25 May 2020

The Adventures of Tom Finch, Gentleman by Lucy May Lennox

shortlisted for Book of the Month

Romance
18th century 
England

What becomes of a wannabe libertine in early 18th-century London who is continually thwarted in his rake’s progress by his remarkable musical talent and innate decency? Added to these confounding factors, Tom Finch, one of a stable of bastards sired by a poxy earl, has been blind from early childhood. In Lucy May Lennox’s delightful romp through Hanoverian England, The Adventures of Tom Finch, Gentleman, her unique protagonist is one of many characters that at first glance appear right out of costume-drama central casting but stubbornly play against stereotype. And it’s the characters that make this novel such a jolly read.

This is not to gainsay Ms Lennox’s skill in constructing a plot line that provides plenty of interest and pace. Tom Finch has survived through most of his adult life on the largesse of a domineering widowed aunt, Lady Gray, the sister of his noble father who has appointed herself wrangler of her intemperate brother’s herd of illegitimate sons and cast-aside daughters from his first marriage. However, Lady Gray has an insatiable taste for opera and a not unrelated soft spot for her musical prodigy nephew. Her modest largesse, together with Tom’s irregular earnings from writing broadside tunes, tutoring aspiring sopranos, and serving as rehearsal music master for Handel’s operas at the Theatre Royal, allow Tom to maintain a slightly tatty and very jumbled household near Covent Garden’s theatres, stews, and alehouses. 

Although he's a voracious and somewhat indiscriminate consumer of the services of the area’s concubines, Tom’s heart resolutely belongs to a notorious prostitute, Sally Salisbury. However, his ill-advised loyalty to Sally is tested when he’s hired to tutor a promising young half-English soprano, Tess Turnbridge, newly arrived under questionable circumstances from Naples and her Italian mother’s family. The remainder of the book is taken up with the intriguing antics of Tom, Tess, Sal, and a memorable parade of extended family members, quirky acquaintances, and opera folk. 

Ms Lennox is very adept at deeply immersing readers in the sensory details and social conventions of the 18th century—she plunges us in from the first pages and never lets us up for air. She has both an expansive and nuanced skill with period idiom, as well as a remarkable ability to convey the experience of a blind man in a time before accommodations for sightlessness—braille, service animals—making his way personally and professionally in a sighted world. Her attention to every detail of character and setting allows her to continually surprise the reader with twists in both the behavior and backstory of her parade of memorable personalities.

This is a must read for any lover of fiction, not only of English and/or 18th century tales. Tom Finch is a finely crafted and wonderful book for the general reader as much as the historical fiction devotee. I highly recommend this book.


Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds 

© Jeffrey Walker
 e-version reviewed




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24 May 2020

Guest Spot - Alison Morton



Persistence and determination

Ten years ago, I started thrusting books on the world. Broadcaster Sue Cook, a long-standing friend of Roma Nova, commented by my third book that she admired my persistence. Now there are nine. And persistence is the key to a successful writing career. So how did this work out?

Alison & Sue Cook

August 2009:
A really bad film sends me to my desk, and within 90 days, I have typed a story of 90,000 words. No clue what to do with the finished manuscript, but it’s bound to be snapped up and sold in every shop and airport.

2010-12: A humbling apprenticeship. I discover I know nothing about the book world or novel writing craft despite being a life-long avid reader. Although ‘high concept and well-written’ according to professional assessors, my story is covered in layers of wishy-washyness and undirected – certainly not ready for agents, publishers or unprotected readers.  I start a blog, though (https://alison-morton.com), as I knew from my business days that you need a wholly owned presence in cyberspace.

I join a writers’ circle, acquire a critique writing partner, go to conferences, read craft books, study on courses and in classes, and hone. And I mean hone. You have never seen such scalpel action on a writer’s work. I put it through professional assessments – tough and even tougher. At last, a reasonably publishing manuscript emerges.

My desk isn’t visible through the layers of multiple rejection letters saying, ‘intelligent and well-crafted, but we don’t know how to market it’. I despair. I know my work is of publishable standard; feedback from many quarters said the story was good to go.

During this ‘apprenticeship’, I make connections and come across self-publishing experts in person and virtually like Helen Hollick.

Alison, Anna Belfrage, Helen Hollick
2013: Structurally and copy-edited, proofed and put together beautifully by SilverWood Books, INCEPTIO hits the world. PERFIDITAS follows six months later (It’s fully drafted by the time INCEPTIO came out, so I’m not being super-productive!). Am taken aback by the amount of PR/marketing needed: blog tours, reviews, guest posts, competitions, talks, local radio, let alone feeding my own blog.

2014: SUCCESSIO comes out in June and I’m interviewed by no less a person than broadcaster Sue Cook (https://youtu.be/56IL5BPB1p8)!

I start to get onto the speaking ladder at conferences – small spots but exciting. But I realise my writing life has to change. It’s the fine choice indies have to make – writing or marketing. The answer is both.  Planning is key whether it’s speaking, attending, selling your books, requesting reviews, running your social media, writing guest posts, packing your exhibition box or considering next year’s events.

And you learn to write on planes and trains.


2015: AURELIA comes out – the first of a new trilogy – set the late 1960s. Originally, it was going to be a single sequel, but I have too much story, so another trilogy. That will be it. Or so I think. I go to the US and chair the indie panel at the Historical Novel Society conference with Helen, Anna Belfrage and Geri Clouston of IndieBRAG.

2016: The year the Ryanair crew recognise me when I came back home to France from my tenth gig in the UK. I realise I’m doing too much. Still, I’d chair the indie panel at the 2016 HNS Conference, launch my fifth book, INSURRECTIO (endorsed by Conn Iggulden!) at the London Book Fair and speak at an event with Kate Mosse!

2017: RETALIO comes out in April followed by CARINA, a novella, in November. I only achieve this by gluing myself into my chair and doing fewer events, although I had the pleasure of speaking in Dublin for the first time.

2018: Persuaded by the dynamic force known as Helen Hollick, I move several light years from my comfort zone and write a short story for 1066 Turned Upside Down alternative history collection. No problem with the alternative history side; this was the genre I write in – I give talks in it – but a short story? Um…  I write 90-100,000 word books. But somehow it works. This impels me to publish a short story collection of my own – ROMA NOVA EXTRA. Oh, and I represent the indie world on a panel at CrimeFest.

2019: The great change in Roma Nova: reorganisation and brand new covers! Each heroine will now have four books – three novels and a novella to their name – and the series will split into the Carina and Aurelia strands. If there’s one thing that’s constant in indie publishing, it’s change. NEXUS, the novella that completes the Aurelia strand, came out in September 2019.

Where next? Who knows, but that’s the unnerving, but always exciting roll of indie author life.

About the Roma Nova thrillers
Roma Nova is an imaginary country somewhere in South Central Europe. Developing along an alternative timeline from ours, it’s a survivor from the mess at the end of the Roman Empire, its people value strength, service and loyalty.
Women have always been prominent from the first day they buckled on armour and stood side by side with their men to defend their tiny country. They run the government, businesses and families. But men are in no way disadvantaged.
Two ‘strands’ centre round two tough but fallible heroines – Carina and Aurelia – both from the leading Mitela family. They are so similar in character, but their temperaments are different. Coffee is a must for both, but Aurelia likes a French brandy and Carina a chilled Castra Lucillan white wine. But both will scale Olympus and fight to their own death to defend Roma Nova from its enemies.
Alison’s Amazon page: http://Author.to/AlisonMortonAmazon
(All books also available on Apple, Kobo and Nook and also as paperbacks)

A bonus! You can download a free guide to the Roma Nova books or if you sign up to my mailing list, you also get two free short stories.





Who is Alison?
Alison Morton writes the award-winning Roma Nova thriller series – ‘intelligent adventure thrillers with heart.’ She blends her deep love of Roman history with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, adventure and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected an MA History.

All six full-length Roma Nova novels have been awarded the BRAG Medallion. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices.  AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. SUCCESSIO was selected as an Editor’s Choice in The Bookseller.

A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, Alison misspent decades clambering over Roman sites throughout Europe. Fascinated by the mosaics at Ampurias (Spain), at their creation by the complex, power and value-driven Roman civilisation, she started wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by strong women...

Now she continues to write thrillers, cultivates a Roman herb garden and drinks wine in France with her husband.

Where to find Alison on social media
Connect with Alison on her Roma Nova site: http://alison-morton.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/alison_morton @alison_morton




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22 May 2020

A Discovering Diamonds Review of Eastbound from Flagstaff by Annette Valentine


AMAZON UK 
AMAZON US 
AMAZON CA 
Amazon AU
Goodreads

Fictional Drama
1920s 
United States

Set in the 1920s, Eastbound from Flagstaff by Annette Valentine is the story about Simon Hagan, his inner struggles with love, and the tragedy that many times can be a consequence of that love. The story begins in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1929. As Hagan prepares to finally welcome the love of his life, who is arriving eastbound from Flagstaff, his anxiety sets in as the bus station clerk starts to inform Hagan that the bus is usually on time, but…  Before the clerk can finish his sentence, the clerk's phone rings. Valentine ends the first chapter with Hagan thinking, “And once again, I felt powerless.” Valentine then jumps back to 1902, and the beginning of the Hagan’s life.

Historically, Valentine takes readers on one man’s journey through the first thirty years of the 20th century. By telling Hagan’s story, she unfolds how life was for a common man who was born into a Kentucky tobacco farming family. After the death of his mother, Hagan leaves the farm and moves to Detroit to work in the automotive industry. After befriending a local family, he eventually finds work as a police officer, following in the tradition of most of the men in this family. Sadly, just as Hagan’s life starts to fall into place, he ends up having to move to New Mexico because of a diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB). Soon after his time in the sanatorium, the Great Depression hits, and Hagan finds himself coming full circle back to his Kentucky roots, setting the stage for the next phase of his adult life.

The history Valentine weaves into Hagan’s journey as he experiences multiple emotions triggered by personal events, builds a story that readers can relate to. Valentine crafts a story that helps readers feel Hagan’s pain, his sorrow, and even his anger when life deals blows that make him question his faith. Valentine equally weaves in Hagan’s passion for those closest to him, which enhances the sense of sorrow that a man, during this time, would have felt.

Although Valentine sets up the theme of Hagan’s feeling of being powerless, which leads to his struggle with faith, this theme soon becomes obscure in the everyday details of Hagan’s life. It is only toward the end of Hagan’s journey that Valentine returns to the sense of inner conflict that takes the main character back to where his sorrows began. It was at this point that I went back to re-read the first chapter and was able to see how Valentine did use the theme to subtly move the story forward.


Eastbound from Flagstaff is a story of a man, who like many men of this time period, experienced love and suffered heartache because of the times. This is a story, almost a personal narrative, of a regular guy and his life at the beginning of the 20th century. While the details and descriptions throughout the novel are evocative, the slow pacing of the plot somewhat hindered the actual telling of the story for readers who expect a faster, exciting pace. Eastbound from Flagstaff is recommended for readers who enjoy a slow build, lots of detail, and don’t mind waiting for the action.


Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds 

© Cathy Smith
 e-version reviewed





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20 May 2020

A Discovering Diamonds Review of Killing Kiowas by Shaun Ivory



Western (America Made Me Book 2)
1840s
Texas 

Conor O' Farrell, having survived the Civil War but still hunted by the Pinkerton Agency for a crime he didn't commit, makes his way to Texas and joins a team of cattle herders despite his total lack of experience. Pretty soon he makes a powerful enemy as they make their long and dusty way to Abilene. Along the way they encounter sudden storms, rivers to cross, a stampede and Indians.

Following an ambush by his nemesis and left to die, Conor is saved by a runaway squaw with whom he has a brief relationship for he leaves her for a better life. Finding himself in El Paso, he is taken under the wing of a retired gunfighter for Conor is on a mission of revenge.

Essentially, this is a straightforward Western story – not a genre I am particularly familiar with – but there is the underlying premise that this is a continuing story and is relevant to the development of the central character. Written largely in the vernacular, the language and dialogue sound pretty authentic to me, the action is fast paced and the characters well formed.

I had a few niggles: the title is perhaps a touch misleading as very few Kiowas were harmed whereas one might think there are mass slaughters to read about. There are a couple of minor typos. Although it can be read as a stand alone, as always it is advantageous to know the back story, for previous references in this book are few and far between and not fully comprehensive. The ending, too, makes it quite clear that there is more to follow. 

All in all, an enjoyable story of the early Wild West with a few legendary names thrown in for local colour.

© Richards Tearle

Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds 




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18 May 2020

A Discovering Diamonds Review of The Shadow of Fenrir by Peter Fox




Fictional Saga
Anglo Saxon
England

The Shadow of Fenrir is the first volume in the historical adventure series The Wolves of Dumnonia. Inspired by events recorded in the early mediaeval Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the Wolves of Dumnonia saga recounts the twilight years of one of the last great British kingdoms: Dumnonia.

This first story in Peter Fox’s Dumnonia Saga opens with an exciting scene off the coast of southwest England. A skiff carrying two young brothers to safety collides with a Viking longship in the mist. One of the Norsemen, Thorvald, insists on rescuing a woman clinging to the skiff’s wreckage. She has a baby clutched to her chest. The other, older boy and his companions are left to drown. The woman and child are then taken back to Thorvald’s fjord settlement in Norway. Here, the child is re-named Rathulf and grows up believing he is Thorvald’s slave-born foster son. This is not the case: he is a noble-born Briton and the woman was his wet-nurse. 

Rathulf does not learn about this until he is nearly sixteen and approaching his maturity test, a rite of passage named ‘the leap’. The truth is kept from him by a blood pact between the men who witnessed his rescue. One of Rathulf’s young companions, however, overhears a conversation between Sigvald (who was on the longship) and his feisty wife, Helga. The blood pact includes a secret trunk containing objects that define Rathulf’s real identity as a British prince named Caelin ap Cadwyr. Alrick decides keeping this from his friend is wrong and sets about finding the trunk, thereby setting in motion a series of adventures and catastrophes that put his and other boys’ lives in danger, and keep the reader turning pages until late in the night: will Rathulf learn his true identity, and if so, what will he choose to do?

Author Peter Fox knows his epoch and describes the setting so well I could smell the damp peat smoke in the windowless homes and sense the ice-cold fjord water churning beneath the rowers’ oars. Characters come to life with sharp and amusing dialogue. At its heart, this is a terrific adventure story for boys, complete with blood-thirsty action and dollops of toilet humour. 

All in all, this is an enjoyable action/adventure and well worth the read, although it is perhaps somewhat over-long. A few judicious cuts would have avoided unnecessary repetition. At one point, a boy retells in detail events that are described – in detail – in a previous chapter. I also shuddered at various inappropriate modern expressions. Would a woman living on a ninth-century Norse farming settlement really have gone on a shopping spree? Would young Norse boys have understood the phrase ‘you’ll have to clean up your act’? This type of vocabulary jars because the historical context is otherwise so accurate. I strongly suggest that the author seeks a good technical editor to go through the next book/s in the series.

The Shadow of Fenrir introduces a brave and compassionate young hero and I look forward to reading his further adventures. Well recommended as both adult and y.a. reading, especially for boys.


© John Darling
 e-version reviewed




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17 May 2020

Guest Spot - Jen Black




I’m an ex-library manager resident in the Tyne valley in Northumberland, a wonderful county for history lovers (and dog walkers!). The Roman Wall and Vindolanda are well known, but the castles, bastles, fortified farms and wonderful landscapes are equally amazing. I take lots of pics and pop them on my blog. (http://jenblackauthor.blogspot.com)

On a clear winter’s day I can see the snow on the Cheviots that form the border with Scotland, and the beautiful unspoilt coastline is barely thirty minutes away by car. My degree in English Language & Literature didn’t help me get an agent interested in my first attempt at a novel and because I baulked at paying postage on a paper ms across the Atlantic, I tried e-publishers. The first one accepted me. Perhaps this should have told me something, but I was so pleased I just went along for the ride and “met” my first authors there.

 

That was back in 2008. Since then I have learned a lot about editing, promotion and networking. My book was duly published and the same day, the publisher announced bankruptcy. Except that she didn’t exactly call it that, and she didn’t follow the rules about doing it. I learned a lot about how Americans handle themselves in tight spots over the next few months.


I signed with other independent publishers including Quaestor 2000, who published 2 of my titles in paperback (they still float around as second hand book, which is disconcerting as I have re-edited and re-published them on Amazon Kindle) but they too failed one way or another, and out of sheer frustration decided to go with Amazon Kindle. I now have a dozen published titles there, some also in paperback.



My favourite author will always be Dorothy Dunnett and reading her rather austere conception of Marie de Guise set me researching and thinking about a softer, warmer personality. Another Marie slowly grew in my mind. Several people told me how much they liked Matho, a minor character in Fair Border Bride and why didn’t I write about him? So I did. I brought Matho and Marie together in a trilogy. The everyday facts are as close to history as I can get them but because Matho is entirely fictional, so is the relationship between them. I hope Marie had an Englishman who helped her, but I doubt it!


The SCOTTISH QUEEN trilogy is an action-packed romance set during the turbulent English-Scottish wars of the 1540s. Powerful lords surround the infant queen of Scotland and the valiant Dowager Queen struggles to save her daughter’s crown. Matho Spirston, initially a diffident young guard captain at a small English border castle, becomes entangled in a plot to kidnap the young queen.

Book 1: Abduction of the Scots Queen Encouraged by his well-born friend Harry Wharton though Matho thinks they have as much chance of success as a "duckling chased by a fox,” they set out for Scotland to kidnap the child queen. Meg Douglas, King Henry's headstrong niece, pursues the same quest – and she flatters Matho into helping her and at the same time snares the interest of Lord Lennox, who alternately woos both her and the Dowager Queen. 

Book 2: The Queen’s Courier Love is not easy to find or sustain amongst all the plotting and violence of the times. When the Queen Dowager repudiates Lord Lennox he once more turns his attention to Meg. Matho Spirston, now coming into his own as a bold, gruff product of the borderlands, falls for a Scots lass but ill luck finds them in Edinburgh during the English invasion of the town.


Book 3: The Queen’s Letters
A grief-stricken Matho puts his life in danger when he fulfils his bargain with the Dowager by delivering letters to her relatives in France. Dodging assassins, learning the language as he travels, danger intensifies when he sets out to unmask a powerful enemy and the hangman threatens once more. Meg achieves her dearest wish but finds life is not quite as she imagined.


I have written four Viking stories set in either Dublin, Ullapool or Stornoway. A Viking called Flane features in three of them and Finlay of Alba sets out to rescue the kidnapped maiden in Viking Summer. 


Four stories with a romance and an adventure make up what I call my Romance Quartet. Set in either Regency or Victorian England - northern England, as I know little of London, you will get to know my heroines: Daisy and the thief, Frances and the fortune hunter, Melanie and the smuggler and Leigh and the ghost. Captivating one and all!


And of course, there is my old favourite, my first novel, now re-edited and repackaged as Alba is Mine, a tale of Vikings and Scots in the 11th century and very, very loosely based on the MacBeth story. 



People can also visit my Page at fb.me/JenBlackauthor and send messages to at m.me/JenBlackauthor.


AMAZON Central, where all the books are listed:





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15 May 2020

A Discovering Diamonds Review of The Prisoner In The Tower by Dawn Harris



Murder Mystery
Late 18th Century
Isle of Wight

This is the third Drusilla Davanish story in which our heroine plays host to two of William Pitt's spy masters at her inherited stately home on the Isle of Wight. A number of spies in France have been compromised by the actions of an unknown double agent. And one of the spies in danger, Radleigh Reevers, is the man that Drusilla loves/doesn't love. It's complicated…

A messenger is sent to France to warn Reevers, but he is murdered, supposedly by smugglers, before he even leaves the island. Needless to say, Drusilla refuses to believe that he wasn't murdered by this new traitor, whoever he happens to be. But, following on from a previous volume, there is also a plot to kidnap Pitt and take him to France where he will be put on trial and executed.

I have to say that there was a lot about this book that I didn't like. It was a little too short – just two hundred pages – and the title is a little misleading: yes, one of the characters was incarcerated but they were only there for a chapter or two and never visited by any of the other characters. There was also a number of turns of phrase that were repeated too many times, too many aunts/uncles/cousins/godmothers, especially those who took no significant part in the story and a few too many wild assumptions with no basis of proof. I admit that I may have suffered from not having read any of the previous stories, but it is pretty much a stand-alone as details are filled in at the appropriate times.

And yet ….

I have to say that I enjoyed this read despite my misgivings above. The atmosphere of the Isle of Wight is captured very well, the relationship between Drusilla and Radleigh quite captivating and there are some very good cameos, most notably from Drusilla's faithful groom, John Mudd. The plot twists and turns as a good mystery should and suspects are falling over themselves to get 'into the frame'. In actual fact, in my view, it wouldn't make a bad film or mini-series.


Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds 

© Richard Tearle






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13 May 2020

Songbird by Karen Heenan

shortlisted for Book of the Month


Goodreads

Fictional Drama
Tudor / Henry VIII
England 

"Bess has the voice of an angel, or so Henry VIII declares when he buys her from her father. As a member of the Music, the royal company of minstrels, Bess grows up within the decadent Tudor court, navigating the ever-changing tide of royals and courtiers. Friends come and go as cracked voices, politics, heartbreak, and death loom over even the lowliest of musicians. Tom, her first and dearest friend, is her only constant. But as Bess becomes too comfortable at court, she may find that constancy has its limits."

I think, perhaps, that the official blurb, above, does not do the book itself justice. It's not that there's anything inaccurate about the blurb, but this book is so much more than what is described on the short back cover blurb! We first meet Bess when, as a young girl, she is taken to court by her father and left there. She's confused, she doesn't understand why she can't go home again and she's more than a little intimidated by having to sing in front of a giant. This giant, of course, turns out to be Henry VIII, and Bess has been sold to Henry so that she can join the King's Music. She's a young girl when this happens, and she's a young woman by the end of the book and so we really do see her grow up at court. 

We get a fascinating glimpse of that rich, vibrant Tudor court, and we do get to meet some key players there - as well as the king, we meet Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn and Thomas Wolsey. Bess, Tom, and their friends interact with these people, but the real drama is with the fictional characters, who walk a strange path between members of the court and the life of a servant. It's not a view which is often presented and I found the premise an interesting one.

Tom and Bess' relationship is fraught with difficulties and what I enjoyed was how those difficulties were based on problems which arose from the historical setting. No one here steps out of their period, even for a second. Their attitudes and their circumstances are very 'Tudor', but within that, of course, there is scope for people to behave in very different ways. Bess matures in a believable way, as does Tom. Other characters, though minor, are well drawn: devout, tragic Agnes, Robin, and the minstrel Ewan, all have their distinct character traits.

Bess' younger years are almost like being at boarding school, and she does come to view the court as her home. This is a mixed blessing for her and her dilemmas, longings and regrets felt very real.

Ms Heenan uses the history well, tying in known events, such as the outbreak of the Sweating Sickness, to provide drama for her fictional characters. This too made their travails seem all the more real.

Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds

©  Lucy Townshend








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11 May 2020

THE KING'S RETRIBUTION by Mercedes Rochelle

shortlisted for Book of the Month



Fictional Saga
14 Century
England

Following on from the previous volume, A King Under Siege, this continues the story of Richard II. Having been ruled and been frustrated by his uncles and other powerful nobles, Richard declares his majority, ruling in his own way and trying to put aside the humiliation he suffered. It does not start well as his young wife, Anne, dies in his arms. And it does not take long to alienate the powerful Thomas, Earl of Arundel who rises up in rebellion against him.

Mercedes Rochelle, well known for her her previous historical novels, has captured perfectly the tense political atmosphere of the early to mid 1300s, full of mighty personalities and egos. She has an easy, fluid style that makes reading easy despite the huge task before her. Richard himself is presented as a man of his times having grown from the  petulant child of the first book to a king who knows what he wants, even if he does sometimes go too far to get it. We feel his pain at the death of his wife, the one person who could calm him down at times when his temper got the better of him. Perhaps things might have been different had she lived for there is no doubt in the author's mind that the two were very much in love and that she was the calming influence that might have saved a lot of trouble and, eventually, Richard's crown. And behind all this is the truly powerful figure of John of Gaunt.

I really enjoyed this book – as I had the previous volume. Public knowledge of Richard II does not extend much beyond the heroic actions of a 9-year-old boy quelling the riots on London to his ignominious death at Pontefract. Ms Rochelle goes a long way to filling in those gaps whilst presenting Richard in a very human way. Also, she thoughtfully provides a list of the major characters as the earldoms did seem to change hands rather a lot in those days.

As the book ends with the promise of the storm that was Richard's cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, I feel that Book 3 is going to be a corker and I look forward to its completion in due course.

Meanwhile, I heartily recommend this to those who love historical fiction at its best.

Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds 

© Richard Tearle










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