#BlogTour :Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict : @Netgalley @Sourcebooks

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 “Carnegie’s Maid” by Marie Benedict. 

Published by Source Books Landmark.  This book is available in various formats and is available to purchase from Amazon US .  I received an eARC via NetGalley of this book.  My thoughts expressed are my own and are unbiased.

Synopsis:

From the author of The Other Einstein, the mesmerizing tale of what kind of woman could have inspired an American dynasty.

Clara Kelley is not who they think she is. She’s not the experienced Irish maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh’s grandest households. She’s a poor farmer’s daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets. But the other woman with the same name has vanished, and pretending to be her just might get Clara some money to send back home.

If she can keep up the ruse, that is. Serving as a lady’s maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie requires skills he doesn’t have, answering to an icy mistress who rules her sons and her domain with an iron fist. What Clara does have is a resolve as strong as the steel Pittsburgh is becoming famous for, coupled with an uncanny understanding of business, and Andrew begins to rely on her. But Clara can’t let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something more than an employer. Revealing her past might ruin her future — and her family’s.

With captivating insight and heart, Carnegie’s Maid tells the story of one brilliant woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world’s first true philanthropist..

My Thoughts:

Clara Kelly steps of the boat Envy, from Ireland and now emigrating to America.  A woman of the same name and from the same area of Ireland is also expected, our Clara takes the initiative and travels to Pittsburgh to become a Lady’s maid to Mrs. Carnegie, mother to Andrew a business man who will go on to become the wealthiest man in the world.

While the initial premise of this book sounds great, I did find that the idea of a Irish farmers daughter being able to pull off the skilled role of a lady’s maid somewhat unbelievable, but I actually put that aside and just enjoyed the story, this was quite interesting.  Clara spends a lot of time with her employer and builds up a friendship with her son.  I found a lot of details on the Carnegie family that I was unaware of in this book.  I didn’t know much about the family before I started this story, but by the end I found a huge amount of detail had been added as part of the story.  It did spark an interest and I found myself reading further on the internet, so I can also now add that the author has done her research well.

So, as well as the research and information given on the Carnegies, there were also some other nice details for social etiquette and status of the time especially when on a visit to New York.  The characters of Clara, Andrew and Mrs. Carnegie have been developed very well.  This book has a nice steady pace, and has some inclusion of famous historical events that help keep the feel of the era it is set in.

This is a good read that would appeal to readers of historical fiction, American History with social and economic elements from 1860’s America and Ireland included.  I did feel there were some discrepancies with the way Clara could have got this job, but I read this as more of a fiction book than a historically accurate fictionalised one.

About the Author:

B1rrvouIrFS._SY200_Once a New York City lawyer, Marie Benedict had long dreamed about a fantastical job unraveling the larger mysteries of the past as an archaeologist or historian — before she tried her hand at writing. While drafting her first book, she realized that she could excavate the possible truths lurking in history through fiction, and has done so in THE OTHER EINSTEIN, the story of Mileva Maric, Albert Einstein’s first wife and a physicist herself. Writing as Heather Terrell, Marie also authored The Chrysalis, The Map Thief, and Brigid of Kildare. She is a graduate of Boston College and the Boston University School of Law, and lives in Pittsburgh with her family.

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (January 16, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 149264661X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492646617

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy this book xx

 

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#BookReview : Season of Blood by Jeri Westerson : @jeriwesterson @severnhouse @NetGalley

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A Medieval Mystery from Jeri Westerson, “Season of Blood” is available in hardback and eBook formats.  Published by Severn House Digital

Book Details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1256.0 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Digital; First World Publication edition (24 Dec. 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B077NH7L86

Synopsis:

A missing Holy Relic. A mysterious and beautiful woman. Two murdered monks: Crispin Guest tackles his most intriguing investigation to date.

1390. Hailes Abbey, Gloucestershire, England. Two monks lie murdered, their Holy Blood relic stolen: a relic that is said to run liquid for the sinless and remain stubbornly dry for the sinner. Unwilling to become involved in a bitter dispute between a country monastery and Westminster Abbey, the disgraced former knight Crispin Guest attempts to return the relic to Hailes where it belongs, but somehow it keeps returning to his hands no matter what.

My Thoughts:

This is my first visit with this author and I read this book as a stand alone.  It is set in 1390 and we are introduced to Crispin Guest and his apprentice and side kick Jack Tucker.  They have been approached by a mysterious lady for their help in finding her niece. But along with that a monk dies on Crispin’s door step and in his possession is a religious Blood Relic artefact.

This is the 10th instalment in the Crispin Guest mystery series.  As this is the first I had read by this author, I was intrigued as to how well I would get on with an established series.  For me, I am pleased to say, it worked very well, there are hints and mentions of past stories but not enough to detract from this one.  This book has a very good “well researched” feel to it.  It is one of those books that feel right for the time it is set in and Jeri has some great description to back that feel up.  It is a well paced story that has some very unexpected twists, it is one of those books that you are never quite sure who is telling the truth, creating a good edginess to it.  The characters are quick to remember and identify as they are introduced gradually.

Overall this was a very enjoyable read, and I think a good introduction for me to this author, even though I have started at the wrong end of the series. I would recommend this to readers who like a good medieval murder, mystery read.  Some good twists, plots and characters.   It has been well researched and written.

My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for my copy of this book.  My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

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I’m Jeri Westerson and I write medieval mysteries with an enigmatic, flawed, sexy, and very different protagonist. His name is Crispin Guest and he’s an ex-knight turned private eye. You might want to think of him as a Medieval Sam Spade and these mysteries as Medieval Noir. That’s what makes these novels different. They’re full of hard-hitting action and characters with dirty little secrets. Then there’s the added twist dropped in the middle of murder: a relic with mystical powers. They always seem to stir things up, whether it’s something everyone wants to get their hands on or can’t wait to get rid of.

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share xx

#BlogTour : Tall Chimneys by Allie Cresswell @Alliescribbler : @rararesources : #BookReview

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I am so delighted to be taking part in the tour for this stunning book, “Tall Chimneys” by Allies Cresswell.  It is available to purchase in paperback and eBook, published via Createspace.  My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and Allie for my copy of this book.


Book Details: 

Tall Chimneys - Cover image

Paperback: 416 pages

 Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (5 Dec. 2017)

 Language: English

 ISBN-10: 1978036914

 ISBN-13: 978-1978036918

Purchase from Amazon UK ~ Amazon.Com


Synopsis:

Considered a troublesome burden, Evelyn Talbot is banished by her family to their remote country house. Tall Chimneys is hidden in a damp and gloomy hollow. It is outmoded and inconvenient but Evelyn is determined to save it from the fate of so many stately homes at the time – abandonment or demolition. Occasional echoes of tumult in the wider world reach their sequestered backwater – the strident cries of political extremists, a furore of royal scandal, rumblings of the European war machine. But their isolated spot seems largely untouched. At times life is hard – little more than survival. At times it feels enchanted, almost outside of time itself. The woman and the house shore each other up – until love comes calling, threatening to pull them asunder. Her desertion will spell its demise, but saving Tall Chimneys could mean sacrificing her hope for happiness, even sacrificing herself. A century later, a distant relative crosses the globe to find the house of his ancestors. What he finds in the strange depression of the moor could change the course of his life forever. One woman, one house, one hundred years.

My Thoughts:

This is stunningly beautiful book.  Tall Chimneys is a Jacobean house set in a dip alongside the Yorkshire Moors. The story that unfolds is one that shows the relationship the Talbot family have with the house over a hundred years. It is told from the perspective of Evelyn, the youngest family member at the time. As she tells her story she also includes things going on in the world, providing reference dates through history. The house has a hold over Evelyn, it has always been there for her, it has been her home as she has watched it pass through the family.  It has been a place that at witnessed and seen many things along with Evelyn.  It has hosted parties and soiree’s, held secret wartime meetings, met famous people and also American servicemen, seen births and deaths and has remained just a little out of time, not really modernised properly at any point.  It holds a whisper of times gone past.

This is such a beautiful story to read.  It dips into family dynamics and social class structure of the times, looking at the differences and expectations of those “above stairs” and also those “below stairs”.  There is a wonderful array of characters, some you will love, other despise, odd one will probably infuriate and then there are the loathsome, they share different personalities, outlooks, opinions and expectations on life, love, death and loss.

As Evelyn led me through her story I could not help but feel for her, she has stayed true to Tall Chimneys, has been caught up in the time bubble that has surrounded it, in doing this she has used the house as a security blanket, it is her home, safe haven and refuge. The detailing that Allie has added to this book regarding the house, the interior, gardens and surrounding area built up a wonderful image for me.  All this was given as Evelyn made her way through the story.  Then at the end of the book we are brought up to present day as a distant relative shows an interest in discovering his roots, it is a very good way to bring an end to the story, this I found quite emotional as I knew I was also coming towards the end of this book.

For me the pacing is perfect for this book, from the first few lines of the prologue to the final line in the epilogue.  As I read of the pull that the house had over Evelyn, I found a similar pull keeping me held with in the story, so much so that I stayed up to finish this book until 2:45am, that was how much of a hold it had on me.

I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book, stunning, beautiful, wonderfully written and totally captivating.  Ideal for readers of Literary Historical Fiction, General Fiction and Women’s Fiction.

Thank you so much Allie and Rachel for a copy of this book. My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

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Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, one granddaughter and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.

Tall Chimneys is the sixth of her novels to be published.

Facebook – Website – Twitter

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy the book xx

#BlogTour : Blackmail, Sex and Lies by Kathryn McMaster @TrueCrimeNovels with @rararesources : #BookReview

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I am delighted to part of the blog tour of “Blackmail, Sex and Lies” by Kathryn McMaster.  I wish to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot. This book is  available as a paperback or an eBook.  *Today is the last day to grab this book at a reduced price *

Synopsis:

The young Scottish socialite, Madeleine Hamilton Smith was swept off her feet by Pierre Emile L’Angelier. She thought him handsome, charming, attentive. However, things soon soured between the pair.

However, once he had seduced her, he became controlling, manipulative. While she tried desperately to withdraw from the toxic and abusive relationship he started blackmailing her; threatening to expose her indiscretions to her family and her new fiancé which would have ruined her within her strict, Victorian era society.

She felt trapped, desperate even. Suddenly, the threats were silenced by his unexpected death.

Did Madeleine Smith murder Pierre Emile L’Angelier or did he commit suicide?

For 160 years, people have believed Madeleine Smith to have been guilty of murder. But was she? Could she have been innocent after all?

This Victorian murder mystery, based on a true story, takes place in Glasgow, Scotland, 1857.

My Thoughts:

Kathryn has used some of the 200 letter between socialite Madeleine Hamilton-Smith and Pierre Emile L’Angelier and created a fictionalised them for a riveting read.  It documents the relationship between Madeleine and Emile in 1850’s Scotland.  Madeleine is the naive daughter of strict architect James Hamilton.  Pierre, or Emile as he is referred to, is from French parents and not in the same social league as Madeleine, but he is desperate to climb the social ladder. The two begin a secretive relationship that is doomed from the start.

This is the sort of book that I really love to read, historical, Victorian and including documentation to provide a wonderful basis for a very addictive read.  A few of the letters have been included and provide a wonderful and personal insight into the lives of the two main protagonists.  It captures and reflects their own actions as well as those around them.  It shows a darker side to romance.  A side where the ends justify the means as far as Emile is concerned.  He does not want to be married to a penniless woman, he wants one that can support him.  The more I read of Emile, the more I disliked him, but also I found myself wanting to shake some sense into Madeleine, she really was a soppy doe eyed naive girl, but at the same time I did feel sorry for her.

It has scandal, vulnerability and calculated manipulation that ultimately leads to a death, but was it murder, suicide or a cover up ?  It is well written and engaged this reader from the outset.  I always like the inclusion of the differences between social class and the living conditions of the period I am reading, this book did that.  As well as having a great story line and a pace suitable for the style of book.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who like true crime, Victorian Historical Fiction, with references to Victorian Social and family Values.  A really good read.

About the Author:

 Blackmail - kathryn mcmasterKathryn McMaster is a writer, entrepreneur, wife, mother, and champion of good indie authors. She co-owns the book promotion company One Stop Fiction (www.onestopfiction.com), where readers can sign up to receive news of free and discounted 4 and 5 star reviewed books. She is also a bestselling author of historical murder mysteries set in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Her debut novel, “Who Killed Little Johnny Gill?” was well received. All her novels are based on true stories, and she melds fact with fiction, writing in the creative nonfiction style. She lives on her 30 acre farm in the beautiful Casentino Valley, Italy for 6 months of the year, and during the other half of the year, on the small island of Gozo, Malta.

www.kathrynmcmaster.com

https://twitter.com/TrueCrimeNovels

https://www.facebook.com/kathrynmcmaster.author/

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Drama Llama Press; 1st edition (14 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8894122859
  • ISBN-13: 978-8894122855
  • Purchase from  – Amazon UK – Amazon US

Many thanks for reading my post. If you liked it, please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy yourself a copy.

#BlogTour : Foul Trade by B.K Duncan : ( @BKDuncanwriter ) : @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681 : #BookReview

BLOG TOUR (1)

I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for Foul Trade by BK Duncan.  Published by Bloodhound Books, this is available in many formats.  If you have not read the FREE prequel novella “The Last Post” here is the link to Amazon UK for it >>Link<< I will share my thoughts on The Last Post before Foul Trade.

The Last Post, by BK Duncan

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Synopsis:

It is April 1918. May Keaps is a twenty-year-old ambulance driver stationed at The Front. As if transporting hideously wounded soldiers, sleep deprivation and constant shell bombardment weren’t enough, she becomes unwittingly entangled in the untimely death of a young captain, Tobias Fairfax.

Newly-arrived in Northern France he was found with a discharged pistol by his side; rumours on the battlefield were that it wasn’t an accident and he had taken the coward’s way out, committing suicide.

Whatever the explanation, Tobias left a dangerous legacy that puts May in the line of fire. But she is not the only one with a reason to want to uncover the truth. And in a world where life can be extinguished in the blink of an eye, May might regret her search for answers…The Last Post is the haunting introduction to the May Keaps series.

Thoughts:

In this story we meet for the first time, May Keaps.  She is an ambulance driver on the front, transporting casualties of the war to hospital. For a novella, this book has a big presence.  BK has for me, captured the despair, fear, sombreness and fear of life in the war, with vivid descriptions.

As an introduction to this author and also the character of May Keaps, I cannot find fault.  It was a great read and did its job well, I look forward to the next story.  A full length one.

Foul Trade 

BK Duncan - Foul Trade_cover_high res.jpgSynopsis:

 Looking for a compelling new mystery which will have you hooked?

It is March 1920. May Keaps, the Poplar Coroner’s Officer, has never failed to provide a jury with sufficient evidence to arrive at a just verdict.

The poverty, drunken fights between visiting sailors, drug trafficking, and criminal gangs, haunting the shadows of the busiest docks in the world, mean that the Coroner sees more than its fair share of sudden and unnatural deaths.

May relishes the responsibility placed upon her but there are many who believe it’s an unsuitable job for a woman. Even May begins to wonder if that is the case when the discovery of a young man’s body, in a Limehouse alley, plunges her into an underworld of opium dens, gambling, turf wars, protection rackets and murder.

As her investigations draw her into danger, it becomes increasingly clear that whoever is responsible intends to avoid the hangman’s noose by arranging to have May laid out on one of her own mortuary slabs.

My thoughts:

So it is now march 1920, and again we are reunited with May Louise Keaps, ex ambulance driver and now officer for Poplar Coroners Court.  In this story May is the efficient and resourceful force behind the Coroner, she is the one who makes sure all the paperwork, subpoenas and warrants are dealt with, they are just the basics of her job.  She goes above and beyond the call of duty as she swaps the battlefields for the wharves of London, as she investigates a suspicious death.  She will discover a world of gangs, drugs and dens, gambling and illegal trade.

If you want a book that gives you a descriptive walk through of the London wharves and surrounding area, then this has got to be one you read.  BK has brought some vivid and detailed descriptions that make it feel very realistic with the sights, sounds and also the smells.  There has been obvious research into this period,  I found a great deal of observational content on living conditions, social housing, economics and family struggles, this added a real extra depth.  It was appropriate for the plot, now that I really did enjoy, it took me a couple of chapters to work out where the story was going.  This was all my fault as I did not read the synopsis, I just dived right in after reading The Last Post.  But as I started to pick up the threads of the story, I found it took me along the dark alleys into grim back rooms and among warehouses as the plot progressed.  Along the way there are quite a few characters to get to know, a mixed bunch of rogues, ruffians and gentlemen, you soon work out who is who, but I guarantee you will be wrong in your assumptions of some.

This is a great read that I would have no problem recommending to readers who like historical crime and mystery fiction.  It is well researched and well written.  A thoroughly enjoyable read.

About the Author:

BK Duncan and Foul Trade

Born on a steam railway and brought up on the South Coast of England, such beginnings were destined to leave BK Duncan with a love of vintage transport, crashing seas, and Art Deco architecture.

Following a career encompassing developmental learning and management consultancy (specialising in personal and organisational change) she made the switch to full time writer, combining producing her own work with lecturing in creative writing in colleges and academies in Hertfordshire and Cambridge. Her summers are spent on two never-ending tasks – re-pointing the walls of her flint cottage and reclaiming the wilderness of her meadow garden. For relaxation she reads, goes to the theatre, and explores the local countryside but her two great passions are longbow archery and the Argentine Tango. Sadly, she is not nearly as accomplished at either as she’d like.

Her proudest moment was when she overcame her fear of deep water to go potholing in the Yorkshire Pennines.

BK Duncan also writes as Ruth Wade. Read her Amazon #1 best-seller A Fatal Rhythm on Kindle.

Follow BK Duncan on her Website  or on Twitter

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, give a little share.  Better still, go and get both of these wonderful books.

#12DaysofClinkStreetChristmas : Outremer by D.N.Carter : @Authoright @AuthorightUKPR @gilbster1000 #BookReview #Blogtour

 

 

Many thanks to Rachel at Authoright for the invite to take part in the “12 Days of Clink Street Christmas”. My post today is for “Outremer” by D.N.Carter.  This book is available in hardback, paperback or as an eBook.

 (Check out the calendar at the bottom of this post for more information.)

Synopsis:

Who Controls The Past Controls The Future
An epic love story must overcome religious divide and a plot to eradicate two blood lines, as the Crusades and the search for the ancient mysteries of the Holy Grail gather momentum.
Raised by his father in La Rochelle, France, Paul Plantavalu is known for his artistic nature, inquisitive mind and Christian faith. He also has an unshakable love for his Muslim childhood friend, Alisha al Komaty. Courageous and outspoken, she returns Paul’s love. But their path is paved with obstacles; religion, war, political chaos and a mysterious enemy determined to destroy their family lines.
Sometime between 1110 AD and 1120 AD in the aftermath of the first crusade, a small band of nine knights — the founding knights Templar — recover ancient precious artefacts left by a former, advanced civilisation, beneath the City of Jerusalem. Ruthlessly guarded, the secrets revealed by this discovery are highly prized by powerful and dangerous forces far and wide; the repercussions of their capture are inextricably linked to Paul and Alisha. As Paul starts to experience dark and vivid dreams and the fragile balance of peace starts to crumble, it will fall to an enigmatic man known as Kratos and his female warrior protégée Abi Shadana, to safeguard Paul and Alisha.
Paul and Alisha’s love story weaves between the threads of our reality and other realms — from the Druids to the Sufi mystics, the Magi of the East, the secret political arm of the Knights Templar and the Isma’ilis, the Assassins. Knights and pilgrims alike will witness some of the darkest battles ever fought. The discovery of a unique sword’s lethal power and whispered connections to King Arthur and the Holy Grail lead Paul and Alisha to question if their lives ever be the same again.
The first of a four-part series, Outremer is an historical epic, which sweeps across England, Scotland and France, to Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt. Discover the truth — and crack the ancient code — behind the great mysteries of the High Middle Ages for yourself.

My Thoughts:

This is a huge book, not just in length, but also in detail, content, description, plot and research.  The research alone that has gone into this book is in itself vast.  If you want a book that takes you through the history of the Knights Templar and the events of the high middle ages then this is a must read.  Also included is a vast array of things relevant to the time and their connections through history, and includes Christianity, Muslims, Islam, Egyptology, symbolism, paganism, Arthurian Legend, folklore and astrology, this list only just scratches the surface. It is the first in a planned series of four books, and feels to be just the tip of the iceberg.  I am so excited about this upcoming series after reading this first instalment.

All of the above and more have been cleverly wrapped around the love story of Paul from a Christian family and Alisha from a Muslim one.  In theory these two families should be enemies,at the time of crusades when Muslim and Christian are at war.  But this is not the case, the families have been friends for many years, and respected by some of the highest ranking Grand Masters, but why is this information not available to all, and known only by a select few.   Paul and Alisha’s story is one that is destined to be. But one that some would like to wipe out, to stop and erase the bloodline. While we learn this story as it happens, we also meet an old man, he has a story and tells it at the local inn to a mixed background audience.  He tells the story of Paul and Alisha, but it is after it has happened, a few years later in fact.  The audience initially believe he is telling a tall tale, but there are things for some of the audience that ring true, and as he tells his tale he fills in the history.  Not just of the families but of all things from all ages and many countries, he has details of dates, people, places, events, and then religions, legends, myths and facts.  He has detailed documents to prove the information he gives.

I could write so much about this book, there is so much information in it, from various sources and backgrounds.  It is almost like reading a history lesson as it happens.  The descriptions for the settings and the people have been really well done.  I really like the way the two stories complement each other.  One as it happens, the other in the future. There are many characters in this story, the major players quickly become identifiable, and after a few appearances so do the smaller re-occurring players.

The historical content in this is huge, at times I did find myself overwhelmed by it, and at times I got confused by my lack of understanding.  But to be honest, the parts I found confusing didn’t take anything away from the story or my enjoyment of it. There are some very interesting elements in this, some of which have previously been brought up in Dan Brown books, there is a reference to his work in the bibliography, and not all of the theories in Brown’s books I understood either and yet still loved them.

So if you want a serious book about the high middle ages, and are ready for an amazing journey, then this is the book for you.  I would definitely recommend this to readers of Historical Fiction, readers of History and mention that it contains some historical romance.  It is a well researched, well presented and a real epic of a book.  I eagerly await the next instalment.

About the Author:

After strange and vivid experiences whilst living in Cyprus as a child, author D N Carter has been fascinated by the history, myths and legends of the Middle Ages and mankind’s past. As he got older travels to Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Languedoc region of France and the deserts of Arabia fuelled his enthusiasm. While not decoding maps and mathematical codes D N Carter enjoys adventure sports from parachuting to microlight flying. Today he divides his time between East Anglia in the UK and the south of France with his family.                    Visit the author – Website

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 658 pages
  • Publisher: Clink Street Publishing (9 May 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1911525255
  • ISBN-13: 978-1911525257
  • Amazon UK

Check out the other brilliant books, dates, bloggers for

Clink Street 12 Days of Christmas.

12Days2017_Calendar

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you like it, please give it a share. Better still, go and buy this book.

 

#12DaysofClinkStreetChristmas : The Learn by @TonyHalker : @Authoright @AuthorightUKPR @gilbster1000 : #BookReview #BlogTour

 

 

Many thanks to Rachel at Authoright for the invite to take part in the “12 Days of Clink Street Christmas”. My post today is for “The Learn” by Tony Halker.  This book is available in paperback or as an eBook.

 (Check out the calendar at the bottom of this post for more information.)

Synopsis: 

Blending reality, history and legend, about a time when women were considered as important as men, taking power in an oral society that worships the Goddess. A whole Celtic Druid world is laid out before us, incorporating beliefs, technology and the natural environment.


A Celtic boy, a beach scavenger, is pledged to the Learn, a life of endurance, a path to become sworn Druid: scholar and warrior.  Young women and men progress, becoming Priests and Druidii. Friendship, affection, passion and care develop as novices mature, confidence emerging.
Seasonal battles of winter and summer bring rich festivals when seeds of men are taken by women in pleasure to prove fertility. Small damaged, hurt peoples on the margins of Celtic society blend in and out of vision.


At frontiers with Nature, dependent for everything on what the earth gives or takes, an emotional response to the natural environment defines who people are and the values they live by.
A lyrical novel resonating with modern readers through portrayal of character, language and history; arising from a landscape of today, yet centred in the Celtic Bronze Age of North Wales.

My thoughts:

Set in North Wales during the Celtic Bronze Age we are introduced to Owayne, son of a beach scavenger.  We follow him as he follows his destined path to become a Druid.  This is a period in history where things are in a state of change, all knowledge, law and stories are done via word of mouth.  The appearance of a wooden wheel causes tensions, should wood be manipulated into a shape, would it go against the rules and laws that exist to protect nature and the environment?  These are things that Owayne will have to try to learn, the balance of the old with the emergence of the new.

This is a slow burner of a book, but it is wonderful.  The pacing is perfect for this story, the setting, the era, the lifestyle.  It does however speed up a little towards the end.  What it lacks in pace it  more than makes up for in its wonderful descriptive passages, I have seen mention on a review from another person, that it had an “almost peotic feel”, and I have to say I am in complete agreeance with that thought. The scenery, festivals, clothing, food, rituals and social aspects have all been detailed well and build a good image.  It was an image of hardship, bleakness and little comforts, but at the same time a beautiful, peaceful atmosphere, this is where for me the author shines with his descriptive details.  I do not know much about the history of this time, but I  feel that this book has a good amount of research to it from the descriptions given, nothing felt out-of-place for me.

This book is an interesting blend of ancient history, folklore, legend, myth and fiction as we follow a young man on his way to learning about nature, the environment, traditions as well as his responsibilities.

A book I would recommend for readers of historical fiction.  A good all round read, with some memorable characters, well written, with elements of nature and folklore.

About the Author:

THHeadsent1

Born in London, Tony Halker studied geology at Leeds University after which he worked as a

geologist, travelling extensively overseas. Following an MBA at Cranfield School of Management, he became a manager in hi-tec business and later a businessman and entrepreneur. His writing is inspired by powerful natural landscapes and his interest in the people and technologies emerging from those hard places. His two daughters were born in North Wales. He lives with his wife there and in Hertfordshire.

 

Website – http://www.tonyhalker.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/TonyHalker

Blog – http://www.tonyhalker.com/blog

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Clink Street Publishing (29 Sept. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1911110578
  • ISBN-13: 978-1911110576
  • Purchase from  – Amazon UK
  • Purchase from – Foyles

Check out the other brilliant books, dates, bloggers for

Clink Street 12 Days of Christmas.

12Days2017_Calendar

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give a little share.  Better still go and buy the book.

 

November Book Round up. Blog tours, blitz’s & reviews on Me and My Books.

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This month has been a very busy reading month for me.  With a whole range of different genres, authors and publishers. With 25 books read and a guest post as I was unable to read a further book in time, I can say it has been my most busiest month as far as reading goes ever.

So to start with the Blog Tours, I was involved in.

Absolution by P.A.Davies | Scream Blue Murder by Tony. J, Forder | Dark Chapter by Winnie. M Li  |  The Mercury Travel Club by Helen Bridgett  | Illusion by Stephanie Elmas  |  Into The Valley by Chris Clement-Green  |

There were a number of different Blog Blitz tours as well. 

Wormwood by Larry Enmon  | The Dead Whisper by Emma Clapperton  | Secrets & Fries at The Starlight Dinner by Helen Cox |  Christmas at The Little Knitting Box by Helen. J. Rolfe  | The Big Event by Anne John-Ligali

Books sent to me for my thoughts on them, or that I offered to read.

Dinner At The Happy Skeleton by Chris Chalmers  | The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw   | Living in Italy, The Real Deal by Stef Smulders  | Hit The Road, Jac! by Jacqui Furneaux    |  Sweet Maple by Michelle Visser

NetGalley gave me a chance to start to read books aimed at children, as well as for my usual genres.

Mr Campions Abdication by Mike Ripley  | The Price of Silence by Delores Gordon-Smith  | Three Days a Life by Pierre Lemaitre  | Hortense and the Shadow by O’Hara Sisters  | The Deaths of December by Susi Holliday

Finally a few books from my TBR Pile.

Bone by Yrsa Daley Ward   |The LimeHouse Golem by Peter Ackroyd | Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek by Anthony O’Neill
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Finally I received the most amazing Guest Post from Peter Bartram.  Author of “Crampton of The Chronicle” mystery series.  I have rad some of his books in the past, but I just could not squeeze another book into my reading schedule. His post about Ruth Ellis, who was the last woman to be hung in England, has a link into his new book. GuestPost by Peter Bartram.

 

 

 

 

A big ” Thank You” to everyone who has shared, tweeted and commented over the month.  As well as a huge “Thank You” to the authors, tour organiser and publishers.

If you liked this post, or any of the other links to my posts, please give them a like or a share.  Or better still, go and buy the book 🙂

#GuestPost by @PeterFBartram author of “Crampton of the Chronicle” mystery series.

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It is my great pleasure to welcome Peter Bartram to Me and My Books today. Author of the “Crampton of the Chronicle” series.  I read “The Morning, Noon and Night Trilogy” earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed.  Peter now has another book called “Front Page Murder” out in paperback and also eBook.

So read on for Peter’s guest post on Ruth Ellis……

THE WOMAN WHO CAUSED THE DEATH OF HANGING

By Peter Bartram

Ruth Ellis could have become a film starlet. Instead, she ended up dangling from the end of rope in Holloway Prison, London – the last woman to be hanged in England.

Ellis had been working as a nightclub hostess when she landed the part of a beauty queen contestant in the 1951 film Lady Godiva Rides Again. (It was released in the United States as Bikini Baby.) It starred some well-known British actors of the time, including Diana Dors, Stanley Holloway, Kay Kendall and Dora Bryan.

In later years, Dora lived in Brighton, where my Crampton of the Chronicle crime mysteries are set. When I travelled back and forth to London in my work as a journalist I would occasionally see her in the train’s buffet car. She invariably had a fag hanging out of the corner of her mouth and was ordering another whisky. A great character.

But we were talking about Ruth Ellis. She used a .38 calibre Smith & Wesson revolver to pump five shots into her sometime lover racing driver David Blakely. It was what the French would call a crime passionnel. Blakely made her pregnant twice. She aborted the first child – illegal in Britain at the time – and lost the second after he’d punched her in the stomach during one of their regular rows.

At her trial, Ruth was found guilty and sentenced to hang. There had been a growing campaign in Britain to abolish the death penalty for several years, but after Ruth was hung on 13 July 1955 the clamour increased in volume. Bill Connor who wrote his Daily Mirror column under the pen-name Cassandra thundered: “The one thing that brings stature and dignity to mankind and raises us above the beasts of the field will have been denied her – pity and the hope of ultimate redemption.”

And Raymond Chandler, whose Philip Marlowe detective novels had already conquered the world, wrote from his then British home to the London Evening Standard to complain about “the mediaeval savagery of the law”. But it was another 10 years before hanging was finally ended in England.

So Ruth Ellis never became a starlet. But she lit one of the flames which led to the abolition of the death penalty in England. When I was researching Front Page Murder, I spent many hours looking at how hanging was carried out. It was a gruesome business – especially for women who were forced to wear thickly padded calico knickers.

But for the crime writer, hanging had the potential to add an extra frisson of tension to a murder story. After all, the penalty is irreversible. So if the accused is really innocent of the crime, there is not much time to assemble the evidence to prove it.

That is the premise behind the story in Front Page Murder. And to add some extra seasonal colour, it all takes place in the 10 days leading up to Christmas 1963.

A year later, hanging had been ended in Britain for ever. But several years too late to save Ruth Ellis.


ABOUT THE BOOK…

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FRONT PAGE MURDER

A Crampton of the Chronicle mystery

It’s December 1963 and Archie Flowerdew is sitting in a cell at Wandsworth Prison waiting to be hanged. On Christmas Eve. It’s not exactly how he planned to spend the festive season. But, then, Archie was found guilty of murdering fellow comic postcard artist Percy Despart.

It seems there’s nothing that can stop Archie’s neck being wrung like a turkey’s. Except that his niece Tammy is convinced Archie is innocent. She’s determined he will sit down on Christmas Day to tuck into the plum pudding. She persuades Brighton Evening Chronicle crime reporter Colin Crampton to take up the case.

But Colin has problems of his own. First, that good turn he did to help out Chronicle sub-editor Barry Hobhouse has come back to bite him on the bum. Then Beatrice “the Widow” Gribble, Colin’s trouble-prone landlady, needs him to sort out her latest faux pas – she’s accidentally sent a Christmas card to her local butcher suggesting she’s available for hot sex. And that’s before Brighton cops clap Colin and girlfriend Shirley Goldsmith in jail on the charge of harbouring a fugitive from justice.

And, anyway, the more Colin investigates Archie’s case, the more it looks like he is guilty… Pick up the third full-length novel in the Crampton of the Chronicle mystery series to get you in the mood for a murderous Christmas!

Front Page Murder e-book is on special offer until the end of December for 99p/99c

For readers who want to start the series at the beginning, there’s a deal which includes Headline Murder, Stop Press Murder and Front Page Murder in e-book formats for £4.97/$4.97. This offer also closes on 31 December.

Front Page Murder on : Amazon US

Front Page Murder on : Amazon UK

Crampton of the Chronicle 3-book series on Amazon US

Crampton of the Chronicle 3-book series on Amazon UK


81jVrJSTqkL._SY200_ ABOUT THE AUTHOR…Peter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle crime mystery series, which features Colin Crampton, crime correspondent of the 1960s fictional newspaper the Brighton Evening Chronicle. Peter began his career as a reporter on a real-life local newspaper not far from Brighton. Then he worked as a journalist and newspaper editor in London before becoming freelance. He has done most things in journalism from door-stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s pursued stories in locations as diverse as 700 feet down a coal mine and Buckingham Palace. Peter’s “Swinging Sixties” murder mysteries combine clue-solving with comedy – the laughs are never far from the action. Other books in the series, which has already logged more than 100 5-star reviews on Amazon, include Headline Murder and Stop Press Murder.

You can also see my thoughts here for Crampton of The Chronicle a 3-book series.

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give it a share.

Better still go and buy the books!

 

#BookReview The LimeHouse Golem by Peter Ackroyd #AskPenguin @PenguinUKBooks

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Penguin Uk have an #AskPenguin tag.  Give them some ideas about the sort of book you would like to read, they will respond with their book choice.  I had asked for a Victorian mystery and their suggestion was “The Limehouse Golem” by Peter Ackroyd. So I bought it and gave it a go.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (24 Aug. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1784708208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1784708207
  • Amazon Link
  • Other Formats available.

Synopsis:

London, 1880. A series of gruesome murders attributed to the mysterious ‘Limehouse Golem’ strikes fear into the heart of the capital. Inspector John Kildare must track down this brutal serial killer in the damp, dark alleyways of riverside London. But how does Dan Leno, music hall star extraordinaire, find himself implicated in this crime spree, and what does Elizabeth Cree, on trial for the murder of her husband, have to hide?

Peter Ackroyd brings Victorian London to life in all its guts and glory, as we travel from the glamour of the music hall to the slums of the East End, meeting George Gissing and Karl Marx along the way.

My Thoughts:

Set in London, in the 1880’s.  London is gripped by gruesome murders and the bodies are being found dismembered, the police have no idea who the murderer is.  Alongside the murders, is the story of Lizzie, later to become Mrs Elizabeth Cree.  When we first meet her it is as she is having the noose placed around her neck having been found guilty of a crime. From this point on we learn more about Lizzie’s life, her love and involvement in music halls and the characters she meets, as well as famous names of the time.

Peter Ackroyd has captures the dark and sinister aspects very well and made them quite believable.  He has built up a picture of what you would expect of Victorian London, dark, atmospheric and suspenseful.  I did at times feel that some of the descriptive passages were a little long at times, but not so much to detract from the story.  It is told in quick chapters that flit from the perspectives of Lizzie , the murder, and also diary entries, keeping the whole story moving along at a good pace.

This is a book I enjoyed and would recommend to readers who like Gothic Fiction, Historical and Literary Fiction.

The book was originally titled “Dan Leno & The Limehouse Golem”.  It has also been made into a film, and has a release date on DVD / Blu-ray of 26th December.  Amazon link HERE.

About the Author:

21ky5BEoSYL._UX250_   Peter Ackroyd is the author of biographies of Dickens, Blake and Thomas More and of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers London: The Biography and Thames: Sacred River. Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, as well as a broadcaster, biographer, poet and historian. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature’s William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award and the South Bank Prize for Literature. He holds a CBE for services to literature.

 

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you like it, please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy the book.