Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Saga, Victorian Romance

A Widow’s Vow Rachel Brimble 5*#Review @RachelBrimble @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance #Saga #BlogTour @rararesources #BookReview #Victorian #Bath #19thCentury #AWidowsVow

From grieving widow...

1851. After her merchant husband saved her from a life of prostitution, Louisa Hill was briefly happy as a housewife in Bristol. But then a constable arrives at her door. Her husband has been found hanged in a Bath hotel room, a note and a key to a property in Bath the only things she has left of him. And now the debt collectors will come calling.

To a new life as a madam.

Forced to leave everything she knows behind, Louisa finds more painful betrayals waiting for her in the house in Bath. Left with no means of income, Louisa knows she has nothing to turn to but her old way of life. But this time, she’ll do it on her own terms – by turning her home into a brothel for upper class gentleman. And she’s determined to spare the girls she saves from the street the horrors she endured in the past.

Enlisting the help of Jacob Jackson, a quiet but feared boxer, to watch over the house, Louisa is about to embark on a life she never envisaged. Can she find the courage to forge this new path? 

A Widow’s Vow is the first in a gripping and gritty new Victorian saga series from Rachel Brimble. You won’t be able to put it down.

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I received a copy of this book from the author and Aria in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Set in Victorian Bath, this is a story about women who survive the danger, deceit and depravity of the time. Louisa recently widowed, reluctantly returns to her old life but this time on her terms. She experiences angst and conflict as she forges a new living for herself and the young women she saves from the streets. Jacob regrets not saving his mother, from his father. Despite his reputation as a tough fighter, he respects and protects women. It is these qualities that draw Louisa to him.

There is a good insight into what life was like for women in Victorian England with stark contrasts between the genders and social classes. It is an emotional read with gentle romance.

This book is recommended for fans of Victorian history and romance, believable characters and an absorbing plot.

Rachel lives with her husband and their two daughters in a small town near Bath, England. She is the author of over 20 published novels including the Pennington’s department store series (Aria Fiction) and the Templeton Cove Stories (Harlequin).

Her next project is a Victorian trilogy set in a Bath brothel which she recently signed with Aria Fiction. The series will feature three heroines determined to change their lives and those of other women. The first book. A Widow’s Vow is due for release in September and available for Amazon preorder now.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and has thousands of social media followers all over the world.

To sign up for her newsletter (a guaranteed giveaway every month!), click on link Newsletter Sign Up

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Murder Mystery, Mystery

Canal Pushers /River Rats Andy Griffee 4*#Review @AndyGriffee @OrphansPublish #CrimeFiction #Mystery #Canals #WestMidlands #Bath #MurderMystery #JohnsonandWilde #RandomThingsTours @annecater @RandomTTours

Jack Johnson, ex-journalist, newly divorced and feeling unmoored, has bought a 64-foot narrowboat with absolutely no idea how to captain it. So when an attractive stranger takes pity on his dismal attempts and comes aboard to assist him manoeuvre, Jack is only too happy to make her welcome. But it’s soon apparent that Nina is keeping her own secrets and when they stumble into a murder investigation the past begins to intrude. What’s Nina afraid of? And who is stalking the towpaths?

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Jack Johnson has a talent for trouble – wherever he goes on his narrowboat, it seems to follow him. Moored up on the River Avon in the beautiful Georgian surroundings of Bath, he’s working at the local paper when a prominent magistrate and heritage campaigner is attacked and drowned. Could it be a serial killer copying the Canal Pusher? Or a biker gang who swore revenge on the magistrate? Against his wishes, Jack is pulled into the investigation by his ambitious editor who wants the scoop. Jack and his friend, Nina Wilde, have also been drawn into another struggle. The moorings of a small settled boating community sit alongside a huge former industrial site that property developers want to fill with luxury housing. Nearby residents are enlisted to petition against the boat people, and as the campaign spirals out of control, lives are threatened. Who is helping their enemies? Another gripping tale of corruption and intrigue from the riverbank, full of dark waters and deadly secrets.

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I received copies of these books from the author in return for honest reviews.

My Thoughts…

Canal Pushers

A new crime series is exciting, especially when it’s full of rich characterisation and originality. Jack Johnson is newly divorced and still reeling from the emotional and financial implications. Living on a narrowboat is not his first choice, but at least it’s cheap and will give him a place to live and work.

A freelance journalist he has a keen eye for crime, which comes in useful in this series. A complete novice at boating his serendipitous meeting with Nina leads to an unusual but mutually beneficial friendship. Nina has secrets which reveal themselves as the story progresses.

There is a sinister point of view that adds a noir element and draws the intrepid couple into a dangerous investigation. Jack and Nina are complex, relatable protagonists.

The suspenseful plot is well written. The setting is authentic and full of vivid imagery, in stark contrast to the dark crimes committed.

River Rats

River Rats fulfils the potential suggested in Canal Pushers. Jack has moved down to Bath and is working at the local newspaper for an ambitious editor with dubious scruples. A suspicious death draws Jack and Nina into another dark investigation. Unscrupulous developers threaten a community of boaters and Jack and Nina search for the truth.

The characters continue to develop realistically in a multilayered plot. The setting is easy to visualise and gives the story its uniqueness.

Andy Griffee is a former BBC
journalist and media consultant
with a fascination for stories. He
began his journalism career at the
Bath Evening Chronicle, and then
spent twenty-five years at the BBC,
culminating in his role as Editorial
Director of the redevelopment of
Broadcasting House. Andy lives
in Worcestershire and, when he
isn’t writing, rears rare breed pigs,
struggles to keep a 1964 Triumph
Spitfire on the road and enjoys
hiring narrowboats with his wife Helen.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Humour, Literary Fiction, Literary Humour, Saga, Short stories

Sometimes In Bath Charles Nevin ​4*#Review @charlesnevin @rararesources #LiteraryFiction #Humour #HisFic #Bath #shortstories #guestpost #SometimesInBath #BlogTour #BookReview

Sometimes in Bath is a captivating story-tour through the city’s history conducted by Charles Nevin, the award-winning journalist, national newspaper columnist, author and humorist.

Beau Nash, Old King Bladud, young Horatio Nelson, Jane Austen’s Mr Bennet, the Emperor Haile Selassie and many more spring to life in episodes shimmering with the curious magic of Britain’s oldest resort and premier purveyor of good health, happiness and romance for the last 2000 years.

Each story has an afterword distinguishing the fiction from fact, adding enthralling historical detail – and giving visitors useful links to Bath’s many sights and fascinations Sometimes in Bath is warm, witty, wistful and will be loved by all who come to and from this most enchanting and enchanted of cities.

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Guest Post – Charles Nevin – Sometimes In Bath

How do you like your historical fiction? Romantic, an exciting escape into the consolations of the beguiling past? Realistic and instructive as well as entertaining? Or all of that?

I’m all for the all-in approach. And I have a great weakness for a touch of humour being thrown into the mix. Which is why one of my very favourite pieces of historical fiction is the marvellous ‘No Bed For Bacon,’ by Caryl Brahms and S J Simon, a wonderfully entertaining re-telling of Shakespeare and his life which clearly inspired the Oscar-winning Shakespeare In Love of Gwyneth Paltrow and Judi Dench fame.

So when I moved to Somerset and fell under that old Bath magic of healing waters, mythic origins, Roman bathing, Georgian larks and the finest cast list ever encountered of charmers, chancers, characters and charlatans, I didn’t need much encouragement to set them down in a series of stories set throughout this richest of histories. Step forward, to name but a few, Bladud, mythical founder and wannabe aviator; a Roman governor with gout; Alfred the Great; Sir John Harington, Elizabethan inventor of the water closet; Beau Nash, Georgian master of its revels; Dr Johnson; Horatio Nelson; Charles Dickens; the Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, in Bath in exile; and, oh, yes, Jane Austen’s Mr Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.

Thus, Sometimes In Bath; which was tremendous fun, and is, I hope tremendous fun, a happy canter through the city’s history, with some balancing poignancy and wistfulness mixed in.

But possibly not that realistic, which presented me with a problem. A career as a journalist entails many things: and one of them (believe it or not) is a compulsion to establish fact and differentiate it from the speculative and the unfounded. I’m one of those sad people who cannot watch any drama ‘based on’ historical events and characters without afterwards rushing to Wiki to find out how based and how true.

So how to combine this with my flights of Bath fantasy? Just expect readers to do their own research? That seemed a little unmannerly, a touch unfriendly, somehow ungenerous, mean.

The solution I hit upon was to follow each story with an afterword explaining what was fact and what was my invention. And, further, to set the story in its historical context.

This has the added benefit of building up a history of the great city chapter by chapter, with an interesting further dash of fascinating fact and anecdote. So you will learn of the theories of Bath’s great architect, John Wood, on magic and druids, and the significance of the layout of his crescent, circus and square, of the mysterious symbols decorating his buildings; of the origin of the Bath Bun and the end of the noted Bath dandy highwayman, Sixteen String Jack Rann; of how the great Roman bath was rediscovered in Victorian times; of John Betjeman and his fight to save fine Bath buildings, and the truth behind his famous poem, “In A Bath Teashop”; of how Haile Selassie regained his Ethiopian throne in a remarkable campaign of the Second World War; and of the city’s great goddess, Sul, begged in writing on little lead tablets by many a citizen in the time of Rome to curse thieves and vagabonds.

You will learn, too, where to see those tablets and find other places and features mentioned in the book: a veritable cornucopia of Bath, compiled with love and fascination and imagination, and written, as I say in the dedication, for all those come to and from the city. And why not you?

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Bath holds a fascination for so many people, even those who have only passed through it. There is a wealth of history, coupled with colourful historical and literary characters embodied in this city. This book, captures many of them, in a humorous, knowledgeable way.

The characters, real or imaginary, are brought to life with astute observation and wit. The engagingly visual descriptions make imagining the characters and settings effortless. Each story completes with a narrative on the fact and fiction and where further historical knowledge is available.

This book is a delightfully different literary adventure to the ancient city of Bath.

Charles Nevin

Charles Nevin has written for, among others, the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday, the Daily Telegraph, The Times and Sunday Times, and the New York Times. Sometimes in Bath is his second book of fiction following Lost in the Wash with Other Things, a collection of short stories. He has also published three books of non-fiction – Lancashire, Where Women Die of Love, a paean to the neglected romance of his native county; The Book of Jacks, a history and lexicon of the name, and So Long Our Home, a history of Knowsley Road, the famous old ground of St Helens Rugby Football Club. Charles lives in an old watermill near Bath, which is ideally placed for his forays into the enchanting city.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Fantasy, Friendship

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen 4* #Review @missyadabright @CassGrafton #JaneAusten #TheAustenTales #TimeTravel #Friendship #Bath #Adventure #BookReview #BlogTour @rararesources

When a time travelling Jane Austen gets stuck in modern-day Bath it’s up to avid Janeite Rose Wallace to save her… because she’s the only one who knows that Jane exists!

Rose Wallace’s world revolves around all things Austen, and with the annual festival in Bath – and the arrival of dishy archaeologist, Dr Aiden Trevellyan – just around the corner, all is well with the world…

But then a mysterious woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to the great author moves in upstairs, and things take a disastrous turn. Rose’s new neighbour is Jane Austen, whose time travel adventure has been sabotaged by a mischievous dog, trapping her in the twenty-first century.

Rose’s life is instantly changed – new home, new job, new friends – but she’s the only one who seems to have noticed! To right the world around her, she will have to do whatever it takes to help Jane get back home to write Rose’s beloved novels. Because a world without Mr Darcy? It’s not worth living in!

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I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I was intrigued by the ideas behind this story, and after reading it, I can confirm it fulfils its potential.

It begins conventionally with Rose who lives in Bath, loves Jane Austen and doesn’t realise what a lovely person she is. Hardworking, she is appreciated by her boss and her long-distance Californian friend Morgan, who is finally coming to Bath. Rose has a long term crush on an archaeologist, she only sees briefly in a professional capacity once a year. She dreams of a happy ever after but doesn’t have the self-belief to make it a reality.

Then everything changes, and you have to suspend belief, but if you do the fictional adventure with a historical legend is fun. The setting in Bath is well described and the characters are believable, even if the scenario they are playing is pure fantasy.

This is a good story of friendship, romance, self-realisation and time travel, something for everyone in this tale.

#CassGrafton

A proud bookworm since childhood, Cass writes the sort of stories she loves to read – heart-warming, character driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters.

She has an over-active imagination, is prone to crying with happiness as much as she is at sadness, but when it comes to her writing she leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’.

Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine, and enjoys them in any combination. She currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband, and England, where she lives with her characters.

#AdaBright

Ada has lived all her life in Southern California, which makes her intolerant to any weather above or below 72 degrees Fahrenheit. She grew up much more fond of reading than sports or socializing and still tends to ignore everyone she loves, all her responsibilities and basic life needs when she’s in the middle of a book.

She is luckily married to a handsome and funny man who doesn’t mind that the laundry never gets put away and she has three amazing children. Ada spent over a decade as a photographer before dedicating herself to writing, though she still believes that life should be documented well and often.

There is nothing she loves more than a good, subtle love story whether it be in real life, tv, movie, theatre or book form… well, except cake. She also really loves cake.

Cass and Ada

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Mystery, Saga

Christmas at Pennington’s Rachel Brimble 5*#Review @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books @RachelBrimble #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance #Saga #Mystery #BlogTour @rararesources #BookReview #Festive #Christmas1911

#ChristmasatPenningtons

Gripping drama as Pennington’s department store prepares for a glittering Christmas in 1911, but a killer stalks the women of Bath.

Christmas sees Pennington’s at its most glorious, thronged with shoppers, its grand staircase and balcony adorned with holly, mistletoe, tinsel and lights. It should be the happiest time, but dramas are seething beneath the surface.

For Cornelia Culford, in charge of jewellery, a divorce hearing looms, where she could lose custody of her young sons to her overbearing and unfaithful husband.

For Stephen Gower, being head of security at Pennington’s is the perfect refuge from a tragic past at Scotland Yard. But soon the past will call him back, as Joseph Carter and Elizabeth Pennington beg him to help solve the murder of Joseph’s first wife, now that it seems as if the killer has struck again.

For Joseph and Elizabeth, their marriage depends on exorcising the past. But can it ever be laid to rest?

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#ChristmasatPenningtons #BlogTour

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is my first trip to Pennington’s and what a delight it is. Set in historic Bath, this historical romantic saga, with a mystery to solve, is full of contrasts. The glamour, and tasteful glitz of the elegant department store, in contrast to darkness enveloping Bath as a murderer, add their menacing presence.

This is the third book in the Pennington’s historical saga but reads well as a standalone. However, the writing, style, the author’s attention to detail and the vividly portrayed characters make me want to read the first two book in the series too.

There are a number of stories in this book. The lead story features Cornelia and Stephen, both employees of the illustrious store. Cornelia is facing an acrimonious divorce hearing from her abusive and adulterous husband. She is the sole carer for her two children and fears he may use this against her to gain full custody. She has information that may help her case, but is she prepared for the damage it may do to her and her offspring?

Stephen is a policeman from Scotland Yard with a tragic past. As head of security, he hopes this simpler role will give him time to heal and decide how to move on with his life, which is blighted by guilt. However, a murder and a connection to a past cold case draws him in and forces him to face his demons. He finds an ally in Cornelia, and a willing partner as they try to solve the mystery of their employer’s first wife.

An absorbing family drama, with a beautifully described historical setting. Lies, secrets, fear and mystery lie beneath the Christmas glamour and glitz, and a lovely romance fights for life in the midst of all the drama.

Christmas at Pennington’s has something for everyone, drama, love, mystery and romance in a year of social and political change.

#RachelBrimble

In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018, A Rebel At Pennington’s February 2019 and Christmas At Pennington’s September 2019.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America and has thousands of social media followers all over the world. To sign up for her quarterly and new release newsletter, click here to go to her website: https://rachelbrimble.com/

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Giveaway to Win a £15 Amazon Gift Card (UK Only)

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*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 be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the 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.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance – Laurie Benson @MillsandBoon @LaurieBWrites @rararesources #BlogTour 4* #Review #HistoricalRomance #RegencyRomance #Bath #TheSommersbyBridesQuartet

She’s played Cupid for others
Now she’s met her own unlikely match!

The final book of The Sommersby Brides quartet. Widowed society matchmaker Mrs Clara Sommersby thinks self-made businessman William Lane is just the man for her neighbour’s overlooked daughter. He’s successful and confident, if emotionally distant, until suddenly—shockingly—his attention turns to Clara herself! She thought her days of romance were over but is this younger man intent on giving her a second chance?

*Rachel, it might be worth noting somewhere that this is a Seasoned Regency Romance. I know there is an interest in older (mature) heroines at the moment and Clara is in her forties in this story.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A witty, romantic Regency romance, set in Bath, with a delightful older heroine, who is looking for her second chance at love. The final book in #TheSommersbyBridesQuartet, Clara, finally gets her chance for happiness, after helping her nieces find theirs. This story reads as a standalone, but if you get the chance to read all the books, do.

This is not a traditional Regency romance, although the Bath setting is. Lane is a businessman, with secrets, Clara is a businesswoman with secrets, which cause conflict as they pursue their unlikely attraction.

The pacing and romance are gentle, but the external conflicts of, social class and conformity, are pertinent and illustrate the hypocrisy of Regency England. The characters both main and subsidiary are well created, and the ending is lovely.

Laurie Benson is an award-winning author who writes flirty and frisky Regency romances. She began her writing career as an advertising copywriter, where she learned more than you could ever want to know about hot dogs and credit score reports. Now, she is happy to put that behind her and spend her time writing stories that take her and her readers on a romantic adventure. When she isn’t at her laptop avoiding laundry, Laurie can be found browsing antique shops, going on ridiculously long hikes, or sitting in her car on the school pickup line. She lives with her husband and two sons in a house filled with testosterone—even her bunny is a boy.

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Giveaway to Win 2 x Paperbacks of His Three-Day Duchess by Laurie Benson (Open INT)

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*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 be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the 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.

Posted in Book Review

A Family Recipe – 5* Review – Veronica Henry

z

What’s the secret ingredient to your happiness?

Laura Griffin is preparing for an empty nest. The thought of Number 11 Lark Hill falling silent – a home usually bustling with noise, people and the fragrant smells of something cooking on the Aga – seems impossible. Laura hopes it will mean more time for herself, and more time with her husband, Dom.

But when an exposed secret shakes their marriage, Laura suddenly feels as though her family is shrinking around her. Feeling lost, she turns to her greatest comfort: her grandmother’s recipe box, a treasured collection dating back to the Second World War. Everyone has always adored Laura’s jams and chutneys, piled their sandwiches high with her pickles . . . Inspired by a bit of the old Blitz spirit, Laura has an idea that gives her a fresh sense of purpose.

Full of fierce determination, Laura starts carving her own path. But even the bravest woman needs the people who love her. And now, they need her in return . . .

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My Thoughts…

The home is the heart of many families, and it is no different for number 11 Lark Hill in historic Bath. Laura’s family home has been in the family since her great-grandparents day, it’s always been a lively, warm place but now her daughters’ are leaving for University, and she has to find something else to give her life meaning.

When Laura discovers her husband is not the man she thinks he is, her life threatens to fall apart, but she’s tenacious and determined to keep her family together and her life worth living. With timeslips back to Blitz-torn Bath in 1942, the time when her beloved Grandmother Jilly(Kanga) faced a devastating loss, like Jilly, Laura rebuilds her life and finds out exactly who she is.

The characters are real and likeable, they laugh, cry and argue but realise the importance of their flawed but enviable family life. The family recipe book is a beautiful analogy of Laura’s family past and present and provides her with a means to start a new life chapter.

The fast-paced, enthralling plot takes Laura and her grandmother on an emotional journey with laughter, sadness and ultimately self-realisation. Elements of Laura’s family life are instantly recognisable, and it’s easy to empathise with her as she works her way towards happiness again.

A delightful read about family, friendship and overcoming life’s many hardships.

I received a copy of this book from Orion Publishing Group via NetGalley in return for an honest review.