Today, I’m delighted to feature A Ha’Penny Will Do by Alison Huntingford

Here’s the blurb:

Love, dreams and destitution.

Three members of one family are linked by their struggle to survive poverty and war at the turn of the century.  

Kate, a homesick, lonely Irish immigrant, dreams of being a writer.  After difficult times in Liverpool she comes to London looking for a better life.  Hoping to escape from a life of domestic service into marriage and motherhood, she meets charming rogue William Duffield.  Despite her worries about his uncertain temperament, she becomes involved with him. Will it be an escape or a prison?

Fred is a restless elder son, devoted to his mother yet locked in a tempestuous relationship with his father.  War intervenes and he secretly signs up to serve abroad.  Is his bad reputation deserved?  What will become of him?

Joe, too young to sign up for WW1, is left to endure the hardships of war on the home front and deal with his own guilt at not being able to serve.  He starts an innocent friendship with his sister-in-law which sustains him through hard times.  Will he survive the bombs, the riots, the rationing and find true love in the end?

These are their intertwined and interlocking stories recreated through the medium of diaries, letters and personal recollections, based on the author’s family history covering the period of 1879 – 1920. The truth is never plain and rarely simple.

This novel is a fresh and compelling look at life for the working-class poor in England at the end of the Victorian era.  Covering issues such as the struggle for home rule in Ireland, the hardships of domestic service, marital strife, the suffragettes and the horrors of World War 1 on the home front and abroad, this is a realistic and gripping tale which keeps the reader involved in their human plight all the way.

Buy Links:

Universal Amazon Link: https://books2read.com/u/bo8A81

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Barnes and NobleWaterstones

Meet the Author

Alison Huntingford has a degree in humanities with literature, and has always enjoyed reading, especially, the great writers of the 19th century. 

She is an only child of two only children and so has always felt a distinct lack of family. This has inspired her to research her family history and most of her writing is based on this. Her debut novel, The Glass Bulldog, was published in 2019, and was nominated for the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. This is her second full length novel, although, she has also written several short stories. 

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their pets, listening to music, going to the cinema, and gardening.  She lives in Devon, on the edge of Dartmoor.

Connect with Alison

WebsiteTwitter:   Facebook:   LinkedIn:  

InstagramAmazon Author PageGoodreads:  

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the A Ha’Penny Will Do blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club

Today, I’m welcoming The Professor’s Lady by Holly Bush to the blog

Today, I’m sharing an excerpt from The Professor’s Lady by Holly Bush.

Excerpt

The long ride through New Jersey toward Philadelphia was done quietly as Miss Thompson looked out the window, her hands folded in her lap, humming a tune he heard from her occasionally. He was soon engrossed in a medical article written by Joseph Lister on the subject of cleaning surgical instruments and the dramatic decrease of deaths after surgery. 

He lifted his head when that lovely young lady beside him pinched his hand enough to leave a bruise. “Ouch!”

“I have been trying to get your attention, Mr. Watson,” she said in a breathy voice, her eyes darting the length of the train car. “I think the man who was drunk in the hallway of the hotel just walked past us.”

“Are you certain?”

“Not completely, but I’m fairly sure. He is wearing a minister’s collar today.”

“We are not far from Philadelphia. We will depart the station as quickly as possible and hire a carriage to take you home.”

She looked at him then, her face wreathed in worry. “We will be no match for them, I’m afraid.”

“I intend to guard you, Miss Thompson. I will not let anyone harm you. I promise.”

She shuddered a breath and laid her head on his shoulder. “I’ve been imagining what would have happened if you hadn’t found me on the Maybelle.”

“Do not make yourself uneasy. And there is no use dreaming of tragic endings. We are closer to your family with every turn of the train’s wheels, and then you will be safe. In the interim, I will have to do as your protector. Mr. Clawson and I.”

“I feel so much better when you talk sensibly to me,” she whispered and clutched his arm. “You will come into the house with me? Explain what has happened?”

“Your family will be so glad to have you back in their arms, any anger will be short-lived. And I wouldn’t want to impose on a family reunion.”

She harrumphed. “Short-lived? You do not know my family.”

The train was on time, a near miracle in Albert’s estimation, when they rolled into the Philadelphia station. They had not been delayed by broken tracks or a herd of pigs or any other obstacle that so often made train travel less than timely. Miss Thompson was still leaning against his arm, although she was not sleeping, and had long ago slipped her hand into his. He’d spent much of the last hour looking at one of the marvels of the human body, the hand, and observing the differences between his and hers. Those twenty-seven individual bones, allowing humans to grip and fist and caress, were dainty and dwarfed by his. He rubbed his thumb over her knuckle as its tendons and muscles tightened, bending her finger against his with soft pressure. 

As the train slowed into the station, Clawson took his bag, as they had discussed, intending to go directly to the home Albert shared with his mother to deposit his belongings and check to see if his trunks had been delivered. He would have both hands and the gun in his pocket to protect Miss Thompson until he could hand her over to the safekeeping of her relatives. The train chugged to a stop and he stood, offering his hand to her to rise, guiding her to step in front of him. He kept his hand on her shoulder as they slowly walked down the aisle, waiting to depart the train onto the crowded platform. He bent down and looked out a window and saw Clawson, who nodded and turned into the crowd.

Albert took her hand as she stepped down and slipped his arm around her shoulders, keeping her tight against him as they moved toward the street, away from the house that served as the train station, now a tavern and inn. There were carriages for hire, and he quickly hailed one and gave the address to the driver. He glanced over his shoulder as he helped her climb in and saw two men heading their way that could have been the hotel drunk and the man behind the planter, one wearing the collar of the church. 

“Make haste, please,” he said to the driver. “There’ll be extra for you if you get us moving immediately.”

Albert was not quite in his seat when the carriage driver maneuvered out of the line of carriages and into the street, weaving in and out of slower vehicles, and causing him to drop hastily down next to Miss Thompson. He risked a glance back and saw no one following. 

“They were there, weren’t they?” she whispered, tightening her grip on his hand. 

“They were, but we are on our way now. Everything will be fine.”

“But you don’t know that.”

“Your family will keep you safe,” he said and squeezed her hand. 

She was silent for a long moment, staring out at the passing businesses, turning back to him with wide eyes and a trembling lip. 

“What is it, Miss Thompson?”

“I prefer you, Mr. Watson. I prefer you to keep me safe.”

He stared at her, willing himself not to gather her in his arms and kiss her. And then she turned away from him and pointed as the carriage slowed down. He stepped down quickly, helped her alight, and reached to pay the driver and ask him to wait to see him home as well. As he turned, a fist connected with his chin.

Here’s the blurb:

Meet the Thompsons of Locust Street, an unconventional family taking Philadelphia high society by storm…

1870 Kirsty Thompson is determined to begin her own business bringing beloved Scottish fabrics and yarns to Philadelphia but first she must meet the men and women who weave the plaids and spin the wool. How will she ever escape her protective older siblings and sail to Scotland?

Albert Watson is a medical doctor focusing on research, especially that of Joseph Lister and his sterilization techniques. He speaks at universities in America and in England while visiting his London relatives. As he prepares to sail for just such an engagement, Kirsty Thompson boards his ship to beg him to take her with him. What’s a gentleman to do? Albert cancels his trip across the ocean to escort Miss Thompson back to Philadelphia and finds there is danger afoot for her and her family.

Soon he comes to realize there is also danger for his heart, even for a man who rarely pulls his nose from a medical journal. He finds himself unable to put Miss Kirsty Thompson out of his thoughts, where they belonged, because certainly a beautiful, ambitious, and charming young woman could have no interest in him. Or could she?

Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Barnes and NobleKoboApple Books

Meet the author

Holly Bush writes historical romance set in the U.S.in the late 1800’s, in Victorian England, and an occasional Women’s Fiction title. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Connect with Holly at www.hollybushbooks.com and on Twitter @hollybushbooks and on Facebook at Holly Bush

Connect with Holly

WebsiteTwitter:  Facebook

LinkedInInstagramPinterest

BookBubAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on The Professor’s Lady blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club

Today, I’m delighted to welcome back to the blog Amy Maroney and her new novel, Sea of Shadows

Today, I’m excited to share an excerpt from Amy Maroney’s new novel, Sea of Shadows.

Summer, 1459

Rhodes Town

Signor Salviati kept Anica waiting in the high-ceilinged parlor for what seemed like an hour before he emerged from an adjoining chamber. 

He approached, his silk tunic rustling. “Signorina,” he said in a clipped voice, his expression cool. “I am eager to see your father’s work.”

Anica unwrapped the painting and presented it to him. It was exactly what he had asked for: a portrait of the Madonna and her child. The Virgin’s shimmering blue robe, made of lapis lazuli pigment, had cost a small fortune. The banker held the panel at arm’s length, pursing his lips. A long moment of silence passed. Anica’s left knee began to tremble.

Finally, he spoke. “Exquisite.” When he smiled, his graying teeth showed evidence of too many years’ enjoyment of red wine. “Signor Foscolo is indeed a talented man. He shows much discipline, working to this standard even while he mourns his son. Although it has been some time since your brother’s death, I suppose—”

“Six months today,” Anica said shortly.

Since Benedetto’s death, Anica had fought back her own sorrow and finished her father’s commissions one by one. She’d sourced the pigments, prepared the panels, and layered on the tempera paints herself. From the backgrounds to the most intricate details of a shining eye or a silken sleeve, she was responsible for it all. But Signor Salviati would never know that.

A young, clean-shaven man also clothed in silk entered the parlor and came to stand at Signor Salviati’s side. 

“Ah! Troilo, look at the painting.” The banker tilted the panel in the newcomer’s direction. “Lovely, isn’t it?” 

The young man gave the painting a cursory inspection. Then his deep-set brown eyes fixed on Anica. “Not as lovely as you, signorina.”

Signor Salviati lifted an eyebrow, his smile deepening. “Do you remember Troilo, my eldest son, signorina?” 

She eyed the young man, who was a stocky, fleshy-faced version of his father. The Salviati family attended Santa Maria, where she often worshipped with Papa. But if she’d ever interacted with Troilo as a child, she had no recollection of it. “Yes, of course I do,” she lied smoothly.

“We’ve both grown up since I was last in Rhodes,” Troilo said. “You speak Italian as beautifully as if you’d been born and raised in Venice instead of Rhodes Town.”  

“My father did not overlook my education,” she replied.

“He’s a true citizen of Venice, then?” The banker’s son narrowed his eyes. “Or a white Venetian?”

Anica stood taller. “He comes by his citizenship naturally—he did not buy it, I assure you.”

“You’re fortunate to possess some Latin blood, signorina,” he said with a thin smile. “Though some might mistake you for Greek.” He flapped a dismissive hand at her long cotton headpiece.

She felt the sting of shame, followed by a wave of anger. With effort, she kept her face impassive.

“Her mother is a Georgillas,” Signor Salviati put in. “One of the first families.”

When the Knights Hospitaller took ownership of Rhodes generations ago, a handful of Greeks had forged lucrative alliances with them. Mamá’s family was descended from one of those men.

“Indeed?” his son said in a slightly more respectful tone. 

Anica repressed an impatient sigh, eager to receive her payment and flee. Her gaze fell to the coin purse on Signor Salviati’s belt. “My father expects me back straightaway.” 

He gave a start, one hand going to his waist. “Oh, he did not tell you? We’ve made other arrangements for payment. I shall not be giving you any coin today.”

Anica studied the Florentine’s face with suspicion. Her father had said nothing of this, but in his current state Papa could not be counted on to communicate anything of importance. She thought of the ducats she’d spent on pigments and other supplies to create this painting, of the expenses her family had faced for Benedetto’s funeral. Words of protest rose up in her throat, but she gritted her teeth and pushed them back down again. 

Speak with Papa first, she counseled herself. Keep this encounter pleasant, for his sake.

So rather than protest, she gave a quick curtsy. “Thank you, signor.”

The younger Salviati put up a hand. “Wait.” He plucked the wooden panel from his father’s grasp. “I’ve spent the last five years in Florence, signorina. I saw dozens of portraits hanging in the finest homes there. Portraits of the men who’ve made their fortunes in wool and wine, done in a new style, with paints of oil.”

“Oil?” repeated Signor Salviati. 

His son nodded. “It’s a style that started in the north. Flanders, I believe.” He stepped closer to Anica. “Surely, you’ve heard of this?” 

Anica resisted the urge to edge away. There was a wide space between his two front teeth. His pink tongue protruded slightly through the gap, and his breath smelled of fish and garlic.

“No,” she said. “Artists use egg to thin the pigments. That is how it’s always been done.”

He shook his head. There was a hint of triumph in his expression. “Things are changing,” he told her. “Oils are the new fashion. Your father had better learn this new style, or he shall soon find himself out of work.”

Signor Salviati turned a sour expression on the panel that he had complimented a few moments before. 

“If that is the case, then we shall have portraits made in oil, too. One of me, one of you, and one of your mother.” The two men exchanged a satisfied look. Then the banker turned back to Anica. “Tell your father of my wish, Signorina Foscolo. He’ll welcome the commission, I have no doubt.”

Something in his tone sent a stab of worry into Anica’s chest. “I will tell him, signor.”

When a manservant let her out the front doors, she found the slave Maria standing still as a statue where she’d left her, face covered with a sheen of sweat.

They pressed against the wall as a donkey cart piled with fruit rolled by. Anica looked back at the banker’s home, her eyes aching from the glare of the sun against the white marble façade. 

She should have been glad for another commission from the man. But instead, she felt certain no good would come of it.

Check out Amy’s last visit to the blog here.

Here’s the blurb:

1459. A gifted woman artist. A ruthless Scottish privateer. And an audacious plan that throws them together—with dangerous consequences. 

No one on the Greek island of Rhodes suspects Anica is responsible for her Venetian father’s exquisite portraits, least of all her wealthy fiancé. But her father’s vision is failing, and with every passing day it’s more difficult to conceal the truth. 

When their secret is discovered by a powerful knight of the Order of St. John, Anica must act quickly to salvage her father’s honor and her own future. Desperate, she enlists the help of a fierce Scottish privateer named Drummond. Together, they craft a daring plan to restore her father’s sight. 

There’s only one problem—she never imagined falling in love with her accomplice.

Before their plan can unfold, a shocking scandal involving the knights puts Anica’s entire family at risk. Her only hope is to turn to Drummond once again, defying her parents, her betrothed, even the Grand Master of the Knights himself. But can she survive the consequences? 

With this captivating tale of passion, courage, and loyalty, Amy Maroney brings a lost, dazzling world to vivid life.

Sea of Shadows is Book 2 in a series of stand-alone historical novels packed with adventure and romance.

Buy Links:

This novel is available on #KindleUnlimited

Universal Link

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Meet the author

Amy Maroney studied English Literature at Boston University and worked for many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. She lives in Oregon, U.S.A. with her family. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, dancing, traveling, and reading. Amy is the author of The Miramonde Series, an award-winning historical fiction trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail. Her new historical suspense/romance series, Sea and Stone Chronicles, is set in medieval Rhodes and Cyprus.

Connect with Amy:

WebsiteTwitter

FacebookInstagramPinterest

BookBub:  Amazon Author PageGoodreads

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the Sea of Shadows blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club

It’s my turn on the new release blog tour for The Capsarius by Simon Turney #AriesFiction #BlogTour

Here’s the blurb:

Warrior and combat medic, Titus Cervianus, must lead a legion and quell the uprisings in Egypt in a new Roman adventure from Simon Turney.
Egypt. 25 BC.

Titus Cervianus and the Twenty Second Deiotariana have been sent to deal with uprisings and chaos in Egypt. Yet the Twenty Second is no ordinary legion. Founded as the private royal army of one of Rome’s most devoted allies, the king of Galatia, their ways are not the same as the other legions, a factor that sets them apart and causes friction with their fellow soldiers.

Cervianus is no ordinary soldier, either. A former surgeon from the city of Ancyra, he’s now a capsarius – a combat medic. Cervianus is a pragmatist, a scientist, and truly unpopular with his legion.

Marching into the unknown, Cervianus will find unexpected allies in a local cavalryman and a troublesome lunatic. Both will be of critical importance as the young medic marches into the searing sands of the south, finding forbidden temples, dark assassins, vicious crocodiles, and worst of all, the warrior queen of Kush…

Amazon Link:

Review

I really enjoyed The Capsarius. I’ve read some of Simon Turney’s Roman fiction in the past, but this book, without its focus on Roman Rome, is a little different, and very enjoyable.

I didn’t read this book quickly – rather I enjoyed it slowly, taking delight in reading a small amount each day over an extended period. It’s a story rich with detail, as our main character, The Capsarius, travels through a land he is clearly excited to visit, being so very strange to his birth lands, and yet one he understands is filled with danger. The heat, the lack of water, and the need to stay close to the great river Nile, bring into play some very dangerous enemies, the crocodiles of the delta.

The Capsarius is not your usual Roman warrior. He’s a skilled and widely read individual, keen to hold on to the ideals he has as a medic in the Roman army, even though he’s pitted against just about everyone in the legion, and his superiors really don’t seem to like him a great deal – not that it worries him. He’s a man of reason, and yet one who’s thrust into a strange land, with even stranger gods, and gods who seem to speak to him. The interplay between the reasoned man forced to question his beliefs because of the pervading Egyptian religion is skillfully drawn.

This is a slow burn, which rewards the reader with two really quite different battle scenes in the second half of the book when our Roman hero finally encounters his elusive enemy, and I’m already looking forward to book 2.

A wonderful read – with just the right amount of humour and peril – set in a wonderfully drawn land of intrigue and danger.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my review copy, and for inviting me onto the new release blog tour.

Meet the author

Simon Turney is from Yorkshire and, having spent much of his childhood visiting historic sites, fell in love with the Roman heritage of the region. His fascination with the ancient world snowballed from there with great interest in Rome, Egypt, Greece and Byzantium. His works include the Marius’ Mules and Praetorian series, the Tales of the Empire and The Damned Emperor series, and the Rise of Emperors books with Gordon Doherty.

Follow Simon
Twitter: @SJATurney
Instagram: @simonturney_aka_sjaturney

Website: http://simonturney.com/

Don’t forget to stop by the other reviewers on The Capsarius new release blog tour.

headofzeus.com@AriesFiction

Not convinced yet? Do check out my other reviews for Simon Turney’s Roman era books. Commodus, Sons of Rome, Masters of Rome, Emperors of Rome.

Today, I’m delighted to spotlight, The Fatal Oath by Michael L Lewis #BlogTour

Here’s the blurb:

1957. Blackleigh is an elite public school for boys in Yorkshire where prejudice and seething hatreds are never far below the surface. Violence erupts against any Junior who the Seniors deem unfit.

Jonathan Simon is 16, in his third year, and is self-conscious about being Jewish and having a birthmark on his cheek. He knows that: 1) The school code of conduct mandates no snitching, 2) The student Prefects, not the faculty, have absolute power to discipline and 3) Mr. Paul Wood, the temporary Headmaster, is weak and ineffectual.

Jonathan meets Bobby Stuart, an American transfer student, who is also worried about being accepted. Their friendship binds them together as they soon run afoul of three ruthless and ambitious Seniors in the House; Gabriel, Murray and Hausman – also known by their fanatic followers as ‘The Black Armbands’. 

As the pressure mounts, ambitions grow, friendships become closer and scheming increases. As for Jonathan, the year is only beginning…

Purchase Links

Book Gook Guild –  Bookshop.org –  Amazon – 

Waterstones –  Foyles –  WHSmith – 

Meet the author

Michael L. Lewis was born and raised in England. After preparatory school in London, he was educated at Stowe School, Buckingham. This is the third novel in the Oath series, taking readers on a journey through the lives of three dynamic schoolboys between the ages of 13 and 15, and the extraordinary triumphs and tragedies that they experience. Michael now lives in Los Angeles, California, has a law degree, and writes full-time. He was on the Board of Trustees for several schools and has been a member of the same book club for twenty-five years.

Michael says, “The books in the ‘Oath’ series are all inspired by my incredible experiences at a Boarding School in the North of England and on School Boards in Los Angeles. Each book in the series stands alone with totally separate main themes united by the exploration of prejudice, the unequal playing field in education, and the abuse of human rights. They will appeal to adults as well as young adults and are entirely set in an elite public school in Yorkshire.”

Social Media Links

https://twitter.com/BookGuild

https://www.facebook.com/thebookguild

https://www.instagram.com/Troubador_Publishing/

Check out the rest of The Fatal Oath tour with Rachel’s Random Resources

Today, I’m delighted to welcome back Helen Hollick to the blog with a post about her new book, The Sea Witch Voyages

Today, Helen Hollick is back on the blog with her nautical fantasy/historical fiction book, The Sea With Voyages.

A DISPATCH FROM THE AUTHOR

A brief bit about the Sea Witch Voyages:

I wrote the first Voyage (Sea Witch) back in 2005 after thoroughly enjoying the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Like most avid readers, however, I wanted more than just the movie, I wanted to read something that was as entertaining and as exciting. A nautical adventure with a charming rogue of a pirate captain, written for adults (with adult content) but with a dash of supernatural fantasy as well – elements of which had made that first movie such fun to watch. I found many nautical-based novels, but they were all ‘serious stuff’ – Patrick O’Brian, Alexander Kent, C. S. Forrester … all good reads but without the fantasy fun, and barely a female character in sight. I simply could not find the book I wanted to read. So, I wrote my own.

The first Voyage led to more books in the series, and also generated several emails from fans who wanted to know how Jesamiah had become a pirate in the first place.

When the Mermaid Sings answers that question.

* * *

The Caribbean – 1710

Spray lifted across the weather rail, drenching Jesamiah. He paid no heed. The headland was waiting to snatch them up, at its base the surf was bubbling and hissing like a brew in a witch’s cauldron.

“Leadsman to the chains, if you please, Mr Acorne,” Taylor said as calmly as if he were ordering afternoon tea for a lady.

“I’ve already sent someone,” Jesamiah responded.

On cue, Tab hollered, “By the mark six!”

More than enough water for Mermaid.

“By the mark five!”

whoomph, a flare of light, then another. Jamaica Rose was altering course; aware of the sea danger ahead, was firing her guns as she passed astern, aiming for Mermaid’s vulnerable rear. Instinctively, Jesamiah ducked as the first and second whish of grapeshot and langrage hurtled into the transom and slashed along the open deck, gouging splinters as the barrage passed through. Three men, injured, cried out; a fourth, his shout of agony abruptly ended as grapeshot tore into his throat, killing him straight out.

“Deep four!” Tab shouted, ignoring what was happening.

There was nothing Mermaid could do except keep to her course; she was shuddering and bucking as turbulence swept beneath her hull. But the Jamaica Rose had not finished yet, as each of her guns came to bear, she was firing as if her existence depended upon it. Mermaid’s rigging pinged as it snapped, wood cracked and boomed, the Great Cabin’s glass windows shattered as shot after shot gouged into the stern. How the rudder was not damaged was a miracle. Then Mermaid slewed off course. Taylor, blood streaming from his cheek and hands, ran to grasp the helm as O’Bartlett fell, blood pouring from a shattered arm, half of which was no longer there. Men ran as lithe as athletes, not needing orders to keep Mermaid in check, to keep her as near they could on course. Damaged rigging was hacked away, braces and yards squealed, she bumped and kicked. A scraping sound.

“Rudder’s not responding!” Taylor shouted. “We’re aground!”

Jesamiah ran to the taffrail and peered down into the black sea.

“Sandbank!” he yelled. “Looks like the rudder’s stuck!”

A quarter of a mile distant, aware of the rocks, the Jamaica Rose was slowly turning away, making ready to present her larboard battery and another rolling broadside of guns…

And to find out what happens next, I’m afraid you will need to read the book!

How I met Jesamiah Acorne (the tru-ish) story

https://ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com/p/how-i-met-jesamiah-acorne.html

Here’s the blurb:

A prequel short read story to the Sea Witch Voyages of Captain Jesamiah Acorne

When the only choice is to run, where do you run to?

When the only sound is the song of the sea, do you listen?

Or do you drown in the embrace of a mermaid?

Throughout childhood, Jesamiah Mereno has suffered the bullying of his elder half-brother. Then, not quite fifteen years old, and on the day they bury their father, Jesamiah hits back. In consequence, he flees his Virginia home, changes his name to Jesamiah Acorne, and joins the crew of his father’s seafaring friend, Captain Malachias Taylor, aboard the privateer, Mermaid.

He makes enemies, sees the ghost of his father, wonders who is the Cornish girl he hears in his mind – and tries to avoid the beguiling lure of a sensuous mermaid…

An early coming-of-age tale of the young Jesamiah Acorne, set in the years before he becomes a pirate and Captain of the Sea Witch.

Praise:

Ms Hollick has skillfully picked up the threads that she alludes to in the main books and knitted them together to create a Jesamiah that we really didn’t know.” Richard Tearle senior reviewer, Discovering Diamonds

Captain Jesamiah Acorne is as charming a scoundrel as a fictional pirate should be. A resourceful competitor to Captain Jack Sparrow!” Antoine Vanner author

Helen Hollick has given us the answer to that intriguing question that Jesamiah fans have been aching for – how did he start his sea-going career as a pirate?” Alison Morton, author

I really enjoyed the insight offered into Jesamiah’s backstory, and found the depiction of our teenage hero very moving.” Anna Belfrage, author

I loved this little addendum to the Jesamiah series. I always had a soft spot for the Lorelei stories and enjoyed that the author cleverly brought her over from the Rhine valley to fit into the story.” Amazon Reviewer

Trigger Warnings:

Sexual content, adult language.

Buy Links:

Available on #KindleUnlimited.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Meet the Author

First published in 1994, Helen became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she writes a nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages. She is now branching out into the quick read novella, ‘Cosy Mystery’ genre with her new venture, the Jan Christopher Murder Mysteries, set in the 1970s, with the first in the series, A Mirror Murder incorporating her, often hilarious, memories of working as a library assistant.

Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler. She lives in an eighteenth-century farmhouse in North Devon, runs Discovering Diamonds, a review blog for historical fiction, and occasionally gets time to write… 

Connect with Helen

WebsiteTwitter:  Facebook

Amazon Author PageGoodreadsNewsletter

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the When the Mermaid Sings blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club

Today, I’m welcoming Nadine Kampen and her new book, The Brantford Wagers to the blog

Today, I’m delighted to share an excerpt from Nadine Kampen’s new book, The Brantford Wagers.

From Chapter 3 – Matchmakers

As members of the Vincent family drew near, Lady Melbourne gestured towards several of the pictures, then beckoned Clara. ‘These fellows who are out painting landscapes, do not you think they are just the sort who are entirely devoid of imagination? Look here—all earth and air; and not one maiden, or cherub, or fountain to enliven things.’

‘These particular artists portray nature without embellishment,’ Clara offered. ‘I find it refreshing.’

‘Painters of that ilk are rather like musicians who perform music exactly as written. Have not you noticed it yourself? They play precisely what appears on the score and do not add anything by way of adornment. Advise them to play a trill here and there, and they pretend not to hear you. Recommend a diminuendo and you are completely shunned. Suggest an arpeggio be added to some dull passage and they quit your company entirely. I find these types extremely irksome, the entire set—musicians, artists—all of them.’

Lady Melbourne snapped her fan shut against the palm of her hand. ‘I must say, you are brightly attired this evening, Miss Vincent. It is a timely change. I am so accustomed to seeing you in mourning, I scarcely recognised you. How could you have stood it, these past months, to look so drawn out? Granted, you lost two family members this past winter, but had you been my daughter, I would certainly not have had you wearing bombazine all the time. However, that time is at an end. I see you have done something unusual with your hair this evening.’

‘To charming effect,’ praised Mr Langley, stepping forward. He wanted to speak to Clara once more before they left. With his hand at her elbow, he steered her a short distance away.

‘Since we are both to leave the vicinity soon, Miss Vincent,’ he said, ‘I want to be sure you understand how fortunate I feel that we have finally met and were able to share this time together.’

Clara, wondering if he was about to declare his feelings for her and feeling it was too soon for him to do so, nodded in a friendly manner, observing him.

‘While our time together has ended for now, I can at least look forward to seeing you within a few months.’ He noticed a faint blush coming to Clara’s cheeks, and it pleased him. ‘If I am to find any consolation in this separation,’ he continued, ‘it is in the fact that we are both away at the same time. After I accompany Lady Melbourne to Bath, I am wanted elsewhere on pressing business. I will be tied up with important matters for the near future. My Aunt and I will reunite in late fall, after which I will take her to whatever destinations she wishes. We plan to return to Wells by Christmas.’ Mr Langley felt annoyed at having to mould his affairs to fit the whims and interests of his aunt, but he shook off his irritation.

‘I particularly hope, when I return,’ he said earnestly, picking up her hand and turning it over in his, ‘to have the pleasure of renewing our acquaintance, and discussing the future.’

Clara remained still for a moment, then discreetly removed her hand in a natural manner. She was not inclined to discourage Mr Langley, as she had so many others. She liked him well enough to this point, and was glad they had met, but neither would she encourage him. Cautious by nature, she would not commit beyond what short acquaintance dictated. She nodded, replying that she would, of course, be pleased to see him again in a few months’ time.

‘This would be a fortunate match, Mr Vincent,’ observed Lady Melbourne. She would have been pleased to know how close her thinking on this point matched his. She had long hoped to unite their families, albeit not until recently in this particular fashion. She had not relinquished all thought of remarrying, and she had placed her hopes on Mr Vincent. With regard to this younger pair, having met at last, there appeared to be interest on both sides.

‘I had not realised, Mr Vincent, that your daughter is such an accomplished hostess. I should not have thought to light up the garden as she has done and create such an attractive scene. As for today’s entertainment, I daresay the illuminations in London were grand but so, too, were this evening’s displays. And thank you for putting out the fire on my hat,’ she said, unfurling her fan and brushing it playfully across his shoulder. ‘I must confess, while I can bear a few sparks flying about, I am grateful you did not bombard us with squibs and strike us dead where we stood.’

‘Fine host I should have been then,’ said Mr Vincent solemnly.

Lady Melbourne smiled and came back to her point. ‘You cannot keep her here forever. My home, at least, is not far away.’

‘True,’ he replied.

‘Well, good night, then, Mr Vincent.’

‘Wait, madam, if you please.’ One of the servants brought in a large package for Lady Melbourne. ‘It is a token of appreciation for the hospitality shown my daughter during my travels. My man will load it on the carriage for you.’

‘Why, Mr Vincent,’ she said, her deep voice wavering, ‘thank you so much.’

As the heavy front doors swung shut behind the last of their visitors, the family members made their way to the drawing-room, losing Mariette’s husband to his quarters along the way. 

William Vincent relished the opportunity to speak to his daughters alone. There were important matters that he wanted to raise. On entering the room, he perched himself on a broad chair near the fire and surveyed his daughters. The sisters were alike in some respects, but they differed in countless ways. In appearance, Clara, the taller of the two, preferred simple lines to her clothing; Mariette liked frills. Clara saved money; Mariette spent it. Clara planned; Mariette enjoyed spontaneity. Clara enjoyed reading and was often lost in her own thoughts; Mariette was the livelier of the two. 

Here’s the blurb:

Is Clara Vincent ready to risk it all for love?


Clara Vincent is “the artful dodger” when it comes to marriage, especially when her father is bent on match-making. Will her attitude change when she meets two eligible suitors and is drawn into the lives of intensely competitive families? Clara falls unexpectedly in love, but when fortunes are reversed and relationships up-ended, she needs to decide whether to trust James Brantford, who is seeking retribution, or accept the love of the man everyone else believes is her ideal match. 

As the Brantford wagers unfold and lay bare the history of past relationships, will Clara be able to learn the truth and finally follow her heart?

Buy Links:

Universal Link (Amazon)

Amazon UK: Amazon US: Amazon CA:   Amazon AU:

Kobo: Google Play: Chapters-Indigo.ca:

Meet the Author

In her début novel, The Brantford Wagers, Nadine Kampen draws on her passion for stories that bring a smile and warm the hearts of the reader. The author immerses the reader in the fictional world of traditional historical romance, set in the memorable Regency England period, sharing the hopes, schemes, and antics of her characters. 

Prior to her career as an author, Nadine served as a regional marketing manager with an international consulting firm and as a communications and marketing director on university campuses. Earlier in her career, she worked in public relations and journalism, and was co-author and project lead for five non-fiction books comprising The Canadian Breast Cancer Series, published in 1989.

A resident of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada, Nadine loves relaxing with family and friends, reading and walking, playing tunes on her 1905 Bell piano, and gardening. 

Connect with Nadine:

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Don’t forget to check out the other stops on The Brantford Wagers blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club

Today, I’m delighted to welcome HS Burney and The Lake Templeton Murders to the blog

Today, I’m delighted to welcome HS Burney to the blog, with a post about the inspiration for her new novel, The Lake Templeton Murders.

The Lake Templeton Murders is set in a fictional town in Vancouver Island in British Columbia on the West Coast of Canada. An idyllic oasis of only five thousand people, Lake Templeton is an undeveloped gem craving to be a tourist paradise. It’s not as accessible as neighbouring towns and doesn’t have the same infrastructure, hotels, and tourist attractions. But it boasts a lot of ocean-facing vacation homes. There is also a small knot of locals. Lake Templeton is a great place to hide when you’re weary of city life. Or looking to hide away from your past.

Because of its pristine natural beauty, Lake Templeton is a place that is ripe for development. It’s the object of an ambitious revitalization project intended to turn it into a tourist mecca. The murder happens just as the town is hanging on the precipice of this change. Funds are being raised. The future looks bright. But for now, Lake Templeton is still a forgotten little beachy watering hole, that only has one private airline operating out of it, run by a mysterious lone owner-operator. 

In a town like Lake Templeton, a murder is a rarity. It creates ripples of shock. It endangers gossip. And questions. Lots of them. That’s one of the reasons why so many are keen to write off the suspicious death as an accident or a suicide. After all, who would want to hurt Sharon Reese? She was just an unassuming City Treasurer, living a mild life in a small town. 

Like with many seemingly banal small towns, at Lake Templeton, there is a lot simmering under the surface. The town contains a small Mayor’s office, but it’s rife with political intrigue. The mayor is an enigmatic young woman who seems misplaced in a town of this nature. Why would she choose to settle here instead of pursuing bigger political ambitions in Vancouver? 

When writing The Lake Templeton Murders, my setting was inspired by British Columbia, a place I am lucky to call home. Although I live in a big city, I’ve spent many enjoyable days tracking through the small coastal towns of British Columbia. Pristine waterfront, miles of ocean, sparkling blue skies, and a panorama of mountains – this is what makes British Columbia such an attractive place to live and visit.

When I’m driving through these small towns many of which boast a single grocery store, a modest town square, maybe a lone medical clinic or two, I often wonder – what type of people live here? What are their lives like? Why do they choose to live here? Lake Templeton is inspired by these real and imagined stories. 

Last summer, I had the pleasure of traveling to Madeira Park on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. We arrived there to find that restaurants followed no set opening and closing schedule. It depended on the whims of the owner – and the number of guests they had that day. The lone breakfast spot was run by a single owner-operator who fried our eggs herself. This is what I envisioned when I conceived of Lake Templeton.

Thank you so much for sharing on the blog. Good luck with the book:)

Here’s the blurb:

A body washes up on the shores of Lake Templeton, a small town on the coast of Vancouver Island. Sharon Reese, the victim, was a dedicated government employee. Everyone liked her, but no one knew much about her. Was she hiding something? Maybe a questionable past riddled with scandal. And did it lead to her plunge to death, in a drunken stupor, off the dock outside her secluded lakefront lodge?

Was it an accident? A suicide? Or cold-blooded murder? Private Investigator, Fati Rizvi, is determined to find out. 

Fati arrives in Lake Templeton to find secrets that run as deep as the City’s sewers. Everyone is hiding something and nothing is as it seems. A cult escapee. A corrupt politician. A struggling airline. A multi-million dollar public-private project to revitalize the Lake Templeton waterfront. How are they all connected? 

As Fati valiantly unravels the knots, another body is found on the shore. Is it the same killer? And can Fati stop them before they strike again?

Purchase Link

Amazon US   Amazon UK

Kobo

Meet the author

HS Burney writes fast-moving, action-packed mysteries set against the backdrop of majestic mountains and crystalline ocean in West Coast Canada. She loves creating characters that keep you on your toes. A corporate executive by day and a novelist by night, HS Burney received her Bachelors’ in Creative Writing from Lafayette College. A proud Canadian immigrant, she takes her readers into worlds populated by diverse characters with unique cultural backgrounds. When not writing, she is out hiking, waiting for the next story idea to strike, and pull her into a new world. 

Connect with HS Burney

https://hsburney.com/

https://www.facebook.com/HS-Burney-Author-113028981189771

https://www.instagram.com/hsburneyauthor/

https://twitter.com/hsburneyauthor

https://mailchi.mp/d6b48197e368/hsburneyemaillist

Giveaway to Win $10 Amazon Gift Card. (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Today, I’m welcoming back Andrea Matthews to the blog, with her new book, Shake Loose the Border

I’m delighted to welcome back Andrea Matthews to the blog with a post about her new book, Shake Loose the Border. Find the previous blog posts here and here.

Excerpt

Maggie blinked as dawn broke that Saturday morning. She had survived the harrowing experience of the previous Thursday night and the tiring prenuptial feast of the night before and now looked forward to the start of a wonderful life with her new husband. He would always be there, guarding her, protecting her, but she had discovered an inner strength in herself as well. 

Today, however, was her wedding day, and Will’s sisters fussed around her like she was a fairy-tale princess. In fact, when they had finished, she was. Her long auburn hair fell down her back in gentle waves. Just as on the day of her handfast, braids had been plaited at her temples, woven with ribbons, and pulled back and tied at the nape of her neck. On her head was a floral crown of wildflowers, bound together with rosemary and ribbons of blue and green to represent both their families. They matched the swathbonds that encircled her waist and the bridal laces that hung from her satin sleeves. A number of ribbon garters were tied to her legs, and they too were the colors of choice. But the gown itself was of the deepest blue, decorated with small beads and delicate lace trim. The square neckline revealed only the slightest bit of her chemise so that her neck lay bare, except for the small string of ivory roses given to her by Will at their handfast, and her kirtle was of silver damask.  

Mary wore a dress of pale blue while Eleanor and little Peggy donned gowns of forest green, in keeping with Maggie’s colors. But Annie wore Betty’s wedding dress, which was the same beautiful shade of rose that colored Maggie’s nosegay and adorned her hair. The same soft shade that had filled her cheeks after Will first made love to her and would no doubt touch them anew when next they met. 

Annie smiled broadly as she tied the last ribbon to Maggie’s dress. “There! A more bonnie bride they’ve never seen in all of Tynedale, and to think ’tis to be wasted on that nae-account brother of mine.” 

“You don’t mean a word of that,” Maggie said with a grin, for it was no secret how close Annie and Will really were. 

“Ye’re right there. If ’twere no’ for our Will . . . ’Twas him what found me that morn, ye ken. I didna want him to touch me, I was that ashamed, but Will never gave up, talking to me, bringing me flowers, telling me how bonnie I looked, liar though he was. I never would have made it without him. When yer kin carried him off, nowt what happened to me seemed all that important anymore.” 

Maggie rested her hand on Annie’s. “Don’t ever let what Ian did to you make you think poorly of yourself. Turn it against him by letting it make you stronger.” 

“I am trying, though ’tis hard at times.” 

“You’re going to wear this dress someday soon, Annie.” 

“I hope so, though I’m no’ sure who ’twill be . . .” She looked around, making sure no one else was listening, though Maggie was fairly sure what she was about to say and equally certain it was common knowledge. “I do care a great deal for Dylan Hetherington, but I’m afeard I’m no’ alone there.” 

Maggie tried to conceal her smile, wondering if Dylan would ever confide his twentieth-century origins to the girl. “And have you spoken to him about it?” 

“A wee bit, and he says his heart belongs to none but me, yet he’s made nae promises either. I can hope, though, d’ye no’ think?” 

“I just don’t want you to be hurt if . . . Annie, I love Dylan dearly, and I do think he’s a good soul, one who can give a great deal of love. But he is still searching for something, and he is a bit of a . . .” 

“A rogue. Oh, I ken that right enough, but how’s a lass to win him if she’s afeard of rising to the fray? I’ll be all right, Maggie, for if he takes a liking to someone else, ’tis his loss, no’ mine.” 

Maggie smiled and hugged Annie warmly. The morning sun was just beginning to peek over the windowsill, and she could hear the sounds of preparation going on below. Biting her lip, she took a peek outside. Will was already there, and she listened intently to the sound of his voice. How she wanted to join him, but it wasn’t yet time, so she contented herself with gazing out across the dew-covered fells dreaming of the night to come.  

Here’s the blurb:

With Will and Maggie’s wedding just a week away, the last thing they need to stumble upon is Johnnie Hetherington’s dead body tied to a tree, especially one that’s so close to their cottage. Recognizing it as a sure sign that Johnnie has betrayed the family once too often, Sergeant Richie Carnaby gathers Will and his family together for questioning, though it seems obvious only a fool would kill a man on his own land. Then who did murder the rogue, and why?

Feeling confident it wasn’t any of the Fosters, Richie allows Will and Maggie’s wedding to proceed, but the couple has barely exchanged vows when the Armstrongs attack in force. Geordie is determined to rescue his niece from the clutches of Will Foster, whether she wants to go or not. And if he happens to make her a widow in the process, so be it. Will senses the danger and implores Dylan to get Maggie away to safety, no matter where — or when — that may be.

Though Maggie protests, Will assures her he will follow as soon as he is able. Yet how can that be possible when Dylan whisks her back to the twentieth century? Sharing her fears about Will, and unable to forget his own love, Annie, Dylan attempts to return to the past one last time despite his growing concerns over the disintegrating amulet stone. But will he make it in time to rescue Will, or will the villainous Ian Rutherford, who has already killed in cold blood once, win the ultimate battle and see Will and Maggie separated forever?

Trigger Warnings:

Sex and violence

Buy Links:

Available on #KindleUnlimited.

Universal Amazon Link

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Meet the Author

Andrea Matthews is the pseudonym for Inez Foster, a historian and librarian who loves to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogical speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science, and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. She is the author of the Thunder on the Moor series set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Border, and the Cross of Ciaran series, where a fifteen hundred year old Celt finds himself in the twentieth century. Andrea is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Long Island Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.

Connect with Andrea

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Follow the tour for Shake Loose the Border with The Coffee Pot Book Club

Today, I’m welcoming Jenny Knipfer and her new book, Under The Weeping Willow to the blog

Today, I’m sharing not one, but two excerpts from Jenny Knipfer’s new book, Under the Weeping Willow.

Excerpt

She couldn’t figure out why Susan always maintained such a hard front, like nothing could ever break her. Everyone had their breaking points. At least that’s what Dad used to say.

Her father’s words floated to Robin as if on the wind. “It’s how the Lord’s Light can enter, so having breaking points and cracks can be a good thing. You just have to know how to surrender those faults to the One who can bring a purpose to them.”

Excerpt

As I look toward this new year, I’m tempted to be afraid. I am walking into another blackhole. But I know whatever comes, the Lord will be by my side just as He was back then in that dark pit of my thoughts. No matter how deep the canyon of forgetfulness is that I will fall into, He is deeper still.

Here’s the blurb:

A HISTORICAL NOVEL ABOUT A MOTHER AND DAUGHTER AND THE SECRET SHAPING THEIR ROCKY RELATIONSHIP

1918:

Just as Robin Holcomb settles into married life with her husband, Willis, on his aunt and uncle’s farm in Wisconsin, WWI calls Willis away. With an unknown future and a child on the way, Robin makes the best of life among people she barely knows.

After the birth of her child, Robin struggles with depression and battles to overcome her inner demons before despair and hopelessness drive her to attempt to take her own life. Will Robin survive her dive into postpartum depression, let alone see Willis again?

1983:

Enid Fenton clears out her Mother’s house and puts the family farm up for sale, trying to not be consumed by guilt for installing her mother into the county nursing home.

Reading through some of her mother’s diary entries, Enid uncovers a secret that helps her make sense of the unnamed point of division that has always soured their relationship.

Can Enid reconcile with her mother before the ravages of Alzheimer’s claim her?

Readers of historical fiction, Christian historical fiction, literary fiction, and women’s fiction will be moved as this novel takes them from the depths of a person’s psyche and grief to the pinnacle of long-hoped-for peace.

Praise:

“Knipfer has created a story that crosses many genres and will appeal to those who love poignant epics about complex characters, engrossing plots, relatable situations, and a satisfying ending.” Tammy Ruggles for Readers’ Favorite, five-star review

“A sensitive and well-crafted drama unpacking issues of mental health, layers of grief, societal expectations, and the instability of memory, this novel is touching on the surface, but subtly and profoundly layered with meaning.” Self-Publishing Review ★★★★★

“A heart-rending, emotionally packed love story between a mother and daughter, Under the Weeping Willow is a journey of loss and brokenness coupled with forgiveness and healing. This time-split novel captured my heart and didn’t release it until the final page. Beautiful and haunting, Robin and Enid’s story swept me to another era. These characters lived, and I loved watching them find their way to each other. Keep the tissues handy. You don’t want to miss this story!” ~Candace West, Selah award finalist and author of the Valley Creek Redemption series

Trigger Warnings:

Postpartum depression, attempted suicide, Alzheimer’s

Buy Links:

Available on #KindleUnlimited

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

Barnes and NobleWaterstonesBookshop.org

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=patS8iHnN7A&t=2s

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Christian Historical Fiction, Split Timeline Fiction

Meet the Author

Jenny lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ken, and their pet Yorkie, Ruby. She is also a mom and loves being a grandma. She enjoys many creative pursuits but finds writing the most fulfilling.

Spending many years as a librarian in a local public library, Jenny recently switched to using her skills as a floral designer in a retail flower shop. She is now retired from work due to disability. Her education background stems from psychology, music, and cultural missions.

All of Jenny’s books have earned five-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite, a book review and award contest company. She holds membership in the: Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, Wisconsin Writers Association, Christian Indie Publishing Association, and Independent Book Publishers Association.

Jenny’s favorite place to relax is by the western shore of Lake Superior, where her novel series, By The Light of the Moon, is set.

She deems a cup of tea and a good book an essential part of every day. When not writing, Jenny can be found reading, tending to her many houseplants, or piecing quilt blocks at her sewing machine.

Her new historical fiction, four-part series entitled, Sheltering Trees, is set in the area Jenny grew up in, where she currently lives, and places along Minnesota’s Northern Shore, where she loves to visit. She is currently writing a four-part novella series entitled: Botanical Seasons.

Keep current with Jenny by visiting her website at https://jennyknipfer.com. Ways to connect with Jenny via social media, newsletter, and various book sites can be found on her website. 

Connect with Jenny

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Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the Under The Weeping Willow blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club