Historical Fiction

#BookBlast Fortress of The Sun by E.M. Thomas (@EMThomasAuthor) & #Giveaway #FortressoftheSun #AncientGreece #historicalfiction via @HFVBT #HFVBTBlogTours

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Fortress of the Sun
by E.M. Thomas

Publication Date: December 26, 2018
Paperback & eBook; 300 Pages
Rokhish Press

Genre: Historical/Greek & Roman

 

 

Read an Excerpt.

It’s 243 B.C. and Greece is ready for a revolution.

Eighty years have passed since the death of Alexander the Great, the man who first cowed free Hellas into submission. His successors to the Macedonian throne have only tightened their grip in the interim, the present king no exception. Spartan rebellions, opportunistic usurpers, foreign invaders – for nearly five decades, King Antigonus has seen them all and crushed them all. He now stands alone astride Greece; he fears no one.

Aratus of Sicyon plans to change that. With a passion for freedom and hatred for the King that stem from the same childhood tragedy, he takes aim at Macedon when no one else would dare; takes aim at its crown jewel in the south, the linchpin of its control, the very symbol of its domination – Corinth. Hopelessly outfunded, outmanned, and outarmed, he embarks on one of the most audacious and stunning attacks in ancient history, one that would change Greece forever.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

E.M. Thomas is an author of two novels – an epic fantasy (The Bulls of War) and a historical fiction set in Ancient Greece (Fortress of the Sun).

E.M. was born and raised on the East Coast of the United States but is a world traveler at heart. He caught the writing bug early on and has a passion for all good fiction, but especially that of the fantasy and historical variety. One of his favorite moments thus far in his young career was writing a chapter of his latest book about the great battle of Corinth – while sitting amidst the ruins of ancient Corinth.

For all news and updates related to E.M. Thomas, visit www.emthomas.com. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Make sure you check out the rest of this book blast below.

Wednesday, December 26
Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 27
Book Reviews from Canada
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Friday, December 28
Pursuing Stacie
Locks, Hooks and Books

Saturday, December 29
Just One More Chapter

Monday, December 31
What Is That Book About

Wednesday, January 2
Let Them Read Books

Thursday, January 3
Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, January 4
The Writing Desk

Monday, January 7
Dorie’s Reading Corner

Friday, January 11
Coffee and Ink

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the link below to take you to the Gleam form.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 11th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Fortress of the Sun
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#Review To Love, Honour and Obey (The Yorkshire Saga #1) by Valerie Holmes (@ValerieHolmesUK) #TheYorkshireSaga #ToLoveHonourAndObey @SapereBooks

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Regency England is under threat in this page-turning romantic adventure! For fans of Georgette Heyer, Mary Balogh, Jane Aiken Hodge and Jane Austen.

With Napoleon’s spies hidden all over England, no one can be trusted…1805, England

Six years ago, Willoughby Rossington’s father was murdered while searching for the head of a smuggling ring.
Taken under the wing of his uncle, who is running a counter-intelligence operation against Napoleon’s spies, Willoughby is assigned to take up his father’s last mission—and to avenge his death. He encounters a young serving woman, Beth, whose resilience against her master’s attempts to break her will strike a chord in him and he reluctantly takes her with him when he leaves town.
But it soon becomes clear that they have a common enemy…

Their two lives become intertwined as they race against the villains that plot to destroy them both.
Will they uncover the truth behind the smuggling ring and find who is responsible for the death of Willoughby’s father? Can they stay safe as they continue to work their way deeper into the mystery? And, most importantly, will love conquer all? Or will duty and honour come between them?

TO LOVE, HONOUR AND OBEY is the first book in The Yorkshire Saga: a traditional British, Regency romance novel full of adventure and espionage, with a love story at its heart.

This is the first I have read by Valerie Holmes, and by this and how her writing instantly drew me into to her story I will definitely be reading more. I was instantly intrigued by the description it, it sounded fascinating. One thing that I will say is that even though it is labelled as a historical romance, I would say that it’s more historical fiction/suspense. Yes, there is a ‘will-they-won’t-they’ sub plot between the two lead character’s, but nothing really happens between them. I saw them more as friends which could then lead to something more, so please let that put you off reading this, as it has a great little historical suspense story which will definitely keep you hooked.

Willoughby Rossington is a secret agent who has been ordered to pose as a priest to uncover the corruption and smugglers of a little village in Yorkshire, a village which are a very close knit community and who have many secrets. Willoughby isn’t happy with this assignment he would much rather relinquish his role as a private agent and that of a priest and take a position in the military as he has always wanted. But more importantly for him, he wants to find out what happened to his father six years ago, who dies in very mysterious circumstances which Willoughby is positive that it was murder.

On his first day he meets a young bar maid called Beth who it appears may know more than she lets on and how is desperate to escape the evil clutches of her so called guardian, a horrific man who has taken advantage of the fact that Beth is an orphan, she is from the workhouse and he thinks it’s his god given right to rape and abuse her whenever he wants to. Honestly I have come across some cretinous characters, but this vile creature is awful. It is not surprising that because of her terrible start in life and how she has been treated she is distrusting of men and she sees herself as nothing more than something to be used that is until her guardian angle appears dressed as a priest.

Willoughby soon realises that his quest to find the truth of his fathers demise and his task in the village are connected and not only that could this young waif of a girl he has rescued be apart of this tangled scheme too? Only time and some ingenious investigating will solve all the mysteries that keep cropping up and this is what I really liked about Ms Holmes writing, she keeps the reader hooked with the various twists and turns throughout the story.

This is an intricately woven tale of secrets, lies, murder, smuggling and justice. The character’s are a delight to get to know and watch as they not only discover the truth but as they come in to their own. The plot is fun, fast paced and at times rather surprising story, and it was one that I thoroughly enjoyed submerging myself in. This is the first book in The Yorkshire Saga and I am looking forward to seeing what comes next. The only thing that I couldn’t get along with is the title, I don’t what it is about it, I think its the ‘Obey’ part that I can’t get along with.

A decent piece of historical fiction.

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

To Love, Honour and Obey can be purchased from Amazon.

#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.

#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 : 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.

Review : Diary of a War Bride by Lauri Robinson

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The land girl and the US officer

July 1942

Dear diary, despite the war raging around me, I find I can’t stop thinking about the American officer, Sergeant Dale Johnson. I’ve never known anyone as brave, kind and handsome! But I promised myself I wouldn’t care this much about a man again, especially when he could be transferred at any time. Yet that only makes me want to relish our time together. Now fighting my heart feels like the biggest battle…

My View

One word sums this book up for me; Magnificent! This is an incredible book, I have had my eye on this one as soon as I saw the cover – yes, I did base my wanting to read it on the cover first, but only because I have a real soft spot for this era and then when I read the blurb, I was completely hooked. I love war time romances and I was jumping around like a bit of a hyperactive two years old when I got offered the chance to read this one and I can honestly say that this fully lives up to all the hype, it is fabulous!

Kathryn is an evacuee, she was sent away from the city by her a powerful man in the British army/government she is sent to live wit Norman and Charlotte in the country, where she helps on their farm and looks after the other evacuee children. All is fine until the American’s move in, swanning around like they own the place. Kathryn has definitely got a chip on her shoulder when it comes to the GI’s she, her frosty and hostile attitude towards them makes me think of that old saying what used to be said and what is in a lot of war time films “Over paid, over sexed and over here.” And when she meets engineer Dale her animosity blows up at him, poor gorgeous Dale he becomes the one who she lashes her fury and irritation out on, unfairly if you ask me.

I think that Kathryn is a little harsh on Dale to start with, she has an ingrained prejudice towards American’s and she treats very unfairly when all he wants to do is get to know her. He is an American in a stranger country, and yes I will say that Britain in the war was strange, it takes awhile for Dale and his comrades to adjust to out….shall I say slightly eccentric British-ness? But he charm’s her out of her old way of thinking and soon she has fallen head over heels for him. Come on how could she not? Dale is a stud!

What a wonderful character he is, he can relate to the humble farmer’s and how they are fighting and toiling to feed their own. Back in the USA he is one of those very farmer’s he knows hard work and isn’t afraid of it, he does every job with the same gusto and precision as he would while back on his farm. He has a kind and generous heart that makes you cry and laugh, and a charm that can woo any bird from the tree’s.

As I was reading this it made me think of that episode of Foyles War when Hastings is, as the locals say being ‘invaded’ by American’s This has that same charm and wit about it that, it is comforting as well as exciting. I was gripped by it, while reading it you go through so many emotion’s as you are plunged into that dangerous time where life is so uncertain. Ms Robinson has done an astounding job at bringing to life the real emotion of the time, with absolute clarity. I particularly love that each chapter starts off with a page from Kathryn’s diary, her thoughts, feelings, happiness and fears are all there you the reader to bare witness to what is going on. I love that touch, it is like dipping into her life through those secretive word’s and it connects you to her and makes you care about her that much more – if that was possible!

This is the first book I have read by Lauri Robinson and what an introduction into this author’s work, and I will definitely be reading more from this talented author. She has captured the readers attention with her way with words and her knowledge of the era. I got a real sense of how much this story meant to Ms Robinson, every page has feels very personal. I do like historicals that have accurate details in them which brings the story to life, and this is wonderfully detailed.

This is astounding! I am so pleased that more people are reading this era as it is fraught with absolute love and danger and this is right up there with the best war romances I have read. For those that have read and love the likes of Pam Jenoff then this is the book to read, it is fabulous and one of the best of the year. I cannot recommend this enough!

Just Stunning!

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

The War Bride is available now and can be purchased from Amazon.

Review – Counterpoint; Theo, Earl of Suffolk : The Lydiard Chronicles 1603-1630

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Theo Howard, Earl of Suffolk is torn. Betrothed to a child to satisfy his family dynasty, he longs for the freedom to make his own choice. And when he attends a lavish party at his family’s newly-restored palace, he is immediately attracted to Lucy, a beautiful young lavender-seller. But in this enchanted world of Shakespeare’s Midsummer’s Night Dream, all is not as it appears. Theo’s headstrong sister Frances is determined to sabotage her own arranged marriage, and aided by the cunning of Frances and her friend Barbara St.John, perhaps Theo can find his own path to happiness and true love.

When I wrote The Lady of the Tower, the story revealed itself in the narrative of my ancestress, Lucy St.John. But, as with all novels, other characters appeared, and their voices grew strong and insistent, demanding their own story be told. And so, a novelette was born. This is Theo’s counterpoint to chapter six in the novel, in which Theo falls in love.

A counterpoint is a melody played in conjunction with another, or an opposing viewpoint in an argument. Our lives are complex, and each one of us carries within us a counterpoint to another’s story. Here is one to Lucy St.John, the lady of the Tower.

My View

What a wonderful taste into this authors work, as this is the first I have read by Elizabeth St. John and I will definitely be reading more from her. I hadn’t read her full-length story; The Lady in the Tower but, I didn’t find that to be a hindrance or feel that I had missed out on something as this is very cleverly written. In fact, I found I was intrigued even more by the character’s and the story want to learn more about them and their antic’s.

This is a short story which basically follows Theo; Earl of Suffolk as he meets and falls in love with lovely Lucy the Lavender seller. This is written in first person and we see the events through Theo’s eyes. To please his family, he is betrothed to a woman whom his family deem worthy of the Earls of Suffolk dynasty. But Theo is feeling suffocated by it all, he just wants one moment where he can do what he wants and for a few moments be who he wants to be. Which is when he meets beautiful and spirited lavender seller; Lucy St John at a party at his families newly refurbished home. He is instantly drawn towards her, but with his tenacious sister Frances set to cause a scandal, will Theo have the future he wants with Lucy?

What a wonderful little peek into another’s world, that is how I saw this when I read it. I have never read a ‘counterpoint story’ before and I thoroughly enjoyed the sneaky dip into Theo and Lucy’s world. What I particularly like about this is that it is loosely based on the author’s ancestry, something which I can relate to completely as this is something I am doing myself. It is quite the inspiration seeing an author who has taken her ancestry and created a book out of it. I really like that!

I found Ms St. John’s writing to be clever and vivid to the senses plus brilliantly detailed that the era has come to life as you read, even though this is a short story you get a real sense of the author’s love for the story and the era.

A very enjoyable read, one that gets the taste-buds watering for more.

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

Counterpoint; Theo Earl of Suffolk is available to purchase at Amazon.