#Blogtour | My Great Ex-Scape by Portia MacIntosh #Excerpt #BoldwoodBlogger @portiamacintosh @BoldWoodBooks
Hello Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; My Great Ex-Scape by Portia MacIntosh. Not only will I be telling you all about this wonderful book, but I also have an exclusive excerpt which I know you will love. So settle in, grab a cuppa and enjoy.
My Great Ex-Scape by Portia MacIntosh
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Genre: Women’s fiction
What if your future was somewhere in your past?
Rosie Jones has been dumped by every boyfriend she’s ever had – most recently by Dinosaur Dave, live on TV, during the ‘phone-a-friend’ segment of a quiz show. After the footage goes viral Rosie receives a bunch of flowers with a message:
I love you, I should have never let you go, I want you back x
But who sent them?
At a loose end and with £50,000 prize money in her back pocket, Rosie decides to take a trip down memory lane, visiting each of her ex-boyfriends to see not just if they are the one who sent the flowers but if they are the one.
Her journey takes her back to the house she grew up in and on a transatlantic cruise to New York, but can Rosie figure out which ex-boyfriend is the love of her life, or should the past stay in the past?
A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from bestseller, Portia MacIntosh. Perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Sophie Ranald and Zara Stoneley.
What readers are saying about My Great Ex-Scape
‘A hilarious, roaringly fun, feel good, sexy read. I LOVED it!’ Holly Martin
‘A feel good, funny and well written book. I read it in 2 days and enjoyed every second!’ A.L. Michael
‘From beginning to a delightfully surprising end, I loved it!!!’
‘This book is a definite must-read! Brilliant 5+ stars.’
‘Well Portia has done it again. Another absolutely wonderful read which has gripped me from the very beginning.’
‘I am a huge fan of Portia, every new book makes me have a new favourite. She is an extremely talented author who has the ability to create such magical and fantastic reads.’
It is definitely a must read and as always I wish I could give Portia more than five stars for this gorgeous read.’
‘Five stars really does not do this wonderful read justice.’
‘The perfect holiday read’
‘I said, how would you like £50,000?’ Mike King, the host, asks again.
‘I’d love £50,000,’ I admit, my voice wobbling almost as much as I am on this tall chair.
If I’d known I was going to be chosen to take part today, I probably would have turned the opportunity down, even with the knowledge that I could win some serious money. I don’t think I would’ve thought I had it in me to get this far…
I’m somehow too hot and too cold. I want to say the studio lights are hot, but there’s cool air con to offset the warmth. I am sitting opposite the host in the centre of a brightly lit circle, in an otherwise dimly lit room. I can’t see the audience – I can’t even see the camera, not really. I only know they’re there now because of the little red LED lights I keep spotting. Even without them, I don’t think I’d be able to forget I was on TV. On live TV, no less.
‘This is your final question,’ Mike explains. ‘Who said blondes were dumb, huh?’
I smile politely. I have had to contend with the dumb blonde thing my entire life. First, when I was younger, when I had naturally blonde hair, and then more recently from all the highlights, because for some reason my hair gets darker as I get older.
‘Your only remaining lifeline is to make a call from your speed dial numbers,’ Mike reminds me.
When we started, I was allowed to select three numbers from my phone in the event of choosing the ‘make a call’ option. Without many friends or people who I even believed would answer, I chose my dad, Tim, Sam, and David. I don’t suppose any of them would know all that much about anything based in pop culture, but I think I have that covered myself. Anything on the life and works of Alan Titchmarsh, unscrupulous news practices, or bones, and one of them might be some use to me. I doubt my boss would appreciate me calling her on her husband’s birthday, so here’s hoping for the Chelsea Flower Show or cavemen. At least if it’s the latter, David’s lecture will be over and he’ll be able to take the call. My dad probably won’t even hear his phone ring.
‘Ready for it?’ Mike asks.
I nod unconvincingly.
‘OK, here we go… Which dinosaur had fifteen horns?’
An impossibly big grin stretches all the way across my face. This has to be a joke. I might be optimistic, but I am under no illusions – I am not a lucky person. I don’t get picked for TV shows, I don’t have many people to call for help, and I definitely don’t get questions that are going to be easy… and yet here we are.
‘You know this one?’ the host asks in disbelief.
I know I might be blonde, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know anything about dinosaurs. I mean, I don’t know anything about dinosaurs, but what gives him the right, huh?
‘I know a man who does,’ I say as my grin inches even wider. ‘I’d like to call my boyfriend please.’
‘Your boyfriend knows a lot about dinosaurs?’
I nod, only semi-smugly.
‘I’m sorry to hear that,’ the host jokes. ‘What’s your boyfriend’s name? What does he do?’
‘His name is David and he’s a lecturer.’
‘What does he teach, dinosaurs?’
‘Palaeobiology,’ I reply.
‘Is that dinosaurs?’
The audience laugh wildly. Mike is a sort of cheeky-chappy host. A thirty-something former musician who has somehow made it as a TV presenter. I suppose it’s his charm – the audience clearly love him.
‘OK, let’s get Dinosaur Dave on the phone,’ Mike says.
I wince as he says ‘Dave’ – David hates being called Dave.
‘So all you have to do is, when Dinosaur Dave answers, just tell him you have one big question to ask him. If he gets it right, you’ll be £50k richer!’
‘Sounds good,’ I say.
About the Author
Portia MacIntosh is a bestselling romantic comedy author of 12 novels, including It’s Not You, It’s Them and The Accidental Honeymoon. Previously a music journalist, Portia writes hilarious stories, drawing on her real-life experiences. T
o keep up to date with Portia’s news and books, why not sign up to her newsletter – HERE
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#Blogtour | The Place We Call Home Faith Hogan #ThePlaceWecallHome #Review #Excerpt @gerhogan @aria_fiction
Hello, Sunshines! I have the huge pleasure to be ttoday’sstop on the brilliant blog tour for the beautiful; The Place We Call Home by Faith Hogan. Not only will I be sharing my review, but I also have an exclusive excerpt for you all, so sit back grab your cuppa and enjoy.
Welcome to Ballycove, the home of Corrigan Mills…
Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Irish countryside the famed mills have created the finest wool in all of Ireland. Run by the seemingly perfect Corrigan family, but every family has its secrets, and how the mills came to be the Corrigan’s is one of them…
Miranda and her husband were never meant to own the mills, until one fateful day catapults them into a life they never thought they’d lead.
Ada has forever lived her life in her sister’s shadow. Wanting only to please her mother and take her place as the new leader of the mill, Ada might just have to take a look at what her heart really wants.
Callie has a flourishing international career as a top designer and a man who loves her dearly, she appears to have it all. When a secret is revealed and she’s unceremoniously turfed out of the design world, Callie might just get what’s she’s been yearning for. The chance to go home.
Simon has always wanted more. More money, more fame, more notoriety. The problem child. Simon has made more enemies than friends over the years, and when one of his latest schemes falls foul he’ll have to return to the people who always believe in him.
Ballycove isn’t just a town in the Irish countryside. It isn’t just the base of the famous mills. It’s a place to call home.
Best-selling author, Faith Hogan returns with a family tale of love, loss, secrets and finding yourself.
Amazon / Kobo / Google Play / iBooks
Even now, when Miranda looked upon the stained silt of the riverbank, she could see the tints that dominated woollen blankets that sat everywhere from the White House to Downing Street. Ada, for all her acuity in the accounts department, lacked that vision. It was a passion and Miranda wished it fervently for her daughter, because she believed it brought with it an unbridled joy that Ada so badly needed to make her into the woman Miranda hoped one day she might become.
Callie had it. Combined with her raw talent, it was what had made her youngest daughter into the worldwide success she had become. Miranda worried about Callie, probably more than she should, but she knew that Callie’s life in London was not as simple or as rosy as it looked. She worked hard, too hard in Miranda’s opinion, and that left far too little time for anything else. Of course, her youngest daughter had managed to net all of the trappings of a successful life, but like her mother, material things counted for little to Callie who was as happy raking out the garden as she was standing on the red carpet of some glitzy event.
Miranda sighed; time seemed to collide on her more often these days with the past almost as clear as anything in the present. Callie Corrigan was born on a sunny day that seemed to herald the arrival of spring although it was late autumn. Miranda smiled, remembering Paddy had been busy in the mills that day, trying to shore up the old machines that were already running on prayer as much as engine power. It was an exercise in sentimentality as much as prudence. Miranda knew they could purchase new looms and weaving machines. They could fill their factory floor with computerised gadgets that would save them money in terms of wages and probably other overhead costs.
But the truth was, Miranda liked things as they were and she knew that Paddy loved them too. She appreciated the crashing of the loom, the smell of the yarn, the greetings from people like Tom Walsh, whose father and grandfather had all carried out the same job before him. She loved the gleam of the metal. When she ran her hand along the nameplates, she adored the feeling that, in some way, she was connecting with the generations who had passed before her and managed to keep the mills running while the world around it too often lost its way.
No, she would not be letting go of the old for something sleek and humourless. Even though Tom would frown when Big Betty stumbled, he would shake his head and mutter, but his smile of kindliness was priceless as he’d nudge the old machine into productivity once more.
Her husband, Paddy, had been neither a mechanic nor an engineer, but he was a man with a good brain and an interest in tinkering with things until he got them right. He worked away on many a black night and hummed quietly while he set about maintaining all the machines in the mills. She loved to watch him, as his big hands caressed the machines as much with tenderness as with strength. In the end, he crafted a series of replacement cogs, bobbins and timers and they had over the years, in their way, helped Miranda and made her forget that she was carrying the weight of so many futures in her hands.
Unfortunately, their son Simon was nothing like his father. Simon had grown up with that innate ability to seem as if he was pleasing everyone while setting out only to please himself. If Miranda worried about any of her children, it was Simon who had caused her the most sleepless nights over the years. She feared that Simon would never grow into the man she’d always hoped he’d be. Instead, it seemed he was doomed to crave a lifestyle that his modest income would never match in the way he hoped. He was destined never quite to meet the mark.
Set in Ballycove, Western Ireland, The Place We Call Home is a beautifully written, realistic and deeply emotional family saga which spans the generations with its a perfectly interweaving plot which delves into the past and connects it with the present. I love how Faith Hogan delves deep into the Irish way of life in Ballycove, it adds to the story and the characters, which I thinks makes everything feel very real and authentic.
The setting is absolutely perfect, each scene is vivid and adds a marvellous echoing atmosphere to the story, the setting itself is like an extension of the story like an extra character, always there in the back ground and adds so much to every scene.
I really won’t say too much about the story as a whole as it is complex and each characters own story is so interwoven though out that I wouldn’t which to give anything away. But this whole story revolves around the Corrigan and Blair family, who have been mill owners for generations, there are huge secrets and lies, there is heart-ache and love. The centre of the community is the mill which isn’t just apart of the family, it’s not a vessel of mystery, but it is peoples lives, roofs over heads and food on the table. I love how the mill is cemented into the book, how realistically it’s importance to the community is written.
I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the family, and discovering the secrets that have been so cleverly hidden and then revealed throughout the book, Faith Hogan never fails to grasp the readers attention and their heart with her perfectly written stories, the way she can take every human emotion and the tangled relationship which are within every family is a master class of writing. The wring is strong, intelligent and thought provoking, you are drawn into the world she has created for her characters, you follow each of them as though you were walking right beside them.
Each character is brilliantly written, true they are not all likable, but as this is glimpse of real life is would be odd if everyone was sweetness and nice, as we all know the world isn’t full of good people and this is again where Faith’s talent at writing every nuance of human life comes into it’s own.
This is a wonderful poignant story witha family at it’s heart, full of love and lies. I will admit that it did start of a little slow for my liking but it soon picks up and I soon easily fell into it’s gentle and at times a soothing pace. If you love your family saga’s then this is the book for you, definitely highly reccomended.
This was an arc via the publisher and Netgalley, which I voluntarily reviewed as apart of this blog tour.
About the Author
Geraldine Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honors Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree in Training and Management from University College, Galway. She is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of four contemporary fiction novels under the pen name Faith Hogan.
Silent Night is her first crime novel, her second is due out in December 2019.
She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!
You can find out more about Geraldine here:
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#Blogtour | Five French Hens by Judy Leigh #FiveFrenchHens #Excerpt #BoldwoodBlogger @judyleighwriter @BoldWoodBooks
Hello Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; Five French Hens by Judy leigh. Not only will I be telling you all about this wonderful book, but I also have an exclusive excerpt which I know you will love. So settle in, grab a cuppa and enjoy.
Five French Hens by Judy Leigh
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Genre: Women’s fiction
The best days of your life might be still to come…
When 73 year old Jen announces that she is going to marry Eddie, a man she met just a few months previously on a beach on Boxing Day, her four best friends from aqua aerobics are flabbergasted.
The wedding is booked and, when the groom decides to have a stag trip to Las Vegas, the ladies arrange a hen party to beat all others -a week in the city of love, Paris.
From misadventures at the Louvre, outrageous Parisian cabarets, to drinking champagne with a dashing millionaire at the casino, Paris lives up to all their hopes and dreams. But a week can change everything, and the women that come home have very different dreams from the ones who got on the plane just days ago.
Funny, fearless and with a joie de vivre that reminds you to live every day like it’s your last. Judy Leigh has once again written the perfect feel-good novel for all fans of Cathy Hopkins, Dawn French and Fiona Gibson.‘
What readers are saying about
‘Brilliantly funny, emotional and uplifting’ Miranda Dickinson
‘Lovely . . . a book that assures that life is far from over at seventy’ Cathy Hopkins bestselling author of The Kicking the Bucket List
’Brimming with warmth, humour and a love of life… a wonderful escapade’ Fiona Gibson, bestselling author of The Woman Who Upped and Left
Jen held the umbrella over her head and listened to the rain drumming on the canvas. It would be cosy inside the pub. The wind blew hard through the material of her jacket. She’d thought she’d be warm enough, but there was ice in the February gusts that sifted around the corner and lifted her hair, rearranging it across her face. She’d spent the afternoon in the hairdresser’s and had been pleased with the glossy style, silver strands streaked through the chestnut locks. In the grey suit and neat heels, she’d thought she’d look smart, but the cold weather and the sharp breeze had taken the edge off her preparations and she was sure her nose would glow red beneath the light dusting of powder. But Eddie wouldn’t mind – the first thing he always said was how nice it was to see her and how lovely she looked.
There were posters in the windows of the Olive Grove, huge red hearts and cute Cupids with arrows, proclaiming the evening’s special Valentine dinner. Jen could hear the hushing of the waves breaking against the sea walls in the distance and, from down the road, the crisp sound of approaching footfall. It was Eddie, in his pale mackintosh, the collar up, looking debonair, just like Inspector Morse. It was seven thirty, sharp.
* * *
Half seven, thought Rose. The torture must end soon. Little Amelia’s nimble fingers pressed the pristine ivory keys on the piano: the discordant jangle made a pulse in Rose’s head throb.
‘Try again from the beginning, dear,’ she murmured, watching the second hand twitch on the wall clock. It would soon be over and Amelia would leave her in peace. Rose sighed and spoke through clenched teeth. ‘Shall we call it a night, dear? I think Mummy’s here – someone just rang the doorbell, I’m sure.’
Amelia slammed the piano lid down without turning round and stood up, still in her school uniform, tidy in the crisp white blouse and tartan skirt, her blonde plaits neatly secured with bows. Rose held up the child’s coat and led her to the door where a tall, slim woman with dark hair in a no-nonsense cut and a smart coat was standing in the porch, the rain teeming behind her. Amelia went straight to her and took her hand, a dutiful six year old. But Rose was sure that the child wrinkled her nose and stuck out the edge of a pink tongue at her. Amelia’s mother smiled, although her eyes remained cold.
‘How was Amelia’s lesson, Mrs Grant? She’s been practising all week. Is it time for her to be put forward for a grading?’ She held out two notes, a ten and a five.
Rose noticed Amelia scowling. She was unsure what to say, her hand fluttering in front of her face. ‘She’s making progress, Mrs Bassett. Soon, I hope.’
Amelia’s mother frowned. ‘My friend, Sally, tells me that Joni Yates puts all her pupils in for grading early. They all seem to pass with distinctions too.’
Rose sighed. She wished she could tell the woman to take her child to Joni Yates, then, and see how she coped with Amelia, who clearly didn’t practise anything from one week to another. But her pupils were becoming scarcer: she had no idea why she didn’t just retire. After all, it wasn’t as if she needed the money. Bernard had left her comfortably off and piano teaching was a routine that left her feeling unfulfilled, flat, without energy. ‘Keep practising Für Elise, Amelia, and maybe we’ll discuss grade entry next week.’
Amelia gazed up at her mother, her tiny brows meeting in a knot. ‘Furry Liza is boring, Mummy. Can I learn the violin instead? Elsa in my class goes to violin. She says the teacher is really cool.’
Amelia’s mother met Rose’s eyes, as if her daughter had just made up her mind for her, and turned on her heel, tugging the child towards the pouring rain and a dark car parked by the kerb. Rose closed the door, locked it securely with the bolt and chain and muttered, ‘Minx.’ As an afterthought, she mumbled, ‘What a blessing that Beethoven was deaf. If he’d heard Amelia slaughtering his Für Elise for the last forty-five minutes, it would raise him from the grave.’
She stood in the hallway, thinking. Half past seven. She hadn’t eaten since lunch, and then just a slice of toast. She wasn’t really hungry, but she ought to look after herself better. Her skirt was hanging off her, the waist baggy, and her legs felt weak. She would find something in the freezer, something with calories. There was a box of macaroni cheese for one. She could heat it up in the microwave. Rose sighed again. She didn’t like February. Spring was too far away and the house was too cold. Besides, Bernard had died in February two years ago and each year she felt the cold, haunting loneliness grasp her by the shoulders and whisper in her ear that she was by herself and companionless and that was how it would always be now.
Of course, she had her new friends, the four women she’d met at aqua aerobics last October when the club first started. They were nice women, but they only met for coffee once a week and then she came home alone and it was back to the silence again. She shuffled into the lounge and picked up a yellow duster, rubbing it over the piano. It had been hers and Bernard’s. He had been a wonderful musician, a church organist too. She replaced their wedding photo lovingly on top, over the circle left by a wine glass years ago. Not hers, of course – it might have been made by their son, Paul, one Christmas when he’d visited with the children. His visits were a rare thing nowadays – he was a busy man, of course, he had an important job.
About the Author
Judy Leigh is the bestselling author of A Grand Old Time and The Age of Misadventure and the doyenne of the ‘it’s never too late’ genre of women’s fiction. She has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset.
Blog Tour Schedule
#BlogTour | The Girl Who Came Home To Cornwall by Emma Burstall #TheGirlWhoCameHomeToCornwall #Excerpt @EmmaBurstall @HoZ_Books
Hello Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on the wonderful blog tour for; The Girl Who Came Home To Cornwall by Emma Burstall, I have a gorgeous exclusive excerpt for you all which I know you will love, so grab a cuppa, take a seat and enjoy.
The Girl Who Came Home To Cornwall by Emma Burstall
Escape to the Cornish coast with a new heartwarming Tremarnock novel, perfect for fans of Jill Mansell and Philippa Ashley.
In the quaint Cornish village of Tremarnock, Chabela Penhallow arrives for a holiday and to discover more about her Cornish ancestors. But, as always with newcomers to the small seaside town, rumours start to fly about this beautiful stranger. Is there more to her than meets the eye?
Meanwhile, Rob and Liz Hart’s marriage is on the rocks, but only one of them knows the real reason. Once the secret is out, will they be able to handle the repercussions or will it destroy their life together?
For the residents of Tremarnock, the revelations will either bond or break them – forever.
‘A charming, warm-hearted read … Pure escapism’ ALICE PETERSON.
‘The literary equivalent of a gin and tonic on a hot summer’s day … A delicious, delightful and decadent tale’ BOOKISH JOTTINGS.
Amazon / Kobo / Google Play / iBooks
As she climbed into her pale blue Polo and switched on the engine, Chabela found herself reflecting on the couple. They seemed like lovely people, and there was something appealing about the community spirit that Jean spoke of.
Back home, Chabela had good relationships with students and staff at the university, and a small circle of women friends whom she saw from time to time and whose company she greatly valued. The city was so big, however, and the pace of life so hectic, that it was quite easy not to connect much with those around you, not really, and besides, for the past seven years, she had devoted herself mainly to Alfonso.
That name again. What was he doing? Was he thinking of her? Missing her? Feeling sad? She couldn’t know what was going on in his head, and it was none of her business anyway. He was no doubt getting on with his life and so must she – but how?
She thought of Jean’s open, curious, smiley face and Tom’s evident pleasure in his surroundings. Chabela had been outward-looking once, but somehow Alfonso had given her tunnel vision. Perhaps she could learn, or rather relearn, something from these people about living in the moment, the here and now; about how to just be.
She had forgotten all about coffee and as she left the village behind and took the narrow, winding road that led up towards the cliff, she tried to focus solely on her environment: the tall, lush green hedgerows, the ever-steepening climb, the occasional glimpses through farmyard gates of grassy fields dotted with sheep and glossy brown cows.
Lowering her window slightly, she caught a whiff of manure, which reminded her that she was well and truly in the countryside, miles from any city and as far, she thought, from her old life as she could possibly be. If a complete change of scenery couldn’t cure her broken heart, then nothing would.
There was a sharp zigzag in the road, then a pair of tall, smart, black iron gates came into view, that opened automatically as Chabela drew up so that she could drive straight in. Once inside the grounds, the car lurched on the bumpy drive flanked on either side by overgrown fields, until she finally came to a halt in front of her temporary new home.
Polgarry Manor was imposing by any standards: large and grey, with mock battlements and stone steps leading up to a heavy, panelled wooden door. The central section looked older than the lower wings on either side, and in front of the house was a terraced garden, with squares of neatly cut box hedges, that sloped down to a squat stone wall.
The sun was warmer now and it seemed the perfect opportunity to explore the grounds behind the manor that she hadn’t yet seen properly.
Pushing up the sleeves of her blue cardigan, she skirted around the edge of the building before ascending some steps onto a stone terrace, surrounded by a white balustrade.
On the far side, there was another set of steps leading to a gravel path, some flowerbeds, and then a large patch of land divided into two sections by metal railings. This area looked more unruly than the front part of the manor and when Chabela stood on tiptoe, she could just make out what appeared to be the remains of a brick gazebo. Covered in ivy and missing its roof, it was peeping over the foliage at the far end of the left-hand section.
About the Author
Emma Burstall was a newspaper journalist in Devon and Cornwall before becoming a full time author. Tremarnock, the first novel in her series set in a delightful Cornish village, was published in 2015 and became a top-10 bestseller.
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#BlogTour | Katherine Tudor Duchess by Tony Riches #KatherineTudorDuchess #Excerpt #HFVBTBlogtours @tonyriches @hfvbt
Hello Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be todays stop on this brilliant blog tour for; Katherine Tudor Duchess by Tony Riches. Not only have I got an amazing exclusive excerpt – which I know you will love, I definitely do, plus there is a chance for you all to win a copy of this amazing book. So settle in, grab a cuppa and enjoy.
Katherine Tudor Duchess by Tony Riches
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Publisher: Preseli Press
eBook & Paperback; 328 pages
Series: The Brandon Trilogy, Book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction
Attractive, wealthy and influential, Katherine Willoughby is one of the most unusual ladies of the Tudor court. A favourite of King Henry VIII, Katherine knows all his six wives, his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, and his son Edward, as well as being related by marriage to Lady Jane Grey.
She marries Tudor knight, Sir Charles Brandon, and becomes Duchess of Suffolk at the age of fourteen. Her Spanish mother, Maria de Salinas, is Queen Catherine of Aragon’s lady in waiting, so it is a challenging time for them all when King Henry marries the enigmatic Anne Boleyn.
Following Anne’s dramatic downfall, the short reign of young Catherine Howard, and the tragic death of Jane Seymour, Katherine’s young sons are tutored with the future king, Prince Edward, and become his friends.
Katherine and Charles Brandon are chosen to welcome Anna of Cleves as she arrives in England. When the royal marriage is annulled, Katherine’s good friend, Catherine Parr becomes the king’s sixth wife, and they work to promote religious reform.
When King Edward dies, his Catholic sister Mary is crowned queen and Katherine’s Protestant faith puts her family in great danger – from which there seems no escape.
Katherine’s remarkable true story continues the epic tale of the rise of the Tudors, which began with the best-selling Tudor trilogy and concludes with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
Cromwell stood and removed his hat as she entered. He gave Katherine a graceful bow. ‘My lady. Your visit is timely.’ He gestured towards a seat by the fireside and occupied the chair opposite, dismissing the dour servant who’d escorted her.
Katherine felt her instinctive unease return, but sat, arranging the folds of her gown with unnecessary care, as she had when she was a girl. She glanced across at his desk, covered with a dark-green cloth and piled high with legal papers, tied with coloured ribbons. Hardly a monastery or abbey had escaped his attention, and she guessed they were title deeds.
He must be one of the richest men in England, yet there was little sign of it in his austere study. Clean-shaven with a hard, round face, he seemed to have no neck under his double chin. He wore a plain black robe with a sable collar, the only clue to his wealth a thick gold ring with a blue-green stone on his index finger.
Cromwell’s eyes narrowed as he seemed to read her mind. ‘The king is pleased with you, duchess.’ He spoke softly, his tone friendly, but held the silence, an old trick.
Katherine sensed she was being tested. Charles told her Cromwell personally interrogated his prisoners in the Tower of London. She resisted a shudder at the thought.
‘King Henry should make a progress to the north. It would be good for the people there to see him, Master Cromwell.’
Cromwell nodded. ‘All in good time.’ He studied her, as if making a judgement, his forehead creased in his familiar frown. ‘I asked you to see me because, with your husband’s help, we are dealing with the rebellion – but it’s all for nothing if we cannot win the hearts and minds of our own courtiers and clerics.’
‘What could I do?’ Her mind raced. This was not the discussion she’d expected. She had mixed feelings about Thomas Cromwell, yet the thought of taking an active part in the reforms appealed to her.
‘The king grows impatient with religious ignorance, and has authorised me to commission a new Bible, to be printed in English.’ He looked pleased with himself. ‘As Vicar General, I am directing the clergy to set up a copy of this new Bible in a convenient place within their church, where their parishioners may read it.’
Katherine had heard the rumours. ‘I look forward to reading this new Bible, and will ensure every parish in Lincolnshire has a copy, although I’m not sure how else I can assist you, Master Cromwell.’
‘The king is surrounded by the late queen’s ladies, all Catholics, however much they might deny it.’ He gave her a meaningful look, as if sharing a confidence. ‘Even some of the king’s advisors do their best to undermine our work to promote the true faith.’
‘Who?’ She tried to read Cromwell’s expression and failed. His leathery face was as impassive as a statue, yet she found herself warming to this strange but powerful man.
‘Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, for one.’ Cromwell scowled. ‘Gardiner pretends to support the king’s reforms, yet awaits his chance to undermine them.’
Katherine frowned. She’d seen Bishop Gardiner at state occasions. A large man with deep-set eyes and a permanent frown, he bore some old grudge against her husband, so they rarely spoke.
‘I thought he shared our belief in the need for reform…’
‘As does the king. He trusts Bishop Gardiner, and takes his counsel.’
Katherine shook her head. ‘I don’t see what I can do.’
‘The king will listen to you, my lady. There might be an opportunity to place a seed of doubt in his mind.’
She stared at him for a moment before replying. She knew how easily the wheel of fortune could turn. Bishop Gardiner could find himself locked up in the Tower, or worse, if Thomas Cromwell had his way. She would have no part in Cromwell’s schemes if it meant someone’s blood on her hands.
‘I see little of the king, Master Cromwell.’
‘That can change, my lady, but I need your trust.’ He gave her a questioning look. ‘Do you trust me, duchess?’
‘I—’ Katherine felt herself blushing. She’d not forgotten how Charles was forced to witness the young lawyer, Robert Aske, hanged in chains to die on the walls of York Castle.
Cromwell held up a hand. ‘I’m aware of my reputation in the north.’ He sat in silence for a moment, seemingly lost in his thoughts, then looked across at her. ‘I had a wife once – Elizabeth. She and my beautiful daughters were taken on the same day by the sweating sickness.’ Rare emotion choked his voice.
‘I’m so sorry—’
‘I’m not asking for your sympathy, my lady. I miss my family, and pray for them every day, but am fortunate to have my son, Gregory. You will have seen him, no doubt? He carried a banner at the late queen’s funeral. He’s married to Lady Elizabeth Seymour.’
‘Of course.’ Katherine allowed herself a small lie, for Thomas Cromwell’s sake. She remembered the queen’s niece, but had paid no attention to the banner carriers.
Cromwell smiled for the first time. ‘You will not be surprised to learn the search has begun for a new queen. Whoever she might be, I need to be sure she is supportive of the reforms, and hope you will help me ensure her ladies are chosen well.’
About the Author
Tony Riches is a full-time writer and lives with his wife in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. After several successful non-fiction books, Tony turned to novel writing and wrote ‘Queen Sacrifice’, set in 10th century Wales, followed by ‘The Shell’, a thriller set in present day Kenya. A specialist in the history of the early Tudors, he is best known for his Tudor Trilogy. Tony’s other international best sellers include ‘Warwick ~ The Man Behind the Wars of the Roses’ and ‘The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham’.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, November 18
Excerpt at Short Book and Scribes
Tuesday, November 19
Guest Post at On the Tudor Trail
Wednesday, November 20
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Friday, November 22
Feature at Cover To Cover Cafe
Monday, November 25
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, November 26
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads
Wednesday, November 27
Review at Passages to the Past
Thursday, November 28
Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Tuesday, December 3
Review at Nursebookie
Wednesday, December 4
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two paperbacks of Katherine-Tudor Duchess by Tony Riches! To enter, please use the Gleam form here Katherine Tudor Duchess
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.
#BlogTour | The Child From The Ash Pits by Chrissie Walsh #TheChildFromTheAshPits #ExclusiveExcerpt @aria_fiction @WalshChrissie
Hello sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this amazing blog tour, for The Child From The Ash Pits by Chrissie Walsh. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to write up my review of this beautiful book before the blog tour, which I apologise for and my review will come later, but I do have an amazing excerpt for you all to fall in love with, so sit back and enjoy.
About the Book
In the aftermath of the General Strike, times are tough for coal miners and their families. Can little Cally break free from poverty, and forge a successful life for herself?
When Cally loses her beloved mum, she hopes her father will comfort and protect her. But instead she soon acquires a cruel and vengeful stepmother, and Cally begins to fear that she is on her own.
Through uncomfortable years in service, to a terrifying brush with the streets, through hard work and determination, Cally finally finds a place for herself. She even trusts enough in the future to create her own family, despite being so cruelly abandoned by her own.
At last in a place of peace and contentment, Cally has all she ever hoped for, but with World War 2 looming, how long can she hold on to the people she loves?
Taking us from 1926 all the way to end of the Second World War, Chrissie Walsh has written a heart-breaking tale of love and survival, perfect for fans of Dilly Court and Lyn Andrews.
Amazon / Kobo / Google Play
Footsteps in the yard had Cally running from behind the ash pits to see who it was. Cissie Sheard, the midwife, was standing outside number eleven. Cally ran faster; her dad would have to let her in if she was with Cissie.
‘Hello Cally, luv; I’ve just come to check on your Mam. See if that babby’s ready to be born. How is she?’
Cally didn’t answer. She couldn’t.
Cissie rapped the door and then tried the sneck. ‘It’s locked,’ said Cally. Cissie looked puzzled. Pounding feet thundered down the stairs and George opened the door, his eyes wild and his face gaunt. Seeing Cissie with Cally, he struggled to gain composure.
‘Oh, thank God it’s you, Cissie. Ada’s taken a bit of a tumble, she…’ He ran out of words, his lips flapping soundlessly as he feverishly searched his pockets for a packet of Woodbine and a box of matches. He lit a cigarette, then said, ‘Annie’s up there wi’ her.’
Cissie headed for the stairs. In the bedroom she gazed with concern at her patient. Ada gazed back through glazed eyes, her face an agonised rictus. Cissie glared at Annie. ‘Have you sent for t’doctor?’
Annie shook her head. ‘She only fell a minute or two ago.’
Cissie let out a roar. ‘George! George! Run for Dr Blackstock; tell him it’s urgent.’
George, halfway up the stairs, turned tail and ran.
Cally knew something was terribly wrong; the house smelt of fear and panic. Annie clattered down into the kitchen. ‘What’s wrong with my mam?’ Cally pleaded.
‘She’s having the baby,’ said Annie, setting the kettle to boil, then smearing dripping on a slice of bread. Forcing the sandwich into Cally’s hand, she added, ‘either that or she’s dying.’ With a callous smirk she headed for the stairs.
The sandwich fell to the hearth, unnoticed. Did mams die having babies? Cally didn’t know of any that had. What would she do if her mam died? She shuddered violently, the shaking sensation galvanising her into action. She raced upstairs.
John Blackstock set aside the syringe he had just used to inject the phenobarbitone that might save his patient’s life. He glanced from Ada to Cissie, shaking his head despairingly.
On the landing Cally slowed her pace, tip-toeing to the open bedroom door. Ada lay pallid and fretful, the pathetic moans escaping her feverish lips making Cally think of ghosts. She let out a frightened wail. ‘Is my mam dying?’
Cissie whirled round. ‘Go downstairs like a good girl,’ she snapped.
Stationed in the corner opposite the stairs door, Cally watched Cissie and Annie clatter up and down carrying bowls of hot water and towels. She listened as Dr Blackstock and George held an urgent, whispered conference in the kitchen before hurrying back upstairs. And she listened when George and Annie stood at the foot of the stairs whispering angrily at each other, thinking nobody was within earshot. But Cally understood none of it.
The minutes ticked by and no one took any notice of her: Cissie and the doctor were too busy trying to save the lives of their patient and her unborn child, and George and Annie were each wrapped in their own thoughts. After what, to Cally, seemed ages, George stalked out into the yard, a cigarette clamped between his lips: he neither looked at nor spoke to her.
Upstairs John Blackstock wiped his hands on the cloth Cissie handed him, failure accentuating his haggard features. ‘Pre-eclampsia,’ he muttered, his tone heavy with despair, ‘we couldn’t have saved her, and the foetus is dead. Get the husband.’
George turned expectantly as Cissie called across the yard to him. Her face told him all he needed to know. His shoulders slumped and a great sob forced its way up from his throat. Like a savagely beaten dog he slunk back into the house and followed Cissie up to the bedroom.
He stood beside the bed like a man of stone, gazing long and hard at Ada, and when the doctor walked across the room and shook his hand George knew he had lost the one and only woman he had ever truly loved; the mother of his little girl. He fell to his knees, clutching at Ada’s inert body, weeping as though demented. Cissie gently prised him away.
‘Leave her be, lad,’ she said, her voice thick with unshed tears. ‘She’s gone; she’ll suffer no more. There’s no babby, an’ that in itself’s a blessing for it wouldn’t have been right had it been born. You’ve got one lovely little lass. See that you mind her now her mam’s gone.’
George walked from the room without a backward glance. Out in the yard he gazed up at the darkening sky.
What had he done
About the Author
Born and raised in West Yorkshire, Chrissie trained to be a singer and cellist before becoming a teacher. When she married her trawler skipper husband, they moved to a little fishing village in N. Ireland. Chrissie is passionate about history and that passion and knowledge shine through in her writing. The Girl from the Mill is her debut novel.
Blog Tour Schedule
#BlogTour | This Earl Of Mine (Bow Street Bachelors #1) by Kate Bateman #ThisEarlOfMine #Review #Excerpt
Hello sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on the blog tour for this new historical romance/adventure; This Earl Of Mine by Kate Bateman, not only will I be sharing my review of this intriguing and original story, I also have an exclusive excerpt to share with you all, which I am sure you will love. So take a seat, grab that cuppa and enjoy.
The first book in a new Regency romance series, an heiress and a rogue accidentally end up in a secret marriage of convenience.
In a desperate bid to keep her fortune out of her cousin’s hands, shipping heiress Georgiana Caversteed marries a condemned criminal in Newgate prison. The scoundrel’s first kiss is shockingly heated, but Georgie never expects to see her husband again. Until she spots him across a crowded ballroom. Notorious rogue Benedict Wylde never expected a wife. He was in Newgate undercover, working for Bow Street. To keep their marriage of convenience a secret, Wylde courts Georgie in public, but the more time they spend together, the more their attraction sparks. Could an heiress with the world at her feet find happiness with a penniless rake?
Kate Bateman’s This Earl of Mine is a delightful start to the Bow Street Bachelors series, with witty banter, dynamic characters, and swoon-worthy romance.
London, March 1816.
There were worse places to find a husband than Newgate Prison.
Of course there were.
It was just that, at present, Georgie couldn’t think of any.
“Georgiana Caversteed, this is a terrible idea.” Georgie frowned at her burly companion, Pieter Smit,
as the nondescript carriage he’d summoned to convey them to London’s most notorious jail rocked to a halt on the cobbled street. The salt-weathered Dutchman always used her full name whenever he disapproved of some- thing she was doing. Which was often.
“Your father would turn in his watery grave if he knew what you were about.”
That was undoubtedly true. Until three days ago, en- listing a husband from amongst the ranks of London’s most dangerous criminals had not featured prominently on her list of life goals. But desperate times called for des- perate measures. Or, in this case, for a desperate felon about to be hanged. A felon she would marry before the night was through.
Georgie peered out into the rain-drizzled street, then up, up the near-windowless walls. They rose into the mist, five stories high, a vast expanse of brickwork, bleak and unpromising. A church bell tolled somewhere in the darkness, a forlorn clang like a death knell. Her stomach knotted with a grim sense of foreboding.
Was she really going to go through with this? It had seemed a good plan, in the safety of Grosvenor Square. The perfect way to thwart Cousin Josiah once and for all. She stepped from the carriage, ducked her head against the rain, and followed Pieter under a vast arched gate. Her heart hammered at the audacity of what she planned. They’d taken the same route as condemned prisoners on the way to Tyburn tree, only in reverse. West to east, from the rarefied social strata of Mayfair through gradu- ally rougher and bleaker neighborhoods, Holborn and St. Giles, to this miserable place where the dregs of humanity had been incarcerated. Georgie felt as if she
were nearing her own execution.
She shook off the pervasive aura of doom and straight- ened her spine. This was her choice. However unpalat- able the next few minutes might be, the alternative was far worse. Better a temporary marriage to a murderous, unwashed criminal than a lifetime of misery with Josiah. They crossed the deserted outer courtyard, and Georgie cleared her throat, trying not to inhale the foul-smelling air that seeped from the very pores of the building. “You
have it all arranged? They are expecting us?”
Pieter nodded. “Aye. I’ve greased the wheels with yer blunt, my girl. The proctor and the ordinary are both bent as copper shillings. Used to having their palms greased, those two, the greedy bastards.”
Her father’s right-hand man had never minced words in front of her, and Georgie appreciated his bluntness. So few people in the ton ever said what they really meant. Pieter’s honesty was refreshing. He’d been her father’s man for twenty years before she’d even been born. A case of mumps had prevented him from accompanying Wil- liam Caversteed on his last, fateful voyage, and Georgie had often thought that if Pieter had been with her father, maybe he’d still be alive. Little things like squalls, ship- wrecks, and attacks from Barbary pirates would be mere inconveniences to a man like Pieter Smit.
In the five years since Papa’s death, Pieter’s steadfast loyalty had been dedicated to William’s daughters, and Georgie loved the gruff, hulking manservant like a second father. He would see her through this madcap scheme— even if he disapproved.
She tugged the hood of her cloak down to stave off the drizzle. This place was filled with murderers, highway- men, forgers, and thieves. Poor wretches slated to die, or those “lucky” few whose sentences had been commuted to transportation. Yet in her own way, she was equally desperate.
“You are sure that this man is to be hanged tomorrow?” Pieter nodded grimly as he rapped on a wooden door.
“I am. A low sort he is, by all accounts.”
She shouldn’t ask, didn’t want to know too much about the man whose name she was purchasing. A man whose death would spell her own freedom. She would be wed and widowed within twenty-four hours.
*** From This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman. Copyright © 2019 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group. ***
I hate to admit that I haven’t read as many of Kate’s books as I should have, as I have only read one of hers previously; The Devil To Pay which is amazing and it got me hooked with her work, yet you all know how it when you have a toppling tbr and not enough hours in the day. As soon as I read then blurb of this one I knew that it was right up my street I was fascinated by the premise of it, it sounded so different to other historical’s and I was looking forward to diving into Kate Bateman’s writing again, I wasn’t disappointed This Earl of mine is the first book to this whole new series; The Bow Street Bachelors and it’s a great start to what I think is going to be a wonderful series, one that I know is going to get better and better the deeper we delve in.
It really is an interesting tale, complete fantasy there isn’t a lot of realism but I really enjoyed diving into the unique and exaggerated story or Georgie and Ben. Heiress to a shipping company Georgina Caversteed, this is the only flaw with the whole set up, Georgie is in her early twenties she has apparently been groomed from a very young age by her father to essentially run the business but there is a lot of talk about how she may lose the company to a husband and how she wants up befree to run as she wishes, but you don’t actually get a glimpse of her really doing anything else. I would have liked to have seen her do something, instead of moan and talk about her freedom, that’s just my personal view and it takes nothing away from the overall story, I just found her a little irritating and bit manipulative.
Georgie knows that once she comes into her inheritance that she will be hounded by would-be husbands she also knows that to marry all of the company and her money would pass over to her husband, that is unless her husband is dead then it would be hers, so she comes up with a rather bizarre plan to marry a convict who is on death row – I said it was a little odd – only her would-be husband dies before she says I do making her settle for second best a man who is condemned for transportation.
Benedict Wylde is currently working under cover for the bow street runners to smoke out a group of smugglers which is when Georgie find him in Newgate prison, he didn’t want a wife he doesn’t want to marry he just want s to do his job and be left alone but when the beautiful heiress turns up brandishing money and practically begging for a husband he marries her.
She thinks that he is safely on his transportation ship to Australia and can brief a sigh of relief that she is free to do as she pleases, that is until she sees the husband she never wanted and who she thought was gone from England’s shore looking dazzling and hale at a ball.
The start was a little slow and a bit on the odd side I will admit, it was nothing I have read before I enjoyed it but it is once she realises who he is and when they then must traverse the turbulent waters between then that the story really picks up apace. The romance between them is smoking, there is a sexy undercurrent that shimmers around them. The banter is brilliant its fun and fiery and will definitely keep you entertained.
If you like your historical’s that are a bit more on the unique side that has an edge then this is the book for you, I think it is one of those that the more you read the more you see within the story.
About the Author
Kate Bateman, (also writing as K. C. Bateman), is the #1 bestselling author of historical romances, including her RITA® nominated Renaissance romp, The Devil To Pay, and the novels in the Secrets & Spies series To Steal a Heart, A Raven’s Heart, and A Counterfeit Heart. When not writing novels that feature feisty, intelligent heroines and sexy, snarky heroes you want to both strangle and kiss, Kate works as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several popular TV shows in the UK. She splits her time between Illinois and her native England. Follow her on Twitter to learn more.