#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Regrets of Cyrus Dodd ~ The Wyattsville Series Book 4 by @BetteLeeCrosby ~ Family #Saga

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that have been waiting on the ‘to be read’ pile for however long, and are finally getting an airing.

This week my choice is another Bette Lee Crosby book. The Wyattsville series is a lovely collection of books with charming and empathetic characters.

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The Lost Letters by Sarah Mitchell ~ Dual Timeline #Family #Saga reviewed for #RBRT @SarahM_writer @Bookouture

Author: Sarah Mitchell

Published: August 2018 by Bookouture

Category: Contemporary, Historical, Fiction, Dual Timeline, Book Review

Norfolk, 1940: Sylvia’s husband Howard has gone off to war, and she is struggling to raise her two children alone. Her only solace is her beach hut in Wells-Next-The-Sea, and her friendship with Connie, a woman she meets on the beach. The two women form a bond that will last a lifetime, and Sylvia tells Connie something that no-one else knows: about a secret lover… and a child.

Canada, present day: When Martha’s beloved father dies, he leaves her two things: a mysterious stash of letters to an English woman called ‘Catkins’ and directions to a beach hut in the English seaside town of Wells. Martha is at a painful crossroads in her own life, and seizes this chance for a trip to England – to discover more about her family’s past, and the identity of her father’s secret correspondent. Continue reading

Chasing Ghosts (The Dudley Sisters #6) by Madalyn Morgan #BlogTour #Giveaway @rararesources #HistFic @ActScribblerDJ

Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour for Chasing Ghosts by Madalyn Morgan, courtesy of Rachels Random Resources. Heres a short summary of the book before my review…

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Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton ~ 1970s Southern Family Saga @cfullerton3 #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Claire Fullerton

Published: June 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction

Category: 1970s Southern Fiction, Family Saga, Book Review

The heart has a home when it has an ally. If Millie Crossan doesn’t know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, eighteen months her senior, becomes Millie’s guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie’s tenth birthday. 

Born in Minnesota, and spending their formative years there, ten-year old Mille Crossan and her older brother Finley were uprooted and moved to Memphis.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ Spare Change by Bette Lee Crosby #FamilySaga #HistFic

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.

Today I’m returning to Spare Change by Bette Lee Crosby. First published in 2013 it’s the first in a gritty, small town family saga.

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Beyond the Carousel (Wyattsville 5) by @BetteLeeCrosby #BookReview #FridayReads Family #Saga

  • 32951455Author: Bette Lee Crosby
  • Published: January 2017 by Bent Pine Publishing
  • Category: Family Saga, Romance
  • five-stars

A FAMILY TRAGEDY, A 25 YEAR OLD MURDER, AND A DETECTIVE DETERMINED TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT…

Laura Wilkes has everything a woman could want when she snaps the carousel picture. Her daughter, a happy little five-year-old, is holding the brass ring and smiling at a daddy who adores her. Each time the carousel circles around Laura snaps another picture, seven in all. This is a day of unforgettable happiness; one of the few Laura has left.

When Emory Hawthorne came into money bequeathed to him from his long absent father, he moved his family from their cold water flat into a dream house. For all her inherent frugality, Emory’s wife, Rose, and eleven year old Laura, loved the house. As the years passed and Emory’s salary increased, Rose learned to adapt and became more accustomed to being able to buy what she wanted. Laura secured a secretarial job at the bank working for the vice president. And it was there she met Franklin Wilkes. Continue reading

The Secrets Amongst the Cypress ~ The House of Crimson & Clover Vol VIII by Sarah Cradit Family #Saga @thewritersarah

  • 31685273Author: Sarah M. Cradit
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Family Saga, Fantasy, Historical
  • five-stars

Amelia and Jacob have landed in a very familiar where. The when is a whole other matter.

Jacob’s first experience with time travel leaves him and Amelia stranded in 1861 Louisiana on the cusp of the Civil War. With no luggage and no invitation, they find themselves at the mercy of Charles and Brigitte Deschanel, who, for now, believe they are cousins visiting from abroad.

Secrets Among the Cypress, the eighth volume in the House of Crimson and Clover series follows the fortunes of Jacob and Amelia. As a result of horrifically tragic events and to escape more danger, Jacob transports himself and Amelia back in time, not certain where they will end up. Recovering from the disorientation they realise with incredulity they are at Ophélie, but a very different Ophélie than they know. Jacob and Amelia find themselves the uninvited guests of Charles and Brigitte Deschanel in pre Civil War Louisiana, the day of Ophélie Deschanel’s sixteenth birthday. Continue reading

The Regrets of Cyrus Dodd ~ The Wyattsville Series Book 4 by @BetteLeeCrosby ~ Family #Saga

  • 29983645-2Author: Bette Lee Crosby
  • Published: June 2016 by Bent Pine Publishing
  • Category: Contemporary, Family Saga
  • four-half-stars

Revenge, death, deception… These are the things Cyrus Dodd has to overcome if he is to give Ruth the life he’s promised her. The problem is he’s got a prideful nature and when a seemingly innocuous argument leads to a bitter feud with his neighbor, his life changes forever. The plans he has falls by the wayside and before he finds a way to fix it, he comes to understand the meaning of regret.

As Cyrus Dodd looks back over a long life, threaded through with what he considered regrets, he realises those regrets he was holding onto were actually challenges, which eventually developed into blessings in disguise. ‘Mine has been a complicated life, a story worthy of telling, but to appreciate the end you have to go back to the beginning.’

In 1930 Cyrus Dodd and his wife, Ruth lived and farmed in Elk Bend, West Virginia. Cyrus’ neighbour, Virgil Jackson, controlled the water supply to the adjoining farms. When Cyrus and Virgil had a falling out, neither would back down and it escalated until Virgil dammed the spring on his land and cut of Cyrus’ water supply, causing his crops to fail. Unsuccessful attempts to end the feud only seemed to make matters worse. Both men were stubborn and strong-willed. Continue reading

Empire of Shadows ~ The House of Crimson and Clover #5

  • EoSAuthor: Sarah M Cradit
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Saga
  • five-stars

Two dynasties clash for power. Only one empire can emerge. In a time now legend, a sacred vow united the Farværdig and the Tuatha Dé Danann. One race born of fire, the other risen from nature. Together, they enjoyed centuries of peace and prosperity, under the protective blanket of this hallowed oath. But when war came to the doorstep of the Tuatha, the Farværdig turned their backs. Expelled from their lands, those Tuatha who were not extinguished went into hiding, later re-emerging in secret as the Quinlans. The broken vow took its toll on the Farværdig, dividing the race into two factions: those willing to fall to heel of new restrictive laws, and rebels determined to restore the peaceful values of their kind. In the midst of years of strife that follows, a Prophecy emerged, promising hope. Unite the races once more, and right the ancient wrong. As the shadows of age and myth are exposed, the Deschanels find themselves deeply enmeshed in this war. Their bloodline and futures closely intertwined with both races, each member of the family must uncover their own vital role in fulfilling the Prophecy or risk decimation. 

Empire of Shadows opens with Anasofiya, Finn and Aidrik’s search for Finn’s grandfather’s house in the Scottish highlands. They are desperate to find shelter in time for Ana to give birth. Finn’s strong connection with nature is growing rapidly, thanks to Aidrik and finally, with some assistance, they find the house in a clearing in the forest. Limited by the fact Empyrean blood causes babies to grow rapidly and, as in a few weeks the child’s appearance will be that of a young man, this was their only option.

They stay for nearly three months as Ana recovers and the now adolescent Aleksandr continues developing.

“I wish we could stay forever.” Aleksandr sighed, as they eased down next to him. Their son, now a man. It happened before Aidrik could process the way his soft head felt in his hands, or ingrain the sound of baby giggles to memory. he knew this sensation must be worse for Anasofiya, although she said nothing to him on the matter.

The narrative alternates between several groups ~ Nicolas and those family members at Ophélie ~ Finn, Ana and Aidrik with Agripin and the Empyrean Senetat ~ and Amelia and Jacob in Ireland.

As Ophélie is being readied to house and educate as many Empyrean children as possible, Nicolas is feeling inhibited by events. Knowing he will follow through with his commitment doesn’t make things any easier, being responsible for others is completely out of his comfort zone and he struggles with unfamiliar emotions. The Deschanels, and Oz, are all involved in the project and have their individual tasks. The uncertainty of what is to come and the unpredictability of how long much longer Ophélie will stay under the Empyreans’ radar is affecting them all.

The threat of the Eldre Senetat hangs over Aidrik, Finn, Ana and Aleksandr. As Aidrik appeals to Agripin, the son of the Empyrean emperor, for help, Amelia and Jacob begin to learn about their destiny and past connections. Shocking events in Ireland take them to the edge and beyond. All the family members need to use their enhanced resources like never before. Lives are on the line.

Empire of Shadows weaves together storylines, past and present, and a lot of questions are answered, even as more arise, in a turbulent and highly charged narrative. The situations the characters find themselves in are dangerous and challenging in the extreme and the parallel storylines keep the fast paced narrative flying along, tragic and terrible as it unfolds.

The relationships and characters, and there are lots both new and old, are detailed and defined and considerably more developed. The writing and plot line are incredibly imaginative and involved. The continuation of the druid storyline and Amelia and Jacob’s story is one of my favourites and the mythology aspect is an added bonus. A fascinating continuation of the saga.

My thanks to Sarah Cradit for sending an ARC in return for an honest review.

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

C&C

The House of Crimson and Clover Series

  • CCPrequelThe Storm and The Darkness ~ prequel
  • Author: Sarah M Cradit
  • Published: June 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 
  • Category: Mystery/Romance
  • four-half-stars
I received a digital copy from the author in return for an honest review.
Ana Deschanel flees New Orleans for the family house on Summer Island, Maine. She can’t forgive herself for something she’s done and, although she’s very close to her cousin, she can’t even confide in Nicolas.
Ana finds the people on Summer Island cold and distant, none more so than Jonathan St Andrews, the island’s vet. The only friendly face is Alex Whitman, the caretaker who it transpires is not at all what he seems. Then Ana meets Jonathan’s brother Finn, the complete opposite of Jonathan. After she and Finn share a dinner there is the beginnings of a friendship. In the midst of a snow storm Ana is injured as she tries to return Finn’s keys.
Some of the Deschanels are gifted with special abilities and Ana’s gift is that of a healer. It is a gift she is going to need very much in the days to come. Ana finds out running away from problems isn’t always the answer and can lead to even worse situations. She is a complex personality, having always felt removed from others and unable to relate emotionally, except to Nicolas.
I enjoyed each chapter being written from  the different characters’ point of view, it helped to understand and get t know them. Each was well written and developed.
The story flowed well too and each character had his or her own individual flaws and personality traits, humanizing them and adding to the tension and intrigue. 
As in the previous novels Ms Cradit’s style of writing is extremely descriptive, giving a vivid and dramatic picture of the place and events in the story. The story itself is a good combination of murder mystery and suspense with a dash of romance. I’m intrigued to follow the characters and find out what happens next.
  • Shattered ~ prequel
  • Author: Sarah M Cradit
  • Released: February 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Mystery/Romance
  • four-half-stars
Following on from The Storm and the Darkness, the relationship between Ana and Finn has developed. Jon does his utmost  to make Ana as uncomfortable as possible in the hope she will leave and go back to New Orleans. 
Just as Ana realises she loves Finn, Jon’s behaviour escalates dangerously. Have Jon’s terrible actions ruined everything for Ana and Finn. As we discovered previously Finn and Jon are complete opposites, as starkly different as light and dark, and their relationship may be damaged beyond repair.
Ana and Nicolas are still estranged but when Ana gets a call from Oz to say Nicolas needs her she doesn’t hesitate.
A very complex triangle, quite dark but in the telling it gives more insight into the complicated characters of Ana and Jon. Finn seems, at the moment, to be the only guileless and candid personality of the three.
  • The Illusions of Eventide #1
  • Author: Sarah M Cradit
  • Published: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, December 2013
  • Category: Mystery/Paranormal
  • five-stars
After leaving Maine and Ana, Nicolas has sunk deeply into a depression. So much so that he takes the decision to travel to the fame’s holiday island and end it all. He can see no way forward and has no will to carry on. The betrayal he feels is all-encompassing and he can’t see a way past it.
Believing himself to be alone on the island he’s incredulous and dismayed when he sees a mysterious woman sitting on the beach. Even in the midst of his own despair Nicolas feels obliged to help and with this decision lives are changed forever. Nicolas and Ana learn of their true heritage, finding the reality of it all almost impossible to grasp.
This series just gets better! The inclusion of Mercy, Aidrik and the whole idea of the complex Empyrean race takes this chapter in the lives of the Deschanels to a whole new level and dimension. The fantasy/paranormal aspect deepens significantly and adds a very interesting twist.
I like the intriguing and expanding development of the characters, especially Nicolas. He’s not such a shallow, all for himself person as Mercy works her magic and the story unfolds.
Nothing is as it seems and although each member of the Deschanel family have their own special abilities, they are not always aware of their own power and what it means. A lot is explained when Aidrik appears at Ophélie and valuable lessons are learned.
Fascinating and wonderful storytelling, very well written. Also, as an aside, all the book covers are beautifully designed and very evocative.
  • Bound ~ #2
  • Author: Sarah M Cradit
  • Published: April 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Romance, Paranormal
  • five-stars

Finnegan St. Andrews has lost everything. His perspective on the world is forever changed.Anasofiya Deschanel no longer knows who she is…or what. She longs both for what she has, and all she has left behind.Aidrik the Wise has vowed to do anything for his evigbond. As he watches her life force slowly ebb, he begins to understand the sacrifice he must make to save her.All three individuals are bound by love, promises, and the undeniable threads of fate.

The Deschanels have serious issues to confront and deal with, not least finding Ana and Aidrik before any harm befalls them. Nicolas has passed on his inheritance to Ana and so to her son. But the baby must be born in wedlock. Will Finn, Anne and Tristan find Ana and Aidrik in time? And will Finn and Aidrik come to terms with the knowledge they both love Ana and she them.

The spectre of the Empyrean Elder Senetat hangs over the Deschanels and their families. They know if the Senetat finds out about them their lives will be in mortal danger. I love the way this story is evolving and the direction it will take is anyone’s guess. I’m looking forward very much to finding out what happens next.
There are some new characters introduced, most notably Tristan who adds to the story and matures quite quickly on this, his first mission for the family.

There’s a lot of character development in Bound. Nicolas is growing up and taking his responsibilities more seriously and even if his self-confidence has suffered a blow there are still flashes of the old Nic. And Ana, in spite of everything that’s happened to her, is finally comfortable with who she is as her emotional tug of war is resolved. I love that Finn is as steadfast as ever and never wavers in his determination to reach Ana.

Although some matters are cleared up this book sets up the excitement and uncertainty of what will happen with the Empyreans. As always, Sarah Cradit’s writing is so evocative and visual and Ana and Finn’s story is quite emotional. The descriptions of Wales are so detailed, I could almost feel as though I were there, shivering in the cold. I love reading or listening and being transported by wonderful writing, right into the middle of the story.

  • Midnight Dynasty
  • Author: Sarah M Cradit
  • Published: August 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Contemporary,Romance, Paranormal
  • five-stars

The Deschanel Curse, dormant for a decade, has returned with a vengeance. Seers across the family are coming together, hopeful the Deschanel Magi Collective can solve this malediction that has plagued the family for nearly two centuries. But how do you combat the blood oath of a grieving mother? As the body count rises, it becomes apparent that strength, love, and ancient power provide no protection from destiny’s cruel hand.

I received a copy from the author in return for an honest review
Act 1, Malediction
What a start to book three. Each chapter coming from one person’s perspective adds impact and works so well, giving more insight into that character, and building the intensity.
It’s good catching up with people from previous story lines and meeting new family members. I particularly enjoyed Amelia and Jacob’s story, how emotional that is. And poor Tristan is not having an easy time, for sure.
Just when Elizabeth was beginning to believe, or at least hope, the curse may have worn itself out, it strikes again. The Deschanel Magi Collective must work together and hope they can find a way to break the curse before it claims more victims.
The new and old characters are integrated and woven together with the relevant back stories filling in the gaps. Lots of revelations and oh my…the ending!
I’m loving this series, it’s so easy to get pulled into the wonderful world created by Sarah Cradit.
Act 2, Convocation
The Deschanel Curse is continuing on it’s relentless path. No-one is safe. The family assemble to discuss the best way forward but two cousins have taken matters into their own hands after studying the family history in detail.
The tension and emotional chaos and confusion increase as tragedies befall the family leaving the Magi Collective fearful, helpless and at a complete loss. Lots of happenings and people having to deal with the consequences of actions taken, most notably Adrienne and Tristan. A complex and compelling family weighed down by a devastating 200-year-old curse.
Discovery upon discovery, the story takes the reader on a completely mysterious and unfathomable journey where anything can and does happen. It seems if it doesn’t kill, the Curse will change everyone’s life in one way or another….
Act 3, Omega
The third part of Midnight Dynasty is very dark and turbulent as the Deschanel Curse escalates to unprecedented proportions and the death count rises dramatically. Some scenes are shockingly vivid and painfully emotional and events leave the Deschanels and Sullivans in turmoil. It’s an incredibly rough and appalling time for the surviving members of both families with so many deaths and life altering situations to contend with.
As the family attempt to comprehend and take in the hugely horrific impact of the Curse, the origin comes into question affording the possibility of a glimmer of hope. Can there actually be an end to the death and destruction of families after all this time? Dare they look forward to a day when all the pain and suffering is behind them? I’m so looking forward to continuing this amazing series. The suspense and tension continue to be built with wonderfully skilful writing, captivating and enthralling.
  • Asunder #4
  • Author: Sarah M Cradit
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Paranormal, Romance
  • five-stars

Broken and dispirited, the Deschanel family reels under the weight of a family curse. Lives were torn asunder, as their numbers diminished. Amidst their pain, another prophecy takes shape. One laid by the ancient druidic Quinlan clan, in a time long forgotten. Seers across the family have borne witness to fragments. Distraught by the loss of her soul’s true love, Amelia begins to dream of an unknown man and a woman, designated by fate to live their story over and over again, throughout time.Now, destiny reaches across the centuries.

Following on from the devastating impact of the curse in Midnight Dynasty, the Deschanel and Sullivan families reorganise and regroup. The curse seems to be dormant for the time being and has given the Magi Collective a breathing space, even though the huge emotional backlash of shock and horror is an enormous strain, being felt by members of both families.
An unimaginably grim year sends Tristan on a path of self-destruction, but he is saved by something and someone completely unexpected. The full extent of Adrienne’s misguided attempt to bind Oz and Amelia is realised. But can it be reversed? Despite her pain Amelia still believes, and needs to justify her decision to set Jacob free, is the right one.

And Jacob, oh my goodness, Jacob. Overtaken and overwhelmed by his own belief that Amelia is lost to him forever, he takes desperate measures. Nothing, not even his family disaster, could ever bring him so low.

“The night you woke up, you said you’d destroyed me. That you swore to give me a better life than the one my family left me with, but instead you’d ruined it. You didn’t destroy me, Amelia.” Now his other hand also held her face, as he kissed her trembling mouth. “You saved me.”

The more I read of this series, the more Sarah Cradit’s so very imaginative storytelling, tense and gripping, and wonderful characterisations draw me in, so completely, to the lives of this fascinating family. The future is still precarious and there is still the Empyrean confrontation hanging over them, but have the families put the worst behind them? I can’t wait to find out.

The House of Crimson and Clover series may be purchased from Amazon UK and Amazon US