Secrets: In the Shadows Lurks the Truth by Judith Barrow #ShortStories @barrow_judith #histfic

  • Author: Judith Barrow
  • Kindle Edition published June 2017
  • Category: Short Stories, Historical, Fiction, Book Review, Books, Reading

Ashford, home of the Howarth family, is a gritty northern mill town, a community of no-nonsense Lancashire folk, who speak their minds and are quick to judge. But how many of them are hiding secrets that wouldn’t stand up to the scrutiny of others?

This is a wonderful collection of short stories, focussing on characters from Judith Barrow’s Howarth family trilogy and giving a brief but heartfelt glimpse into some of their lives, pre saga. Including situations and misfortunes, some of which were brought about by the restrictions and expectations of the time, unmarried women who have no choice but to give up their baby and the cruelty meted out to a conscientious objector to name just a couple. Others which are sadly still relevant today, namely the victims of incest and rape.  Continue reading

The Mistress of Blackstairs by Catherine Curzon reviewed for #RBRT #HistFic @MadameGilflurt

  • Author: Catherine Curzon
  • Published: March 2017 by Endeavour Press
  • Category: Historical Fiction, Romance, Book Review, Reading

In 18th century Covent Garden, Madam Moineau, is the mistress of Blackstairs, an establishment catering to the finest clients in London.

The mysterious, always heavily veiled in public and very French Madam Moineau, Georgina Radcliffe in a former life, is the mistress of the hugely successful brothel, Blackstairs, in Covent Garden. It’s the winter of 1785 and Georgina’s life is about to be changed by two men. It’s almost ten years since, as Georgina, she was left for dead by her abusive husband and she hasn’t seen him since. Until he turns up at Blackstairs, about to be married and looking for a mistress he can set up for his exclusive pleasure. Continue reading

Irex by Carl Rackman ~ based on fact #BookReview for #RBRT @CarlRackman #Histfic #FridayReads

  • 51gv4vgjy-lAuthor: Carl Rackman
  • Published: September 2016 by Rackman Books
  • Category: Historical, Fiction, Drama
  • five-stars

In the harsh winter of December 1889, the sailing vessel Irex leaves Scotland bound for Rio de Janeiro. She carries three thousand tons of pig iron and just three passengers for what should be a routine voyage. But Captain Will Hutton discovers that one of his passengers hides a horrifying secret.

First of all, I have to say it’s hard to believe this is a debut novel. It’s so good and the quality of the writing is excellent throughout. The story is based in history, the ship, a couple of the main crew members, reason for the wreck and the attempts at rescue, are all fact. Carl Rackman has woven an incredibly imaginative and compelling tale around that tragic event. Continue reading

Ghost Variations: The Strangest Detective Story in Music by Jessica Duchen #RBRT @jessicaduchen #bookreview #FridayReads

  • 32053103Author: Jessica Duchen
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Historical, Fiction
  • five-stars

London, 1933. Dabbling in the once-fashionable “glass game” – a Ouija board – the famous Hungarian violinist Jelly d’Arányi is amazed to receive a message supposedly from the spirit of the great composer Robert Schumann, asking her to find and play his long-suppressed violin concerto.

Ghost Variations is created from real people and true events which occurred during their lives; history dramatised into a rich and enchanting narrative.

Jelly d’Arányi, the central character, is a renowned Hungarian violinist, living in 1930s London with her sister, Adila and her family. Jelly has been the muse for several famous composers and is dedicated to her music, to the exclusion of her personal life, especially since she lost the man she loved at the Battle of the Somme during WWI. The sisters have lived in London since Jelly was sixteen and now as she approaches her fortieth birthday, Jelly is aware she is (unfairly) considered past her prime as a musician.  Continue reading

The Replacement Chronicles by Harper Swan #TuesdayBookBlog #Prehistoric #HistFic @harperswan1 #RBRT

  • 33539455Author: Harper Swan
  • Published: December 2016 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Prehistorical Fiction
  • five-stars

Two Lives… separated by millennia but nevertheless linked irrevocably. 

What possible link could Mark Hayek, an introverted twenty-first century research scientist, have to Raven, a young healer who lived during the late Pleistocene? It has everything to do with an injured Neanderthal man taken captive by Raven’s band while he and his brothers were hunting bison. 

I read the first of the Replacement Chronicles, Raven’s Choice, in early 2015 and loved it. As that is included in this omnibus, I’ll add my thoughts from the previous review.

Mark Heyek from the Parkinson’s Institute is a research scientist working in the field of genetics. Having sent a saliva sample to Genetics and Me, Inc. for further research into Parkinson’s disease, and as lead collaborator, he is invited to attend a meeting. What follows is an amazing fictional, although based on scientific knowledge, look back at the genetics that make up modern man. Continue reading

Turn of the Tide (Munro #1) by Margaret Skea #HistFic #RBRT #FridayReads @margaretskea1

  • 41kchzt5uxlAuthor: Margaret Skea
  • Published: September 2015 (2nd Edition) by Sanderling
  • Category: Scottish Historical Fact/Fiction
  • four-stars

Old rivalries…new friendships…dangerous decisions. 

Set in 16th Century Scotland Munro owes allegiance to the Cunninghames and to the Earl of Glencairn. Trapped in the 150-year-old feud between the Cunninghames and the Montgomeries, he escapes the bloody aftermath of an ambush, but he cannot escape the disdain of the wife he sought to protect, or his own internal conflict.

Initially, I wasn’t too sure about this book. There are a lot of characters, and their allegiances, to keep track of, which I found it a little confusing at first. Writing them down as a quick reference helped as it’s not so easy to keep referring back on a kindle. The more I read, the easier it became and the story took hold. Set in Ayrshire in the sixteenth century it tells of a notorious feud that lasted almost two centuries, between the Montgomeries and the Cunninghames. In the middle of these two warring clans is Munro and his family. Munro owes his loyalty to the Cunninghames, even as he is ever more uncomfortable with their actions and behaviour, and his understandable failure to comprehend the reasoning behind the feud. Continue reading

Abandon by Blake Crouch @blakecrouch1 ~ #Thriller #Audiobook

  • 6049585Author: Blake Crouch
  • Performed by Luke Daniels
  • Released: September 2016, Published by Brilliance Publishing
  • Category: Time Slip Thriller, Crime, Suspense
  • four-half-stars

On Christmas Day in 1893, every man, woman, and child in a remote gold mining town disappeared, belongings forsaken, meals left to freeze in vacant cabins – and not a single bone was ever found. One hundred thirteen years later, two backcountry guides are hired by a history professor and his journalist daughter to lead them into the abandoned mining town, so they can learn what happened. 

The story begins in 1893 with a mule skinner arriving in Abandon to find a ghost town. He’d been there only two weeks ago delivering supplies and the town was thriving and full of activity. Now the streets were deserted with the snow laying in drifts. Then he sees a young girl with a revolver, and it’s the last thing he ever sees. 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

La Petite Boulain (Above all Others; The Lady Anne #1) reviewed for #RBRT #Historical #Tudor

  • 29507218Author: G. Lawrence
  • Published: March 2016 by G. Lawrence
  • Category: Historical 
  • four-half-stars

May 1536, London… a fallen queen sits waiting in the Tower of London, condemned to death by her husband. As Death looms before her, Anne Boleyn, second queen of Henry VIII looks back on her life…from the very beginning. Daughter of a courtier, servant to queens… she rose higher than any thought possible, and fell lower than any could imagine. 

The story begins in the Tower of London where Anne Boleyn awaits her fate, contemplating those who died in the manner that now lies ahead for her. In return for HenryVIII’s promise of protection for her daughter, Anne signs her life away, admitting to all she is falsely accused of. Sleepless, determined not to panic and to die with dignity, Anne lets her thoughts wander back to her happy and carefree childhood at Hever Castle. Continue reading

Trouble In Nuala (The Inspector de Silva Mysteries Book 1) by Harriet Steel #RBRT Set in 1930s Ceylon

  • 51jn2a-wpblAuthor: Harriet Steel
  • Published: August 2016 by Stane Street Press
  • Category: Mystery, Historical
  • four-stars

When Inspector Shanti de Silva moves with his English wife Jane to his new post in the sleepy hill town of Nuala he anticipates a more restful life than police work in the big city entails.

The story is set in 1930’s Ceylon when it was still a British colony.  Inspector Shanti de Silva has left the big, bustling city of Colombo behind with no regrets. He and his English wife, Jane, an ex governess, have settled in the much more peaceful town of Nuala where de Silva runs the local police station with the aid of Sergeant Prasanna and Constable Nadar. Continue reading