Eleanor Harkstead

Chicks, Rogues and Scandals April Book Of The Month! #BookOfTheMonth Featuring @MadameGilflurt & @e_harkstead

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Hello my lovelies, Well we have reached a whole new month, can you believe that we are in April already? My, goodness! Where is the year going? So the start of a new month can only mean one thing; a brand new ‘Book of The Month’ – Yes, I know as always, I am a few days late, but I think people expect that of me now. Any way enough of me brining to attention my tardiness you want to know what book I have picked to feature for April.

The book I have chosen for April is one of my whole time favourites, really I absolutely adore this book! From the moment I saw the cover, I was completely in love with it. This particular book is far, far more than just an beautiful cover. The story within is one which really pulls at your heartstrings. Set during an era that we see so little of in Historical Romance and we really do need more from WW1 in Historical Romance. This book really spoke to me, even more so as this is an era which is so very close to my heart. This book is so beautiful, poignant, astonishingly touching and will definitely have you falling in love with the lead character’s. But, what is it?

Ok, Chicks, Rogues and Scandals April ‘Book of the Month’ is….

The Captain and The Cavalry Trooper

As the Great War tears Europe apart, two men from different worlds find sanctuary in each other’s arms.

Captain Robert Thorne is the fiercest officer in the regiment. Awaiting the command to go to the front, he has no time for simpering, comely lads. That’s until one summer day in 1917, when his dark, flashing eye falls upon the newest recruit at Chateau de Desgravier, a fresh-faced farmer’s boy with little experience of life and a wealth of poetry in his heart.

Trooper Jack Woodvine has a way with strong, difficult stallions, and whispers them to his gentle will. Yet even he has never tamed a creature like Captain Thorne.

With the shadow of the Great War and the scheming of enemies closer to home threatening their fleeting chance at happiness, can the captain and the cavalry trooper make it home safely? More importantly, will they see peacetime together?

***

The Captivating Captains

Do check out all of The Captivating Captains, this series is amazing and so different to anything you’ve seen before. The beauty of this series is that each book is completely different, and there is something for everyone no matter what you read; whether that be historical, contemporary or paranormal this series has it all and…yes, there is more, This series is the mixture of full length novels and novellas plus more to come…. I said it was a good ‘un 😉

#1 The Captain and The Cavalry Trooper

#2 The Captain and The Cricketer

#3 The Captain’s Ghostly Gamble

#4 The Captains Cornish Christmas

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#Review The Ghost Garden (The de Chastelaine Chronicles) by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead @MadameGilflurt @e_harkstead #TheGhostGarden #ThedeChastelaineChronicles

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Hello my lovelies, I am so excited to be sharing my review of The Ghost Garden with you all, but I must warn you that this will no doubt end in me babbling and gushing about just how incredible this book is. This book is way too good to be true, but don’t take my word for it crab a cuppa and a biscuit or two and let me tell you a wee bit about this utterly gorgeous book…

Within the tangled vines of a forgotten garden, can a blossoming new love overcome an ancient evil that threatens both the living and the dead?

After losing her brother in the trenches of the Great War, Cecily James is a prisoner of Whitmore Hall, the respected but remote boys’ school where her brutish husband reigns as headmaster. With its forsaken walled garden, a hauntingly tragic past, and midnight footsteps heard from an unoccupied clocktower, Whitmore Hall is a place where the dead are rumored to walk.

Whitmore Hall is a place filled with mysteries and as a ghost garden emerges from the sun-bleached soil, long-buried secrets cry out to be told.

When new teacher Raf de Chastelaine blunders into an impromptu seance, Cecily finds an unlikely and eccentric ally. In a world of discipline and respectability, barefoot Raf is unlike any teacher Cecily has ever met. With his tales of the Carpathian mountains and a love of midnight gardening, he shakes Whitmore Hall to its foundations. Could there be more to Raf than meets the eye? And as he and Cecily realise that their feelings run deeper than friendship, dare they dream of a world beyond Whitmore Hall?

As Cecily and Raf team up to unite long-dead lovers and do battle with an ancient evil that has long haunted Whitmore Hall, Cecily finds her chance of happiness threatened by her tyrannical husband. But is the controlling headmaster acting of his own free will, or is he the puppet of a malevolent power from beyond the grave?

My, oh my! There is no other word for this book, but stunning! The words within are as beautiful as the eye-catching cover. I have so been looking forward to reading this one, as soon as I heard that Catherine and Eleanor were writing a new series with a paranormal twist I knew that I wanted – no, needed – to read it and I can say with out a doubt that this did not disappoint, this could be their best work to date. Which feels a little traitorous to say, as I am a huge fan of their Captivating Captains series, especially the first; The Captain and the Cavalry Trooper, which spoke to me in ways no other story has. But, there really is something very special about The Ghost Garden, it has a real mesmerizing quality about it that really draws the reader in and like the thorny ghostly garden in the story, it doesn’t want to let you go.

Set after WW1, in a remote all boys boarding school; Whitmore Hall is everything what you would think of as a boarding school. On the surface this is a quiet, respectable and honourable place where all the future leaders are taught to be the men they are destined to be. It is run by a man who is just like the school; respectable to the core, but like it’s headmaster the school has many secrets just waiting to be revealed. When things go bump in the night, a ghostly appearance of a weeping woman there appears to be more going on at Whitmore Hall then just educating young minds.

After the death of her brother during the war, Cecily James is alone and trapped in an abusive marriage, stuck with a man who is full of nothing but malice and hate. A man who to world is nothing but a respectable headteacher, but it’s behind close doors that this brute really shows his true colours and as time passes he become more and more vile by the day, leaving Cecily literally fearing for her life. That is until the arrival of the Halls newest Latin teacher; uniquely, charming and ruggedly handsome Rafeal de Chastelaine a man who ‘sees’ Cecily as no-one has ever has seen her before. Raf is just what the Hall – and Cecily – needs, with his love of gardening and biscuits and his ever-present luminous smile, he sets out to not only restore the garden but help Cecily find out the truth of what is going on at Whitmore Hall.

Soon enough Raf and Cecily realise that there is far more than friendship between them and Cecily starts to dream of happiness and a future she would never thought to be able to have. That is if she and Raf can find out what is going on at the hall.

I love the way Cecily is written, she is such a quiet woman she watches more than she contributes – mostly out of fear, I believe – she could have been a meek little mouse, but she isn’t she just doesn’t know how to escape and once you begin to get to know her you see she is far more than the bullied abused woman she appears to be. She is smart, she is liked – even though she has been told she isn’t – she has inner strength that she does keep locked away, a strength that really starts showing itself once she has marvellous Raf supporting her. The things she has to go through is heart-breaking as well as at times difficult reading, but it is written with absolute care and sensitivity.

What I really love about this is that Cecily and Raf are genuine friends first and foremost, which I have always thought that if the characters are friends then they make a great couple. Yes, there is a beautiful romance that forms between Raf and Cecily, and yes the reader can see that there is something special going to happen between them. But, because of everything going on in Cecily’s life, they do start as friends, at a time when Cecily needs one,  in walks Raf. They are perfect together! Raf never rushes her, he is patient, kind and gentle with her – which is Raf in a nutshell. He is such an extraordinary man, he isn’t complicated at all, there is something mysterious about him, but he isn’t complex and the other thing he is; is sexy as sin! Sigh! Who wouldn’t fall in love with a rough around the edges, rugged, tattooed, blue-eyed god who has a thing about never wearing shoes – or shirts, for that matter. My goodness how I love thee, let me count the ways! There really aren’t enough heart eyed emoji’s to fully say how much I adore this guy. I may just have to swoon instead!

This is so different to what we faithful readers have come to expect from Catherine and Eleanor, but in a completely good way. I love how the story is told through Cecily’s point of view, it really gives the reader the chance to get to know this fine, courageous women for who she is. And yes, it does give us all the chance to have long looks at dishevelled Raf; eating chocolate and biscuits, his gloriously tattooed back and pert bottom, plus become utterly lost in those blue, blue eyes – honestly, I really do sound perverse, don’t I?

My word, the ending it’s not only satisfying for the reader it’s just perfect for both Raf and especially Cecily. I did have a choked up, teary eyed moment and even now as I write this I am getting a little misty eyed as I remember a certain scene. It is so beautiful!

The Ghost Garden is a page-tuner for sure, it will keep you glued from the first moment. It’s such a delightful, charming and thrilling book. The writing is exceptionally great – you never know who is writing what as the words just flow flawlessly from one scene to the next. The plot is mesmerizing and full of intrigue with a paranormal undertone and full of twists that will keep you guessing as to what’s around the corner. It has the best character’s I have met, each one from the two leads to the secondary characters are brilliantly written. I am in absolute love with this book, Raf and Cecily have completely stolen my heart, easily the best book of my year!

I cannot wait for more of the glorious The de Chastelaine Chronicles, judging by this beauty this series is going to be absolutely amazing and I cannot wait and I cannot recommend this enough.

This was an Arc via the authors in exchange for an honest review, thank you so much Catherine and Eleanor.

The Ghost Garden is to be released on 23rd April and can be pre-ordered now at both Totally Bound and Amazon UK and I cannot urge you all enough to pre-order this brilliant book.

Exclusive Cover Reveal : The Ghost Garden (The de Chastelaine Chronicles #1) by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead @MadameGilflurt @e_harkstead #TheGhostGarden #ThedeChastelaineChronicles

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I am so excited to be sharing the very first and exclusive look at Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead’s up and coming book and I have to tell you that this cover is AMAZING!!! Sorry for shouting but it really is, I saw this cover for the first time and I thought; wow! I think anyone who follows me will know how much I admire these two ladies, their books are sooo good – yes, I am having an overly excited fan moment! Which is a tad embarrassing, thank goodness I get to hide behind a computer, I would be a doe-eyed, babbling mess in person. So, when I got asked to be apart of their cover reveal – to say I got excited is an understatement – I literally jumped at the chance. But enough about me squealing like some sort of weird spinning top, this post is all about the cover and by jove this cover is so gorgeous! And I am equally excited about this book and this whole new series, which is going to be fantastic. But, you don’t want to hear me whittling on and one you want to take a peek for yourself, well go on then.

Heat Rating : Sizzling

Format : Ebook

ISBN : 978-1-78686-469-7

Word Count : 82,811

Book Length : Super Novel

Pages : 310

Genre : Historical, Paranormal Romance

Within the tangled vines of a forgotten garden, can a blossoming new love overcome an ancient evil that threatens both the living and the dead?

After losing her brother in the trenches of the Great War, Cecily James is a prisoner of Whitmore Hall, the respected but remote boys’ school where her brutish husband reigns as headmaster. With its forsaken walled garden, a hauntingly tragic past, and midnight footsteps heard from an unoccupied clocktower, Whitmore Hall is a place where the dead are rumored to walk. 

Whitmore Hall is a place filled with mysteries and as a ghost garden emerges from the sun-bleached soil, long-buried secrets cry out to be told. 

When new teacher Raf de Chastelaine blunders into an impromptu seance, Cecily finds an unlikely and eccentric ally. In a world of discipline and respectability, barefoot Raf is unlike any teacher Cecily has ever met. With his tales of the Carpathian mountains and a love of midnight gardening, he shakes Whitmore Hall to its foundations. Could there be more to Raf than meets the eye? And as he and Cecily realise that their feelings run deeper than friendship, dare they dream of a world beyond Whitmore Hall?

As Cecily and Raf team up to unite long-dead lovers and do battle with an ancient evil that has long haunted Whitmore Hall, Cecily finds her chance of happiness threatened by her tyrannical husband. But is the controlling headmaster acting of his own free will, or is he the puppet of a malevolent power from beyond the grave?

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of domestic violence.

General Release Date: 23rd April 2019

Available for Pre-Order from 12th March 2019

Totally Bound / Goodreads / Amazon UK

***

The Ghost Garden book 1 of; The de Chastelaine Chronicles:

Ghosts need laying? Rates negotiable on application.”

In a world where the dead don’t stay dead, phantoms flit across the full moon and Europe staggers from the smoke of the Great War, Raf and Cecily are just your average madly-in-love couple.

Together they enjoy an idyllic life in his cluttered ancestral pile on the wild Yorkshire coast. Filled with ancient texts, arcane artifacts and the occasional ghostly cat, it’s a cosy haven for Raf and Cecily when they aren’t battling the forces of darkness.

He digs gardens, she bakes biscuits. He turns into a bat, she talks to the dead. And sometimes, together, they save the world.

***

About The Authors

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 of England, Eleanor now lives somewhere in the Midlands with a large ginger cat who resembles a Viking.

Catherine Curzon

Catherine Curzon is a royal historian who writes on all matters of 18th century. Her work has been featured on many platforms and Catherine has also spoken at various venues including the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, and Dr Johnson’s House.

Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, writes fiction set deep in the underbelly of Georgian London.

She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill.

You can catch up on what the ladies are up to on their new lovely website https://curzonharkstead.co.uk/ and do check out their podcasts, which are brilliantly fun to listen to. One tip though, listen while on your own as I can guarantee you will be giggling away – unless that’s just me? Hmm, come to think of it, it could be just me. 😉

#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.