*ARC REVIEW* ~ The Duke of Diamonds, by Emily Windsor

 #NewRelease RegencyRomance

Heat Level: Sensual. Moderate. Tone: Warm. Witty. Romantic. 

Release Date: 2nd April 2020
Length: 70,000 words

 A brusque duke bound by duty. A brazen heroine bound by poverty. Art. Trickery. Friendship. Diamonds. And Cleopatra…

Blurb

A lady intent on deception…
A duke who knows every trick in the book…
A passionate obsession with fiery consequences.

With a coldness to match the diamonds that adorn his cravat, Casper Brook, the eighth Duke of Rothwell, possesses all a nobleman could desire…almost. So when a seductive minx perches upon his desk and claims to know the whereabouts of his one deepest obsession, temptation beckons to uncover all her secrets.

With a boldness to match the red flame of her locks, Miss Evelyn Pearce possesses naught but an ailing young sister and an ebony-black cat…almost. So when she perches upon a duke’s desk and claims to know the whereabouts of his one deepest obsession, temptation beckons to discover all his desires.

Her plan to deceive a duke of ruthless reputation is audacious, but in true society, weren’t all dukes buffle-headed with jovial smiles and far too many acres? Plots unravel, guises fall and deceiving the flawless Duke of Diamonds has sparkling consequences…

My Review ~ Delightful Regency read, full of humour, warmth and romance

5 Stars *****

This new release by Emily Windsor is just the ticket if you are after a feel good romance. Full of wit and charm, it features a handsome duke with a reputation of being cold and brutally efficient in his business dealings, and a desperate woman intent on deceiving him to safeguard the health of her sister and escape poverty.

It has oodles of humour and warmth and the hero and heroine are a perfect fit for each other. I just loved how the hero Casper reacts as soon as he claps eyes on Evelyn –  his well-planned and ordered world is rocked on its axis and starts to unravel…

Although immediately attracted to Evelyn, he is resolved to reveal the truth of the matter but also unmask her true character. In the process he reveals more than he ever expected, not just about Evelyn but himself and others dearest to him in the process.

As for Evelyn, she is by far my favourite Emily Windsor heroine to date! She is no shrinking violet and speaks her mind, her time spent surviving amongst London’s slums giving her even more spunk and backbone. I so sympathised with her situation and how circumstances led to her and her younger sister being in such dire straits. The path she has embarked on, of deceiving a Duke, is not one she is proud of but in the dire circumstances they are in she feels she has no choice.

She is a strong and intelligent woman who is not afraid of going toe to toe with Casper and is selfless in her love and devotion to those she cares for. As the plot evolves she realises that Casper is not the stuffy Duke that she thought him to be.

Can Evelyn go through with her ruse? What will Casper – a man who despises untruths and artifice, do if he realises the extent of her ruse? Will she manage to deceive the Duke and secure a safe and secure future for her and her sister away from London and the dangers that lurk there or will her past catch up with her? I enjoyed both the evolution and the pacing of the plot and the supporting characters added to the drama and general mayhem.

The Duke of Diamonds is a thoroughly well-constructed and delightful Regency caper with a HEA, which I recommend to all lovers of the genre.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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*AUTHOR POST* ~ JANE FENWICK, AUTHOR OF NEVER THE TWAIN (INCLUDES GIVEAWAY)

I Could be Dancing by Jane Fenwick @jane_fenwick60 #neverthetwain #historicalcrimenovels #romance #victorianwhitby

I love to dance and when I was younger I would go to night clubs and dance two or three times a week. Now that I am a little, shall we say, more mature I still love to dance so I go to classes to get my fix.
As a writer I spend a lot of time at my desk so it is imperative that I get up and move. I have Scout my Patterdale terrier to walk so that helps my step count but I am the sort of walker that likes to walk for a purpose; there usually has to be a coffee shop or a pub at the end of the walk to motivate me. I’ve never been a “gym bunny” and swimming bores the life out of me (unless it’s in a warm sea!). Dancing gets me moving and as it doesn’t feel like exercise it is never a chore.

I first got into dancing by watching musicals. Fred Astaire was my hero. His partnership with Ginger Rogers was spectacular. I can’t remember how many times I have watched Top hat and Flying Down to Rio. I’m not saying Astaire was a good actor but he could certainly move. More recently I have loved Strictly Come Dancing. The show really makes it clear how athletic dancing can be. I know it gets my heart rate up, helps with balance and keeps me supple. I was a yoga teacher for over twenty years so I’ve always been flexible but dancing really helps tone muscle too, especially the legs and back. As I sit for a lot of hours a day back ache can be a problem, but dancing and stretching irons out the kinks.

I also used to sing and dance in a local amateur musical theatre group performing in such shows as Oklahoma, My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music. Dancing to a choreographed routine is harder than it looks but good fun. I‘ve done a bit of ballet and tap in the past so that helped; muscle memory is useful! Dancing and singing was great exercise and enjoyable. Sadly as I was teaching fulltime, I had to give up performing as the rehearsals took up too much of my time.

I love most types of music – anything that I can get up and dance to and I’m on my feet. Fast, slow, with a partner or freestyle, in a group or singly. I’m usually the first on the dance floor at weddings and parties. Even if I don’t know the steps I will be embarrassing myself throwing some shapes! Recently I went to a Ceilidh with a friend. Despite the height difference –he’s 6’ 4 and I’m 5’3 – we had a great time. The dances were ‘called’ so they were easy to pick up but exhausting. Who knew you could get so out of breath dancing. The experience reminded me of when I was in my twenties and my best friend was Irish. We used to go to an Irish club where they did traditional Irish dancing. My friend’s mum was a ‘grand’ dancer and despite getting on in years she could give the young ones a run for their money. There was a dance called The Siege of Ennis that she was particularly good at. It involved spinning around in a circle which after a Guinness or two made the dancers a bit dizzy. We would watch as a young lad would ask the ‘old’ lady to dance and scream with laughter as she spun him round so fast he was almost off his feet!

As I mentioned I love most types of music but I never thought I would enjoy dancing to country music. A friend who knows I like to dance invited me to a line dancing class. At first I was a little cynical – I couldn’t really see me in a Stetson (I still can’t) but I gave it a go and I’m hooked now. Far from dancing in a line the routines are based on ‘walls’. Each dance turns so that they have two or four walls. In the beginning mastering a wall is easy until you have to turn – that’s usually when the wheels come off! I think I probably know about 30 line dances now, some more complex than others.

I also go to a musical theatre dance class run by an ex ballet and tap dancer. She devises routines and we attempt to follow them The dances can be based on anything; jazz, Fosse, Hot Gossip… anything goes.

My favourite dance class however is the Latin American class – the music just makes me want to dance, it lifts my spirits. For a couple of hours I can forget everything and concentrate on moving to the music. Not only is it good for my body I’m convinced it’s good for my brain too. We know about 25 different routines from tango to mambo and it is impossible to think about anything else but the music and the steps. The teacher is inspirational – she picks some great tracks to dance to; everything from Santana to Ricky Martin, from Cuba to Rio. The class is for people of all shapes and sizes, all ages and backgrounds. I’ve met some lovely people at dance classes and some have become friends so it’s not just about the dancing it’s the social aspect as well. The important thing is to leave your inhibitions at the door and well, dance!

Never the Twain: A twin tale of jealousy and betrayal, love and murder.

The year is 1890. The port of Whitby is heaving with sailors and where there are sailors there are brothels doing a roaring trade. Beautiful identical twins April and May are in desperate straits. They have been abandoned by their actress mother and are about to have their virginity auctioned off to the highest bidder by a notorious brothel madam.

Their fate is hanging in the balance when Captain Edward Driscoll a handsome, wealthy shipping tycoon from Glasgow saves them before they can be deflowered.
But have they exchanged one form of slavery for another?
April, reluctantly swept up in her twin’s secrets and lies unwittingly becomes embroiled in a murderous conspiracy. Is May’s jealousy stronger than the twin bond which has always connected them?

Available from:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2mbA6hp
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2ksAaZI

Jane Fenwick lives in the market town of Settle in Yorkshire, England. She studied education at Sheffield University gaining a B.Ed (Hons) in 1989 and going on to teach primary age range children. Jane decided to try her hand at penning a novel rather than writing school reports as she has always been an avid reader, especially enjoying historical and crime fiction. She decided to combine her love of both genres to write her first historical crime novel Never the Twain. Jane has always been a lover of antiques, particularly art nouveau and art deco ceramics and turned this hobby into a business opening an antiques and collectables shop in Settle. However her time as a dealer was short lived; she spent far too much time in the sale rooms buying items that ended up in her home rather than the shop! Animal welfare is a cause close to Jane’s heart and she has been vegetarian since the age of fourteen. For the last twenty years she has been trustee of an animal charity which rescues and rehomes cats, dogs and all manner of creatures looking for a forever home. Of course several of these have been “adopted” by Jane!

Jane has always loved the sea and although she lives in the Yorkshire Dales she is particularly drawn to the North East coast of Yorkshire and Northumberland. This coastline is where she gets her inspiration for the historical crime and romance novels she writes. She can imagine how the North East ports would have looked long ago with a forest of tall masted ships crammed together in the harbours, the bustling streets congested with sailors, whalers, chandlers and sail makers. These imaginings provide the backdrop and inspire her to create the central characters and themes of her novels. As she has always loved history she finds the research particularly satisfying.

When she isn’t walking on Sandsend beach with her dog Scout, a Patterdale “Terrorist” she is to be found in her favourite coffee shop gazing out to sea and dreaming up her next plot. Jane is currently writing a historical saga series again set on the North East coast beginning in 1765. The first two books are being edited at the moment; My Constant Lady and The Turning Tides. Look out for My Constant Lady in 2020.
Find her on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook , Pinterest or Web.

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*REVIEW* ~ A Discarded Son (The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book 3) by Lorna Peel

#historicalfiction #histfic #romance #victorian #ireland

Book Blurb

Can Will and Isobel right the wrongs of the past without hurting those closest to them?

Dublin, Ireland, 1881. Isobel Fitzgerald’s mother, Martha, marries solicitor James Ellison but an unexpected guest overshadows their wedding day. Martha’s father is dying and he is determined to clear his conscience before it is too late. Lewis Greene’s confession ensures the Ellisons’ expectation of a quiet married life is gone and that Isobel’s elder brother, Alfie Stevens, will be the recipient of an unwelcome inheritance.

When a bewildering engagement notice is published in The Irish Times, the name of one of the persons concerned sends Will and Isobel on a race against time across Dublin and forces them to break a promise and reveal a closely guarded secret.

My Review

An emotional and well-crafted family saga ~ 5 stars

This is the third instalment of Lorna Peel’s excellent series The Fitzgeralds of Dublin. The author transports the reader effortlessly to Victorian Ireland and I quickly settled into the read.

Will and Isobel, once again at the centre of the story, continue to do their utmost to do the very best for themselves and their extended family and friends as they are confronted with numerous surprises, good and bad. It was a pleasure to follow them all as they endeavour to adapt and survive what life throws at them.

It is evident that the author has meticulously researched her subject material, from the day to day domestic endeavours of middle class families, to medical practices and the treatment of those with learning difficulties, the law and the wider social and political situation in Ireland at the time.

Will and Isobel are a couple whose lives I have followed since reading A Scarlet Woman and A Suitable Wife (click on book titles for reviews). I enjoyed reading how their love and mutual respect for each other continue to deepen as their relationship develops. I have also enjoyed reading about the other characters in their extended family and circle of friends, which the author develops further within this novel.

The read is perfect for readers who are looking for a rich and authentic work of historical fiction, one with elements of romance, family loyalties and commitment.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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http://lornapeel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/LornaPeelAuthor

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*REVIEW* ~ The Firebrand (Great Chicago Fire Trilogy #3) , by Susan Wiggs

#historicalromance #suffragettes #romance

Book Blurb

On October 8, 1871, one small spark ignites the entire city of Chicago, sending its residents into panic. But amid the chaos, a chance encounter leads to an unexpected new love. Wiggs’s USA Today bestselling trilogy is now reissued.

Chicago is burning

And Lucy Hathaway is running for her life.
As she rushes past a fine hotel engulfed in flames, a wrapped bundle
tumbles from a window into her arms. Seconds later the building
crumbles–and Lucy is astonished to discover the swaddled blanket
contains a baby.

Five years later Lucy walks into Rand
Higgins’s bank and knows: the orphan she rescued that day actually
belongs to this ruthless financier. Now, to keep the child she’s come to
love, she’ll have to give up her hard-won freedom and become his wife.
But giving Rand her heart? That, she could never have expected…

My Review ~ Fantastic read! ~5 stars

This is the first book that I have read by Susan Wiggs and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has plenty of tension and conflict between the hero and heroine, which for me is always a strong plus. Not only that but it gave me an insight into the terrible fire that engulfed Chicago and the women’s movement in America at the time.

Rand, renowned for his strong business and financial acumen, is both a scarred and bitter man, the Chicago fire of 1871 having impacted on his life in a terrible way. Yet a miracle happens and the child he thought he had lost reappears in his life. To do right by her he is compelled to forge a marriage of convenience with the headstrong radical and social outcast, Lucy Hathaway. Lucy is everything Rand despises in a woman and sparks fly between the two of them as does an undeniable attraction …

Can this union of opposites ever have a chance of succeeding when many in Chicago society are against it? The journey both the hero and the heroine embark on is an emotional one and I admired their commitment to the child that they both love. Can Lucy reign in her radical views and activities and conform to the expectations of polite society or will she lose her sense of self in the process? Can Rand change his chauvinistic views and give a little? It is not an easy ride for either of them and there are many hurdles to overcome.

I loved this entertaining romance and the companion books in the series are now on my to read list. I’d highly recommend it.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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*ARC REVIEW* ~ Marquess to a Flame, Rules of the Rogue book 3, by Emily Windsor

#sensual #regency #romance #historicalromance

A London rogue with a winter’s heart… A Cornish lady with a glimpse of spring…. Seasons collide & passions flame as the seducer becomes the seduced.

Tone: Warm. Witty. Romantic.
Heat Level: Sensual. Moderate.

Release Date: 30th January 2019

Blurb

A winter’s heart…

“Debonair, handsome and with a devil’s smile. How could any woman resist?”

The Marquess of Winterbourne has long been guided by his Rules of the Rogue, but as emissary for the Crown, his next mission will break every single one. Sent to the wilds of Cornwall to beguile secrets from a country miss, the last thing this rogue expects is to unearth his own buried heart.
A taste of spring…

“A rogue and a fribble. How could any woman succumb?”

Miss Tamsyn Penrose remains far from impressed by charming London scoundrel Lord Winterbourne, preferring a wild gallop over the moors to flashing black eyes and fulsome flattery. But as danger lurks and prejudice ebbs, she uncovers a complex man who awakens her hidden strength and arouses her forgotten fire.
Seasons collide…

Desire sparks and passion flares in this Cornish land of cove and tor. Can Tamsyn step from the shadow of her past? And will Jack Winterbourne tear up the rules for a woman who maddens his senses and thaws his heart?

A sensual Regency Romance with warmth and wit, this story also includes a fusty valet with a secondary love story, picnics, swordplay, peacocks and…piskies.

My Review ~ 5 stars

Witty and Suspenseful 

I loved this witty and suspenseful Regency Romance, penned by Emily Windsor. In it, the quintessential London rake, Jack Winterbourne, is brought to his knees by a country miss, Tamsyn Penrose. We met Jack in previous books in the series and I have been eagerly awaiting his story as he appeared to be a rogue beyond redemption! Although it is not necessary to read the other books in the series, I’d urge you to do so as they are equally as enthralling as this one.

I loved both the hero and heroine. Indeed, I went through the whole gamut of emotions when reading this novel – a number of scenes had me recoiling in horror, whilst others had me laughing and crying with laughter – the antics of Jack, Tamsyn and the cast of supporting characters kept me entertained throughout. The read contains a secondary romance between Jack’s valet and Tamsyn’s companion and this added to my enjoyment.

The book refers to moving events from both Jack and Tamsyn’s past, events which have shaped their characters. The author does an excellent job of illustrating how both the hero and heroine need to overcome their inner conflicts to ensure their HEA. It is not an easy path but throughout the read I was rooting for them to be together, although at times I did want to shake them and give them a good talking to!

Emily Windsor skilfully weaves romance coupled with sparkling and witty dialogue with danger and suspense which kept me guessing throughout. Will Jack and Tamsyn overcome issues from their past and take a chance on love before it’s too late? Will dangers from Tamsyn’s past come back to ruin her future happiness? Can a rogue’s heart finally thaw?

All in all a super read for fans of sensual Regency Romance which contains wit, charm and romance in spades. Thoroughly recommended.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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*REVIEW* – The Path to Horn Cottage: A Cunning Folk Mystery, by Prudence S Thomas

#fantasy #alternatehistory #suspense #magic #crime #mystery

Blurb

Horn Cottage, an ancient cave house, has been home to the cunning folk of Thornton Cleveleys for generations. The early death of her mother left Meryall as the cunning woman for her village before her training was complete. A young man seeking Meryall’s help to find his missing sister draws her into an ever more complex and sinister mystery. Can she use her divination skills to help solve the mystery of the missing woman and avert a tragedy? An atmospheric journey through a mystical land, The Path to Horn Cottage is the first book in the Cunning Folk Mysteries series.

My Review

A Delightful Read – 5 Stars *****

I found Prudence S Thomas’ A Path to Horn Cottage to be a thoroughly entertaining read, which effortlessly transported me into a world of magic and belief in the old gods and their ways.

Also what a gorgeous cover – it perfectly reflects the essence of the story and it’s central character, the young ‘cunning woman’ Meryall, as she strives to reveal the whereabouts of a missing woman whilst balancing her own responsibilities to fellow villagers. As the story unfolds Meryall finds she has to journey from her home in her quest to uncover the shocking truth.

The author does an excellent job of creating an alternative reality where England has resisted the conversion to Christianity, instead cleaving to the old religion and its associated magic. I liked the central character Meryall: a strong and capable young woman, who is finding her way in life. She harbours her own doubts and frustrations as she seeks to balance her duty as her village’s ‘cunning woman’ with her natural curiosity to explore more of the world. Her partner Madoc is a perfect foil for her. The book is full of many interesting secondary characters, not least Meryall’s adversary.

I enjoyed the world the author has created,  – it is clear she has done a considerable amount of research into making it both credible and diverting. I look forward to reading more about Meryall in future works.

Recommended for readers who enjoy a suspenseful read set in a historical/fantasy context.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

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https://prudencesthomas.com/

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