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Anita Davison "Historical Fiction Author" (London, England)

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Tregianís Ground: The Life and Sometimes Secret Adventures of Francis Tregian, Gentleman and Musician
Tregianís Ground: The Life and Sometimes Secret Adventures of Francis Tregian, Gentleman and Musician
Price: £7.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Saga of Religious Persecution and Music, 5 April 2015
This novel is based on the life of Francis Tregian the younger, a 'Cornish Recusant’ born during the reign of Elizabeth I. His family suffered for their faith and lost most of their estates. With his father imprisoned at The Fleet, young Francis was send abroad to study at the Catholic seminary in Douai. Although a gentleman, Francis loved music and had an ear for languages, both of which helped him forge a life outside England.

This was an age when musical scores weren’t printed, but hand written, passed from hand to hand and could be controversial. Knowing and playing certain songs could get you into a lot of trouble. Francis cared little for money, status or religion, although he stuck to his Catholic upbringing, never regarding it as an obstacle to love, friendships or earning a living. A majority of the story is about the famous musicians he met in the countries he visited with an emphasis on sharing musical scores which opened doors everywhere.

This novel was very long, mainly because the same theme is repeated throughout the story, but with different characters and countries. However, I found it difficult not to like Francis, with his compassionate nature and his altruistic outlook. A worthy main character and I wanted the best for him, even when I felt he made the wrong choices.

The Shape of Sand
The Shape of Sand
Price: £2.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Emotional Archaeology, 12 Mar. 2015
This review is from: The Shape of Sand (Kindle Edition)
The premise of this story is quite simple, in that in 1910, after a lavish country house birthday party, Beatrice Jardine has apparently run away with an exotic Egyptian visitor she met ten years before. The truth, naturally, is far more complicated, and Ms Eccles weaves a multi-layered tapestry of emotions experienced by the diverse characters in the Jardine children, each of whom carry their own demons of their mother’s abandonment into WWII and beyond, suffering their own tragedies and getting their lives in order.

This is not a book to be rushed, in that every personality is deeply drawn, leaving the reader to decide for themselves which of them have harboured a secret for forty years. Needless to say the story flows to a satisfying conclusion and wasn't spoiled for me at all by the fact I had guessed the ending. I’m delighted to see there are plenty more of Ms Eccles’ books in which I can lose myself.

The Apothecary's Widow
The Apothecary's Widow
Price: £2.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Poldark Has A Rival, 11 Mar. 2015
Set in 18th century Cornwall, all Jenna Rosedew’s husband left her was an adolescent apprentice and a struggling apothecary shop. When Lady Pentreath’s death is deemed murder, Jenna is the first person to come under suspicion as she prepared all the dead woman’s medicine. But why would Jenna poison someone at the risk of her own livelihood? When Branek Pentreath has reason to call on Jenna, he informs her is he is putting up the rent of her shop, or does he too think she killed his wife? Jenna finds herself attracted to the man, but any connection between them could be construed as motive for murder.

Ms Scott Lewis’ portrayal of a couple trying to come to terms with conflicting emotions in an unsympathetic setting is thoroughly enjoyable. Jenna is no simpering female with no clue as to where to turn, she has her own methods of protecting her livelihood, and being accused of killing one of her clients isn’t something she is going to accept without a fight.

Branek Pentreath is also gravely misunderstood. He is not simply a heartless, ruthless mine owner, but a man of principal struggling with a failing business, suspicion from his neighbours and a growing attraction to a woman he shouldn’t even have noticed.
Ms Scott brings all the threads of this heart-warming story together into a satisfactory ending. I hope to hear more about Branek and Jenna.

Count to Ten (Romantic suspense Book 6)
Count to Ten (Romantic suspense Book 6)
Price: £4.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ms Rose Is A Real Find For Crime and Mystery Lovers, 6 Dec. 2014
I really don't understand the one and two star reviews on this book, which only endorses the fact that you cannot please everyone. Ms Rose is a brilliant writer, who balances humour, tension and just the right emotion in her narrative, yet keeps the reader turning pages. Her characters are so well drawn I can really see them, and they convey their feelings with some excellent body language and nuance combined with perfect dialogue a film director couldn't better. The graphic details of the murders and the sex scenes are written factualy and with a certain distance, with nothing gratutious that will make you squirm with distaste.

My only criticism was that the female homicide cop, Mia Mitchell is the sterotypical, angst ridden commitment phobe result of a dysfunctional family who became a cop to please her impossible-to-please distant SOB cop father who resented her gender. But then maybe all successful strong women need a tough ubringing to be the best in that particular profession.

I inwardly groaned though when Ms Rose described Mia's homelife as a student style apartment with mismatched furniture and the fact she lived off fast food and leftovers - Sue Grafton and Kathy Reichs have been there, done that in spades. But that was my only bugbear.

Just when I got the part where I said aloud that surely Mia had joined the dots by now - she did - and the chase changes perspective and becomes a manhunt. I anticipated that after a 600 page build up, there would have to be a dramatic, nail-biting showdown at the end and I wasn't disappointed.

I shall definitely buy more of Ms Rose work, and not just borrow them from my sister which is where I got this one [oops!]

Found, Near Water
Found, Near Water
Price: £3.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Every Mother's Worst Fear Delved Into, 30 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Found, Near Water (Kindle Edition)
I agree with other reviewers in that this story was harrowing in parts, its main theme being a support group formed by the main character, a former psychiatrist, for women whose daughters have been abducted. Christine has an individual sense of humour, which serves to hide her own trauma at having lost her daughter in the Thailand Tsunami, a tragedy which has ruined Christine's marriage. Her husband is an alcoholic and Christine herself is hanging on by her fingertips.
However, Christine has no formal qualification in counselling or psychology but was working with the police in victim support, which I thought was a contradiction but this story was set in New Zealand so maybe the rules are different there.
Each member of the support group told their own story, some about the abuse and neglect they suffered, whether performed by themselves or others, and by the women who had to live with never knowing what had happened to their children. I found this hard to read as it was so awful, although I applaud the author for tackling such an emotive subject.
One criticism, is that there were a lot of errors in the narrative which jarred me out of the story and spoiled it a little. The tension and pace kept me reading, and I liked Christine, even though she was a mess.
Also, whether by accident or design, some questions are left unanswered which I found frustrating and cannot outline here for obvious reasons.

Married by Midnight: A Christmas Story
Married by Midnight: A Christmas Story
Price: £1.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Christmasy Novella, 6 Nov. 2014
This novella is perfect for curling up in front of the fire with on a chilly evening with a hot chocolate at your side. The theme of this charming light romance is that some people appear to need signs and omens to decide whether a relationship is right.

Kate has a Christmas Eve wedding planned, but her last minute nerves drive her to seek a sign from the cosmos that she is doing the right thing. She ignores all the tell-tale signs that Tim is not the man for her and puts up with some pretty annoying behaviour – but she hasn't learned that marriage doesn’t change men – it just reinforces their characters!

Kate’s sister Bea, however, has her head firmly on her shoulders and tells her sister to trust her instincts. Kate, however isn't at all sure of her gut feelings, and is encouraged by their mother, who is equally fixated on horoscopes and omens to guide her and

Kate's Mother convinces her to visit a rundown bridal shop, where surprisingly, Kate finds the wedding dress of her dreams. The note attached to the vintage gown is from the previous owner wishing her well. Kate decides to find this woman, hoping to be told a story of perfect love and marriage, or is she simply looking for a reason to call off the wedding to rugby-obsessed Tim of the student habits and doesn’t yet know it? Possibly.

Kate’s search, carried out through social media, [where Kate discovers to her surprise that her mother has over 640 virtual friends] brings her into contact with the original owner of the gown, and Kate has to face her demons at last.

I have read some of Talli Roland's other stories so knew vaguely what to expect and this one didn’t disappoint. My only criticism is it was too short and I finished it too quickly.

Truth Insurrected: The Saint Mary Project
Truth Insurrected: The Saint Mary Project
Price: £0.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Conspiracy Theory With a Difference, 3 Nov. 2014
Private investigator, William Harrison, is bored with his routine investigations of insurance fraud and marital disputes, so when he receives a postcard from someone who signs himself ‘Echo Tango’ he is bemused rather than intrigued.

Then ‘Echo Tango’ steps up the stakes, directing William to seemingly straightforward deaths in accidents which turn out not to be so straightforward at all. Each contact brings Will deeper into a conspiracy that begins in Roswell in 1947 and is still going on.

Saint Mary turns out to be a place run by the Government, though what goes on there is something the powers that be don’t want anyone, least of all William Harrison to find out about.

The author gives us a startling, even harrowing picture of Washington Power brokers who regard their secret work as vital, and the way they go about it is cynical, unsentimental and totally convincing.

Will Harrison isn’t a gung-ho ex FBI agent, more a bored man looking for a purpose – however that changes when he comes to realise what ‘Echo Tango’ is aiming for, and Harrisons’ sense of right and wrong kicks in. There is also the young and very attractive intern, Janice Evans, who proves a distraction when Harrison needs to have his wits about him. Janice has her own agenda which her feelings for Harrison start to threaten.

This is Douglas’s debut novel, and although it’s compelling, I found the narrative dragged at times with extraneous conversations which did not progress the story. There is also a complicated sub plot with a policeman and his Air Force brother-in-law who has seen something he shouldn’t and needs to be ‘dealt with’. Thus I found myself skipping pages to get to the conspiracy stuff! However saying that, this author’s perspective on the ‘Are We Alone’ theory is fascinating and very different, as is his take on what the government would do about it if it were true.

The author writes beautifully with some impressive imagery and word building. Just when I was starting to wonder why ‘Echo Tango’ chose Harrison to set against the might of government, a secret is revealed about his family which lends an interesting twist to the story.

I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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

5.0 out of 5 stars A New Perspective on the Tudor Story, 3 Nov. 2014
Jen Black brings new life to the Tudor period with this novel. Meg Douglas is an engaging, worthy heroine who isn't as intimidated by her domineering father and the formidable Henry VIII as some are - to her cost.
Having made some serious mistakes, and no longer in the prime of youth - by Tudor standards anyway - she seeks a way to regain her status through the only means possible to a woman in the 16th Century - a good marriage.
Matho Spirston is an adventurer, handsome brave and daring but with a moral and loyal streak which causes some problems. However, he accepts his task to obtain the infant Queen Mary and deliver her to the English king with enthusiasm and compassion.
When these two meet up, their ambitions clash, resulting in chemistry and fireworks.
This is a fabulous book and wonderfully researched. The author gives new dimension to Mary of Guise, the complicated Scottish politics of the day and the way women were regarded at the time. Highly recommended.

Detective Lessons
Detective Lessons
Price: £2.57

4.0 out of 5 stars A Cop With Few Flaws, 6 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Detective Lessons (Kindle Edition)
I admit, I expected this story to fit the tried and tested formula of the complicated relationship between cop-and-partner: one a jaded misfit hanging on by his fingernails, and a principled rogue officer who insists on doing it his way against his superior’s orders.

Kevin ‘Schmitty’ Schmidt is a little jaded with his work in Harbor Patrol, but he’s not burned out neither is he a drunk. He is given the job to appease his superiors for his mistake in arresting a rich kid for drugs possession – not a good career move when the parents have the force in their pockets.
‘Schmitty’ helps rescue a billionaire from his foundering yacht, at which the grateful man employs him to find his missing son, Jimmy. Schmitty last saw Jimmy in high school, but he does things by the book and offers to investigate as an unpaid favour.
Unbeknown to him, Mac Whelan has also hired Megan McCann, a disbarred attorney who’s reinvented herself as a private investigator. They join forces and start looking, but just as things are getting interesting with a real estate scam, and a body found in the trunk of a car, Whelan tells them Jimmy is home, everything is fine and they are both fired.
Neither Schmitty nor Megan are going to give up that easily, and convinced Whelan is lying, they continue digging. They learn that most people involved are more complicated than they first appear, though Schmitty is pragmatic enough to accept that easily, as well as every other situation the investigation throws at him.
I enjoyed the burgeoning relationship between Schmitty and Megan, though was it really necessary that they end up in bed? [yawn]. The background to the plot was clever and credible, though I still wonder why these two put their lives on the line when their employer had not only called them off, but wasn’t paying them. However, the writing style was engaging and fast paced, and kept me reading to the end.

The Grand Duchess of Nowhere
The Grand Duchess of Nowhere
by Laurie Graham
Edition: Paperback

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Being a Royal Is Not All Coronets and Roses, 2 Oct. 2014
I review a lot of books, which makes it easy to become a little jaded, in that it takes a lot for me to be grabbed by an author voice – but Laurie Graham’s dry wit and colourful characterisation of the British Royal family into which Victoria Melita was born is so compelling - and I know it's a cliche, but I couldn’t put it down.

Known by her large family and her 'Grandma Queen Victoria', as ‘Ducky’, Victoria sees her royal family as if she’s examining them through a looking glass. She loves them all but at the same time is pragmatic and accepting of all their faults, pride and questionable behaviour, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel deep emotion, she simply has a very stoic English way of dealing with it.

Her Mother, the Duchess of Edinburgh, a Romanov daughter of the Tsar who saw herself as grander than Queen Victoria, ‘who was after all only the daughter of a duke!’ Ducky recounts her hilarious attempts to upstage the British monarch in throwaway tone and a mental shrug of her shoulders..

Then there are Ducky’s cousins, one of which was Empress Alix of Russia, who was known as ‘Sunny’ Ducky tells us she finds this strange when she never smiled. This sent me looking through old Victorian photographs online and she was right – Empress Alix never did! [Maybe she had prior knowledge of what would happen to her?]

Ducky’s account shows the family of Queen Victoria as individuals with their own problems, prejudices, infidelities, confused paternity and bad judgements. It’s a fabulous story and where we all imagine life must have been an easy dream for royalty, this book shows that nothing is quite as it seems and in our own way we are all teetering on the edge of the abyss.

Ducky was destined to marry her handsome, and entertaining cousin, Ernie, approved of by ‘Grandma Queen’ despite being a Romanov, his refusal to grow up, devising jokes and games to irritate ‘Grandma Queen’ that made Ducky laugh at inappropriate moments. I really liked him, but their marriage was doomed, and Ducky’s grief over the loss of their only child, Elisabeth [Elli], from typhoid when she was eight, was heart-breaking.

I particularly loved the part where Victoria discovers Ernie is gay and goes to 'Grandma Queen' to demand a divorce. The Queen, naturally, is outraged and refuses, saying marriage is sacred and advising Victoria to try harder as, 'he may surprise you.'

'He's already surprised me,' Ducky says. [She caught him in bed with his groom]

Ducky has to wait for the love of her life, Cyril, another cousin, who takes his sweet time in making an honest woman of her after her divorce. Ducky remains devoted and understanding of his casual love, which extends into their marriage. She loves him unreservedly, and I found it so sad when she clung desperately to every kind word he threw her way, determined to see him as simply undemonstrative rather than unloving.

Ducky has two daughters who go some way to making up for losing Elli, and she recounts her days driving an ambulance during WWI and the onset of the Russian Revolution. This began for Ducky with a march of workers calling for bread. Her observations that the marchers didn’t look particularly undernourished to her, illustrates the dispassionate way the rich and sheltered had no notion of how the other half lived. Just as her mother-in-law's insistence they attend the opera while avoiding streets where crowds are rioting and hurling bricks through shop windows.

Ducky wasn’t dismissive or even as unsympathetic like some of her contemporaries, merely bemused as to what all the fuss was about, although she is critical of the fact Tsar Nicholas ignored the entire thing until the riots and shooting of army officers in Petrograd [St Petersburg] had escalated into horror and there was no turning back. A fascinating and beautifully written story and one which deserves space on a shelf in anyone's library, especially mine!

I received a free copy of this novel from Quercus Books in exchange for an honest review
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2014 10:21 PM BST

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