Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Historical Fiction Enticements 7/31

The Amber Treasure
Richard Denning

“I will take care of the body of my lord and you can carry the sword, story teller. For all good stories are about a sword.”

Cerdic is the nephew of a great warrior who died a hero of the 6th Century Anglo-Saxon country of Deira. Cynric’s body and sword were brought home by a family retainer, Grettir and a bard, Lilla.

Growing up in a quiet village, Cerdic is often told the stories of his uncle and gazes in awe at his sword. Along with his friends, the nervous agile Cuthbert and lumbering but brave Eduard, he dreams of the glories of battle and of one day writing his name into the sagas as told by Lilla. As a youth he trains for war under the guidance of the veteran, Grettir along with the youths from the area including the mysterious local boy Hussa who seems to bear him a grudge and watched by the resentful family slave, the Welshman, Aedann. As he grows he also becomes interested in a beautiful red haired village girl, Aidith who along with Cerdic’s sister, Mildrith are often about teasing and taunting the boys.

Cerdic’s dreams of glory along with his idyllic childhood years come to an abrupt end when he experiences the true horrors of war. His home is attacked, his sister kidnapped, his family betrayed and his uncle's legendary sword stolen by a cruel warlord from a neighbouring kingdom, Samlen ‘One Eyed’. In the disastrous rescue attempt that follows, the seventeen year old Cerdic is forced to take on the role of leadership in order to get his people home and comes to the attention of Deira’s King Aelle, the indecisive Prince Aethelric and hostile Earl Sabert who resents the authority given to this mere youth.

Cerdic, his friends, rivals and family are thrown into the struggles that will determine the future of 6th century Britain. In the ensuing battle he must show courageous leadership and overcome treachery, to save his kingdom, rescue his sister and return home with his uncle’s sword.

Amazon Kindle US
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Amazon US Paperback
Amazon UK Paperback


The Widow's Redeemer
Philippa Jane Keyworth

It's the year 1815 in Regency era London. Letty Burton is widowed at two-and-twenty without fortune or prospects. Leaving the West Country for Town, Letty is thrust into the London Season by her domineering mother-in-law. Amid the glittering soirees and balls of the ton, Letty endeavours to hide a dark past she wishes to forget. Facing an uncertain future, all she wants is to navigate London Society as a silent companion.

Meeting old acquaintances of her husband’s, and making a few new ones of her own, Letty is calm in the thought that her past will stay buried--until a chance meeting with London’s most eligible bachelor shatters her peace and sets in motion a series of events that will bring her life under the unfriendly scrutiny of the ton.

The Viscount Beauford holds secrets of his own, and Letty finds those dark, brooding eyes inescapable. As their relationship develops, the gossip mongers' tongues start to wag, both their secrets resurface, and their worlds are pulled apart. The net of scandal, debts and rivals rapidly closes in, and as Letty is pushed to breaking point she must decide--will she let her dark past dictate her life forever? Will she learn to trust again? And most importantly, will she allow herself to love?

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Elena, Woman of Courage
Linda Weaver Clarke

The "Roaring Twenties" was a time of great change, when women raised their hemlines and bobbed their hair. It was a time of independence, courage, and adventure. In the 1920s, the new generation spoke a language their parents didn't understand. They used words like: Cat's pajamas! Ah, horsefeathers! Baloney! When referring to a woman, they used doll and tomato. When a person was in love, he was goofy. And when a woman was not in the mood for kissing, she would say, "The bank's closed." Elena, Woman of Courage: A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho creates the mood of the "roaring twenties" and is filled with sweet romance, courage, and humor.

When Elena Yeates settles into a small western town as the newest doctor, a few problems arise. The town is not ready for a female doctor, let alone one so strong and independent. She must struggle against the prejudice to establish her new practice. As she fights to prove herself, the town's most eligible bachelor finds it a challenge to see if he can win her heart. When you mix a happy-go-lucky bachelor with a roaring 20s woman, you have Elena, Woman of Courage.

Suko's Notebook Reviews wrote: "Linda Weaver Clarke is outstanding at presenting the characters' thoughts, especially when it comes to romance, and she captures the highs and lows of romantic life rather adeptly."

Elena is a courageous woman who went to college during a time when women were not encouraged to be educated beyond high school. The 1920s was a time of change when women began fighting for their rights. After getting her degree as a doctor, she moves to the West to set up her own practice. When she arrives in a small town in Idaho, she meets those who oppose her from day one but Elena's stubborn nature will not allow her to give up. In her fight for equality, she learns to love the people of Bear Lake Valley and realizes she has found a home at last.

"Elena Woman of Courage is a wonderful book full of history, passion and romance, as well as a touch of suspense and humor," wrote Kim Atchue-Cusella, Book Loons.



Summer Rain: Getsikahvda Anitsalagi 
(The Removal of the People)
Robyn Leatherman

Welcome to the life of a young Cherokee girl named Rain, as she grows into maturity just as the Trail of Tears begins. Summer Rain: Getsikahvda Anitsalagi (The Removal of the People) is an unforgettable story that taps into a sad part of American history.

This journey begins in Georgia in a typical Cherokee village in the early 1800s, where a young girl and her best friend realize there are strangers poised to take their land and home away from the Cherokee and from neighboring tribes.

The girls witness the birth of the new written language of Tsalagi in the year 1821 and the printing press in the year 1827. The Cherokee Nation’s growth is also financial, and would mark the first newspaper to ever be printed and circulated by a Native American tribe.

Rain falls in love with a white boy and is forced to follow her heart and save her own life, or to remain loyal to her family, knowing that in doing so, she could lose not only her true love, but her very life as well.



Tom Williams

After years spent in the Far East, John Williamson has joined the East India Company. Based in Cawnpore, in the North West Frontier province, he is a successful administrator, running a chunk of India on behalf of his London masters. Although he enjoys his work, he struggles to fit in with the other Europeans: a gay man in a straight society; a farm labourer's son in a world of gentleman's clubs and refined dinner parties. Uncomfortable with his compatriots, he falls in love with the country and, in particular, with a young Indian nobleman in the court of the local lord. Then the Indian troops rise in mutiny and the country is plunged into war. With the British Raj teetering on the edge of destruction and Cawnpore a by-word for horror across the Empire, Williamson has to choose whose side he is really on.

'Cawnpore' is a story firmly rooted in real historical events. Williamson finds himself at the centre of one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Indian Mutiny at a crucial point in history. 'Cawnpore' is the story of events that shocked the world and shaped the future of British India. But, above all, it is a story of one man, caught in an impossible situation. It's guaranteed to make you cry.

Amazon Kindle UK  (It is also available in paperback.)
Amazon Kindle US  (Also available in paperback)


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Historical Fiction Enticements 7/24

Welcome to this week's Wednesday feature, Historical Fiction Enticements. I hope you will find your new favorite book!


The White Rajah
Tom Williams

When James Brooke arrived in Borneo on the schooner 'Royalist', he planned to make a quick profit trading with the natives. He didn't expect to find himself caught up in a civil war. And he certainly didn't expect to end up the legal ruler of his own country.

As the first White Rajah of Sarawak, Brooke was determined to show how the Britain of Queen Victoria could bring civilisation to the native people of the world. But life in Borneo proved more complicated than it seemed. Soon pirates were exploiting the divisions in the country and, when the old rulers staged a coup, Brooke found himself fighting for his life.

Faced with the destruction of all he had worked for, Brooke is driven to desperate measures to reclaim his country. But is he bringing civilisation to Borneo or will his ruthless destruction of the pirates just bring a new level of brutality to the people he had meant to save?

The White Rajah is the story of a man, fighting for his life, who must choose between his beliefs and the chance of victory. Based on a true story, Brooke's battle is a tale of adventure set against the background of a jungle world of extraordinary beauty and terrible savagery.

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A Widow's Crusade
Helena Schrader

Anno Domini 1212

Across France, children are on the march. Seduced by a shepherd boy with a vision of freeing Jerusalem through the power of innocence alone, tens of thousands of children have left their homes to embark upon a new, peaceful crusade. As they stream through the city of Chavigny in Poitou, they are singing the old crusader ballade: The Song of Palestine.

The melody awakens memories in the heart of a rich widow, Blanche. Long ago, when she was still young and beautiful, she had been in love with a poor knight, Abelard. He left her to follow Richard the Lionheart on crusade – and never returned. An oblique reference to a man of the same name in a letter addressed to someone else sparks in Blanche an irresistible longing to go to the Holy Land in search of her lost love.

Blanche sets out on a personal crusade, across the war-torn Languedoc, daring the pirates and slavers of the Mediterranean -- only to find a man, who is nothing like she remembered him, and anything but pleased to see Blanche again.

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Castles, Customs, and Kings: 
True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors
Edited by Debra Brown and M.M. Bennetts

Madison Street Publishing is pleased to announce that Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors will be released on September 23, 2013. The anthology is a selection of essays from the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, a site organized by Debra Brown with a daily historical post contributed by one of the member authors. The release date marks the two year anniversary of the blog.

A compilation of essays from the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, this book provides a wealth of historical information from Roman Britain to early twentieth century England. Over fifty different authors share hundreds of real life stories and tantalizing tidbits discovered while doing research for their own historical novels.

From Queen Boadicea’s revolt to Tudor ladies-in-waiting, from Regency dining and dress to Victorian crime and technology, immerse yourself in the lore of Great Britain. Read the history behind the fiction and discover the true tales surrounding England’s castles, customs, and kings.


Leap the Wild Water
Jenny Lloyd

Megan Jones was meant to marry Eli, but an act of treachery on the part of her religiously zealous and spiteful mother prevented their marriage. Now her Mam has died and Eli has returned wishing to marry her. During Eli’s absence, and believing he would marry another, Megan was driven by desperation to escape the drudgery of her home life and her mother’s overbearing spite and malice. Megan’s escape arrived in the form of Iago, a ne’er-do-well professing love and promises of marriage. But Iago abandons her and her unborn child, and Megan faces being cast out, not only by the religious chapel community at large but by her own mother and brother.

Determined to avoid public shame, when the child is born, her Mam persuades Megan’s brother, Morgan, to steal away the new-born babe and leave it with a woman who takes in illegitimate children for payment.

Fearing judgement and rejection, Megan cannot find the courage to tell Eli about her past, and the marriage is set to go ahead. But Morgan is consumed by guilt and desperate to make amends. Now their Mam is dead, responsibility for what happens to Megan’s child lies solely with him. He knows what Megan does not; that her child lives in squalor and is neglected and abused by the woman who is paid to care for her. If he does nothing he cannot live with his conscience, but he cannot bring the child home without ruining his sister’s reputation and destroying her hopes of marriage. He has badly betrayed his sister once, against his will and better judgement. Now, it seems, he must betray Megan again, for the sake of her child. To do so will destroy his sister, but he may already be too late. As events gather momentum, Megan’s past charges relentlessly towards the present, threatening to destroy her marriage, her sanity and, ultimately, her life.

Set amid the windswept hills of early 19th century rural Wales, Leap the Wild Water is a tale of treachery, secrets, betrayal and sexual double standards, in a community ruled by fear of hell-fire and the religious fervour of the times.

Amazon US 
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The Song of Heledd
Judith Arnopp

In seventh century Powys a feast at the hall of King Cynddylan of Pengwern is in full swing. The torches are burning, the musicians are tuning their instruments and the dogs are snarling over a bone beneath the king’s table.  The men have removed their weapons but the talk is still of war but for the royal princesses, Heledd and Ffreur, the night is one of wonder and excitement. When the reveller’s bellies are full and the war talk mellowed by mead, a travelling minstrel steps forward, his hair shining red in the firelight. As his harp sounds and he begins to sing something in the heart of fifteen year old Heledd stirs, and an illicit liaison is born. A liaison that triggers a chain of events that will destroy two kingdoms and bring down a dynasty.

Set against the backdrop of the pagan-Christian conflict between kings Penda and Oswiu, The Song of Heledd sweeps the reader from the ancient kingdom of Pengwern to the lofty summits of Gwynedd where Heledd battles to control both her own destiny and that of her family. 

The Song of Heledd is a work of fiction inspired by fragments of ancient Welsh poetry known as Canu Heledd (The Song of Heledd) and Marwnad Cynddylan (Elegy of Cyndyllan).  In the poems Heledd is the sole surviving member of the royal house of Pengwern.  Her dynasty and family have been destroyed and, in the poem, her brother, King Cynddylan’s, hall is in ruins.  Her lament for him and the destruction of the royal seat remains powerfully emotive but the most striking thing is her sense of blame.  Judith Arnopp says, “The historical detail of 7th century Powys and Gwynedd is almost as fragmented as the surviving poetry.  We can never know what really became of Heledd and her family but there are enough references to know they existed.  The poems show a strong family bond and that Heledd was a woman whose actions impacted upon the world around her. The Canu Heledd provides rich descriptions of the llys and the people who lived there, Cynddylan in his purple cloak, the richly carved mead halls, the merging tradition of Celtic and Christian religion, the high halls filled with music. And they also mention a sister named Ffreur, whom Heledd once mourned but mourns no longer.  Canu Heledd raises many questions but, for me, this one is the greatest, she no longer mourns her sister? Why? 

I spent many months sifting through the smoke-ruined embers of Cynddylan’s hall to piece together a story for Heledd and Ffreur and produce a fiction of what might have been. It is a heart breaking story but, in spite of that, I hope you enjoy it.”


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Of Spaniels and Ladies’ Puppys

by Grace Elliot

The history linking England’s monarchs to spaniel breeds goes back centuries. In the 16th century Henry VIII decreed that only “some small spanyells for the ladies” would be allowed at court, and the spaniels were described as “smalle ladyes puppees”.

Perhaps the king most associated with dogs was Charles II. He owned so many spaniels that his Gentleman of the Bedchamber, the Earl of Ailesbury [sic], used them as a metaphor for currying-favour, describing certain courtiers as: “Pliant as a spaniel dog.” The dogs Charles prefered are today known as King Charles Spaniels – a name which was never applied to them in their day. These dogs were much beloved of King Charles I – and folk lore has it that every dog across the land wept at Charles I’s execution.

A subtly different strain of spaniel was favoured by Charles II – and became known as the ‘Cavalier’ King Charles Spaniel – a term synonymously linked to the Royalist cause and therefore potentially dangerous to own during the Civil War. With the eventual restoration of the monarch in 1660, in celebration the new king was said to award Cavalier spaniels the freedom of every inn in the land, that they were not to be denied access to any public place and they alone were allowed the freedom to roam the royal parks!

Indeed Samuel Pepys accompanied Charles aboard the Naseby, in 1660, on his return to England. He records the presence of a dog: “That the King loved, which sh*t in the boat, which made us laugh and me think that a King and all that belong to him are but just as others are.”

In the 18th century and the Hanovarians now on the throne, spaniels were well established as part of court life, and regularly featured in portraits of royal children. Indeed, in the early 19th century the Prince Regent commissioned a portrait of his father, George III, with a spaniel at his feet and a statue of Charles II in the background. By 1841 it was estimated that five thousand spaniels were kept as pets in London alone, but it was to be over a hundred years later, in 1945 that the breed was first officially recognised as Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

In the early 18th century, the Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill, kept red and white coloured King Charles spaniels, which he records as trotting alongside his horse. His estate was named Blenheim, after the Battle of Blenheim, and as a patron of the red and white spaniel, this colour variety of King Charles and Cavalier King Charles became called Blenheim.

My latest novel, Verity’s Lie, is a regency romance. In this excerpt our hero, Lord Ryevale, uses his mother’s spaniel as an excuse to seek the company of the woman, Verity Verrinder, who he has fallen in love with. If Verity only offered friendship, then that's what he would take. Ryevale repeated this, mantra-like, hoping if he said it enough he'd come to believe it. If when walking his mother's dog he choose a route in the hope of bumping into Verity, this too was in the name of friendship.

"It was a beautiful afternoon; the sky powder blue and flecked with mare's tail clouds. Every now and again, through the trees, he glimpsed the glittering sea. The air smelled salty, fresh against his warm face; he had already walked the length of Lady Constance's walled gardens, and Jasper had enjoyed a dig in the rose borders. He even visited the kitchen gardens and the stables but with no sign of Verity. Then he remembered a chance comment she'd made about the light on the sea and took the path down to the Grange's jetty to seek her there.
"Here, Jasper," Ryevale whistled for the dog. His tail high as a flagpole and casually wagging as he trotted, the spaniel followed his master down the rolling lawn and along the twisting path cut into the hillside.
"As they wound their way down, far below a flutter of raspberry pink caught his eye. Instantly, his mood lifted, and he found himself whistling. After brisk five minute stroll, he could clearly see Verity perched on a fallen tree with a sketch book on her lap. It seemed Jasper also shared his affection for the errant miss as he gave an excited yip and ran ahead to greet her. Not wishing to appear too eager, Ryevale slowed to an amble, while in truth, these meetings had become the highlight of each day.
"Verity set aside her sketch and bent over, fussing the dog's ears.
"Ho there. Sorry to interrupt. Jasper is such a tearaway."
"Verity shaded her eyes and smiled. "Really? He seems entirely biddable to me." The dog rolled over and displayed his belly for a tickle, enforcing her impression.
"Ryevale shrugged good-humouredly. "I've been found out. But seriously, may we join you?"
"Of course. Actually, I was feeling a little frustrated—I never was much good at landscapes."
"Well, if you prefer portraits, I'm happy to offer my services as a model."
"Verity cuffed his arm. 'I don't think there's paper big enough to fit your head.'
"'Ouch! That hurt.' Ryevale pulled a face, and Verity giggled in response.
"'I love it when you smile.'
"Sorry, I forgot. Just friends...but friends express pleasure when the other appear happy."
"'I suppose.'" She tweaked her mouth to one side, and a dimple formed in her cheek.
"Quite hypnotic. Ryevale found he was staring and placed his palm to his forehead. 'See how you affect me? I'm quite feverish.'
"Her eyes widened in alarm. 'Are you?' Oh bliss, her innocent concern sweeter than honey.
"'No, of course not. A little warm from the walk, but nothing more.'
"Jasper yawned and settled down on the path, resting his chin on his paws.
"'You've tired the dog out.'
"'So it seems. Best we'll rest here a while, if that's all right with you.'
"Why was it that this quirky looking female, with ink-blue eyes and wavy hair, could make his day with one word?"


Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is passionate about history, romance and cats! She is housekeeping staff to five cats, two sons, one husband and a bearded dragon (not necessarily listed in order of importance).

Verity’s Lie is Grace’s fourth novel.

Verity’s Lie - Synopsis:

Charles Huntley, Lord Ryevale, infamous rogue…and government agent: In unsettled times, with England at war with France, Ryevale is assigned to covertly protect a politician’s daughter, Miss Verity Verrinder. To keep Verity under his watchful eye, Ryevale plots a campaign of seduction that no woman can resist– except it seems, Miss Verrinder. In order to gain her trust Ryevale enters Verity’s world of charity meetings and bookshops…where the unexpected happens and he falls in love with his charge. When Lord Ryevale turns his bone-melting charms on her, Verity questions his lordship’s motivation. But with her controlling father abroad, Verity wishes to explore London and reluctantly accepts Ryevale’s companionship. As the compelling attraction between them strengthens, Verity is shattered to learn her instincts are correct after all – and Ryevale is not what he seems. So if Lord Ryevale can lie, so can she… with disastrous consequences.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Victoria's Coronation Banquets

Because my novels are set in the earliest Victorian years, I am often researching the goings-on of that day. This gave me the opportunity to look into the feasting that accompanied the coronation of Queen Victoria.

There was far more feasting than what the royals and peers enjoyed. Queen Victoria Online states: "There was feasting at workhouses and hospitals and charity schools, and in Hyde Park there was a Fancy Fair which lasted four days."

Therealcambridge blog brings out that the good and gracious of Cambridge decided to have a dinner for the poor at Parker’s Piece on Thursday 28th June 1838. 12,000 respectable and deserving "suitable" adults and 2,700 Sunday School children were invited, but of course, not workhouse residents, though workhouse children were given meat that day. Seventy tables accommodated the diners. Upper class residents were invited to purchase tickets to watch the event. Were were these "betters" to sit?

A report in the Independent News stated, "A spacious and lofty wooden orchestra was raised in the centre of The Piece, capable of holding 100 musicians. An extensive framework, with seats on all sides, encompassed the orchestra from whence the more respectable inhabitants could have a commanding view of the dinner. Surrounding this was a green area, forming a Promenade for the accommodation of the humbler classes."

The 2 PM meal included1608 plum puddings,1029 joints of meat, 72 lbs. of mustard,140 lbs. of salt,125 gallons of pickles, 4500 loaves of bread, 99 barrels of best ale, 100 lbs. of tobacco and 6 lbs. snuff.

According to the blog Food History Jottings, similar events took place in Lewes and Wisbech. Such events, the blog states, led to today's street parties.

The book Queen Victoria: a biographical companion by Helen Rappaport states that the unusually low coronation budget (perhaps there was no money left since George IV's coronation?) was spent on a state procession for the benefit of the public rather than the usual banquet for a chosen few at the Palace of Westminster, and that across the country parishes had coronation dinners. The queen is said at  to have bathed her dog that afternoon, after the coronation, as usual. Other sources state that her Coronation banquet was attended by one hundred persons. Here is a picture of her Coronation banquet dinnerware.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Historical Fiction Enticements 7/17

Under a False Flag
A historical drama based on declassified CIA files.
Tom Gething

October, 1972. Freshly minted CIA officer Will Porter joins the secret war being waged against Chile’s Marxist government of President Salvador Allende. Working under cover as expatriate businessman Richard Allen in Santiago, Will’s job is to funnel the dirty money to Allende’s opposition.

From the get-go, Will faces challenges on his first assignment. Just getting into the country with a bunch of cash he shouldn’t be carrying poses unanticipated problems. And then there’s his new boss—a hard-nosed veteran named Ed Lipton who has no time or patience for rookies.

Nationwide strikes and paramilitary terrorism are Lipton’s preferred methods to achieve his goal. He sees a coup as the only way to stop Allende. And the sooner the better. At home, the Nixon Administration is under siege for Watergate, and the CIA’s covert directives face increased scrutiny from media and congressmen alike.

Will learns the ropes of his new trade: bribing, blackmailing and gathering useful information to help destabilize the country. But he soon discovers that the rules of espionage governing his life—question everything while preserving the lie—conflict with personal interests. On his first trip outside Santiago, he meets Ernesto Manning, a rebellious university student, and his beautiful sister, Gabriela, a journalist who aspires to have both career and family in a macho society that remains traditional despite its swerve toward socialism.

Will’s friendship with Ernesto and his romantic pursuit of Gabriela soon collide with his secret life. As Chile lurches toward civil war and Lipton ratchets up the pressure, Will must decide if he will be a good soldier or follow his heart. Or is there a way to do both?

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Where Eagles Never Flew
Helena Schrader

This is the novel RAF fighter ace Bob Doe called "the best book" he ever read about the Battle of Britain. According to Doe, Schrader "got it smack on the way it was for us fighter pilots."

No. 606 (Hurricane) Squadron has not recovered from the losses over Dunkirk when it is thrown into the Battle of Britain. As the losses mount, morale plunges. New pilots joining the squadron find a cold reception from the clique of old pilots, who resent them taking the place of their dead friends -- and then the Squadron Leader is shot down. Air Vice Marshal Park has to make a critical decision: pull the squadron out of the front line and risk even higher losses in an untested squadron, or risk appointing a man with a dubious reputation CO.

Robin, formerly and RAF aerobatics pilot and "Debs' Delight" has incurred the displeasure of the Air Ministry by a dangerous breach of the King's Regulations. He is cooling his heels in training command -- and falling in love with a girl from the Salvation Army. But Park decides he might just be what 606 Squadron needs.

Meanwhile, across the channel Klaudia von Richthofen, a naïve recruit to the Luftwaffe Women's Auxilliary, allows herself to be seduced by a dashing Stuka Group Commander -- and then falls under the spell of the irreverent and carefree Baron von Feldburg. But it is his wingman, Leutnant Ernst Geuke, who has fallen desperately in love with her.

This is a story of the Battle of Britain: seen from both sides of the channel and through the eyes of ground crew, controllers, women auxiliaries and fighter pilots. This is the Battle of Britain as it was experienced by men and women in the summer of 1940.

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The Skin of Water
G.S. Johnston

At a Hungarian lakeside resort in the summer of 1943, seventeen year old Zeno Czubula looks through the lens of his beloved Cine Kodak Eight Model 20 and glimpses his future. A woman, Catherine Steiner, unaware she’s observed and recorded, appears disorientated and runs away. Intrigued and concerned, he follows only to find her clothes abandoned and no sign of her in the lake. As the seconds pass, he strips to the waist and dives in.

And so the lovers begin...

Although Zeno believes his lens brings him clarity, Catherine’s beauty and sophistication as the wife of a rich industrialist fog and distort his view beyond his youthful understanding. When the German army rolls in to occupy Budapest, alliances shift with a ferocity and pace that leaves him bewildered.

Years later, when time and experience have cleared the lens, Zeno must make a final choice about Catherine Steiner.

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Jenny's Dream
 Linda Weaver Clarke

Dreams are a part of life and they come straight from the heart. If you work hard enough, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. This was Jenny's philosophy. Follow your dream!

Jenny Roberts has many dreams, but will she be able to fulfill them all? Jenny is home from college and feels restless. She wants to spread her wings and fly away. When her kindred friend, Will, asks her what her outlook on life is, she answers, "Dreams are an important part of life, and without them, life would be dull. If we can envision it, then I believe it can be accomplished." Jenny's dreams include falling in love with the "prince of her dreams."

As the summer passes, Jenny begins to recognize her true feelings for Will. When she realizes that he means more to her than a kindred friend, she must now choose between a career and matters of the heart. The only thing standing in her way is an unpleasant memory from her past, which has haunted her since childhood. She must learn to forgive before she can choose which dream to follow. This book is about the miracle of forgiveness.

While Jenny is trying to realize her dreams, her father is concerned about the safety of his family. A ten-foot grizzly bear is seen in the area and its boldness has frightened the community. There is one man with the courage and determination to protect his family and neighbors: Gilbert Roberts! He attempts to defy this great beast but Melinda will not have her husband be part of it. Gilbert has other ideas. Old Half Paw must be stopped.

"Jenny's Dream" is the story of a young girl's desire to become a writer and how she finds love and forgiveness, with the legend of Old Ephraim as the subplot.

 "Linda Weaver Clarke has captured the essence of reaching for your dreams, no matter what happens to throw you off the path of getting there," wrote Allison King, Rebecca's Reads. "Jenny's Dream is a book for all ages that can wrap you up and make you feel all warm inside with the love and hope that dreams can come true if you believe hard enough."

Purchase Book Link

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Historical Fiction Enticements 7/10

Welcome to our Wednesday feature where you can read the synopses of five historical fiction novels. Heaven only knows how the formatting will come out this week, as Blogger seems to be playing with the Preview feature.


The Prodigal Son
Anna Belfrage

Safely returned from an involuntary stay on a tobacco plantation in Virginia, Matthew Graham finds the Scottish Lowlands torn asunder by religious strife. The government of His Restored Majesty, Charles II, requires all his subjects to swear fealty to him and the Church of England, riding roughshod over any opposition.

Safely returned from an involuntary stay on a tobacco plantation in Virginia, Matthew Graham finds the Scottish Lowlands torn asunder by religious strife. The government of His Restored Majesty, Charles II, requires all his subjects to swear fealty to him and the Church of England, riding roughshod over any opposition.

In Ayrshire, the people close ranks around their evicted ministers, stubbornly clinging to their Presbyterian faith. But disobedience comes at a price – a very steep price - and as neighbours and friends are driven from hearth and home, Alex becomes increasingly more nervous as to what her Matthew is risking by his continued support of the clandestine ministers – foremost amongst them the charismatic Sandy Peden.

Privately, Alex considers Sandy an enervating fanatic and all this religious fervour is totally incomprehensible to her. So when Matthew repeatedly sets his faith and minister before his own safety and therefore per extension her safety and the safety of their children, he puts their marriage under severe strain.

The situation is further complicated by the presence of Ian, the son Matthew was cruelly duped into disowning several years ago. Now Matthew wants Ian back and Alex isn’t entirely sure this is a good thing, watching from a distance as her husband dances round his lost boy.

Things are brought to a head when Matthew yet again places all their lives in the balance to save his dear friend and preacher from the dragoons that chase him over the moor.

How much is Matthew willing to risk? How much will he ultimately lose?

The Prodigal Son is the third in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

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The Conspiracies of Dreams
Sandra Biber Didner

Jews, Christians, Moslems, and Canaanites all share an ancient dream of possessing the land that lies between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea which they hold sacred.

In 1956 an Egyptian spy, Ishmael al Mohammed, is determined to gain information which will reclaim the infant state of Israel for the displaced Palestinian Arabs. While on an espionage mission posing as an Israeli, he falls passionately in love with a beautiful Jewish actress, Rebecca Silverman. He must decide if he will betray the only person he will ever care for or be true to Islam, Egypt, and his family. A Christian, Danny O’Halloran, dreams of walking the Stations of the Cross and saying Mass in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher while the pagan donkey goddess Palés dreams of being worshipped again by the original natives of Canaan. Israeli politicians dream of making Israel a nuclear power while Britain and France conspire to regain the Suez Canal, which the President of Egypt nationalized.

Against the backdrop of circumstances leading to the 1956 Suez War between Israel and Egypt a love story which encompasses the forbidden romance of Romeo and Juliet, Delilah’s betrayal of Samson, and the treachery of Britain’s MI6 double agents unfolds as Ishmael and Rebecca’s story spans three millennia of history.

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Hitler's Demons
Helena Schrader

Hitler's demons were those Germans who opposed his diabolical regime on moral grounds. They sought to defend human dignity and restore the rule of law. This novel is a tribute to the brave men and women of Germany's resistance and tells the true story of the Valkyrie Plot to assassinate Hitler.

1938: All Germany seems captivated by the pied piper from Austria: Adolf Hitler. Philip Baron von Feldburg, a German officer deeply distressed by the policies of the Nazi government, feels like an irrelevant anachronism. His younger brother is thrilled to be flying the Luftwaffe’s fastest fighter, his sister has married a self-made man with good Nazi connections and is rapidly rising in the world. Soon one Nazi victory follows another. Philip feels increasingly isolated – until he meets Alexandra von Mollwitz. Alexandra is an attractive secretary working at General Staff Headquarters for a certain General Friedrich Olbricht. In Alexandra, Philip finds love and a kindred spirit. Through her he meets a group of senior officers working to overthrow the Nazi regime.

Unknown to Philip, one of the tenants in his apartment building is a young medical student Marianne Moldenauer. Marianne has seen the Warsaw ghetto, and she knows the Nazis are brutal and barbaric. Reacting out of naked humanitarianism, she finds herself drawn into an underworld of illegal activity directed at saving the victims of the racist dictatorship. But the young man she has fallen in love with is an idealistic commissar of the Gestapo. With each day the risk of her two lives coming in conflict grows.

A work of historical fiction, Hitler’s Demons personalizes a major event in world history. The story shows how the Nazi regime invaded the personal lives and warped moral perspective of even ordinary people. Hitler’s Demons helps us to understand what it was like to live in Nazi Germany – or in any immoral dictatorship.

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Earl of my Heart
Victoria Oliveri

Dane Redford Lambourne, now the fourth Earl of Huntsbridge, never thought to live a responsible, noble existence. Spending his nights as a privileged gentleman, carousing and enjoying the company of friends was the only life he ever aspired to until the sudden death of his brother thrust him into a world he never wanted and was not prepared to face.

Lady Nichola Crawford could care less if the fabric of her new evening dress matched her shoes or if any of the men at the upcoming balls even looked in her direction. She would sooner stay in the country and scour her father's library than place herself on the marriage block to be picked at and prodded by the scant handful of ill-deserving men in London.

Could the Rake of Huntsbridge prevail over his past discretions to be deemed worthy of such a pure beauty? Lady Nicola’s family is sure he cannot and is determined to keep them apart at all cost, even if it means risking her life and putting her into the hands of another man who is more dangerous than they could have ever imagined.

A chance meeting at a local confectioner shop may be all it takes to set off sparks between the man who vowed no woman would ever get under his skin and the woman who would do anything to deny the love she felt for the Earl of her heart.

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The Rebels of Cordovia
by Linda Weaver Clarke

The Stories of Robin Hood ~ Inspiration for Historical/Romance

With bits of adventure, humor, mystery, and a tender love story, this tale will entertain anyone who enjoys a sweet romance. The stories of Robin Hood have enchanted readers for years. In our youth, we enjoyed hearing the escapades of Robin Hood and were spellbound by each story and how he cared for the people. How awesome would it be to live during that time period just because of Robin Hood! In The Rebels of Cordovia, a similar story is created but centuries after the legend of Robin Hood. But this time, there are two major groups of rebels fighting for the rights of the people. Daniel, a good-looking rogue, would be the leader of the Freemen. Robin Marie, a young woman, would be the leader of Robin’s Rebels. Each leader is an expert archer and swordsman. With bits of adventure and delectable kisses, this tale will entertain anyone who enjoys a sweet romance.

In The Rebels of Cordovia the time period is set in the 1700s. Centuries after the legendary Robin Hood, a group of men and women find themselves fighting for the same cause: for their rights, for freedom of speech, and equality. Robin’s Rebels realize they must fight against the tyranny of a wicked king and help the people survive this oppression. In the small country of Cordovia, groups of rebels begin springing up, but its Robin’s Rebels who get the attention of the king.

In this battle for freedom, a tender love story begins to blossom. Daniel, a rogue and a leader of the Freemen, doesn’t realize that the sweet feminine woman he has met and is falling for happens to be the leader of Robin’s Rebels. Realizing the importance of uniting all the rebel groups, Daniel tries to recruit Robin’s Rebels but they refuse. Now he has to find a way to convince them. When he finds out the leader is actually a woman, what will his reaction be?

Read a sample chapter HERE.