Book Review: Pursuing Miss Hall

Hertfordshire, England, 1812. Margaret “Meg” Hall has missed her first London season due to serious illness, but now that she has recovered, she is back on the “marriage market.” Her mother decides to have a house party and invite three eligible men, one of whom is a viscount. Meg knows she is expected to marry well, and she intends to do so. However, her best friend, Nathan, has also been invited. Nathan has no desire to see Meg married off to someone else, but he is not the best prospect and has never declared his love for her. Will Meg choose love or duty?

This is a charming novella that transports us to a Regency-era house party with all its customs and propriety. The point of view shifts between Meg and Nathan as they struggle to deal with their feelings. In the midst of picnics, dances, and garden strolls, Nathan’s angst and Meg’s confusion are well portrayed. The plot is timeless, as two friends struggle between what they want to do and what society tells them they ought to do. This is a pleasant and endearing love story that Regency romance fans will enjoy.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Historical Novels Review Magazine, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Thornell

Karen Thornell grew up reading when she should have been sleeping, but it wasn’t until 2019 that she started writing. Tired of ending books and saying ‘goodbye’ to beloved characters, she wondered what it would be like to have her own characters that lived in her head always. It was probably a mark of sleep deprivation that she wanted people living in her head, but the idea was planted regardless. 

Karen lives in Utah with her husband and kids. When not writing contemporary or regency romance, she spends her free time doing endless loads of laundry, playing board games, and, yes, talking to those characters in her head.

BUY PURSUING MISS HALL ON AMAZON

Self-Published Saturday: September 4, 2021/Transylvania’s History A to Z

It’s another installment of Self-Published Saturday, as my goal is to share with you as many Indie books as I can, and I hope that you share them with others. Remember to push those Facebook, WordPress, and Twitter buttons and help these Indie authors show their books to the world. The next feature is an amazing book of stories, photos, and historical facts about Transylvania, written by Patricia Furstenberg.

BOOK REVIEW

By Patricia Furstenberg

Transylvania’s History A to Z by Patricia Furstenberg is a wonderful combination of stories, photos, history, and legends about Transylvania, Romania. Each historical fact is accompanied by a photo and a 100- word story arranged in alphabetical fashion. It is a fantastic way to learn more about Transylvania. Although this book is just 68 pages, I feel I learned so much I didn’t know before! The reader is transported from the Paleolithic era to the 20th century. The history, change, war, and upheaval over the centuries is shared so well in the stories, and each story is accompanied by photos and historical facts.

This book will take you on a journey through time as you watch Transylvania change and grow and learn so much about its history, people, and legends. My favorites were A Paleolithic Murder, Dacian Horses of Bronze Age, Motives of Christianity, Romanian’s Brother, The Woodland, and Quest Beyond the Forest, but I encourage readers to check out this little gem for yourself, learn about Transylvania, and choose your own favorite stories. I would recommend this book to all fans of history and historical fiction, as this is a fantastic combination of both.

I downloaded this book via Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Patricia Furstenberg

(In Her Own Words)

I have always been drawn to discovering more about the people and the dogs who featured in historical and contemporary events. Why they chose to fight that war; what was it that they sacrificed, silently. What was the lay of the land that they walked upon, the color of the sky or the scent carried by the wind… It is such stories that I find they still resonate today. Discovering these secrets, writing these books, thrills me. Thus, my passion for historical and contemporary fiction books and historical events was born.

As an armchair historian, I love researching such tales, traveling (researching my next book we visited medieval Sighisoara), exploring hidden corners, and unearthing new facts, forgotten characters, or hidden clues. I love to give them a voice and to bring them into the light in my tales. Be it people, animals, or the land and its architecture, no details are too small, no voice is too soft. What was once overlooked now brings history alive in my historical or contemporary fiction books and short stories, such as the 100 Words Stories based on the history of Romania.

Facts belong in the history books, but the passion, the thrill, and the fantasy, these are the realm of the novels. Welcome to my writing world.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon (Only $1.99 to purchase the e-book, or read it free via Kindle Unlimited)

Two Reminders before you go:

  1. If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books. This is very important to self-published authors.
  2. Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Self-Published Saturday: September 4, 2021/Leviathan

Self-Published Saturday continues! Again, Self-Published/Indie authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing and beyond. This Saturday feature just attempts to give them a little help and introduce books to readers who may not have seen them before. This is a repost of a review I did of Leviathan, a World War I Novella by Malcolm Havard. I was blown away by his ability to captivate the reader and felt transported to the cockpit of a WW1 plane. See below.

BOOK REVIEW

Leviathan is a fascinating ride with a young pilot through the British skies during World War I. The thoughts of the pilot flash back and forth from his BE2 single engine biplane, to his mission, to events from his past. He’s chasing a Zeppelin, the Leviathan that has come to invade his country and attack its people.

The author’s description of flying the World War I era biplane was so meticulous and detailed that I felt like I was in the cockpit of the plane, learning to fly. At the same time it was filled with emotion, as the pilot’s thoughts flashed back and forth from his plane and his surroundings to events from his life. I was completely impressed by the author’s ability to transport us into this plane and into this pilot’s inner feelings and experiences. Malcolm Havard is an Indie author who has written a gem in my opinion. I would highly recommend this for anyone interested in World War I historical fiction or aviation, or anyone who just wants to read a great story.  

I downloaded a copy of this novella on Kindle Unlimited, where members can read it for free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Malcolm Havard

Malcolm grew up in Sheffield, has lived and worked in Australia and the Middle-East but now lives in Crewe in Cheshire, England. He is a prolific and award-winning author who writes both novels and short fiction. He has, in the past, worked in a variety of genres.

Despite the variety, all have a similar DNA containing strong, often flawed but believable characters and telling great stories. His current body of work includes the mountaineering thriller, The Last Mountain, a 1950s Spy novel, Contrail, and Touched, a haunting novel about love and loneliness.

He has now found a niche writing historical fiction usually with an aviation background. He has published bestselling stories about WW1 and Hurricane Season, a blend of fiction and non-fiction stories and features centered around the legendary aircraft, the Hawker Hurricane. He has just written the second book in his LMF series set in WWII, and has recently released the first of the Three Brothers Trilogy, which covers a family during the turbulent period of 1910 to 1939.

Link to Malcolm Havard’s Website

Link to Buy Leviathan by Malcolm Havard on Amazon

*Kindle Unlimited Subscribers can read this for free.

Link to My Goodreads Review

Link to my Amazon Review (“Helpful” Votes Appreciated)

Two Reminders before you go:

  1. If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books. This is very important to self-published authors.
  2. Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

 

Book Review: No Journey Too Far

In 1909, Grace McAlister, her brother Garth, and her sister Katie were sent from England to Canada, among the thousands of British Home Children taken from their families, often under suspicious circumstances. Grace was adopted by rich parents, the Hamiltons, but Garth and Katie, like many of the British Home Children, were forced into indentured servitude. Ten years later, Grace Hamilton is about to turn 18 and her parents are launching her into Toronto society, trying to find her a well-to-do husband. They stress that Grace is not to tell anyone she was a British Home Child, as there is stigma attached. Then she finds a trunk in the attic that could help her locate the McAlister family.

This is a gripping saga of a family torn apart. The second book in the McAlister Family series, it can be read as a standalone, but reading the first book, No Ocean Too Wide, is recommended in order to get the complete story. We learn the tragic and true history of the British Home Children, who were taken from their families and their country between 1869 and 1939. This is the story of a struggle against extreme injustices that were forced on young children against their will. It also depicts the determination of a family, fighting against odds and across the ocean in order to reunite. There is a gentle Christian message of trusting God during hard times, and there are also two romances that occur in the midst of turmoil. Similar in vein to Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours, this is a heartrending novel that is not to be missed.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Multnomah, for Historical Novels Review Magazine, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carrie Turansky

(In Her Own Words) I was born and raised in Oregon, so my heart longs for tall evergreens, the rugged Oregon Coast, and the pristine Cascade Mountains. But I presently live in beautiful central New Jersey.  This is the Garden State, so we enjoy shopping at our local farmers’ market for sweet corn and juicy tomatoes or picking strawberries, blueberries, and peaches at local farms. We are close to Princeton University, Philadelphia, and New York City, so we sometimes take day trips in and enjoy museums, plays, and touring around.

I am married to Scott and we have five adult children, two daughters-in-law, two sons-in-law, and seven beautiful grandchildren. Being a wife, mom, and grandma are fulfilling and rewarding roles for me. Scott and I partner in ministry at Calvary Chapel Living Hope, a church we helped plant along with a team of hardworking, Jesus-following friends in Robbinsville, New Jersey. We love our church and feel blessed to have the privilege of serving the Lord with these dear friends. Visit the Calvary Chapel Living Hope website to learn more about our church.

My husband is the author of several parenting books filled with practical insight and biblical wisdom. We invite you to visit our ministry website and sign up for free parenting tips, then check out the articles and helpful resources there. That web site is: www.biblicalparenting.org.

My first book was published in 2005, and I’ve had twenty novels and novellas published since then. Before that, I wrote several articles, short stories, devotions, and essays. Writing fiction is my passion, and I thank the Lord for the creative ideas and characters He puts in my mind and heart. I am very grateful for friends and family who believed in me and encouraged me on my writing journey.

When I’m not writing you will find me enjoying time with my family, working outside in my flower gardens, cooking healthy meals for family and friends, or walking around the lake near our home.

BUY LINKS

NO JOURNEY TOO FAR (BOOK 2) (AMAZON)

NO OCEAN TOO WIDE (BOOK 1) (AMAZON)

Book Blast/Promo: The Rake of Hearts

*Not a book review

The Rake of Hearts by Emily Windsor

Publication Date: August 23, 2021
Senara Press Ltd

Series: A Lady to Suit, Book 2
Genre: Regency Romance

When the heart is afire…
By his own admission, Lord Ernest Brook is a rake. With sapphire gaze, sinfully handsome looks and a duke for a brother, the pleasures of London have come with ease…apart from one.
Ever since the gauntlet of her first wintry dismissal was thrown, the widowed Hebe Lock has stirred his deepest desires, but just what would it take to woo such a woman?

Sparks will fly.
Hebe Locke has vowed to never again fall for a scoundrel after her brief marriage to one left her broken and haunted.
Now she finds comfort with paintbrush and canvas, but as a female artist in a male world, commissions are as rare as a ballroom without rakes.

A castle of enchantment.
As the heat of late summer warms the land, an ancient, moated castle plays host to a widow and a rake, both concealing passions contrary to their reputations.
But as Lord Ernest awakens Hebe’s desire and thaws her frozen emotions, can she hold true to her vow?
Or can this rake win the one heart he yearns for?

Sensual Regency romance with warmth and wit, this tale also includes a disreputable aunt with a secondary love story, Cotswold country fairs, sinful masquerades and…a goat.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

A Lady to Suit Series

1 – The Duke of Diamonds – Out now!
2 – The Rake of Hearts – Out now!
3 – The Earl of Spades – Coming soon
4 – The Prince of Clubs – Coming soon

Praise

“Five gleaming stars for this amazing Regency romance.” -Bookbub Reviewer

If you love historical romance, you can’t do without this wonderful book.” -Goodreads Reviewer

“This is a beautiful historical romance where our author paints a picture just as well with her words as our heroine with her sketches.” -Bookbub Reviewer

“A little masterpiece.” -Bookbub Reviewer

About the Author

Emily Windsor grew up in the north of England on a diet of historical romance and strong tea.

Unfortunately, you couldn’t study Regency slang, so she did the next best thing and gained a degree in Classics and History instead. This ‘led’ to an eight-year stint in engineering.

Having left city life, she now lives in a dilapidated farmhouse where her days are spent writing, fixing the leaky roof, battling the endless vegetation and finding pictures of well-tied cravats.

Newsletter | Amazon | Facebook Author Page | BookBub | Goodreads | Facebook Group | Pinterest | Instagram

Book Blast Schedule

Friday, August 27
Novels Alive
Bonnie Reads and Writes
What Is That Book About
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Saturday, August 28
Pursuing Stacie
Passages to the Past
Reading is My Remedy
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Sunday, August 29
Coffee and Ink
Saynab Reads Books
The Cozy Book Blog
CelticLady’s Reviews

Giveaway

Enter to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card & an eBook of The Rake of Hearts!

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on August 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Rake of Hearts

Book Review: Along A Storied Trail

Tansy Calhoun loves her job as a Kentucky packhorse librarian during the Great Depression. At the same time, she longs for the kind of romance she finds in the books she reads. When a handsome writer comes to town, she dreams she may have found it at last. But is love actually closer than she thinks? Perdita Sweet has lived in the Kentucky mountains a long time and has become as hardened as the rocky soil.   As someone who has loved and lost, she thinks she can see the best choice for Tansy.  But will Tansy listen?

This is enjoyable Christian fiction about a pack horse librarian, one of the many during the Depression who brought books to those who were living in poor and hard-to-reach mountain areas. I appreciated the fact that Tansy not only brought books to people in need, but she also spent time reading to those who couldn’t read. The trials of living in isolated mountain communities are shown, but also evident is the closeness of the people in those communities. Through the life-hardened Perdita, we learn how God can open your heart by giving you the opportunity to help others. Along a Storied Trail is a heartwarming romance with strong Christian themes of reaching out to others in need and trusting God’s plan.  Fans of Christian historical romance will enjoy this captivating tale.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Revell, for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart caught the writing bug at the age of ten and has been writing ever since. An award winning author, she’s published many books for both adults and young adults. Her books cover several genres from historical to small town family stories to cozy mysteries (mysteries published with author name A.H. Gabhart). Her ideas are sparked by events in Kentucky history and by experiences in her own family. Her first Shaker novel, The Outsider, was a finalist for the ECPA Christian Fiction Book of the Year. Love Comes Home won the Selah Book of the Year award, and These Healing Hills was the Faith, Hope & Love Readers’ Choice Women’s Fiction Book of the Year. 

Ann lives on a Kentucky farm not far from where she was born. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. Ann enjoys hiking on her farm with her grandkids and her dogs, Frankie and Marley. See more about her books at her website or join the conversation on her Facebook page.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Book Review: Beyond This Broken Sky

This is a dual-timeline novel set in London in 1940 and 2019. In 1940, rich and carefree Ruby has surprisingly volunteered for the ambulance service during the Nazi bombing of Britain, otherwise known as the Blitz. Her partner and driver is Joseph, a conscientious objector. Ruby owns a house in London and has rented out one of the top two floors to Joseph and the other to a married couple, Kitty and Reg. In 2019, Edi has purchased an apartment in London and is trying to start life anew. A neighbor, a book, and a hidden object lead her to pursue a mystery and learn about the actions of truly courageous women in a dangerous time.

I was spellbound by this novel, which transports us to a shell-shocked London being hit with a barrage of bombs night after night. We careen through the streets in an ambulance, saving who we can, and we do it over and over. This is the life of Ruby at that time. We also meet Joseph, who cannot take a life but wants to help his country in other ways. We learn of life-threatening prejudice against women, and we witness the very real September 1940 occupation of the Savoy Hotel, as the differences between the shelter accommodations of the rich and poor are made very obvious.  In 2019, the heartbroken but determined Edi, with the help of her neighbor, Pearl, unravels a mystery that has been hidden for decades.

This is a unique and eye-opening look at London during the Blitz that gives us deeper insight into the realities of life in that era. I highly recommend this book to fans of World War II fiction, women’s fiction, and mysteries.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Bookouture, for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Siobhan Curham

(In Her Own Words)

When I was a child my evil genius parents decided not to have a TV as they thought it was bad for a child’s imagination – I mean, as if?! And, as this was in the days before the internet and mobile phones, I had a choice – I could either learn to love books or I could die of boredom. So I learnt to love books and pretty soon my love of reading grew into a love of writing and I dreamt of one day having a shelf of books of my own.

At eighteen I set off for uni in pursuit of my dream, to study English Literature. But two years into my degree, I become plagued by the fear that I just didn’t have what it took to become a professional writer. I came from a much poorer background than most of my fellow students and I started to feel that people from council estates didn’t belong in the middle class world of publishing. So I dropped out of uni and ended up working in the complaints department for a frozen food company where all I wrote were grovelling apology letters to irate customers. (This is the tragic low point of my story).

After four years of working in jobs I hated I came to an important realisation: life can be a very dull and dark place when you don’t dare to dream. So I dusted off my literary dreams and instead of seeing writing as some kind of rarefied world solely for the silver-spooned, I decided to approach it as I would any other job, starting small and working my way up. I began my quest writing short stories for weekly women’s magazines (the kind of magazines that have headlines like: The Day My Womb Fell Out! and OMG My Fella is Sleeping With the Milkman!). Then I wrote some articles. Having short stories and articles published gave me the confidence to finally have a go at writing my first book.

That book was published in 2000.

Fast forward 20 years and I’ve now written over 30 books and I’ve won three book awards. Moral of the story … never give up on your dreams!

I love helping other people with their writing, in my work as an editor and writing coach.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Apple Books

Barnes and Noble

Self-Published Saturday: August 21, 2021

It’s Saturday, and I’ll be reviewing only Self-Published/Indie books all day. Saturday is exclusively Self-Published/Indie. Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Indie authors market their books. As I always say, Self-Published/Indie authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. My hope is that this feature will give them a little help. Please remember that if you decide to review the book, leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and anywhere else you review the book. This is so important for Self-Published authors. Today I am featuring the wonderful Alice and Trudy mystery series by Valerie Fletcher Adolph, set in post World World II Yorkshire. I actually reviewed Books 2 and 3 for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. I haven’t written a book review for Book 1 yet, but I’m including a book description. My reviews for books 2 and 3 are below. They can all be read as standalones.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Fleeing an abusive husband, Trudy finds herself helping to run a private hotel (The Avalon Hotel) for elderly guests. But only a couple of weeks after her arrival, Alastair Mackie, one of its owners, is poisoned. Suspicion falls on Trudy and on Alastair’s wife, Alice.

Together, Trudy and Alice struggle to find the identity of the killer, or even a reason for the murder. They are helped along the way by Ben, a man from the moors, and by dear Doctor Taylor himself, beloved by the elderly residents of the hotel.

Only slightly in the way are Colonel Starr, who has difficulty telling one war from another, Calvin Hunt with his shocking remarks, the name-dropping Mrs Shand and the frequent fainter (but artistic) Fay Bowen. Oh! I almost forgot Miss Harriet – she is easy to overlook.

While Alice tries to discover the secret behind the killing, Trudy must fight with a husband who is determined to force her back.

Set in a large Victorian house in Yorkshire in 1947, this novel introduces readers to a new pair of detectives – Alice, raised in a country mansion by aristocratic parents, and Trudy, daughter of a butcher from the market.

BOOK REVIEWS

In England in 1947, Princess Elizabeth prepares to marry Phillip Mountbatten. And at the Avalon Private Hotel, sweet, elderly Miss Harriet is planning to marry John Prentiss. But there are obstacles in the way. Neither John nor Miss Harriet is particularly interested in wedding planning, there are issues agreeing on a church, and to top it all off, somebody wants to kidnap Miss Harriet! Alice, Trudy, Kenneth Wilson, the local police detective, and the guests at Avalon band together to try and keep the wedding on track and protect Miss Harriet. Tidbits from Elizabeth’s wedding are dropped throughout the book. This is the second in the wonderful Alice and Trudy Mystery series by Valerie Fletcher Adolph.

This is an entertaining read which alternates between the perspectives of Alice, the owner of the Avalon, and Trudy, who helps her run the hotel. In addition to wedding plans, we are caught up in the other residents—Fay, who is using her considerable talent as an artist to sketch the local dogs; Colonel Starr, whose mind is generally geared to military matters; Mrs. Shand, who does some uppity criticizing of the wedding planning, both royal and non-royal; Calvin, the elderly flirt; and Sophie, who tries to help out in every situation. Alice’s aristocratic family makes appearances, as do Ben, a local man, his dog Yan, and others.

This is a sweet, mild cozy mystery, softer and more comfortable than most. It is a relaxing read about post-World War II England. I loved the characters, especially the elderly hotel guests. Fans of weddings, cozy mysteries, and postwar novels will enjoy this book.

In post-World War II Yorkshire, Alice and Trudy are taken aback when Jeremiah Bickerstaff, the formidable patriarch of the rich and powerful Bickerstaff family, makes the surprising decision to move into a vacant room at the Avalon hotel while recovering from a stroke. Despite begging, conniving, and groveling from his family, he will not move back home. This makes things difficult for Trudy, as Bickerstaff is the grandfather of her abusive ex-husband, Jeremy. Then another young man enters the picture. He bears a strong resemblance to the Bickerstaff grandsons. Is he a long-lost heir? When a death happens on the premises, one of the elderly tenants is quick to point the finger. Was it an accident, or something more? This is the third book in the Alice and Trudy mystery series. It can be read as a stand-alone.

The elderly Avalon gang is back in another delightful mystery adventure. Led by hotel owner Alice and manager Trudy, the aged but active residents lend a hand and plenty of opinions after Mr. Bickerstaff joins their ranks. This series is such a delight to read. I truly enjoy all of these characters, especially Colonel Starr, who thinks everyone should join the Army, and Mrs. Shand, who is always ready with a comment, whether you want to hear it or not. You will laugh at the hijinks of this hilarious crew of lively lodgers. Fans of cozy mysteries will want to rent a room at the Avalon hotel, and stay long-term.

OVERALL COMMENTS

This is a warm hug of a cozy mystery series with characters who keep you chuckling. You will want to continue coming back to the Avalon Hotel.

BUY THE ALICE AND TRUDY MYSTERIES ON AMAZON

Click on each book cover to buy the books on Amazon. Kindle Unlimited Subscribers can read the whole series for free! They are also only $2.99 each to buy the ebook version.

Two Reminders before you go:

  1. If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books. This is very important to self-published authors.
  2. Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Blog Tour, Q&A, and Book Review: Scandal’s Deception

*Book Review and Q&A at the bottom of the page

Scandal’s Deception by Pamela Gibson

Publication Date: July 21, 2021 Soul Mate Publishing, LLC Series: Scandal Series, Book 4 Genre: Regency Historical Romance     Jane Stafford, raised in America, is shocked to learn she is a wealthy heiress, her late father was an earl, and her English mother is alive. Anxious to meet the woman she long-thought dead, she travels to London, only to be whisked away by her sinfully handsome guardian to a remote estate to be “schooled” in the ways of the ton. Gilbert Carmichael, Lord Ralston, chafes at having to make a rebellious young heiress acceptable to society, especially one who is impetuous and blatantly democratic. Because the instruction she needs is more than deportment and dancing. It’s also about how to spot a rake who might woo her for her fortune. When Ralston learns his ward is to be used as a pawn in an elaborate scheme involving a secret impersonation, he will move heaven and earth to keep her safe. Because proximity has brought the uncomfortable knowledge that his interest may be more than duty—it just might be love.

About the Author

Author of eight books on California history and sixteen romance novels, Pamela Gibson is a former City Manager who now lives in the Nevada desert. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in public administration, but her passion is and always has been writing. Having spent three years messing about in boats, a hobby that included a five-thousand-mile trip in a 32-foot Nordic Tug, she now spends most of her time indoors happily reading, writing, cooking and keeping up with the antics of Ralph, her Siamese rescue cat. If you want to learn more about her activities go to https://www.pamelagibsonwrites.com and sign up for her blog and quarterly newsletter. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, and Goodreads.

BOOK REVIEW

Upon the death of her beloved father, Jane, an American, learns she is an heiress, her father was an earl, and her mother is still alive and living in England. Her home in America is sold and Jane is sent to England to her mother. However, upon arrival, she is told she will be under the tutelage of her guardian, Lord Ralston, learning the ways of “The ton,” so she can fit into society. Then she finds out she has a twin sister.

This is a compelling Regency romance with plenty of action. There are mild sex scenes and language. Jane’s anguish upon losing her father and her home and being forced to go to another country is well portrayed. The villain is a definitely a “rakish rogue,” who gets away with some shocking behavior, but since he is highly placed in society, I feel this is believable. Jane’s mother is haughty, remote, and manipulative, and I would have liked to have seen more of her in the book. I don’t think the twin sister’s character is as well developed, but we will learn more about her in an upcoming book in the series, Scandal’s Redemption. Jane is delightful, as she is a skilled and intelligent young woman, and no fainting Regency flower. She is described by Lord Ralston as “having the education of a young male,” which would have been quite unusual at the time.

Scandal’s Deception is filled with adventure and intrigue, and fans of Regency romances will enjoy this story of a misfit thrust into an unfamiliar world. As a warning, there is an attempted rape in this novel.

I received a free copy of this book via HistFic Virtual Book Tours. My review is voluntary.

BUY SCANDAL’S DECEPTION ON AMAZON

*Kindle Unlimited Subscribers can read this book for free, or you can buy it outright for only $3.99

Q&A WITH AUTHOR PAMELA GIBSON

I’m excited to provide a Q&A I did with the author of Scandal’s Deception, Pamela Gibson. She gave us some GREAT answers, and I want to thank her again for participating in this interview.

Hi Pamela.  To start off, tell us a little bit more about yourself.  Where are you from, what do you like to do in your spare time, and what inspired you to start writing?

Hi Bonnie. Thanks for having me today. 

I was born and raised in San Juan Capistrano, a small town on the California coast. At its heart was a famous Franciscan Mission.  I was allowed to roam freely inside the mission grounds as a child. The town was small and everybody knew everyone.  I made up a lot of stories while hanging around that Mission, especially after my little brother died of leukemia. I think my love of story-telling began as an escape, but expanded into an avocation.  I can certainly trace my interest in history to that time and it is still with me today.

In college I majored in history, but I didn’t go into teaching. Instead, I became a newspaper reporter, writing about “current history” every day. In my spare time I researched the past and eventually published eight history books covering localized subjects. When I married a man who liked to “mess about in boats” my spare time was spent on a sailboat racing crew, and over time we transitioned to power boats. My greatest boating adventure was a five-thousand-mile trip in a 32-foot trawler which took eight months. We actually circumnavigated the eastern third of the United States and parts of Canada via oceans, lakes, rivers, and canals.

Needless to say there was lots of time to read and I’d always wanted to write a novel, so I began writing fiction on the boat. Now that our boating adventures are over and my husband and I are retired, I write at home. 

What was the inspiration behind Scandal’s Deception?

I’d always wanted to write a “fish out of water” story and while I write contemporary and historical novels, I decided putting this type of character in my Regency series would be a good challenge. I remembered the old film, The Parent Trap, about twins who were separated by their divorced parents at birth, who meet at a camp, and decide to trade places. This book doesn’t go quite that far, but my American twin’s father dies and she discovers he had many secrets, including a wife still living. When she’s sent to her mother in England, her guardian takes it upon himself to prepare her for life as the daughter of an earl, a life full of rules. 

This was the perfect scenario for my “fish out of water” trope because the two countries had been at war and life for my heroine in Maryland had been completely different from the life of her twin sister. It created unusual conflicts and allowed for a good learning curve for my heroine. 

What message or information would you like us to take away after reading the book?

Books should have themes and this one’s is about believing in yourself. My heroine goes through a great deal of upheaval, has to learn a whole set of rules she finds silly, becomes attached to the sister she never knew she had, and resents the woman who doesn’t act like a mother should. Later in the book, when she undergoes a difficult situation and has to use her wits and her strength of will to outwit a villain, she constantly has to trust her instincts to get her through it all.  In an early chapter she remembers her best friend’s advice: Everything comes right if you believe in yourself. She recalls this at the end of the book when indeed, everything has, and she is about to get her happily ever after.

Who are your favorite authors?  Which books do you constantly re-read?

My list is endless when it comes to favorite authors, but I adore Mary Balogh because of the feelings she can evoke in her readers. I also admire Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, Beverly Jenkins, and Sarah MacLean. I admit to not re-reading books because there are too many books I haven’t read, and I also have a list of authors that are auto-buys who do not necessarily write historical romance. These are Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Susanna Kearsley, Karen White, Nora Roberts both as herself and J.D. Robb, and Jayne Ann Krentz.

I also like John Lescroat (cop and courtroom thrillers), and Randy Wayne White (sailing thrillers). I could go on and on but I won’t.

We have a lot of new authors who follow my blog.  What would be your advice to new authors who need motivation to finish their book?

Before I began writing fiction, I joined a writer’s group (Romance Writers of America), took online classes, and read craft books. All this was good preparation. My best advice though, is keep writing, even if you only have time for one paragraph or one page a day. If you can afford it, once you have a perfect first five pages and at least three or four chapters, enter a contest for unpublished writers. Choose one that give feedback. If the comments are consistent, pay attention. If  not, shrug them off unless you tend to agree. I found my current publisher through one of these contests. Also, it’s best to have the book finished.  The field is pretty crowded these days and a publisher may not want to wait.

If you decide to self-publish, you must hire a professional editor to review your manuscript. I cannot stress this enough. You’d be surprised at what you miss, even after reading through a book several times. 

Finally, be like my heroine in Scandal’s Deception. Believe in yourself.

Could you tell us a little about your other work?

I mentioned I spent several years as a newspaper reporter, then I went back to college, got a master’s degree and worked in city governments that had the council-manager form of government, retiring as a City Manager. That’s when I began to write full time. I have a contemporary series called Love in the Wine Country, based on characters in my own family as well as people I met while living in Sonoma, California. There are six books in this family saga covering the lives of the Reynoso cousins—three girls, three boys—who work in the wine industry. There are also five novellas set in a Sonoma coastal town with some overlapping characters.

My other historical series is Mission Belles, going back to my first love, California history. Two books are in this series, set in California just before the gold rush, when it was still part of Mexico and about to go to war with the U.S.  

Scandal’s Deception is the fourth book in the Regency series, with lots of familiar characters in each book. I’ve tried to create a world so there can be more books in this series. Scandal’s Redemption, the other twin’s book, will be released next spring.

Thanks so much, Pamela, for taking the time to answer our questions, and we look forward to reading more of your work.

Book Review: Murder at Wakehurst

After the death of her uncle, Cornelius Vanderbilt, in 1899, Emma Cross is in mourning and has no desire to accompany her cousin Neily (Cornelius Vanderbilt III) to a decadent and rousing party. The party will be held in Newport, Rhode Island, at the home of a member of one of America’s richest and most powerful families. But Neily had been estranged from his late father, and his wife Grace implores Emma to attend to help keep him out of trouble. Then, during an elaborate jousting ceremony, a distinguished judge is murdered, and Emma finds the body. Police detective Jesse Whyte does not seem to be on the case as usual. There is a new detective, and he wants no help from Emma. Emma, a reporter, continues to investigate the crime anyway, with the help of Derrick Andrews, heir to a Providence newspaper fortune. This is the ninth book in the Gilded Newport series.

This fantastic series continues with another installment, and plenty of twists, turns, and red herrings. The life of opulence lived by the Gilded Age’s privileged families is richly described. As a Vanderbilt cousin, Emma has access to elegant parties and mansions, but she is also looked down upon by some as a poor relation who has to work for a living. While sometimes hanging with the high-flyers, Emma keeps her feet firmly on the ground. Her position as an outsider with connections is an intriguing one, as she can hold her own amongst the elite, but is also accepted in the staff kitchens. This is another gripping and clever mystery about a sleuth who inhabits two worlds at once, and it will transport you to a time of luxury, greed, and the quest for power. Highly recommended.

I received a free copy of this book from Kensington Books for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own. 

Murder at Wakehurst will be released on August 31, 2021. Books 1 – 8 in the Gilded Newport Mysteries are available now.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alyssa Maxwell

Alyssa Maxwell knew from an early age that she wanted to be a writer. Growing up in New England and traveling to Great Britain fueled a passion for history, while a love of puzzles drew her to the mystery genre. She is the author of The Gilded Newport Mysteries and A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mysteries. She and her husband reside in Florida, where she is a member of the Mystery Writers of America-Florida Chapter, Sisters in Crime, and the Florida Romance Writers. 

BUY LINKS FOR MURDER AT WAKEHURST

AMAZON

APPLE

BARNES AND NOBLE

BUY LINK FOR THE ENTIRE GILDED NEWPORT MYSTERY SERIES

AMAZON