Today, I’m welcoming Under The Cloud to the blog, which is now available #blogtour #Thriller

Here’s the blurb:

They call themselves The Settlement Bureau. A faceless, soulless organization coercing Americans with threats to expose their improprieties and vulnerabilities. Inhumanely persistent, they’ve secretly driven hundreds of victims into bankruptcy, despair – and several even to suicide.

But when this organization tries to blackmail IT expert Terry Reynolds, they make a serious mistake. Terry is down on his luck. He is penniless, divorced and in a dead-end job. Yet, the abuse of his personal information stirs Terry out of his lethargy and he fights back. He embarks on a digital game of cat-and-mouse with the cold, calculating minds behind The Settlement Bureau – and in doing so, uncovers a sprawling criminal conspiracy.

Under The Cloud is a chillingly plausible new thriller by B.R. Erlank. With a plot ripped straight from the headlines, readers warn this book delivers a “roller coaster ride right up to the final pages.”

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3nH9JNa

Meet the Author

Boris Erlank grew up in Southern Africa and Namibia. He has lived and worked in places as diverse as Luanda, Cape Town, Singapore and San Francisco. Boris recently gave up his job as Global Privacy Manager with a Fortune 100 company to focus on writing full-time.

He has an extensive background in IT, data privacy and cybersecurity, and has drawn on that experience to craft his latest novel, “Under the Cloud”.

Boris lives with his family and two dogs in the foothills of Mount Diablo, east of San Francisco. In his spare time, he likes to cycle, hike, sing in a choir, and listen to audiobooks.

Connect with Boris 

https://brerlank.wordpress.com

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Giveaway to Win a £20 Amazon Gift Card (Open UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK 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.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494522/?

Follow the Under the Cloud blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources

Today, I’m welcoming The Ultimate Village Game to the blog for a release day post, author Q & A and a competition! #blogtour #mystery

Here’s the blurb:

Riddled with guilt and tormented by desire, Lucy Short keeps notes about newcomers to the village, but why? The misfit with the rescue dog has a mysterious past. She’s been biding her time, plotting and scheming, and now she’s determined to get what she deserves. It won’t be straight forward. Someone is sure to be watching her every move, and there seems to be something more sinister going on.

Mr. Lester Senior is dead. The family is in turmoil. The future of the famous village treasure hunt is in doubt, but for Lucy a new world beckons. She must stick to her task. The rewards could be huge, but will there also be a price to pay?

Purchase Links 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ultimate-Village-Game-Beth-Merwood-ebook/dp/B0B4Z7VJRN/ref

US –  https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Village-Game-Beth-Merwood-ebook/dp/B0B4Z7VJRN/ref

My Review

The Ultimate Village Game is a bit of a slow burner, but one that keeps you intrigued from the very beginning. The author does an excellent job of creating a mystery without really letting the reader in on what the mystery is.

The big reveal slowly starts to come into focus from about half way through the book, gaining pace as the end of the book comes into sight.

There is a lot of attention to detail here, a cast of characters that’s quite wide-ranging but interesting all the same. I was entirely drawn into the lives of the main characters and really enjoyed both the big reveal and the bits that came after it – no spoilers here.

This is, as the author says below, unconventional, and not at all your usual local murder mystery, but it is incredibly enjoyable and my only slight complaint would be that there was a lot of scope here for it not to be quite such a pleasant ending:) But, if you’re looking for an absorbing read, then this is certainly that.

Author Q & A

Hi Beth. Thanks for answering my questions about your new book.

Hi MJ, Thanks for having me. 

I do love a cosy mystery. Can you tell me who and what influences your writing?

It was really just life in general that influenced The Ultimate Village Game, the quirks of our lives, the things that are hidden or left unsaid, words or deeds or memories that may be misinterpreted or distorted. I am sometimes taken with a conversation I overhear or a real life situation I come across. Of course, I may only have heard or come across a fragment of information, so I work on it, develop it. I’m a day dreamer too, so on occasion ideas come into my head that way. 

Can you tell me about the fictional location where your novel is set?

The Ultimate Village Game is set deep in the heart of the English countryside. Steely Green is a small, picturesque village but with idiosyncrasies. It’s a contemporary setting, but the village is probably a little behind the times, and to an extent the characters reflect this. Even so, there’s plenty going on!

Can you name your favourite cosy crime novel or author?

Aunt Dimity’s Death – Nancy Atherton 

Do you have a favourite cosy crime film or TV show?

Cozy crime is my absolute favorite genre on TV, and I can watch almost any of it. I’m happy to watch the same episodes over and over. In a way, it’s my wallpaper. 

What did you find the hardest part of writing your cosy crime? 

The Ultimate Village Game is not a conventional cosy mystery, and I had to concentrate on keeping the story moving at a pace I was happy with. I generally read my work back a lot along the way, and with this novel I found I had to do so even more. One of the hardest parts, though, was keeping track of all the characters. They seemed to want to go off and do their own thing on occasion.

No spoilers, but did you know who was going to be the murderer before you started writing your story or did it come to you as you wrote?

(Sorry, can’t answer this one!)

Thank you so much for answering my questions and good luck with your new release.

Meet the Author

Beth Merwood is a writer from the south of England. Her debut novel, The Five Things, was published in 2021.

Connect with Beth

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Website Facebook BookBub TikTok

Giveaway to Win 1 x Paperback and 1 x e-copy of The Ultimate Village Game (Open to UK Only)

1st Prize- Paperback copy of The Ultimate Village Game

2nd Prize – E-copy of The Ultimate Village Game

*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.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494524/?

Today, I’m delighted to be reviewing Flora Flowerdew and the Mystery of the Duke’s Diamonds and there’s also a competition to enter #blogtour #historicalfiction #historicalromance

Here’s the blurb:

Flora Flowerdew has a secret. The former Florrie Gubbins, music hall dancer, is now Madame Flowerdew, one of London’s most renowned spirit mediums. But it’s actually her beloved Pomeranian dog, Chou-Chou, who can see the ghosts.

One of her most lucrative seances, for the wealthy Petrie family whose daughter is about to marry a handsome young duke, goes chaotically awry. The duke’s late, and very irate, grandfather demands Flora and his grandson Benedict find the long-missing family diamonds—even the search becomes littered with mayhem and murder! Can Flora discover the jewels before she loses her career, her sanity—and her heart?

Sparks fly as Flora, Benedict, and Chou-Chou pursue the truth of the diamonds’ disappearance in this lighthearted, cozy historical mystery set in foggy, gas-lit London

Purchase Links 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowerdew-Mystery-Diamonds-Victorian-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B09ZSWGXYS/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Flowerdew-Mystery-Diamonds-Victorian-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B09ZSWGXYS/

My Review

Flora Flowerdew and the Mystery of the Duke’s Diamonds is a delightful, light-hearted Victorian mystery. For all that, it is stuffed with all the elements we would expect to find in a novel of the period, including the always needed addition of the reticule, as well as hansom cabs, wonderful clothing and period detail.

Flora is a delightful character, a woman on the up as she makes her name, not as a chorus girl, but as a spirit medium, with her collection of allies, including a female news reporter for the local newspaper. And of course, there’s a hint of romance along the way; as well as stories of intrigue and mystery, an intrepid explorer, and strange goings-on.

The mystery is engaging, and I think we can all agree, that the inclusion of an irate ghost is particularly fitting for the time period.

An enjoyable, light-hearted read, perfect for those wanting to dip their toe into Victorian London.

Meet the author

Amanda McCabe wrote her first romance at the age of sixteen–a vast historical epic starring all her friends as the characters, written secretly during algebra class (and her parents wondered why math was not her strongest subject…)

She’s never since used algebra, but her books (set in a variety of time periods–Regency, Victorian, Tudor, Renaissance, and 1920s) have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOKReviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion. She lives in New Mexico with her lovely husband, along with far too many books and a spoiled rescue dog.

When not writing or reading, she loves yoga, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network–even though she doesn’t cook. She also writes as Amanda Allen…

Please visit her at http://ammandamccabe.com

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Giveaway to Win an e-copy of Flora Flowerdew and the Mystery of the Duke’s Diamonds & a Victorian necklace (Open to US Only)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494520/?

*Terms and Conditions –US 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.

Follow the blog tour for Flora Flowerdew and the Mystery of the Duke’s Diamonds

Welcome to today’s stop on the Vendetta by Edie Baylis new release blog tour #Gangland

Here’s the blurb:

Who can you trust?

Once bitter enemies, Samantha Reynold and Seb Stoker’s powerful alliance enables their firms and casinos to go from strength to strength. With the families no longer in opposition, it seems that Sam and Seb are untouchable…

But not everyone is happy with the new power couple of the club world.

Unbeknownst to everyone, someone new wants to see Sam’s perfect life ruined. And they will stop at nothing to seek their revenge – even if it means destroying everything – and everyone – in their path.

With tensions high, Sam and Seb must put their trust in each other completely. But can they trust those closest to them? Or do they have a vendetta of their own?

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3bcvMYW

My Review

Vendetta is the third book in the Allegiance series, and the second book that I’ve read by Edie Baylis.

I really enjoyed returning to the world of Samantha and Seb, and I found the build-up to the second half of the book, which is pretty non-stop, to be much easier going for me. I think, as with these things, not having read the first book made the second book a bit tough. But with this book, I already knew many of the characters, and it was far more enjoyable for that.

As ever, none of these characters really have any redeeming qualities, but I did find myself hoping some of the women would have a happy outcome. Whether they do or not, I won’t spoil it for other readers.

It’s always fascinating to read about places that you know. And these books, set in Birmingham in the 1990s resonate with me. I think I also enjoy knowing a little more about the landscape.

A fabulously entertaining read. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my review copy. Vendetta is released today, 1st September 2022, and I wish the author a happy publication day:)

Meet the Author

Edie Baylis a successful self-published author of dark gritty thrillers with violent background settings. She lives in Worcestershire, has a history of owning daft cars and several motorbikes and is licensed to run a pub. She has signed a five-book deal with Boldwood and the first book in her new ganglit series, set in Birmingham, was published in January 2022.

Connect with Edie

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/downfallseries

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ediebaylis

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ediebaylis/

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/EdieBaylisnewsletter

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/edie-baylis

Check out my review for the previous book in the series, Fallout.

I’m delighted to be taking part in the #coverreveal for Under The Cloud by B R Erlank

Here’s the blurb:

They call themselves The Settlement Bureau. A faceless, soulless organization coercing Americans with threats to expose their improprieties and vulnerabilities. Inhumanely persistent, they’ve secretly driven hundreds of victims into bankruptcy, despair – and several even to suicide.

But when this organization tries to blackmail IT expert Terry Reynolds, they make a serious mistake. Terry is down on his luck. He is penniless, divorced and in a dead-end job. Yet, the abuse of his personal information stirs Terry out of his lethargy and he fights back. He embarks on a digital game of cat-and-mouse with the cold, calculating minds behind The Settlement Bureau – and in doing so, uncovers a sprawling criminal conspiracy.

Under The Cloud is a chillingly plausible new thriller by B.R. Erlank. With a plot ripped straight from the headlines, readers warn this book delivers a “roller coaster ride right up to the final pages.”

Pre-order Link – https://amzn.to/3nH9JNa

Publication Date – 15th September 2022

Meet the Author

Boris Erlank grew up in Southern Africa and Namibia. He has lived and worked in places as diverse as Luanda, Cape Town, Singapore and San Francisco. Boris recently gave up his job as Global Privacy Manager with a Fortune 100 company to focus on writing full-time.
He has an extensive background in IT, data privacy and cybersecurity, and has drawn on that experience to craft his latest novel, “Under the Cloud”.
Boris lives with his family and two dogs in the foothills of Mount Diablo, east of San Francisco. In his spare time, he likes to cycle, hike, sing in a choir, and listen to audiobooks.

Social Media Links 

https://brerlank.wordpress.com

(2) Boris R Erlank | Facebook

(99+) Boris Erlank CIPM, CIPP/E, CIPP/US, FIP | LinkedIn

I’m delighted to welcome Florence Keeling and her book, Please Remember Me, to the blog, which is released today. #blogtour #RachelsRandomResources

Here’s the blurb:

Inheriting a run down house from a stranger isn’t exactly the present Laura had expected for her 30th birthday. Especially when the house in question holds memories of a frightening encounter from her prom night fourteen years ago…

So when a man starts appearing in the house her first thought is that she must be dreaming. But Ben is very real indeed and somehow linked to an antique mirror and another life in 1942.

As their friendship blossoms, Laura learns more about the house and its history…and even discovers some surprises about her own destiny.

With her future foretold, Laura must find a way to alter destiny. But how can you change the future if it’s already written in the past?

Purchase Links – 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Please-Remember-Me-Florence-Keeling-ebook/dp/B0B325J7BT

US – https://www.amazon.com/Please-Remember-Me-Florence-Keeling-ebook/dp/B0B325J7BT

Meet the Author

I was born in Coventry but now live in Nuneaton. I married the love of my life over 20 years ago and we have two almost grown up children. We share our lives with two mad dogs as well.

Writing is a great passion of mine, that one day I hope to be able to turn into a career but until that day comes, I will continue working in accounts and payroll.

I also write for children as Lily Mae Walters.

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I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for A Summer of Castles by Rachel Walkley #blogtour which is released today (I think I recognise the castle in the cover too!)

Here’s the blurb:

A Summer of Castles. A secret in ruins.

At the beginning of the sultry 2003 English summer, Robyn Yates quits her job to photograph fifteen castles for a man she’s never met. A man who won’t tell her his real name. 

What motivates her is an unusual ability she can’t explain nor understand. Somebody does though and is keen to exploit her secret.

But Robyn isn’t alone on her journey. An artist is painting pictures of the same castles. Wherever she goes, so does he, like a stalker. But is he dangerous? And could this man be the same person who wants her photographs? 

She decides to challenge him, never anticipating that the confrontation will change the path of both of their lives.

The stifling summer will eventually end, but will Robyn find out the truth in time?

Purchase Links 

UK US

Meet the author

Aspiring writer who pens Women’s Fiction and magical tales about family secrets.

What else?

An East Anglian turned Northerner – almost.

Information professional, always.

Biologist, in my memories.

Archivist, when required.

Amateur pianist and flautist.

Reluctant gardener.

Scribbler of pictures.

And forever…. a mother and wife.

Oh, not forgetting, cat lover!

Connect with Rachel Walkley

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Instagram / Twitter handle – @racheljwalkley

Newsletter

I’m delighted to be taking part in the cover reveal for Happiness is a Thing With Wings by Susi Osborne #blogtour #RachelsRandomResources

Here’s the blurb:

Joanna is approaching the end of her forties and the empty nest syndrome looms. She consoles herself with gin and chocolate, realising that apart from her son Jack, she has achieved absolutely nothing in her life.

Somewhat on the plus side of plump and barely five feet tall, she finds it difficult not to envy her younger, prettier sister. Such elevated elegance seems so unfair – as does Hannah’s successful marriage. Joanna, in contrast, has remained in a loveless marriage for the past thirty years, stuck in a rut with the most miserable man on the planet but not having the impetus to get out.

It takes an embarrassing but hilarious encounter in the supermarket to make her realise what she’s been missing. It’s exactly the push she needs to make her change her life. With a little encouragement, Joanna starts to regain her independence, finally leaving her grumpy husband to enjoy life as a single woman. As she attempts to rebuild her own future, her family and friends continually surprise her with their own revelations.

Life is never dull, laughter never far away; can Joanna finally find true happiness within herself at last?

Pre-order Link – https://amzn.eu/d/ftHPlMW

Publication Date – 28th August 

Meet the Author

For many years Susi Osborne worked in libraries, and later as a classroom assistant in a junior school. She currently runs a business selling all things vintage in an antiques centre. She also runs Northwich LitFest which she started ten years ago. Susi lives in Cheshire with her husband, her family and two dogs. Happiness is a Thing With Wings is her fifth novel. Her previous books are – 

The Ripples of Life

Grace & Disgrace

Secrets, Lies & Butterflies

Angelica Stone

Connect with Sushi Osborne

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Website

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Penny Ingham to the blog with a fab post about her new book, a giveaway and my review #blogtour #histfic #highlyrecommended

I’m delighted to share with you an excerpt and my review for Penny Ingham’s new novel, Twelve Nights, set in the theatres of late Tudor London. Please read all the way to the end because there’s a lot going on in this blog post:)

Here’s the blurb:

The Theatre

London, 1592

When a player is murdered, suspicion falls on the wardrobe mistress, Magdalen Bisset, because everyone knows poison is a woman’s weapon. The scandal-pamphlets vilify her. The coroner is convinced of her guilt.

Magdalen is innocent, although few are willing to help her prove it. Her much-loved grandmother is too old and sick. Will Shakespeare is benignly detached, and her friend Christopher Marlowe is wholly unreliable. Only one man offers his assistance, but dare she trust him when nothing about him rings true?

With just two weeks until the inquest, Magdalen ignores anonymous threats to ‘leave it be’, and delves into the dangerous underworld of a city seething with religious and racial tension. As time runs out, she must risk everything in her search for the true killer – for all other roads lead to the gallows.

Purchase Links 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Twelve-Nights-Heavenly-Charmers-Book-ebook/dp/B09ZRPGZL8/  

US  – https://www.amazon.com/Twelve-Nights-Heavenly-Charmers-Book-ebook/dp/B09ZRPGZL8/

Excerpt and author post

Thank you so much to MJ at mjporterauthor.blog for letting me share my latest novel.

Twelve Nights is set in 1592, at the imaginatively named The Theatre in Shoreditch, London. The players are the celebrities of their day, but one by one they begin to die in mysterious circumstances. Suspicion instantly falls on the wardrobe mistress, Magdalen Bisset, because everyone knows poison is a woman’s weapon. 

Magdalen is innocent, although few are willing to help her prove it. With just two weeks until the inquest, she ignores anonymous threats to ‘leave it be’, and delves into the dangerous underworld of a city seething with religious and racial tension. As time runs out, she must risk everything in her search for the true killer – for all other roads lead to the gallows.

Here’s an excerpt from the book. To set the scene: The player John Wood has died a horrible death on stage during the first act of Twelve Nights. The constable, Edmund Stow, has told Magdalen he is convinced she is responsible for his murder, and is determined to prove her guilt.  In shock, Magdalen and the players decamp to their favourite tavern to raise a cup to John’s memory.  


The shadows lengthened. The landlord lit the fire, the serving girls laid out soggy saffron cakes, and the players’ spirits began to lift, warmed by the crackling fire, and by wine and cakes and ale. And with every cup of Rhenish she drank, Magdalen’s spirits lifted a little too. The tavern was starting to fill up. Word spread fast through Shoreditch, and now all the poets and playwrights who had ever felt envious of Burbage’s lauded band of brothers were crawling out of the woodwork to gloat over their misfortune. Robert Greene was first to arrive, his distinctive quiff of long, red hair waxed upright like a cockerel’s comb. He made straight for their table, and addressed Burbage.

‘I see you’re still paying that country-bumpkin to write speeches stuffed with far-fetched metaphors.’ Turning to Will Shakespeare, he announced mockingly, ‘If it isn’t the upstart crow, beautified by my feathers.’

Magdalen winced. Will had borrowed the plot of Greene’s Pandosto for The Winter’s Tale. In truth, the playwrights and poets all stole from each other, but Will took their ideas and made them a thousand times better, filling the Theatre and its coffers day after day, whilst Greene lived in back-street poverty. 

‘The pot is calling the kettle black, or Greene, in your case,’ Will replied lightly, but Magdalen could see tension in his eyes. 

Greene spat something brown and glistening onto the floor. Magdalen hoped it was tobacco. Sitting down on the bench beside her, he attempted to manhandle her onto his knee. ‘Weep not, darling, smile upon my knee, when thou art old, there’s grief enough for thee,’ he crooned.

Magdalen recognised the song. It was Greene’s own. Extricating herself from his arms, she shoved him hard. He fell off the bench and landed on his back, legs in the air like a deceased fly. Everyone cheered loudly and raised their glasses. Greene mumbled something. It sounded like ‘misshapen dick’.

Christopher Marlowe arrived next, and the tavern lit up as if the stars had fallen through the thatch. He greeted them all in turn, embracing some, kissing others on the lips. But he offered no kiss to Will. Instead, they simply shook hands like two fencers before a bout. It seemed fitting, for they were presently engaged in an increasingly spectacular play-writing dual, lobbing masterpieces at each other across the Thames. When Marlowe attacked with the gore-fest Tamburlaine, Will struck back with blood-soaked Titus Andronicus. Marlowe lunged with his study of a weak king, Edward the Second, so Will parried with Richard the Second. All of London was waiting to see how Will would respond to Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta.

‘William.’ Marlowe released Will’s hand, and moved on.

‘Christopher,’ Will replied and turned back to his beer.

Magdalen found their relationship hard to fathom, but hidden beneath the jealousy and rivalry, she often suspected a lurking mutual respect. 

Stepping over Robert Greene, who had fallen asleep on the floor, Marlowe sat down beside her. ‘How now, Magdalen?’

She nodded absently. She had drunk a great deal of Rhenish, but she would never admit her inebriation, not even to Marlowe because it was not seemly. But he must have noticed her glazed expression because that familiar, half-smile was playing on his lips, as if he was enjoying his own private joke at the world’s expense. Although he was fast approaching thirty years of age, there was still a boyish charm to his features; the soft doe-eyes, the beard-less cheeks, the wisps of a moustache above full, generous lips.

‘I think you’ve had enough of this.’ He picked up her cup of Rhenish, and proceeded to drain it.

‘Hey!’ she exclaimed but it was a half-hearted protest, for her head was pounding like cannon fire.

‘You will have heard about the constable?’ she said quietly. 

‘Edmund Stow is highly fed and lowly taught. Pay no heed to him,’ Marlowe replied airily.

‘But what if the Puritans bribe the coroner to convict me? We all know they are looking for an excuse to close us down.’ 

He shook his head. ‘I won’t let that happen.’ 

She wished she could believe him, but Marlowe was the most unreliable man on earth.


My Review

Wow! I love it when this happens. I was really keen to feature this book on my blog, but as I’ve severely over-committed myself of late, I wasn’t sure I’d have time to read the book first. But, I did, and just wow.

Sometimes a book is just an absolute delight to read, and this is one of those. Penny Ingham has written both a delightful murder mystery, but also an immersive story set in Tudor London. The smells, the sights, the political unrest, the politics, the religion, problems with the Scots, the theatre, Shakespeare, Marlowe and the underbelly of Tudor London. It is, somehow, all crammed into this novel, and none of it feels forced on the reader. This is total immersion into the London of late Tudor England, and given how I’ve grown weary of all the ‘Tudor’ stuff, this just reassures me that authors are still out there, conjuring up something new and fresh to delight the reader.

I can’t deny that my love of the BBC comedy, Upstart Crow, definitely played into the joy of reading the novel – a strong female lead being one of the most appealing features – but this isn’t a comedy, this is serious business, and it is such a well-told story with a motley cast of all levels of society, from the servants to the Tudor nobility, featuring all any of us could ever want to know about what it was truly like to live at such a time.

And the story doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of the day, and our main character is sorely tested time and time again. I really don’t want to give any spoilers, but this novel nicely ties with all the bits of Tudor England that draws readers to it, the scandal and the dark underbelly, the glitz and glamour and the high echelon of society.

Twelve Nights is a veritable tour de force; a wonderful tale, deeply grounded in Tudor London, and quite frankly, absolutely brilliant!

Meet the author

I was born and raised in Yorkshire where my father inspired my love of history from an early age. He is a born story teller and would take us to the top of Iron Age hillforts, often as dusk was falling, and regale us with stirring tales of battles lost and won. Not surprisingly, I went on to study Classics at university, and still love spending my summers on archaeological digs. For me, there is nothing more thrilling than finding an artefact that has not seen the light of day for thousands of years. I find so much inspiration for my novels from archaeology. 

I have had a variety of jobs over the years, including working for the British Forces newspaper in Germany, and at the BBC. When our family was little, the only available space for me to write was a small walk-in wardrobe. The children used to say, ‘oh, mum’s in the cupboard again’. 

I have written four historical novels: The King’s Daughter explores the story of Aethelflaed, the Lady of the Mercians. The Saxon Wolves and the Saxon Plague are both set in fifth century AD, a time of enormous upheaval and uncertainty in Britain as the Romans departed and the Saxon era began. My latest is something a bit different. Twelve Nights is a crime thriller set in sixteenth century London, and features William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. 

I now live with my husband in the Hampshire countryside. Like many others during the pandemic, we decided to try growing our own fruit and vegetables – with mixed results! We can only get better! 

Connect with Penny

Facebook:  Penny Ingham Author Page | Facebook

Instagram: Penny Ingham (@penny.ingham) 

Twitter: Penny Ingham (@pennyingham) / Twitter

Website: Penny Ingham (wordpress.com)

Giveaway to Win a PB copy of Twelve Nights (Open to UK Only)

*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 reviewing The Sweetheart Locket #blogtour #histfic #dualtimeline

Here’s the blurb:

What if the key to your present lies in the past?

London, 1939
On the eve of the Second World War, Canadian Maggie Wyndham defies her family and stays in England to do her bit for the war effort. Torn between two countries, two men and living a life of lies working for the Special Operations Executive (SOE), Maggie’s RAF sweetheart locket is part of who she is…and who she isn’t.

San Francisco, 2019
Over twenty years after Maggie’s death, her daughter Millie and granddaughter Willow take a DNA test that’s supposed to be a bit of fun but instead yields unexpected results. Willow has always treasured her grandmother’s sweetheart locket, both family heirloom and a symbol of her grandparents’ love story. But now she doesn’t know what to believe. She embarks on a search for the truth, one she doesn’t know will reveal far more about herself…

A gripping and heart-breaking dual timeline novel about love, loss and buried secrets, The Sweetheart Locket is perfect for fans of Lorna Cook, Rachel Hore and Suzanne Kelman.

Purchase Links 

Universal Amazon link: 

Other links (Apple, GooglePlay & Kobo) via Hachette: https://www.hachette.co.uk/titles/jen-gilroy-2/the-sweetheart-locket/9781398708365/

My Review

The Sweetheart Locket is a dual timeline story following the lives of 1939 Maggie in London, and 2019 Willow, her granddaughter, who has made her life in California.

The story of Maggie is intriguing, and covers the years of the Second World War, while Willow’s story is mainly told throughout a five week holiday in London. There are epilogues concluding the stories of all of the cast.

The focus of Maggie’s story is not truly her work during the Second World War, but rather on the men in her life, and how the Second World War impacted on those relationships, and then how she kept much of this secret from her daughter, who also had her own struggles as a young woman.

Willow’s story focuses on her need to understand some DNA results she receives just before travelling to London on a research trip. It is this that drives much of the narrative surrounding Willow, although it is not the only element to the story. Willow too is trying to find true love.

The twin narratives weave together quite well, although Maggie is by far the stronger of the two storylines. It is her story that engrossed me, and although I did work out much of the plot in advance, The Sweetheart Locket is still an entertaining read, especially for those looking for the surety of happy endings. Willow’s story is perhaps a little overly complicated, and also too filled with happenstance for my liking. It is Maggie who by far shines as the stronger of the two women, although the juxtaposition between the two characters is quite nicely portrayed.

If you’re a fan of dual timeline novels set in both a contemporary and World War 2 setting, and with a strong element of romance, The Sweetheart Locket will be a perfect read.

Meet the Author

Jen Gilroy writes sweet contemporary romance and dual timeline historical women’s fiction—warm, feel-good stories to bring readers’ hearts home.

A Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® finalist and shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon award, Amazon named her third book, ‘Back Home at Firefly Lake,’ a ‘Best Book of the Month: Romance’ in December 2017.

A dual British-Canadian citizen, Jen lived in England for many years and earned a doctorate (with a focus on British cultural studies and social history) from University College London. Returning to where her Irish family roots run deep, she now lives with her husband, teenage daughter and floppy-eared rescue hound in small-town Eastern Ontario, Canada.

When not writing, she enjoys reading, ice cream, ballet and paddling her purple kayak.

Visit Jen online at www.jengilroy.com

Connect with Jen

Twitter: www.twitter.com/JenGilroy1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenGilroyAuthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jen.gilroyauthor/

Giveaway to Win 2 x Kindle copies of The Sweetheart Locket (Open to UK / Canada)

*Terms and Conditions –UK & Canada 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.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494508/?

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