Thursday, December 7, 2017

On A Stormy Primeval Shore by Diane Scott Lewis


In 1784, Englishwoman Amelia Latimer sails to the new colony of New Brunswick in faraway Canada. She’s to marry a man chosen by her soldier father. Amelia is repulsed by her betrothed, refuses to marry, then meets the handsome Acadian trader, Gilbert, a man beneath her in status. 
Gilbert must protect his mother who was attacked by an English soldier. He fights to hold on to their property, to keep it from the Loyalists who have flooded the colony, desperate men chased from the south after the American Revolution. 

In a land fraught with hardship, Amelia and Gilbert struggle to overcome prejudice and political upheaval, while forging a life in a remote country where events seek to destroy their love and lives.


This is one of the Canadian Brides Series  produced by BWL Publishing, a twelve book series of novels about pioneer men and women who journey to Canada to start new lives.

Amelia Latimer arrives in New Brunswick from England in the late 18th Century at the behest of her domineering father who wants to marry her to a soldier. Unfortunately for Amelia she has a mind of her own, a characteristic discouraged in these times of male domination and makes it clear she has no intention of marrying a man she hates.

This is a time when the English and French are fighting over territory in this comparatively new land, and it was considered poor judgement for an English woman to fall in love with an Acadian trader. However Amelia knows her heart and she is determined to defy her father.

Further south, the Americans are fighting their War of Independence and Loyalist soldiers driven from the country enter New Brunswick and threaten Gilbert’s ownership of his property. He also has a mother to protect from prejudice in a land where scraping a living is a challenge for the most determined, and Gilbert is also set on claiming the woman he loves.

The historical details of a military garrison, local prejudice and the hardships of traders forging new lives in a harsh land in this era is well researched and portrayed in colourful detail.

Amelia and Gilbert are well matched and Ms Scott Lewis’ story of courage and a love which prevails, will surely charm all readers.

Buy Link

Each of the Canadian Historical Brides novels features one of the ten Canadian provinces and two of the novels feature the three Canadian Territories. These novels combine fact and fiction to tell the stories of the immigrant brides and grooms who came to Canada from diverse backgrounds to join in marriage and build the foundation of the free and welcoming country that is Canada.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Murderess by Jennifer Wells



The Murderess is a heart-stopping story of family, love, passion and betrayal set against the backdrop of war-ravaged Britain. Perfect for fans of Lesley Pearse and Dilly Court.
1931: Fifteen year old Kate witnesses her mother Millicent push a stranger from a station platform into the path of an oncoming train. There was no warning, seemingly no reason, and absolutely no remorse.

1940: Exactly nine years later, Kate returns to the station and notices a tramp laying flowers on the exact spot that the murder was committed; the identity of the victim, still remains unknown.

With a country torn apart by war and her family estate and name in tatters, Kate has nothing to lose as she attempts to uncover family secrets that date back to the Great War and solve a mystery that blights her family name.


I enjoyed Ms Wells ‘The Liar’ and this novel was equally as well written and compelling. I was intrigued by the different points of view of the characters and at first, I couldn’t tell where the story was going. 

The author left me guessing as to which character I was supposed to feel empathy with. The betrayed Millicent whose only wish was to bear her husband’s child, Kate, who had been lied to for so long that when the secrets started to unravel, as they always do, she was left to make sense of it all.

Or was Rosalie the woman who betrayed and was eventually betrayed the one who deserved pity? Halfway through the story I had a sense of inevitability which played out to a shocking end, but in no way did this detract from the impact of the story.

Ms Wells certainly has a knack for deep and raw emotion that overtakes women whose obsession for motherhood clouds everything else. It can also changes their personalities and in some cases is used as justification for the things they do. In fact I think I enjoyed this story more then her first and look forward to the next.

Jennifer's Contacts

FACEBOOK:      GOODREADS:      TWITTER:  @jenwellswriter

Anita's Contacts

BLOG:       TWITTER: @AnitaSDavison

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Orphan of Florence by Jeanne Kalogridis

In this irresistible historical novel set in the turbulent world of the Medicis, a young woman finds herself driven from pick-pocketing to espionage when she meets a mysterious man.
Giulia has been an orphan all her life. Raised in Florence's famous Ospedale degli Innocenti, her probing questions and insubordinate behavior made her an unwelcome presence, and at the age of fifteen, she was given an awful choice: become a nun, or be married off to a man she didn't love. She chose neither, and after refusing an elderly suitor, Giulia escaped onto the streets of Florence.
Now, after spending two years as a successful pickpocket, an old man catches her about to make off with his purse, and rather than having her carted off to prison he offers her a business proposition. The man claims to be a cabalist, a student of Jewish mysticism and ritual magic, who works for the most powerful families in Florence. But his identity is secret—he is known only as "the Magician of Florence"—and he is in need of an assistant. She accepts the job and begins smuggling his talismans throughout the city.
But the talismans are not what they seem, and neither is the Magician. When Giulia's involvement with him ends with his murder, she's drawn into a treacherous web of espionage and deceit involving the forces of Rome, Naples, and a man known as Lorenzo the Magnificent. Accused of the Magician's murder, Giulia is pursued by the handsome policeman Niccolo, Lorenzo's henchmen, and foreign spies, and in order to survive, she must not only solve the mystery of the mystery of the Magician's murder, but that of her own past.


Giuliana is a 15 year old orphan living off the streets of Florence after being released from an orphanage. She takes responsibility for another young orphan named Tommasso who is 6 years old. As a pickpocket, it was safer for her to dress as a boy, hence she called herself Giuliano. One night, she picks the pocket of an old man who turns out to be the Magician of Florence. Instead of turning her in, he takes her into his fold, promising to teach her the secrets of Magic. It is there she meets Niccolo who was also raised by the Magician. It is then she is thrust into a world of intrigue, murder, dark secrets, and treachery at its worst.

Jeanne Kalogridis has once again spun an enthralling tale filled with enthralling characters who are unpredictable and ever evolving. Some are lovable and some are despicable. With detailed descriptions of city of Florence, its culture and politics, and the colourful dress of its inhabitants, an authentic, genuine setting was brought to life. The story moves along at a fast pace with plenty of twists and turns along the way. Expect the unexpected! Beautifully told, wonderfully creative, this is another lovely novel by one of my favourite authors of all time. Highly, highly recommended.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Good People by Hannah Kent

Short-listed for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction

One of Entertainment Weekly's "Must-Read" books for Fall

From the author of Burial Rites, "a literary novel with the pace and tension of a thriller that takes us on a frightening journey towards an unspeakable tragedy."-Paula Hawkins, bestselling author of The Girl on the Train

Based on true events in nineteenth century Ireland, Hannah Kent's startling new novel tells the story of three women, drawn together to rescue child from a superstitious community. 

Nora, bereft after the death of her husband, finds herself alone and caring for her grandson Micheál, who can neither speak nor walk. A handmaid, Mary, arrives to help Nóra just as rumours begin to spread that Micheál is a changeling child who is bringing bad luck to the valley. Determined to banish evil, Nora and Mary enlist the help of Nance, an elderly wanderer who understands the magic of the old ways.

Set in a lost world bound by its own laws, THE GOOD PEOPLE is Hannah Kent's startling new novel about absolute belief and devoted loveTerrifying, thrilling and moving in equal measure, this follow-up to Burial Rites shows an author at the height of her powers.


I do enjoy a dark book, and this one definitely falls within that category. The story is set in 19th Century Ireland and is set on true events. 

In an isolated community where a physician's aid is difficult to come by, the people depend upon old wives tales, superstitions, and the help of a healer. Nora is the protagoist and when her husband suddenly and unexpectedly dies, she is left alone to raise their handicapped grandson. Unable to run the farm and take care of the invalid child, she hires the help of a young woman named Mary to care for the boy. At first Mary is shocked and struggles to find her comfort in her strange circumstances. Soon, however, her bond with the boy grows. Superstition abounds and Nora is convinced the boy is not her grandson but a changeling left by the mysterious, fairy, magical "good folk".  With the help of the local healer, an old woman who practices with superstition and herbs, the three women set about to return the child to the good people and seek the return of the real boy. 

What transpires is a fascinating tale of misguided intentions, false beliefs, and heart-wrenching circumstances. At times, especially during the middle of the book, it felt almost too hard to believe, nearly fantastical, but then I recalled how this is a story based on an actual occurrence and I read on, unable to put it down. Vividly real, flawed characters grace every page. 

This is a wonderfully dark tale not for the feint of heart. To say it is heart-wrenching is an understatement. This is a great book for book clubs and for Halloween. It will provide hours of discussion! Highly recommended. I loved it very much!