Tag Archives: historical fiction

The Watcher by Monika Jephcott Thomas

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Watcher by Monika Jephcott Thomas to review.

The Watcher by Monika Jephcott Thomas

Here is the book blurb.

It’s 1949 when Netta’s father Max is released from a Siberian POW camp and returns to his home in occupied Germany. But he is not the man the little girl is expecting – the brave, handsome doctor her mother Erika told her stories of. Erika too struggles to reconcile this withdrawn, volatile figure with the husband she knew and loved before, and, as she strives to break through the wall Max has built around himself, Netta is both frightened and jealous of this interloper in the previously cosy household she shared with her mother and doting grandparents. Now, if family life isn’t tough enough, it is about to get even tougher, when a murder sparks a police investigation, which begins to unearth dark secrets they all hoped had been forgotten.

I found this book quite confusing as the timeline kept swapping between nightmare flashbacks to when Max was imprisoned at a POW camp in Siberia and current 1949 occupied Germany described mainly from Max’s young daughter Netta’s viewpoint.

It is a full household with Max, his wife Erika, Netta, Max’s parents Martha and Karl, invalid Tante Bertel and servant Karin. Things get even more complicated as Karin is dating Roderick, who the reader has already learnt had an affair with Erika whilst Max was a POW. Martha knows about this and warns Karin she will lose her job if she doesn’t stop seeing Roderick.

The reader discovers that Netta seems to have an eating disorder, although her family seem unaware. And she tells her father that someone has been watching her. She also has a bad cough due to pollution. Her parents are just deciding to send her away to the seaside where the air will be better, when police arrive. There has been a murder. Are some of them suspects?

There are more characters to meet including some from Max’s time at the POW camp, but I’m going to stop now as I don’t wish to reveal who was murdered. This happened quite near the start of the story, but as I said before I found it all quite confusing.

The Watcher is available on Amazon, currently priced at £8.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A challenging read and not one that I hugely enjoyed, although okay.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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The Keeping of Secrets by Alice Graysharp

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Keeping of Secrets by Alice Graysharp to review.

The Keeping of Secrets by Alice Graysharp

Here is the book blurb.

The keeper of family secrets, Patricia Roberts grows up isolated and lonely. Trust no one and you won’t be disappointed is her motto. Three men fall in love with her and she learns to trust, only to find that their agendas are not her own. With secrets concealed from her by the ultimate love of her life, and with her own secret to keep, duplicity and deceit threaten their relationship. In a coming of age story set against the sweeping backdrop of the Second World War – evacuation, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, buzz bombs and secret war work – Patricia ultimately has to decide whether to reveal her deepest held secret for the sake of her future happiness.

The book starts when 15 year old Pat’s school is evacuated to Leatherhead in September 1939. Pat, Janet and Becky end up at Givons House, where they are under-fed, but get rehomed after complaints from their parents. Pat misses her new best friend Becky but has to leave her next billet when relatives are due and ends up in a bed far too short for her.

She goes back home to Brixton for Christmas, where her childhood friend Bill now wants her to be his sweetheart. But Pat doesn’t want to be anyone’s girl, she dreams of going to sixth form, then training to become a teacher.

Shortly after returning to Leatherhead, the short bed fails an inspection and Pat is rehomed again, this time in a small flat with Mr & Mrs Grice. When Mr Grice is called up, Mrs Grice moves to a larger bungalow and finally Becky is able to lodge with Pat again. But it is not just Leatherhead where she keeps moving, as her grandmother forces the family to move from Brixton to West Norwood due to a rent dispute, just before she goes back for May half-term.

Whilst home, she heads into London for a visit to the National Gallery and en-route pops into the Beaver Club, where her mother works. But she accidentally collides into one of the Canadian servicemen, Group Captain James Bonar, who was about to do some sightseeing before returning to duties. She ends up acting as an unofficial tour guide and James then asks her to be a pen pal.

A couple of weeks later, Pat turns 16 and with her school friends, goes for a cycle ride picnic where they inadvertently end up amidst a military training exercise on Esher Common. The officer in charge forbids them to speak of it to anyone, so she can’t include it in her pen pal news. Meanwhile James asks if she will show him more of London when he next gets leave, so she uses a visit to Becky as a cover excuse. And a week later they go to a dance and kiss. Several months pass before James next has leave and this time they sleep together and James proposes. Pat turns him down saying she wishes she was 10 years older. James had mistakenly assumed she was 21. But disaster intervenes when a week later, James’ plane is shot down.

We then move into part 2 of the book, where we continue to follow Pat, who is now blaming herself for James’ death and bottling up her biggest secret. Bill alternates between trying to cheer her up and feeling jealous that somebody else had been keen on Pat. She then meets Bill’s friend Jon whom she becomes keen on. Of course Bill starts resenting that Jon likes Pat. There’s lots more to come in the story, but I’m going to stop now.

The Keeping of Secrets is available on Amazon, currently priced at £9.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A nice story which I recommend.


Here is an extract from the book for you to read.

Pat has taken James, a Canadian airman, on a whistle stop tour of London’s attractions:

‘No tour guide worth her salt could allow a tour to end without a cup of tea at a Lyons Corner House,’ I declared grandly, and James inclined his head for me to lead on. I took him to the one on the opposite corner to Charing Cross Station and we were placed at a table at one side of the room towards the back. James extracted a cigarette packet as we waited for our tea, a quirk of an eyebrow as I refused the proffered cigarette, but he made no comment, dragging deeply before blowing the smoke out of his flared nostrils. He said, ‘It’s been a very pleasant afternoon. You’ve been kind to a stranger in a foreign land and made me feel at home. Could I ask one more thing of you?’

At that moment the waitress arrived and we were busy for a few minutes with the flurry of activity. Once cups of tea were in front of us, unable to contain my curiosity, I asked, ‘What’s the one more thing you’d like me to do?’

James was in no hurry to reply, sipping his tea and helping himself to a small gingerbread cake, which he ate slowly, his even white teeth flashing as he bit into its soft brown depths, his lips meeting firmly, a slight lift to the side of his mouth as he chewed and watched me watching him. I blushed a little as if I had caught him in some kind of personal ritual and he swallowed and nodded slightly, as if coming to a decision, smiling more broadly now, the crow’s feet crinkling, and I felt a melting inside me, and I thought, I’d like to draw him, and, blushing again, busied myself with cutting up my scone and butter.

James leaned forward and spoke quietly so as to not be overheard.


About the author

Born and raised in the Home Counties, Alice Graysharp has enjoyed a varied working life from hospitality to office work and retail. She currently lives in Surrey. This is her first novel, and the first title in a two book series, she is also already working on a seventeenth century trilogy. Published in the anniversary month of the outbreak of the Second World War and the Battle of Britain.

Website: https://www.alicegraysharp.com/


I’m participating in the blogtour. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts.

The Keeping of Secrets by Alice Graysharp

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Taming a Savage Gentleman by Tammy Andresen

I have received a free e-copy of the book Taming a Savage Gentleman by Tammy Andresen to review.

Taming a Savage Gentleman by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb.

Tom Maddox would never marry. He’s the second son, the spare, and he prides himself on living his life without the confines of society.

Baroness Segrave needs a husband for society’s sake but she’d prefer he have no opinion at all. Which is why the Earl of Loudoun seems the ideal choice. With no fortune and a drinking habit, he should allow her to keep running her estate while living off the allowance she’d give him. But Loudoun proves to be both drunk and foolish. Suddenly a husband who is strong, capable, and appreciative of her gifts gains merit in her eyes. A man like Tom Maddox.

But how can she convince Tom that he should consider marriage and give up his carefree bachelorhood? Because no matter what anyone else believes, she’d rather the love of a gentleman than a lord.

This is book 5 of 6 in the Taming the Heart series set in 1860.

Tom Maddox, 2nd son of Lord Maddox enjoys working as chief officer aboard The White Lady, although his father wishes him to settle into the family shipyard business. However Tom likes his single carefree life. On this trip sailing from London to Scotland, in addition to the usual cargo, there are 3 passengers – Dowager Baroness Segrave, her daughter Lady Flora Baroness Segrave and the Earl of Loudoun, who is courting Lady Flora.

Tom is attracted to Lady Flora and is annoyed by the drunken Earl’s rudeness to her. As they walked the deck, Loudoun angrily tries to grab Flora’s arm, causing her to unbalance and fall overboard. Tom jumps in and saves her. But Flora is too cold and Tom knows she needs skin to skin contact to warm up to survive. He convinces her mother that this is essential and that she can chaperone without Flora being compromised.

A storm is brewing and the ship heads to find harbour on an island. As the ship lurches, Flora’s mother is sent flying across the cabin and Flora goes to tell Tom that her mother is injured. At the same time the ship hits a rock. They take the row boats to shore, but mutiny is about to break out as the crew blame Flora for distracting Tom although he couldn’t have seen the rock.

Flora realises that she doesn’t want to marry the drunken Earl after all. She wants Tom but on what terms?

Taming a Savage Gentleman is available on Amazon, currently priced at £2.40 in Kindle format. This is a nice light romance story.


About the author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Tammy Andresen lives with her husband and three children just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up on the Seacoast of Maine, where she spent countless days dreaming up stories in blueberry fields and among the scrub pines that line the coast. Her mother loved to spin a yarn and Tammy filled many hours listening to her mother retell the classics. It was inevitable that at the age of 18, she headed off to Simmons College, where she studied English literature and education. She never left Massachusetts but some of her heart still resides in Maine and her family visits often.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

The Last Gods of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Last Gods of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer to review.

The Last Gods of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer

Here is the book blurb.

Jacquie Mouhot and Paaku the Lotus-Born are divided by six centuries but linked by a common curse. In medieval Cambodia, Paaku is an orphan whose community believes he may be a reluctant incarnation of a god, causing sectarian turmoil for the kingdom’s leaders. Meanwhile, in 1921, Jacquie follows the footsteps of her grandfather, a famous explorer, to Indochina, where she becomes immersed in the tragedy of Paaku’s history: a story simultaneously unfolding in the intertwined present and past, a story in which she still has a vital role to play.

The book starts with Jacquie’s grandfather Henri, an explorer dying from malaria in Laos in 1861, deliriously talking about The Sea of Milk, before fast forwarding to introduce Jacquie in 1921, who is about to set off from France to follow her grandfather’s footsteps to Indochina by sea, via Singapore and Saigon to Cambodia. We then travel back to The Khmer Empire in 1294 where we meet Paaku and his best friend Jarisi. Paaku heals a monkey that had been bitten by a tiger. The story continues to alternate between 1921 and 1294, interspersed with entries from Henri’s journal. Jacquie experiences several nightmares, including flashbacks to when she was nursing at the Somme.

Back in 1294, the kingdom is ruled by King Jayavarman VIII and religion is divided between Buddha, Shiva, Vishnu and other gods. Paaku and Jarisi head to the festival where Paaku ends up being selected by Queen Devi for the test of bending Balarma’s Spear, which is made of gold. Amazingly he does it easily, a feat that hasn’t been achieved for over 100 years. It is declared a miracle, but fate follows a strange cursed path after that. And somehow Paaku’s story is already known to Jacquie. When present and past collide, what will happen?

The Last Gods of Indochine published by Signal 8 Press is available on Amazon, currently priced at £15 in paperback or £6.31 in Kindle format. A fascinating read of a civilisation I knew nothing about.


About the author

Samuel Ferrer is a double bassist and member of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the songwriter and bassist for the acid jazz group Shaolin Fez. He holds degrees from Yale and the University of Southern California, and as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, spent a year in between degrees studying in Paris. He is the only non-Asian to be nominated for Asia’s most prestigious literary award, The Man Asian Literary Prize (“The Booker of Asia”). This is his first novel.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

I have received a free e-copy of the book Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay to review. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

Here is the book blurb.

Devil in the Countryside is a story about the most famous werewolf investigation in history, brimming with intrigue and war, love and betrayal, and long-kept vendettas. It’s 1588, the height of the Reformation, and a killer is terrorizing the German countryside. There are reports that the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg has returned to a once-peaceful land. Heinrich Franz, a cold and calculating investigator, is tasked with finding whomever — or whatever — the killer might be. He’ll need all the help he can get, including that of a strange hunter who’s recently stumbled into town. Though they’re after the same thing, their reasons are worlds apart. And through it all, a priest tries to keep the peace among his frightened townsfolk, while a young woman threatens his most basic beliefs. In a time when life is cheap and secrets run rampant, these four divergent souls find themselves entwined in a treacherous mystery, navigating the volatile political and religious landscape of 16th century Germany, fighting to keep their sanity — and their lives.

This is a fictional story but based on an infamous historical event when a German was tortured, tried and sentenced as a werewolf back in 1589. Spoiler alert – you can read about it on Wikipedia.

The story is set in 1588/89 in Bedburg, Germany, at the height of the Reformation. It starts with Chief Investigator Heinrich Franz inspecting the victim and murder scene, who was discovered by farmer Karl Achterberg. Is it the work of the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg? Under torture, Karl accuses his neighbour Peter Griswold of creeping around at night and black magic and of being a Lutheran. Peter refutes these claims, implying Karl is being petty because he rejected Karl’s proposal for his son Martin to marry Peter’s daughter Sybil.

Catholic Georg Sieghart, a hunter and former soldier is also trying to find the werewolf, but with the sole aim of killing him. Meanwhile young priest Father Dieter Nicolaus finds himself struggling with his pure thoughts after meeting 16 year old Sybil, daughter of Peter Griswold. The victim is identified as Dorothea Gabler, best friend of Sybil and girlfriend of Martin. Another murder is discovered, this time a prostitute Josephine whom Georg was keen on.

More characters keep getting thrown into the mix. Different classes of society. Catholics and Protestants. Someone is arrested, but then there is another murder. There’s certainly lots going on in the town of Bedburg.

Devil in the Countryside is available on Amazon, currently priced at £10.21 in paperback or 99p in Kindle format. An interesting read with plenty of twists and turns which got me thinking. The author is currently writing a sequel, so I’m wondering which of the characters it will be following.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Courting Chaos by Lynne Barron

I have received a free e-copy of the book Courting Chaos by Lynne Barron to review. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

Courting Chaos by Lynne Barron

Here is the book blurb.

What happens when London’s longest reigning rake decides to make mischief?
Born of scandal and raised in squalor, Miss Harry O’Connell turned her back on her feckless, frivolous father and carved out a life for herself in the working-class neighborhood of Wellclose Square. She’s a creature of habit, a stickler for schedules, a keeper of secrets, and a woman adamantly opposed to wasting so much a single minute – let alone a spare shilling – on useless endeavors, sentimental nonsense or impossible expectations.
Opposites attract…
With three men standing between Phineas Griffith and the nearest title, he was perfectly content to float through life on a wave of mistakes, mishaps, coincidences and luck. Two unfortunate accidents and an apoplectic fit later, the new Viscount Knighton finds himself saddled with a decimated estate, a mountain of debt and two sisters in need of launching into Society in tandem. There’s really nothing for it but to woo and wed an heiress post haste.
Orbits align…
An unwelcome visit from the Earl of Dunaway sets in motion a convoluted chain of events that put Harry on a collision course with the handsome fortune-hunter. And wreak havoc with her meticulously managed, precisely timed and exactingly organized life.
Worlds collide…
Phineas cannot afford the luxury of falling in love with a prickly, pragmatic and penniless woman. Harry hasn’t the time or inclination to dally with a charming rake when all her considerable talents are aimed at laying waste to all the Earl of Dunaway holds dear.
And chaos ensues.
Some forces are greater than gravity and some chances worth taking. Can these two star crossed-lovers find the wherewithal to risk it all for a happily-ever-after that defies all odds?

This is book 2 in the Dunaway’s Daughters series set in 1821 London, featuring six sisters. Miss Harry O’Connell is the illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Dunaway, whom she shuns and puts about a tale of different parentage, whilst plotting his downfall. So the story begins with Harry escaping out her backdoor without money or bonnet when she sees the Earl’s carriage pulling up, and missing her weekly visit to the Montclaire Museum. She usually sticks to a rigid schedule of appointments. Instead she meets her sister Kate and the latest news sets her secrets in a spin. Kate persuades Harry to attend sister Madeline’s coming-out ball that evening, where she meets Phineas, Viscount Knighton.

Phineas is a rake who has just come into the title and now finds himself saddled with huge debt. At the same time, he needs to launch both his sisters into Society. The only answer seems to be to find an heiress to marry.

Predictably Harry and Phineas are attracted, but Harry doesn’t have time for a dalliance with all her scheming and busy schedule. And Phineas can’t afford to fall in love with penniless Harry. What will happen?

Courting Chaos is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.09 in Kindle format. This is a nice Regency romance story and brought back happy memories of my teenage years when I used to read lots of historical romance from our local library, before moving onto other genres.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Outremer by D N Carter

I have received a free e-copy of the book Outremer by D N Carter to review.

Outremer by D N Carter

Here is the book blurb.

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.

This is an epic of a book and it is only part 1 of 4. The first few pages are set in 1109, but most of the book is set in two timelines 1178-79  and a storyteller recounting the tale in 1191. It is never revealed who the storyteller is, but I have my own theory. However I’m sure we have to wait until part 4 to find that out. The main timeline follows 15 year old Paul Plantavalu in La Rochelle, France, his father Philip and their close Muslim friends Firgany Al Komati, son Taqi, daughter Alisha and sister Raja. Paul along with Taqi enrages his elder brother Stewart by spying on his Templar initiation ceremony.

Paul and Alisha fall in love. Their fathers are against this. The old man Niccolas gives Paul and Taqi scrolls of their destinies and future path choices. Firgany and family are due to return home to Mawsil and then both families will move to Alexandria next year where Philip and Raja will marry. Paul writes a poem for Alisha before his father sends him to collect a horse from Rochefort-sur-Terre. There he makes an enemy of Templar Seneschal Gerard de Ridefort and a new friend Rick who gives him a gift. When he returns home the next day, Firgany and family have already left.

On the boat back, Raja gets ill. So she remains at Castle Blanc in the Levant whilst Firgany and Taqi continue. Alisha accompanies them part way to collect some medicinal hemp, but they are ambushed. All survive due to the intervention of Abi Shadana. But sadly Raja dies in Alisha’s arms before Firgany and Taqi return. This causes a change in plan and they all return to La Rochelle to break the bad news.

Paul doesn’t see how he can continue to pursue his love for Alisha when his father has lost Raja. By the time he resolves his confusion, Alisha is so hurt that she rejects him. We’re not even half way through the book at this point, but I shall stop now, leaving you to wonder how Paul and Alisha will sort out their differences.

I could certainly imagine a film based on this, but I have to say I skimmed through sections of Bible references, symbols and other philosophies which I just found too deep. I still enjoyed the story though and marvelled at how much of it is based on fact. I was particularly fascinated by the idea of secrets being carved into cathedrals as they were built.

Outremer is available on Amazon, currently priced at £14.99 in paperback and is also available in hardback or kindle format. A challenging read but enjoyable.


Here is an extract from the book for you to read.

This scene is set at the ancient Dolmen site in the South of France at ‘Draguignan Pierre des feé’. The convoy Alisha was in stopped there for the night on their way to Freju. This is where she discovers for the first time her ability to heal. It is also where Theodoric makes his first proper appearance. Paul and Taqi hearing a commotion of villagers outside their caravan rushed to check.

“Clear off you, whoever you are this has no business of your like,” one of the male villagers shouted back.

“Taqi, what happens here?” Paul asked as he stood next to him.

“Tis not your problem boys…now be away with you,” the overweight lady stated still holding the broom high above her head.

Paul rapidly studied the situation. The crowd were clearly angry and hostile, the man on the floor bloodied, his face swollen already and both his eyes closed from bruising. As the man rolled onto his back, Paul saw a worn patch where a cross had once been sewn.

“This man has leprosy yet he denies it and drank from our mead barrels…” a tall muscled man stated and moved to kick the man again.

“No!” Paul shouted and without hesitation ran forwards and pushed the muscled man back hard nearly causing him to stumble but his colleagues behind him steadied him.

“Oh…look…we have a young hero here,” the muscled man mocked.

Paul immediately knelt down next to the man, supported him and lifted him so he could look at his face. Blood was oozing from his split lip and several cuts to his face, his eyes closed due to swelling and his forehead and hands were covered in blisters and scabs. He coughed as he tried to speak.

“Are you mad boy…he has leprosy,” someone at the back shouted.

Paul looked at the subdued area where a badge was once sewn,

“Rick, tis me…Paul” Paul whispered.

“The boy knows this leper,” the overweight woman shouted as the muscled man leant forward to grab Paul from behind.

“Touch him and you will regret it,” Taqi stated sternly.

The muscled man paused briefly to look at Taqi, grinned and then grabbed Paul and lifted him up hard to his feet. Quickly Paul turned to face him as the muscled man pulled his fist back to punch him. Suddenly the man’s face contorted in pain and he started to go backwards and to his knees. Paul looked ahead. Tenno was standing behind the muscled man using just one hand to squeeze the man’s right hand, Tenno’s gaze staring hard at all the villagers who watched amazed. The muscled man squirmed in agony and tried to twist away from Tenno, but Tenno did not move.

“Please…Please…please I beg of you…let go,” the muscled man pleaded in agony, sweat beading across his forehead. Tenno continued his stare at the crowd. The overweight woman lowered her broom and they all began to back away slowly.

Alisha appeared beside Tenno carrying the large two edged sword in her right hand wearing a bright blue shawl around her shoulders. She placed her left hand upon Tenno’s that was crushing the muscled man’s hand. Gently she squeezed her hand over Tenno’s, his hand huge in comparison. Tenno broke his stare at the group and released his grip instantly, the muscled man falling to the floor holding his hand with his left still in agony. Alisha then stepped forwards and walked slowly in front of the crowd looking at them all in turn one by one. She said nothing as she looked into each of their eyes. Several of them looked away or down in shame. After she had walked past the last person, her left hand over her tummy, her right hand holding the sword, she moved to face Paul. She outstretched her right arm and offered him the sword. Despite its size, the sword was remarkably light due to its unique manufacture and material construction. Seeing this, one woman crossed her heart and knelt down and began asking for forgiveness. Taqi just starred bemused at what he was seeing as several Hospitaller’s came and stood behind them. Sister Lucy edged her way next to him shaking her head surprised at Alisha’s obvious affect upon all present. Two more villagers knelt down and crossed their hearts. The muscled man looked up at Alisha still in pain. Paul took the sword.

“You forgot this…do not ever enter into trouble again without it,” she said softly.

“Who…who are you?” the muscled man asked in pain nervously looking behind him at Tenno still towering over him.

Paul tied the sword around his waist quickly and looked at the crowd as they all stared at Alisha. Taqi moved to help the elderly injured man on the floor. Paul likewise knelt to help lift the man whom he knew to be Rick. As they both lifted him to his feet, the muscled man stood up holding his hand in pain. Alisha walked over toward him slowly looking directly into his eyes. He backed away hesitantly as she drew nearer. Paul looked on concerned as he struggled to hold the weight of Rick who could hardly stand, his head hung down.

“Wh…what are you going to do?” the muscled man asked nervously as he moved backwards, tripped on the edge of the track and fell to his knee. Alisha walked up and stood immediately in front of him and stared into his hazel green eyes. He stared back and all stood in silence as Paul watched. Taqi shook his head he had no idea what she was doing as Sister Lucy edged her way nearer to her. As Alisha stared into his eyes, hers wide and her pupils large, she did not blink. After what seemed an age, the muscled mans bottom lip started to quiver and tears began to well in his eyes as he was flooded with emotions. He was still holding his right hand up with his left when Alisha moved to place her hand upon his. He flinched momentarily, but then saw the slight smile start on her face. Very softly she placed her hand over his injured fist. She tilted her head slightly as she looked deeper into his eyes. Sister Lucy shot a look back at Paul bemused as Tenno watched, his face still fierce. The muscled man let out a nervous laugh as the pain simply left his hand. He blinked amazed and smiled as tears fell from his eyes totally unashamedly. Several in the crowd fell to their knees and crossed their hearts. Taqi looked at Paul totally confused. The muscled man knelt down in front of Alisha grasped her hand with both of his and kissed her hand softly and cried. Alisha looked at the crowd of people. One of the Hospitaller’s knelt down followed by another, then another until everyone was kneeling. Paul looked at them all in surprise and then at Alisha.

“Paul,” Rick coughed painfully as he tried to speak.

“This man knows you?” Taqi quizzed as he struggled to hold him up.

Alisha turned to look at Paul and Taqi holding Rick. She let go of the muscled man’s hands and walked across to them. She looked at Rick’s swollen and bruised face and gently placed her hand upon his cheek. Immediately he coughed, stood up straighter and shook his head and took his own weight on his legs. His eyes were still closed swollen as he placed his hand upon Alisha’s hand still on his face.

“Blessed are you mother of our Lord,” Rick coughed out.

Instantly several more in the crowd crossed their hearts and whispered prayers.

“No, I am just Alisha,” she replied softly and looked sadly at the state of Rick’s face. Sister Lucy approached and gently pulled Alisha’s hand away from Rick’s face. “Do not worry, ‘tis not leprosy.”

The muscled man stood to his feet looking at his hands still amazed. He looked at Tenno who narrowed his eyes. ‘Sorry’ the man mouthed to him.

“Come, child…with me,” Sister Lucy said aloud and began to usher Alisha away.

Paul looked on concerned as Alisha seemed to be in some kind of trance almost he thought. He had never seen her like this and Taqi shook his head also bemused.


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.


I’m participating in the blogtour. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts.

Outremer by D N Carter

 

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Hannah’s Moon by John A Heldt

Regular readers of my blog may remember that I really enjoyed a couple of books by John Heldt last year. You may see my reviews of The Mine here and Indiana Belle here. So I was pleased when John asked me to review his latest book, Hannah’s Moon. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

Hannah's Moon by John A Heldt

 

Here is the book blurb.

After struggling for years to have a child, Claire Rasmussen, 34, turns to adoption, only to find new obstacles on the path to motherhood. Then she gets an unlikely phone call and soon learns that a distant uncle possesses the secrets of time travel.

Within weeks, Claire, husband Ron, and brother David find themselves on a train to Tennessee and 1945, where adoptable infants are plentiful and red tape is short. For a time, they find what they seek. Then a beautiful stranger enters their lives, the Navy calls, and a simple, straightforward mission becomes a race for survival.

Filled with suspense, romance, and heartbreak, HANNAH’S MOON, the epic conclusion of the American Journey series, follows the lives of four spirited adults as they confront danger, choices, and change in the tense final months of World War II.

This book starts in the present day (or a few months hence to be precise) when Claire and Ron’s son is stillborn. A couple of months later they decide to try to adopt, but discover the average wait time is 6 years and that they will need a hefty loan to afford the fee.

When Claire’s brother David comes to visit, he brings far-fetched news from their Aunt Jeanette and Uncle Geoffrey Bell. They have a time-travel tunnel in their basement and David has been through it back to 2001 and retrieved Claire’s lost diary. The Bells are offering Claire and Ron the chance to time-travel back to 1945, when it should be easy to adopt.

So a few weeks later with falsified documents, Claire, Ron and David head back to 1945 at the same time as the Bells, Uncle Geoffrey has set them up with a $10,000 savings account and rented them a house. They say their goodbyes to the Bells who are heading to Latin America and board a train to Tennessee.

There they get very friendly with neighbour Margaret and begin the process to adopt 10 month old Hannah. They are on a 3 month parent probation period before the adoption will be finalised, so can’t return to the modern day as soon as they hoped. But when Ron intervenes to save a black man from a beating, things start to get more tricky initially and then very scary indeed.

That’s all I’m going to say about the storyline. However it is interesting to note that this is the final story in the American Journey series, as I saw scope for at least a couple more books featuring Geoffrey Bell. I’ve only read two out of the five, but I liked how those two are linked by his character, yet they work brilliantly as stand-alone stories.

Hannah’s Moon is available on Amazon, currently priced at £4.10 in Kindle format. I loved this book. A really great read which certainly lived up to my expectations of a John Heldt novel, As always I highly recommend this author.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Songs of Princes by Janell Rhiannon

I have received a free e-copy of the book Songs of Princes by Janell Rhiannon to review. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

Song of Princes by Janell Rhiannon

Here is the book blurb.

Sing Muse. Sing of the shining citadel of Troy rising from the hot sands of Asia. Sing of the Greek palaces ascending from their rocky hilltops. Sing of one woman’s dream heralding the madness of men and the murder of innocents. From bull dancing rings and wild meadows, the Forgotten Prince must choose between love and a golden crown. From seclusion and safety, the Golden Warrior must choose between his honor and his life. From behind the Great Wall, the Golden Prince must choose between his family and his city. And from a rugged realm on the far side of Greece, the Warrior King must choose between his son’s life and certain exile. Here shepherds and princes, warriors and kings, and seers and lovers seek to conquer their passions, outwit destiny or surrender to it.

PARIS, the FORGOTTEN PRINCE. ACHILLES, the GOLDEN WARRIOR. HEKTOR, the GOLDEN PRINCE. ODYSSEUS, the WARRIOR KING.

Where did their legends begin before their lives converged at Troy in one of the most famous battles of all time? The HOMERIC CHRONICLES tell the stories of Paris, Achilles, Hektor, and Odysseus in one chronological tale, beginning before the ILIAD and ending long after the ODYSSEY. Blending both history and myth, the Homeric Chronicles will satisfy your love of Greek mythology, while paying homage to the original storyteller, Homer.

SONGS OF PRINCES begins with the birth of Paris and Achilles, and introduces us to a young Hektor and Odysseus. The journey of the princes begins…

Fall in love with Greek mythology for the first time or all over again.

Although I occasionally read historical fiction, it is usually only a few hundred years ago, so this is an era I don’t know much about at all, mainly what I learned long ago at school or from watching fictional programmes like Atlantis. So I was very interested to see how this novel would portray Greek mythology.

This is book 1 in the Homeric Chronicles. It starts by introducing the gods followed by a timeline for the heroes and heroines of The Iliad and Odyssey from 1295 BC to 1251 BC. Some of the character names were familiar to me.

The story itself begins in Troy with a bad dream for Queen Hecuba. The seer foretells that that her unborn son heralds the destruction of Troy and that the prince should be killed. When the child is born, King Priam reluctantly hands his son to herdsman Agelaus to expose him on the mountain. He has to obey but prays to goddess Artemis to save the child, who converts to bear form and suckles the infant for 9 days, before Agelaus returns and finds the babe alive and well. He takes him home, keeping his parentage secret and naming him Paris, where the boy grows up looking after the sacred bulls. Years later as a bull dancer, it is finally discovered that he is The Forgotten Prince.

We are also introduced to Achilles as a baby, son of Thetis and Peleus. Similarly his future is foretold which is either to refuse to go to battle and rule after his father but die forgotten without glory. Or choose battle, die early but become the greatest warrior the world has ever known. Achilles grows up training to run like the wind with with Chiron the centaur. His mother, Thetis returns suggesting Achilles should be sent to Skyros in order to avoid battle.

Meanwhile Theseus kidnaps beautiful Helen of Sparta and hides her with his mother Aethra. Helen’s brothers Pollux and Castor find her and seize her back. Her father Tyndareus decides she must wed, but to whom. A throng of suitors descend on Sparta but her father secretly insists Helen must choose Menelaus. Then he makes all the other suitors take an oath to serve her chosen husband with military aid if she is ever abducted again.

Then King Priam sends Paris to Salamis to bring back his aunt Hesione to Troy. Enroute he stops to gift horses to Menelaus. Paris knows it is also time to claim goddess Aphrodite’s gift from many years ago of the most beautiful woman. It cannot be avoided. Aphrodite’s voice is speaking in his head. He forgets his own wife Oenone and takes Helen willingly back to Troy.

Menelaus invokes the oath and a thousand ships set sail for Troy. Odysseus goes via Skyros and finds Achilles who chooses glory and joins them.

However the book does end very abruptly with a To Be Continued banner across the bottom of the page, when Princess Iphigenia is slaughtered because the goddess Artemis demanded her sacrifice to raise the winds for the ships to sail to Troy. Although I knew it was book 1 in a trilogy, i wasn’t expecting it to just end on a cliffhanger.

Songs of Princes is available on Amazon, currently priced at £12.16 in paperback or 99p in Kindle format. Certainly worth a read, although I did keep getting myself confused over character names and between gods, mortals and nymphs, often having to retrace to something I had read earlier.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Indiana Belle by John A Heldt

Regular readers of my blog may remember that I recently received free e-copies of two books by John Heldt to review. You may see my review of the first one, The Mine here. And now we have Indiana Belle, which is the stand-alone third book in the American Journey time-travel series. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

Indiana Belle by John A Heldt

 

Here is the book blurb.

Providence, Rhode Island, 2017. When doctoral student Cameron Coelho, 28, opens a package from Indiana, he finds more than private papers that will help him with his dissertation. He finds a photograph of a beautiful society editor murdered in 1925 and clues to a century-old mystery. Within days, he meets Geoffrey Bell, the “time-travel professor,” and begins an unlikely journey through the Roaring Twenties. Filled with history, romance, and intrigue, INDIANA BELLE follows a lonely soul on the adventure of a lifetime as he searches for love and answers in the age of Prohibition, flappers, and jazz.

This book starts in the present day (or next year to be precise) with Cameron looking through historical papers he had purchased from the 1920s including the diary and photograph of journalist, Candice Bell. He is intrigued by several references in the diary to Candice’s father and uncle having discovered a formula for time-travel. And he is fixated on Candice’s photo but discovers she was murdered in 1925.

He meets with Professor Geoffrey Bell, who is the great grandson of Candice’s uncle. Geoffrey reveals that both he and his wife Jeanette have time-travelled many times. Geoffrey reluctantly agrees to a deal to send Cameron back to 1925 in exchange for Cameron finding and bringing back some of the crystals needed to power his time-travel tunnel. He also insists that Cameron does nothing to alter the timeline.

So Cameron heads back in time to early 1925, several months before the date of the murder and takes a train to Evansville, Indiana where Candice lives. However when he arrives, he finds Candice is out of town on leave for a couple of weeks visiting her mother. He goes to visit her there and as the sky darkens, his future memories realise that a serious tornado is about to strike. He convinces them to hide in the cellar just in time before the tornado destroys the house. Afterwards amongst the debris, he finds the missing journal of Candice’s late father.

Candice invites Cameron out to dinner and things gradually progress from there. I will leave you to read the rest as I’m sure you’re wondering what happens next. I was also interested to see that the story encompassed tales of the Klu Klux Klan.

Indiana Belle is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.76 in Kindle format. I loved this book. A really great read and having now read two John Heldt novels, I can say I highly recommend this author.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.