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Rosemary Morris "Rosemary Morris" (Hertfordshire, England)

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Stolen: Escape from Syria by Monaghan, Louise, Kinsella, Yvonne (2013) Hardcover
Stolen: Escape from Syria by Monaghan, Louise, Kinsella, Yvonne (2013) Hardcover
by Louise, Kinsella, Yvonne Monaghan
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Stolen, Escape from Syria, 14 May 2014
As I write this review my sympathy is with Syrians who want a peaceful life. Louise Monaghan’s descriptions of random shooting and violence brought home what Syrians are now enduring.

Louise paid a bitter price for falling in love with a Muslim Syrian who, to use a cliché, was a ‘control freak’. Louise’s husband was a womaniser who abused her physically and mentally. Louise divorced him but his outrageous behaviour culminated in his abducting their daughter in Corfu and taking her to Syria.

Regardless of danger, determined to rescue her daughter, May, Louise went to Syria, where she was imprisoned in a filthy house and given little to eat. Eventually, she seized an opportunity to run away from her former husband with their daughter. After incredible hardship they reached Lebanon and flew back to her family in Ireland.

Stolen, Escape From Syria, kept me awake and reading until after midnight. Due to the subject matter I can’t describe the book as enjoyable, but it gripped me from the first page to the last.

Deception (The Daughters of Mannerling Series)
Deception (The Daughters of Mannerling Series)
by M.C. Beaton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Deception by M. C. Beaton, 9 May 2014
M.C. Beaton’s Deception, the forurth in the series, Daughters of Mannerling is an entertaining Regency Novel. Abigail Beverley, puts aside her dream of marrying Harry Devers, heir to Mannerling in order to regain the family, after he attacks one of her sisters. Soon, she meets charismatic Lord Burfield who has sold out from the army and intends to marry.

Unfortunately, Harry is injured and brought to the Beverley’s home. He is nursed by Abigail’s twin sister, Rachel, who underestimates the seriousness of his attack on her older sister.

I enjoyed the twists and turns in this novel, admired the history M.C. Beaton slipped into it, and particularly enjoyed reading about the unmarried Beverley sister’s governess, the mysterious Miss Trimble, who is determined to ‘protect’ her girls.

I highly recommend Deception.

River of Smoke (Ibis Trilogy Book 2)
River of Smoke (Ibis Trilogy Book 2)
Price: £3.99

3.0 out of 5 stars River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh, 28 April 2014
River of Smoke


Amitav Ghosh

In the words of the blurb on the back cover River of Smoke takes the reader from “…the lush island of Mauritius to the alleys and waterways of nineteenth century Canton. There in the crowded waterways…” The main theme of River of Smoke is that of the opium trade. When the Chinese Emperor become determined to stamp it out for ever the lives of Amitav Ghosh’s many characters are changed forever.

I congratulate Amitav Ghosh on his research into an interesting historical era but, his descriptions of places and the occasional humour. However, although River of Smoke is skilfully written, to be honest, I did not enjoy it because the author did not made me care about what happened to his characters, most of whom I disliked.

A Rancher's Woman (Creed's Crossing Historical)
A Rancher's Woman (Creed's Crossing Historical)
Price: £2.44

5.0 out of 5 stars A Rancher's Woman by E. Ayers, 27 April 2014
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A Rancher’s Wife

(Creek Crossing)


E. Ayers

In A Rancher’s Wife set in 1896, in California, New York and Wyoming, E. Ayers tackles the atrocities and race prejudice Native Americans suffered. The novel is written with compassion and sympathy for the hero White Feathers aka Mark Hunter, who holds the hand of a white child who is frightened of him and speaks to her. “Yes, I am different because I am Apsaalooke, or of the Crow tribe. I am a man. My skin is darker than yours but it is only skin.’

There is far more to White Feathers than to members of most of his tribe. He wants its members to understand they must live in a white man’s world. If he can keep them from starving on his ranch he will have done some good, but he does not want his people to lose their traditions and skills. He wants a balance between past and future for his as yet unborn children. And he wants their mother to be blue-eyed Malvena, who is pregnant when he meets and falls in love with her.

At first, Malvena, traumatised by a former husband, is frightened of White Feathers, but even if she were not, it is illegal for a white woman to marry a red man; and she knows of a red man and his white wife who could not raise their children to call them papa and mama. Besides, Malvena has to agree to her father’s arrangement for her to marry a wealthy Californian she has never met.

E. Ayers’ novel A Ranchers Woman is very well written and includes some well-turned sentences, such as. ‘A light wind whipped around him. It was as though it tried to whisper in his ear.’

I congratulate the author on presenting a large number of characters each of who are interesting and believable.

Flavia's Secret
Flavia's Secret
by Lindsay Townsend
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flavia's Secret, 22 April 2014
This review is from: Flavia's Secret (Paperback)
Lindsay Townsend’s novel, Flavia’s Secret, is a multi-faceted story set in Bath in Roman Britain. It reveals the precarious position of slaves, the splendour of Roman Baths, the arogance of a Roman nobleman and the Roman’s attitude to Christians, who were considered subversive.

Flavia’s Secret begins after the death of Flavias’s kind mistress, who has left all her property, including Flavia and her other slaves to her adopted son, Marcus Brutus. Flavia fears he will sell her and the rest of the slaves, and is also afraid that he will discover her secret.

With great skill Lindsay Townsend transported me to occupied Britain, the culture, clothes, food and much more.

Through Flavia, a Celt, I had a glimpse of Celtic beliefs. ‘Rivers and water were sacred to her (Flavia’s) people, but (at the baths) the Romans had enclosed the spring, perhaps not even knowing that all springs were a gateway to the world of the dead.’

Despite the differences in their beliefs and social standing, Flavia and Marcus Brutus are attracted to each other, but Flavia fears he will never recover from his wife and daughter’s deaths.

The novel, in which a criminal must receive justice, held my interest from the first page to the last.

Cavendon Hall
Cavendon Hall
by Barbara Taylor Bradford
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Cavendon Hall, 13 April 2014
This review is from: Cavendon Hall (Hardcover)
Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford

Cavendon Hall did not disappoint me as it swept me through the end of the Edwardian era to post World War I.

This tale of the Inghams, an aristocratic English family, and the Swanns, who are bound to the Inghams by loyalty kept me turning the pages until late at night.

Not only does Barbara Taylor-Bradford bring a large cast of characters to life but she neither avoids describing shocking events nor fails to convey joy,

I am looking forward to reading the sequel, Cavendale Women in which, in the author’s own words “the Swanns and Inghams will tell their own stories.”

The Summer Queen (Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy)
The Summer Queen (Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy)
by Elizabeth Chadwick
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Summer Queen, 3 April 2014
The Summer Queen


Elizabeth Chadwick

Elizabeth Chandwick’s novel The Summer Queen is the best one I have read about Alienor of Aquitaine (Elinor of Aquitaine). Mistress of the art of writing compelling mediaeval fiction Elizabeth Chadwick blends fact and fiction intensified by accessing Akashic records, purported to be a dimension of consciousness that contains a vibrational record of every soul and its journey. To those interested in the records she used I suggest visiting her website.[...].

The Summer Queen covers the period between the death of Alienor’s father to her departure to England when her second husband the young Henry III becomes king.

While reading The Summer Queen I entered into the lives, loves, hates and times of the characters both major and minor and, although this is a work of fiction in which there is speculation that historians would not make, The Summer Queen is plausible.

I congratulate the author on her interpretation of Alienor’s life and times and look forward to reading the sequels, The Winter Queen and The Autumn Queen.

Tarnished Amongst the Ton (Mills & Boon Historical)
Tarnished Amongst the Ton (Mills & Boon Historical)
by Louise Allen
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Tarnished Amongst the Ton, 28 Mar 2014
Tarnished Amongst the Ton, set in the Regency, is Louise Allen’s enthralling sequel to Forbidden Jewel of India set in India in 1788 which I have already reviewed.

Nick and part-Indian Anusha, now the Marquess and Marchioness of Eldonstone, are reluctant to leave India, but duty calls so they depart with their son and daughter, handsome, charismatic Ashe and charming, innocent Sara.

At the docks Ashe meets Phyllida Hurst, a lady tarnished by her birth, and with many secrets involving her struggles to survive which, in due course of time, will be unravelled.

Reading a novel in which the hero was not only born into a happy family but is devoted to his parents and sister was enjoyable, and I found the details about India interesting. As for Phyllida, I could only admire her determined efforts to carve a place for herself in society, protect her brother and guide him toward a happy future.

Ashe and Phyllida’s sexual desire for each other drives the story forward although their mutual attaction might lead to scandal, which Phyllida wants to avoid at all costs.

“Brought up in vibrant Calcutta, Ashe is disdainful of polite London society, but something about Phyllida intrigues him. There’s a mystery surrounding her. A promise of secrets and a hint of scandal – more than enough to entice him!” Nevertheless, Ashe is determined to do his duty, marry a respectable lady who can help his mother, and to father an heir.

Tarnished Amongst the Ton is an intriguing read before bedtime.

First Sir Percy (Scarlet Pimpernel)
First Sir Percy (Scarlet Pimpernel)
by Baroness Orczy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.34

4.0 out of 5 stars The First Sir Percy, 27 Mar 2014
The First Sir Percy


Baroness Orczy

The First Sir Percy, the sequel to The Laughing Cavalier, by Baroness Orczy was first published in 1921. I should have read The Laughing Cavalier first as I found the first chapters of the sequel a little difficult to follow. However, this did not spoil my enjoyment of the novel.

The First Sir Percy is set in the Netherlands in March 1624 “a torn land divided between loyalty for Maurice of Nassau and the Spanish invaders.

“Fighting for the Maurice of Nassau is a man known to many as Diogenes, but whose real name is Sir Percy Blakeney. A gay devil may care cavalier and the first in a long line of famous Blakeneys.”

Loyal to the Maurice of Nassau, the Stadtholder, on the very evening of his marriage instead of taking his bride, Gilda, to England, Sir Percy must set off on a mission to thwart the Spanish Invasion. Yet he yearns to take his bride away: “Across the ocean to that stately home in England where in the spring the air was soft with the scent of violets and of fruit blossom, and where beside the river the reeds mumured a soft accompaniment to songs of passion and hymns of love.”

Thoughout this novel of the hero, good men and women and villains Sir Percy’s beautiful young bride remains loyal to him even in the most difficult circumstances.

I know little about the Netherlands at this period of history and even less about the Veluwe, at that time a land with a string of swamps with a ridge of hills covered with forests, heathland and woodland, in which part of The First Sir Percy is set.

There are many excellent descriptions in the novel, one of which is:-“Even now the wintry sun was sinking slowly down in the west in a haze of purple and rose, licking the towers of St. Maria and Joris with glistening tongues of fire, and tinting the snow-covered roofs and gables with a rosy hue. The sluggish waters of the Eem appeared like a liquid flame.”

The style of the novel written from the author’s viewpoint is old-fashioned but it did not deter me. All in all a satisfying read.

The Nightingale Nurses: (Nightingales 3)
The Nightingale Nurses: (Nightingales 3)
by Donna Douglas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Nightingale Girls, 25 Mar 2014
I read Donna Douglas’s novel The Nightingale Nurses with pleasure, delighted to meet Helen, Dora and Millie again, having made their acquaintance in The Nightingale Girls and The Nightingale Sisters.

Donna Douglas not only creates believable characters within the hospital– the matron, assistant matron, sisters, staff nurses, patients and porters – but also their families and their lives and loves.

The Nightingale Nurses is set in the period in which Edward the VIIth is besotted with Wallace Simpson and Oswald Mosely’s and his blackshirts target Jews in the East End of London. Donna Douglas makes the reader aware of the historical background without overwhelming the reader with facts.

Helen, Dora and Millie are in their third and final year of training before they sit the State Exam to become qualified nurses. Each of them must work hard, accept discipline and sort out their love lives, one of which ends in tragedy,

I enjoyed The Nightingale Nurses and recommend it to anyone who also enjoyed Call The Midwife although the first is fiction and second non-fiction.

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