I’m delighted to be reviewing and sharing some fabulous details about A.J. Lyndon’s new book, The Tawny Sash, available now

AJ Lyndon writes about her new book, The Tawny Sash.

The walls of Warwick Castle, England are ten feet (3.04 metres) thick. For hundreds of years they kept enemies out and prisoners in. If you screamed, no one would hear you. Australian novelist AJ Lyndon found this out the hard way a few years ago when, during a visit to the UK she was accidentally locked in a room at the top of the spiral staircase in Guy’s Tower. It was the culmination of an exciting day of research, gathering material from the castle’s archivist and visiting the dungeons where ‘witch trials’ were in progress, before her guide showed her the real one! ‘It was a creepy hole in the ground,’ Lyndon says. ‘I didn’t go in!’

It was late in the afternoon, and visiting school parties were heading back to the entrance, when Lyndon’s guide took her into Guy’s Tower, where guest accommodation became prison cells for captured Royalist officers during the English Civil War. Two of Lyndon’s fictional characters in her first novel, The Welsh Linnet were imprisoned there for months after being captured at the (real) Battle of Edgehill in 1642.

‘I had already written the first draft of the novel,’ Lyndon says, ‘But it became a compulsion to visit the actual rooms, and the governor’s quarters in the gatehouse. The guide took me from one locked room to another while I filmed. There are lots of graffiti carved into the walls. The prisoners obviously got bored. One is signed “Edward Disney 1643”!’ When I finished filming in the last of the tower rooms, the guide turned the door handle but nothing happened. “That’s funny,” he said.

And that’s how Lyndon discovered how thick the walls were and that mobile phones don’t work inside Guy’s Tower! Fortunately the guides carry radios for such situations and Lyndon’s incarceration lasted no more than ten minutes.

‘It was the highlight of the visit,’ she laughs. ‘One of the French school kids going round had slid the bolt.’

After the first novel came Covid, making research trips to England impossible. Lyndon had managed one more trip before the world locked down. She walked the battlefields of southeast Cornwall where King Charles I’s Cavaliers trapped the Roundheads with nothing but the sea at their backs. A whole army surrendered; and many of the foot soldiers died of starvation on the hard slog back to London. The orange-tawny sash (seen on the cover of the book) was how the southern Parliamentarian (Roundhead) armies showed their allegiance. Northern Parliamentarians wore blue sashes, the colours of the Fairfax family. Uniforms as we know them did not exist, which made life on the battlefield a bit interesting. Red coats were first introduced by Oliver Cromwell for his New Model Army about a year after the action in this book takes place.

Lyndon says she couldn’t have completed The Tawny Sash without Zoom. ‘The pandemic was a world-wide tragedy, but there were side-benefits. Historical societies in the UK such as the Battlefields Trust began holding their historical lectures on Zoom.’ Now overseas members like Lyndon can tune in, providing they don’t mind getting up early. ‘I hate the winter though,’ Lyndon laughs. ‘Lectures in London or Manchester at 8pm are 5am Melbourne time. I set the alarm and switch my camera on with a sweatshirt hastily pulled over my PJs.’

Lyndon, who lives in the Victorian Central Highlands, has been obsessed with history and historical fiction since high school. ‘Everyone knows about the Tudors, King Henry VIII and his six wives, but far fewer people have read books set during the time of the Stuarts. The ill-fated Stuart monarch Charles I was executed by Parliament after a trial and civil war that sent shock waves through Europe and across the Atlantic to the American colonies, where it set the stage for the American revolution.

Her second novel The Tawny Sash follows the further adventures of the Vaughan and Lucie families. Captain Gabriel Vaughan has been released from Oxford Castle prison on the authority of an order bearing the signature and family seal of Sir Henry Lucie. The problem is the order wasn’t signed by him but by his eldest son Will who stole the seal. Now Sir Henry wants revenge. Gabriel and Will are on the run from a court martial amidst the chaos of civil war, trying to clear their names before Sir Henry’s hired spy can find them. The hunt for the two men follows the course of the war from Oxford to Cornwall; and features treachery, kidnappings, daring escapes and of course sword fights.

The Tawny Sash is available now. 

Here’s the blurb

Book 2 in the War Without An Enemy series. Historical novel set in England 1644 during the English Civil War between King Charles I and the English Parliament. Sequel to ‘The Welsh Linnet‘.

Welsh gentleman Gabriel Vaughan and his brother-in-law Will Lucie are on the run from the vengeful Sir Henry Lucie and the threat of a court martial. The two cavalry captains must clear their names before Sir Henry’s hired spy can find them.

But then Gabriel, a follower of the outlawed Catholic faith, becomes embroiled in religious infighting at King Charles I’s most important fortress, Basing House and when a plot to betray the garrison is hatched, Gabriel is implicated.

The Tawny Sash continues the story of the Vaughan and Lucie families in the third year of the English Civil War. The bitter war has intensified and ‘quarter’ may no longer be given to those captured on the blood-drenched battlefields of Cheriton, Cropredy Bridge and Lostwithiel. When the royalists trap the threadbare, starving Roundhead rebel army at the tip of Cornwall, Gabriel and Will face further dangers and a terrible dilemma.

My Review

The Tawny Sash is an engrossing tale of the English Civil War, when families were pitched against one another, and religious division sundered England.

For all the complicated politics, religious divide, and military endeavours that take place throughout the book, I found it to be so well written that I never floundered. The English Civil War is outside my area of expertise. I know of it, but not about it. AJ Lyndon has brought the era to life by making it about personal relationships while the wider war rages all around them. There is time for love, and hatred, all played out against a backdrop of monumental change.

A fabulous story that I highly recommend. I will have to check out book 1 in the series.

Purchase Link


The Lady of Mercia’s Daughter is available with Prime Reading on Amazon Australia

Here’s the blurb

Betrayal is a family affair.

12th June AD918. 

Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians and daughter of Alfred the Great, is dead.

Ælfwynn, the niece of Edward, king of Wessex, has been bequeathed her mother’s power and status by the men of the Mercian witan. But she knows Mercia is vulnerable to the north, exposed to the retreating world of the Viking raiders from her mother’s generation.

With her cousin Athelstan, Ealdorman Æthelfrith and his sons, Archbishop Plegmund and her band of trusted warriors, Ælfwynn must act decisively to subvert the threat from the Norse. Led by Rognavaldr, the grandson of the infamous Viking, Ivarr of Dublin, they’ve turned their gaze toward the desolate lands of Northern England and the jewel of York.

Inexplicably she’s also exposed to the south, where her detested cousin, Ælfweard, and uncle, King Edward, eye her position covetously, their ambitions clear to see.

This is the unknown story of Ælfwynn, the daughter of the Lady of the Mercians and the startling events of late 918 when family loyalty and betrayal marched hand in hand across lands only recently reclaimed by the Mercians. Kingdoms could be won or lost through treachery and fidelity, and there was little love and even less honesty. And the words of a sword were heard far more loudly than those of a king or churchman, noble lady’s daughter or Viking raider.


Read all about the books here.

I’m delighted to feature Catherine Meyrick and her new book, Cold Blows the Wind on the blog today #blogtour

I’m delighted to sharan excerpt from Catherine Metric’s new book, Cold Blows the Wind.

The meal was served almost immediately, a hearty stew with bread and butter. The whole family sat close around the table on an assortment of stools, benches and chairs, Billy on Ellen’s knee. He fought to get the spoon from her as she tried to feed him. When she thought he had eaten enough, she surrendered the spoon. As much went into his hair and across his cheeks as into his mouth. He happily burbled away as he played with the spoon.

Harry was hoeing into the meal with as much relish as George and polished off the gravy with the bread. He swallowed the last of his bread and said, ‘That was delicious, Mrs Thompson, just like my grandmother used to make.’

Mary Ann stood and went to the stove, pouring water from the kettle into the teapot standing on the hob. Jane collected the empty plates and placed them beside the washing tub on the bench beneath the kitchen window.

Ellen lifted Billy off her lap and handed him to Alice. ‘There’s cake as well.’

‘Take a big slice, Harry,’ Dad said. ‘Ellen baked the cake specially for you.’

She brought the pound cake out of the pantry cupboard. It had turned out perfectly, a lovely golden brown on top, sprinkled with sugar.

‘Don’t be silly, Dad.’ Ellen concentrated on cutting the slices evenly, trying to ignore the heat rising up her neck. ‘I often make a cake on Sundays.’

Mary Ann, busy pouring the tea, snorted and tried to cover it with a cough.

Alice, holding Billy and attempting to wipe the remains of his meal from his hands and face, opened her mouth, ‘But …’ A jab in the ribs from Jane silenced her.

Mam sat back, warming her hands around her teacup. ‘So you’re staying with old Mrs Hennessy.’

‘Yes, on weekdays. I go up the mountain on Saturday afternoon, back by Sunday night.’

‘No time for play,’ Dad said.

‘No, unfortunately. I need to keep an eye on the old folk.’

‘I’ve seen you striding along towards the Huon Road on a Saturday.’ George stretched back in his chair. ‘Too fast for me to catch up. I’d started to wonder if you were avoiding me.’

Harry shook his head. ‘I need to be quick, don’t want to be climbing up the track in the dark.’

‘Summer is on its way, longer days.’ George put his empty teacup down. ‘Time for a beer, I think.’ He went to the sideboard and opened one of Harry’s bottles of beer. Glasses were passed to all but the younger girls, and, drinks in hand, the questioning began.

‘Where was your father from?’ Dad asked.


‘But where? It’s a big place.’

Harry shrugged. ‘Cheltenham I think it’s called, wherever that is.’

Dad nodded. ‘About eighty or so miles south of Stoke on Trent, where I was. Pretty place, from what I’ve heard.’

‘And, Mrs Thompson, are you from there too?’

Before Mam could answer, Dad said, ‘Beth here is English or Scottish depending on her fancy on the day.’

Mam rolled her eyes. ‘We moved around the border. My parents were Scottish, but I were sent here from Carlisle.’

His hazel eyes intent on Harry, Dad asked, ‘Now, young feller, what did you do in Perth?’

‘This and that. I’ll turn my hand to whatever makes a penny.’

Ellen frowned. Why was he being vague? Was he hiding something? Perhaps he had been in gaol. It might not be a problem, depending on his crime.

George clearly thought the same. ‘Ever been in gaol, Harry?’

Harry sat up in his chair, his mouth open, as if he was shocked by the suggestion. ‘No.’ He paused, frowning, perhaps trying to work out why he had been asked. ‘My grandfather had a farm. I worked on that for a few years,’ he finally said. ‘Then did a bit of wandering, joined a party exploring the interior, tried my hand at fishing.’

Ellen listened as he talked of the country he had travelled through—the scenery, the sheer rock walls, the great boulders in all manner of reds and browns, the floods, the wildflowers bursting into bloom as the waters receded. The way Harry described it all, it was as good as the stories Dad read out from the paper.

‘Later I worked on the East-West Telegraph line.’

Harry spoke of the heat and the sand, the scarcity of fresh water, the transport of logs by sea, hauling them ashore and through the coastal scrub to the route of the telegraph line, the raising of the poles and the stringing of the wires overhead, the cheering as the two lines, from Perth and from Adelaide, were finally joined at Eucla. Although, his descriptions were not as vivid as before, Ellen thought they seemed more real.

‘You didn’t think to come and visit your father when you were younger?’ Mam said.

‘It never crossed my mind. There was plenty to do in Western Australia.’

‘Your father said he was a shoemaker in England,’ Dad said.

‘Just like you.’ Ellen smiled at her father.

‘He didn’t do much of it in Western Australia. It was mostly fencing, shingle splitting, a bit of carpentry and hunting ducks and kangaroos.’

‘You must have been young when Mr Woods came here.’ Mam stared straight at him, a line between her brows.

Ellen wondered if she was concerned at the thought of a little boy left without his father or puzzling out his age.

Harry nodded. ‘I was.’ He added nothing more.

‘And your mother?’

‘Dead.’ His terse response brought an end to the interrogation.

Here’s the blurb

Hobart Town 1878 – a vibrant town drawing people from every corner of the earth where, with confidence and a flair for storytelling, a person can be whoever he or she wants. Almost.

Ellen Thompson is young, vivacious and unmarried, with a six-month-old baby. Despite her fierce attachment to her family, boisterous and unashamed of their convict origins, Ellen dreams of marriage and disappearing into the ranks of the respectable. Then she meets Harry Woods.

Harry, newly arrived in Hobart Town from Western Australia, has come to help his aging father, ‘the Old Man of the Mountain’ who for more than twenty years has guided climbers on Mount Wellington. Harry sees in Ellen a chance to remake his life.

But, in Hobart Town, the past is never far away, never truly forgotten. When the past collides with Ellen’s dreams, she is forced to confront everything in life a woman fears most.

Based on a period in the lives of the author’s great-great-grandparents, Sarah Ellen Thompson and Henry Watkins Woods, Cold Blows the Wind is not a romance but it is a story of love – a mother’s love for her children, a woman’s love for her family and, those most troublesome loves of all, for the men in her life. It is a story of the enduring strength of the human spirit.

Buy Links

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Meet the author

Catherine Meyrick is an Australian writer of romantic historical fiction. She lives in Melbourne but grew up in Ballarat, a large regional city steeped in history. Until recently she worked as a customer service librarian at her local library. She has a Master of Arts in history and is also an obsessive genealogist.

When she is not writing, reading and researching, Catherine enjoys gardening, the cinema and music of all sorts from early music and classical to folk and country & western. And, not least, taking photos of the family cat to post on Instagram.

Connect with Catherine



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Follow the Cold Blows the Wind blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club

I’m delighted to welcome Vicky Adin and her new book, Lucy, to the blog, #dualtimeline #historicalfiction #LucyTheSuffragist #WomensRights #BookBlast #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub 

Here’s the blurb:

Emma’s curiosity is piqued by a gutsy young climate change campaigner with an antique trinket box full of women’s rights badges, but tracing their history pushes her to her limit. 

Struggling to recover from Covid-19, Emma is terrified of developing a chronic and incurable condition and becoming a burden. She tries to ignore her fears and keeps working. She has clients who rely on her. Paige is a spirited environmentalist whose wealthy father tries to curb her enthusiasm. But she is intent on making her mark on the world in spite of him. Emma is torn between untangling the mysteries of Paige’s legacy or saving herself when exhaustion threatens everything she cares about.  

In 1892, twenty-one-year-old Lucy, a dedicated suffragist is determined women shall win the right to vote this time. Since her mother died, she has grown up in the glow of her father’s benevolence. Winning the franchise has become her raison d’être, greater even than her love for Richard. She goes canvassing and is ambushed by a man who undermines her confidence. Conflicted between winning the vote or safeguarding those she loves, she redoubles her campaign efforts. But a moral dilemma puts her future in jeopardy. 

A compelling tale of Lucy the suffragist and the courageous women who fought for their right to vote (Book 3 in The Art of Secrets series, dual-timeline sagas about finding your roots).

Buy Links:

This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited. 

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Meet the author

Vicky Adin’s passion is writing inter-generational sagas inspired by early immigrant women’s stories in New Zealand, linked by journals, letters, photographs, and heirlooms.

As a genealogist and historian, Vicky has combined her skills to write heart-warming novels weaving family life and history together in a way that makes the past come alive.

Delve into the new dual-timeline seriesThe Art of Secrets, family sagas about finding your roots… or

Become engrossed in The New Zealand Immigrant Collection, suspenseful family saga fiction uncovering the mysteries, the lies and the challenges of the past.

Vicky Adin holds a MA(Hons) in English and Education. She is an avid reader of historical novels, family sagas and contemporary women’s stories and loves to travel. 

Connect with Vicky

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Follow the Lucy blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club

Today, I’m welcoming Lucretia Grindle to the blog with a fascinating post about the historical women in her new novel, The Devil’s Glove #blogtour

Guest Post by Lucretia Grindle on the Histroical Background to the Women in The Devil’s Glove

As I began to think about the Salem witchcraft trials, I was struck by what a distinctly female episode Salem was. Sure, you’ve got the Mathers, father and son, and the magistrates – all men. But this was a furor that was whipped up and powered by women, some of them very young women. And, while six men were executed (five hanged and one pressed to death) fourteen women were hanged. Because other women accused them. 

All of which led me to consider the roles women played in 17th century New England. As I began to contemplate The Devil’s Glove, I knew that my central character would be female, and so it seemed important to try to get past preconceptions and really understand the scope of possibility as well as the limitations on women’s lives in that time and place. What were they able to do, and not do? How did they fit, and not fit into the power structure of society? 

Salem certainly seemed a ‘fracture’; an incident when teen-aged girls, some of them orphaned, most of them servants and dependents – in other words those who would usually be the most un-empowered – wielded extraordinary power. A power they used to attack some of the most powerful female figures in the Massachusetts colony. Established and respected matrons like Rebecca Nurse. Women of wealth and social standing like Mary English. Women who would normally be politically untouchable, like the governor’s sister, Anne Phipps. What other ‘fractures’ might I find, if I went looking?

One of the greatest pleasures of writing history, and historical fiction in particular, is the way in which you begin thinking you know about something, only to discover facets of a world that are a complete surprise. So as I settled into archives and began to peel back layers, I was thrilled to find a complex and unexpected past peopled with an astonishing array of women. Resolve Hammond and her mother, Deliverance, are fictional characters. But the circumstances and possibilities of their lives are based on real women, some of whom appear in The Devil’s Glove, and many of whom will appear in the second and third books of the trilogy. These are a few of their stories.

Early in The Devil’s Glove we discover that Resolve and her mother spent the bloody years of King Philip’s war (1675-1678) sheltered among the tribe led by the female sachem, Ashawonks. This is based on a true episode. I placed the Hammonds with Ashawonks specifically, both because I wanted to bring her into the story and because she is Deliverance’s mentor, and her guide – the door through which Deliverance, and thus Resolve, enter the Native world. So, who was she? 

Female sachem, or saunkskwa of the Sakonnets, a tribe whose lands bordered the southern edge of the Plymouth settlement on Narragansett bay, Ashawonks was unique, not just because she was a women – there were several female sachems at the time – but because she became leader not via inheritance, but because of her formidable diplomatic skills. Her position would be challenged throughout her life, not only by the Anglo-Europeans who tried to push her off her lands, but also from within her own tribe. None of them succeeded. Instead, Ashawonks managed to walk a dangerous tightrope, keeping alliances – or at least relations – with Anglo-Europeans, while not openly alienating fellow sachems and tribes. She was especially close to the powerful militia commander, Benjamin Church, whom she often met and spoke with at length, using him as both a sounding board and conduit to The Powers that Were in Massachusetts. Thanks to skill, nerve, and an uncanny ability to read situations, Ashawonks  piloted her people, and those under her protection, through one of the most dangerous episodes in early American colonial history.

At about the same time Ashawonks was steering a course through a bloody war, another extraordinary woman gave birth to a daughter in Salem, Massachusetts. The daughter would become Mary English, who appears at the end of The Devil’s Glove and is a central to book II of the Salem trilogy. But it was her mother, Elinor Hollingworth, whose life suggested to me what the realistic possibilities might be for Deliverance Hammond. 

Elinor’s family arrived in Salem as part of The Great Migration, an influx of something in the area of 20,000 immigrants, primarily from the British Isles and mostly from England, who arrived in New England between approximately 1630 and 1640. At seventeen, Elinor married William Hollingworth, a sea captain and general all-round trader who wasn’t particularly good at either. His not very thrilling career came to an end when he went overboard and drowned, leaving Elinor with three small children and a mountain of debt. 

There were more eligible men than marriagable women drifting around New England at the time, and Elinor might well have re-married, as most widows did. But she wasn’t having any of it. Once was apparently enough. Instead, Elinor Hollingworth went to work. Petitioning the court to gain control of what was left of her husband’s business, she set about clearing his debts. 

In England at the time, women in naval cities like Bristol and Portsmouth were banding together to negotiate with the British Navy about pay and conditions while their husbands were at sea. Taking a leaf out of the same book, Elinor set herself up as a broker negotiating pay deals for working seamen in Salem, many of whom were illiterate, while taking a cut in return. She so successful that she rapidly became a sort of mini working seaman’s merchant bank.

 At the same time, Elinor saw an opportunity in the wives they left behind. Harnessing their domestic labor, inviting them to produce surplus butter, beer, biscuit, shirts, shoes and other supplies needed to outfit Salem’s growing merchant fleet, she became a ship’s chandler – the person captains went to for all the supplies they needed as soon as they knew they were going to sea. Within a few years, she not only paid off all of William’s accrued debt, but also acquired The Blue Parrot tavern, a seedy drinking den down on the waterfront that she made her headquarters.

Riding the tide of Salem’s exploding maritime trade, Elinor Hollingworth became so successful, and powerful, that when she was accused of witchcraft in 1672 by a neighbor she had annoyed, she merely shrugged it off, saying she was far too busy to be a witch. Twenty years later, her daughter tried essentially the same approach, with vastly different results. 

By then, Mary was married to Philip English, and they were the wealthiest tax payers in Salem, joint owners of a shipping empire that owned more than twenty vessels and included, among other things His and Hers warehouses. Mary received her warehouse from her mother as a wedding present. Elinor had not only made sure that her daughter was exceptionally well educated, she thought so much of her ability that she bypassed her son, and handed her entire business empire directly to her daughter. Philip English shared his mother in law’s esteem. Throughout their marriage, he and his wife owned their business jointly.

Along with the warehouses and the wharf and the ships, Mary and Philip English owned and inhabited a house in Salem so grand that it was known simply as The Great House. It had three stories, and housed not only their family, but also the shipping company’s counting house and a luxury goods shop which Mary oversaw and ran. And it was staffed by fifteen domestic servants, many of them indentured.

Indenture, the practice of contracting labor for a period of years in return for food and keep, and often passage to The New World was a relatively common practice, and part of the Englishes’ business. They arranged and brokered indenture contracts for a large number of, mostly young, people who came to New England from the island of Jersey. Many of them were single young women. One was called Judah White, and is Resolve’s best friend in The Devil’s Glove.

Indenture was not an easy life. You had little say over who you were indentured to, and there was no way out except to work out the years of the contract, or somehow find enough money to buy it out. But it was also a way for young men, and young women, from the lower classes to have a chance at starting a new life in The New World. For women in particular, this was otherwise close to impossible. Here was a way to take at least some of your destiny into your hands. Many made the leap, exhibiting an independence that defies common presumptions about women in the 17th century.

Ashawonks, Elinor, Mary and Judah are only some of the women I encountered while researching The Devil’s Glove. In each case, their circumstances and lives were unexpected. I hope you enjoy getting to know them as much as I did.

Here’s the blurb

Northern New England, summer, 1688.
Salem started here.

A suspicious death. A rumor of war. Whispers of witchcraft.

Perched on the brink of disaster, Resolve Hammond and her mother, Deliverance, struggle to survive in their isolated coastal village. They’re known as healers taught by the local tribes – and suspected of witchcraft by the local villagers.

Their precarious existence becomes even more chaotic when summoned to tend to a poisoned woman. As they uncover a web of dark secrets, rumors of war engulf the village, forcing the Hammonds to choose between loyalty to their native friends or the increasingly terrified settler community.

As Resolve is plagued by strange dreams, she questions everything she thought she knew – about her family, her closest friend, and even herself. If the truth comes to light, the repercussions will be felt far beyond the confines of this small settlement.

Based on meticulous research and inspired by the true story of the fear and suspicion that led to the Salem Witchcraft Trials, THE DEVIL’S GLOVE is a tale of betrayal, loyalty, and the power of secrets. Will Resolve be able to uncover the truth before the town tears itself apart, or will she become the next victim of the village’s dark and mysterious past?

Praise for The Devil’s Glove:

“From its opening lines this historical novel from Grindle (Villa Triste) grips with its rare blend of a powerfully evoked past, resonant characters, smart suspense, and prose touched with shivery poetry.” 

~ BookLife Reviews Editor’s Pick

Buy Links

This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

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Meet the author

Lucretia Grindle grew up and went to school and university in England and the United States. After a brief career in journalism, she worked for The United States Equestrian Team organizing ‘kids and ponies,’ and for the Canadian Equestrian Team. For ten years, she produced and owned Three Day Event horses that competed at The World Games, The European Games and the Atlanta Olympics. In 1997, she packed a five mule train across 250 miles of what is now Grasslands National Park on the Saskatchewan/Montana border tracing the history of her mother’s family who descend from both the Sitting Bull Sioux and the first officers of the Canadian Mounties.

Returning to graduate school as a ‘mature student’, Lucretia completed an MA in Biography and Non-Fiction at The University of East Anglia where her work, FIREFLIES, won the Lorna Sage Prize. Specializing in the 19th century Canadian West, the Plains Tribes, and American Indigenous and Women’s History, she is currently finishing her PhD dissertation at The University of Maine. 

Lucretia is the author of the psychological thrillers, THE NIGHTSPINNERS, shortlisted for the Steel Dagger Award, and THE FACES of ANGELS, one of BBC FrontRow’s six best books of the year, shortlisted for the Edgar Award. Her historical fiction includes, THE VILLA TRISTE, a novel of the Italian Partisans in World War II, a finalist for the Gold Dagger Award, and THE LOST DAUGHTER, a fictionalized account of the Aldo Moro kidnapping. She has been fortunate enough to be awarded fellowships at The Hedgebrook Foundation, The Hawthornden Foundation, The Hambidge Foundation, The American Academy in Paris, and to be the Writer in Residence at The Wallace Stegner Foundation. A television drama based on her research and journey across Grasslands is currently in development. THE DEVIL’S GLOVE and the concluding books of THE SALEM TRILOGY are drawn from her research at The University of Maine where Lucretia is grateful to have been a fellow at the Canadian American Foundation. 

She and her husband, David Lutyens, live in Shropshire.

Connect with the author


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Follow the blog tour for The Devil’s Glove with The Coffee Pot Book Club

Today, it’s my turn on the #blogtour for Jane Dunn’s new historical romance, An Unsuitable Heiress.

Here’s the blurb

‘Do you realise, Corinna, just how hard it is for a young woman of irregular birth, without family, fortune or friends in the world? Marriage is the only way to get any chance of a life.’

Following the death of her mother, Corinna Ormesby has lived a quiet life in the countryside with her cantankerous Cousin Agnes. Her father’s identity has been a tantalising mystery, but now at nineteen Corinna knows that finding him may be her only way to avoid marriage to the odious Mr Beech.

Deciding to head to London, Corinna dons a male disguise. Travelling alone as a young woman risks scandal and danger, but when, masquerading as a youth, she is befriended by three dashing blades, handsome and capable Alick Wolfe, dandy Ferdinand Shilton and the incorrigible Lord Purfoy, Corinna now has access to the male-only world of Regency England. And when she meets Alick’s turbulent brother Darius, a betrayal of trust leads to deadly combat which only one of the brothers may survive.

From gambling in gentleman’s clubs to meeting the courtesans of Covent Garden, Corinna’s country naivety soon falls away. But when she finds her father at last, learns the truth about her parentage and discovers her fortunes transformed, she must quickly decide how to reveal her true identity, while hoping that one young man in particular can see her for the beauty and Lady she really is.

Purchase Link


My Review

A Suitable Heiress continues Jane Dunn’s exploration of Regency-era England. Once more, we have a very different main character, young Corinna, who knows she’s a bastard, but is determined to find her father, and continue in her quest to become an artist. And how might she manage this? By masquerading as a man and running away to London.

What ensues is a delightful tale of the era, not without its peril for our heroine/hero as her disguise is discovered and her father found. But this is only half the story for Corinna must manage her friendships carefully and guard her reputation as well as her companions while seeking to fulfill her ambitions.

An Unsuitable Heiress is a delightful Regency tale sure to appeal to fans of the era.

Find my review for The Marriage Season here.

Meet the author

Jane Dunn is an historian and biographer and the author of seven acclaimed biographies, including Daphne du Maurier and her Sisters and the Sunday Times and NYT bestseller, Elizabeth & Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens. She comes to Boldwood with her first fiction outing – a trilogy of novels set in the Regency period, the first of which is to be published in January 2023. She lives in Berkshire with her husband, the linguist Nicholas Ostler.

Connect with Jane



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I’m delighted to welcome the Historical Writers Forum and their Alternate Endings – A Short Anthology of Historical What Ifs to the blog #HistoricalFiction #anthology #ShortStories #AlternateHistory #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub

Here’s the blurb

We all know the past is the past, but what if you could change history?

We asked eight historical authors to set aside the facts and rewrite the history they love. The results couldn’t be more tantalizing.

What if Julius Caesar never conquered Gaul?

What if Arthur Tudor lived and his little brother never became King Henry VIII?

What if Abigail Adams persuaded the Continental Congress in 1776 to give women the right to vote and to own property?

Dive in to our collection of eight short stories as we explore the alternate endings of events set in ancient Rome, Britain, the United States, and France.

An anthology of the Historical Writers Forum.

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Meet the authors

Samantha Wilcoxson

Samantha Wilcoxson is an author of emotive biographical fiction and strives to help readers connect with history’s unsung heroes. She also writes nonfiction for Pen & Sword History.

Samantha loves sharing trips to historic places with her family and spending time by the lake with a glass of wine. Her most recent work is Women of the American Revolution, which explores the lives of 18th century women, and she is currently working on a biography of James Alexander Hamilton.


Sharon Bennett Connolly

Historian Sharon Bennett Connolly is the best-selling author of five non-fiction history books, with a new release coming soon.

A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Sharon has studied history academically and just for fun – and has even worked as a tour guide at a castle. She writes the popular history blog, http://www.historytheinterestingbits.com. 

Sharon regularly gives talks on women’s history; she is a feature writer for All About History magazine and her TV work includes Australian Television’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’


Cathie Dunn

Cathie Dunn writes historical fiction, mystery, and romance. The focus of her historical fiction novels is on strong women through time.

She loves researching for her novels, delving into history books, and visiting castles and historic sites.

Cathie’s stories have garnered awards and praise from reviewers and readers for their authentic description of the past.


Karen Heenan

As an only child, Karen Heenan learned early that boredom was the enemy. Shortly after she discovered perpetual motion, and has rarely been seen holding still since.

She lives in Lansdowne, PA, just outside Philadelphia, where she grows much of her own food and makes her own clothes. She is accompanied on her quest for self-sufficiency by a very patient husband and an ever-changing number of cats. 

One constant: she is always writing her next book.


Salina B Baker

Salina Baker is a multiple award winning author and avid student of Colonial America and the American Revolution. 

Her lifelong passion for history and all things supernatural led her to write historical fantasy. Reading, extensive traveling and graveyard prowling with her husband keep that passion alive. 

Salina lives in Austin, Texas.


Virginia Crow

Virginia Crow is an award-winning Scottish author who grew up in Orkney and now lives in Caithness.

Her favourite genres to write are fantasy and historical fiction, sometimes mixing the two together. Her academic passions are theology and history, her undergraduate degree in the former and her postgraduate degree in the latter, and aspects of these frequently appear within her writings.

When not writing, Virginia is usually to be found teaching music. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of music, especially as a tool of inspiration, and music is often playing when she writes. Her life is governed by two spaniels, Orlando and Jess, and she enjoys exploring the Caithness countryside with these canine sidekicks.

She loves cheese, music, and films, but hates mushrooms.


Elizabeth K Corbett

Elizabeth K. Corbett is an author, book reviewer, and historian who has recently published a short story, “Marie Thérèse Remembers.” She is currently working on her debut novel, a gothic romance set in Jacksonian America.

When she is not writing, she teaches academic writing, something she is very passionate about. She believes in empowering students to express themselves and speak their truth through writing. Additionally, she is a women’s historian who studies the lives of women in eighteenth and nineteenth century North America. Mostly, she is fascinated by the lives of the lesser known women in history.

A resident of gorgeous coastal New Jersey, she takes inspiration from the local history to write her historical fiction. She is an avid reader who adores tea and coffee.


Stephanie Churchill

After serving time as a corporate paralegal in Washington, D.C., then staying home to raise her children, Stephanie Churchill stumbled upon writing, a career path she never saw coming.

As a result of writing a long-winded review of the book Lionheart, Stephanie became fast friends with its New York Times best-selling author, Sharon Kay Penman, who uttered the fateful words, “Have you ever thought about writing?” 

Stephanie’s books are filled with action and romance, loyalty and betrayal. Her writing takes on a cadence that is sometimes literary, sometimes genre fiction, relying on deeply-drawn and complex characters while exploring the subtleties of imperfect people living in a gritty, sometimes dark world.

She lives in the Minneapolis area with her husband, two children, and two dogs while trying to survive the murderous intentions of a Minnesota winter.


Michael Ross

Best selling author Michael Ross is a lover of history and great stories.

He’s a retired software engineer turned author, with three children and five grandchildren, living in Newton, Kansas with his wife of forty years. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, and still loves Texas.

Michael attended Rice University as an undergraduate, and Portland State University for his graduate degree. He has degrees in computer science, software engineering, and German. In his spare time, Michael loves to go fishing, riding horses, and play with his grandchildren, who are currently all under six years old. 


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Happy release day to the new Bradecote and Catchpoll medieval mystery by Sarah Hawkswood, Too Good to Hang

Here’s the blurb

April, 1145. Thorgar the Ploughman is found by the bloodied body of Father Edmund, a village priest in Ripple, and is summarily hanged for being caught in the act, despite his pleas of innocence.

When his sister goes to Worcester to seek justice for Thorgar, the lord Sheriff sends Hugh Bradecote, with Serjeant Catchpoll and Underserjeant Walkelin, to discover the truth. They soon expose strong motives for placing the blame on the ploughman’s shoulders, some unpleasant secrets festering among the villagers, as well as the whisper of a treasure long lost and now rediscovered.

The shadow the noose casts is a long one, but the Sherrif’s men will need to plumb the darkness to uncover the true killer.

Purchase Link


My Review

A new Bradecote and Catchpoll (and Wakelin) medieval mystery is always a true delight, and Too Good To Hang is a fabulous addition to the series.

This time, our trio are called upon to determine the true culprit when an overzealous village has already hanged a man they deem to be responsible for the murder of the priest without trial or even, any real proof, other than the man’s unfortunate appearance at the side of the dead man.

What transpires, with careful investigation from Bradecote, Catchpoll and Wakelin, is that there is much more going on in the small settlement than first meets the eye. One of the village priests might well be dead, but there is a good reason for that and an even better reason to suspect almost everyone else within the settlement as well. And there’s not just the matter of the dead priest and the hanged man; there are also rumours of old treasure buried close by.

As ever, I love the way the mystery slowly resolves itself. Bradecote is lordly, Catchpoll is more world, and Wakelin is slowly becoming his own man. Added to this, there is a fine cast of strong women ruled by weak men, and the author highlights this in their interactions.

An absolute joy.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my review copy.

Check out my reviews for previous Bradecote & Catchpoll mysteries.

Wolf at the Door

A Taste for Killing

Today I’m delighted to feature Death in Sensible Circumstances by Riana Everly on the blog #blogtourMissMaryInvestigates #Austenesque #HistoricalMystery #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub

I’m delighted to share an excerpt from Death in Sensible Circumstances below.


“You must understand our concern.” The red-coated colonel paced up and down Alexander Lyons’ small office. He paused when he reached the offered chair once more, but did not sit down. He glanced down at the stack of cards on the desk that read Alexander Lyons, Investigator, and gave a brief bob of his head, as if reassuring himself he was in the proper place. Then he resumed pacing.

Alexander considered the man who had come calling a few minutes before. He had not written ahead, but had knocked at the door and hoped that the investigator was available. “You come highly recommended by a fellow officer, name of Fitzwilliam,” the colonel had explained. “He said you had done great service to the family. I hope you can help us, too.” 

The colonel had then introduced himself as Nicholas Brandon of Delaford in Dorsetshire. He was requesting Alexander’s services, he said, not on his own behalf but on that of a certain gentleman whom he knew, but who was too uncertain of matters to make the call himself. He took the offered seat and explained the situation, then rose and began pacing as Alexander considered what he had heard.

“Let me repeat this.” Alexander spoke slowly as thoughts swirled in his head. He knew his broad Scots accent would not deter this stalwart colonel, but poorly chosen words and stumbling sentences might. “Your friend had a falling out with his mother three months ago and was disinherited in favour of his younger brother, Robert Ferrars. That brother had a will that he made last year, upon turning twenty-one.” Alexander looked up for confirmation. Seeing Brandon’s nod, he continued. “That document left everything to his brother Edward. This seems reasonable and quite unexceptionable. Very well. Now this is where matters get sticky.

“This same Robert Ferrars was killed three days ago. To all accounts, he was returning home very late through Hyde Park from a rather exclusive gaming establishment. That is of little import right now, although it may become vital later. What does matter at this moment is that he was beaten, robbed, and left dead at the scene. His estate ought, therefore, to have passed to his brother Edward with no concerns raised.

“But…” There was always a ‘but.’ “But on the day that the terms of the will were announced, a certain person, a lady, came forward claiming that she was, in fact, Robert Ferrars’ wife and that Ferrars’ considerable wealth ought rightly to be hers.”

Alexander rose and moved to a shelf of books that sat against the far wall. He selected a tome and brought it to his desk, where he proceeded to open it and turn the pages until he found the one he wanted. Without looking at the words before him, he continued. “But there is no evidence of a marriage, and even if there were, the rule from Lugg v Luggfrom 1696 is that it requires marriage and the birth of children to effect a revocation of a will.”

Here Brandon interrupted him. “On what grounds would the extant will be revoked? Does the state of marriage annul a previous legal document? Yes, I know from Fitzwilliam that you are a lawyer by training. This is one of the considerations that brought me here today.”

Alexander gave a nod and hoped he looked sufficiently scholarly. Not many men took him seriously, what with his strong brogue (that became stronger or weaker, depending on how annoying he found his company) and his mop of coppery-red hair. He knew he appeared and sounded like a kilt-wearing heathen from the braes, and this was an image he rather cultivated, no matter that it might cost him some business. Now, however, he preferred to project the image of a learned and capable man of letters.

“Just so. I read law at Glasgow, where I did my degree. I do not practise that profession, but I follow the latest judgments. My qualifications remain valid.”

Brandon looked satisfied. 

“Marriage,” Alexander returned to the colonel’s question, “is a fundamental change in circumstance. It is assumed that upon taking a wife and having children, a man necessarily wishes to provide for his family. Therefore, the court should take notice of what is—or ought to be—a clear and obvious intent.”

“But that requires marriage and children…”

“And as you have told me, Lucy Steele, or Lucy Ferrars, should her tale be true, claims to be enceinte.”

“Mmmm.” Brandon was a man not given to unnecessary speech.

“And the question arises as to whether an unborn child has the status of a living child. This has been much about the courts these last ten or fifteen years. In Doe v Lancashire, it was ruled that a posthumous child does indeed hold the same status as a living child, on the condition that the father knew of that expectation. It is understood that he would wish to provide for the child, hence the material change in circumstance. But if he did not know…”

“Then the previous will stands.”

“Just so. Just so.”


A Jane Austen-inspired mystery, set in the world of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, being the fourth novel in the Miss Mary Investigates series.

When Mary Bennet befriends Elinor Dashwood, she expects to become part of the young lady’s circle and be introduced to her friends and relations. She does not expect that one of this circle should die, far too young, and in most unfortunate circumstances. Worse, Elinor is secretly in love with one of the suspects, Edward Ferrars, and he is inconveniently engaged to somebody else. When an investigator is called in to assist, Mary is more surprised still.

Alexander Lyons expects to find death and deceit in his line of work, but he does not expect to come face to face with Mary, who hasn’t replied to his letters of late. What is she doing in London? And how is she involved with this sorry business of murder? Still, despite the tension between the two, they make a good team as they seek to unravel the mystery surrounding them. 

From the elegant drawing rooms of Mayfair to the reeking slums of St. Giles, the two must use every bit of wit and logic they possess to uncover a killer, all the while, trying to puzzle out the workings of their own hearts.

Join Mary Bennet, Lizzy’s often overlooked sister from Pride and Prejudice, and her intriguing and handsome friend Alexander Lyons, as they are pulled into the world of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in this, their latest adventure.

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This title is currently available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

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Meet Riana

Riana Everly is an award-winning author of romance, both contemporary and historical, and historical mysteries. 

Born in South Africa, she moved to Canada as a child, bringing with her two parents, two younger sisters, and too many books. Yes, they were mysteries. From those early days of The Secret Seven and The Famous Five, she graduated to Nancy Drew, and then to the Grande Dames of classical English whodunnits, including Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh. Others followed, and many sleepless nights ensued.

When not matching wits with Miss Marple and Adam Dalgliesh, Riana keeps busy researching those little, but so-important, details for her next fabulous novel.

Trained as a classical musician, Riana has degrees in Music History and Medieval Studies, and enjoys photography, hiking, travelling, learning obscure languages, and experimenting with new recipes. If they include chocolate, all the better.

Connect with the author


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Follow the Death in Sensible Circumstances blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club

New covers for Kingmaker and The King’s Daughters

Earlier in the year, I shared new covers for The Lady of Mercia’s Daughter and A Conspiracy of Kings, and now I’m delighted to share the new covers for the remaining two books in The Tenth Century series, Kingmaker and The King’s Daughters.

These stories don’t follow Lady Ælfwynn as the first two books do, but she is mentioned in them. Rather, these two books focus on some of the other ‘lost’ women of the tenth century: the third wife of King Edward the Elder, and his many daughters.

I think they look fabulous. Thank you to Flintlock Covers for once more knowing what I want, even when I can’t find the words to describe it:)


This is the tenth century in Early England between the reigns of Alfred the Great and Æthelred the Unready.
As England’s first Viking Age grinds to a halt in a war of attrition that will see Jorvik finally added to the kingdom of the English, one woman will witness it all.

Seventeen-year-old Eadgifu knows little about her new husband; he’s old, he only wants to marry her because she’s so wealthy, he already has ten children, and he’s Edward, King of Wessex. He also hopes to claim Mercia as his own.

That he’s the son of King Alfred, the man credited with saving Wessex from the Viking Raiders adds no mystique to him at all. Many say he’s handsome, but Eadgifu knows they speak of the man twenty years ago. Her mother won’t even allow her to be alone with him before their wedding.

But an old man will not live forever. The mother of his youngest sons can be more powerful than the wife of the king of Wessex, especially in the newly made kingdom of England where king’s lives are short and bloody, and war with the Viking Raiders is never far away.

Lady, wife, queen, mother, king’s mother, grandmother, ally, enemy, amenable and rebellious. 

Lost to the mists of time, this is Queen Eadgifu’s story, Kingmaker.

The King’s Daughters

Four women, all with impeccable pedigrees, and all desiring one thing. A kingdom of their own to rule.

They are the granddaughters of King Alfred of Wessex, but the kingdom they desire is not that of their grandfather’s founding.

These are the unknown stories of King Athelstan’s half-sisters, all wed into the royal families of East and West Frankia during the tenth century.

Eadgifu, the exiled queen of West Frankia, with her son’s kingdom claimed by another man, her husband imprisoned by yet another of his overmighty nobles.
Eadhild, wed to the son of the man who usurped her nephew’s kingdom, but with no heirs to her name.
Eadgyth, married to the legitimate heir of the king of East Frankia.
Ælfgifu, wed into the noble family of the Kingdom of Arles, one that sees West Frankia as an ally, not an enemy.

As tensions reach boiling point between East and West Frankia, between kingdoms and men who should be enemies, not allies, or allies, not enemies, the royal sisters of Wessex are thrust into a political maelstrom, pitted against each other and with only their royal brother, King Athelstan, as a mediator.