Blog Tour and Book Review: The Marriage Season #RegencyRomance

BOOK DESCRIPTION

It’s not a fair world I’m afraid. Beauty or fortune carries the day. You have the beauty and I the fortune, so there’s every chance we’ll succeed’

In Regency England, marriage is everything. For young widow Sybella Lovatt, the time has come to find a suitable husband for her sister and ward Lucie. Male suitors are scarce near their Wiltshire estate, so the sisters resolve to head to London in time for The Season to begin.

Once ensconced at the Mayfair home of Lady Godley, Lucie’s godmother, the whirl of balls, parties and promenades can begin. But the job of finding a husband is fraught with rules and tradition. Jostling for attention are the two lords – the charming and irresistible Freddie Lynwood and the preternaturally handsome Valentine Ravenell, their enigmatic neighbour from Shotten Hall, Mr Brabazon, and the dangerous libertine Lord Rockliffe, with whom the brooding Brabazon is locked in deadly rivalry.

Against the backdrop of glamorous Regency England, Sybella must settle Lucie’s future, protect her own reputation, and resist the disreputable rakes determined to seduce the beautiful widow. As the Season ends, will the sisters have found the rarest of things – a suitable marriage with a love story to match?

BOOK REVIEW

I enjoyed this visit to Regency England during marriage season. The book, however, started out in the British countryside and we met our main characters in that setting. Once we get into the marriage market in London, however, the story gets more interesting. We are transported to that era with its proprieties, rules, lavish balls, and yes, hypocrisy. I liked the fact that the two main characters were strong women. The romances are easy to see coming, but that did not deter from my enjoyment of the story. Some slight criticisms: I felt the portrayal of the child was a little overdone, and I didn’t find his dialogue believable. I also felt parts of the book moved a bit slowly.

Overall, though, this is an enjoyable romance that looks at the Regency Era marriage market with a bit of sarcasm and irony. My rating is 3.6 stars, rounded up to 4 on sites with no partial star option.

I received a free copy of this book via Rachel’s Random Resources. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Dunn is a historian and biographer and the author of seven acclaimed biographies, including Daphne du Maurier and her Sisters and the Sunday Times and NYT bestseller, Elizabeth & Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens. She comes to Boldwood with her first fiction outing – a trilogy of novels set in the Regency period, the first of which is to be published in January 2023. She lives in Berkshire with her husband, the linguist Nicholas Ostler.

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Blog Tour and Spotlights: The Girl From Summerhayes and The Secrets of Summerhayes #WorldWar1 #WorldWarII

*Not a book review

SPOTLIGHT OF BOOK 1 IN THE SERIES

The Girl From Summerhayes

1914, England. Will her decision unite her family or tear them apart?

Surrounded by beautiful gardens in the glorious Sussex countryside, Summerhayes House seems like a true hidden paradise, but behind its polished floors and perfect green lawns is a family divided. The Summer family’s beloved home is under threat, and nineteen-year-old Elizabeth Summer finds herself caught in the heart of the crisis.

Elizabeth’s father believes his daughter marrying well will save Summerhayes. But Elizabeth is distraught at the stifling future ahead of her. A chance meeting with green-eyed Aiden Kellaway, the handsome architect’s apprentice working on the estate’s prized gardens, changes everything. For the first time, Elizabeth pictures an entirely different life, and – despite her father’s wishes – she is determined to take hold of it.

But war is brewing in Europe, and when its long shadow touches Summerhayes, Elizabeth realises her rebellion will come at a price. Desperately torn between family loyalty, society’s expectations and the bright chance at happiness she glimpsed in Aiden’s arms, she is forced to make an impossible choice.

As Elizabeth’s future – and her family’s – hangs in the balance, she must ask herself, is the price worth paying? And can she live with the consequences?

An unforgettable, totally gripping and heart-wrenching historical family saga. Fans of Tracy Rees, Kate Morton and Elizabeth Jane Howard will be utterly swept away by The Girl from Summerhayes.

Previously published as The Buttonmaker’s Daughter.

SPOTLIGHT OF BOOK 2 IN THE SERIES:  

The Secrets of Summerhayes

1944, England. A chance meeting with a soldier unravels a long-buried family mystery…

England is in the devastating grip of World War Two, and Bethany Merston’s life changes in an instant when bombs screech down over London. Heartbroken, she leaves the shattered ruins of her home behind. In the Sussex countryside, she takes a job as companion to elderly Alice Summer, mistress of the crumbling and over-grown Summerhayes House.

Its once-pristine grounds are now home to a regiment of soldiers preparing for an invasion across the channel. But Bethany’s wartime experiences mean she can find beauty in broken things, and she is captured by the estate’s magic. When she meets handsome, blue-eyed Lieutenant Jos Kerrigan in the gardens one morning, it is clear he has also been captivated by Summerhayes. As their friendship grows, Bethany realises that it’s not just the house she’s falling for…

But something is stirring beneath the surface at Summerhayes… When Bethany discovers that Alice is receiving anonymous letters that have opened up old family wounds, she is determined to find out who is responsible. Convinced that Summerhayes itself holds the key to the mystery, Bethany and Jos explore the grand house together.

The answers lie in a long-forgotten painting in the dusty attic, unravelling the mysteries of the Summer family. And as the truth about Alice’s past comes to light, it has the power to change Bethany’s future.

Will Bethany and Jos’s blossoming love survive the war, or will the secrets of Summerhayes tear them apart?

A totally heartbreaking and gripping wartime family saga, fans of Tracy Rees, Kate Morton and Elizabeth Jane Howard will have their hearts stolen by The Secrets of Summerhayes.

Previously published as The Secret of Summerhayes.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Merryn taught university literature for many years, and it took a while to pluck up the courage to begin writing herself. Bringing the past to life is a passion and her historical fiction includes Regency romances, wartime sagas and timeslip novels, all of which have a mystery at their heart. As the books have grown darker, it was only a matter of time before she plunged into crime with a cozy crime series set in rural Sussex against the fascinating backdrop of the 1950s. Merryn lives in a beautiful old town in Sussex with her husband. When she’s not writing, she tries to keep fit with adult ballet classes and walking.

 

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BUY LINKS

The Girl from Summerhayes: 

The Secrets of Summerhayes

Book Review: The Dreaming Beauty #SleepingBeauty #RegencyRomance

I read this book back in September for the November issue of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. See my review below.

When Tansy White is betrayed by her intended, she fears she is fated to be alone. Encouraged by her three aunts, she visits Rose Cottage, the home of her late mother. Tansy has dreamed of this cottage her whole life and wonders if it can provide the answers she seeks. But after getting caught in a storm and waking up in a strange house, she meets a man with secrets of his own. Marcus Taylor, the brother of a duke, also has troubling dreams. Working together, can they find out hidden secrets and piece together fragments of dreams?

This second book in the Enchanted Regency Romance series is such a delight. What a treat to read a Regency Romance with a bit of magical realism that is also a Sleeping Beauty retelling! With many nods to the timeless legend running through it, this is a fresh, original, and intriguing romance. Tansy’s ability to dream her future is just the right touch that adds an extra layer to this well-woven story. Readers will become enchanted themselves while piecing together a tapestry made out of dreams, secrets, magic, and lies. Fans of romance and magical realism will enjoy this book.

My rating is 4.6 stars, rounded up to 5 on sites with no partial star option.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via the Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anneka R. Walker is an award-winning author raised by a librarian and an English teacher turned judge. After being fed a steady diet of books, she decided to learn about writing. The result was a bachelor’s degree in English and history. When she isn’t dreaming up a happy ending for a story, she is busy living her own with her husband and adorable children. Visit her website here.

BUY LINK

*Click on the image to purchase this book on Amazon.

Book Review: Under A Veiled Moon #ThePrincessAlice #HistoricalFiction @austenprose @karen_odden

This is the second book in Karen Odden’s Inspector Corravan mystery series.  I had little to no problems reading it as a standalone, but starting with the first book would be beneficial.  It is 1878 and Corravan is assigned by Scotland Yard to investigate the collision of The Princess Alice with The Bywell Castle in the Thames River.  Over 400 lives are lost.  Corravan, who was adopted by an Irish family, the Doyles, tries to conduct an impartial investigation as the newspapers and Scotland Yard seem to be convinced that the Irish Republican Brotherhood is to blame. Corravan tries to maintain calm as anti-Irish sentiment abounds.  The details of the crash and the personalization woven into the investigation are impressive.  The author’s research is obviously meticulous as she takes us throughout London at that time, both while investigating the crash and while Corravan deals with Irish gangs. 

This is a very detailed book as we follow every facet of the investigation. Karen Odden’s ability to bring to life an investigation of a real-life shipwreck that happened over 140 years ago is impressive.  Inspector Corravan is also thrust into the aftermath of the crash, rescue, and recovery in a realistic way, and we see all the horrors as he experiences them. The inside look at the Irish gangs and politics is intriguing, and the overall treatment of the Irish at that time is heartwrenching.  The soft side of Corravan really doesn’t come out until we meet his love, Belinda, about 30 percent into the book, but those who have read the first book in the series would already have known her and seen this side of the Inspector. Their romance is compelling but does not take over the book.  The Doyle family dynamics and the tension caused by decisions made years ago also become a significant part of the story.

My only slight criticism at all is that the first 10 to 15 percent of the book before the shipwreck happens moves a little slowly.  The pace picks up significantly after that.

This is a well-thought-out, meticulously researched historical mystery with compelling characters.  I highly recommend you check out this series, starting with the first book, Down A Dark River.

I received a free copy of this book via Austenprose Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

SPOTLIGHT

I did a spotlight of this book for an Austenprose blog tour recently, and the author information, book description, and buy links are at the above link. Just click on SPOTLIGHT.

BUY THE INSPECTOR CORRAVAN MYSTERY SERIES

Above is an Amazon link to buy both books in the series.

Top Ten Indie Books of 2022 #Indiebooks #TopTenIndieBooksof2022

Here are my top ten Indie books of 2022 in no particular order. These books are either published by the author(s) or by smaller, independent presses. I reviewed all of these books on Indie Weekend or its previous incarnation, Self-Published Saturday, so I’ve included a link to my review, which provides buy links at the bottom. Please check them out by clicking on the covers.

Christmas in ’45

Cathedral of Silver

Amanda in France

Framed

Deuce

The Girl Who Feared Trains

Your Words, Your Heart

The Necromancer’s Daughter

The Secret Benefits of Invisibility

Distant Flickers

In the comments below, tell me about some Indie books you loved this year that I should check out!

My Top Ten Traditionally Published Books of 2022 #TopTenof2022 #2022 #HappyNewYear #BooksoftheYear

Below, in no particular order, are my top ten traditionally published books of 2022. I’ll do another post tomorrow with my Top Ten Indie Books of 2022. You can click on the cover to learn more about each book.

The Belle of Belgrave Square

Lessons in Chemistry

A Catalogue of Catastrophe

The Ingenue

The Blackout Book Club

In The Middle of Hickory Lane

Long Way Home

The Murder of Mr. Wickham

The Pilot’s Girl

A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

Comment below and let me know your favorite books of 2022.

Blog Tour and Spotlight: Under A Veiled Moon #ThePrincessAlice #Historical Fiction @austenprose

  • Book Review to come later.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

September 1878. One night, as the pleasure boat the Princess Alice makes her daily trip up the Thames, she collides with the Bywell Castle, a huge iron-hulled collier. The Princess Alice shears apart, throwing all 600 passengers into the river; only 130 survive. It is the worst maritime disaster London has ever seen, and early clues point to sabotage by the Irish Republican Brotherhood, who believe violence is the path to restoring Irish Home Rule. 
 
For Scotland Yard Inspector Michael Corravan, born in Ireland and adopted by the Irish Doyle family, the case presents a challenge. Accused by the Home Office of willfully disregarding the obvious conclusion and berated by his Irish friends for bowing to prejudice, Corravan doggedly pursues the truth, knowing that if the Princess Alice disaster is pinned on the IRB, hopes for Home Rule could be dashed forever.

Corrovan’s dilemma is compounded by Colin, the youngest Doyle, who has joined James McCabe’s Irish gang. As violence in Whitechapel rises, Corravan strikes a deal with McCabe to get Colin out of harm’s way. But unbeknownst to Corravan, Colin bears longstanding resentments against his adopted brother and scorns his help.
 
As the newspapers link the IRB to further accidents, London threatens to devolve into terror and chaos. With the help of his young colleague, the loyal Mr. Stiles, and his friend Belinda Gale, Corravan uncovers the harrowing truth—one that will shake his faith in his countrymen, the law, and himself.

ADVANCE PRAISE

  • “[An] exceptional sequel . . . Fans of Lyndsay Faye’s Gods of Gotham trilogy will be enthralled.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • “Victorian skulduggery with a heaping side of Irish troubles.” —Kirkus Reviews
  • “Charismatic police superintendent Michael Corravan is back in a gripping sequel about the mysterious sinking of the Princess Alice. Odden deftly weaves together English and Irish history, along with her detective’s own story, in a way that will keep readers flipping pages long into the night.” —Susan Elia MacNeal, New York Times bestselling author of Mother Daughter Traitor Spy and the Maggie Hope series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Odden earned her Ph.D. in English from New York University and subsequently taught literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has contributed essays to numerous books and journals, written introductions for Victorian novels in the Barnes & Noble classics series and edited for the journal Victorian Literature and Culture (Cambridge UP). Her previous novels, also set in 1870s London, have won awards for historical fiction and mystery. A member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime and the recipient of a grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Karen lives in Arizona with her family and her rescue beagle Rosy.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

PURCHASE LINKS

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#BookReview: The Blackout Book Club @bethanyhouse #AmyLynnGreen #WorldWarII

The Blackout Book Club is set in small-town Maine during World War II. Avis Montgomery accepts the position of Librarian when her brother, the permanent Librarian, goes off to war. She gets the idea to start a book club and faces immediate challenges. The book centers on four women in the club, all with different struggles, and the books they read are tied to their struggles in different ways.

I absolutely loved this look at homefront Maine during the war. The four women face such different challenges. Louise has a secret that she feels has ruined her life, Avis’s husband is depressed after he is medically disqualified from going to war, Ginny’s family home on Long Island has been taken by eminent domain, and Martina is hiding from a cruel and manipulative husband. The women’s stories are told from varying points of view or through the wonderful epistolary work that Amy Lynn Green does so well. Whether it’s letters from loved ones or book club minutes, it takes the book to the next level. The book club minutes are an absolute delight with funny observations as well as details about each book they read together. Realities of that time such as blackouts, factory jobs for women, and air raid drills are brought to life.

This is a fresh look at the World War II homefront with great characters, a little humor, and even dashes of romance and mystery/thriller. Amy Lynn Green has delivered more wonderful historical fiction showcasing strong women. Highly recommend.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Lynn Green has always loved history and reading, and she enjoys speaking with book clubs, writing groups, and libraries all around the country, in person and virtually. Her debut novel, Things We Didn’t Say, was nominated for a 2021 Minnesota Book Award, won two Carol Awards, and received a starred review from both Booklist and Library Journal. Amy and her family make their home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can sign up for her newsletter on her website, amygreenbooks.com, for quarterly giveaways, writing updates, and lots of bookish fun.

Amy’s Social Media

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BUY LINKS

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Blog Tour and Book Review: The Gentleman of Holly Street #holidayromance #historicalromance @rararesources

The Gentleman of Holly Street Book Description

Will this Christmas…

Change their lives again?

When self-made gentleman Freddie Walton rescued penniless Philomena Nichols at Christmas eight years ago, he never imagined that he would build his empire with her. Yet whilst they have created a life together as friends, Freddie can’t let their special connection become more than that. Not when his dangerous past continues to haunt him… But what happens when Freddie’s feelings for Philomena also refuse to stay hidden?

Book Review

This is a slow-burn Historical Christmas Romance that will transport you to the holiday season in 1830s London. The characters Freddie and Mena have an unusual relationship. They’ve been long-time friends since Freddie saved Mena’s life eight years ago, but share an unacknowledged love for each other that both of them are fighting in this slow-burn romance. I enjoyed both characters, who share so much, including feelings of inadequacy that keep them apart. I especially liked Mena’s fierceness, independence, and compassion for others. It did move a bit slowly for me at times, but overall this is a satisfying Christmas romance that historical fiction fans will enjoy.

I received a free copy of this book from Harlequin Historical via Rachel’s Random Resources. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.

Purchase Link (Amazon)

Author Bio

Lotte James trained as an actor and theatre director, but spent most of her life working day jobs crunching numbers whilst dreaming up stories of love and adventure. She’s thrilled to finally be writing those stories, and when she’s not scribbling on tiny pieces of paper, she can usually be found wandering the countryside for inspiration, or nestling with coffee and a book.

Social Media Links

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Black Friday Christmas Novella Release and Book Sales: Jax Diamond Mystery Series by Gail Meath #GermanShepherds #cozymystery #historicalfiction @gailmeathauthor

Gail Meath is releasing a sweet Christmas Novella, Two of a Kind, which is a prequel to the Jax Diamond series and tells how Jax met his German Shepherd sidekick, Ace. It will be released on Black Friday, 11/25/22. To celebrate the release, the first three books in the series go on sale for .99 on Kindle, starting 11/25/22. Two of a Kind will also be .99

Since Two of a Kind is a prequel, you can read it first even if you haven’t read the other books in the series. I highly recommend the whole series

AMAZON LINK TO EACH BOOK IN THE WHOLE SERIES

  • Each book can be accessed here, including the new Friday release, Two of a Kind.

MY REVIEW OF TWO OF A KIND

MY REVIEW OF SONGBIRD

MY REVIEW OF FRAMED

MY REVIEW OF DEUCE