Category Archives: Historical Fiction

A WOMAN’S LOT by Carolyn Hughes #historical #fiction #giveaway

woman's lot

A Woman’s Lot

by

Carolyn Hughes

 

woman's lot

Release Date: 4th June 2018

Genre: Historical fiction

Series: Book 2 of The Meonbridge Chronicles

Publisher: SilverWood Books

 

How can mere women resist the misogyny of men?

When a resentful peasant rages against a woman’s efforts to build up her flock of sheep.

…or a husband, grown melancholy and ill-tempered, succumbs to idle talk that his wife’s a scold.

…or a priest, fearful of women’s “unnatural” power, determines to keep them in their place.

The devastation wrought two years ago by the Black Death changed the balance of society, and gave women a chance to break free from the yoke of chatteldom, to learn a trade, build a business, be more than just men’s wives.

But many men still hold fast to the teachings of the Church, and fear the havoc the daughters of Eve might wreak if they’re allowed to usurp men’s roles, and gain control over their own lives.

Not all men resist women’s quest for change – indeed, they want change for themselves.

Yet it takes only one or two misogynists to unleash the hounds of hostility and hatred…

 

A Woman’s Lot is the second Meonbridge Chronicle, the sequel to Fortune’s Wheel.

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2L5v0uv

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2xBCm6S

 

EXTRACT

At that moment, the constable knocked on Emma’s door. ‘Is Mistress Titherige with you, Mistress Ward?’

Emma invited him inside and he bowed to Eleanor. ‘Your sheep are found, mistress.’

She blanched at the gloomy expression on the constable’s face. ‘Are they dead?’ she asked, in a whisper.

He shuffled his feet and, when he spoke, his voice was quiet too. ‘Two dead, mistress. The third, nearly so––’

Eleanor cried out. ‘Dead! My lovely ewes. And their unborn lambs.’

Emma put her arm around Eleanor’s shoulders. ‘It’s wicked, that’s what it is. Those poor innocent creatures…’

Eleanor got to her feet. ‘Take me to them, master constable.’

But Geoffrey demurred. ‘No, no, Mistress Titherige, there’s no need—’

She tossed her head. ‘Yes, there is. I want to see them. Please lead me, master constable.’ And she swept from Emma’s house and strode down the lane behind Geoffrey, who was still trying, but failing, to dissuade her from her mission.

But if Eleanor had been determined to see what had happened to her sheep, when she did so, she wished she had not come after all.

The derelict barn was cold and damp, its roof partly fallen in, and the ancient hay piled up in the stall where her sheep were penned was giving off a foul and musty stink. As Geoffrey had already said, two of the sheep were dead, lying close together in the rotten hay, their tongues lolling from their mouths, their lovely fleeces all filthy and reeking. One had dried blood around her tail and, when she saw it, Eleanor’s hand flew to her mouth.

‘Had she already birthed?’ she said, a choke rising in her throat. She cast about her, looking for a lamb. Then Geoffrey hurried forward and scrabbled in the hay, one of his men holding a lantern high.

Shortly, Geoffrey stood up. ‘It’s here, mistress. Don’t look––’

But, refusing his advice, Eleanor went forward too. He pointed, and she pressed both hands to her face, as she stared down on the pitiful little body, dark and bloodied, nestled in the foul hay a short distance from its dam.

‘Where’s the third?’ she said, her voice a whisper.

‘Over ’ere, missus,’ said the constable’s man.

The third sheep lay apart from the others, on its side, panting, its eyes sunken.

‘She’s been deprived of water,’ said Eleanor, kneeling by the animal’s side. ‘How cruel…’

‘Or mebbe just ignorant?’ said the constable. He bent down and picked up some hay. ‘The hay’s all rotten, mistress. It’s been here years. Won’t ’ave done them no good.’

She looked up at him. ‘Bad hay and no water?’ She stroked the sheep’s muzzle, and tears filled her eyes. ‘The poor, poor creatures.’

Eleanor wiped away the tears on the sleeve of her kirtle. ‘Anyway, she’s past saving. So please, master constable, arrange for her to be freed from her suffering.’

Geoffrey bowed his head. ‘Will Cole’ll do it.’

ABOUT CAROLYN HUGHES

woman's lot

Carolyn Hughes was born in London, but has lived most of her life in Hampshire. After a first degree in Classics and English, she started her working life as a computer programmer, in those days a very new profession. It was fun for a few years, but she left to become a school careers officer in Dorset. But it was when she discovered technical authoring that she knew she had found her vocation. She spent the next few decades writing and editing all sorts of material, some fascinating, some dull, for a wide variety of clients, including an international hotel group, medical instrument manufacturers and the Government. She has written creatively for most of her adult life, but it was not until her children grew up and flew the nest, several years ago, that creative writing and, especially, writing historical fiction, took centre stage in her life. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from Portsmouth University and a PhD from the University of Southampton.

A Woman’s Lot is the second of the Meonbridge Chronicles, her series of historical novels set in fourteenth century England. The first, Fortune’s Wheel, was published in 2016. The third in the series is well under way.

Facebook: CarolynHughesAuthor

Twitter: @writingcalliope

Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/2hs2rrX

Blog: https://carolynhughesauthor.com/blog/

Also at: http://the-history-girls.blogspot.com (20th of every month)

Website: https://carolynhughesauthor.com

Win an Ebook copy of Book 1 – Fortune’s Wheel

woman's lot

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MURDER MOST WELCOME by Nicola Slade #cosy #mystery #GIVEAWAY

welcome

Murder Most Welcome

by

Nicola Slade

 

welcome

Series: The Charlotte Richmond Mysteries Book 1

Genre: Historical cosy mystery

Release Date: This edition Feb 2018 First Ed:2008

Publisher: Williams & Whiting Publishing

Outwardly a grieving young Victorian widow, Charlotte Richmond is concealing some scandalous secrets when she arrives at Finchbourne Manor to start a new life with her husband’s family. The wealthy Richmonds must never discover that her husband’s recent death in the Indian Mutiny came as a great relief. Nor must they hear about the rumors circulating in the army regarding his scandalous behavior. His death has also been the subject of speculation and Charlotte must take care not to spill any secrets. Above all she must make certain that nobody in her new life hears of her own adventurous upbringing in Australia. When the past catches up with Charlotte, she begins to fear for her own life.

Extract: MURDER   MOST   WELCOME

LATE SPRING 1858 – in the South of England

Chapter 1

As she laid out the body, Charlotte Richmond made two surprising discoveries.

     The first of these led her to suspect that the man on the bed had been murdered.  By whom, she had not the slightest notion. To whom she was profoundly grateful.

     The second discovery confirmed what she had known all along, that the deceased – late and far from lamented – had not possessed the habits of a gentleman.

     As this was the second time in less than a year that he had apparently been murdered Charlotte felt she might be forgiven for not falling into a paroxysm of grief; indeed, strong hysterics might, she considered, be a more appropriate reaction.

     Hysterics not being in her nature she merely veiled his face decently with a linen cloth and wondered what to do with the object she had so surprisingly encountered. ‘Well, well, 

well,’ she murmured. ‘Here you are, dead again, I see. I wonder what is to become of me now?’

A few short weeks previously, Charlotte, who was waiting with some trepidation in the entrance hall at Finchbourne Manor and trying to overcome her anxiety by observing the

ancient, dark oak of the panelling, the extreme chill of the flagstone floor, and the picturesquely leaded windows that let in so little light, had overheard her mother-in-law express a similar sentiment.

‘Oh, that dreadful Mutiny, what will become of that unfortunate child, poor, dear Charlotte?’ she had enquired, allowing an artistic sob to colour her voice.

‘Well, Mama,’ answered a prosaic female voice. ‘I understand that Charlotte is even now on her way home from India to Finchbourne. If you recollect it was your own suggestion, when we heard of dear Frampton’s sad death, that she should make her home here with us. And after all there is no reason to believe that Charlotte is a child; remember, dearest Frampton was thirty-seven and his letters made no mention that his bride was much younger than he was himself.’

‘Oh do hush, Agnes dear!’

In spite of the nervous tension that had her sitting ramrod straight on an uncomfortable oak settle, blackened by age, Charlotte listened, with wry amusement, to this conversation. Shifting very slightly in her seat she felt a twinge of guilt as she recollected how differently Frampton Richmond’s ‘sad’ death had been viewed by her military acquaintances in India.

I must say nothing, she thought, shaking her head.  I have seen the damage caused by a stray shell fired into the midst of the market place, who am I to lob a shell of my own and destroy their illusions about their lost hero – and for what?   Rumour?   Speculation?

No, not I, my part is to play the grieving widow and ingratiate myself into their home and into their affections, to make a settled home for myself at last.  Besides, she reminded herself, I dare not raise any spectres from the past, what if they found out about me?

Buy link to Murder Most Welcome

http://amzn.to/2HDLVlZ

Check out the other books in the series…

https://goo.gl/333Mj4

Nicola Slade

Nicola Slade

ABOUT NICOLA SLADE

murder

Nicola Slade has been a Brown Owl, an antiques dealer, and once lived in Cairo for a year. Her published novels include a romantic comedy, Scuba Dancing, three Victorian mysteries featuring a young widow, The Charlotte Richmond Mysteries, and three contemporary mysteries featuring recently-retired headmistress, Harriet Quigley, and her clergyman cousin, the Reverend Sam Hathaway. The Harriet Quigley Mysteries. Her eighth novel, a mystery romance, The House at Ladywell, was published in late 2017.

Nicola’s family is now grown up and she and her husband live near Winchester.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicolasladeuk/

Twitter: @nicolasladeuk

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17100459.Nicola_Slade

Blog: www.nicolaslade.wordpress.com

GIVEAWAY

An ecopy of THE HOUSE AT LADYWELL (open internationally)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

THE BEAUTIFUL ONE by Frances Thomas #historical #YA #fiction

beautiful

The Beautiful One

by

Frances Thomas

beautiful

Genre: Historical Fiction, YA Fiction

Release Date: 8 September 2017

Publisher: S Books

Even as a small child, Helen, princess of Sparta, knows that there is something special about her; men come from far away just to catch a glimpse of her beauty. Also there are those rumours that her real father was someone more important than King Tyndareus of Sparta. But her beauty is to cause problems; her sister Clytemnestra is jealous of the attention she gets, and even her magical brothers, Castor and Polydeuces, can’t protect her from the predations of a brute like Theseus of Athens. Still, as she grows up, and knows she’ll have to find a husband, she thinks a good deal about love, and what it might mean to her.

Amazon UK https://goo.gl/KNrJsd

Amazon US https://goo.gl/FaLRCJ

EXTRACT

And that was when the terrible thing happened. There was no swan’s feather on my pillow that morning, but I woke up with a strange sensation that something soft was brushing my cheek. When I sat up and looked around, of course, there was no one there. Phyllis and my sister were still asleep. But I couldn’t help feeling anxious all day, though there seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary. If Castor had been there, I’d have confided in him, and he might even have been able to save me from what came later.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BEAUTIFUL

Frances Thomas was born in Wales during the war, though she has lived most of her life in London. However, some years ago, she and her historian husband retired to a beautiful part of mid-Wales. She’s written many books for children and adults, her most recent being a trilogy about the girls of the Trojan War.

For many years Frances also used to teach dyslexic children. She enjoys reading, sketching, cooking, and looking out of the window at the changing colours of the countryside. She has two grown up daughters, and two grandchildren.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frances.thomas.94

Twitter: https://twitter.com/francesbooks

Blog: http://blog.francesthomas.org

Author Website: http://francesthomas.org

Publisher: http://sbooks.co.uk

 

WHALES AND STRANGE STARS by Kathy Sharp #historical #fiction

whales

Whales and Strange Stars

by

Kathy Sharp

 

whalesSeries: First book in my new Wych Ferry Series

Genre: historical fiction

Release Date: 12th December, 2017

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

A world beyond her own.

A sea captain passes through the forgotten port of Wych Ferry, and whiles away an hour relating his traveller’s tales to young Rosamund Euden. He tells her that the stars are different, if you sail far enough, that the horizon isn’t quite real, not when you get there; he speaks of sea serpents and whales, and mysterious islands.

To an impressionable girl who has never left her home, the whales and strange stars of his stories come to symbolise the great outside world she longs to see. The sea captain moves on, unaware of the dramatic events he has set in action as Rosamund’s search for adventure leads her into a world of dangerous secrets in the marshlands of eighteenth century Kent.

Torn between loyalty to her uncles, and her desire to discover what lies beyond the marshes, Rosamund seeks help from an unexpected source. But who can she really trust?

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2CqGR6v

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2CucLhr

ABOUT KATHY SHARP

WHALES

Kathy Sharp was born and brought up by the sea in Kent. Life took her inland, and she worked for many years as a desktop publisher for Surrey County Council, and as a tutor in adult education.

And then, one day, she visited a friend who had just moved to the Isle of Portland, Dorset, and fell in love with the place. She has now lived by the sea in the Weymouth and Portland area for more than ten years, and still loves it. The wonderful Jurassic Coast, and Portland in particular, were the inspiration for her Larus Trilogy of novels.

Kathy also sings with, and writes lyrics for, the Island Voices Choir on Portland, and is a keen member of local writing groups, as well as enjoying studying the local flora.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kathy-Sharp-111574195915740/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KathySharp19

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2728164.Kathy_Sharp

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathy-sharp-5b5a9736/

Blog: https://kathysharp2013.wordpress.com/blog/

Website: https://kathysharp2013.wordpress.com/

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kathy-Sharp/e/B00E5BJ0BK/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

 

HEART OF STONE by John Jackson #historic #fiction

stoneHeart of Stone

by

John Jackson

stone

Genre: Historic Fiction

Release Date: 24th October 2017

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

Dublin, 1730

When young and beautiful Mary Molesworth is forced to marry Robert Rochford, widowed heir to the earldom of Belfield, she finds that her idea of love is not returned. Jealous, cruel and manipulative, Robert ignores her after she has provided him with a male heir, preferring to spend his nights with his mistress. Power-hungry, Robert builds up a reputation that sees him reach for the highest positions in Ireland.

Caught in an unhappy marriage, Mary begins to grow closer to Robert’s younger brother, Arthur. Acknowledging their love for each other, they will risk everything to be together. But Robert’s revenge threatens their lives and tears them apart.

Will Mary and Arthur find a way to escape Robert’s clutches?

Based on real events, Heart of Stone is a tale of power, jealousy, imprisonment, and love, set in 1740s Ireland.

BUY LINKS

http://amzn.to/2imoHtd

http://amzn.to/2xPutL9

ABOUT JOHN JACKSON

stone

Following a lifetime at sea, John Jackson has now retired and lives in York and has now turned his hand to writing fiction.

An avid genealogist, he found a rich vein of ancestors. They included Irish peers, country parsons, and army and navy officers. They opened up Canada and Australia and fought at Waterloo.

John is a keen member of the Romantic Novelists Association and graduated through their New Writers Scheme. He is also a member of the Historic Novel Society and an enthusiastic conference-goer for both.
He describes himself as being “Brought up on Georgette Heyer from an early age, and, like many of my age devoured R L Stevenson, Jane Austen, Edgar Allen Poe and the like.”

His modern favorite authors include Bernard Cornwell, Simon Scarrow, Lindsey Davis, Liz Fenwick and Kate Mosse.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=597036631

Twitter: @jjackson42

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17103004.John_Jackson?from_search=true

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/john5642/

Blog: https://johnjacksonauthor.com/

THE FATAL COIN by Lucienne Boyce #historical #fiction

FATAL COIN

The Fatal Coin

By

Lucienne Boyce

 

fatal coin

Genre: Historical fiction

Series: A Dan Foster Mystery

Release Date: 16 May 2017

Publisher: S Books

In the winter of 1794 Bow Street Runner and amateur pugilist Dan Foster is assigned to guard a Royal Mail coach. The mission ends in tragedy when a young constable is shot dead by a highwayman calling himself Colonel Pepper. Dan is determined to bring Pepper to justice, but the trail runs cold.

Four months later Dan is sent to Staffordshire to recover a recently excavated hoard of Roman gold which has gone missing. Here he unexpectedly encounters Colonel Pepper again. The hunt is back on, and this time Dan will risk his life to bring down Pepper and his gang.

The Fatal Coin is a prequel to Bloodie Bones, the first Dan Foster Mystery, which was joint winner of the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016.

EXTRACT

“Dan dragged himself to the injured man, leaned over him, tried to see how much blood there was. A lot.

‘Wilkinson, stay awake. Stay with me.’

Dan struggled to loosen the rope at his wrists until the skin was raw and bleeding. He and the naval lieutenant shuffled back-to-back and tried to unpick each other’s knots. Then they tried sawing the ropes on the rim of one of the mail coach’s wheels. At the end of an hour they had made little progress.

Release came when a carrier wagon full of seamen on their way back to their ships plodded along the road. But by then, Wilkinson was dead.”

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK

Amazon US

ABOUT LUCIENNE BOYCE

fatal coin

Lucienne Boyce is a historical novelist and women’s suffrage historian. Her first historical novel, To The Fair Land (SilverWood Books) an eighteenth-century thriller set in Bristol and the South Seas, was published in 2012. Her second novel, Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery (SilverWood Books, 2015) is the first of the Dan Foster Mysteries and follows the fortunes of a Bow Street Runner who is also an amateur pugilist. Bloodie Bones was winner of the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016, and was also a semi-finalist for the M M Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction 2016.

In 2013, Lucienne published The Bristol Suffragettes (SilverWood Books), a history of the suffragette movement in Bristol and the west country. She regularly gives talks and leads walks about women’s suffrage.

Lucienne is on the steering committee of the West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network, and is also a member of the Society of Authors and the Alliance of Independent Authors. She is a regular presenter on the Silver Sound show for BCfm Radio, a Bristol community radio station.

Lucienne is working on the third Dan Foster Mystery, and a biography of a married couple who were involved in the suffragette, socialist and pacifist movements. She was born in Wolverhampton and now lives in Bristol.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lucienne.boyce

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucienneWrite

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6437832.Lucienne_Boyce

Blog: http://francesca-scriblerus.blogspot.co.uk

Website: http://www.lucienneboyce.com

Publisher: http://sbooks.co.uk

 

Fortune’s Wheel by Carolyn Hughes #historical #fiction #giveaway

Fortunes Wheel

Fortune’s Wheel

by

Carolyn Hughes

 

Fortune's Wheel

Genre: Historical fiction

Release Date: 7th November 2016

Publisher: SilverWood Books Ltd

Plague-widow Alice atte Wode is desperate to find her missing daughter, but her neighbours are rebelling against their masters and their mutiny is hindering the search.

June 1349. In a Hampshire village, the worst plague in England’s history has wiped out half its population, including Alice atte Wode’s husband and eldest son. The plague arrived only days after Alice’s daughter Agnes mysteriously disappeared and it prevented the search for her.

Now the plague is over, the village is trying to return to normal life, but it’s hard, with so much to do and so few left to do it. Conflict is growing between the manor and its tenants, as the workers realise their very scarceness means they’re more valuable than before: they can demand higher wages, take on spare land, have a better life. This is the chance they’ve all been waiting for!

Although she understands their demands, Alice is disheartened that the search for Agnes is once more put on hold. But when one of the rebels is killed, and then the lord’s son is found murdered, it seems the two deaths may be connected, both to each other and to Agnes’s disappearance.

EXTRACT

Alice atte Wode, the Millers’ closest neighbour, was feeding her hens when she heard Joan’s first terrible anguished cries. Dropping her basket of seed, she ran to the Millers’ cottage. She wanted to cry out too at what she found there: Thomas and Joan both on their knees, clasped together, with Peter’s twisted body between them, sobbing as if the dam of their long pent-up emotions had burst. Alice breathed deeply to steady her nerves, for she didn’t know how to offer any solace for the Millers’ loss.

Not this time.

It was common enough for parents to lose children. It didn’t mean you ever got used to their loss, or that you loved them any less than if they’d lived. Few lost five children in as many months. But the Millers had. The prosperous family Alice knew only six months ago, with its noisy brood of six happy, healthy children, had been swiftly and brutally slaughtered by the great mortality.

Every family in Meonbridge had lost someone to the plague’s vile grip – a father, a mother, a child – but no other family had lost five.

The great mortality, sent by God, it was said, to punish the world for its sins, had torn the village apart. It had struck at random, at the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the innocent and the guilty. Some of its victims died coughing up blood, some with suppurating boils under their arms or next to their privy parts, some covered in dark, blackish pustules. A few recovered, but most did not and, after two or three days of fear and suffering, died in agony and despair, often alone and unshriven for the lack of a priest, when their loved ones abandoned them. After five months of terror, half of Meonbridge’s people were dead.

When the foul sickness at last moved on, leaving the villagers to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, Thomas and Joan Miller went to church daily, to pray for their five dead children’s souls, and give thanks to God for sparing Peter. Then the arrival of baby Maud just a few days ago had brought the Millers a bright ray of hope in the long-drawn-out darkness of their despair.

But Peter hadn’t been spared after all.

BUY LINKS

http://amzn.to/2hsaHbj

http://www.silverwoodbooks.co.uk/silverwood-bookshop

ABOUT CAROLYN HUGHES

Fortune's Wheel

Carolyn Hughes was born in London, but has lived most of her life in Hampshire. After a first degree in Classics and English, she started her working life as a computer programmer, in those days a very new profession. It was fun for a few years, but she left to become a school careers officer in Dorset. But it was when she discovered technical authoring that she knew she had found her vocation. She spent the next few decades writing and editing all sorts of material, some fascinating, some dull, for a wide variety of clients, including an international hotel group, medical instrument manufacturers and the Government. She has written creatively for most of her adult life, but it was not until her children grew up and flew the nest, several years ago, that creative writing and, especially, writing historical fiction, took centre stage in her life. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from Portsmouth University and a PhD from the University of Southampton.

Fortunes Wheel is her first published novel, and a sequel is under way.

Facebook: CarolynHughesAuthor

Twitter: @writingcalliope

Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/2hs2rrX

Blog: https://carolynhughesauthor.com/blog/

Website: https://carolynhughesauthor.com

GIVEAWAY

Paperback of Fortune’s Wheel (UK only)
Or
Ecopy of the Book (International)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

THROUGH THE BARRICADES by Denise Deegan #historicalfiction #giveaway

Denise Deegan

Through the Barricades

by

Denise Deegan

 

Denise Deegan

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: 8th December 2016

She was willing to sacrifice everything for her country. He was willing to sacrifice everything for her.

‘Make a difference in the world,’ are the last words Maggie Gilligan’s father ever says to her. They form a legacy that she carries in her heart, years later when, at the age of fifteen, she tries to better the lives of Dublin’s largely forgotten poor.

‘Don’t go getting distracted, now,’ is what Daniel Healy’s father says to him after seeing him talking to the same Maggie Gilligan. Daniel is more than distracted. He is intrigued. Never has he met anyone as dismissive, argumentative… as downright infuriating.

A dare from Maggie is all it takes. Daniel volunteers at a food kitchen. There, his eyes are opened to the plight of the poor. It is 1913 and Dublin’s striking workers have been locked out of their jobs. Their families are going hungry. Daniel and Maggie do what they can. Soon, however, Maggie realises that the only way to make a difference is to take up arms.

The story of Maggie and Daniel is one of friendship, love, war and revolution, of two people who are prepared to sacrifice their lives: Maggie for her country, Daniel for Maggie. Their mutual sacrifices put them on opposite sides of a revolution. Can their love survive?

EXCERPT

Prologue

1906

Maggie woke coughing. It was dark but there was something other than darkness in the air, something that climbed into her mouth, scratched at her throat and stole her breath. It made her eyes sting and tear. And it made her heart stall. Flames burst through the doorway like dragon breath. Maggie tried to scream but more coughs came, one after the other, after the other. She backed up in the bed, eyes wide, as the blaze began to engulf the room. She thought of her family, asleep in their beds. She had to waken them – with something other than her voice.

She hurried from her bed, peering through flame-lit smoke in search of her jug and washbasin. Reaching them, she flung water in the direction of the fire and began to slam enamel against enamel, fast and loud. She had to back away as flames lapped and roared and licked at her. But she kept on slamming.

Her arms grew tired. Her breath began to fail her. And she felt the heavy pull of sleep. She might have given in had she been alone in the house. But there was her father. There was her mother. There was Tom. And there was David. She could not give up.

Then like a miracle of black shadow, her father burst through the flames, his head tossing and turning. His frenzied gaze met hers.

‘Maggie!’

She began to cry with relief but relief changed to guilt as she realised that she had only drawn him further into the fire.

‘No! You were meant to take the stairs. You were meant to-’

‘It’s all right, Maggie Mae. It’s all right,’ he said, hurrying to her. He scooped her up and held her tight as he carried her away from a heat that burned without touching.

She felt cool air on her back as he opened the window. Wind rushed in, blowing the drapes aside. The flames roared louder, rose higher. But her father only looked out at the night sky. And down.

‘Missus O’Neill! I’m dropping Maggie down to you!’ he called. ‘Catch her now, mind. Catch my little girl.’ Then he looked deep into Maggie’s eyes. ‘Missus O’Neill is down below with her arms out for you. I’m going to drop you down to her.’

‘Will she catch you too?’

But he just smiled and kissed her forehead. ‘Make a difference in the world, Maggie.’

The sadness in his eyes filled her with a new terror. ‘But you’re coming too?’

He smiled once more. ‘I am, as soon as I get the others out. Now keep your eyes on mine, Maggie Mae. Keep your eyes on mine all the way down.’

BUY LINKS

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/2gn8DnD

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2gnsPpA

Denise Deegan

ABOUT DENISE DEEGAN

Denise Deegan

Denise Deegan is author of several best-selling novels for adults and teens. She has been a nurse, a china restorer, a pharmaceutical sales rep, a public relations officer, an entrepreneur and a college lecturer. Her most difficult job was checkout girl, though ultimately this ‘experience’ did inspire a short story…

Denise’s writing for Young Adults includes The Butterfly Novels: And By The WayAnd For Your Information and And Actually.

Denise writes women’s fiction as Aimee Alexander including Pause to RewindThe Accidental Life of Greg Millar and All We Have Lost.

Most recently, Denise has written an historical novel of love and revolution, Through the Barricades.

Denise is represented by the East West Literary Agency and Barry Krost Management. She is a member of the SCBWI.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/denise.deegan.3

Twitter: https://twitter.com/denisedeegan

Goodreads Author Page:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/818841.Denise_Deegan

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/denisedeegan/

LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/denise-deegan-34b7795a?trk=hp-identity-name

Blog and Website:

https://denisedeegan.wordpress.com/

 

GIVEAWAY

A Signed copy of the book (open internationally)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

THE WHITE CAMELLIA ~ by Juliet Greenwood #guestpost #giveaway

Juliet Greenwood

The White Camellia

by

Juliet Greenwood

 

Juliet Greenwood

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: 15th September 2016

Publisher: Honno, the Welsh Women’s Press

1909. Cornwall. Her family ruined, Bea is forced to leave Tressillion House, and self-made business woman Sybil moves in. Owning Tressillion is Sybil’s triumph — but now what? As the house casts its spell over her, as she starts to make friends in the village despite herself, will Sybil be able to build a new life here, or will hatred always rule her heart?

Bea finds herself in London, responsible for her mother and sister’s security. Her only hope
is to marry Jonathon, the new heir. Desperate for options, she stumbles into the White Camellia tearoom, a gathering place for the growing suffrage movement. For Bea it’s life-changing, can she pursue her ambition if it will heap further scandal on the family? Will she risk arrest or worse?

When those very dangers send Bea and her White Camellia friends back to Cornwall, the two women must finally confront each other and Tresillion’s long buried secrets.

EXTRACT

Cornwall, 1909

It had not changed.

Sybil stepped to the very edge of the cliff and gazed down at the rambling old house below her, topped with a maze of chimneys, a crumbling reminder of its Jacobean finery.

There was no finery left in Tressillion House, she thought grimly. Even from this distance, the place held an air of ruin and abandonment. No smoke rose up through the chill morning from warm fires within. No bustle of servants, no carriage waiting to take the ladies on their rounds of visits and charitable works in the neighbouring village of Porth Levant. Not even Hector, the stallion, steaming in the frosted morning, taking the master of the house on an inspection of the mine, just visible on the next headland.

This was what she had set in motion, all those years ago. The perfect revenge.

Sybil shivered. She unwound the scarf from her head and breathed in deeply the salt blowing in from the sea, her eyes following the North Cornish coast as it vanished into the distance in the crash of spray against rocks.

The wind tugged at her, loosening her curls from the silver clasp at the base of her neck, sending tendrils of brown hair in a wild dance around her face. Sybil turned back to the house below. She had dreamed of this for so long. The moment she would have Tressillion House helpless at her feet. When the Tressillions − who had once had more than they could ever need, but had not thought twice about taking the last hope from people with nothing − would be destroyed, the survivors learning what it was like to be totally dependent on others.

Was this how revenge felt? Sybil hugged herself, pulling the folds of her coat around her, bent almost double by the grief coiling deep in her belly.

‘Beautiful, isn’t it?’

Sybil straightened, banishing any emotion from her face. ‘Indeed.’ She turned to meet the square, squat little man emerging from the smart new Ford automobile, one hand struggling to keep his hat on his head.

‘The best view of Tressillion House,’ he remarked. ‘You can see, Miss Ravensdale, just what an exceptional property this is. There’s none finer this side of Truro.’

‘So I see, Mr Roach,’ she replied, almost managing to banish any hint of irony. On their first meeting, the solicitor had made obvious his contempt at a spinster, not in the first flush of youth, daring to invade his offices in broad daylight for all the respectable citizens of St Ives to see. He had changed his tune a little too quickly at the sight of her gleaming new Chevrolet, shipped all the way from New York, and speaking more of true wealth than any flash of diamonds.

Tressillion House had proved a more than usually difficult properly to dispose of, and there were impatient creditors snapping at Mr Roach’s heels. She must have seemed like a miracle, a rich hotelier from America dreaming of owning a property in Cornwall. Who else, the gleam in Roach’s eyes declared, would be fool enough to live in an isolated mansion fallen on hard times, with the rollers of the North Cornwall coast clawing at the rocks on wild nights, and ghosts creaking amongst its rafters?

Sybil replaced the scarf around her head. ‘Shall we go?’

BUY LINKS

http://www.honno.co.uk/dangos.php?ISBN=9781909983502

https://www.amazon.co.uk/White-Camellia-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/1909983500/

https://www.amazon.com/White-Camellia-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/1909983500

https://wordery.com/the-white-camellia-juliet-greenwood-9781909983502

The lure of big old houses

I love big old houses. Or rather, big old houses with gardens. I suppose I never did quite recover from reading ‘The Secret Garden’ at an early age. I love visiting them, and I love writing about them. Like Kate Morton, it’s my trademark. My stories are very different to Kate Morton, and differ from each other, but however hard I try to escape, that big old house, crumbling at the edges, and the overgrown garden, ready to be brought back to life, are there.

I don’t live in a large old house, but I do live in a little quarryman’s cottage, halfway up a Welsh mountain, that was built during the 1840s. The lives of the generations who lived here were mostly ones of poverty and hard work, and some held downright tragedy. But I never feel uneasy here. The garden still has the remains of previous planting, the standpipe and the loo at the bottom of the garden, and the vegetable garden that allowed the earlier inhabitants to subsist. I enjoy living amongst the remains of lives once lived, and a garden that has clearly been loved over many years, and whose structure I’ve kept in my own version of garden love – polytunnel with a grapevine and all.

I suppose that is the fascination with going round old houses, like Glynllifon in North Wales, and Lanhydrock in Cornwall, and restored villages like Blists Hill in Ironbridge and the Black Country Living Museum. It’s fascinating looking at the surroundings where the rich and the poor lived, trying to imagine their lives, and the stories that surround them.

It’s also, not surprisingly, where ‘The White Camellia’ begins, with self-made businesswoman Sybil returning from America in 1909 to take over a large old house on the Cornish coast, still with the remains of the previous inhabitants strewn amongst its rooms and gardens. But this is a woman who will be haunted by the past, and the family, and house, she has helped to destroy. A woman with secrets, too proud to ask for forgiveness, but with a need to find her own peace with herself.

Although I didn’t realise when I was writing the book, ‘The White Camellia’ is drawn from every great old house, and restored village I have ever visited, and the intertwined lives that surround us, everywhere. I shall have to find new old houses and gardens to visit…

ABOUT JULIET GREENWOOD

Juliet Greenwood

Juliet Greenwood is the author of two previous historical novels for Honno Press, both of which reached #4 and #5 in the UK Amazon Kindle store. ‘Eden’s Garden’ was a finalist for ‘The People’s Book Prize’. ‘We That are Left’ was completed with a Literature Wales Writers’ Bursary, and was Welsh Book of the month for Waterstones Wales, The Welsh Books Council and the National Museum of Wales. It was also chosen by the ‘Country Wives’ website as one of their top ten ‘riveting reads’ of 2014, was one of the top ten reads of the year for the ‘Word by Word’ blog, and a Netmums top summer read for 2014.

Juliet’s grandmother worked as a cook in a big country house, leaving Juliet with a passion for history, and in particular for the experiences of women, which are often overlooked or forgotten. Juliet trained as a photographer when working in London, before returning to live in a traditional cottage in Snowdonia. She loves gardening and walking, and trying out old recipes her grandmother might have used, along with exploring the upstairs and downstairs of old country houses.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juliet.greenwood

Twitter: https://twitter.com/julietgreenwood

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/844510.Juliet_Greenwood

Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/105731636741241490753/posts

Blog: https://suffrageladiestearoom.com/

Website: http://www.julietgreenwood.co.uk/

GIVEAWAY

1st Prize – paperback copies of all 3 of Juliet’s books
2nd Prize – an ecopy of The White Camellia

a Rafflecopter giveaway

THE LOST GIRL by Liz Harris

Liz Harris

The Lost Girl

by

Liz Harris

 

Liz Harris

What if you were trapped between two cultures?

Life is tough in 1870s Wyoming. But it’s tougher still when you’re a girl who looks Chinese but speaks like an American.

Orphaned as a baby and taken in by an American family, Charity Walker knows this only too well.  The mounting tensions between the new Chinese immigrants and the locals in the mining town of Carter see her shunned by both communities.

When Charity’s one friend, Joe, leaves town, she finds herself isolated. However, in his absence, a new friendship with the only other Chinese girl in Carter makes her feel like she finally belongs somewhere.

But, for a lost girl like Charity, finding a place to call home was never going to be that easy …

Genre: Historical Romantic Fiction

Heart of the West: Book 3

Release Date: 8th August 2016

Publisher:   Choc Lit

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

 ABOUT LIZ HARRIS

Liz Harris

Liz Harris lives south of Oxford. Her debut novel was THE ROAD BACK (US Coffee Time & Romance Book of 2012), followed by A BARGAIN STRUCK (shortlisted for the RoNA Historical 2013), EVIE UNDERCOVER, THE ART OF DECEPTION and A WESTERN HEART. All of her novels, which are published by Choc Lit, have been shortlisted in their categories in the Festival of Romantic Fiction. In addition, Liz has had several short stories published in anthologies. Her interests are theatre, travelling, reading, cinema and cryptic crosswords.

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

WEBSITE

GOODREADS

GIVEAWAY

1 COPY OF THE BOOK (ebook)
a Rafflecopter giveaway