

The Escape can be found at Amazon, do buy it, I cannot recommend it enough.

#Review The Scandal Of George III’s Court by Catherine Curzon @MadameGilflurt #TheScandalOfGeorgeIIIsCourt #Georgian #History #NonFiction @PenSwordBooks

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I have the pleasure to share with you all my review of The Scandal Of George III’s Court by the hugely talented Catherine Curzon, grab a cup of tea and maybe a biscuit and delve into to some scandalous Georgian history.

From Windsor to Weymouth, the shadow of scandal was never too far from the walls of the House of Hanover. Did a fearsome duke really commit murder or a royal mistress sell commissions to the highest bidders, and what was the truth behind George III’s supposed secret marriage to a pretty Quaker? With everything from illegitimate children to illegal marriages, dead valets and equerries sneaking about the palace by candlelight, these eyebrow-raising tales from the reign of George III prove that the highest of births is no guarantee of good behaviour. Prepare to meet some shocking ladies, some shameless gentlemen and some politicians who really should know better. So tighten your stays, hoist up your breeches and prepare for a gallop through some of the most shocking royal scandals from the court of George III’s court. You’ll never look at a king in the same way again…

Well, this is an eye opener for sure! Whatever you originally thought of the Georgian Court will be completely shadowed by the reality of what went on within this scandalous family. And what a family, phew their exploits made me shattered just reading about them. If you think the Borgia’s were scandalous, wait until you meet the Georgians, this lot were in a league of their own.

I have been reading Catherine Curzon’s work for a few years now and I have loved every word she has written, but I am ashamed to say this is the first of her non-fiction books I have. What! How can that be? Definitely a lapse on my part, which will be rectified!

This reveals the scandals that went on though the court of King George III, and believe me this lot were a hoot. With ‘unsuitable’ marriage, a flurry of mistresses and illegitimate children popping up all over the show, secret marriages, heir sand the spares running around causing scandal at every turn plus a whiff of murder. This family was doing it all, you see this is what happens when TV hasn’t been invented yet, people get up to all sorts.

I love the way this is written, the history side is backed up with sources which are easily accessible for everyone (Check out the bibliography for a list of research sites and books which can be accessed) and then there is the notes in the back which are very illuminating and gives further background to each of the chapters. The thing that I particularly love about this, and what kept me glued and turning the pages was Ms Curzon’s incredibly entertaining writing style, there is a real wit which at times had me giggling away into my cuppa – I did get a few odd looks from the family 😉 especially while reading the ‘Carry On Cumberland’ chapter, which is one of my favourite chapters. So good!

Another of my favourite chapters, has got to be ‘Perdita And Pickle’ which is all about two Drury Lane actresses; Mary Darny Robinson and Dora Jordan – anyone who knows me or follows my posts won’t be surprised that I became completely and utterly engaged with a chapter all about two women who in all essence were regular women forging a path for themselves. I loved this chapter and getting to know these two fascinating women, especially Dora, who knew that she wasn’t an absolute beauty until you saw her legs. She chose to wear breeches – yes, I know, scandalous and you will have to read the book to find out why, but I do I like this lass.

Overall, this is a brilliant! The writing – which is of no surprise given this is Ms Curzon we are talking about, is flawless. It’s fun, engaging, ridiculously addictive and thoroughly entertaining. It’s a history lesson, but not at all like yawning though an old school lesson where the teacher drones on and you fall asleep right at the good bit, no! This is something between Horrible Histories, Time Team (Don’t judge, I know what I’m on about) and a Lucy Worsley documentary (I know wrong era, but you get the drift). This one of those books which once you start, you won’t stop until you turn the last page. When that happens you’ll feel rather out of sorts and wondering where your next Georgian Scandal fix is coming from. Do you think we should start of a GA meeting? ‘Georgians Anonymous’ for all of us who are now addicted to this rather scandalous era of British history.

Scandalously brilliant and thoroughly recommended for everyone who just loves a romp through history.

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you Rosie!

The Scandal Of George III’s Court can be purchased from Amazon and Pen and Sword Books.

#DoubleReview From Duke Till Dawn & Counting On A Countess (The London Underground Series) by Eva Leigh @EvaLeighAuthor #CountingOnACountess #BlogTour via @MillsandBoon #MillsandBoonInsiders #Regency #Romance #FromDukeTillDawn

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I have the very great pleasure to be the next stop on this wonderful blog tour with Mills and Boon Insiders, and to be sharing not one review – oh, no! I have a double whammy for you lovelies to read, as I have reviews for both From Duke Till Dawn and Counting On A Countess by Eva Leigh. So sit back for ten minutes and take a look at these two amazing books!

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About Eva

Eva Leigh is a romance author who has always loved the Regency era. She writes novels chock-full of smart women and sexy men. She enjoys baking, spending too much time on the Internet, and listening to music from the ’80s. Eva and her husband live in Central California.

Eva also writes in multiple romance genres as RITA-award nominated Zoe Archer.

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From Duke Till Dawn (The London Underground #1)

Eva Leigh launches a seductive new series that sizzles with the dark secrets of London’s underworld…

It’s not my habit to seduce impoverished widows…’

The Duke of Greyland lost his heart – and a princely sum – to a charming, beautiful and destitute widow who, after one passionate night, vanished without a trace. Cassandra Blair grew up on the city streets, picking pockets to survive. Greyland was a rich mark – to be fleeced and forgotten – only she’d never forgotten him.

Years later, chance brings them together again, in a London gaming hell. Grayland is desperate to have her… never suspecting everything about his lover was a lie. But finding herself in dire financial straits, at risk of losing everything, Cassandra has no choice but to beg the man she betrayed for help.

The proud Duke will assist her under one condition: she doesn’t leave his sight until her debts are paid! But can the real Cassandra – the smart, streetwise survivor – steal his heart all over again?

This is the first I have read Eva Leigh, really? I can’t believe that myself, I must constantly walk around with my eyes closed off to the world, to have missed out on such a fabulous author. But, I can guarantee that this will not be the last, I am determined to read more by Ms Leigh.

I was instantly taken with the premise of this book, was the way the hero is portrayed she is independent, strong, reliant and manages to manoeuvrer her way through a man’s world and manages to hold her head up high and say “Yes, I can do exactly what I want and will have the respect” At times in Historical romances it can be hard to have the heroine really stand out as herself, there is very few authors who can really make their heroines likeable as well as real and Ms Leigh has definitely made it on to that list of the very few who can create a real heroine who you not only can relate to but who is incredible in her own right. Anyone who knows me, will know how much I love a romance where the character is a self made man/woman and yet another reason why I love this book.

Years before Alex; the Duke of Greyland met the most glorious woman he has ever set eyes on, he gave her his heart and soul. For a Duke who lives by the code of responsibility and the rules that surrounds his station letting anyone peer past his aristocratic cool exterior to the sensual man within wasn’t easily done. So, when she disappears with a large amount of his money he is devastated. Now at the ripe old age; of thirty- eight Alex knows that he really needs to get on with finding himself a wife and procuring the mandatory heir, but when he does he is yet again left all on his tod. As the chit goes and elopes with a cavalry officer and runs of to Gretna Green. Yep, Alex isn’t having the best of times and things become even more complicated for Alex as he comes face to face with his ‘Queen’ in an unarmed gaming hell. What the hell was she doing, and more importantly who exactly is this mysterious woman who stole his heart.

I will admit that it took me a while to warm to Alex, but once you get past the moody egotistical and self-pitying Duke and get to the man warm, sexy, sensitive man behind the mask, he is quite the catch. He thinks that because everyone has so far let him for whatever reason he now believes him to be unlovable, unwanted – which is totally wrong, and something he does soon learn.

To say that Cassandra Blake is shocked to bump into the very man who she stole from but the man she has unfortunately fallen in love with after she dumped him so callously is an understatement. She is now working for her old mentor Martin Hughes in his gaming hell, Hughes on finding out about her and Alex’s brief encounter wants to cash in once again and she has no choice but to go along with his plan. After all this man could put her on that transportation ship or even worse put the noose around her neck as he knows all about her life of crime.

One thing leads to another and as with all historical romances our hero and heroine get their happy ever after, but there is some twists to the tale, there is hurts, lies and harsh truths which must be faced before that happens.

I adore Cassandra, again and again she has found herself in a precarious place, from picking pockets as a child to pulling cons and ending up working the floor and tables in a gaming hell – one that unusually has no name. She has been through some really tough times, she has seen her fare share of troubles but she has taken the bull by it’s horn and battled through to become the mysterious ‘Queen’ I found Cassandra to be highly intelligent, resilient, independent, great at thinking on her feet and even though she has spent a life conning and swindling – but all or a good reason- she isn’t heartless or cold. She feels genuinely bad about all the things she has done especially what he did to Alex. She is a kind woman, maybe not an honest one but we can see past that once you get to know her. And her love and friendship with Alex shows just what kind of warm and caring woman she is. All she wants now is to go on the straight and narrow, she’s had enough of the cons and the criminal aspect of her past hanging over her head.

This is a brilliant introduction to a new-to-me author, I love Ms Leigh’s writing style, it’s fast-paced and flows with absolute ease taking the reader on a whirlwind journey through he criminal underworld of London. The research is spot on the mark, the detailing of everything from the clothes, scenery and setting makes the whole story come to life with dazzling effect. The story is imaginative, sensual, atmospheric, rich with allure and shines with regency glitter. I absolutely loved it.

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Counting On A Countess (The London Underground #2)

For a shameless libertine and a wily smuggler in the London Underground, marriage is more than convenience—it’s strategy…


Christopher “Kit” Ellingsworth, war veteran and newly minted Earl of Blakemere, buries his demons under every sort of pleasure and vice. His scandalous ways have all but emptied his coffers…until a wealthy mentor leaves him a sizeable fortune. The only stipulation? He must marry within one month to inherit the money. Kit needs a bride and the bold, mysterious Miss Tamsyn Pearce seems perfect.

Husband hunting isn’t Tamsyn’s top priority—she’s in London to sell her new shipment of illicit goods—but she’s desperate for funds to keep her smuggling operation afloat. When a handsome earl offers to wed her and send her back to Cornwall with a hefty allowance, Tamsyn agrees. After all, her secrets could land her in prison and an attentive, love-struck spouse could destroy everything.

But when an unexpected proviso in the will grants Tamsyn control of the inheritance, their arrangement becomes anything but convenient. Now, Kit’s counting on his countess to make his wildest dreams a reality, and he plans to convince her, one pleasurable seduction at a time..

After reading ‘From Duke Till Dawn’ I was looking forward to reading this book, anyone who knows me will know how much I love a scarred soldier. So the minute I was introduced to Kit in the previous book, I knew that I needed read this one and I am so pleased that I got the chance as this is fabulous! Even though this is only the second book I have read by Ms Leigh I can instantly see that this lady has a skill with creating sensual, engaging and ultimately absorbing stories which will stay with you long after bedtime, or even keep you up way after your bedtime. All readers know what I mean by that, you start reading in bed, promising you’ll just read one more chapter and before you know it you’ve nearly finished the book.

Oddly enough with the previous book, it took an age for me to arm to the hero and yet the heroine instantly struck me and stayed with me. This time it was the complete opposite, I was instantly drawn to Kit, I wanted to shake him for his stupidity, hug when he was feeling blue and just be with him all the time, he has a mesmerizing quality about him that any woman with a pulse will instantly flock to. Anyone who has seen the film; Michael will know what I mean when I say, he was definitely my pie. ;-) Google Michael and you will understand!

Kit; Earl of Blackamoor is sort of stuck in a bit of a rut, since leaving the military with scars – which are definitely more psychological then physical – which make him want to loose himself to drink. He has received the title which he never wanted, and still doesn’t want and all the time flitting from one scandal to the next as he searches for a way to drown his sorrows, his memories, either in the bottom of a bottle, in the darkness of a gaming hell or in the arms of a willing woman. He is definitely on a road to self destruction, but unfortunately for him he has now squandered his inheritance and his now skint. Which really is no good especially as he had his heart set on building a garden where veterans and their families can go and have a little happiness.

But all isn’t doomed as he finds out he has been left a substantial sum from a former commanding officer who not only looked after Kit, but who Kit regarded as more family then officer, but there is one thing that is in the way of him getting his hands on the money; in the will, it states Kit must marry. But, old Lord Somerby was a sly old fox. He knew exactly what would happen to his money if Kit got his hands on it so he put yet another clause in the inheritance contract, not only must Kit find himself a wife, but said wife will ave full control of the money.

So with that in mind, Kit goes on the search when he suddenly and literally bumps into the staggering beautiful, mysteriously clever Tamsyn. But there is more to this fiery red-head then meets the eye. She has her own secrets and her own reason for being in London and her own reasons for suddenly needing a husband, can you seen were this is going? each need to marry, and standing before them is the person who could save both their lives. Match made in heaven! Sort of, that is until a certain smuggling secret rears it’s ugly head sending our couple on a tense, sexually charged and engaging journey which will see them go through so much.

I loved the plot, there seems to be so much going on within one story, a scarred hero and feisty heroine with a marriage of convenience, mixed with a smuggling scheme then you have you hands on a compelling, engaging, fast paced, sensual and very hot historical romance. Yet again this is another wonderfully written, captivating story that will keep the reader glued to the last page.

Highly recommended!

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These two books were supplied by the publisher in exchange for honest reviews as apart of this blog tour, Thank you Sanjana and the Mills and Boon Insiders team.

From Duke Till Dawn and Counting On A Countess can be found at Amazon.

From Duke Till Dawn – Buy Here Counting On A Countess – Buy Here