Gay Romance

#Review | The Low Road by Eleanor Harkstead #TheLowRoad @e_harkstead @PridePublishing

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Hello my lovely friends, I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of; The Low Road by Eleanor Harkstead, which is a gorgeous little story, perfect for curling up with a cuppa and couple of biscuits, enjoy.

Can a lonely driver and a tragic hitch-hiker cheat both time and death?

One night in the pouring rain, Alex stops on Gallows Hill to pick up a hitch-hiker. But when the hitch-hiker vanishes from the passenger seat, Alex fears for his sanity.

Then he discovers that Gallows Hill is a place filled with ghosts—of smugglers, witches and highwaymen.

And a young, tragic hitch-hiker named Joe.

When Joe appears again on Gallows Hill, Alex dares to hope that they can cheat both time and death. But how can there be a future for them when Joe is trapped in a few minutes of a rainy night forty years before?

What a lovely little story this is, I was fascinated by the premise of this from the off, it’s quite an unusual love story but I knew that if there was one person who could pull off a living/dead romance then Eleanor Harkstead is the author to do it, and by jove does she pull out a original and beautiful little romance out of her hat.

The story opens one stormy rainy night with Alex driving along a deserted road called; Gallows Hill, he is a bit low in spirits, I felt a real loneliness pouring off Alex even his mother senses it from him as she tries play cupid and set him up with a nice young man she knows. Alex is a bit in limbo where it comes with relationships, then when on the road he spots a hitch-hiker through the rain spattered windscreen, it is an encounter that changes everything for Alex. I love how in those few moments when Alex and Joe first meet there is a real spark between the two men, Alex enjoys the ‘younger’ man’s company, but only for Joe to completely disappear from a moving car. I mean literally poof, now you see him and then he’s gone, but where has he gone? Or more importantly was Joe even in the car in the first place?

I real feel for Alex, he thinks he may have found a guy who he enjoys being around, and who he feels very comfortable with and then all of a sudden he’s not there, Alex is confused and a bit perplexed, he thinks he might be going a little mad, but when Joe appears again on the same stretch of road, Alex knows that this is real he has formed a real connection with very adorable, all smiley Joe, and at the same time he knows that there is something not quite right going on here, which is when he starts to investigate Gallows Hill and Joe the hitch-hiker.

In such a short story there is a lot of emotion, it’s not just a wham bam, I have fallen in love with a ghost, story, there is a bit of intrigue. I particularly love how Alex is desperate to know more about the young man who appeared beside the road, the young man who even in such a short space of time stole Alex’s heart. It is a weeping moment when we all learn what happened to Joe, yes he’s dead, but what happened to him?

The ending is so lovely, it goes full circle, we not only find out what happened to Joe, but the past and the present entwine themselves together to form a wonderfully engrossing story. I love the fun and cheeky banter between Alex and Joe, they flirt, tease and wink their way through their shared part of the story, they are such a cute couple to get to know. The writing is solid, its a real skill to be able to achieve such wonderful character and emotional development in such a short story. Even though I wish there was more, I loved where it ended, this is a splendid love story.

This was a Arc copy from the author, which I voluntarily reviewed, thank you Eleanor. x

The Low Road is to be released on 15th October, and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

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Review | The Captain and the Theatrical (Captivating Captains Book 3) by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead #TheCaptainAndTheTheatrical #CaptivatingCaptains @e_harkstead @MadameGilflurt

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Hello my lovely friends! Have I got a wonderful book to share with you all today, or what? I am so excited to be sharing my review of The Captain and the Theatrical, which is the third book from the Captivating Captains series…..squeal!!! I think anyone who follows me, will know how much I love this series, be prepared for waffling…so grab a cuppa and maybe a packet of biscuits and enjoy.

FROM MULTI-PUBLISHED AUTHORS OF GAY ROMANCE, CATHERINE CURZON AND ELEANOR HARKSTEAD

Book three in the Captivating Captains series

When Captain Pendleton needs an emergency fiancée, who better to turn to than his male best friend? After all, for Amadeo Orsini, life’s one long, happy drag!

Captain Ambrose “Pen” Pendleton might have distinguished himself on the battlefield at Waterloo but since he’s come home to civvy street, he’s struggled to make his mark. Pen dreams of becoming a playwright but his ambitious father has other ideas, including a trophy wife and a new job in America. If he’s to stand a hope of staying in England and pursuing his dream, Pen needs to find a fiancée fast.

Amadeo Orsini never made it as a leading man, but as a leading lady he’s the toast of the continental stage. Now Cosima is about to face her most challenging role yet, that of Captain Pendleton’s secret amour. With the help of a talking theatrical parrot who never forgets his lines, Orsini throws on his best frock, slaps on the rouge and sets out to save Pen from the clutches of Miss Harriet Tarbottom and her scheming parents.

As friendship turns into love, will the captain be able to write a happy ending for himself and Orsini before the curtain falls?

Finally, its here!! *She says jiggling about like someone with ants in their pants* The long awaited next instalment of the gorgeous ‘Captivating Captains’ is here, am I excited about finally getting my hands on this or what? Patience is not my strongest quality, it feels like an eternity since I had my last Captain fix, honestly, poor Catherine and Eleanor, they must be pretty tired of hearing my constant whining of “I’m so excited’s” and “I cannot wait’s”….I have bored myself…Anyway, it’s here woo-hoo!

This time we are in the Regency era, Captain Ambrose Pendleton (Pen) having just returned from the battle of Waterloo he is shocked to find that his father has arranged a marriage for him, in fact not just a marriage but he has planned out Ambrose’s future, which consists of him leaving England and everything he knows to marry a stranger, move to America and turn his hand to industry. All poor Ambrose wants is to follow his heart and write, while perhaps floundering around in the sea with a certain Italian, not that I blame him at all, Orsini is wonderful and he has the best wardrobe any woman could ever want, I was cheering him on at every turn, follow your heart Ambrose! …anyhow, Ambrose is a dutiful man, as much as he doesn’t want to leave and me hitched with a spoiled little girl he wouldn’t dream of going against his father that is until his good friend Amadeo Orsini comes up with a brilliant plan to release him from the vicars mousetrap.

Ah, Orsini what a fabulous creature you are! Thespian Orsini has made a name for himself – or should that be herself – on the stage in the guise of exotic, vivacious and striking Cosima, she is loved by all where ever she may go she has become the most sought after actress to tread the boards. Orsini and Ambrose have been good friends since meeting while Ambrose was on his grand tour, he is not about to see his good friend be forced into something he doesn’t want and be sent far, far away. Oh no, the tempting Italian has other plans for his darling Ambrose, But how to extricate him from the clutches of the Tarbottom harridan? – or as Orsini says; ‘Tarrow-Bottom’ – why, with a performance that would earn him a Olivier off course.

And this is when the fun really starts! Imagine it; A Derbyshire house party, A set of vile American’s (no offense to my lovely American friends, I know you not all vile ;-)) a actor who just happens to explode on to the scene dressed as a woman announcing her undying love for the brooding Captain and who has very saucy thoughts regarding his gold military sash 😉 a cheeky parrot who sets his eyes on the lady of the house and amongst it all you have a theft….ouh la la! I don’t think I can take anymore excitement…wait, oh yes I can, especially when Ambrose and Orsini finally declare their feelings…honestly I thought they never would, but it was well worth the wait, because these two are just too adorable for words.

I adore Ambrose, even though he has had flings in the past while in the army I think that his feeling’s for Orsini confuse him, he is a worrier, he is undeniably attracted to Orsini as both himself and as Cosima but he is afraid about what his friend would make of his attraction to him….Ambrose, you really don’t need to worry!

But alas as much as I adore both Ambrose and Orsini/Cosima the star of this has to be Pegolo, yup, the sarcastic, clever and brilliantly hilarious parrot has stolen the show and teamed up with the equally brilliant Mrs Pendleton, well we have a fabulous comedy duo….honestly where else would you see a married older lady walking about with a parrot propped on her shoulder?

This book holds some of the best character’s I have come ever across, not only in the shape of our two romantic leads – who in themselves are absolutely adorable – but the supporting cast are brilliant, from the very amusing Mrs Pendleton, who sees far more then she lets on, to the brilliantly funny Pegolo (this parrot needs a show of his own, he is fabulous) and the ever so slightly vile Tarbottom’s (I can never say that name with a straight face, I’m stifling a giggle now as I write, I can’t help it.) there was something about the Tarbottom’s that really made my skin crawl, and yet I couldn’t look away, which goes to show how much skill there is in this writing.

I love this, there isn’t anything I didn’t like, even though the start was a little slower then expected, with surprised me, but once the reason behind Ambrose’s slight melancholy is revealed all makes sense and I think the slower more thoughtful start is perfect for Ambrose and Orsini and their story. The chemistry and passion between our leads is wonderfully tantalizing and tender, those little glances they cast each other made my heart melt. I loved the little theft twist away from the romance, it builds up slowly and as you read you begin to wonder….hmmm, now is something going on here? I loved the investigation then ensures to find the culprit.

This really has everything I look for in a historical romance; beautifully portrayed lead character’s who you can get behind from the start, a wonderfully original love story with an unexpected sub plot. It has a real whimsical feel about it that made me think of fairy tales, and the humour, my goodness this is so much fun to read, there are some real laugh out loud moments…..Yes, I did a fair amount of giggling an sighing… I definitely think me and Orsino are two peas in a pod, especially whenever he thinks of a certain Captain in those fitted trousers and tall military boots…sigh!!

This is enchanting, it’s fun, romantic, original, the perfect escapism from the real world, I have said it before but I’m going to say it again…I love it!

This series just goes from strength to strength, each is as different from the next as you can get and with the constant love is love message tightly ingrained in each one there is nothing not to love about the Captains. Plus with another planned for later this year and fingers crossed more after…I’m not hinting, OK, I am, I need more Captains…. I am going to be in Captains heaven….or as excitable as a hyperactive spinning top, I may need sedating.

This was an Arc copy via the authors, which I voluntarily reviewed, thank you Catherine and Eleanor xx

The Captain and the Theatrical is to be released on 3rd September and can be pre-ordered now.

#Review A Late Summer Night’s Dream by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead @MadameGilflurt @e_harkstead @PridePublishing #MMRomance #AlateSummerNightsDream #ContemporaryRomance

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Today I have the very great pleasure to be sharing my early review of ‘A Late Summer Night’s Dream’ by the wonderfully talented Eleanor Harkstead and Catherine Curzon.

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 79 pages

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Release: 19th February 2019

Among Oxford’s dreaming spires, can a widowed professor and a wide-eyed scholar make their own dreams of love come true?

Simeon Shakespeare is living his academic dream. As an Oxford scholar, he spends his days in libraries and whiles away his nights at the theater. A mix-up over a seat number leads to a very awkward first act, but that’s nothing compared to what happens when the lights go up.

Professor Anthony Meadows is finished with love. Shattered by the death of his husband, he divides his time between his book-lined study and Oxford’s theaters. The last thing he needs is an annoying research student bickering with him over who should sit where.

When Anthony and Simeon discover they have more in common than a shared love of the Bard, it looks as though the stage is set for romance. Yet with the memory of Anthony’s lost love keeping the professor from moving on, can Simeon’s love mend his broken heart?

Pride Publishing / Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

I do love reading these two fine ladies work, whether its historical, contemporary or even supernatural (Read The Captains Ghostly Gamble ;-)) Curzon and Harkstead together are such a treat for the romance reader and this is a wonderful addition to their ever-expanding CV.

A Late Summer Night’s Dream is another wonderful novella, set in picturesque Oxford. A love-at-first-sight tale, which sees a young wide-eyed, who is living the scholarly dream, who meets a handsome, widowed professor at the theatre.

I love the concept of this one; meeting a gorgeous stranger who not only dresses well but smells divine – which is so important, don’t you think that they smell nice? And could very well be ‘the one’ because of a mix up with seats at the theatre, giggling and joking through a bad performance of ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ all the while having a hard-boiled sweet chomping woman beside you giving you the evil eye, and finally ending up in the pub sharing a pie supper; just how perfect is that? Now, that is my kind of date! But there is more to this merry little, exceedingly English tale then getting to know one an other over pie and peas there is a real sadness to the tale that pulls at the heart-strings.

When scholar Simeon Shakespeare (Great name!) arrives at the theatre a tad late he finds a nice smelling, suit wearing gorgeous man sitting in his seat. The nerve of the man! But is it his seat, really of has there been a mistake on Simeon’s part? Honestly it can happen, believe me. But the seating mistake is soon pushed behind him as he and the god beside him soon find that they have a lot in common, and as happens in this case one thing leads to another and after the play and a meal they head off to Simeon’s.

Simeon has just come out of a not-so-happy relationship with a man who claimed him to be boring, honestly the nerve of the man, he finds peace in trips to the theatre, in disappearing into books. He isn’t looking for love but he knows that the moment he sets eyes on the gentlemanly Anthony that this is the man for him. He senses there is something about him, there is sadness behind those pearly blue eyes. A sadness that Simeon would love to help heal and which makes his heart bleed for him.

Professor Anthony Meadows is attempting to regain his life after the terrible loss of his husband four years earlier to brain cancer, Anthony knows that Iain; his late husband wouldn’t want him to disappear into his shell, he would have wanted Anthony to carry on and live again; which is the reason why he finds himself at the theatre that night. Anthony is shocked that gorgeous, vivacious and young Simeon would want to be with an older guy like him. As soon as meeting the young scholar; Anthony begins to feel himself enjoying himself again, he is flattered by the attention but he is also confused by that and feels he is betraying his late husband’s memory and he can’t take the relationship further. It is at this point where you think “No, what the hell are you doing Anthony, you fool. Get back in there, Simeon’s brilliant!But never worry, all will come right in the end.

The budding relationship between Anthony and Simeon is so lovely to see blossom, each of them have initial issues, Anthony especially. Not only because of his sadness over his late husband but also because he is very aware of the large age gap between them, that aspect of the story along with Simeon’s patience and how he encourages Anthony to just be himself is so beautifully written.

Curzon and Harkstead just gel together, there is always something very special about their writing. Plus it always is so very realistically and wonderfully English in tone, I could hear Anthony’s plummy tones in my mind as I read – which to me oddly enough sounded something along the lines of a younger James or Edward Fox, weird I know! With a realistic plot, witty and sensual dialogue between the characters this is a charming and delightful read, that ended far too soon.

Definitely another winner!

This was an Arc copy from the authors in exchange for an honest review; Thank you Catherine and Eleanor!

A Late Summer Nights Dream is to be released on 19 February and can be pre-ordered from Amazon; links at beginning of review.

#Review – The Captains Cornish Christmas (A Captivating Captains Story #4) by Catherine Curzon (@MadameGilflurt) & Eleanor Harkstead (@e_harkstead) #CaptivatingCaptains @PridePublishing

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A Captivating Captains story

For a lonely Cornish lifeboatman and an author who’s more used to crime scenes than love scenes, this Christmas is going to be very merry indeed!

When Jago Treherne agrees to man the Polneath lifeboats one snowy Christmas, he knows he can forget turkey and all the trimmings.

Yet when he boards a seemingly empty yacht and stumbles upon sexy Sam Coryton enjoying an energetic afternoon below decks, Jago soon realizes that he might be unwrapping a very different sort of Christmas gift this year!

My View

I always get very excited whenever a new ‘A Captivating Captains’ book is out, I have been avidly following this series from the very first book and I’m always giddy to see what is to come next. As always, I jumped at the chance to read this one, and as always I was not disappointed, not only is the cover gorgeous, but the story is pretty good too 😉

The Captains Cornish Christmas is a short novella, set in gorgeous Cornwall and revolves around the Captain of the Polneath lifeboats; Jago Treherne. What surprised me about this and what was different from the other’s in the series, is that instead of being split POV between the leads this story is told more through Jago’s perspective, which I found quite endearing especially as Jago is – for me, the star of the whole book and I really enjoyed seeing the story play out from Jago’s perspective.

Jago is spending this festive season on duty, he is manning the lifeboats and has no expectations of celebrating Christmas – except maybe at the end of his shift he will go home have a cuppa with his very spoilt cat; Peregrine – Isn’t that a great name? Yet when the weather begins to turn, he comes across the what looks like a yacht in trouble, which actually turns out to be the Morveren owned by best-selling author and child hood friend; Sam Coryton. Once on board he finds to his embarrassment that Sam isn’t in trouble at all – well only if he counts falling head over heels, crashing to the floor and ending up butt up on the floor with a black eye, which is very funny – he is in, shall we say a rather intimate position, that leaves poor Jago feeling rather hot under the collar and a tad embarrassed 😉 Sam has moved back to Polneath after becoming tired and a bit world-weary of London life and he is trying to escape a family Christmas. When ruggedly handsome Jago unceremoniously barges in on him, it is like a gift from the gods and he fully intends on making the most of his good fortune.

Jago is by far one of the most adorable character’s from the whole series, he is uncomfortable, shy and a tad lonely, plus not to mention his self-confidence issues. He believes that the glittery, handsome as hell and overly confident Sam would never look twice at an ordinary, gruff and rough around the edges, salty sea-dog like him. But that is where he is so wrong, from the moment when we first meet them you know instantly that there has only ever been one man for Sam, every other relationship has just been a stop-gap, he is the kind of man that he needs someone in his life.

What I love about this series is that each one is different, you don’t have to read them in any order as they are all stand-a-lone stories. Each one is as different as the next, every aspect of romance is covered so no matter what genre you read there will be something everyone will love.

The Captains Cornish Christmas is a charming, witty and sensual romance. The story progresses quickly right from the off there is a buzz about Jago and Sam. I love the difference in their personalities, Sam is far more relaxed and confident in his own skin whereas Jago is more reserved and shy, that is until they are behind closed doors, then he shows his hidden lusty side. The thing that I particularly love is the dialogue between Jago and Sam, they are very open with one another, there is no hidden agenda’s with them and at times it is wonderfully cheesy, plummy and very Cornish – courtesy of Jago, who actually reminds of the characters from the TV show Doc Martin.

Another winner, really these two wonderful ladies can do nothing wrong in my book, the writing is as always perfect and highly enjoyable. It’s sweet and sexy, with the best laugh out loud moment’s – the beginning on the yacht is a corker.

Highly recommended, I can’t wait to see what comes next.

This was an ARC via the authors in exchange for an honest review.

The Captains Cornish Christmas is to be released on 11th December and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

The Captain’s Ghostly Gamble (Captivating Captains #3) by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

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When a ghostly dandy and his roguish companion try their hand at matchmaking, things definitely go bump in the night.

For centuries, foppish Captain Cornelius Sheridan and brooding John Rookwood have haunted the mansion they duelled and died for. Now these phantom foes must join forces to save both their home and their feuding descendants.

But when Captain Sheridan sacrifices his afterlife for the sake of true love, will Rookwood risk everything to keep his companion by his side, or is it too late to say “I love you”?

My View

Oh, my goodness! How much do love this series?…Really, there isn’t enough time – or space in the post to say. As soon as I got offered to read this, I jumped at the chance to read it and I did stay up way past my bedtime to read it 😉 The Captain’s Ghostly Gamble is book three in the wonderfully diverse and splendiferous Captivating Captains series, I have fallen in love with this series, you never know what’s going to come next. Or for that matter what era you’re going to be transported to.

After they killed each other in a duel over Rookwood/Sheridan Manor Sheridan and Rookwood are left roaming the huge house for the next couple of hundred years protecting it from various threats. Plus, left to put up with each other, the two men who were mortal enemies in life carry on bickering in death, steadily over the years growing closer and closer when suddenly their home under the threat again – from a very unlikely source – they must join forces to protect their manor.

Captain Cornelius Sheridan is by far the dandiest ghost you have ever seen – or not seen. Gentlemanly, foppish, vain and hugely entertaining; Sheridan has been irritating and winding up brooding, highwayman John Rookwood from life and into death.

Rookwood is a brooding, monosyllabic and devilishly attractive man who is harbouring a secret love towards his spectral companion. But being the typical grizzly and grumpy bear that he is, he refuses to confront and admit what his heart is telling him. So when Sheridan sacrifices himself, they both could have lost their chance to finally be honest about how they feel.

These two are a hoot, they constantly snipe and provoke one another, whether it’s Rookwoods growling and stomping about or Sheridan’s fabulously up beat chatter. Curzon and Harkstead have a this talented of created the most engaging and laugh out loud characters, ever and these two are two of the best. If I was going to be living in a haunted house, I want to be sharing that house with these two. I love how different they are to each other and yet their personalities’ tend to bounce of one an other. Sheridan or ‘The Captain’ is such a fabulously fun character, the way he antagonizes Rookwood is so entertaining – Plus, I’ve always been charmed with green eyes. Rookwood – Oh, Rookwood! I probably sound like a broken record, but I do love a rough-around-the-edge, gruff man and this one is simply grand. Sheridan and Rookwood are definitely two of my favourite character’s, they are a wonderful double-act!

The Captains Ghostly Gamble is an amusing, dreamy and original romance that will keep you enchanted and riveted to the end. I love how even though this is a short story, there are two romances packed in, one in the mortal realm and the other on the ghostly plane. Both are connected, but I ain’t going to tell you in what way, you’ll just have to read it and find out. This is another hugely romantic story about ever-lasting love, with two of the least bit scary but hugely entertaining ghosts you have ever met. I thoroughly enjoyed this latest instalment of this marvellous series and I wait with baited-breath to see what comes next.

Roll on the next one!

This was an ARC copy via the authors in exchange for an honest review.

The Captain’s Ghostly Gamble is to be released on 11th September and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

Exclusive Chat With George Standish-Brookes & Henry Fitzwalter, Stars of The Captain and the Cricketer.

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Today I have the very great pleasure to welcome the stars of ‘The Captain and the Cricketer’ George Standish-Brookes and Henry Fitzwalter to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals for an exclusive and illuminating chat. Really these lads are a hoot! (Plus, they provided scones, so I’m happy.) So, take a seat, get the tea and scones at the ready because you really don’t want to miss a moment of this chat.

Frankie: Hello lads, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.

Hello! Captain George Standish-Brookes reporting for duty all alone, alas, as Fitz is in the kitchen talking to a concerned resident about their ferret’s toenails or some such – village vets never sleep! So for now, at least, you’ll have to put up with just me.

Frankie: I don’t mind at all, it’s so good to have you here. Firstly, what five words would you use to describe yourself?

George: I’ll give you three. No, four. Captain George Standish-Brookes. One doesn’t like talking about oneself – the gossip columns have done enough of that already. Instead, I’ll give you five words to describe Fitz – Henry to his mum – instead, and he can deal with the George side of things. So Fitz, who has now joined me with a pot of tea and a plateful of scones, is five words of fabulous. Handsome, smart, tweedy, sexy, husband.

Frankie: Hello Henry, so glad you could join us.

Henry (aka Fitz): Oh hell, I’ve dropped the scones! Well that’s very kind of you, Standy-Bee. My five words for you would be… gorgeous, brave, mischievous, shirtless and kind.

George: I’m not always shirtless, just in case people were wondering about what I do in winter. Often, not always.

Frankie: *Smiling* If you could take a holiday in any era and place, when and where would it be? And why?

George: I’m very fortunate to have seen many of my bucket list destinations whilst filming my Secret Histories series for the Beeb. And as anyone who’s watched them (which is, I think, several million of you) will know, I’m no stranger to getting togged up and trying out life as it was back in Sparta, Rome, the Russian revolution, Sherwood Forest and half a dozen other amazing eras.

Henry: Several million? Could I have a sixth word to describe, George, please — cocky!

George: You’ll get us an X rating talking like that! If I take my pick though, I’d whisk Fitz and I back to Rome in the 1960s. We’d hop on a scooter and join Anita Ekberg for a frolic in the Trevi Fountain!

Henry: I’d pick the Treetops Hotel in Kenya in the 1950s — but without any shooting going on. I’d just like to drive about in a jeep with George and watch the lions at sunset.

George: Oh, that’s a lovely idea, darling. You and I tooling about, you in your Panama hat and sensible togs, me in far less. Sunblock and a smile.

Frankie: Can you tell us a little about your latest release? This can be your most recent or up-and coming release.

George: The Captain and the Cricketer is a new release by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead that tells our story, Fitz and me, from daggers drawn to sharing scones and a lot more besides. In true promo fashion, you’ll have to buy it to find out how we solved a crime, saved a village and banished a billionaire!

Henry: And rescued a foal! George — if you blow on the scone, it’s perfectly edible. They were only on the floor for under five seconds.

George: Your mind’s in the gutter today, Fitz. Blow on this, cocky that! And yes, we rescued a lovely foal and a darling of a dog, who is eyeing that scone with interest but no hope of getting it. Fitz surrenders his scone to nobody!

Frankie: *Cough’s subtly* Who was your childhood hero?

George: Fitz. He was my best chum and I always wished I could be him, because he never struggled with his homework or got bowled out first wicket. He’s still my hero today, I’m very blessed to know him.

Henry: I always admired George when we were nippers. But might I say James Herriot? I have all of his books, and George and I were glued to the screens on Sunday evenings watching his adventures!

George: I always had a bit of a crush Tristan when I was a boy. The first stirrings!

Henry: Ah, Tristan — there’s a man who knows how to carry off a cricket jumper.

George: That was Dr Who, darling. Do you remember that stick of celery he wore? I should do that at the next match, cricket jumper, whites, celery. I’m halfway to a Bloody Mary.

Frankie: If you could have one of your books made into a film, which book would it be and who would play your lead characters?

George: The Captain and the Cricketer, since it’s the only Curzon/Harkstead novel that stars Henry and me. Whoever plays me would have to be very, very British. A posh boy who looks good in cricket jumpers and out of them!

Henry: Not that he was an actor, but my hero — James Herriot.

George: Good choice, Fitz. I have no idea what he looked like, but spiritually, you’re the heir to his stethoscope.

 

*Frankie’s note : Above left the real James Herriot and right my choice of who would play George; Toby Stephans.

Frankie: You are the stars of the Captain and the Cricketer, but who is your favourite character in the book – yourselves excepted? (Question rewritten by George and Henry!]

George: If I can, I’ll say say Jez and Nimrod, our horse and dog, because they’re a couple of gorgeous little heroes. Otherwise I think Reverend Standish-Brookes and Bad Billy Fitzwalter, our 18th century ancestors. They’re quite a trailblazing and scandalous pair! And the rev’s mum, Georgie, because she was up for just about anything and looked fabulous in a frock!

Henry: And you look fabulous in a frock, too, darling! As for me, well, the newts who live in Longley Parva Manor’s lake are a particular favourite.

George: I’ve spent many happy hours running programme ideas past those newts – they’re refreshing full of common sense for a chap who’s used to dealing with the British press!

Frankie: *Giggles away for a good five minutes* What three tips would you pass on to an aspiring author?

George: Three tips for an aspiring anything, just to have a happy life. Be patient, be kind, eat cake.

Henry: I am an aspiring author myself, you know. I’ve started to write my memoir. A sort of 21st century James Herriot.

George: All Fitzes Great and Small.

Henry: That’s the working title! My advice would be: don’t let your dog chew your pens, don’t let your dog eat your notepads, and finally, don’t let your dog walk across your keyboard.

Frankie: *Laugh’s again* Great tip, just keep dog away. If you were hosting a dinner party what three people would you invite? (They can be real/fictional, from any era)

George: I’m rather fortunate in that my careers as an occasionally shirtless TV historian means that I’ve been able to meet a lot of my heros and work with a fair few of them so I’m probably going to have to jaunt back into history for this one. What about you, Fitz? Siegfried, Tristan and Tricky Woo?

Henry: I always thought the late, great Robert Hardy would’ve been fun to meet — he seemed to be full of bonhomie. Jenny Lind — she could sing for us after dinner, as I’ve always wondered what her voice sounded like. Not on some scratchy old record, but live — that would be amazing, wouldn’t it? And the legendary W G Grace, too — would love to get some tips from him. Maybe practice with him in the hallway.

George: Oh, that’s a marvellous trio, you could all share a pizza and a few bottles – think of the stories! I would gather good old Magellan, whose voyage I recreated for the Beeb a couple of years ago. I’d love to meet the remarkable Sacagewa too, because she’s a lady we should all know a darn sight more about. To fill the third seat who better than the man, the legend, the great, David Gower. I’m sure they’d all find plenty of common ground. Cricket and exploring – perfect!

   

*Left to right : Jenny Lind, W.G Grace, David Gower and Siegfried, Tristan Farnon and James Herriot with Tricky Woo.

Frankie: Thank you both, for taking the time out of your busy schedules to chat with me today. I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun . . . What is your all-time favourite naughty but nice food?

George: Strawberries and cream shared with Fitz, sitting beside the lake at home on a balmy summer evening. Perfection!

Henry: With a bottle of champers?

George: At least. Maybe even two.

Henry: Sharing an ice cream cone on the prom at Brighton with George. With lots of sprinkles and raspberry sauce!

George: Everything’s better with lots of sauce.

Frankie: Perfect! Thank you, lads. It has been wonderful to chat with you today and thank you for the scones. I don’t mind that they’ve been on the floor. 😉

Meet the Authors

You have met George and Henry, now here are the two wonderful ladies who have given wings to their story.

Catherine Curzon

Catherine Curzon is an author and royal historian of the 18th century.

She has written extensively for publications including HistoryExtra.com, the official website of BBC History Magazine, Your Family History, Real Crime, Explore History, All About History, History of Royals and Jane Austen’s Regency World. Catherine has given solo talks at venues and events including the Stamford Georgian Festival, the Jane Austen Festival, Lichfield Guildhall, the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich and Dr Johnson’s House. In addition, she has appeared with An Evening with Jane Austen, starring Adrian Lukis, at Kenwood House, the Hurlingham Club, Godmersham Park, the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, the Jane Austen Festival, Bath, and the Stamford Georgian Festival.

Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine can often be found watching the mighty Huddersfield Town. She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously step hill with a rakish colonial gentleman, a long-suffering cat and a lively dog

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon

Eleanor Harkstead

Eleanor Harkstead likes to dash about in nineteenth-century costume, in bonnet or cravat as the mood takes her. She can occasionally be found wandering old graveyards. Eleanor is very fond of chocolate, wine, tweed waistcoats and nice pens. Her large collection of vintage hats would rival Hedda Hopper’s.

Originally from the south-east, Eleanor now lives somewhere in the Midlands with a large ginger cat who resembles a Viking.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon

George and Henry’s Story

The Captain and The Cricketer

When an uptight countryside vet and a sexy TV star meet on the cricket pitch, they’re both knocked for six!

Henry Fitzwalter is a solid sort of chap. A respectable rural vet and no stranger to tweed, he is the lonely inhabitant of crumbling Longley Parva Manor.

Captain George Standish-Brookes is everyone’s favorite shirtless TV historian. Heroic, handsome and well-traveled, he is coming home to the village where he grew up.

Henry and George’s teenage friendship was shattered by the theft of a cup, the prize in a hard-fought, very British game of cricket. When they resolve their differences thanks to an abandoned foal, it’s only a matter of time before idyllic Longley Parva witnesses one of its wildest romances, between a most unlikely couple of fellows.

Yet with a golf-loving American billionaire and a money-hungry banker threatening this terribly traditional little corner of Sussex, there’s more than love at stake. A comedy of cricket, coupling and criminality, with a splash of scandal!

You can pre-order their story now at Amazon.

Review – The Captain and the Cricketer (The Captivating Captains #2) by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

Posted on

FROM POPULAR GAY ROMANCE AUTHORS CATHERINE CURZON AND ELEANOR HARKSTEAD

Book two in the Captivating Captains series

When an uptight countryside vet and a sexy TV star meet on the cricket pitch, they’re both knocked for six!

Henry Fitzwalter is a solid sort of chap. A respectable rural vet and no stranger to tweed, he is the lonely inhabitant of crumbling Longley Parva Manor.

Captain George Standish-Brookes is everyone’s favorite shirtless TV historian. Heroic, handsome and well-traveled, he is coming home to the village where he grew up.

Henry and George’s teenage friendship was shattered by the theft of a cup, the prize in a hard-fought, very British game of cricket. When they resolve their differences thanks to an abandoned foal, it’s only a matter of time before idyllic Longley Parva witnesses one of its wildest romances, between a most unlikely couple of fellows.

Yet with a golf-loving American billionaire and a money-hungry banker threatening this terribly traditional little corner of Sussex, there’s more than love at stake. A comedy of cricket, coupling and criminality, with a splash of scandal!

My View

Well, this is just splendid! It has a classic English village feel to it, that makes you think of an episode of Father Brown. I am a huge fan of Curzon’s and Hartstead’s work, so I will admit that I was squealing in pure delight when I got the chance to review this glorious book. And it really is glorious, prefect reading for sitting in the sunshine, with a cuppa and a scone. 😊

This is the second book in the ‘Captivating Captains’ series and because it is so different to the previous; ‘The Captain and the Cavalry Officer’ these books are very much stand-a-lones. As ‘The Captain and the Cavalry Officer’ was set during WW1 and this is a set in a little very English village in the present day. Personally, I think it’s a stroke of genius, as it keeps the reader wondering what on earth is going to come next with these Captivating captains.

Best friends Henry and George were like two peas in a pod, always by each other’s side. They laughed and joked and played cricket together, until one summer Henry vet in training and new army recruit George played a game of cricket that changed their lives When the famous Longley Parva Cricket cup goes missing and Henry’s eyes are fixed firmly on George. This scandal destroyed their friendship and put a stop to what was clearly something developing between them. George went off to forge his Military career and Henry finished is veterinary training.

Fast forward fifteen years, and the two once friends are back together. Captain George is back from the war, he is now a huge celebratory and he is now back in the village he was born. He is back to clear his name, to find out what exactly happened to the cup and to prove to Henry that he is isn’t the rascal he thinks he is.

Whereas Henry became the vet he was destined to be and is now a stuck-in-his-ways, and lonely man with a house he can’t afford and a millionaire sniffing around on the want to cause problems to contend with. Henry has held onto that childhood bitterness toward George all these years, yet he unashamedly watch’s all his TV shows and buys his former friends books.

George may act the confident, pompous and slightly arrogant and cocky celebratory who is ever wanting the limelight, yet there another side to this gorgeous man. He hated not having Henry as a friend for all those years and I think that Henry’s opinion of George really matters to him. He is kind and gentlemanly with the perfect Officer’s bearing. George is a gorgeous, I mean, utterly breathtakingly gorgeous! No wonder Henry has always held a torch for his old friend, who can blame him falling under that green-eyed rogues, spell? And Henry, well what can I say about stiff, complex and adorable Henry? Other than, that he was a fool for letting this amazing man slip through his fingers the first time around.

I found these two to be such fascinating men, both tainted in their own way. They are both battling inner demons. They are so made for each other, both are honest and good men who deserve so much goodness. Plus, they are cheeky, fun and charismatic each in their own way!

As they face various trials everything from uncovering the missing cup mystery to trying to outsmart a villainous millionaire and overcoming prejudice. Their romance blooms and they grow closer, the old best friends re-connect, they get to know the men they are now. I particulay love the scene where Henry admits to George that he is gay, and he has always loved the handsome soldier. That really is the one of the most romantic scenes, the little looks and touches from George are not just beautiful but in those moments the atmosphere changes, it becomes charged and heated.

This isn’t just a second chance love story, there are multiple branches of the story that link together to create this beautiful, poignant and hugely satisfying story. I adore this, it has mystery, twists and a compassionate love story that touches on the prejudice that can be shown towards gay people and how that can affect the person and how they traverse their life to be happy. This is a beautifully written and charming romance that will keep the reader glued to the page as the whole story is unveiled and our adorable couple’s romance blossoms.

This a wonderful and articulated story, that sweeps you along from one scene to another at a gentle and soothing pace. A bit like a game of cricket, it is entrancing and delightful.

I can’t wait for the next Captain to march in.

Highly recommended!

This was an ARC via the author’s in exchange for an honest review.

The Captain and The Cricketer is available from 17th July and can be pre-ordered now at Amazon.