Historical Fiction

#Review – The Dukes Agent (Raif Jarrett Regency Mystery #1) by Rebecca Jenkins (@rjenkinsauthor) #HistoricFiction #Regency #Mystery #TheDukesAgent #RaifJarrettRegencyMystery @SaphereBooks

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An ex-soldier turns detective in this thrilling Regency read! For fans of Georgette Heyer, Andrew Taylor, Ashley Gardner and Leighann Dobbs.

A threatening presence is stalking a provincial Northern town…811, England

Frederick Raif Jarrett has returned from battle and is seeking a quiet life as agent to the Duke of Penrith.

So when he is sent to the northern town of Woolbridge to settle the affairs of one of the Duke’s tenants following his sudden death, the dangers of the Yorkshire countryside could not be more unexpected.

Jarrett begins to uncover a network of crime and corruption but is thwarted at every turn by the town’s powerful and much-feared magistrate, Mr. Justice Raistrick.

When a young woman dies in tragic and mysterious circumstances, Jarrett is accused of her murder and has to fight for his life as he desperately seeks to uncover the truth.

Is there a serial killer on the loose? Can Jarrett solve the case in time to clear his name?

And what about the whispering rumours of the sinister figure calling himself The Tallyman…?

THE DUKE’S AGENT is the first book in the Raif Jarrett Regency Mystery series: historical murder mysteries with a traditional British detective embarking on a private investigation in nineteenth-century England.

My View

Wow!! This is an unbelievable book, I was intrigued by this book on sight and couldn’t wait to have a read at it and I can honestly say that the back blurb does it no justice, it is far better then I expected. This is a thrilling, edge of your seat, historical who done it which I can guarantee will keep you glued to every page, you will be following the story while sitting at the very edge of your seat wondering what’s going to happen next.

Frederick Raif Jarrett has returned home after being wounded in the war, he was wanting a life of peace and quiet after the horrors of the war, but alas that isn’t meant to be. Instead he becomes an agent for the Duke of Penrith, who sends him to Yorkshire to settle the affairs of the Duke’s tenant’s. What starts out as a simple task turns into something far more sinister, as not only has Raif found himself in the centre of a village full of deadly dealings, corruption, crime and the mysterious Tallyman who is lurking around spreading fear. On top of that a young woman dies in mysterious circumstances Raif, as the outsider he is immediately under suspicion. Raif literally has his head on the line, if he can’t find the person who is behind this crime he male well hang for murder, but that is easier said than done as his investigation is dogged and thwarted at every turn by the towns feared magistrate Mr. Justice Raistrick.

The only thing that I will say against this book is that is was a slow starter, no less engaging but I would have liked the first couple of chapters to move along with a little bit more speed then it doe’s. But once Raif is in the investigation the story picks up pace. I loved the character’s, the mysterious and fearsome Tallyman is like a ghost on the edges of the story which does genuinely make you get goosebumps which is a tantamount of the authors writing skill. Raif is a brilliant character, there is so much more to this man that what we learn about from this and we do need more books in the series just to really delve into what kind of man Raif is. My absolute favourite has to be Duffin who is a poacher with his dog; Bob, he is a realistic, monosyllabic Yorkshireman who I instantly liked and I do hope that he will feature in books in the future.

A brilliant book, highly engaging, atmospheric and compelling it has a real edge to it that you don’t see in regencies and I loved it. From this first book, I can say without a doubt that the Raif Jarrett Regency Mystery Series is going to be a brilliant series to follow and I will be reading more from it. This is a refreshingly new story, it’s not a romance I did have hopes that Raif would have a romance with Henrietta the woman who tries to help him in the investigation, but no. This is all about the case, all about the history which I thoroughly loved it and it really is highly recommended!!

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

The Duke’s Agent is available from Amazon.

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#Review Miss Marley; A Christmas Ghost Story, A Prequel To A Christmas Carol by Vanessa Lafaye & Rebecca Mascull (@rebeccamascull) @HQDigitalUK #MissMarley #AChristmasCarol

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Before A Christmas Carol there was… Miss Marley

A seasonal tale of kindness and goodwill

Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price.

And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart…

In Miss Marley, Vanessa Lafaye weaves a spellbinding Dickensian tale of ghosts, goodwill and hope – a perfect prequel to A Christmas Carol.

My View

This is utterly breath-taking! There is no other words for this beautiful book, once I closed the very last page, I was left in stunned silence and with tears in my eyes, this is the brilliance of this book the emotions that Miss Marley evokes in the reader is incomparable. It is full of tragedy, sadness and it is heart-breaking, as well as portraying the most beautiful message of just being kind to others, that money isn’t everything in life, what is important is family, love and living life itself.

This is the first I have ever read by the late Vanessa Lafaye and it saddens me to know that I may have missed out on something special, so I am unbelievably honoured that I got the chance to review this book. Ms Lafaye and Ms Mascull (who lovingly finished the book on Vanessa Lafaye’s sad passing) have written an atmospheric, realistic and touching story, the sights, smells and life of Dickensian London is brilliant captured which makes this book even more special.

This is the prequel to ‘A Christmas Carol’ and it tells the story of Jacob Marley through the eyes of his little sister; Clara Belle Marley. The story opens when they are nothing but children who are staving on the streets, after their parent’s died and their cruel uncle foisted them off into the workhouse they have nothing but each other. With Jacob’s intellect and wiles they soon find themselves off the street and into the nefarious world of ‘Money lending’. The story doesn’t he hard facts of life on the streets of the money lending business, it is raw and unashamed-idly real.

As the years go by, the siblings raise themselves from the streets, in due course Jacob meets his soon-to-be business partner; Ebeneeza Scrooge and is from here we see just how Jacob Marley found himself destined to reside for all eternity in chains; as we see in A Christmas Carol. Jacob Marley isn’t entirely a selfish man as he does have his moments when he cares for Clara, but there really isn’t an ounce of kindness in him. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Ebeneeza in a different light to the heartless, lost creature we all know him to be. In this there is a glimmer of goodness in him, but being around merciless Jacob has it’s effects on him, it was interesting to seeing the two men when they were young to see how the famous story began.

But the backbone to this is Clara Belle and her absolute love and loyalty to her brother, she is the absolute opposite to Jacob. Where he is hard, cold and ruthless she is kind, warm, caring and always wanting to help if she can. She has a good heart who tries in vain to change her brother’s ways, she has her own story to tell one that can melt the coldest of hearts, and one that will have you weeping.

Magical, charming, festive, beautifully written, heartfelt, captivating, reminiscent of Dickens himself, this is the perfect Christmas gift and one that I can see becoming a classic in its own right and one that will be repeatedly read year after year.

The most heart-warming and beautiful book I have read, perfection!

This was a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you Joe at HQ Digital UK for my copy.

Miss Marley is available at Amazon and I urge everyone to buy it, highly recommended!

#Review 1066; What Fates Impose by GK Holloway (@GlynnHolloway) #Historical #Medieval #BattleOfHastings #1066WhatFatesImpose

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England is in crisis. King Edward has no heir and promises never to produce one. There are no obvious successors available to replace him, but quite a few claimants are eager to take the crown. While power struggles break out between the various factions at court, enemies abroad plot to make England their own. There are raids across the borders with Wales and Scotland.

Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, is seen by many as the one man who can bring stability to the kingdom. He has powerful friends and two women who love him, but he has enemies who will stop at nothing to gain power.

As 1066 begins, England heads for an uncertain future. It seems even the heavens are against Harold. Intelligent and courageous, can Harold forge his own destiny – or does he have to bow to what fates impose?

My View

My goodness, this is absolutely bloody brilliant! I am a massive history fan and this book tick’s all the boxes, history in abundance, a bit of a romance, character’s that are not only real from history but also are immensely fascinating. I am not one to rate a book as I am more for sharing my opinions, but this has to be a definite 10/10, It really is mind-blowingly good!

This book centres around Harold Godwinson, before reading this I off course knew of his eventual fate and I knew the history surrounding 1066 and onwards once William the Conqueror gained the crown, but I knew very little about Harold himself and his family, and the battles for power that resulted in him becoming King. Reading this has completely opened my eyes to the era and it’s vast history, this is a magnificent book from an author who obviously has a real passion and understanding of the era and of these historic figures, which makes this already great book even more enjoyable to read.

As the title states this is about the what happened during 1066, but for those that aren’t as fully clued up in the story of Harold Godwinson apart from his unfortunate end, the story starts in 1045 when the country are facing a bitter struggle for power as King Edward; the Confessor who is lacking the ability and the inclination to produce his much needed heir, the whole country and those abroad are preparing themselves for the crisis of succession that we all know is coming, everyone from the nobles to the clergymen and to the foreign rulers are all watching, waiting and plotting.

Edward is getting more and more paranoid, due mainly to the manipulative Norman; Robert du Jumeries, he is seeing threats to his throne at every corner, the main perpetrator which Edward is becoming increasingly wary of is his father-in-law; the Earl Godwin of Wessex and his family. At one point he brought charges against them making them flee, which also included his own Queen who ended up in exile. As the story winds itself towards 1066 we meet a whole host of historic figures, some of which I hadn’t really know but after this I am immensely interested in learning more about them.

The political and power struggles all for the crown is deadly as well as hugely fascinating, Mr Holloway has taken a time in history, an event and figures and brought them all to life. He has given Edward, Harold, his family and William a voice, a face and he has made them real in a way they weren’t before. I think what really stuck with me while reading it, was that it gave me a whole new perspective on Harold. Instead of just thinking of Harold and his ending, you understand Harold as the man before he was King. I think he was a brilliant man, intelligent, savvy, protective, loyal and very much in love with his wife – which was in all accounts a love match. So the reader learns about him instead of focussing on what we all know is coming and that for me was an integral part of the whole story, knowing the ending didn’t over shadow the story as it was so brilliantly written.

This book is a wonder, the writing is solid and rich in immersive historic detail but it’s not thrust into your face your not drowning in history that you miss the story. It is an accurate, engaging, thrilling, compelling, full bodied book which has been written with the finesse only an exceedingly talented author can write with. 1066; What Fates Impose is an impressive book that will be taking very pride of place on my bookshelf and one that I will be pulling off to re-read again and again.

This is the first I have read by GK Holloway and it has made an impression on me, I will most defiantly be reading more from this brilliant author.

This was a complimentary copy via the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you Glynn.

1066; What Fates Impose can be purchased from Amazon.

#Review – Heroic Measures by Jo-Ann Powers (@CeriseDeLand) #WW1 #Romance #Historic #HeroicMeasures @WildRosePress

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Honoring those who have served their country in war, most focus on those who have fought on the battlefields. But one group’s heroics under fire have slipped through the pages of history, a group whose blood and sweat were left in operating rooms and hospital tents, a group whose heroism has seldom been measured.

For nurse Gwen Spencer, fighting battles is nothing new. An orphan sent to live with a vengeful aunt, Gwen picked coal and scrubbed floors to earn a living. But when she decides to become a nurse, she steps outside the boundaries of her aunt’s demands…and into a world of her own making.

Leaving her hometown for France, she helps doctors mend thousands of brutally injured Doughboys under primitive conditions. Amid the chaos, she volunteers to go ever forward to the front lines. Braving bombings and the madness of men crazed by the hell of war, she is stunned to discover one man she can love. A man she can share her life with.

But in the insanity and bloodshed she learns the measures of her own desires. Dare she attempt to become a woman of accomplishment? Or has looking into the face of war and death given her the courage to live her life to the fullest?

My View

I knew when I came to read this book that it would be an emotional ride as I walked in the footsteps of such heroic and supremely inspiring women, but I was over-awed and whilst reading this book. I felt in so much awe of Gwen and her fellow nurses who did the most incredible job, these women were vital for the war effort. Jo-Ann Power has gone above and beyond with telling these extraordinary women’s stories, the depth of research is incredible at times it was like actually being standing right beside them. It painted an emotionally raw and brutally real picture of what these women went through.

I think what really struck me most when reading this book was just how little I knew about front line nurses from America. I think that being from the UK, we take all our meticulous record keeping via the archives and the War Graves Commission for granted and we tend to be a little ignorant to the fact that the Great War affected not just us on Europe and the common wealth but those from America also feature heavily, we just don’t really know about them. Which is why this book is so damn important, It is exactly what we need in this world and it is one of those rare books that will stand the test of time,

The story really follows one young nurse; Gwen – who is a hugely likeable character, a woman after my own heart she has spirit, determination, she has seen her fair share of troubles before she even goes into nursing, but those issues have made her the strong, reliable and passionate woman I found her to be. We first see her in nursing college where her and her close knit group of friends have fun between studies, once graduated they now face the real world. Unfortunately this world is now at war and Gwen soon finds herself facing all the horrors of the front, as she is sent to battled destroyed France.

This is definitely the most heart breaking part of the book what Gwen and her friends face day in day out is harrowing. The picture of that dark and soul destroying place is vivid and real, Ms Power has done an absolutely incredible job at portraying the scene with the utmost realism and respect and this is where the authors research and brilliant writing comes in to it’s own, she captures your attention through out the book and I can guarantee that there is times you will get a lump in your throat ad tears in your eyes.

Heroic Measures is an emotionally powerful read that will leave the reader in absolute stunned silence, it’s true, poignant and highlights an aspect of women’s history that I think a lot of us may have forgotten.

Very highly recommended one of the best books I have read and one that everyone should read.

This was a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Heroic Measures can be purchased at Amazon.

#Review : Seduced by a Scot (Highland Grooms #6) by Julia London (@JuliaFLondon) #HighlandGrooms

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There’s no matchmaking an unruly heart

When a prominent Scottish family faces a major scandal weeks before their daughter’s wedding, they turn in desperation to the enigmatic fixer for the aristocracy, Nichol Bain. Remarkably skilled at making high-profile problems go away, Nichol understands the issue immediately. The family’s raven-haired ward, Maura Darby, has caught the wandering eye–and rather untoward advances–of the groom.

Nichol assuredly escorts Maura toward his proposed solution: an aging bachelor for her to marry. But rebellious Maura has no interest in marrying a stranger, especially when her handsome traveling companion has captivated her so completely. Thankfully, Nichol loves a challenge, but traveling with the bold and brash Maura has him viewing her as far more than somebody’s problem. Which raises a much bigger issue–how can he possibly elude disaster when the heart of the problem is his own?

My View

This is book six and the final one in the fabulous Highland Groom series, I am saddened that there won’t be any more, I cannot tell you how much I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this series.

After the death of her father Maura became the ward of the Garbett family, over the years as she grew into a beautiful young woman and began to out shine their own daughter Sorcha, the Garbett’s begin to treat worse and worse as the years wore on until finally when the man who was intended for Sorcha takes a liking to Maura one thing leads to another and all hell breaks lose leaving poor Maura yet again without a home ad destined to live with a vile distant elation to the family while the Garbett’s try and fix the scandal that is about to erupt. With a wise word from the marvellous Duke of Montrose – I loved this man in the previous book and yes, I am still in love with him, he is such a wonderful character – Mr Garbett sent to the one man who can sort out their little issue.

Maura is completely innocent of all that she is accused of, Sorcha is nothing more than a spoilt little madam with an ugly and jealous streak that would make the Hulk look pretty. What precious Sorcha wants, precious Sorcha gets, which also includes the only thing that Maura has left of her family; her mother’s necklace.

Walk on the scene mysterious, gorgeous green eyed Nichol Bain – I do have a penchant for green eyed heroes. Nichol is very close friends with the Duke of Montrose and he also has a gift at fixing problems which is why the Duke sent Garbett to him. With a little crafty planning ad wee bit of manipulation Nichol has found the perfect solution – the only thing needed is to collect Maura for her take the part Nichol has planned for her.

But for the first time ever Nichol perfectly laid out plan basically get chucked out of the window when he meets feisty, intelligent and way to shrewd for her own good Maura, who has other idea’s. She has no intention what so ever in going along with the disturbingly handsome Scot’s plan, she has only two things that she wants; one is to leave the awful place she has found herself in, and get away from the man who has thinks of her nothing more then a plaything – literally she has had to barricade herself in her room to protect herself from this horrid man. And the second is her mothers necklace that the equally horrid Garbett’s stole from her.

Nichol is sympathetic to Maura’s cause, her plight resonates with him far more then he thought it would. Which is why he agrees to help her, which begins’ their journey one that is full of twists and turns, secrets and lies and mistrust. They are both so alike they have very similar backgrounds, they both have issues with trust which in Maura’s case is very easy to understand why, Nichol has his own secrets his own personal heartaches that have shaped and made the great man that he is. They are both lonely, suspicious and cynical people that I think do see the bad in people well before the good. Yet they both have huge hearts that are yearning for love, it just takes a while for them to get to their much needed happily ever after.

I have to say I adore that first moment where they meet, she has barricaded her self in her tower and because she refuses to come out Nichol decides to go all dashing hero and climbs the tower and goes through the window only to have a bit of a battle of wills with the not so damsel in distress, that is a brilliant scene and sets up their blustery relationship nicely.

Over all this is as ever a fantastic romance, I do love romance stories where the hero and heroine have to really work for their happily ever after and Ms London is a master as spinning a mesmerising and engaging tale that the reader can really get behind and love. I love the complexity of the story there is so much going on, the twists throughout are great additions to an already wonderfully immersive story. Seduced by the Scot will keep you glued and turning the pages, and keep you up way past your bedtime, It’s emotional, intriguing and though-provoking.

A fantastic book, I cannot recommend this book and this series enough!

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

Seduced By A Scot is to be released on 30 October and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

#Review : The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

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To give them hope she must tell their story

The war is over. Juliet Ashton is grappling with writers block when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – a total stranger living halfway across the channel. Who has come across her name written in a second-hand book.

Juliet begins writing to Dawsey , and the time to everyone in the extraordinary Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society. The society tell Juliet about life on the island – and the dark years spent under the shadow of German occupation. Drawn into their irresistible world, Juliet sets sail for Guernsey, changing her life – and theirs – forever

My View

I have been reading so many good thing about this book for such a long time, and then when it was made into a film, I knew that I had to read this book, before I saw the film as it had been on my to-read list for way too long. I can honestly say that yeas, I should have read it far, far earlier then I did, but it was well worth the wait. This book really is extraordinary, there is no other words to describe just how powerful a read this book is. With it’s very simple story of one writer and a group of people all starting the process of trying to move on after years of war, they find themselves finding a new beginning just on the horizon, but they need each other to take those tentative steps.

During the war Juliet Ashton had been writing a column under the name Lizzy Bickerstaff which brought people together and gave the country some light-hearted fun to get behind and enjoy. Now the war is over, Juliet has found herself stuck in a bit of a rut she has got terrible writers block. Then she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams; a complete stranger from Guernsey which starts of what will be a beautiful friendship. Dawsey came across her name in a book, he tells her about his book club; the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society from that one letter she begins corresponding not just with Dawsey but the other members of the society, they tell her about life under German occupation and how they suffered ad survived the war.

Juliet soon becomes engrossed in their world, in their stories and soon finds inspiration has struck and suddenly she finds herself on Guernsey, meeting the very people who have brought life back into her boring, dreary life. This trip to Guernsey is a trip that will change her life forever and that of the society members too.

The central storyline regarding Juliet and her love life is pretty is to ascertain where the story is going and who she will end up with. For me it was the bigger picture the story around the Guernsey literary and potato peel pie society and it’s members that captured my attention, I can guarantee that anyone reading this will go through so many emotions. What really stuck with me after reading this book, is the overwhelming warmth that fills you after reading it, it leaves it’s mark on the reader – well it has one me, far more then any book ever has.

This has got to be one of the best books I have read, it is a truly beautiful and heart-warming book. There isn’t a moment, a page or a word that I don’t like about it, the characters are all extremely well researched, lovable and they will make you laugh and cry in equal amounts.

A magical book that everyone should read!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is available at Amazon.

#Review : The Bowes Inheritance by Pam Lecky (@pamlecky)

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Historical Romantic Suspense and Mystery with a Dash of Rebellion …

Dublin 1882: When determined but impoverished Louisa Campbell inherits a large estate in the north of England, it appears to be the answer to her prayers. Her younger sister, Eleanor, is gravely ill, and believing the country air will benefit her, they take up residence at Bowes Farm.

However, they soon realise all they have inherited is trouble. Their mysterious benefactor’s reputation leaves the young women battling to gain acceptance in polite society, especially with Nicholas Maxwell, their handsome neighbour and local magistrate.

Louisa unearths secrets from their family’s past that threaten their future and she must dig deep to find the courage to solve them before their lives are destroyed. But most importantly of all, can she trust and love the man who is surely her sworn enemy?

B.R.A.G. Medallion Award: A ‘Discovered Diamond’ Novel: Shortlisted for The Carousel Aware Prize 2016: Longlisted for the HNS 2016 Indie Award.

My View

Well, what an exhilarating and wonderfully enchanting story, this is the first I have read by Pam Lecky, I was fascinated by the sound of this book the moment I saw it, but the actual words within the pages are far more than I would have expected. The Bowes Inheritance isn’t just your stereotypical historical romance, there is a real raw and exciting edge to this that kept me hooked and turning the pages with lightning speed. What surprised me about this book was that it is Ms Lecky’s debut novel. I was just amazed by that as this has a quality that I would never have expected from a debut.

Louisa is practically destitute, she and her ill sister; Eleanor are living literally off the cuff after their father’s death. When she receives word that she has just inherited a large estate in Cumberland from an uncle she never even knew existed, but why hadn’t her family ever spoken of the mysterious ‘Uncle Jack’? This couldn’t have come at a better time for Louisa and Eleanor, she fully intends to sell of the estate and make sure that her sister has every luxury she needs. She sets sail for England, but once face to face with her inheritance she soon sees that the Bowes Estate is just the thing that they need.

No sooner has she stepped foot through the front door then she realises that all is not as it seems, there are secrets coming out of the woodwork at every corner and the more she finds the more her life becomes threatened on top of that she has the disarmingling handsome magistrate; Nicholas Maxwell on her back, making her blood boil with both lust and absolute anger. And the blackened reputation of her mysterious and some-what nefarious uncle Jack constantly lurking in the back ground, plus her ill sister to care for.

Ooh, what a tangled web of darkness, lies and deceit our Louisa has found herself entwined in, I do hugely like Louisa, she is a breathe of fresh air amongst the all the debutants out there, she is very resourceful, proud of who she is and where she is from, loyal to her family – even of they don’t deserve it, but more than that she is a genuinely lovely person who has a good heart and a feisty spirit.

This is a brilliantly crafted, atmospheric and satisfying historical story that entwines romance with mystery, The Bowes Inheritance has an impressive plot which see takes the reader on a whirlwind journey through the Victorian era and into the dangerous underworld of the Irish Rebellion, which I will admit I didn’t know a lot about but Ms Lecky has created a strong and intelligent storyline, that will have the reader wanting more. I do love an historical that has a lot of historic detail and this is wondrous, it is rich and vivid the writing is stunningly real, every aspect of the story is captivating. I have to say that Ms Lecky has captured the atmosphere with spot on clarity, you can feel every emotion that Louisa goes through as through your were right there with her, the prejudice and uncertainty that she has to face would make a lesser woman hide away but not strong and resilient.

I do love this book, I was blown away and instantly charmed with the style and quality of Ms Lecky’s writing, so much so that I know for a certainty that I will be reading more from this talented author.

A stunningly beautiful debut from an author I know will go far.

This was a complimentary copy from the author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Bowes Inheritance is available now and can be purchased from Amazon.