New fiction (Buried River Press): Murder on the Minneapolis by Anita Davison

Murder on the Minneapolis 

9781910208267

Flora Maguire, a young governess, is on her way home on the SS Minneapolis after the wedding of her employer’s daughter. She meets the charming Bunny Harrington on deck on the first night, after having avoided the dining room, conscious of her status among the first-class passengers.

Flora finds the body of a man at the bottom of a companionway, but when his death is pronounced an accident, she is not convinced, and, having experienced her own tragedy as a child in the form of her mother’s disappearance, is driven to find out the truth.

Flora starts asking questions, but following threats, a near drowning during a storm and a second murder, the hunt is on in earnest for a killer.

Time is running out as the Minneapolis approaches the English coast. Will Flora be able to protect Edward, her charge, as well as herself, and uncover the identity of the murderer? Is her burgeoning relationship with the handsome Bunny Harrington only a shipboard dalliance, or something more?

Anita Davison

Anita Davison is a regular blogger for various historical blogs including Unusual Historicals and English Historical Fiction Authors, and also reviews books for the Historical Novel Review. Details of her other published novels are available on her blog: thedisorganisedauthor.blogspot.com

Buy your copy of Murder on the Minneapolis here

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New fiction: Twice Royal Lady by Hilary Green


9781910208335
Twice Royal Lady

Destined from childhood to be an important piece in the intricate chess game of power, Matilda is the granddaughter of William the Conqueror but also descended, through her mother, from the ancient line of Anglo-Saxon kings.

Betrothed to Emperor Henry of Germany at the age of eight, she is married at twelve and crowned Empress. By her early twenties she is a widow, and the only surviving legitimate heir to her father, Henry l of England. Forced into a second marriage to a boy ten years younger, she gives birth to three sons, the male heirs her father longs for. However, on his sudden death, the throne is usurped by her cousin, Stephen.

Matilda is forced to choose between her husband and her rights as her father’s heir. Intelligent, determined and courageous, she chooses to fight for her rights.

Hilary Green

Hilary Green is a trained actress and spent many years teaching drama and running a youth theatre company. She has also written scripts for BBC Radio and won the Kythira short story prize. Hilary now lives in the Wirral and is a full-time writer.

Buy your copy of Twice Royal Lady here.

 

New fiction: Dreams That Veil by Dominic Luke

Dreams That Veil9781910208236

December 1911. Twelve-year old Eliza Brannan eagerly awaits the return of her brother Roderick from university, a welcome but brief diversion from her otherwise cosy existence in the heart of Northamptonshire with her widowed mother and cousin Dorothea.

Roderick and Dorothea are growing up fast. They are forging lives and loves of their own, and Eliza feels she is being left behind. When an unexpected proposal of marriage leads Dorothea to a search for her long-lost father in the slums of London, Eliza begins to realize that the world is a bigger and more frightening place than could have ever imagined.

Dreams That Veil is the story of England basking in the calm before the storm of the First World War and of a young girl’s struggle with her transition to maturity.

Dominic Luke

Dominic Luke was born in London and studied history at the University of Birmingham. He lives in Northamptonshire and has written four previous novels: Nothing Undone Remained (Buried River Press), Aunt Letitia, Snake in the Grass, Autumn Softly Fell and  Nothing Undone Remained.

Buy your copy of Dreams That Veil here.

 

 

 

 

 

Historical fiction, and why it grips us so…

By Sandra Heath Wilson

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that . . . . Well, the famous Jane Austen opening line is one of the most memorable of all time, and not only in historical fiction, which is what Pride and Prejudice has now become. It was, of course, current when written.

To me, it is a truth universally acknowledged that once an author becomes enthralled by the past, whether a person, famous event or quarrel, or something as fascinatingly complicated as the Wars of the Roses and the machinations in Renaissance Florence, it’s very difficult indeed to change genre.

The past beguiles us, and leaves us with so many intriguing puzzles that weaving one’s fictional plot through the known facts can be very rewarding. Whether you’re a gifted writer of thought-provoking books, as is Hilary Mantel, or a teller of tales, like me, the passion is the same. I am entranced by the Plantagenets. The thought of all that pageantry, bloodshed, dangerous love, wicked plotting and heinous treason fires me with interest. I’m alight with it. The colour, fashions and romance join in, and everything melds into a wonderful microcosm that is contained within the pages of a novel. Begin to read, and you’re carried back into those hazardous times, you meet the kings, queens and nobles, you accompany them on their adventures, into battle . . . and into love.

Richard III's skeletal remains discovered under a car park inspired a wave of Plantagenet fiction.

The discovery of Richard III’s remains inspired a wave of Plantagenet fiction.

I do not suggest for a moment that Hilary Mantel approaches her works in the same way, but this is how I write, and my Cicely trilogy is the result of that imagined time-travelling excitement. My characters—both real and fictional—are there, in the thick of it. I’m there too, and so are my readers, being part of everything. We can’t possibly know what those real people said and did in private, so when they slip away secretly from the floodlit stage into the novel’s shadows, it will be for purposes that the author has invented.

This is where fiction blends with fact. The imagined events are woven intricately through the cloth of truth by the storyteller, and the result is a tale of what might have happened. Not what did. Provided the author makes sure the reader is never deceived into thinking the book tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then the world of imagination awaits.

The discovery of Richard III’s remains in Leicester has made him the most talked-of King of England, at once notorious and tragic, and the TV serialization of Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen sparked a lot more interest in his life. An antidote to Shakespeare’s monster. I first became fascinated by Richard back in the very early 1970s, when I read a little detective novel called The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. Tey was clearly convinced Richard had been lied about throughout history, and her detective hero set about getting to the truth. His conclusion was that Richard was a good man and king who had been betrayed at the Battle of Bosworth.

There has been a huge increase in fiction and non-fiction about this last Plantagenet monarch, and judging by reviews at Amazon and similar sites, the trend is set to continue. The market is there, and publishers have responded, although whether individual publishers are presenting their fiction titles in the most advantageous way is another matter. Some do, some don’t.

6a010536b33b69970b01a73dbf3ee3970d-400wi  The Dance of Love  9781910208069  9781910208052

Historical fiction from Buried River Press

In these days of increasing self-publishing, traditional publishers need to be one step ahead. Their clout is their distribution, marketing, production, well-honed editing and, of course, their reputation. Their authors expect their support and advertising, but with the Internet and social media, have to do a lot of self-publicizing as well. It’s up to all concerned to tap into the growing, hungry market, which does await its next meal! Thus it is even more incumbent upon publishers to do all they can to see their books do as well as possible.

Richard III and the Wars of the Roses may be almost fashionable now, but other figures and periods have just as strong a grip on the imagination of writers and readers alike. The Tudors, the Romans, Roundheads and Cavaliers, the Regency, the Victorians, Edwardians, the Roaring Twenties and the two World Wars. I’m sure I’ve missed many more that cry out to be mentioned, but the point is that the past — even the recent past— bewitches us.

This Victorian novel by Michael Faber (2002, Canongate) was adapted as a BBC series in 2011.

Will this continue? Mediaeval storytellers entertained with tales of King Arthur and his knights, who inhabited a glorious, golden age that should be emulated in the mediaeval present, and since then every age has produced stories that look back longingly at what has been lost. So yes, historical fiction is going to continue to be popular. It may ebb occasionally, but the tide always comes in again and often stays high for a long time. Richard III may be the man of the moment, but if the remains of King Harold are discovered, as is expected, then there could be a trend towards Saxon/Norman-set novels. Ditto King Alfred, or even King John, should his lost treasure be found in the Wash. Publishers have to be ready to second-guess what will take off next—as will authors—and those with this prescience will steal a march on the rest.

A time machine is something for which many of us long, to go back to witness it all. But in the meantime, there are novels, where our imagination, not the skills of a film or TV director, or even Shakespeare, gets to work and recreates it all. For writer and reader alike, historical fiction is a wonderful escape from present woes.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that writers and the reading public are enthralled by centuries gone by, and I for one do not think it will ever change. Authors and publishers need to be on their toes to satisfy demand.

OUT NOW: Cicely’s Second King by Sandra Heath Wilson

9780719812613Sandra was born in South Wales, but spent a great deal of her childhood in Ulster and Germany. She has lived in Gloucestershire for over forty years. Published worldwide, her early books were set around the Wars of the Roses. Her other books, also published by Robert Hale, include her Regency
novels The Makeshift Marriage, Lady Jane’s Ribbons and Hide and Seek.

Cicely’s Second King

After the bloody death of her uncle and lover, the
Yorkist King Richard III, at Bosworth Field, Lady Cicely Plantagenet is grief-stricken, alone, and with child.

Clinging to Richard’s memory, and ensconced in the court of his Lancastrian successor – the dangerous, enigmatic Henry Tudor – Cicely faces a strange new England, where her bitter elder sister, Bess, is to be Henry’s queen.

And Henry is advancing, with a serpentine charm and lascivious determination, to lay claim to both Plantagenet sisters, threatening harm to her loved ones if Cicely resists. But Henry killed Richard, and poses a mortal threat to her secret son. How can it be
possible to find pleasure with this ruthless and relentless man?!

To buy Cicely’s Second King now, click here.

OUT NOW: The Pershore Poisoners by Kerry Tombs

The Pershore Poisoners by Kerry TombsKerry Tombs was born in Smethwick, near Birmingham. After a career in teaching in both England and Australia he moved to Malvern where he became a local genealogist, lecturer and bookseller. He currently lives in Ludlow, Shropshire. The Droitwich Deceivers follows four previous titles, including The Tewkesbury Tomb, in the thrilling Inspector Ravenscroft Series. 

The Pershore Poisoners by Kerry Tombs

1890. In the Worcestershire county market town of Pershore, at the Talbots’ Lodging House, a recently arrived guest dies in mysterious circumstances.

Detective Inspector Samuel Ravenscroft and his colleague Constable Tom Crabb are called in to investigate. However, as the two policemen start their enquiries, they are faced with their most difficult case to date. As events unfold, Ravenscroft and Crabb uncover many secrets and an old case from Ravenscroft’s past threatens to cast long shadows over the present.

The Pershore Poisoners is the sixth title in the highly entertaining Victorian Inspector Ravenscroft series.

Praise for the Author

‘A good book for mystery buffs’ – readersfavorite.com

‘A pacy story…and an interesting series’ – MyShelf.com

The Pershore Poisoners by Kerry Tombs is available to buy now with a limited time only discount of 30%.

The Pershore Poisoners by Kerry Tombs

The Bookbag Reviews A Crown of Despair by Jenny Mandeville

A Crown of Despair by Jenny MandevilleA Crown of Despair by Jenny Mandeville, published last month, is the story of Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife, Katherine Parr.

The lovely folks over The Bookbag have reviewed the book, dubbing it ‘totally absorbing’ but warning that, while there was occasion to giggle, this is ‘a story for all but the extremely anatomically squeamish’.

‘Jenny Mandeville has gone where the likes of Philippa Gregory may have feared to tread, a daring that works well and that I can’t help but applaud heartily.’

For the full review, click here. To order your copy now, check out our website.

OUT TODAY: The Lonely Furrow by Pamela Kavanagh

The Lonely Furrow by Pamela KavanaghPamela Kavanagh was born in Chester before moving to Wirral. On leaving school she trained as a primary schoolteacher and taught initially in Wirral and then at Chester. She married in 1966 and has two children.

Pamela took up writing seriously in 1990 and moved to Wales where she began spinning and walking. In 2008 she won the Red Roses for Authors Christmas Award for her book, The Touchstone.

Pamela now lives in South Cheshire.

THE LONELY FURROW BY PAMELA KAVANAGH – OFFICIAL BLURB

Disaster strikes the Drummond family with the collapse of the Glasgow Bank which results in them losing their business and subsequently their respectable place in society. For Nathan, this spells the end of his dream of an engineering career and also his betrothal to his beloved Isobel.

When an unexpected inheritance saves the day there are mixed feelings when the Drummonds are forced to leave their comfortable Glasgow home for a run-down farm in Shropshire. Chrissie, the little Highland maid, goes with them and proves a godsend during the difficult months, despite her secret, and increasingly strong, love for Nathan.

Can the family keep the shame of their past hidden? And can Nathan learn to manage the farm and also recognize love for the girl who is keeping his family together?

Praise for the Author

‘Warm, spellbinding, captivating’ – Red Roses for Authors

‘A very touching coming-of-age story’ – Romancejunkies.com

The Lonely Furrow by Pamela Kavanagh is available to buy now with a limited time only 30% discount.

E. V. Thompson on Writing Historical Novels and ‘The Bonds of Earth’

The Bonds of EarthI am often asked why I chose to write Historical Novels when there is much in my own background that would be of interest to readers. The easy answer is that I am essentially a private person who prefers to keep work and home life separate. Were I to set my stories in the present day I feel readers would imagine they could detect some of my own exeriences in the novels – and they could well be right!

As it is, by having my characters living more than 100 years ago the time gap is too much to be put down to personal experience. Nevertheless, my research shows time and time again that those who lived, for instance, in the Victorian era, had emotions and experienced situations that had quite as much impact on their everyday lives as they would have today – however improbable such situations may seem to be.

For instance, in my book The Bonds of Earth, to be published by Robert Hale in November this year, a farm on which the young hero has worked since he was a boy is given to him by a grateful farmer. Far-fetched and stretching imagination too far?

Well, when I returned from Africa to live in Cornwall some forty-odd years ago I bought an old cottage from an 83 year-old farmer. As a young boy he began working on two farms, one from dawn until midday, the other from midday until dusk, seven days a week.

When one of the farmers died childless, leaving behind a seriously disabled widow, the now newly-married farm labourer and his wife took her in and cared for her until she too died, but before doing so she made a gift of the farm to the young man who had done so much to help her and her husband.

When I knew him the one-time farm labourer was an old man, but he was still as indomitable as he had been as a boy, despite living in a world that had changed almost beyond recognition during his lifetime.

The life of that old man planted the seed of a story that remained with me until I felt able to embellish and make use of it in The Bonds of Earth.

E. V. Thompson

E. V. Thompson has written numerous novels. His latest, Beyond the Storm is out this month in paperback and available to pre-order now. The Bonds of Earth is set for publication in November 2012.