Historical Fiction

#BookBlast | Lacewood by @jessicajames #Lacewood @HFVTB #HFVBTBlogTours

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Hello my lovelies, I have the huge pleasure to be todays stop on this amazing Book Blast for Lacewood by Jessica James. This book looks amazing, it will definitely be going on the need to read list and I can’t wait to share it with you all, plus there is a exclusive to this book blast giveaway.

Lacewood by Jessica James

Publication Date: June 18, 2019
Patriot Press
eBook; 348 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

Sometimes love is just too powerful for one lifetime…

Part love story, part ghost story, Lacewood is a timeless novel about trusting in fate, letting go of the past, and believing in things that can’t be seen.

MOVING TO A SMALL TOWN in Virginia is a big change for New York socialite Katie McCain. But when she stumbles across an abandoned 200-year-old mansion, she’s enthralled by the enduring beauty of the neglected estate—and captivated by the haunting portrait of a woman in mourning.

Purchasing the property on a whim, Katie attempts to fit in with the colorful characters in the town of New Hope, while trying to unravel the mystery of the “widow of Lacewood.” As she pieces together the previous owner’s heartrending story, Katie uncovers secrets the house has held for centuries, and discovers the key to coming to terms with her own sense of loss.

The past and present converge when hometown hero Will Durham returns and begins his own healing process by helping the “city girl” restore the place that holds so many memories. As the mystic web of destiny is woven, a love story that might have been lost forever is exposed, and a destiny that has been waiting in the shadows for centuries is fulfilled.

Rich in emotion and poignant in its telling, Lacewood is an unforgettable story about love and loss, roots and belonging…and spirits of the past that refuse to be quieted.

A haunting story from award-winning author Jessica James that connects the past with the present—and the present with eternity.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

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About the Author

Jessica James is an award-winning author of suspense, historical fiction, and military fiction ranging from the Revolutionary War to modern day. Her highly acclaimed Civil War novel Shades of Gray won numerous national literary awards, and is often compared to Gone with the Wind.

By weaving the principles of courage, devotion, duty, and dedication into each book, James attempts to honor the unsung heroes of the American military–past and present–and to convey the magnitude of their sacrifice and service. Her novels appeal to both men and women and are featured in library collections all over the United States including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.

James resides in Gettysburg, Pa., and is a member of the Military Writers Society of America, NINC, Sisters in Crime, and the Romance Writers of America. She is a two-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and was featured in the book 50 Authors You Should Be Reading, published in 2010.

Sign up for her free newsletter at www.jessicajamesbooks.com and ask for a free copy of From the Heart: Civil War Love Letters and Stories. You can also find Jessica on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

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Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, June 18
To Read, Or Not to Read
Book Reviews from Canada
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, June 19
A Book Geek
Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, June 20
CelticLady’s Reviews
What Is That Book About

Friday, June 21
A Darn Good Read
Just One More Chapter

Saturday, June 22
The Book Junkie Reads

Sunday, June 23
So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, June 24
Passages to the Past

Tuesday, June 25
Locks, Hooks and Books
Books In Their Natural Habitat

Wednesday, June 26
Maiden of the Pages
Historical Fiction with Spirit

Thursday, June 27
Coffee and Ink
100 Pages a Day

Friday, June 28
The Lit Bitch
Let Them Read Books

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form here : Lacewood

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

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#BookBlast | Of Knights and Dogfights: A WW2 Novel by Ellie Midwood #OfKnightsAndDogfights #WW2 #HistoricalFiction @HFVBT

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Hello my lovelies, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this amazing book blast for; Of Knights and Dogfights; A WW1 Novel by Ellie Midwood. I have to say that this book looks absolutely amazing, the cover is so striking and it sounds thrilling, it will definitely be going on my need to read pile. Go and have a look and if your from the US do have a look at the giveaway at the end of the post.

Of Knights and Dogfights: A WWII Novel by Ellie Midwood

Publication Date: January 4, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 426 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

“Has it ever occurred to you, Johann; the fact that we’re fighting on the wrong side?”

Austria, 1938

On the verge of the most devastating war of all times, four young men found themselves sharing a room in a flying school dormitory. A bohemian Berliner, a Flieger-Hitlerjugend member, a prodigy pilot, and a butcher’s son, with nothing in common but their love for the Luftwaffe and the freedom the sky has to offer. The bond they develop is put to the test by what might be a stronger adversary – war itself. Over the English Channel, in the dusty skies of Africa, on the brutal Eastern front, they will discover where their loyalty lies, and what true bravery means.

“It’s Großdeutsches Reich, soldier. When one has a family at home, it doesn’t leave him many chances for the revolt.”

As the war progresses, Willi and Johann grow more and more disillusioned with the regime they’re protecting with their lives. An SS unit appearing on their base to claim one of their own; bits of conversation revealing the truth about the extermination program accidentally overheard during the official reception – the pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together, but it’s too late to do anything but fight to the bitter end, whatever it may bring.

Set during one of the bloodiest wars in history, “Of Knights and Dogfights” is the story of the shattered illusions of youth, tyranny and freedom, friendship and love guiding one out of the darkest hell of Soviet captivity.

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Amazon | Barnes and Noble

About the Author

Ellie Midwood is a best-selling, award-winning historical fiction writer. She’s a health-obsessed yoga enthusiast, a neat freak, an adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew and a doggie mama.

Ellie lives in New York with her fiancé and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.

Readers’ Favorite – winner in the Historical Fiction category (2016) – “The Girl from Berlin: Standartenfuhrer’s Wife”

Readers’ Favorite – winner in the Historical Fiction category (2016) – “The Austrian” (honorable mention)

New Apple – 2016 Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing – “The Austrian” (official selection)

For more information on Ellie and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.

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Book Blast Schedule

Do have a look at the other amazing blogs which are participating on this book blast.

Monday, June 10
CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, June 11
Donna’s Book Blog
To Read, Or Not to Read

Wednesday, June 12
Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Thursday, June 13
100 Pages a Day

Friday, June 14
Passages to the Past

Saturday, June 15
Locks, Hooks and Books

Sunday, June 16
A Book Geek

Tuesday, June 18
Melissa Flory

Wednesday, June 19
What Is That Book About

Thursday, June 20
Just One More Chapter

Friday, June 21
Coffee and Ink

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Giveaway

We have one paperback copy of Of Knights and Dogfights up for grabs! To enter, please use the Gleam form here : Of Knights and Dogfights

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

#BlogTour : Listen To The Wind (The Orphans of Tolosa #1) by @Susanne_Dunlop #Review & #GuestPost #ListenToTheWind #TheOrphansOfTolosa @HFVTB

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Hello everyone! I have the great pleasure to be todays stop on this wonderful blog tour for; Listen To The Wind by Susanne Dunlap. Let me tell you that I have a mammoth post for you all today; Not only will I be sharing my review of this splendid book, I also have an exclusive guest post by Susanne for you all – and it is an amazing post and there is a chance to win a cop of Listen To The Wind. So without further ado, sit back and enjoy.

Listen to the Wind by Susanne Dunlap

Publication Date: April 22, 2019
Publisher: Bellastoria Press
Format: eBook & Paperback; 388 Pages

Series: The Orphans of Tolosa, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction/Medieval

 

 

Sent away from their families for their own protection when they were very young, Azemar and Azalaïs become separated when they are forced to flee from the band of outlaws who served as their supposed protectors. Armed only with scraps of memories and the wits and intelligence that have helped them survive brutal conditions, they struggle to find each other again and discover the mysterious past that links them across distance and time. Who are they? And do they hold the secret of the legendary Cathar treasure? All they know is that knights and monks spell danger, and they must find a way to survive at all costs if they are to fulfill their destiny—and preserve their vanishing culture.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Kobo

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Guest Post by Susanne Dunlap

One of the best things about being a historical novelist is having the opportunity to delve deeply into a period and imagine the world as it was at that time. Perhaps that’s why, in order to put in the months (or years) of researching and writing a historical novel I have to become completely passionate about my subject and my characters—real or invented.

Most of my novels have taken place in the modern world, from the 17th-20th centuries. But something about the world of thirteenth-century Languedoc caught me and simply wouldn’t let me go.

It all started in grad school. I was studying music history at Yale University, working toward a PhD, and loving every minute of the research and writing. When in the medieval seminar I found out about the women troubadours (trobairitz) of Languedoc in the 12th and 13th centuries, I was utterly intrigued. Apparently all 20 of the trobairitz historians know of came from one small region of what is now southern France, but was then its own patchwork of political entities and its own culture. They didn’t even speak French, but spoke what is now referred to as Old Occitan, and was then sometimes referred to as Lemozin.

The troubadours and trobairitz wrote courtly poetry in very complex metrical forms. The subjects were love, of course, but in the case of the trobairitz, the love was decidedly earthly. They spoke of disappointments, of unrequited love, of friendship, and passion—where the men tended to go in a more esoteric direction, making the object of their love poetry the idea of a lady rather than an actual living, breathing, woman.

So, I thought, these women who weren’t afraid to be honest must have been strong, intelligent, educated, and imaginative. What’s not to like?

Very little is known about the real lives of the trobairitz, so I found myself creating characters and a story that integrated the poetry and music, and captured the volatility of the period. Because trobairitz came from the educated upper classes, Jordane de la Moux d’Aniort, daughter of a baron, is the trobairitiz in Listen to the Wind.

The Orphans of Tolosa trilogy (of which Listen to the Wind is book one) takes place as the culture of the region is being crushed by the inquisition, which not only sought to eradicate the Cathar heretics, but to impose the legal systems of northern France and subsume the region into the territories ruled by the King of France.

Although the region is now fully part of France, a modern version of the language is still spoken, and the descendants of those fiercely independent people cling to their cultural heritage. In recognition of this heritage, what used to be known as Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrenees is (as of 2016) now referred to as Occitanie, and if you visit there, you’ll see many street signs in both French and Occitan.

It is my hope that readers will not only be drawn into the adventures of the characters in Listen to the Wind, but also appreciate the culture that inspired the story.

More historical tidbits and a glossary of Old Occitan terms featured in the book is at https://orphansoftolosa.com.

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Well, what can I say about this book? Thrilling, engaging, illuminating and brilliantly entwined with history and a wonderfully complex story. It takes you on a real adventure through 13th Centaury France, the colourful writing makes every scene so beautifully detailed and vivid you can see it playout like a film in your mind.

I haven’t read any of Susanne Dunlap’s work before, but after reading this – or should that be; devoured – I will definitely be reading more, her writing is so imaginative and atmospheric that you become completely lost in the story and before you know it you have whiled away a full afternoon.

The story opens with siblings; Azalais and Azemar who are living in a orphanage in Tolosa, they live a happy simple life roaming around the woods and surrounding area, making up games with the other orphans abuts knights in shining armour and damsels in distress. Everything in their life is good, that is until a illness spreads throughout the area and the people who were supposed to be protecting them soon turn on them and the other orphans, thinking it them that has caused all this illness and death. The children flee for their lives and in the melee Azalais and Azemar become separated, promising to meet up.

But, all doesn’t go to plan and what should have been a simple meet each other again in the next town turns into years of uncertainty and adventure for our two youngsters. What at first appears to be a very simple story of these two young people trying to forge their way through such hardships and attempting to find one and other again, you soon realise that this is far more then that. There is a ethereal and magical quality to the story, that is both surprising and addictive reading. We soon see that there is more to these two then meets the eyes, they have secrets buried within them that even they don’t know and even though once they have separated and when they try to find their feet they are more intricately entwined to one and other then originally thought.

So when they meet again years later, which is an amazing and gorgeous scene their shared past and destined future soon becomes clear.

This is an intriguing and complex story with lots of secrets and lies interwoven within the characters personal stories, it is charming, exciting and mesmerising. Ms Dunlap’s writing is wonderfully immersive and brilliantly atmospheric, there is a real starlight quality to this book which will grab any readers attention.

Definitely a must read, I cannot wait to see what comes next in this series.

This was a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you Susanne and Amy.

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About the Author

Susanne Dunlap is the author of six works of historical fiction. Two are for adults (Emilie’s Voice and Liszt’s Kiss, both published by Touchstone books of Simon & Schuster). Four are for young adults (The Musician’s Daughter, Anastasia’s Secret, In the Shadow of the Lamp, and The Academie, published by Bloomsbury). A graduate of Smith College with a PhD in Music History from Yale University, Susanne grew up in Buffalo, New York and has lived in London, Brooklyn and Northampton, MA. She now lives in Northampton with her long-time partner, Charles, has two grown daughters, three granddaughters, a grandson, a stepson and a stepdaughter, four step-grandsons and one step-granddaughter—that’s a total of four children and nine grandchildren!

In her spare time she cycles in the beautiful Pioneer Valley.

For more information, please visit The Orphans of Tolosa website. You can follow author Susanne Dunlap on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, and BookBub.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Make sure you go back through the blog tour and check out all the blogs which have participated.

Monday, May 13
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Tuesday, May 14
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, May 15
Interview at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 16
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, May 17
Review at Bookish Sarah
Review at Comet Readings
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, May 20
Review & Guest Post at Clarissa Reads it All
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, May 21
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, May 22
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, May 23
Interview at Donna’s Book Blog

Friday, May 24
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, May 27
Review at Macsbooks
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, May 28
Review at Coffee and Ink
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review & Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away one copy of Listen to the Wind by Susanne Dunlap! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – Listen to the Wind

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 28th. 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 suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

#Review : Severed Knot by @CryssaBazos #SeveredKnot #HistoricFiction #HistoricalRomance

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Hello my lovely readers! I have the massive pleasure to be sharing my review of this amazing book, my goodness this is good! I know that I have babbled a fair amount through this review, but when you come across such stunning quality like we have here, then it is very hard not to rabbit on a bit, apologies in advance.

Barbados 1652. In the aftermath of the English Civil War, the vanquished are uprooted and scattered to the ends of the earth.

When marauding English soldiers descend on Mairead O’Coneill’s family far, she is sold into slavery. After surviving a harrowing voyage, the young Irish woman is auctioned off to a Barbados sugar plantation where she is thrust into a hostile world or depravation and heartbreak. Though stripped of her freedom, Mairead refuses to surrender her dignity.

Scottish prisoner of war Iain Johnstone has descended into hell. Under a blazing sun thousands of miles from home, he endures forced labour in the unforgiving cane fields. As Iain plots his escape to save his men, his loyalties are tested by his yearning for Mairead and his desire to protect her.

With their future stolen, Mairead and Iain discover passion and freedom in each others arms. Until one fateful night, a dramatic chain of events turns them into fugitives.

Together they must fight to survive; together they are determined to escape. 

My goodness this is good! Honestly, this is way beyond the meagre word of ‘good’ there is a shining star-like quality about this book and I can’t seem to find the appropriate words to describe what I want to say. I feel like after reading this my whole perception of what a historical should be like has changed, Cryssa you may have ruined me for other authors now.

I was completely blown away by just how incredibly hard-hitting and powerful this book is, its thrilling, heart-breaking, emotional, original, cleverly written, there is a sadness that pulls you in and then amongst the heartache there is a real wit and natural humour, plus a soul melting romance; Mairaid and Iain will undo you with their tantalizing love. This is how a historical should be written; meticulously researched history, gripping plot, beautifully crafted characters, gorgeous scenery. Ms Bazos is a master at dynamic and realistic historical which take the reader on a gorgeous journey to the end.

Cryssa Bazos, I bow down to your excellence, this is stunning!

Set in 1652, just after the English Civil War; Scotsman Iain Johnstone and his band of soldiers have been captured by the English first kept on as POW then sold into slavery and transported to Barbados, where he, his brother in law; Glencross and their comrades find themselves owned by a sugar cane plantation owner. Forced to work in the fields, doing back breaking work in the burning heat, practically starved and beaten they have found themselves in the inner circle of hell.

With the English invading her precious Ireland, Mairead O’Conneill is sent to live with her aunt, uncle and cousins in the country to try and protect her from the English. Unfortunately, the English arrive at the house and take her and her cousins; Bronagh and Ciara prisoners, which sees them sold into slavery and sent to Barbados – on the same ship as Iain, which is where our couple first meet. Mairead is heartbroken not just to be stolen away from her home, branded like a work horse and sold she is separated from her cousins and finds herself amongst strangers who most hate her. She made a promise to her cousins that one day they, all three of them will be reunited and find their way back home.

My heart goes to all of them, they are stolen away and treated like cattle, it is heart-breaking to witness such brutality toward them. Iain is a proud man and the mere thought of being ‘owned’ and being slave does make him feel like he has failed not just him but his men. He vows that whatever it takes he will find his way back to Scotland, that he will not die as a slave he will escape. I love Iain, no matter what he is faced with he sticks to his guns, he shoulders a lot of responsibility, but he is loyal, Protective and caring for his men. He does come across as a growling, brooding, monosyllabic bear at times but that is just to cover the raging emotions below the surface.

Mairead is so strong, she is patriotic, loyal, feisty and defiant. She faces everything with a brave and stubborn tilt of her chin and gets on with whatever is thrown at her. Like Iain she has faith that she will see home again, she won’t be defeated and she won’t be used like the other girls have been.

They are a brilliant couple, they have to face so much together but yet they feed of one and other, they see kindred spirits in each other. Those little moment when they are able to just be themselves and don’t have to worry about what is going on around them, is so beautiful. You will be cheering these two on the moment you meet them, if ever there were a couple who deserved a happy ever after then these two are it.

Severed Knot is astonishing, it is far more then just your standard historical romance there is a real life and death, raw, gritty and deadly undercurrent to it, that is all consuming. You feel every emotion, sadness, fear, heartache, pain, laughter, joy, happiness, empathy – all the human emotion that makes a great story is all here. At times it’s intense, violent and difficult reading, especially when it comes to how Mairead and Iain are treated. I will say it is not for the faint hearted, but if you are like me who likes to become entrenched in historic realism then you need to read this book.

Ms Bazos has done an astounding job at reeling the reader into her world, its all so vivid and real you can see the plantation in your mind, you can practically feel the heat of the sun burning into your back as you watch Iain and his comrades toil away in those sun baked fields. You can feel smell the evil that is emanating around the whole Vale property, it’s intense and graphic and will certainly give you goosebumps.

Honestly, I cannot praise this enough. Severed Knot is one of those books that you just know from those first few pages will be a classic. It will be enjoyed again and again, I know that I will be pulling off my bookcase again. I can say for a certainty, that this will be going on my best books of the year.

I am just so in love with this book, I cannot recommend this enough. If you love your more daring, brutally honest and tenderly loving historical’s then this is the book for you.

This was an Arc from the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you so much Cryssa.

Severed Knot is to be released on 7th June and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

#BlogTour : The Catherine Howard Conspiracy (The Marquess House Trilogy #1) by Alexandra Walsh #Review & #GuestPost @purplemermaid25 #TheCatherineHowardConspiracy @SapereBooks

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Hello my lovely readers, I have the great pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for The Catherine Howard Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh, and I have an amazing post for you all to get stuck into. Not only sharing with you my review of the fabulous book, but I also have an exclusive to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals guest post from Alexandra for you all – and it is a doozy! So, grab yourselves a cuppa and tuck in.

The Catherine Howard Conspiracy

The Catherine Howard Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh

A timeshift thriller that will have you completely gripped! Perfect for fans of Dan Brown, Philippa Gregory, Kate Mosse and Tom Harper.

What secrets were covered up at the court of Henry VIII …?

Whitehall Palace, England, 1539

When Catherine Howard arrives at the court of King Henry VIII to be a maid of honour in the household of the new queen, Anne of Cleves, she has no idea of the fate that awaits her.

Catching the king’s fancy, she finds herself caught up in her uncle’s ambition to get a Howard heir to the throne.

Terrified by the ageing king after the fate that befell her cousin, Anne Boleyn, Catherine begins to fear for her life…

Pembrokeshire, Wales, 2018

Dr Perdita Rivers receives news of the death of her estranged grandmother, renowned Tudor historian Mary Fitzroy.

Mary inexplicably cut all contact with Perdita and her twin sister, Piper, but she has left them Marquess House, her vast estate in Pembrokeshire.

Perdita sets out to unravel their grandmother’s motives for abandoning them, and is drawn into the mystery of an ancient document in the archives of Marquess House, a collection of letters and diaries claiming the records of Catherine Howard’s execution were falsified…

What truths are hiding in Marquess House? What really happened to Catherine Howard?

And how was Perdita’s grandmother connected to it all?

THE CATHERINE HOWARD CONSPIRACY is the first book in the Marquess House trilogy, a dual timeline conspiracy thriller with an ingenious twist on a well-known period of Tudor history.

Available at Amazon

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About The Author

From tales spun for her teddies when she was a child (usually about mermaids) to film scripts, plays and novels, Alexandra Walsh has always been a storyteller. Words are her world. For over 25 years, she has been a journalist writing for a wide range of publications including national newspapers and glossy magazines. She spent some years working in the British film industry, as well as in television and radio: researching, advising, occasionally presenting and always writing.

Books dominate Alexandra’s life. She reads endlessly and tends to become a bit panicky if her next three books are not lined up and waiting. Characters, places, imagery all stay with her and even now she finds it difficult to pass an old wardrobe without checking it for a door to Narnia. As for her magical letter when she was 11, she can only assume her cat caught the owl!

Alexandra’s other passion is history, particularly the untold tales of women. Whether they were queens or paupers, their voices resonate with their stories, not only about their own lives but about ours, too. The women of the Tudor court have inspired her novels. Researching and writing The Marquess House Trilogy (Book One: The Catherine Howard Conspiracy) has brought together her love of history, mysteries and story telling.

Website / Twitter

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The Queen In Isolation by Alexandra Walsh

When I began the story that has become The Marquess House Trilogy, my first plan was to write it as one tale. However, as the plot grew and the sheer amount of historical detail required to make the story flow became apparent, I braced myself for a longer task and, perhaps, two books. Again though, my optimistic hopes were dashed and suddenly, it was a trilogy.

Why the surprise at this, you may ask? Well, it’s because my starting point with this series was not Catherine Howard, it was Elizabeth Tudor, my favourite historical person, and I had thought Catherine would be a minor character. Catherine Howard, however, was having none of it and quickly stepped forward from the myriad historical women wandering around my head to make it clear that book one was all about her – The Catherine Howard Conspiracy. Who was I to argue?

As she became the focus of some intense research, her story laying itself before me, my protectiveness of this much maligned young woman grew. It was not until I was immersed in her world though, that one thing struck me, something which my main protagonist, Dr Perdita Rivers, mentions: Catherine Howard is always portrayed as being alone. As I learned more about the teenage queen, I found this a problematic presentation of her.

The perpetual image of the tragic teenager is as a naïve orphan who was easily led astray by more powerful men and women preying upon her innocence. You can almost feel the moustache-twirling, Victorian-esque villain hovering just off the page waiting to lead the poor fainting damsel into disaster. The wicked harridan sizing her up as a potential meal ticket as she encouraged Catherine into lewd and boisterous behaviour with the wrong sort of men. Yet, if you look a little more closely, this myth is soon banished and a very different view of Catherine emerges.

It is true that Catherine was an orphan. Her mother, Jocasta Culpeper died in 1528 and her father, Lord Edmund Howard, 11 years later in 1539, only eight months before Catherine was summoned to court to be a Maid of Honour to Anne of Cleves. However, Catherine Howard was one of 11 children. Five of her siblings were full brothers and sisters: Henry Howard, Sir Charles Howard, Sir George Howard, Margaret Howard and Mary Howard. While five were half siblings from her mother’s, first marriage to Sir Ralph Leigh: John Leigh, Ralph Leigh, Isabel Leigh, Joyce Leigh and Margaret Leigh.

Even more surprising are her step-siblings: Edmund Howard married twice more, giving Catherine two step-mothers. His second wife was Dorothy Troyes, and after her death in 1530 he married Margaret Mundy. Both women were widows with children. Dorothy Troyes was mother to eight: Arthur, John, William, Richard, Francis, Agnes, Anne and another unnamed daughter, while Margaret had three children: Bernard, Juliana and Anna. A total of 11 step-siblings. Not quite the isolation suggested in most biographies.

The reason I’ve chosen to highlight this point is because while I was considering how best to portray Catherine, the discovery of siblings gave me a clue to her personality. To be surrounded by so many relations destroys the Victorian suggestion of the vulnerable orphan making her way in the world. If she had so many siblings, people with whom you can always be yourself (I’m one of seven, some step-siblings, some not, I understand), there is always someone to turn to in times of trouble. You may not always get on with your siblings but when times are hard, no matter how much you’ve squabbled over the last slice of cake, there is usually someone who is willing to fight your corner.

Being part of a large family also teaches you skills which would have been invaluable at the Tudor court. You learn to develop a thick skin, you understand about power plays (I refer you back to the last-slice-of-cake scenario), you learn how to, both, stand out and blend in with the crowd depending on which is going to protect you from the most trouble, you learn how to defend yourself and you know when to back down and forgive. While the broadness of the age range between the siblings suggests Catherine did not live with all the entire 22 at any one time, she would certainly have spent a portion of her childhood with a varying crowd of brothers, sisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, step-brothers and step-sisters. Life was probably noisy, chaotic and fun, even with the limitations placed on women in Tudor times.

When she became Henry VIII’s fifth queen, at least two of her sisters were with her as ladies-in-waiting: Lady Isabel Baynton nee Leigh and Margaret Arundell nee Howard. One of her brother’s Charles Howard became engaged to Lady Margaret Douglas, the king’s niece. Charles was also a member of the king’s bedchamber, while another brother, George, was also at court. It is likely more of the extended Howard, Leigh, Troyes and Mundy gang were there, too. Possibly not in positions of power but enjoying the reflected glory of Catherine’s reign.

It seems unlikely that they would all have abandoned her the moment she slipped from Henry’s favour. Again, I suspect the influence of the Victorian view of events, not to mention the old-fashioned male view of how they thought women behaved towards each other. Despite what they may have assumed, women are not generally out to get each other. It is more likely her sisters would have done their best to help, even if their power was limited due to their status as women.

The joy of writing historical fiction is that I can take these facts and spin them around to create a new version of events. I can guess her reactions, I can imagine myself into Catherine’s world and try to see things from her perspective. It also helped that I have a 15-year-old niece and I imagined her reaction to Catherine’s situation – a top show of bravado as she is thrown into a situation way above her capabilities, her, perhaps, foolish behaviour a cover for her fear and doubt.

We will never know what really happened, what Catherine felt and how she managed to face her death with such courage. We can only guess from the documents that have been left behind, examine the clues and the reactions of the people around her. I hope that by putting her back into the context of her family, Catherine becomes more human again, no longer the isolated child and we must hope that when we re-imagine her personality and tell her tale, that we have done her story justice.

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Chicks Rogues and Scandals Review

Oh, my this is good! What an introduction to this author, this is an amazing book that will have shackle you to your chair until the very last word, I can guarantee that this will be devoured by again and again. I absolutely loved the premise of this, I have a soft spot for time-slip stories when done properly they can change your whole view on what you love to read and this is one of the best I’ve read. Ms Walsh has a real gift as a narrator, she has meticulously entwined an out of this world great piece of fiction with a bit of history, thrilling plot line and amazing character’s who you will be rooting for from day one.

The book opens in 1539 and from that brief chapter set during the court of Henry VIII where innocent and young Catherine Howard, has just been appointed the newest maid to honour new Queen Anne of Cleves. Let me tell you that this opening is gripping, it had me hooked with the undercurrent of danger that surrounds Catherine. I won’t say too much, other than this is how you grab hold of your reader from the off.

Fast Forward to 2018 where historian archaeologist Perdita is currently working at a dig that has unearthed a part of the Armada when she get some news that changes her life forever. Her grand mother has passed away and she has left everything, her multi-billion pond estate to Perdita and her twin sister Piper. But, it’s not all there is a secret luring deep in their history one that will bring danger in to their lives if ever revealed.

Honestly, there is so much going on in this book I daren’t go into too much detail with my review, I wouldn’t wish to spoil this book and the start of this new series for others but I will say that there are aspects to it’s that just blew my mind, I was literally reading and then I’d be like “Whoah, did that really just happen?”.

There is something very magical about this book, it’s imaginative with it’s duel timeline and various inter-twining factors from past to present and that mix of fact and fiction so seamlessly and beautifully done. It’s gripping and classy!

If you want a thrilling and intriguing time-split story with the feel of Dan Brown you really want to read this one. I was completely and utterly gripped by it, I love the time-split with it’s duel storyline that were interlinked together.

Overall this is an astounding start to what I know is going to be an impressive and brilliantly addictive series, think Dan Brown and Kate Mosse and you will have an inkling of just how glorious this is. It’s stylish, smart as a whip, engaging, thrilling, atmospheric, clever, magical – I could go on. It really is a must read for any who loves their thrillers with an extra oomph!

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you Caoimhe!

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Do have a look at the other blogs which are participating in the great blog tour.

#BlogTour : The Silent Woman (Cat Carlise #1) by Terry Lynn Thomas @TLThomasBooks #Review #TheSilentWoman via @HFVBT

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Hello my lovely readers! I have the great pleasure to be todays stop on this great blog tour, for The Silent Woman by Terry Lynn Thomas. This is book is so good, I cannot say another good things about it, but don’t worry I have controlled myself and haven’t done a ten page review. So, without any ado grab a cuppa and have a read.

The Silent Woman by Terry Lynn Thomas

Publication Date: April 11, 2018
Publisher: HQ Digital
Format: Paperback & eBook; 384 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: Cat Carlisle, Book One

 

 

Would you sell your secrets?

Catherine Carlisle is trapped in a loveless marriage and the threat of World War Two is looming. She sees no way out… that is until a trusted friend asks her to switch her husband’s papers in a desperate bid to confuse the Germans.

Soon Catherine finds herself caught up in a deadly mixture of espionage and murder. Someone is selling secrets to the other side, and the evidence seems to point right at her.

Can she clear her name before it’s too late?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Google Play | Kobo

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Chicks Rogues and Scandals Review

What a wonderful book, this is what I would call a serious ‘Girl Power’ book. Not only have we got a fabulous lead heroine but the villain is a woman too. It’s about time that we had a book with a strong female led cast of characters. This is the first I have read by this author and it most certainly will no be the last, I have fallen in love with her clever and articulated writing style. This book is fresh and ridiculously addictive to read, this is only book one in the Cat Carlise series but I am hooked, I can’t wait to see if there will be more.

This is a pre-ww2 set historical fiction with a mystery/thriller twist to it that will capture the readers imagination and attention from off. I love a good old fashioned spy thriller, come one who doesn’t? And this has to be one of the best I’ve read, what really makes this book so engaging is that the story is very character led, Catherine the heroine is just brilliant. She finds herself in a loveless, unhappy marriage while her husband is off with the Air Ministry poor Catherine is stuck with her awful sister-in-law. She is desperate to escape, then out of the blue she finds a way. Without giving too much away, she finds herself in the middle of a dangerous spy game, with an added murder – you know just to keep everyone on their toes 😉

I really liked Catherine, she may at first come across as a meek little wife trying to out some excitement into her life but there is more to this young woman then that. I really admire her, she is brave, loyal and has real inner strength that you see come out as the story moves along. The secondary characters are brilliant, I particularly like the villain, such a great baddie and a woman to boot – it’s about time we had a good female baddie.

The story takes the reader on a fast and furious game of cat and mouse, it’s stylish, clever and completely engaging. You will be at the edge of your seat as the story moves towards its brilliant ending, I cannot recommend this enough. It has high intensity thrills, spy’s, great characters and a great atmospheric plot. If you love the likes of Pam Jenoff or Steve Berry then this is the book for you, I cannot wait to see what comes next.

This was an complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you Amy and Terry Lynn.

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About the Author

TERRY LYNN THOMAS grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back.

Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. The Drowned Woman is a recipient of the IndieBRAG Medallion. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in Britain during World War II. The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, came out in April 2018 and has since become a USA TODAY bestseller. The Family Secret is slated for release in March 2019. When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Blog Tour Schedule

Do have a look at the other blog’s that are participating in this tour.

Monday, April 29
Review at Coffee and Ink
Feature at To Read, Or Not to Read

Tuesday, April 30
Review at My Reading Chronicles

Wednesday, May 1
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Feature at Clarissa Reads it All

Thursday, May 2
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, May 3
Review at Orange County Readers
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, May 6
Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, May 7
Review at Macs Books
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, May 8
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Thursday, May 9
Review at Passages to the Past
Review at Jennifer Van Hoy – Instagram

Friday, May 10
Review at Hooked on Books
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Monday, May 13
Review at Comet Readings
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, May 14
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, May 15
Review at The Lit Bitch
Feature at Just One More Chapter

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a $20 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form : The Silent Woman

Giveaway Rules

–Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

 

#BlogTour : The Duke And The Imposter (The French Orphans’ #5) by Michael Stolle @MichaelStolle16 #TheDukeAndTheImposter #TheFrenchOrphansSeries @Bookollective

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Hello, everyone! I have the great pleasure to be todays stop on this amazing blog tour for The Duke and The Imposter by Michael Stolle. I can’t wait to share my review of this amazing book with you all, so grab yourselves a cuppa and let me tell you a little about this book.

The Duke and The Imposter (The French Orphans Series #5) by Michael Stolle

It’s a beautiful day in the seventeenth century. Pierre, Marquis de Beauvoir, Duke of Hertford and his small family arrive for a picnic on the banks of the River Loire in the grounds of his castle of Montrésor. It is a garden Eden – beautiful and peaceful. But fate strikes and, taken by surprise, the lunch party is ambushed.

Pierre is found later by his faithful valet, barely clinging to life, but his wife and only son have vanished without a trace. Beyond consolation, Pierre is convinced that his family has been annihilated. Luckily his friends François and Armand rush to the castle from Paris to his aid – and to investigate.

The quest leads to the coast of France and then on to the shores of England, a country torn apart by old loyalties to the Stuart king and the rise of the new Puritan gentry.

As the friends come closer and closer to the viper’s nest they must find out the truth, and track down the mastermind behind the ambush, who is prepared to stop at nothing until he has taken Pierre’s place and styled himself the next Duke of Hertford. A man not known to take prisoners. Soon Pierre and his friends are not only fighting against an enemy who’s ruthless and vile, they’re racing against time, the biggest enemy of all.

I will first start by saying that this is the first I have read by Michael Stolle, so I did go into this book with eyes wide open and with caution as I always do with new to me authors. I loved the sound of this from the back blurb, it gripped me which is why I decided to be apart of this blog tour. I was fascinated by the description of it, it sounded thrilling and I can very happily say that I was not disappointed.

The Duke and The Imposter is book five in The French Orphans series, as I hadn’t read any of the previous books in the series I can say without a doubt that this can be very easily read as a stand a lone, there was hints of previous book plots but nothing that hindered my reading and enjoying of the story. It does make me want to go out and start reading the previous one though as I am fascinated as to the other stories in the series.

The story opens up to our hero; Pierre, Marquis de Beauvoir, Duke of Hertford waking up in his bed severely wounded after being attacked and nearly killed. He and his family were ambushed and he was shot and left for dead while his wife and young son disappeared without a trace. Those moments when Pierre comes to realise what happened is heart breaking, you genuinely feel his pain and his despair that he has lost the two most treasured things in his life. He right there and then decides that he won’t fight to get well he will just starve himself instead. Which is where his two closest friends come in; Armand and Francois ride hell pent from Paris to Montresor to go to their sick friends aid and to find out what the hell happened to Marie and little Pierre.

Once they start to investigate the three friends begin to see that this is far more than just a murder kidnap scheme, there is a dastardly plot in place to put the villain in Pierre’s shoes and take not just the title but to literally be him. Their investigation takes them from France across the channel to England, a country very like their own France which is full of danger as it is torn apart. But will they find the truth of what happened and why? But, most importantly will Pierre find his family?

I have to say, these three guys are great! I love the relationship between Pierre, Armand and Francois, there is a lot of friendly, brotherly fondness, lots of joking they don’t hold back when they are taking the mickey out of each other. But, more than that they are loyal, they have a great bond. I just love how their friendship is written!

Michael Stolle’s writing is fresh, fast and vivid, there is a real depth to this, it pulls you in from that first page, I was completely hooked and then it sets off on a whirlwind adventure through dangerous France and over to England. What I really loved about this is that the character’s really come to life, their relationship with one and other, the way they act and talk is very engaging for the reader. Unlike a lot of books where the point of view is writing through a certain character or through the eyes of the heroine and hero, with this it is written through the eyes of all the lead characters. So you’re not just seeing a scene through one set of eyes but three and I like that, it really gives perspective to each scene and each character’s personality.

The Duke and The Imposter is a fast paced, thrilling, exciting and imaginative story, it has a real fresh feel to it that lures the reader in. You are literally racing along with the three men and they investigative, it is completely immersive and I will guarantee that anyone who loves a good old-fashioned high stakes historical thriller , then you will love this one.

Great from start to finish!

This was a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you to the lovely ladies at Bookollective.

The Duke and The Imposter is available now.

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About The Author

Born and educated in Europe, Michael has always been intrigued by the historical setting and the fact that what makes us human was as true in the 17th century as it is now.

He has been reading and writing about history for longer than he cares to recall…

Goodreads / Twitter / Amazon

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Do check the other blogs which are participating in this blog tour.