The year is 1806, and Russian cavalry officer Alexi Ruzhensky journeys to Munich to kill the man responsible for murdering his brother in a duel, French officer Louis Valsin. Already thwarted once at the Battle of Austerlitz by Valsin’s lover, Anne-Marie, Alexi has been told by his father not to fail again.
Obsessed by the main character in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s novel Julie, Alexi becomes romantically entangled with a beautiful and passionate young Bavarian woman.
He hides his true identity and befriends Valsin and Anne-Marie, only to find that he has no thirst for blood. As the three grow closer, tensions mount as Alexi and Anne-Marie desperately try to resist their growing attraction.
But as the novel comes to its explosive conclusion, Alexi will learn that revenge cannot be forgotten so easily.
The Hour of Parade is a literary treat; set in 1806, after the Napoleonic victory over the Tsar. It starts out as brother’s quest to avenge his younger brother’s honour but blossoms into an essay about love and hate, right and wrong and ultimately forgiveness. The story is characterised by a complex set of relationships and explores life’s uncertainties and grey areas through the four main characters. The outcome reveals nothing is clear cut where human emotions and interactions are involved.
The story echoes the classics that have come before and indeed the author has included translations of Rousseau’s Julie, which dominates the thinking and actions of Alexi the Russian officer who sets out to avenge the family honour. The characters echo the prejudices and expectations of the time period beautifully, it is their completeness that makes this simple story an enthralling read.
The setting is well described and interesting; the historical detail is all there for the reader to absorb. You experience the action and emotion, rather than watch it from afar and this is a satisfying experience.
The final scenes echo the poignancy of the human effects of war. They reinforce the plot’s authenticity and characters’ realism. A must read for fans of complex relationships played out against a vivid historical tableau.
I received a copy of this book from Createspace via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
John McClellan, head of security for Continental Pictures. An ex-cop for the LAPD, he spends his days and nights hushing up the sexual peccadilloes of actors and studio honchos, not to mention their rampant use of drugs and booze. Now our hero has his hands full with a Red-baiting Congressman who want to bring the studio down, the murder of a famous director’s wife, a columnist who will do anything for his next big story, and a sexy girl screenwriter who might be the love of his life—or the death of him.
This book is a step back in time to the golden age of Hollywood, a time where political correctness was an unheard of concept. This book is full of the prejudice and discrimination of the time but it is essential to draw the reader into the Noir world of the 1940’s. This is an atmospheric, realistic thriller with characters who mirror the players in Hollywood and Washington at the time.
The character of John McClellan, the head of studio security is easy to identify with as he calmly fixes the various scandals the film stars’ embroil themselves in. The story has plenty of twists with vivid dialogue and characters to hold your interest. The secondary characters are well written and believable, notably the ambitious journalist and the ruthless moving moguls. There is even a sprinkle of romance, an essential ingredient of a 1940’s film.
There is an unpleasant scene in a slaughter house which upset me; I understand why it was included but it was too graphic for me.
If you fancy something different, with a definite air of authenticity then this is for you.
I received a copy of this book from Asahina & Wallace Publishing via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s a real treat for me today, I’m interviewing my friend, fellow blogger and writer, Shehanne Moore.
Shehanne has written three fabulous historical romances:
She also has an amazingly interactive blog which you can read by clicking on the link:
It’s great to have you here Shehanne.
Why did you choose to write historical romance?
Well Jane, I think I can safely say I just love the past. I always have. The books I read, the films I love best, are usually historical. And it wasn’t all that different in terms of the emotion. Look at how turbulent the big events in history were. Look at how, for example we love the drama of Henry V111 and Anne Boleyn. For all the times that story has been told I still reckon there’s a story there that has not been told.
I chose to write romance because I thought it was possible to get into the industry that way. Obviously when it came to choice of genre, there was only one!
What inspires you to create your dark, sexy, historical romances?
I’d love to say it’s a painting, or an old place. I do love old places and I squirrel them away for use. But all my stories start with a simple image, or premise. I have no idea what’s going to happen next. If only.
Lady Fury your first heroine, if I can call her that, has her own blog ‘Furious Unravelings’. Can you tell us how that evolved?
I reckon you’ve said it there yourself. ‘If I can call her that’. That’s the reason she has her own blog. My second book was coming out and I feared the havoc she would wreak not being centre of attention. So I thought I’d move her. Also, I did think that giving her a pirates’ book club would let me help promote other authors, as well as giving her something to do keeping the guys in about, even if they can’t read.
My experiences at the book club were very memorable you can read them by clicking on the links:
Now onto your other ladies who are also tempted by bright sparkly treasures.
Was there a particular event in history that inspired you to write your London Jewel Thieves series? What can we expect in book 2?
Talking these little flashes, I could see a coach, a woman with a necklace she’d stolen and her planting it on this guy and completely ruining his life. That was it. I started writing, I called her Sapphire and filled in the back story, putting her in this gang of thieves. Then I called her friends Ruby and Pearl. As I was doing this I began to think that some of these other women, I was mentioning could have their own story as part of a series.
Book two which is nearly finished is about Splendor. She’s not a thief, she was their skivvy and now the gang has broken up, she’s living on her wits, calling herself Splendor (as you do, her real name’s Dora) and trying to win a fortune in a chess competition. She’s a sort of Cinderella. But things get badly out of hand. Will she end up with Prince Charming, Buttons, or dead on a duelling field? My lips are sealed.
Can’t wait. If you haven’t read Loving Lady Lazuli yet, the first book in the London Jewel Thieves series, check out my review here.
Your stories are characterised by their wonderful dialogue. Do you find this easy to write? Any tips for writing realistic dialogue?
They are? I’m so glad you got that 20 quid and didn’t ask for more. I’d have been skint otherwise. Dialogue? Well, I guess I have one basic rule. Don’t waste a word. I used to write for Bunty and M+J (girls’ comics). You did it in frames. You wrote the dialogue and the instructions to the artist in each frame, so many frames to a script. You basically had to think in captioned photos. Perhaps because I did that I don’t find dialogue difficult to write. Narrative, yes. In fact I have to stop myself writing dialogue, or there would be a book of it.
Tips? Well, I think plays really show you how to advance a scene with no narrative. So read some. Also remember that men and women use very different words and regard things totally differently. Think about your character’s sex and personality as well as their goal in each scene. They are bringing that to the table when it comes to what they are going to say and how they will say it. Also it doesn’t matter if it’s two lines of dialogue between a lesser and a major character. Don’t waste it.
Great advice and would you believe I used to read ‘Bunty’ many moons ago it was a fab comic. 🙂
You are a great supporter of other writers, myself included. How important are the blogging and writing communities to a writer’s success?
Okay, for some that might not be important at all. Obviously there’s writers who make it without that. But I think for those with smaller publishers, who can’t throw any money at promoting their authors, it’s vital. Personally I’m a big believer in supporting other authors. I’ve made some wonderful friends that way in both the writing and the blogging communities, including yourself Jane. These are people I would never have known if I’d stuck to the me, my book and my book mantra. It costs nothing to help someone.
Have you ever wanted to write a story in another genre? If so which one?
I used to write stories for my school pals years ago. They were historical epiccy things. I would like to write in that genre, historical fiction as opposed to romance. I’m considering having a look at them again and thinking about their focus.
I know that you have a new release in the summer with Soul Mate publishing can you share a few secrets about your latest story?
OOH. Well, The Viking and The Courtesan is a time slip story featuring Sin, a sumexy Viking and Malice a Regency lady who runs a marriage wrecking business. The blurb probably explains it best. I’m happy to let you have first sharie.
Wrecking a marriage is generally no problem for the divorce obtaining, Lady Malice Mallender. But she faces a dilemma when she’s asked to ruin her own. Just how businesslike should she remain when the marriage was never consummated and kissing her husband leads to Sin–a handsome Viking who wants her for a bed slave in name only?
She came from another time.
Viking raider Sin Gudrunsson wants one thing. To marry his childhood sweetheart. Only she’s left him before, so he needs to keep her on her toes, and a bed slave, in name only, seems just the thing. Until he meets Malice.
One kiss is all it takes to flash between two worlds
But when one kiss is no longer enough, which will it be? Regency London? Or Viking Norway? Will Malice learn what governs the flashes? Can Sin?
Where worlds collide can love melt the iciest heart?’
It sounds amazing, historical, time slip romance – I can’t wait to read it.
What type of books do you like to read? Any favourite authors?
Hmm. I love the hard boiled writers, Cain and Mcoy. Talking dialogue they never wasted a letter never mind a word. Give me F Scott Fitzgerald. Oh and Margaret Mitchell. Coming more up to date, I loved discovering Kate Furnivall and Kate Atkinson. I will read pretty well any genre, history mainly but I like suspense too. And I’m not just saying it because I’ve met many wonderful authors and some of these authors have become friends, but I do love reading Incy Black, Antonia Van Zandt, Noelle Clark, Catherine Cavendish, Sharon Struth and your good self. I would enjoy these books anyway.
I can’t let you go without mentioning the ‘hamstahs’. They’re an integral part of your blog now. What inspired you to introduce them to us?
Lol! Ok. I was looking at the entries on this pitch comp and some had everything but the kitchen sink flung in. So I thought I’d blog the basic rules of romance writing and I had this person thinking how they would put in the French Revolution, the Druids of Stonehenge and the emancipation of women. At the last for some reason I changed that to hamsters. I think it might have been Antonia Van Zandt who asked what was that about? So next blog I let them on. There is something very expressive about their faces so of course I let them speak. They haven’t shut up since.
I’m now going to but before I do can I just thank you for inviting me to your fabulous blog Jane. I’ve loved being here.
So glad you found time to visit me and I look forward to welcoming Lady Fury soon. If you want to know more about Lady Fury’s unraveling read my review here.
You can catch up with Shehanne on
When a beautiful journalist drowns mysteriously off Waikiki, Hawaii, Special Forces veteran Pono Hawkins, now a well-known surfer and international correspondent for surfing magazines, soon gets embroiled in trying to find out why she died. What he quickly learns makes him a target for murder or life in prison as a cabal of powerful corporations, foreign killers and crooked politicians places the blame on him. Haunted by memories of Afghanistan, and determined to protect the Hawaii he loves from dirty politics tied to huge destructive energy developments, Pono turns to Special Forces buddies and his own covert skills to fight his deadly enemies, trying both save himself and find her killers. Alive with the sights, sounds and history of Hawaii, SAVING PARADISE is also a deepy rich portrait of what Pono calls the seamy side of paradise, and an exciting thriller of politics, lies and remorseless murder.
Mystery, political corruption, sex, suspense and violence, Saving Paradise has them all.
It also has an off -beat hero in Pono, through whose eyes we experience the fast paced action. The environmental activist motivations behind this political thriller are laudable if a little preachy, as the story reveals the unseemly side of Hawaiian paradise.
I like Pono; he is a true hero but he does seem to be everyone’s fall guy because of his guilt from experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. His gullibility at times seems at odds with his special force training and mentality.
Animal lovers beware there is some unpleasant violence inflicted on Pono’s cat and dog, which seems excessive and unnecessary to the main story.
The characters are interesting but although the conclusion tied up the complex plot it was a too convenient for my tastes.
If you like this type of thriller, it’s worth reading if a little drawn out in parts.
I received a copy of this book from Author Buzz, Mandevilla Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars