Tag Archives: historical

An intriguing debut but I’m still not sure how I feel about it!

The Rake's Regress (To the Manor Reborn, #1)The Rake’s Regress by Lollie Plantagenet

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not sure what to say about this book.

I don’t like cliffhangers and this stops with a sort of one, it’s a morass of different tropes and none dominates, none of the characters are particularly sympathetic.

And yet, it’s an utterly absorbing narrative which draws you in as you try to get your head round what’s actually going on.

I can’t say it had a sense of place to me, it’s set in Yorkshire but could be anywhere, there’s nothing to really identify the location as being uniquely Yorkshire.

It also is an Edwardian historical, but again apart from the references to titles and servants, there wasn’t much which gave it a sense of the past.

But the quality of writing is excellent, as is the imagination needed to come up with this idea in the first place. I would recommend it for lovers of quirky and kinky but it’s also not particularly sexy or erotic yet either.

It’s a puzzle and that’s why my rating falls in the middle. Even with the cliffhanger, I’m not sure I’m invested enough to read more. I’m not ruling it out though.

An intriguing debut.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Release Blitz: The Duke & The Dandy Highwayman Trilogy by Zakarrie Clarke

The Duke & The Dandy Highwayman Trilogy | Zakarrie Clarke

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Release Date: May 6, 2019

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: approx. 100,000 words

It is a standalone story

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Blurb

‘The Most High, Noble and Potent Prince, His Grace Padraic, Duke of Waterford.’

After enduring the Ducal Grand Entrance, one might be forgiven for thinking that an evening could only improve. One would be wrong. Padraic was then duty bound to find an amiable miss to romance and dance attendance upon.

In truth, the Duke was rather more partial to establishments that promised charms he would ne’er find in the arms of a Lady. Such dalliances did add a dash of decadence to his life of ducal drudgery, but time was tick-tocking and a blue-stocking bride must be wooed, and wed…

Raff of the Rookeries. The most afeared rake-hell to have haunted the highways since Darkin denied them the pleasure at the gallows…by stepping off the ladder before they could whip it from under his feet. Raff had fought his way up to rule the roost with instincts as razor-sharp as his dirk.

His sword skills, fists, and wily wits had stood him in good stead, but none had proved as invaluable as the weapon he’d ne’er needed to tend. His fury. A rage every bit as lethal as arsenic—deadlier than brawn, brains, or bravado—Raphael had carried it like a toxic plague. Until, he became Raff of the Rookeries.

Unleashed upon the underworld, it was the most formidable foe in London. Two men from two different worlds…a mere few miles apart. That is, until the fateful night when The Duke was halted in his tracks by a very Dandy Highwayman…

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Excerpt

Mayhaps twenty minutes later, the air turned decidedly rank; a stench that came accompanied by random street sounds and the odd drunken shout. They were, beyond any shadow o’doubt, heading for some godforsaken part of town. A logical assumption, further embellished by the aroma of decaying cabbage and other, far less salubrious odors.

If the Devil himself intended to demoralize the poor, he could not find a means more agreeable to his plans, than the London slums.

“Nearly there, Yer Grace,” The scoundrel called over his shoulder as they slowed to a trot.

“Where is ‘there’?” Padraic dared to wonder.

“My humble abode. It’s where you’ll be staying awhile; leastways until someone coughs up for yer safe return.” The highwayman’s voice sounded harsher, colder while imparting this, as if his words were poisoned by the rancid air as they fell from his lips.

“Whereabouts are we?” Padraic asked, curious as to whether his rogue would answer.

“The Strand.”

It was as he’d expected. They were in the warren of narrow, filthy streets and alleyways in the densely populated slums. Home to one of London’s most notorious Rookeries. An utterly lawless labyrinth of squalid living, gin dens, bawdy houses, and brothels. Popular legend told of a traveller who had entered Portugal Street on his way to The Strand and never emerged. His ghost was, apparently, still searching for a way back to civilization. Padraic would just have to hope to fare rather better than he.

The Duke had e’er been horrified that people were forced to live this way, right under the refined noses of the ton. Poles apart, but virtually overlapping in proximity. Padraic had poured thousands into funding an orphanage and school for foundlings, when he came into his inheritance. He visited them oft, choosing the staff himself to ensure that no child was ill-treated, but there was only so much he could do. With all the will in the world, there wasn’t a great deal to be done, as long as those in power turned a blind eye to the suffering of others.

“Whoa…” When Demon clattered to a halt on the cobblestones, the Duke reluctantly relinquished his grip about his captor’s person. The scoundrel shifted in the saddle and with one sharp tug, the kerchief was gone, alongside a fair few strands of hair that were tangled into its knot. The Duke scarce felt the sting as his hungry gaze guzzled the sight it had been denied for the duration of the ride. ’Twas with a devilish wink that the highwayman threw a leg over the horse’s head, before lightly dismounting.

“Billy, m’lad!” He hailed a youth seated on the front steps of a large dilapidated townhouse, holding a lantern aloft. An endearing grin lit up his grimy face as he sprang to his feet.

“Yer all right, Raff?” he chirped, in very genuine cockney tones.

“Too right I am. We ’ave ourselves a guest m’friend. Yer Grace, this is Billy—he ain’t got another name—so I can’t tell yer that. Billy, this ’ere is His Grace, The Duke of Waterford, so yer better mind your p’s ’n’ q’s, like I taught yer.”

“Hello Billy, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” Padriac greeted him.

“Lawks! I can’t fink why, Yer…Grace?” Billy glanced at the man he’d called Raff, seeking reassurance for his form of address, and received an approving nod.

“I can’t think why ’twould not be.” Padraic smiled. Billy looked puzzled for a moment—as if trying to make sense of something he’d patently understood—then just beamed instead and reached for Demon’s halter.

“See that he’s rubbed down and well-fed, won’t you, Billy? I need to get our guest settled in.”

“Righto. C’mon Demon, let’s be ’avin yer, there’s oats awaiting and some fresh hay.”

“After you, Yer Grace…” The rascal sketched a bow, waving his hand with a flourish as he bent extravagantly low, before straightening up to push open the front door. It was painted black; blistered, peeling and desperately in need of a fresh coat. A large, dimly lit hallway lay beyond it, with a wide staircase ascending on the left.

“Raff! I’d almost given up ’ope on ya. Thought you’d gone a-whoring,” announced a stocky, bow-legged man, with close-cropped hair and forearms like lamb shanks. His broad grin revealed several missing teeth, the remaining ones having seen better days. Several decades ago.

Despite having tugged his kerchief down when they entered, Padraic was still unable to drink his fill of Raff’s face, for much of it was cast into shadow and the rest, obscured by a tangled fall of hair.

“Not tonight Bluff, I was off procuring us a guest,” he smirked.

“Crikey, you’ve nabbed a right nob. Who the ’ell is he?”

“This ’ere’s The Duke of Waterford.” Raff declared, inclining his head with divine insolence.

“Lawks! A Duke? Couldn’t yer find a Prince ’anging about then?” Bluff gaped.

“’Fraid not, we’ll just ’ave to slum it…” Raff tutted, with a fulsome sigh.

“I hope yer don’t expect me t’curtsy. I ain’t got the legs for it.”

“You ain’t got the legs for owt except sitting on ’orseback,” Raff retorted, about a breath before his tone darkened to a deadly rasp. “Bluff. See to it that no one. But no one. Lays a finger on him.” He added nary a dire threat, nor had he raised his voice. Raff had, in fact, lowered it to a lethal lash of sound that sliced the air like a whip—but it was the glint of green he levelled at Bluff that made the man swallow visibly while nodding several times.

“Will do, Raff. He’ll fetch a pretty price, won’t he?”

“Too bloody right, he will. I’ll have to keep him up top with me—Duke he might be—but he ain’t above being too ripe and ready by ’alf.”

“A dark ’orse is he? I ain’t at all surprised, now you mention it. Beggin’ yer pardon, Yer Dukeness. Right, I’ll just wait for Billy an’ lock up then.”

“Thanks, Bluff. ’Night.”

“’Night Raff…’night yer Dukeness.” Bluff doffed an imaginary cap at Padraic, who inclined his head with ducal gravity, so as not to disappoint him. The amiable miscreant was chuckling away to himself as he took his leave of them, before disappearing through a door further down the hallway.

“Right then, Yer Grace, up yer go. Right to the top,” Raff instructed, gesturing towards the staircase with a regal sweep of his hand.

“Are you locking me in the attic?” Padraic asked, as he clasped the bannister.

“I am, indeed. Yer can’t get up to any mischief up there.”

The Duke thought it might be wise to hold his tongue and make his way upstairs, afore the scoundrel decided to shove him in the coal cellar instead. Padraic’s brain was abuzz with demon steeds, daft monikers, and bandy-legged blackguards. A boy with only one name and a heart of gold.

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About the Author

After moving to London at eighteen and flitting about for far too long, Zakarrie settled, as blissy as can be, by the sea.

’Twas here that her castaway dreams resurfaced and she began to write; stories that are, in truth, better at being her than she’s ever been.

Her one hope now is that someone, somewhere, will enjoy the misadventures of her miscreants as much as she loves writing them.

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Review and Blog Tour: Anthony, Earl of Crofton by Rebecca Cohen

Anthony, Earl of Crofton | Rebecca Cohen

Copy of RTBANNER-19Buy Links:

Amazon US Amazon UK

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Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design

Length: 66,000 words approx.

READ MY REVIEW

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Blurb

A tale set in Stuart England, where the King’s life depends on his most loyal of subjects.

Anthony Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, delights in his reputation as a charming rogue. Life is never quiet at the court of King James I, especially with his good friend and secret lover, Sebastian Hewel, by his side.

As an actor with the celebrated King’s Men, Sebastian has his own admirers, but neither man has eyes for anyone else.

When a plot against His Majesty is uncovered it threatens Anthony and Sebastian’s charmed lives, and they are dragged into the political intrigue and the race to save the king from danger.

Fear that a traitor is linked to the King’s Men leaves Sebastian and Anthony with no choice but to stage a very public dissolution of their friendship, so Anthony can be free to be the patron of a new rising actor, and Sebastian can be the prodigy of another noble.

It is a dangerous game they are playing to expose the plotters and still find a way to meet in secret, as Anthony is adamant that they will not sacrifice the love they have fought so hard to win.

They will do whatever it takes to protect the King’s life, and their commitment to each other.

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About the Author

REBECCA COHEN spends her days dreaming of living in a Tudor manor house or a Georgian mansion. Alas, the closest she comes to this is through her characters in her historical romance novels.

She also dreams of intergalactic adventures and fantasy realms, but because she’s not yet got her space or dimensional travel plans finalised, she lives happily in leafy Hertfordshire, England, with her husband and young son.

She can often be found with a pen in one hand and sloe gin with lemon tonic in the other.

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Release Blitz: Anthony, Earl of Crofton by Rebecca Cohen

Anthony, Earl of Crofton | Rebecca Cohen

RBBANNER-18.jpgBuy Links:

Amazon US Amazon UK

Universal Link 

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design

Length: 66,000 words approx.

Copy of Anthony-Earl-of-Crofton-Nook.jpg

Blurb

A tale set in Stuart England, where the King’s life depends on his most loyal of subjects.

Anthony Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, delights in his reputation as a charming rogue. Life is never quiet at the court of King James I, especially with his good friend and secret lover, Sebastian Hewel, by his side.

As an actor with the celebrated King’s Men, Sebastian has his own admirers, but neither man has eyes for anyone else.

When a plot against His Majesty is uncovered it threatens Anthony and Sebastian’s charmed lives, and they are dragged into the political intrigue and the race to save the king from danger.

Fear that a traitor is linked to the King’s Men leaves Sebastian and Anthony with no choice but to stage a very public dissolution of their friendship, so Anthony can be free to be the patron of a new rising actor, and Sebastian can be the prodigy of another noble.

It is a dangerous game they are playing to expose the plotters and still find a way to meet in secret, as Anthony is adamant that they will not sacrifice the love they have fought so hard to win.

They will do whatever it takes to protect the King’s life, and their commitment to each other.

About the Author

REBECCA COHEN spends her days dreaming of living in a Tudor manor house or a Georgian mansion. Alas, the closest she comes to this is through her characters in her historical romance novels.

She also dreams of intergalactic adventures and fantasy realms, but because she’s not yet got her space or dimensional travel plans finalised, she lives happily in leafy Hertfordshire, England, with her husband and young son.

She can often be found with a pen in one hand and sloe gin with lemon tonic in the other.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter


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Blog Tour: Strokes On A Canvas by H. Lewis-Foster

Strokes On A Canvas by H. Lewis-Foster

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Publisher: Pride Publishing

Cover Artist: Cherith Vaughan

Genre/s: Historical, MM, Romance

Heat Rating: 3-4 flames

Length: 29,060 words/114 pages

It is a standalone book.

Buy Links

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Blurb

London, 1924.

Evan Calver is enjoying a quiet pint when he notices a man smiling at him across the bar. While the Rose and Crown isn’t that kind of pub, Evan thinks his luck might be in, and he narrowly escapes humiliation when he realises the man is smiling at a friend.

Eavesdropping on their conversation, Evan discovers the man is named Milo Halstead and served as an army captain during the war.

When they meet again by chance in the British Museum, artist Milo asks Evan if he would sit for a portrait. Evan is amazed that an upper-class artist wants to paint the son of a miner, and he’s just as surprised when their acquaintance blossoms into friendship.

When he discovers that Milo is a man like himself, he hopes that friendship might become more. But as Evan and Milo grow ever closer, can they escape the fears of the past to find their future happiness?

Excerpt

On the opposite side of the cabinet, a man was gazing intently at the Athenian amphora. Evan doubted he was having the same thoughts as himself as he scrutinized the naked athletes, but he seemed transfixed by its sporting design.

The dark-haired man was wearing a brown pinstripe suit, the kind seen in newspaper photographs of famous actors and royalty, which Evan could never hope to afford. The stranger looked born to wear his stylish attire, his confident posture showing the suit’s fine cut to full advantage.

Then he raised his eyes, and Evan saw the man was not a total stranger. His hair was smooth with Brilliantine, and he wasn’t wearing his gold-rimmed glasses, but he was unmistakably Captain Milo Halstead.

Evan was about to make a hasty exit when he realized the former soldier was smiling at him through the glass. He may have looked smarter than he had last night, but his smile was still as warm and kind as a Nightingale Nurse’s.

Evan didn’t imagine the captain remembered him, but he smiled back, thinking it would be impolite not to, then turned to walk away.

To his surprise, Evan’s action was mirrored on the other side of the cabinet as Captain Halstead moved in the same direction. He was still looking at Evan, still smiling, and as they both reached the end of the cabinet, Evan wondered what would happen next. Would words be exchanged? And what would those words be? If Milo remembered him from last night and he wasn’t the genial man he seemed, they might hint at blackmail or violence.

Evan was tempted to put his head down and make a run for it, but he didn’t want to attract the attention of the museum guards. He took a breath and stepped forward, only to find Milo standing in his way.

“Excuse me. Could I get past?”

“Of course, but…” Milo’s smile was uncertain now, but he didn’t move from Evan’s path. “It was you I saw in the Rose and Crown last night, wasn’t it?”

Evan lowered his eyes and weighed up his options. He could admit he was at the pub and ask to know what business of Milo’s it was. Or he could deny being anywhere near the place, or even knowing of its existence. The latter seemed the most sensible choice, avoiding all confrontation, but when he looked up and saw Milo’s blue eyes sparkling cheerfully back at him, Evan was overwhelmed by a longing to spend a few seconds more in his company.

With no idea of Milo’s intentions, Evan answered, “That’s right. I saw you there too.”

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About the Author

H. has worked with books for a number of years and is delighted to finally find herself on the author’s side of the bookshelf. She enjoys writing historical romances, and contemporary stories too, and while her characters travel all over the world, they always have a touch of British humour.

H. has lived in various parts of the UK and currently lives in the North of England, where she’s enjoying city life as much as the beautiful countryside. In her spare time, H. loves going to the cinema and theatre, and her very eclectic tastes range from quirky comedy to ballet and Shakespeare, and pretty much everything in between.

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Cover Reveal: Anthony, Earl of Crofton bt Rebecca Cohen

Anthony, Earl of Crofton | Rebecca Cohen

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AVAILABLE APRIL 25 2019

Pre-Order Links: Amazon US Amazon UK | Universal Link 

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design

Length: 66,000 words approx.

Anthony-Earl-of-Crofton-Nook.jpg

Blurb

A tale set in Stuart England, where the king’s life depends on his most loyal of subjects.

Anthony Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, delights in his reputation as a charming rogue. Life is never quiet at the court of King James I, especially with his good friend and secret lover, Sebastian Hewel, by his side. As an actor with the celebrated King’s Men, Sebastian has his own admirers, but neither man has eyes for anyone else.

When a plot against His Majesty is uncovered it threatens Anthony and Sebastian’s charmed lives, and they are dragged into the political intrigue and the race to save the king from danger.

Fear that a traitor is linked to the King’s Men leaves Sebastian and Anthony with no choice but to stage a very public dissolution of their friendship so Anthony can be free to be the patron of a new rising actor, and Sebastian can be the prodigy of another noble.

It is a dangerous game they are playing to expose the plotters and still find a way to meet in secret, as Anthony is adamant that they will not sacrifice the love they have fought so hard to win. They will do whatever it takes to protect the King’s life and their commitment to each other.

About the Author

REBECCA COHEN spends her days dreaming of a living in a Tudor manor house, or a Georgian mansion. Alas, the closest she comes to this is through her characters in her historical romance novels.

She also dreams of intergalactic adventures and fantasy realms, but because she’s not yet got her space or dimensional travel plans finalised, she lives happily in leafy Hertfordshire, England, with her husband and young son. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and sloe gin with lemon tonic in the other.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter


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Release Blitz: Under the Radar by Lilian Francis

Under the Radar | Lilian Francis

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Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Cover Design: Tiferet Design

Length: 138,000 words approx.

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Blurb

It’s 1942 and after a sexual indiscretion, US Navy pilot Zachary MacKenzie is sent to serve in the Royal Navy’s submarine service—a shockingly harsh punishment for a man who loves to fly. The submarine is oppressive and frustrating for him, and he’s marked out from his peers, publicly by being American, and privately by his attraction to men.

The only bright spot is the company of his steward, sonar operator Gethin Llewelyn. Despite the differences of rank and background, they’re drawn to each other. Gethin’s integrity complements Zach’s casual joie de vivre, and soon the friendship develops into something much more.

As the threats of war increase, the submarine is plagued by potentially hostile vessels, and circumstances lead them to suspect there’s a spy amongst their own crew.

Being forced even closer together as they work for the greater good reveals a new awareness, and Zach doesn’t know what is in more danger, the vessel under his charge or his heart.

***

“From Polari to Polaris, it’s never been just the nice girls who love a sailor. Lillian Francis effortlessly evokes the claustrophobia and camaraderie of life—and forbidden love—aboard a WW2 submarine.” – JL Merrow

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About the Author

Lillian Francis is a self-confessed geek who likes nothing more than settling down with a comic or a good book, except maybe writing. Given a notepad, pen, her Kindle, and an infinite supply of chocolate Hob Nobs and she can lose herself for weeks.

Romance was never her reading matter of choice, so it came as a great surprise to all concerned, including herself, to discover a romance was exactly what she’d written, and not the rollicking spy adventure or cosy murder mystery she always assumed she’d write.

http://lillianfrancis.blogspot.co.uk/

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