Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Chosen Queen by Joanna Courtney Blog Tour

I am delighted to be involved in the Blog Tour for the first book in an exciting new Historical Fiction Trilogy. 

The Queens of the Conquest trilogy1066. Three Queens. One Crown.
As a young woman in England's royal court, Edyth, granddaughter of Lady Godiva, dreams of marrying for love. But political matches are rife while King Edward is still without an heir and the future of England is uncertain.

When Edyth's family are exiled to the wild Welsh court, she falls in love with the charismatic King of Wales - but their romance comes at a price and she is catapulted onto the opposing side of a bitter feud with England. Edyth's only allies are Earl Harold Godwinson and his handfasted wife, Lady Svana.

As the years pass, Edyth finds herself elevated to a position beyond even her greatest expectations. She enjoys both power and wealth but as her star rises the lines of love and duty become more blurred than she could ever have imagined. As 1066 dawns, Edyth is asked to make an impossible choice.

Her decision is one that has the power to change the future of England forever . . .

The Chosen Queen is the perfect blend of history, fast-paced plot and sweeping romance with a cast of strong female characters - an unforgettable read.


Joanna Courtney has blended history and powerful storytelling to create an outstanding opening to this new series set to rival historical fiction heavyweights like Philippa Gregory and Susanna Dunn. The series is set in the lead up to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 and the first book is the tale of Edyth daughter of the Earl of Mercia who through her two marriages was firstly Queen of Wales and then Queen of England.
Edyth is a fantastic protagonist, from the merest hints that survive in historical record Joanna Courtney has fleshed out an outstandingly vivid and human character. Wrapping a story of love, friendship, politics, war and power around the bones of history is no mean feat but Joanna Courtney has really pulled it off. The book opens with Edyth as a young girl just beginning to understand the politics of life at court and between men and women when suddenly her life is transformed; her father is out of favour with the King and the family are banished. They seek refuge at The Welsh Court were everything from the language to the table manners seem wild and strange, nevertheless Edyth feels a freedom in Wales and before long the land and it's King have captured her heart. Marrying the King of Wales makes Edyth a powerful figure but an isolated one and when the Welsh make one raid too many against the English, Edyth finds herself on the opposite side to her own family as the two countries prepare for war. Edyth is an incredibly likeable character and her lifelong friendship with Svana the handfasted wife of Harold Earl of Wessex is wonderfully drawn. I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you are a fan of Anne O'Brien, Philippa Gregory or the late Ariana Franklin then meet your new favourite author. I look forward to reading the rest of the series and immersing myself in Joanna Courtney's wonderful storytelling once more.

Huge thanks to Natasha Harding at Macmillan for sending this book to me and asking me to be part of the blog tour.

Learn more about the author on her gorgeous website or connect with her on twitter at @joannacourtney1

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Edge of Dark by Pamela Hartshorne

The Edge of Dark is the first Pamela Hartshorne novel I've read but it certainly won't be the last. This is a time slip novel, a genre that I adore. The two protagonists are Jane a butcher's daughter who makes an advantageous marriage in Sixteenth Century York and Rosalind newly appointed events director at Holmwood House. It is the restored Elizabethan townhouse in Micklegate that connects the two women. The echoes of the past are brought to life by the work being done in the house. As the house begins to look as it did in Elizabethan times and the staff are encouraged to dress as Elizabethans for the grand opening so the restless spirits of Jane and her family begin to overpower Roz and her colleagues. The time shifts between the two characters are expertly done leaving the reader dying to know more about both time lines and with both stories coming to dramatic climaxes. This is a fantastic page turner, filled with twists and turns and a great cast of characters. It is at times thrillingly dark as the title suggests and I can't wait to read the author's previous books. This novel will be perfect for fans of Tudor fiction such as Philippa Gregory and of course fans of time slip fiction such as that of Barbara Erskine.

Thank you to Louise Buckley of Pan MacMillan for a review copy of the book.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Set Me Free by Daniela Sacerdoti Blog Tour

I was thrilled to be invited to take part in the blog tour for Daniela Sacerdoti's newest Glen Avich novel. It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Dani's writing. Dani's newest book Set Me Free is now available in paperback and kindle edition and comes with a free recipe book.

Set Me Free is the third of Daniela Sacerdoti's Glen Avich novels set in the tight knit community of an Aberdeenshire Village. The books are loosely connected and have some recurring characters However they can be read as entirely stand alone novels and in any order. Believe me once you have discovered this author you will want to read more.
Set Me Free is the story of Margherita whose world is falling apart. Unable to have children of their own she and her husband adopted six year old Lara, a troubled but incredibly bright young girl and then a miracle happens Margherita gets pregnant but what should be a time of joy instead becomes a crisis as Ash; Margherita's cold and distant husband isn't sure he wants another child. Although they manage to patch things up for a time when Leo is three the cracks in their marriage become too huge to ignore on top of which Margherita is worried about Lara who is now fifteen and struggling with anger issues and bullying at school and online. Margherita asks Ash for a separation, desperate to find some space and time to think. She travels to Glen Avich where her Mum and Step-Dad run the local coffee shop. The village has a revitalising effect on both Lara and her Mum and they fall in love with the peace and quiet, the fresh air, the scenery and the people. But is Margherita ready to give her heart away again when she meets historian Torcuil Ramsay? and who is the mysterious boy that Lara has been seeing in secret? After a summer of rediscovering her love of baking and finding what she really wants you will be rooting for Margherita to make the right decision. An enchanting read from a wonderful writer. Daniela Sacerdoti goes beyond the boundaries of contemporary romance incorporating elements of magical realism and the supernatural. I defy you not to fall in love with the place, the characters and the writing.

Daniela was kind enough to answer a few questions for me, which I greatly appreciate.

Five Books that Inspired you

Many, many books inspired me but some stand out.

First and foremost, it has to be Anne of Green Gables by Lucy M. Montgomery, probably my favourite book of all time. It’s the story of an orphaned girl in Canada and the readers gets to follow her absorbing journey through life over six books as she grows up and gets married. Her story really touched me and has stayed with me ever since I first read the books.

The second book has to be Wuthering Heights – so beautifully written and immensely powerful; its images are burnt into my imagination.

I’m also really into Harry Potter – I’ve read all seven books and I think J. K. Rowling is amazing. Recently, at the Colombia Book Fair, I was asked who would I be if I were a character in the Harry Potter saga, and which house would I be in – my answers were Luna Lovegood, and Ravenclaw.

I was lucky enough to have my dad reading The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit to me when I was very young. I loved them and they stayed in my imagination forever – I would advise anyone to read them both!

Finally, advice for new writers: To be very determined and not let themselves be discouraged by rejection and criticism. To work very hard and to be themselves, write from the heart and not pay heed to trends or to what the market wants at that given moment.
And last, but not least, to read a lot!

Thank you very much to Janne at Black & White Publishing for sending me a copy of the book for review.

Find out more about Dani and her books at her website and her twitter @danisacerdoti