Books · Fiction · Historical Fiction · Netgalley · Review

#BookReview : Fools and Mortals by @BernardCornwell : published by @HarperCollins

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“Fools and Mortals” by Bernard Cornwell. Published by Harper Collins. Publication date 19th October 2017.

Synopsis:

A dramatic new departure for international bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, FOOLS AND MORTALS takes us into the heart of the Elizabethan era, long one of his favourite periods of British history.

Fools and Mortals follows the young Richard Shakespeare, an actor struggling to make his way in a company dominated by his estranged older brother, William. As the growth of theatre blooms, their rivalry – and that of the playhouses, playwrights and actors vying for acclaim and glory – propels a high-stakes story of conflict and betrayal.

Showcasing his renowned storyteller’s skill, Bernard Cornwell has created an Elizabethan world incredibly rich in its portrayal: you walk the London streets, stand in the palaces and are on stage in the playhouses, as he weaves a remarkable story in which performances, rivalries and ambition combine to form a tangled web of intrigue.

My thoughts:

Set in Elizabethan England, at a time when static playhouses are still in their infancy, as the days of players touring the country will gradually decline.  The story focuses on one playhouse and it’s players known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men.  It is here where the reader in introduced to Richard, a small time actor who has followed his estranged brother to London.  His brother is the script writer William Shakespeare and scripts are becoming a valuable commodity.  Because the audiences are now going to the playhouse then there is a need for more plays.  It is at this time that William is creating A Midsummer Nights’ Dream and also Romeo and Juliet.

Richard is where the focus of this story lies, we are told why and how he decided to follow his older brother to London as well as his experiences of acting, living and social conditions  This is at a time when the playhouses are being targeted by the Pursuivants, who have the belief that what they the players do is all a lie, cheat and are generally considered to be rogues and criminals, luckily for us Queen Elizabeth and other notable aristocracy of the time were big supporters and so we have access to theatres today.

This is a really good read with a lot of historical research.  Cornwell is well-known for his historical fiction books, they tend to be more battle based.  This is a shift away from that style, this is has a real different feel to his previous works.  It is lighter and entertaining, but still shows the huge amount of research as his other books.  There are many characters to get to know, but once that is done the story becomes very addictive and a page turner.

Cromwell has included a very interesting “Historical Notes” addition at the end of the book, here he discusses the origins of the playhouse as well as the historical figure he has used in the story.

If like me you like historical fiction genres, then this is a book I would recommend.  It has a great cast of characters, that will lead the reader through jealous rivalries, romance, betrayal as well as having some great historical content.  I would like to thank NetGalley and Harper Collins for my eARC copy of this book.  My views expressed are my own and are unbiased.

Book Details:

  • ISBN: 9780007504114
  • Imprint: HarperCollins
  • On Sale: 19/10/2017
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Pages: 384

Links:

Author Website

Harper Collins UK

Purchase from :  Harper CollinsAmazon UK   | Amazon US

About the Author:

1227 Born in Essex in 1944 Bernard Cornwell was adopted at the age of six weeks by two members of a strict fundamentalist sect called the Peculiar People. He grew up in a household that forbade alcohol, cigarettes, dances, television, conventional medicine and toy guns. Not surprisingly, he developed a fascination for military adventure. As a teenager he devoured CS Forester’s Hornblower novels and tried to enlist three times. Poor eyesight put paid to his dream, instead he went to university to read theology. On graduating, he became a teacher, then joined BBC’s Nationwide, working his way up the ladder to become head of current affairs at BBC Northern Ireland, then editor of Thames News. In 1979, his life changed when he fell in love with an American.

Judy couldn’t live here, so I gave up my job and moved to the US. I couldn’t get a green card, and for 18 months the only thing I could do was write novels. The result was his first book about 19th century hero, Richard Sharpe, Sharpe’s Eagle.

Today he has 20 Sharpe adventures behind him, plus a series about the American Civil War, the Starbuck novels; an enormously successful trilogy about King Arthur, The Warlord Chronicles; the Hundred Years War set Grail Quest series; and his current series about King Alfred.

Bernard Cornwell owns houses in Cape Cod and Florida and two boats. Every year he takes two months off from his writing and spends most of his time on his 24 foot Cornish crabber, Royalist.

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Blog Tour · Books · Crime / Mystery · Historical Fiction

#BlogTour : #TheWatcher by Monika Jephcott Thomas #ClinkStreet

The Watcher Cover

The Watcher” by Monika Jephcott Thomas.  Published by Clink Street Publishing on 10th October 2017, available in paperback an eBook.

Synopsis:

It’s 1949 when Netta’s father Max is released from a Siberian POW camp and returns to his home in occupied Germany. But he is not the man the little girl is expecting – the brave, handsome doctor her mother Erika told her stories of.

Erika too struggles to reconcile this withdrawn, volatile figure with the husband she knew and loved before, and, as she strives to break through the wall Max has built around himself, Netta is both frightened and jealous of this interloper in the previously cosy household she shared with her mother and doting grandparents.

Now, if family life isn’t tough enough, it is about to get even tougher, when a murder sparks a police investigation, which begins to unearth dark secrets they all hoped had been forgotten.

My Thoughts:

This book has several stories running together.  There is that of Max, a prisoner of war in a the Siberian concentration camp of Gegesha, his experiences whilst there an also how he deals with being back home.  Then there is the story of Netta and her childhood and also of Erika as she deals with the day-to-day living with a man who has been through an extreme and traumatic event.  Then how these three very different people have to deal with change and how they have changed in themselves.

So Max is married to Erika, together they have daughter Netta.  The story is told from perspectives of all, Max has returned home after 4 years in the camp, he has severe flashbacks during dreams as well as while awake.  The relationship between himself and his wife and daughter is hard, and all have to adapt to the change in him.  As well as this there has also been a murder, a woman known to the family and local people.

This is a time-slip story, and flits between Max and his memories in the camp, and also how life in Germany after the second world war has changed, food is scarce and money is tight.  Max, Erika and Netta live in the attic of his parents house, even though both husband and wife are doctors they cannot afford their own house, money is spent on the clinic they run.  The story as I have said is told from different perspectives, but is mainly focused on Netta, a time when children are seen and not heard, but children have a habit of hearing things they shouldn’t, this is very much the case for Net.

It took me a little while to get into this book, it took a few chapters before I understood the style and characters, but once I had got a feel for it I enjoyed it.  The characters and plot I found to be well described, I thought the descriptions of Max and his treatment and experiences as a prisoner of war had been done well, not too overbearing or graphic, though still uncomfortable reading at times.  It had a what you would expect and nothing that describes concentration camps should be easy reading, but it had been done sympathetically to the subject.  Towards the end the various threads of the plot started to come together and as this happened this pacing definitely quickened.

This is a book that readers of historical fiction and mystery genres would read, I would recommend it. It is a very interesting look at life in Germany post war, as well as relationships within family and also socially.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Clink Street Publishing (10 Oct. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1912262029
  • ISBN-13: 978-1912262021

 

About The Author:

Monkika Jephcott Thomas.jpgMonika Jephcott Thomas grew up in Dortmund Mengede, north-west Germany. In 1966 she moved to the UK and, after a thirty-year career in education, delved into the therapeutic world where she has over twenty years experience as a counsellor and psychotherapist, gained with a wide variety of clients and presenting conditions.

By 1998, she and her partner Jeff established the Academy of Play & Child Psychotherapy (APAC). This has grown to become the largest provider world-wide of post-graduate training for Play Therapists and Practitioners in Therapeutic Play Skills, in partnership with several universities and colleges.

Monika and Jeff became founder members of Play Therapy UK. Monika was elected President of Play Therapy International in 2002. Their work culminated in the official recognition of the play therapy profession in 2013, an endorsement of their devotion to help the twenty per cent of children in the world who have emotional, behavioural, social and mental health problems by using play and the creative Arts.

Her professional background has given her insight into the effect of traumatic events not only on those directly experiencing them but also on their families and the generational impact.

Links:

Author website Click Here

Buy from Clink Street Click Here

Clink Street Publishing Homepage Click Here

Home page for Authoright Click Here

Buy from Amazon UK Click Here

 

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Blog Tour · Books · Crime / Mystery · Historical Fiction · Review

#BlogTour : Fatal Masquerade by @vivwrites #BookReview

 

 

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Fatal Masquerade published 4th October 2017

Synopsis:

Lady Alkmene and Jake Dubois are back in a gripping new adventure facing dangerous opponents at a masked ball in the countryside.

Masked danger…

Lady Alkmene Callender has always loved grand parties, but when she receives an invitation to a masked ball thrown by Franklin Hargrove – oil magnate, aviation enthusiast and father of her best friend, Denise – she’s never seen such luxury. The estate is lit up with Chinese lanterns in the gardens, boats operated by footmen float across the pond and the guest list features the distinguished, rich and powerful!

But below the glamour, evil is lurking. When a dead body is discovered, it forces Lady Alkmene to throw off her mask and attempt to find the true killer before Denise’s family are accused. If only her partner, Jake Dubois, weren’t hiding something from her…

This case might just be more dangerous than either of them could have imagined.

My Thoughts:

This is the fourth in the “Lady Alkmene Mystery” series of books.  I have read the first one “A Proposal to Die For”, so was interested to see what, if anything had changed or been carried through from the first one, as well as the more important on going character developments.

Alkmene is on her first visit to Hargrove Eastate with her relatively new friend, Denise Hargrove.  She is the daughter of the landowner but does not get on with his second wife, her step mother, Cecily.  Not getting on is an understatement, at times their relationship boarders on vicious. There is to be a masked ball at the estate, a large elaborate and lavish event that Alkmene is looking forward to.  The chance to get away from London and the investigations she is spending more time on.  She is surprised to see that Jake is also there, this is not the sort of event he would be socially invited to, so why was he there ? Then the inevitable happens, a murder!

As events come to pass Alkemene and her social status comes into play as she can talk more freely to guests, or should I say potential suspects.  Jake Dubois sudden appearance is ideal for Alkmene to bounce ideas and thoughts off as the duo are once again in the thick of it.  In this book, Lady Alkmene takes more a front seat, leading lady role as far as the investigative side of the plot is concerned.

I do think that Alkmene has grown a little stronger and more confident, she has lost some of her naivety but still manages to rush headlong into situations without thinking things through.  This is a book I really enjoyed reading, the thing that makes it work for me is the 1920’s  old style mystery feel it has.  There are quite a lot of different events that have been cleverly twisted together to make for some really good mystery.  Once again Vivian has created some very interesting characters who you will love, like and loathe.  Again touching on the social class differences of the time, she has managed to find the right balance that was still a prominent aspect of the time.

I would recommend this book to readers who like a slower, gentler paced mystery, that is well written, with good plots and several twists. A cosy, deductive mystery with a female sleuth.

 

About the Author:

Vivian Conroy discovered Agatha Christie at 13 and quickly devoured all Poirot and Miss Marple stories. Over time Lord Peter Wimsey and Brother Cadfael joined her favorite sleuths. Even more fun than reading was thinking up her own fog-filled alleys, missing heirs and priceless artifacts. So Vivian created feisty Lady Alkmene and enigmatic reporter Jake Dubois sleuthing in 1920s London and the countryside, first appearing in A PROPOSAL TO DIE FOR (published by Carina UK/Harper Collins).

For the latest #LadyAlkmene, with a dash of dogs and chocolate.

Follow Vivian on Twitter 

Book details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1188 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQ Digital (4 Oct. 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English

Amazon Book Links for the series:

A Proposal to Die for  | Diamonds of Death  | Deadly Treasures |Fatal Masquerade

Many thanks for reading my post.

Books · Crime / Mystery · Historical Fiction · Review

#BookReview : #RivalsOfTheRepublic by @afreisenbruch : @Duckbooks

 

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Rivals of the Republic” by Annelise Freisenbruch was published by Duckworth Overlook  on 20th October 2016.

Synopsis:

The body of a Vestal Virgin is dragged out of the River Tiber. A senator bleeds to death in his bath. As the authorities turn a blind eye, Hortensia, daughter of the capital s most celebrated orator, feels compelled to investigate a trail of murders that lead to the dark heart of Rome. Flying in the face of her husband’s and father s attempts to protect her, rebelling against the constraints imposed upon her sex, she is drawn ever deeper into the corrupt underworld that lurks in the shadows cast by the city s all-powerful elite. When fires begin to rage in the slums and other key witnesses are silenced, only one man can save Hortensia from becoming the next victim of a conspiracy to destroy the Republic: Lucrio, the damaged ex-gladiator to whom she already owes her life. But will the secrets of his own tragic past threaten to subsume them both…

My Thoughts:

This is set in Rome, 70BC, its main protagonist is Hortensia, daughter of a notable and renowned lawyer Hortentsius.  She has her fathers tenacity, skills and understanding of law and the Roman legal system.  She discovers a devious plan that if successful will send shock waves throughout Rome, she will call on the help of an ex gladiator to delve into this murky world of back stabbing, underhandedness that is called politics.  It soon becomes obvious that Hortensia is not your average Roman, but a strong-willed individual with strong moral ideals.

This book took a couple of chapters to get into before I really got the feel for it.  There are quite a few characters, with some similar sounding names, as well as getting into the story, but as I started to get a handle on this I was then able to really enjoy it. Once in full flow, it became obvious that the author really knows and loves her subject, her knowledge of law, society, status and history.  I really liked the characters of Hortensia and Lucrio, as well as the dodgy Petro.  As mentioned previously there are a lot of characters, and they have a varied range of traits and characteristics that make them memorable as the story progresses.  Also in this book is a handy lists at the beginning of who’s who, and what their role is.

The author mentions at the end of the book that she has used many actual historical figures and accounts of events, she has then woven her story around this.  The story revolves around a murder / mystery, but it much more than that.  What made it more enjoyable for me was the historical content such as people, places, habits, customs, social class and structure and the differences between people.  I would recommend this book to people who like historical fiction and murder mystery genres.

 

About the Author:

61vS1gZArgL._UX250_Annelise Freisenbruch was born in Bermuda in 1977. After moving to the UK with her family, she studied Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge, and was awarded a PhD in 2004. She is the author of The First Ladies of Rome (Jonathan Cape), a highly-acclaimed history of Rome’s empresses, which was published in the US as Caesars’ Wives: Sex, Power and Politics in the Roman Empire (Free Press) and has been translated into eight languages. Her first novel Rivals of the Republic – which previously appeared Amazon e-book Blood in the Tiber – was published by The Overlook Press (US) and Duckworth (UK) in 2016. She lives with her partner in Dorset where she teaches Latin.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd (10 Aug. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715652206
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715652206

Links:

Follow Annelise on Twitter  | Visit her Website

Follow Duckworth on Twitter | Visit the Website

Buy the book from Duckworth | Amazon UK

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Books · Crime / Mystery · Historical Fiction · Review

#BookReview : A Proposal To Die For by Vivian Conroy : @VivWrites @HQDigitalUK

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Synopsis:

The first book in the new Lady Alkmene Callender Mystery series

A murderous beginning

With her father away in India, Lady Alkmene Callender finds being left to her own devices in London intolerably dull, until the glamorous Broadway star Evelyn Steinbeck arrives in town! Gossip abounds about the New York socialite, but when Ms Steinbeck’s wealthy uncle, Silas Norwhich, is found dead Lady Alkmene finds her interest is piqued. Because this death sounds a lot to her like murder…

Desperate to uncover the truth, Lady Alkmene begins to look into Ms Steinbeck’s past – only to be hampered by the arrival of journalist, Jake Dubois – who believes she is merely an amateur lady-detective meddling in matters she knows nothing about!

But Lady Alkmene refuses to be deterred from the case and together they dig deeper, only to discover that some secrets should never come to light…

The twenties have never been so dangerous

Don’t miss the next Lady Alkmene Mystery

1. A Proposal to Die For
2. Diamonds of Death
3. Deadly Treasures

 

My thoughts:

A Proposal To Die For is set in 1920’s London and is the first in a series of books known as “The Lady Alkmene Callender Mysteries”.

Whilst out at the theatre Lady Alkemene overhears a conversation that adds a little spice to her boring life, the American actress Evelyn Steinbeck is in town.  News is heard of the death of wealthy Silas Norwhich, to Lady Alkmene, the death sounds suspicious.  Her mind starts working overtime and decides to see if there is anything she can discover for herself.  Whilst doing this she makes the acquaintance of Mr Dubois, a consulting detective and journalist.  When Lady Alkmene discovers he is also looking into this mystery she believes she has found an ally of sorts, and so an unusual and workable relationship is formed.

The partnership of Alkmene and Dubois as I have said is unusual, she from a very privileged and wealthy background, he a streetwise,working man.  He is very resentful of her social class and vociferously mentions this through the story, she is naive but determined that she is not what he thinks she is.  They work together well because of this social difference, she has access to people who would not even look never mind answer Dubois’ questions.  Where as Dubois has the access to the working class, servants, valets doormen and the such like.

This is a cosy mystery that has several story lines running through it pages.  It is a very refreshing read, it is not reliant on blood and gore, instead it is a deductive style of story.  As the duo progress through their case and discuss their thoughts and opinions, so then is the reader shown their reasonings.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it has a similar deductive style as you would find in Agatha Christie’s books.  If you like Poirot and Marple, then I think you will really enjoy The Lady Alkmene series of books.  This is a gently paced book with some wonderful and memorable characters who all have their parts to play.  Little details mentioned earlier in the book suddenly becomes a bigger clue.  I read this snuggled up in a blanket on a foggy autumn afternoon on of my “lazy-days”.  I would definitely recommend this book to readers who like a gentle more classic style of mystery who like good characters, plots and is well written.

I read this book as a pre-cursor my stop on blog tour for Viv’s upcoming new book Fatal Masquerade,  due for publication on October 4th 2017.  My stop on the tour is 11th October.  My thanks to Vivian Conroy who authorised a copy of this book via Netgalley.  My thoughts expressed here are honest, unbiased and are my own.

Book Details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1287 KB
  • Print Length: 162 pages
  • Publisher: Carina; 1 edition (19 Sept. 2016)
  • Available from Amazon

More about Vivian and Carina UK

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Books · Historical Fiction · Historical Romance · Netgalley · Review

#BookReview : A Pearl For My Mistress by Annabel Fielding : @DearestAnnabel :@HQDigitalUK

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My Thoughts:

I found this book very interesting on many levels.  It begins as Hester Blake makes her way to Hebden Hall to work as a lady’s maid to Lady Lucy Fitzmartin, the daughter of the estate owners.  This is set in the era of The Wall Street Crash, it’s affects are felt globally and because of this, many large estates have reduced staff and sell off outlying estate lands.  The employment of Hester therefore is unusual, but it is a way of Lucy’s parents to trying to keep her on track.  Lucy supplements her allowance by writing for periodicals of the time and has a slightly different outlook on life compared to her parents. Hester has a love of books, so there is a natural starting point for a friendship between Hester and Lucy.  As their friendship grows so then do their feelings for each other.

Set in the 1930’s in Hebden Hall, London and then Melton Mowbray.  An era of The British Union of Fascists, or Blackshirts, with their leader Oswald Mosley and his marches and rallies are in the news.  There are divided opinions for his movement and there are often public clashes, during this time the difference of viewpoint is shared between the Lucy and Hester.  The story also encompasses several other elements, apart from the political aspects and the  romantic side.  The difference between class and social structure is addressed, a comparison is drawn via the two women, Lucy and Hester, the differences between upstairs and downstairs, as well as Lucy’s opinion of Hester .

I thought the story was enjoyable, but for me it was the historical side I enjoyed more than the romantic side, the romance was good and well written.  I thought the characters of Hester and Lucy were very well-developed, the author managed to portray the condescending attitude that Lucy has towards Hester extremely well, it was a good way of showing the differences between class at the time.  Other characters were memorable and had a good range of traits to make them distinctive and identifiable.

This is a book I would recommend to readers of Historical Fiction and Romantic Fiction genres.  It was a very enjoyable, well researched and well written read.

I would like to thank HQ Digital UK and NetGalley for my copy of this book and also to Annabel Fielding for bringing it to my attention.  My opinion given here is my own, it is honest and unbiased.

 

Synopsis:

A story of class, scandal and forbidden passions in the shadow of war. Perfect for fans of Iona Grey, Gill Paul and Downtown Abbey.

England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady’s maid in a small aristocratic household.

Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.

Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…

Book Details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1099 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQ Digital (9 Aug. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B072TRSNL3
To Buy : Amazon UK

 

About The Author:

Annabel Fielding

History geek, travel blogger, tea aficionado. Can be reached on anastasyarydaeva@mail.ru

 

 

Author Links |Website | Twitter |

Many thanks for reading my post.

Action and Adventure · Books · Crime/Thriller · Historical Fiction · Review

#BookReview : The Last Nazi by @AndrewTurpin

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The buried contents of a Nazi train. An aging SS murderer. And the wartime secrets of a US presidential candidate’s family, hidden for seven decades.

When war crimes investigator and ex-CIA officer Joe Johnson learns of a link between the contents of a Nazi train, stashed away by Hitler’s Third Reich in 1944, and the financing for a Republican hopeful’s  2012 campaign, he’s more than intrigued.

Can Johnson evade the high level intelligence and criminal networks combining against him across three continents, uncover the truth, and win justice?

MY THOUGHTS:

This is an action packed, fast paced, intriguing book of deception, deceit, conspiracy.  It spans several continents and events that started in 1944 several decades later come to light in 2011.

The story begins with Daniel and Jacob Kudrow, they are prisoners of Gross-Rosen concentration camp.  When the reader first meets them they are in a collapsed tunnel, but along with other prisoners and guards they are able to use side tunnels to get out.  The tunnels are used for storage, several wooden crates have been stored there, it will take over 60 years for the contents to be revealed.  Now in 2011 the reader is brought to the main characters.  Joe Johnson, a widower with two children, he is of Polish decent.  He teams up with Fiona Heppenstall a political journalist with “Inside Track”.  They are both attending a campaign rally by David Kudrow. His brother Nathaniel has something to tell both Joe and Fiona, but they never find out what that actually was.  With her journalistic interests piqued, Fiona cannot let go the feeling that something is amiss, she enrolls Joe in to help her find the story.  They both have a background in war crimes, giving lectures and help bring down those involved in the atrocities.  What they unearth with this investigation. There are secrets that have been hidden for decades, they will close certain chapters in the lives of  some, bring some form justice to the lives of some and open the flood barriers in lives of others.

I really enjoyed this book.  The thing that soon became obvious as I read, was the attention to detail.  The historical aspect has been very well researched and executed, within a very action packed and fast paced story.  There are certain things from the living conditions of prisoners in concentration camps that are not pleasant reading, and they shouldn’t be, and I felt the author used enough information to keep the story flowing.  He has not got bogged down with too much historical information, instead he has found a good balance that is essential to a certain sub-plots of the story.  The same balance has been found with the political aspects of the story as well, enough to be helpful but not overly done.  I think what I am trying to say is that, there is a lot of sub plots within the main story, therefore a lot of detail, but at no point do you lose the rhythm or the main points of the story.  All these aspects have been very well and cleverly intertwined to give the reader a great reading experience.  It incorporates scandal, war crimes, Nazism, corruption and revenge. The characters have been very well-developed, they are strong and well described.  I thought all the charcters mentioned were easily identifiable and memorable.

I would definitely recommend to readers who like action and adventure, thriller, crime and mystery genres.

As I read past the story I was really pleased to discover that this is the first in a series of books featuring Joe Johnson, and I for one cannot wait to read more.  Thoroughly enjoyed this one, and can’t wait for the next, and the next, and the next!

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Andrew Turpin for a copy of this e-book.  My review and thoughts about this book are honest and unbiased.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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It has taken Andrew more than five decades to finally get around to combining his love of writing and his passion for reading good thrillers – and get down to penning a first novel.

Now, that first book, The Last Nazi, is very near to being published, and he has a second, The Old Bridge, in the advanced stages of editing.

The themes behind these thrillers also pull together some of Andrew’s other interests, particularly history, world news, and travel, exploring the ways in which human behaviors deep into the past continue to impact on modern society, politics and business.

 The Last Nazi draws strongly on these themes and is the first in a planned series of thrillers featuring the protagonist, Joe Johnson, an ex-CIA officer and former US Nazi hunter with the Office of Special Investigations. Johnson, a relentless seeker after truth and justice, has a passion for investigating unsolved war crimes in different parts of the world and is an occasional lecturer on the subject.

Andrew studied history at Loughborough University and worked for many years as a business and financial journalist before becoming a corporate and financial communications adviser with several large energy companies, specializing in media relations.

He originally came from Grantham, Lincolnshire, and lives with his family in St. Albans in Hertfordshire.

LINKS:

Check out Andrew’s Website

Friend him on Facebook

Follow Andrew on Twitter

Send him an email:  info@andrewturpin.com

 

MANY THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ MY BLOG.

Books · Historical Fiction · Review · Women's Fiction

#BookReview |The Silk Weaver’s Wife by @debbierix @bookouture

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MY THOUGHTS:

I really enjoyed this book, one of the reasons I like to read historical novels is in the hope that I can learn something new.  This book ticked the box on that one, the research that Debbie Rix has done is obvious.  She has explored the silk manufacture process from moth to cloth, there is not an overload of information, but has used her characters well to explain, as her characters learn things, then so does the reader.   I found Debbie’s writing to be very readable and well set pace, there are a lot of stories within stories in this book, but they have been organised and well laid out so as not to confuse the reader at all.  Also included in this are actual artists, designers and weavers there is a very handy section at the back that lists the fact and fiction characters as well a note about how Debbie weaves the two together.

This is a wonderful book written across two-time lines, 1704 and 20017. In 1704 we are introduced to Anastasia and her family from near Verona in Italy.  In 2017 we meet Millie on a break with her sort of boyfriend Max.

Millie, a journalist, has been asked to write an article on the regeneration of Italy’s silk trade.  She stays at the House of Cocoon, or Villa di Bozzolo, it has been part of the silk trade for many generations and has a deep history.  The she meets owners Lorenzo and his sister Elena, they run the villa as a Bed and Breakfast guest house.  Lorenzo provides her with much information for her article and is her contact for meeting various other people in the silk trade.  She finds Lorenzo very easy to get along with, and has her questioning her life with Max, Lorenzo is her age, attractive and a widow.

Anastasia and her sister Mariette live under the iron rule of their father, their mother doesn’t have the strength to stand up to him so they all live under the threat of a beating from him.  Anastasia has two loves, Marco and painting, both are things that her father will not allow, if he knew.  He believes painting is not a thing a woman should do, he is of thought that they should be at home doing productive things.

As Millie discovers more about the history of silk manufacture process, Anastasia’s journey runs alongside with her journey into the world.

I would recommend this book to readers of historical fiction, womans fiction and romance. I wish to thank Netgalley and Bookouture for my copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.

 

SYNOPSIS:

‘On the way back down the grand staircase to the hall, her eye was caught by a portrait, hanging in a particularly dark corner of a landing. It was of a young woman, seated at an easel; she was painting a silk moth, its eggs nestling on a mulberry leaf.’

1704: Anastasia is desperate to escape her controlling and volatile father and plans to marry in secret. But instead of the life she has dreamed of, she finds herself trapped in Venice, the unwilling wife of a silk weaver.

Despite her circumstances, Anastasia is determined to change her fate…

2017: Millie wants more from her relationship and more from her life. So when her boss Max abruptly ends their affair, she takes the opportunity to write a feature in Italy.

Staying in a gorgeous villa, Millie unexpectedly falls in love with the owner, Lorenzo. Together they begin to unravel an incredible story, threaded through generations of silk weavers.

And Millie finds herself compelled to discover the identity of a mysterious woman in a portrait…

 

BOOK DETAILS & LINKS:

 

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Bookouture (5 July 2017)
  • Language: English
  • Amazon Link

Debbie’s Website

Debbie on Twitter

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Many thanks for reading my post.

 

 

Blog Tour · Books · Historical Fiction · Review

#BlogTour |The Shogun’s Queen by @LesleyDowner #BookReview

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It is my pleasure to be on the blog tour for this book.  “The Shogun’s Queen” by Lesley Downer. Part of a series called “The Shogun’s Quartet”,

My Thoughts:

This story is based in Japan during 1851-1858, a period in history when Japan is under threat from America and Britain.  Although they trade with Holland successfully, the other countries want to set up ports and bases on the island, making more demands and wanting treaties signed.  As this is going on the main story takes place, that of a young girl from the Satsuma Province at the south of the island,  her name is Okatsu and she has been chosen for an important role.  Her family has ideas that a country girl from a notable family can be elevated to the Imperial Palace in the north. She has absolutely no say in her future at all.

Lesley has created a historical fiction novel with a huge amount of detail, culture, customs, traditions, history, social class and values from Japanese life. As you read through this story, it is easy to notice the time effort and research that has been put into this, what also comes across for me is , is that the author has an obvious  love for this country and it’s people.  For me what I found great about this book is the amount of things I learnt from it, I have a basic knowledge of Japan and its history, but this book goes a lot further.  The formalities and workings at the palace for a young girl entering this isolated and secluded world amazed me.  I loved the fact that a lot of the main characters actually existed.  The descriptions Lesley has given of each character and the way she has described the country is wonderful.

There are some really handy inclusions in this book to aid the reader, maps, a list of characters and their roles and a very insightful afterward. In the afterward she explains how a lot of the characters actually existed, they can be researched.  Also how she did take liberties with some things.  But the vast majority of the book is nearly true to fact.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, I found it a very addictive and easy read given the amount of detail that is included.

This is my first encounter with this amazing and talented author, it will not be my last.  I highly recommend this book for readers of historical fiction

 

Book Synopsis:

The year is 1853, and a young Japanese girl’s world is about to be turned upside down.

When black ships carrying barbarians arrive on the shores of Japan, the Satsuma clan’s way of life is threatened. But it’s not just the samurai who must come together to fight: the beautiful, headstrong Okatsu is also given a new destiny by her feudal lord – to save the realm.

Armed only with a new name, Princess Atsu, as she is now known, journeys to the women’s palace of Edo Castle, a place so secret it cannot be marked on any map. Behind the palace’s immaculate façade, amid rumours of murder and whispers of ghosts, Atsu must uncover the secret of the man whose fate, it seems, is irrevocably linked to hers – the shogun himself – if she is to rescue her people . . .

 

Lesley Downer Bio

I write historical fiction set in Japan – women’s untold stories, largely true and based on meticulous and detailed research, though primarily, of course, good yarns. I’ve just finished The Shogun’s Queen, the fourth of The Shogun Quartet, four novels set in the nineteenth century during the tumultuous fifteen years when Japan was convulsed by civil war and transformed from rule by the shoguns into a society that looked to the west.

The second, The Last Concubine, was shortlisted for Romantic Novel of the Year 2009 and translated into 30 languages. The other two novels are The Courtesan and the Samurai and The Samurai’s Daughter. My non-fiction on Japan includes Geisha: The Remarkable Truth Behind the Fiction and Madame Sadayakko: The Geisha who Seduced the West. I’m also a journalist and travel writer, give lectures and teach Creative Writing at City University in London.

Website:  Lesley Downer
Twitter:  @LesleyDowner
Facebook:  AuthorLesleyDowner

 

Book Details:

 

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; 01 edition (27 July 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055216349X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552163491

 

Thank you taking the time to read my blog.

 

Books · Historical Fiction · Netgalley · Review

#Review | The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase | @MichaelJBooks

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MY THOUGHTS:

I rate this book with 5 stars.

This is a beautifully written story and well detailed. The characters and their individual traits have been well described giving them an easily identifiable presence. The plot has been worked very well into the threads and topics that appear in the story. The disappearance of Audrey has a devastating affect on her parents, Sybil and Perry, and deals with how the parents live with the aftermath of this awful scenario. I really enjoyed the way the story came together from two different eras into a final conclusion in the present day. There were a couple of very good plot twists at the end that I didn’t expect, and have to say, really enjoyed.

The story spans two different eras, the first is set in 1959, the second is set in present day with the arrival of Jessie and Will. Will has a daughter Bella, her mother, his wife, was tragically killed, leaving the two of them to deal with her death and their lives. Jessie met Will at a party of a friend, they eventually marry and together have a daughter, Romy. So in this modern setting there is the telling of how two separate families have come together to make one. The problems that are encountered along the way, and how Jessie believes she has to be sensitive about Bella’s mother, watching what she says during conversation. Bella is a teenager who doesn’t feel that she quite fits in. Their only common ground is Will, loving father and loving husband.

So as the story develops, we are told the story of the sisters’ stay, during the summer holidays at Applecote Manor, five years after Audrey’s disappearance. The sisters are Flora, Pam, Margot and Dot Wilde. Their Aunt Sybil and Uncle Perry are dealing with life, never leaving the house or grounds, just in case Audrey should ever return. Also how Jessie, Will, Bella and Romy move from London to start afresh in Applecote, how they discover the mystery of the past, but more importantly how, as a slightly nervous and edgy family work through problems and find common ground.

I would highly recommend this book to readers of historical fiction, mystery and fiction genres. I also think there are some very good discussion points for Reading Groups and Book Clubs. I would like to express my thanks to Netgalley, Michael Joseph and the author for my eARC of this book. My opinion is my own, it is honest and unbiased.

BOOK SYNOPSIS:

‘An enthralling story of secrets, sisters and an unsolved mystery’ Kate Morton, Number One Sunday Times bestselling author of The Lake House

From the present day . . .

Applecote Manor captivates Jessie with it promise of hazy summers in the Cotswolds. She believes it’s the perfect escape for her troubled family. But the house has an unsettling history, and strange rumours surround the estate.

to the fifties . . .

When teenage Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote during the heatwave of ’59, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter, Audrey, five years before.

The sisters are drawn into the mystery of Audrey’s vanishing – until the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn. Will one unthinkable choice bind them together, or tear them apart?

Step back in time for a richly evocative mystery, where the beauty of a Cotswolds summer is vividly contrasted with the violence which shatters it.

Available from  Micheal Joseph Books