Tag Archives: historical fiction

A Dream of Steam by James W Barry

I have received a free e-copy of the book A Dream of Steam by James W Barry to review. For more information on the author, you may see his website.

A Dream of Steam by James W Barry

Here is the book blurb.

“It was the end of dread, at least in its first and most paralyzing form. Each brother knew that the gnawing worry that had lay siege to the backs of their minds for the past six months had finally broken through the walls, emerging in their midst. It was something that could no longer be dodged, or suppressed, or unimagined.”As the autumn shipping season draws to a close, Captain Thomas McGrath steps ashore to help his ambitious brother William rebuild the family sawmill. Despite Thomas’ aversion to debt, William convinces him to borrow heavily so they might convert their ailing, water-powered mill to steam. While adapting to the new technology, Thomas finds himself navigating between ax-wielding log pirates, hostile longshoremen, and his brother’s obsession with finding his estranged wife.The newly retooled mill is ramping up lumber production when the winds of fortune turn. Thomas has set sail again when a financial crisis hits, running the brothers afoul of John Fitzpatrick, a crooked bank officer employed by their lender. Fitzpatrick’s crimes push the McGrath Brothers Lumber Company to the edge of ruin, forcing Thomas to consider a high risk proposal if he wants to save their livelihood and get out of debt.Set in 1890s Michigan, A Dream of Steam is a story of sailing ships and lumberjacks, aspirations and disappointment, love and heartbreak, peopled by men and women who take control of their destinies in an era of rapid change.

This book is set by the Great Lakes in the early 1890s. A slow start as we are introduced to all the characters, of whom the main ones are brothers William and Thomas McGrath. William runs the sawmill whilst Thomas transports the cargo in his ship Genevieve across Lake Huron to destinations such as Detroit. William is trying to convince Thomas that they need to modernise to steam power in order to remain competitive, but this will require substantial financing.

There are several threads to the story, so we also meet those who work at the bank in Detroit, where the McGrath brothers secure a loan. There crooked bank clerk Fitzpatrick is skimming bank funds to meet his personal gambling debts.

Plenty going on throughout this book – fights, rescues, intimidation, annoying neighbours, an estranged wife and even a murder.

At the end of the book, we discover that a true story inspired the author to write this novel. There is also a glossary of mill and ship terminology at the end, which might have been better at the beginning in my opinion, so that the reader would be more aware of it.

A Dream of Steam is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.82 in Kindle format and is also available in paperback. Not my usual genre, but an interesting historical read.

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MamaMummyMum

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

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Outremer II: Revelation Cometh by D N Carter

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

Outremer II by D N Carter

Here is the book blurb.

Christian-born Paul Plantavalu and his beloved Alisha al Komaty, a Muslim, share an unbreakable bond and a deep love for one another. Religion, war and politics oppose them at every turn. But most deadly of all is the resolve of an evil enemy determined to destroy their family lines forever.

Paul and Alisha’s journey takes a political turn; they must question everything and learn who to fear and who to trust as they continue their battle to safeguard the future of mankind. In accepting the burden of this grace responsibility, they must make peace with the difficult path they have chosen. Paul will struggle to unlearn everything he has been raised to accept as true; reality is much more mysterious and nuanced. It will fall to him to defend a much greater treasure than his own life – one which the Magi themselves understood – for the benefit of future generations. In doing so, Paul will help others to unshackle themselves from the grip of a self-styled secret elite with the power to manipulate religions, governments and monarchies, harnessing wealth and control for themselves at the expense of the populous. But to succeed in this challenge Paul must face his own desires and his worst fears, and if destiny dictates, he may be called to sacrifice his own family, including Alisha.

The second novel in author and adventurer D. N. Carter’s epic four-part series, Outremer II: Revelation Cometh draws upon forty years of intensive historical research by its Indiana Jones-style creator. As the reader is swept up by the romantic adventure of Paul and Alisha and their dazzling romp through the High Middle Ages in search of Templar truths and treasure, they are also challenged by the author to solve a coded puzzle hidden within the pages of the four Outremer novels, which will lead to a real-life bounty at the conclusion of the series!

Just like part 1 of this story which I read last year, this is another very long book of almost 700 pages. However this time I struggled right from the start, as the book opens directly at chapter 25 without any recap of part 1. Bearing in mind that it is about 18 months since I read part 1, my memory of that story is now rather hazy.

I feel like I have been reading for ages, but I’m only just over 20% through and I’m thoroughly confused as it is such a complex storyline. I certainly feel that the author has invested a huge amount of research into this topic. However I’ve reluctantly decided that I’m going to have to give up on reading this. A shame as although part 1 was also somewhat challenging, I did still enjoy it. And I’m liking bits of this one too, but confusion is outweighing the enjoyment.

Outremer II is available on Amazon, currently priced at £15.99 in paperback and is also available in hardback or kindle format. Maybe once all 4 parts are published, reading them in sequence might work, but at present this is not for me. And I’m still of the opinion that these would be good as films. I’m sure I’d be less confused watching than reading.


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.


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MamaMummyMum

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

My Duke’s Desire by Tammy Andresen

I have received a free e-copy of the book My Duke’s Desire by Tammy Andresen to review.

My Duke's Desire by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb.

Lady Violette knew two things for certain. She must make an advantageous match to save her family and the lord who agreed would be less than desirable. It didn’t matter that she wished to sail off on a great adventure. It wasn’t her choice to make.

His Grace, The Duke of Waverly, had no intention marrying, no matter what his mother expected. That was one of the few advantages of being a duke and he’d sailed back from Barbados to inform her. On his journey home, however, a beautifully proper lady rescues him when his horse is injured. He can’t help but notice that Lady Violette is in need of rescuing herself. Much as she tempts him, he can’t be the man that saves her.

This is the fourth book in the Wicked Lords of London series. I’ve enjoyed all the previous titles so was looking forward to reading this one.

The story starts with Theo, the Duke of Waverly reluctantly arriving back in London from Barbados. He takes a horse for the 2-day ride to his country estate where his mother is waiting to introduce him to a prospective bride, something he does not wish for. But his horse hurts a leg in the rain. Luckily a carriage, bearing Lady Bradford and her daughter Lady Violette Chase, stops to transport him to the next town. Noticing that they appear short of money, he introduces himself as Mr Theodore Riley, hiding the fact that he is a duke. And they share dinner at the inn, where there is a spark of interest between Theo and Violette, before going their separate ways the next day.

However, surprise surprise it is Violette whom his mother has lined up. Before coming face-to-face with the duke, she overhears him tell his family that they are trying to force him into marriage against his wishes. He apologises and Violette admits her family’s need for her to marry someone rich.

Are they right for each other or not? Can they reach an agreement?

My Duke’s Desire is available on Amazon, currently priced at £2.27 in Kindle format. Another nice short romantic story, when you want something light to read. And it is fine as a stand-alone read.

Here are the links to my reviews of the previous titles in The Wicked Lords of London series.
My Duke’s Seduction
My Duke’s Deception
My Earl’s Entrapment


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.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

MamaMummyMum

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

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Scottish Devil by Tammy Andresen

I have received a free e-copy of the book Scottish Devil by Tammy Andresen to review.

Scottish Devil by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb.

One family united by loss, driven to find love…

Known as the devil, Stone Sinclair, Earl of Alban, is carved of rock, hard and uncompromising. He bends for no man. A fiery lass with golden hair and a will as strong as his own? Surrender has never sounded sweeter.

Eliza McLaren detests all lairds. They are selfish, self-serving, arrogant men who only care for themselves and build their fortunes on the backs of their people. And Lord Stone Alban is the worst of the lot. When her father attempts to make a match between them, Eliza pledges to never give herself to a man like Stone, no matter how tempting his lips or how strong his arms. He isn’t the only one carved of stone.

After the death of their parents, six siblings unite around their eldest brother, Stone. They consider blood a binding oath and vow to protect one another. They all must face their own demons as they find love and their places in the world.

This is the first story in the Brethren of Stone series of which I have previously read the prequel, The Duke’s Scottish Lass. It is set in the Scottish highlands in 1780.

It starts with Stone Sinclair and his siblings at their parents funeral, who died trying to rescue miners from a collapse at the mine. Stone is now the new lord of Alban. He welcomes the family solicitor Allister McLaren and his daughter Eliza, who have arrived from Perth just too late for the burial, having had their own bereavement. However Eliza has been listening to rumour and thinks of Stone as the devil and tells her father so. She assumes Stone only cares for himself and not his tenants.

Stone of course, has heard all the rumours and feels deeply hurt about being labelled as the devil by the rumour-mongers. Meanwhile Eliza starts to get to know Stone and realises how she was mistaken as she observes him providing financial aid to the widows of the dead miners.

Will Eliza’s words come back to haunt her?

Scottish Devil is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.08 in Kindle format. Yet again, Tammy has delivered a nice short romantic story, ideal when you want a light read between thrillers.


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.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

MamaMummyMum

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 Rufford Rose by Margaret Lambert

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Rufford Rose by Margaret Lambert to review.

The Rufford Rose by Margaret Lambert

Here is the book blurb.

When gifted young woodcarver Cuthbert Watts is sent to assist in the building of a new hall in Lancashire in 1530 little does he realise what difficulties lie ahead. The Master builder, Abel, resents his presence, refusing to see his work whilst Abel’s apprentice, Will is a lazy, jealous young man who thwarts Cuthbert at every turn. Supported by his fellow workers Cuthbert perseveres and after saving his life, befriends the young son of the owner, another reason for Abel to hate him. What is the reason behind this animosity? What great secret dominates Abel and Will’s life to the extent that lives are threatened, jealousies grow and violence, arson, kidnap and murder are committed?

Set in the Lancashire countryside in the 16th century this is a story which combines the practical difficulties of building a Tudor Hall with the loves and jealousies of those involved. When will Abel realise the value of Cuthbert’s work, when will Will realise he is not who he believes he is and can Cuthbert win the heart of the girl he loves. Follow Cuthbert through the trials and challenges of his new life and discover whether the hall can finally be completed.

This book is set in Lancashire back in the 1500s. For the first few chapters, the storyline runs in parallel setting the scenes introducing us to the Hesketh family and to Cuthbert, a gifted carpenter. We get to understand why the new Lord Hesketh has commissioned his new home to be built at Rufford. And we follow Cuthbert’s path from Chester, via Whalley Abbey to Rufford.

There at Rufford, the main body of the story takes place, as Rufford Hall is being built. Abel the master builder is resentful of having Cuthbert foisted onto him by Lord Derby. Meanwhile Will, Abel’s lazy apprentice starts by playing petty tricks on Cuthbert, but this spirals out of control. However Cuthbert becomes great friends with everyone else and manages to continue his wood carving. How will it all progress?

I could tell that the author had invested huge effort in the research of Tudor building methods. It was all so detailed and vividly brought the story to life for me. In comparison, I was surprised that we were told Thomas Hesketh had divorced his first wife. I may be wrong but I thought divorce wasn’t invented until Henry VIII wanted a way to get rid of Catherine of Aragon.

Reading about Cuthbert’s time at Whalley Abbey brought back memories from many years ago of visiting the ruins. So of course, I had to look up Rufford and I’ve found that Rufford Old Hall is now in the care of the National Trust. I definitely plan to visit whenever I’m next in that area of the country.

This book is available on Amazon currently priced at £9.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A fascinating read. Highly recommended.

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MamaMummyMum

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

The Duke’s Scottish Lass by Tammy Andresen

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Duke’s Scottish Lass by Tammy Andresen to review.

The Duke's Scottish Lass by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb.

Lady Delia Alban absolutely cannot marry the handsome rake, Roderick Maddox, fourth Duke of Manchester, despite her brother Stone’s insistence she do just that. Though he has long reformed his ways, he steals her breath away every time their eyes meet and she simply doesn’t deserve that kind of happiness. Not after the death of her brother, Reginald. She must pay penance, because, if not for her, he would still be alive.

Roderick Maddox, has known for years he would marry Delia. Before Reginald’s death, he made a promise to his friend, not only would he care for Reginald’s sister, but he would reform himself into the type of man Delia deserved. He never expected Delia to ignite such passion or to be so resistant to him. Nor did he realize he held the secret about Reginald’s death that could crush their budding feelings forever.

Six siblings unite after the death of their parents around their eldest brother, Stone. They consider blood to be a binding oath and vow to protect one another. They all must face their own demons as they find love and their places in the world.

This story was formerly published as Taming a Lady Wolf. Delia’s brother’s decided their stories needed to be told as well. This is now the prequel novella to the series, Brethren of Stone.

This book is set in 1795 with a prologue back in 1790 when Roderick, Duke of Manchester catches 13 year old Lady Delia Alban on his ship as she jumps from a crumbling cliff face. However, her brother Reginald, Roderick’s best friend dies that day falling onto the rocks below. Five years later, Roderick returns with the intention of marrying Lady Delia, but she has no intention of marrying someone so handsome. Nor does she know that, he was her rescuer that fateful day, for which she blames herself for Reginald’s death.

But when another suitor, the undesirable Earl of Sunderland turns up, will the tables turn? And was Delia really to blame for Reginald’s death?

The Duke’s Scottish Lass is available on Amazon, currently priced at 99p in Kindle format. This is a nice short romantic story, when you want a light read. I always look forward to reading Tammy’s books interspersed between something heavier.


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.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

MamaMummyMum

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 Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning to review. For more information on the author, you may see his website.

The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning

Here is the book blurb.

A peculiar explorer and downtrodden acrobat span the globe on a building-sized hot air balloon, in search of a precious artifact and the murderous treasure hunter who seeks it.

Beatrix, a spirited but abused acrobat in a traveling circus, seeks more than her prison-like employment offers. More than anything, she wants to know her place in the world of the halcyon 19th century, a time when the last dark corners of the map were being sketched out and travel still possessed a kind of magic.

One night in Switzerland, the mysterious Colonel James Bacchus attends Beatrix’s show. This larger-than-life English gentleman, reputed to have a voracious appetite for female conquests, is most notable for traveling the world in a four-story hot air balloon called The Ox.

Beatrix flees that night to join the Colonel, and the two of them make a narrow escape—Beatrix from her abusive ringleader, the Colonel from a freshly-made cuckold. Beatrix, feeling the Colonel may have the answers to her problems, pledges to help him catch the criminal he seeks in exchange for passage on his magnificent balloon.

The criminal seeks a precious figurine, The Blue Star Sphinx, but he’s not alone. The Sphinx’s immense value has also drawn the attention of the world’s most deadly treasure hunters. A murder in Antwerp begins a path of mystery that leads all the way to the most isolated island on Earth.

What dangers await the Colonel and the acrobat?

Well this is certainly a unique storyline like no other. The book starts in 19th century Switzerland where “The Amazing Beatrix” is an acrobat in Ziro’s touring circus. After the performance in the Big Top, Ziro takes her to perform at a private dinner at Chartish Manor. Here she meets the Colonel James Bacchus, a jolly character with flowers in his hat, who travels the world in a multi-storey hot air balloon. My mind boggled at how many rooms were under this colossal balloon.

Beatrix makes up her mind to escape the circus from Ziro’s whippings and flees with the Colonel in his balloon, who is also running from an enraged Lord Chartish, having just slept with his wife. But he only permits her to stay one night, as he is on a mission to find a dangerous criminal. Bee persuades him that she can help.

From Switzerland, they follow a lead to Antwerp, where they meet the Colonel’s friends, Thelma and George, but too late. They find a murdered man and a clue. The trail leads through Spain, Gibraltar, Britain, Africa and on and on, meeting friends, foes and treasure hunters along the way. What will the outcome be?

I salute this author for his inspired creativity with this storyline. So far-fetched that this book stands in a genre of its own. I wasn’t sure what to think when I first read the blurb, but I definitely liked it.

The Colonel and the Bee is available on Amazon, currently priced at £12.95 in paperback or £3.99 in Kindle format. A fantastical adventure.

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MamaMummyMum

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

My Earl’s Entrapment by Tammy Andersen

I have received a free e-copy of the book My Earl’s Entrapment by Tammy Andresen to review.

My Earl's Entrapment by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb.

Lord William Addington has been forced into retirement as one of the Prince Regent’s domestic spies. But he still has one case to solve while attending a house party when an adorably feisty lady enters his room in the middle of the night. He now has another delicious mystery on his hands. Why is Lady Roselyn Pennington snooping about?

This is the third book in the Wicked Lords of London series. You may see my reviews of the first two titles here and here.

The book begins when ex-spy for the Prince Regent, Lord William Addington is disturbed in his room, by someone picking the lock. He is sitting in a dark corner, so remains hidden and observes a young lady enter and start searching amongst his possessions. When he speaks, she is startled and drops the candle, setting her skirt alight. Lord William is quick to put out the fire before asking what she was doing.

Lady Rose wasn’t about to admit that she believed him a thief and that she was searching for her mother’s jewels, so she makes up an excuse. But Will is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, plus there is definitely an attraction between them.

My Earl’s Entrapment is available on Amazon, currently priced at £2.14 in Kindle format. This is a nice short romantic story, when you want something light to read.


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.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

MamaMummyMum

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

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Blood of the Red Rose by P J Gray plus giveaway

I have received a free e-copy of the book Blood of the Red Rose by P J Gray to review. This is Philippa’s debut novel.

Blood of the Red Rose by P J Gray

Here is the book blurb.

Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, finds himself exiled in France when Warwick the Kingmaker puts Edward IV on the throne of England. Desperate to return the throne to the rightful King Henry VI, Beaufort finds himself caught between Henry’s bitter wife Marguerite of Anjou and the French ‘Spider’ King Louis until Edward and Warwick fall out in spectacular style and, at Louis’ urging, Warwick becomes their unlikely ally. Set on the rich stage of the Wars of the Roses, this is a tale of intrigue, love and war that can only end in tragedy.

I was really looking forward to reading this book, as I am a huge fan of Philippa Gregory stories which are set at a similar time during the War of the Roses.

It was useful to have a list of characters and dates at the beginning of the book, but I still found it confusing to work out who was on which side, particularly with changes of allegiance. It was also a hard story to get into initially, but I did later find myself focussing on Kate and skimming through chapters that she didn’t feature in. Kate was the illegitimate daughter of Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick and we see an affectionate bond between the two of them. She seems to have achieved a closer relationship with her father than either of her half-sisters. However he still marries her off to Stephen Thevenot. Their marriage does not fare well and Stephen mistreats her. Luckily for Kate, she is soon widowed. After this she blossoms. You’ll have to read the book to find out who her next relationship is with.

This book is available on Amazon currently priced at £10.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. An interesting historical read.

About the author

Philippa was born in Chichester and developed a passion for history whilst growing up in Cyprus and then North Yorkshire. She began writing when she was at junior school, winning the school prize for English, and wrote and illustrated her own stories which she read to her long-suffering friends. She started her first novel, Blood of the Red Rose, when her elder daughter was a baby and finally completed it twenty-eight years later. Philippa has two daughters, four grandchildren and a grand-cat and now lives in Cyprus with Paul, her husband of twenty-five years, three dogs and four cats.

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a paperback copy of this book to one lucky winner. Open to UK and US residents.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.


I’m participating in the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour.

Blood of the Red Rose by P J Gray

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MamaMummyMum

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

At the Dark Hour by John Wilson

I have received a free e-copy of the book At the Dark Hour by John Wilson to review.

At the Dark Hour by John Wilson

Here is the book blurb.

A loving affair is destroyed by the Blitz on London. Julia ends her relationship with Adam. Her concern is for her children and that, if she is divorced, she will lose them.

What is the nature of love? Does it have gradations? Love, and it’s textures, lie at the heart of this story. Love is where you find it. And sometimes it ambushes you.

And, often, it is hidden.

With 107 chapters, this is a very long book. We are introduced to Adam and Julia in the prologue, when Julia ends their affair in 1940. They had been meeting regularly at a London hotel.

Adam, a barrister is married to Catherine and the head of his Chambers is Jeremy Pemberton, Julia’s husband. But now Jeremy suspects and he petitions for divorce. So Adam has to leave both his home and Chambers. But he is taken under the wing of Roly Blytheway, who both defends Adam and gives him a job in his Chambers at Lamb Building.

As well as the divorce case, we also follow two cases that Adam is defending, both of which have relationships at their core.

The crux of the story is who loves who more. And we see lies and dubious evidence, all against the backdrop of the Blitz.

Although the book is very well written, it was not really my type of read. However I did enjoy how all the strands of the story are woven together.

At The Dark Hour is available on Amazon, currently priced at £4.07 in Kindle format and is also available in paperback. An interesting read.

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MamaMummyMum

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

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