In Honour of #Remembrance Day ~ Poppies at The Tower

In honour of Remembrance, or Veteran’s, Day I thought I’d repost the photos from my visit to the Tower of London marking the centenary year of Britain’s involvement in WWI. This incredible and moving display paid tribute to British and Commonwealth soldiers killed in the war. Ceramic poppies were ‘planted’ encircling the Tower of London, each poppy representing a fallen soldier. It was a spectacular and very poignant sight which grew and grew over the weeks, until there was hardly any green to be seen.

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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

Blind Side #Psychological #Thriller by Jennie Ensor #TuesdayBookBlog #bookreview @ jennie_ensor

  • 31200537Author: Jennie Ensor
  • Published: July 2016 by Unbound
  • Category: Psychological Thriller
  • four-half-stars

Can you ever truly know someone? And what if you suspect the unthinkable? 

London, five months before 7/7. Georgie, a young woman wary of relationships after previous heartbreak, gives in and agrees to sleep with close friend Julian. She’s shocked when Julian reveals he’s loved her for a long time. 

Sleeping together when they’d both had too much to drink changes the close, erstwhile completely platonic, friendship between Julian and Georgie forever. Georgie foolishly gives in to Julian’s pleading, despite her better judgement and lives to regret it when Julian declares his love for her. She doesn’t reciprocate his feelings and Julian takes it badly, especially so when Georgie becomes involved with Nikolai, an illegal Russian immigrant, who she met in a pub.  Continue reading

The American Policeman

After everything, there is peace. The Collective took London away from the gangs that terrorised the city after the plague and the slow terror of the Breakdown. The blood on the streets has dried. There is food, water and good housing. Everyone has work. But the meek have not inherited the earth. On a bitterly cold night a woman is brutalised and murdered, shattering the fragile calm of the city. The investigation of London’s first murder in two years falls to Inspector Timothy Conlan and the District team of the New Metropolitan Police. Tim ‘Con’ Conlan serenely navigates the harsh new London. He is dedicated, conscientious and smiling. Around him society is broken. People are traumatised, fearful and wracked with guilt.

Set in London a few years after the pandemic which swept the globe (The Turning of the World) District Inspector Timothy Conlan, or Con as he prefers, is woken with the news that a body has been found. He is part of the District team of the New Metropolitan Police formed in the aftermath, along with a new government widely known as the Collective. In post apocalyptic London, and the south of the country, things have been running pretty smoothly since the Restoration, houses and areas of the devastated city have been made habitable and are under the Collective’s protection. The lawlessness and gang culture prevalent during the fallout has been contained, or so they thought.  Continue reading

Blood Money ~ Georgie Connolly Book 5

  • BloodMoneyAuthor: E.L. Lindley
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Thriller, Suspense, Crime
  • five-stars

One phone call changes Georgie Connelly’s life forever when her mother reveals a secret that leads to the pair of them heading to London. They’re accompanied by Georgie’s lover James Finn but it soon becomes clear that the situation is more dangerous than any of them could have anticipated and they’re forced to call on their friends for help. Reeling from the shock of discovering that her father may not have been the man she thought he was, Georgie inadvertently finds herself falling foul of the Triad. The more she digs, the uglier the truth becomes but Georgie has invested too much to turn back. Will putting the past to rest help her to see the future more clearly?

James and Georgie are planning a holiday, although James’ suggestion of  camping isn’t quite what Georgie has in mind. Both of them realise they need some quality time together after the traumas of the last year. But fate, in the form of Marilyn, intervenes with some shocking news for Georgie. She has a half-brother, Simon, the result of her father’s affair with his secretary, which broke up her parents’ marriage. And, it seems everyone but Georgie knew about it. Not content with dropping that bolt from the blue, it appears Simon is missing and Marilyn, in her usual high-handed manner, has promised Serena they’ll go to London and help with the search.  Continue reading

Diamonds And Dust ~ A Victorian Murder Mystery

  • DiamondsandDustAuthor: Carol Hedges
  • Published: November 2013 by Crooked Cat Publishing
  • Category: Historical, Fiction, Mystery, Murder
  • four-half-stars

When a horrific murder takes place on a dark night in 1860’s London, it changes two women for ever. New light is cast upon past lives they thought they knew so well, and suddenly their futures become intertwined. 

After a dismal start in life, eighteen year old Josephine King was rescued from the Bertha Helstone Institute for Orphaned Clergy Daughters (the name itself enough to strike fear into the heart) by her uncle, Herbert King. Herbert made his fortune abroad and now lives very comfortably. Josephine delights in the unaccustomed luxury and looks forward to a very pleasing future. But her world is turned upside down when she has a visit from the police to say her uncle has been murdered in very mysterious circumstances. The two policemen, Detective Inspector Stride and Detective Sergeant Cully, are not having much luck solving the case.

As Josephine tries to make sense of her uncle’s death and the strange events that follow, she and her uncle’s mistress, Lilith Marks, set out to track down the murderer. Josephine, now an heiress and the owner of a priceless diamond, has strength of character and is not cowed by being a young woman on her own. And Lilith, a highly paid prostitute who, thanks to Herbert King’s bequest, can now start the business she has always dreamed of. Circumstances have forged an unlikely friendship between the two women.

A wonderfully memorable secondary cast, who are all completely believable in the context of Victorian London, include Oi, the impish road sweeper and Trafalgar Moggs, the clerk at the offices of King & Co. I love the complexity and detail of these characters, the determined Mrs Thorpe and her daughter Isabella who can’t face her future nuptials to the debauched George Osborne (!) Isabella’s brother, the equally distasteful Gussy, who her mother is trying to pair off with Josephine. An heiress is, after all, a very good catch.

The descriptions of Victorian London are incredibly vivid and invoke a sense of actually being there with all the dirt and grime, the stark contrasts and immense divide between the haves and the have-nots.

It is midnight, a full moon and a cold mist rising up from the river. Mist ghosts the masts of sloops and Russian brigs waiting to unload their cargo. Mist curls itself possessively around sooty chimneys and rooftops. Mist gently fingers its way into fetid courts and alleyways…….

Dark columns of smoke rise from a million massed chimneys, for London in 1860 is a filthy, stinking city. There are too many people, too much coal dust, too many horses, and too many cow sheds and abattoirs.

Carol Hedges has a very individual style of writing which, to be honest I was a little unsure about initially, but I was very soon drawn into the flow of the story. Full of humour and wit, greed, affluence and the darker side of human nature, the story explores all levels of society. It’s a very entertaining read with some unexpected twists and a satisfying ending.

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

About the author

CarolCarol Hedges is the successful UK writer of 11 books for teenagers/Young Adults. Her writing has received much critical acclaim, and her novel Jigsaw was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal. Her four Spy Girl books, published by Usborne Books and featuring feisty sassy heroine Jazmin Dawson are available to buy on Amazon. Her ebook Jigsaw Pieces is also available in Amazon. Her latest book,Diamonds & Dust, A Victorian Murder Mystery is published by Crooked Cat books,and is available as both book and ebook. It is her first adult novel.Carol Hedges lives in Hertfordshire. When not writing/sleeping/trying to resist cake, she tutors A level and GCSE English Literature. She also campaigns as chair of a local action group to save a community urban green space from possible development. Bits of her writing life can be viewed on her blog: http://carolhedges.blogspot.com
Connect with Carol Hedges via Twitter: @carolJhedges

Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the R.M.S. Titanic (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #4)

  • KittyHawk4Author: Iain Reading
  • Published: February 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Adventure, Young Adult
  • five-stars

Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic is the thrillingly cryptic fourth installment of the exciting Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series featuring the intrepid teenage seaplane pilot Kitty Hawk and her various adventures of mystery and intrigue as she follows in the footsteps of Amelia Earhart on an epic flight around the world……..Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history the reader will find themselves immersed in brand new worlds that are brought to life before their very eyes as Kitty Hawk experiences the stories and history of a doomed ocean liner and unravels the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic. 

This is definitely my favourite Kitty Hawk adventure up to date, although I’ve enjoyed all Kitty’s adventures and the places she has visited so far on her round the world flight. This story begins in Dublin where Kitty is helping to promote the opening the new branch of Wasabi Willy’s, the company that, thanks to Kitty’s friend Charlie, is funding her trip.

Kitty is soon involved in a race to help her new friend Andrew, whose great-uncle was First Officer William McMaster Murdoch aboard the Titanic, unravel the mystery that has been baffling his family for generations. Travelling from Ireland to London and back again they hope to solve confusing clues and a puzzling code that Andrew’s family received in the 1930s in the form of a newspaper clipping and a postcard. Andrew is desperate to clear his Great Uncle’s name which was dishonoured in the accounts following the tragedy.

The account of the sinking of the Titanic, even though events have been well documented, is written in such a way as to bring renewed feelings of poignancy. There’s a huge amount of information woven into the story and highlights just how many circumstances seem to have conspired against the ship that momentous night. The weather conditions, the sea state and extremely dark night and especially the seeming ineptitude of the captain of the Californian. The story of the Titanic will always be fascinating and catastrophic.

For a moment, the lights of the ship blazed brightly before flickering into darkness. A terrible roar arose from deep inside the Titanic as the entire contents of the enormous ship broke free-everything from gigantic boilers to tiny teaspoons. High in the air the ship’s stern seemed to hang motionless for an eternity before finally plummeting down into the icy black abyss.

The evocative descriptions of London and Ireland are rich and distinct giving a complete sense of place and local colour. Initially, I wasn’t too sure about the graphic accounts of Jack the Ripper’s victims being suitable for the target age range, but I did find myself engrossed even though it’s very gruesome and chilling. As with all the stories in this series, the wonderful accounts of the different countries and areas make me desperately want to visit. Newgrange and Brú na Bóinne is an intriguing sounding place and amazing to think was constructed around 3200 BC!

Kitty’s character is developing nicely and her adventures continue to be exciting and very entertaining for readers of any age.