Review of ‘The Fire Court’ by Andrew Taylor

‘The Fire Court’ is a beautifully descriptive historical mystery set the year after the Great Fire of London. The writing was immersive and the period so well researched that I felt as if I was there. James Marwood finds himself investigating after his father claims to have found a dead woman at the chambers of the lawyers dealing with the aftermath of the Great Fire. He teams up with Cat Lovett, an interestingly independent woman for her time. I loved reading about the machinations of those in positions of power, as well as the ordinary lives of the people. The little details really brought this story alive for me. As a lover of historical novels, this book hit all the right notes for me. The story was fascinating, with plenty of twists and turns and the author’s ability to make the past seem real was such a joy. I really enjoyed it.

I was given a review copy by LoveReading.

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Review of ‘Hiding Hearts’ by R.E. Bradshaw

‘Hiding Hearts’ is a wonderful book, a story that captures the essence of the Civil War immediately. As a huge fan of historical novels  I was delighted to find this novel and this particular author. This is my first R.E. Bradshaw book and it certainly won’t be my last. I loved her writing style and her descriptive powers are excellent. I felt as if I was right there. 

Lottie Bratcher, a poor illegitimate farm girl, has taken on so much to try and get her family through what is to come as the Yankees arrive in the area. There is much danger, especially for a young woman, but she is determined. She is also infatuated with Patrice Cole, a rich neighbour,  but has no idea how to deal with it. The romantic element was very touchingly written. For a few hours I could immerse myself in a world long gone, a world of war and bloody battles, of women left behind to pick up the pieces. The characters were realistic and sympathetic and I could feel their pain, their fear. As well as dealing with the collapse of their society, Lottie and Patrice are finding that there are so many secrets they have to keep. R.E. Bradshaw weaves a fantastic story and I adored it. Highly recommended.

Review of ‘Cavalcade’ by K’Anne Meinel

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You know a book is a winner when you love the characters so much you want their story to go on and on. ‘Cavalcade’ by K’Anne Meinel is one such book. Erin and Molly live together on a farm in the mid 1800s and try desperately to keep up the pretence of being just good friends. As their neighbours try to pair them off with eligible men they know they have to move somewhere no-one knows them. Erin’s appearance leads to strangers mistaking her for a man so taking on that role and leaving for a new life in Oregon with Molly seems to be the answer.

The story is beautifully told and the vivid descriptions of life for those heading west were truly fascinating. I worried that their secret would be revealed but also about the dangers and hardships. I felt as if I was there with them and became so invested. Now I can’t wait to read the next book in the series ‘Pioneering’!

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Free to Love’ by Ali Spooner and Annette Mori

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‘Free to Love’ is a fantastic book, comprising of two linked stories by Ali Spooner and Annette Mori. Set in the 18th century in a time of slavery, it tells of the lives of some amazing women who fought against injustice and for love. In ‘ The Chandler’s Daughter’ by Ali Spooner,  Cecilia works for her family business  in the South and becomes increasingly aware of the appalling treatment of the slaves who are brought in to the harbour nearby. Her lover, Captain Hillary Blythe is equally appalled and vows to do something to help. Their love story was very hot and steamy but with a love that shone through. They are linked to Annette Mori’s story ‘Forbidden Love’ by Captain Blythe’s visit to Antigua and a Mission run by Elizabeth Allen. Elizabeth is a very religious woman and fights against her need to be with the woman she has come to love. Rescued slave Kia becomes everything to her but they risk their lives by being together at such a dangerous time .

I found these stories inspiring and full of love. The historical aspect was fascinating  and I learned so much about the history of slavery and  of the reality of same sex relationships at that time. The characters were wonderfully written and I was completely enthralled. They were strong women who had to fight to be free to love. The people around them were important too and their interactions showed the lengths to which the women were prepared to go for love and justice. The stories blended so well together and I hope that Ms Spooner and Ms Mori decide to collaborate again in the future. I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it.

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.

Paris Adrift – a new novel in the Juliana Series by Vanda. Out today!!

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Paris Adrift is the third novel in a breathtaking LGBT historical romance series, which can also be read as a standalone. If you like suspense, characters who tug at your heartstrings, and true-to-life portrayals of 1950s Paris, then you’ll love award-winning writer Vanda’s stunning new addition to the series.

I have enjoyed reading the Juliana Series so far and am so excited to find that Vanda has a new novel coming out soon. I can highly recommend this particular series as I love stories about LGBT history and Vanda has excelled herself with the Juliana series.  Their story continues with the excitement of a trip to Paris but it’s never that simple.

“How will Alice tell Juliana she must do what she most fears—because if she doesn’t, something even worse will happen?

Paris-bound, 1955. Alice “Al” Huffman can’t wait to reach the City of Light. As soon as their ship arrives, Juliana’s singing career will get the spotlight it deserves.

Before the SS United States hits land, a stranger approaches Al with a Broadway contract for Juliana. But the offer comes with a threat that can destroy them both. If Al can’t find a way out, Juliana’s comeback will come crashing down around their heads.

As she hides the awful truth from Juliana, Al searches for an answer before another obstacle destroys their last chance for happiness…”

Paris Adrift is out now!

Buy ParisAdrift to set sail on a harrowing journey of love today!

 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Review of ‘The Potion’ by R.G. Emanuelle

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R.G. Emanuelle had my rapt attention from the start with this Victorian mystery romance. Vera Kennedy and Georgette Harris are widows whose scientist husbands appear to have been carrying  out some unorthodox experimentation. As the women become more involved in finding out exactly what they had been doing and why, their attraction to each other grows. But secrets, pride and trust issues conspire to keep them tantalisingly so near yet so far.

The writing was so wonderfully descriptive and had me right there, in the dark, gloomy, damp and sinister world of Victorian Boston. The oppressive  nature of life for women of all classes came through so strongly and I wanted Vera and Georgette to take control and overcome the restrictions on them. The mystery behind their late husbands’ scientific work had me on the edge of my seat. The peril the women were in and the shady characters around them had the hairs on the back of my neck standing to attention.

But it was the interaction between Georgette and Vera that truly made this story. Although the attraction between them was obvious neither felt able to act on it right away. It was the development of their feelings and the erotically charged nature of their meetings that kept me wanting more and more. An excellent novel with characters I hope to encounter again. 5 Stars

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.

 

Review of ‘Cross My Heart’ Audiobook by Natalie Vivien, narrated by TJ Richards

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I really enjoyed ‘Cross My Heart’ as it was a mix of mystery, hot love story and humour. Alex, an archaeologist is back home for a well earned break. Having bought an old Victorian house in Niagara Falls for $1, she plans to remodel and flip it quickly for a significant profit. She doesn’t count on a few houseguests in the form of ghosts and a fascinating history behind it all. Local librarian Trudy helps her find out more about the house and in the process they become more than just friends.

I liked Alex a lot as she was funny, caring, inquisitive and in need of the love of a good woman. Trudy was the perfect partner for her as she delved into the ghostly mystery and their encounters were very sexy. There were quite a few surprises that I didn’t see coming. The Niagara Falls setting was wonderful and finding out about Alex’s past through interactions with her sister and cute nephew really added another layer.

The narration by TJ Richards was spot on. She has a lovely, natural style that made it such a pleasure to listen to.

Paris Adrift – a new novel in the Juliana Series by Vanda. Out today!!

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Paris Adrift is the third novel in a breathtaking LGBT historical romance series, which can also be read as a standalone. If you like suspense, characters who tug at your heartstrings, and true-to-life portrayals of 1950s Paris, then you’ll love award-winning writer Vanda’s stunning new addition to the series.

I have enjoyed reading the Juliana Series so far and am so excited to find that Vanda has a new novel coming out soon. I can highly recommend this particular series as I love stories about LGBT history and Vanda has excelled herself with the Juliana series.  Their story continues with the excitement of a trip to Paris but it’s never that simple.

“How will Alice tell Juliana she must do what she most fears—because if she doesn’t, something even worse will happen?

Paris-bound, 1955. Alice “Al” Huffman can’t wait to reach the City of Light. As soon as their ship arrives, Juliana’s singing career will get the spotlight it deserves.

Before the SS United States hits land, a stranger approaches Al with a Broadway contract for Juliana. But the offer comes with a threat that can destroy them both. If Al can’t find a way out, Juliana’s comeback will come crashing down around their heads.

As she hides the awful truth from Juliana, Al searches for an answer before another obstacle destroys their last chance for happiness…”

Paris Adrift is out now!

Buy ParisAdrift to set sail on a harrowing journey of love today!

Review of ‘Money in the Morgue’ by Ngaio Marsh and Stella Duffy

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I’m a bit of a fan of Inspector Alleyn so I was beyond excited to find out that a new story had been published. Stella Duffy has taken on the task of turning a few chapters and notes by Ngaio Marsh into a book. And she has succeeded brilliantly. She has caught the mood of the time- wartime New Zealand under threat from the Japanese and young men sent far from home to fight for the ‘Home’ country. She has also captured the English detective perfectly.

Alleyn has a gentle, calm and understated style of detecting. Having been sent to Mount Seager Hospital on secret wartime business, he does not expect to be drawn into dealing with a payroll theft and death over the course of one long night in the seemingly quiet backwater. So many of the characters have something to hide, fears and secrets. There were surprises that had my jaw dropping and  just when I thought I had it worked out Stella Duffy had me fooled again. I loved it. This book has given me hope that there will be more Inspector Alleyn Mysteries to come. Ms Duffy has written a book that the esteemed Dame would be proud of!

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Review of ‘The Northwoods’ by Jane Hoppen

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‘The Northwoods’ by Jane Hoppen is set in 1850s Wisconsin when most women were entirely dependant on husbands and fathers. When that is no longer possible for Evelyn due to the death of her husband she decides to disguise herself as a man and go to a logging camp for the winter, in order to help her family survive . She meets Sarah Bell, a woman seemingly at the mercy of her dead lover’s brother. Evelyn must keep her real identity secret at all costs, while Sarah lives in fear of being assaulted by any of the rough loggers in the camp. Their friendship is of necessity but they see something in each other that drew them together.

The story was about women doing what they had to in a harsh world. They discovered things about themselves that they did not realise they wanted or needed. I was on the edge of my seat at many points in the book as they were in danger and taking many risks. Evelyn and Sarah’s relationship was slow and sweet and tender. I wanted them to have a future together and not be forced into the roles people expected of them. I loved the historical aspect of the book and felt it was well imagined and well written. I could almost smell the appalling odours of the camp, so good was the writing. A very enjoyable book with characters I wouldn’t mind finding out more about.

I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.