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Rosemary Morris "Rosemary Morris" (Hertfordshire, England)

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The Soft Whisper of Dreams
The Soft Whisper of Dreams
by Christina Courtenay
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Soft Whisper of Dreams by Christina Courtenay, 25 April 2015
The Soft Whispers of Dreams by Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay’s novel The Soft Whispers of Dreams is a page turner, which I read into the small hours of the morning, although I yawned and should have turned off the light and gone to sleep.

After Maddie Browne’s parents die she receives an unwelcome surprise, and must deal with a recurring nightmare about a swing in a garden, a kind red-haired man and a swarthy arms which grabbed her from behind, events that seem to be linked to her childhood.

An encounter with a gypsy fortune-teller reveals that danger will precede happiness. The first part of the prediction is true as Maddie faces one terrifying event after another. The second part is doubtful. Does Alex her best friend’s brother-in-law lust after her or love her?

A well-written novel with unexpected twists and turns.


Agatha Raisin and the Blood of an Englishman
Agatha Raisin and the Blood of an Englishman
by M.C. Beaton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Agatha Raisin and the Blood of an English man by M. C. Beaton, 25 April 2015
Agatha Raisin and the Blood of An Englishman

Although M.C. Beaton’s plots are somewhat far-fetched I don’t have to suspend my belief in them. After all, it could have happened.

I like true to life, fashion-conscious Agatha Raisin, a cunning, ruthless detective, although she smokes, has a drink problem and is always in search of love and romance.

When the baker is murdered at a Christmas pantomime, Agatha, a member of the audience engages her team of detectives to find out ‘who done it’.

With overtones of fee fi fo fum I smell the blood of an Englishman there is a horrifying answer to the question of how the murderer disposed of the body.

If you enjoy detective stories set in an English village with believable characters and a fast pace you will enjoy this one.


Casting Off (Cazalet Chronicles)
Casting Off (Cazalet Chronicles)
by Elizabeth Jane Howard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Casting Off, The Cazalet Chronicles Book Four, 25 April 2015
I really enjoyed Casting Off, the Cazalet Chronicles, Volume Four by Elizabeth Jane Howard.

Most of the cousins, the third generation have grown up and must make their way in the world. As they did so I shared the joys, miseries and realisations of their lives, and those of their parents, and Archie a close family friend, who have their own struggles to deal with.

The author never loses control of her large cast of interesting characters who, by the end of the novel, seemed as real as my friends.

Casting Off is full of historical details large and small. It includes the Labour Party’s triumph at the General Election and the outcome, in the years immediately after the World War II. An era when people come to terms with its effect and, in Great Britain, rationing of food, clothes, petrol and almost everything else. (Recently, I read elsewhere that warm clothes were made from blankets, wool from old knitted garments was unravelled and made into new ones, and blackout curtains were not rationed so some people used them to make clothes.)

If you read this novel and its prequels I doubt you will be disappointed.


Come, Tell Me How You Live: An Archaeological Memoir
Come, Tell Me How You Live: An Archaeological Memoir
by Agatha Christie Mallowan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Come Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie Mallowan, 14 April 2015
I am reading 'Come Tell Me How You Live' by Agatha Christie Mallowan.

In 1930 Agatha Christies married Max Mallowan a young archaeologist. According to the foreword by Jacquetta Hawkes 'Agatha did not see her own renown as any bar to sharing in her husband's work. From the first she took full part in every one of Max's excavations in Syria and Iraq.'

After the 2nd World War Agatha wrote: 'My thoughts turning more and more to those days spent in Syria, and at last I have felt impelled to get out my notes and rough diaries and complete what I had begun....For I love that gentle fertile country (Syria) and its simple people, who know how to laugh and enjoy life; who are idle and gay, and who have dignity, good manners, and a great sense of humour, and to whom death is not terrible.

'Inshallah, I shall go there again, and the things that I love shall not have perished from this earth...

Spring 1944.

Yet, seventy years late, moved to tears by her words in the knowledge of recent events in Syria, I ask myself if anything remains of the Syria she knew and loved.


Confusion: Cazalet Chronicles Book 3
Confusion: Cazalet Chronicles Book 3
by Elizabeth Jane Howard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Confusion: Cazalet Chronicles Book 3 by Elizabeth Jane Howard, 14 April 2015
Confusion, the third volume in Elizabeth Jane Howard’s acclaimed Cazalet Chronicles, begins when Polly sorts out her late mother’s possessions. When she sees the long row of tightly packed clothes she dreads touching them. “It was as though she would be colluding in the inexorable departure, the disappearance that had been made alone and for ever and against everyone’s wishes.’

Yet, life must go on, the Cazalets, including Polly, must move forward, and, indeed they do from March 1942 to April/May 1945. As I read I was immersed in the ups and downs of their lives. The Cazalets, their acquaintances, their friends and their staff sprang to life from the page, and I cared deeply about them.

The details of the era, small and large are so skilfully woven into the novel that I had no difficulty when imagining what life was like during those years.

I look forward to reading Volume Four.


A Nightingale Christmas Wish: (Nightingales 5)
A Nightingale Christmas Wish: (Nightingales 5)
by Donna Douglas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Nightingale Christmas Wish by Donna Douglas, 8 April 2015
A Nightingale Christmas Wish by Donna Douglas

A Nightingale Christmas Wish is the fifth novel about Nightingales, a London hospital, and, amongst others, some of the doctors and nurses who work there.

I have enjoyed each of the previous novels and enjoyed A Nightingale Christmas Wish as much as the previous ones.

“Sister Blake is revisited by a face from the past. Will buried secrets stop her from being happy?

“Lonely Helen Dawson has new responsibilities and trials but is she looking for love in the wrong places?

“And Matron puts the Nightingale first, even before her own health. With war looming large, will Matron and the Nightingale survive?

“With new hardships, new loves and new heartbreak will anyone get their Christmas wish?”

Donna Douglas maintains firm control over her believable characters, their dedication to the hospital and their patients and creates an absorbing novel of loss, love and gain.

It is unnecessary to read the previous novels in the series in order to enjoy A Nightingale Chritsmas Wish, at the end of which I sighed with satisfaction and hoped Donna Douglas will continue the series.


Saved by the Viking Warrior (Mills & Boon Historical)
Saved by the Viking Warrior (Mills & Boon Historical)
by Michelle Styles
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saved by The Viking Warrior by Michelle Styles, 8 April 2015
Saved by The Viking Warrior by Michelle Styles
I read few books published by Mills and Boon in England or elsewhere because I do not enjoy detailed descriptions of how the hero and heroine make love.
However, there are a few Mills and Boon authors some of whose romantic historicals I read. Amongst them are Michelle Styles’ novels set in the Viking era.
I enjoyed Saved by The Viking Warrior about which Michelle Styles explained: “Part of the problem with writing this book was that the primary documentation source is not very good for Northumbria in the ninth century. It is a mixture of legend and fact. Sometimes the facts masquerade as legends and sometimes it is the other way around.”
I enjoyed the historical background in Saved by The Viking as much as I enjoyed the story of “Battle-scarred Thrand the Destroyer who has only one thing on his mind, settling old scores.”
Thrand captures Cwen, an Anglo Saxon lady trained to obedience by her family and late husband, who grieves for the loss of her young son.
Thrand and Cwen must overcome many obstacles while their true characters emerge and they fall in love.
All in all, The Viking Warrior is an enjoyable, light read.


The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Deception (The Shadow of the Unicorn Series Book 2)
The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Deception (The Shadow of the Unicorn Series Book 2)
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Deception by Suzanne de Montigny, 7 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I congratulate Suzanne de Montigny on her new novel The Shadow of The Unicorn, The Deception, Book II, the sequel to The Shadow of The Unicorn, Book I, The Legacy.
In The Deception, the unicorns pledge allegiance to Asaria, who, sixty years earlier, defeated the evil human, Ishmael, in The Legacy, after which the unicorns fled to new pastures far from humans and their allies.
All too soon, the young foals, including Ulysses, must leave their mothers. Icarus the dominant stallion in the herd teaches the youngsters learn skills to protect themselves from humans. After many moons they learned to ride the wind, camouflage themselves and become their shadows so they can walk without leaving a trace on the ground.
Ulysses mistrust of Icarus grows while the inevitable clash with a human occurs.
I enjoyed the story and Suzanne’s exquisite descriptions of the unicorns’ home and their travels to new places.
When I reached the clever twist in the tale at the end of the novel, which nothing prepared me for, I sighed with satisfaction.


The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy (The Shadow of the Unicorn Series Book 1)
The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy (The Shadow of the Unicorn Series Book 1)
Price: £2.87

5.0 out of 5 stars The Shadow of The Unicorn, Book One, The Legacy, 29 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Suzanne de Montigny has created a magical tale of unicorns and dinosaurs, who live in two valleys, and human beings, who settle near the unicorns.

The opening paragraphs drew me into the novel when Suzanne introduces father and son, Polaris, The Great Stallion, and Azaria. I admired the unicorns, Polaris and Azaria, wanted to know more about them and enter their spell-binding world,

The Legacy begins when a dinosaur spooked the mares and Saul, a dinosaur, sent an urgent message for the three herds of unicorns to leave their valley.

Suzanne’s descriptions throughout The Legacy are memorable. Azaria loved this part of the valley where they lived. The grass was tender here with sweet purple flowers that grew between grass blades. Close by a small brook meandered to the river. And, near the creek, stood the large banyan tree where they all met and cooled themselves on hot days, and then gathered to sleep at night.”

Polaris takes Azaria, and Azaria’s friend, Gaelan, to meet Saul, a herbivore, in the valley in which several species of dinosaurs live. Saul introduces the three unicorns to Marrissa and her son, a seer, “who tells strange tales and prophesies that the world will change….There will be a cloud over everything, a lot of animals will die but there’ll be new animals to, replace them, creatures that walk on two legs like carnivorous Rexus dinosaurs.” He also warns them about Ishmael.

It is important for the herds to stick together so that if any of them are wounded they can heal each other with the power of their magical horns.

After a fireball lands in the valley the sun disappears and the change predicted by the seer begins. As I read on my fascination with the world Suzanne de Montigny created grew.

Azaria is frightened by the change to his world but always remembers his mother’s words. “The bad times must end.”

Which traumatic events, I wondered, would take place when the worlds of Ishmael and the unicorns met each other?

Suzanne de Montigny has written a magical novel. I look forward to reading Shadow of the Unicorn, Book Two, The Deception.


Abduction of the Scots Queen
Abduction of the Scots Queen
Price: £2.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Abduction of the Scots Queen by Jen Black, 30 Nov. 2014
Abduction of The Scots Queen

By Jen Black

Before I read Abduction of The Scots Queen by the talented Jen Black I knew very little about Scottish politics in that era. The author skilfully presents the historical personalities and politics of the day without detracting from a fascinating tale of plots and counter-plots, betrayal and love, ambition and greed.

A treaty has been arranged for the infant Queen Mary of Scotland to marry Henry VIII’s son, Prince Edward, when she is ten years old. For political reasons Henry now wants the children to marry immediately. The king has offered a reward to any man who delivers the queen to him.

Matho Spirston’s friend, Harry Wharton, sees this as a way to advance himself. Matho is horrified by the idea. Harry asks his father to allow them to set out immediately because he estimates that England and Scotland will be at war within two weeks.

The Dowager Queen, Arran the Regent and Cardinal Beton favour an alliance with France not Henry the VIII, so Matho becomes “convinced that the Scottish lords are as shifty as the traders at the quayside in Newcastle.” That is also true of a particular lady, Meg Douglas, who also wants to kidnap the queen. Half-sister of the late King of Scotland, who died at Flodden, Meg is the daughter of Henry VIII’s sister. Her father wants her to marry ambitious Mathew Stewart, Earl of Lennox, who has a claim to the throne of Scotland. Lennox courts Mary of Guise, the Dowager Queen, and Meg. At a time when many children died at an early age, if Queen Mary and Prince Edward die, Meg would inherit the thrones of England and Scotland. (Presumably, at that time, the princesses Mary and Elizabeth of England had been disinherited.)

Jen Black is expert at setting scenes. I can always see them in my mind’s eye. For example:- “Meg looked down with a grimace of distaste on the reeking chimneys and roof tiles of Stirling and urged her horse on. Overnight frost had crisped the fallen leaves and adorned them with silver. A blackbird foraged among the brambles, and a robin eyed her from a spindly mountain ash.”

I can also visualise the Dowager Queen singing a lullaby to her daughter. “…this one wore a flimsy white nightdress with soft folds bunched and tangled around her slender feet. A crimson and gold embroidered shawl hugged her shoulders. Thick, glossy hair hung down her spine, and candlelight sparked on the jewelled pin caught in its strands. When she lifted her hand, a large purple jewel flashed in the flickering light.”

The characterisation in The Abduction of The Scottish Queen is excellent. I like Matho, a young man of humble birth, who courts a lass called Phoebe, but has little to offer her other than a small, poorly furnished cottage. Would he or would he not abduct the queen, I wondered as I read? If he did, he would be richly rewarded by Henry VIII and have something worthwhile, other than his love, to offer Phoebe.

I enjoyed Jen Black’s superb novel and look forward to reading more of her books.


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