Isabella of Angoulême by Erica Lainé #excerpt #giveaway



Isabella of Angoulême


Erica Lainé



Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: October 2015

Publisher:  SilverWood Books

Set in the thirteenth century, the kingdoms of England and France are struggling over territory as the powerful Angevins threaten the French king. In regions far from Paris local fiefdoms disregard all authority.

The Tangled Queen is the story of the little known and very young Isabella of Angoulême who was abducted by King John in 1200. She became his second wife and queen consort, aged 12. He was the most reviled king in English history and his lust for her led to the loss of Normandy and the destruction of the Plantagenet Empire, which then brought about the Magna Carta.

Isabella came of age in England, but was denied her place in court. Her story is full of thwarted ambition, passion, pride and cruelty. She longed for power of her own and returned to France after the death of John to live a life of treachery and intrigue…



Excerpt from Isabella of Angoulême: The Tangled Queen Part 1.

Isabella smiled and yawned – it was time these chattering girls left. She dismissed them, haughty and impatient. Away they sped, some calling back to Isabella, jokes and remarks full of innuendo for her future. She frowned; this was not the way to treat a future queen.

‘Agnes, help prepare me for bed.’

Agnes closed the chamber door, unlacing the back of Isabella’s dress, folding the glorious red and gold silk into the large chest. Tomorrow Isabella would wear the blue gown, the splendid blue and silver fabric showing wealth and also loyalty. If red and gold had shown the power and wealth of the Taillefers, then the blue would mark their obedience and fealty.

Early the next morning Agnes was busy preparing a scented bath. Precious rose oil, drop by drop, turned the hot water cloudy. And then she was busy mixing the rosemary wash for Isabella’s hair. She would wear her hair loose today, and her small gold guirland.

Isabella woke up and saw Agnes looking at her, long and thoughtful, ready to make her stir, but she was already throwing back the covers and standing and stretching. Agnes nodded and together they moved to the bath, and Isabella slipped into the milky, perfumed water and rubbed the rosemary wash into her hair. She felt the water running down her back and shivered. Then she was being briskly dried by Agnes, who was determined to treat Isabella to the most thorough of preparations.

Her mother Alice entered the room and the three of them unfolded the wedding gown and dressed Isabella. Her chemise was soft and light, the dress heavy and cumbersome. Arranged within it, held within it as if caged, her face pale but proud, she moved to the window and looked down onto a courtyard full of people, horses, carts and wagons. A procession was moving through the crowd, with a stately canon and an even more stately bishop in the centre. The clergy were intent on their walk to the cathedral. Isabella clutched Agnes in a sudden fear. Then she rested her head on the window and took a deep breath. It was her wedding day.




About Erica Lainé


I was was born in 1943 in Southampton and originally studied for the theatre.  I moved with my family to Hong Kong in 1977 and worked and lived there for 20 years, writing English language textbooks for Chinese primary schools and managing large educational projects for the British Council.

Since living in S W France I have been very involved with a local history society and have researched many topics, the history of gardens and fashion being favourites.

Isabella of Angoulême began in 2011 at a writing workshop run by Philippa Pride, the Book Doctor.  The story of this young queen was fascinating and although she appears as a character in some other historical novels I wanted to concentrate on her entire life and her importance to the English and the French and the role she played in the politics of power. Part Two is being written now and my head is more or less permanently in the thirteenth century.







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LEARNING TO LOVE by Sheryl Browne #guestpost #ChocLit #excerpt

Sheryl Browne

Learning to Love


Sheryl Browne


Sometimes help comes from the most unlikely places …

Living in a small village like Hibberton, it’s expected that your neighbours help you in a time of need. But when Andrea Kelly’s house burns down, taking all her earthly possessions with it, it’s the distant and aloof Doctor David Adams – the person she would least expect – who opens his door not just to her, but to her three kids and slightly dotty elderly mother as well.

Andrea needs all the help she can get, dealing with aftermath of the fire and the suspicious absence of her husband, Jonathan. But, as she gets to know David and his troubled son, Jake, she begins to realise that maybe they need her help as much as she needs theirs …


You may have gathered, Learning to Love is here! Could it have ever found a more perfect home than with Choc Lit, where heroes are like Chocolate: irresistible? Could it have ever found a more beautiful cover?

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Read an excerpt?

Andrea laughed as the two women made precarious progress onwards, Eva all sweetness and light, Dee her usual rude self. ‘Honestly, what would you do with them?’

‘Well, maybe not put them out to grass, just yet,’ David suggested, not very diplomatically probably, but he couldn’t help himself.

‘No.’ Obviously getting his meaning, Andrea glanced away. ‘I adore the furnishings,’ she said, walking across to trail her hand over the back of the sofa. ‘And the décor. I can’t think how you knew I was about to decorate my lounge in this colour, before the fire, obviously.’

‘Ryan, he put me right on a few things,’ David said. ‘Andrea?’

‘Hmm?’ Andrea was now admiring the blinds.

‘Where did the bruise come from?’

David watched, keeping a tight rein on his anger, as Andrea glanced immediately down, visibly debating whether to drop that bastard Eden in it?

‘I … fell,’ she eventually mumbled, her shoulders deflating.

‘Right.’ David nodded slowly. ‘And was Jonathan in the vicinity when you fell, by any chance?’

‘No, I … Yes. It …’ Andrea turned around and leant wearily against the edge of the dining table. ‘It wasn’t what you’re thinking, David. It was an accident.’

‘I see.’ David nodded again and counted silently to five. ‘Andrea,’ he glanced at the ceiling, ‘if you knew how many times I’d heard that.’

‘David, it wasn’t … He didn’t—’

‘How many times I’ve had people, women mostly, come into my surgery with bruises, broken bones, smashed in faces—’

‘David, don’t!’ Andrea pushed herself away from the table.

‘They all trip or fall, Andrea! Or walk into doors. I’ve heard every conceivable excuse there is for a bruise that was more probably caused by a fist!’

‘It was not!’ Andrea stood her ground adamantly, but glanced away again under his questioning gaze.

David closed his eyes, furious inside. He didn’t want to upset her. He didn’t want to frighten her, and he possibly was, but he most definitely wanted the truth. ‘Did you argue?’ he asked more quietly.

Andrea deliberated. David waited.

She nodded, finally. ‘The bruise was an accident, but, yes, we did argue.’

And that, as far as David was concerned, was enough. An argument that resulted in a person sustaining physical injury meant it was a violent one. ‘And did you resolve anything?’ he asked, his throat tight. As in, did Eden admit he was a thieving piece of scum?

Sheryl Browne

Tempted? Even I am, having read some of the gorgeous pre-release reviews.

You can grab your copy here: Amazon

Thank you so much, Melanie, for featuring me on your lovely blog. Thank you too to all those readers and book bloggers for your wonderful support. The road to publication can sometimes be a little bit bumpy. Without you, I might still be languishing down the potholes.

For anyone kind enough to purchase the book, I would love your feedback. Because, at the end of the day, the fate of Doctor Adams is in the hands of the reader.

Keep safe all!

About Sheryl Browne

Sheryl Browne

Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you sassy, sexy, heart-wrenching fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.

Recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer, Sheryl’s contemporary fiction comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.


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