Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview TH1RT3EN by @SSCav #NewRelease #CrimeFiction @orionbooks @orion_crime #ThatBookThatHook #EddieFlynn ‘This novel does not disappoint, not one single page!’

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TH1RT3EN by Steve Cavanagh
Review copy
Synopsis:

‘To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life.
He’s done it before.
But this is the big one.

This is the murder trial of the century.
And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.

But there’s someone on his tail.
Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.

Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered

My Review:

The synopsis of this novel instantaneously grabs the readers interest! It grips you straight from the prologue, and refuses to let go.
This novel does not disappoint, not one single page!

The synopsis details, a celebrity murder trial of the century mixed with the mystery of the killer being on the jury! But the novel is in fact, much more detailed, a plot full of twists and turns that slowly unravels throughout. I was so engrossed in the plot, I didn’t want to miss one single word of the story.

The prologue is outstanding! Easily one of the best I have EVER read! The writing style of the prologue was so breathing taking, it reminded me, of the ending of the cult move, The Usual Suspects. But instead of who is Keyser Soze? It is who is Joshua Kane?
Joshua Kane, where do you begin with such an incredible character as Joshua Kane? He is ruthless, psychopathic and methodical in his killing. The murders are planned right down to each meticulous action before, during and after the murder!
Joshua Kane in an enigma, a dark and disturbing killer, yet bizarrely you admire his commitment to his ‘work’.

The novel opens with Eddie Flynn, at Manhattan criminal court with a routine hearing. Ex-hooker Jean Marie, is his client and she is looking at hard time for her second drug offence within the same year. Eddie breezes through the case with ease and for those new to the series, this is a great indication of what makes Eddie Flynn such a great lawyer and character.

After the case Eddie is accosted by slick lawyer Rudy Carp. He wishes to requisition Eddie for a case due to start in just three days. A high-profile case, with an even more high-profile client, movie star Robert (Bobby) Soloman. Eddie is reluctant at first for various reasons, which are detailed with some amazing thoughts and quotes from Eddie.

“It’s not about the money. I don’t roll for the guilty” Eddie

But Rudy continues to profess Bobby’s innocence and asks Eddie to at least consider the case evidence.

“If Robert didn’t kill those people, who did?”

A combination of Eddie’s inquisitive mind and a random twist of fate. Have Eddie agreeing to view the notes, although offering no obligation to assist and second chair the case. Whilst Eddie arranges to view the hard drive of evidence at Rudy’s office. He comes face to face with suspected killer Bobby Soloman.

“Someone murders your family, lover or friend and you are the one standing trial while the murderer goes free. There’s nothing else like it on earth. And it’s the same look, all over the world. An innocent man falsely accused, looks the same in Nigeria, Ireland, Iceland, you name it. If you’ve seen that look before, you never forget it. It’s rare to see that look”

“Bobby Soloman wore that look. And I knew I had to help him”

Bobby’s past is explored, and we learn that he came from very humble beginnings. He stands accused of murdering his wife Ariella and chief of security Carl Tozer. Both victims found naked and dead on the marital bed! Bobby pleads his innocence and it is believable. As the reader, you urge Eddie to take the case!
But Eddie suspects that Bobby is holding back, a secret possibly? He refuses to help, until he has completed reading all the evidence available.

“Bobby Soloman was a scared kid with the prospect of a life in jail hanging over his head” Eddie

“But you can’t act your way out of a double murder” Rudy

Eddie eventually opens the case notes and evidence. It is not for the faint hearted, this is a brutal murder, unleashed by a fierce and savage individual. Ariella was stabbed multiple times and Carl was viciously beaten with a baseball bat. What grabs Eddie’s intrigue is the dollar note stuffed inside Carl’s mouth, after death. What does the note mean? Is this a clue to the killer’s reasoning, motivations? Eddie just can’t get this case out of his mind, despite how hard he tries to.

“A violent death tells its own story. It’s written on the victims. In their wounds. On the skin. Sometimes in their eyes. I’d never seen anything like this” Eddie

With one of the murder weapons still missing and so many unanswered questions. Eddie calls in some help, in the form of ex-FBI investigator Harper, to assist. The details of the scene are analysed, and it makes for intense and eye-opening reading.
What motivates such a vicious slaying?

As the novel unfolds, there are chapters from Eddies perspective and alternate chapters from Joshua Kane’s scheming. One thing is for certain Kane’s plans have been months in the making. The psychology of a killer like Kane is intense. The writing makes the killer come alive on the page, a rare talent and exceptionally creepy in this case.

The novel also, has the individual juror memo’s throughout, so we begin to learn about each member on a personal scale. Eddie’s broken marriage is explored, and we learn of his motivations to find an easier job role, one with less risks to him and his family. Eddie is so much deeper than the usual lawyer protagonist. But it is when Harper finds a history of similar cases, closed cases, that the story explodes!!!!!!

This novel is sheer brilliance in its writing style and structure. The characterisation is massively on point and you root for all the characters. Alarmingly even Kane at points!
A superb legal thriller, with an unforgettable, edgy and haunting serial killer!
In my humble opinion, John Grisham and Michael Connelly, should be aware, Steve Cavanagh has arrived!
5* genius
*Review previously published on 25th January 2018*

SC
Steve Cavanagh
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract – Prologue #DeadLock by @DamienBoydBooks #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #DINickDixon #Series @AmazonPub

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Dead Lock by Damien Boyd
#8 DI Nick Dixon Series
Synopsis:

Early on a cold Somerset morning, ten year old Alesha Daniels is reported missing by her father, a violent alcoholic. Her mother, a known drug addict, is found unconscious, but it’s her mother’s boyfriend the police are keen to trace.

As the hunt for Alesha gathers pace, a second local girl is taken, plunging another family into the depths of despair.

Cutting short his holiday, DI Nick Dixon races home to join the Major Investigation Team, but no sooner has he identified a network of local suspects than they begin to show up dead.

At odds with his superiors, Dixon is convinced the child abductions are anything but random, but nobody is prepared for the investigation to lead quite so close to home.
Can Dixon and his team crack the case before all the suspects are silenced? And will he find the missing girls before it’s too late?

Extract:

Prologue

Coal smoke. It was a familiar smell – comforting somehow – swirling in the fog of his dreams every morning when the crows dragged him back to his senses, even before he opened his eyes. Was it the same bloody lot following him along the cut these past several weeks? Sitting on the cabin roof every morning, squawking for all they were worth.
Mutton headed coveys.
He glanced across at Jack, fast asleep in his bunk. He was never up before dawn. It must be the grog. He reached over, picked up the jar and took a swig. Just the dregs. He grimaced.
Disgusting.
Tam’s bunk was empty, as usual when they reached Combe Hay. Selling coal to the lock keeper’s wife, no doubt. And more besides.
He slid his feet out from under Sikes, the smelly brindle Lurcher who kept them in rabbits in return for the scraps, and yawned.
Time to sort out Bess. Poor Bess. She comes first.
He slipped his feet into his boots and crept out of the cabin, finding the horse where he had left her last night, tethered to a tree along the towpath eating the wet grass, as far from the water’s edge as he could get her. She’d been in the canal again last week, but then it was Tam’s proven remedy for a buckled shoulder.
‘Works every time,’ he always said. ‘Get her in the water and let her swim it off. It’ll soon pop back in.’
It was happening more and more often these days. Poor old Bess. The old nag was starting to struggle to get the barge moving when it was full of coal.
All twenty ton of it.
He filled her nosebag with the last of the oats from the barrel and slipped it over her head. They should get to Paulton today and he’d make sure he filled it up good and proper for the return trip.
He left Bess eating her breakfast in the half light of the dawn and wandered back along the towpath towards the barge. He slid back the tarpaulin and dropped down into the empty hold as quietly as he could. It was either that or wake up Jack and get another basting for his trouble.
He picked up the last few bits of coal. The dregs.
Again.
One day he’d have his own boat – it was the life of a bargee for him – then there’d be no more dregs. For him, or Bess.
He tiptoed along the gunwale to the back cabin, trying not to rock the boat. Smoke billowed out of the stove when he opened the door, which explained why everything – and everyone – was covered in a thin layer of black dust. Coal safely in, he gave it a prod with the poker, closed the door and then placed the kettle gingerly on the top. Jack didn’t mind the whistle of the kettle if it was followed by a nice cup of ‘Rosie’, as he called it. And the stronger the better to mask the taste of the coal.
‘Nat, are you in there?’
He poked his head out of the back cabin to find Tam running along the towpath, doing up his belt as he ran.
‘Get Bess harnessed up, then get up to the next lock. It’s against us.’ Tam was banging on the side of the cabin with his fist. ‘Get up, Jack. We need to get moving. I’ll meet you at the top of the flight.’
Then he watched Tam disappear through a gap in the hedge and sprint off across the field.
Lock keeper on your tail again, is it?
Here we go again, Bess.
Nosebag off, harness on. Then he ran along the towpath to the next lock. They had stopped for the night in the middle of the flight so it was only a short dash. He closed the top gate and then ran back to the bottom gate to open the paddles, emptying the water from the lock.
First the nearside, then across the top of the gate to the offside. With both paddles open the lock would empty twice as fast.
He looked back to the barge. Jack was already getting Bess moving. Easier for the old girl today, with no cargo on board.
He glanced down at the top of the gate as he cranked the windlass lifting the nearside paddle, the water swirling as it roared out through the opening. The gate was crumbling and split where it had been rammed by barges coming into the lock too fast over the years, the splintered wood just visible through the piles of wet leaves lying along the top.
He could step over them.
It’d be no bother.

DB
Damien Boyd
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with @anne_obrien #Author of, Queen Of The North #HistoricalFiction #Medieval England 1399 @HQstories #AuthorTalks ‘This is one woman’s quest to turn history on its head’

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Queen Of The North by Anne O’Brien
Review to follow
Synopsis:

To those around her she was a loyal subject.

In her heart she was a traitor.

1399: England’s crown is under threat. King Richard II holds onto his power by an ever-weakening thread, with exiled Henry of Lancaster back to reclaim his place on the throne.

For Elizabeth Mortimer, there is only one rightful King – her eight-year-old nephew, Edmund. Only he can guarantee her fortunes, and protect her family’s rule over the precious Northern lands bordering Scotland.

But many, including Elizabeth’s husband, do not want another child-King. Elizabeth must hide her true ambitions in Court, and go against her husband’s wishes to help build a rebel army.

To question her loyalty to the King places Elizabeth in the shadow of the axe.
To concede would curdle her Plantagenet blood.

This is one woman’s quest to turn history on its head.

#BlogTour Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel? Biography

A) Although I now live in the Welsh Marches, in Herefordshire, I am a Yorkshire girl by birth in West Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Master’s in Education at Hull, I lived in East Yorkshire for many years where I taught history. Writing was not something I ever thought of doing.
That was in a past life.
Moving to Herefordshire, I gave up teaching and began writing historical novels. It has brought me much enjoyment and a new career. Now I live with my husband in an eighteenth-century timber-framed cottage with a large garden, where I write about the forgotten women of medieval history. It is a marvellous area for giving me inspiration, full of castles and churches and battlefields.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) – Firstly I have to select a medieval woman as the central character. She must be well connected and involved in the politics of the day. There must be an element of notoriety, scandal, or interest about her life to make her a worthwhile candidate to tell the story.
– A timeline is essential to put the woman and her family into historical perspective with other characters and historical events.
– After many weeks of historical research to put all the relevant facts into place, I start writing. Accuracy is essential.
– A year later, after four separate drafts, additions of events and characters who often take me by surprise, much editing and reviewing and it is complete to be sent off to my agent and my editor
– With my editor’s keen eye, there follows some polishing, usually with regard to length. I tend to write too much.
– And hopefully, sixteen months after I began, the novel is finished.
It is not always as seamless as this of course. Real life tends to break in to my writing schedule with such mundane occupations as dusting and shopping and cooking a meal or two, but I try to write something every morning. It also takes perseverance, patience, and compassion with my characters and what they wish to say. All of it though is highly enjoyable.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) If I wish to read historical fiction, it has to be Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles, six novels that carry her hero through sixteenth century France, Scotland with visits to Russia and the Levant, all magnificently constructed to combine fact and fiction.
If I feel a need for some atmospheric crime, then what better than Anne Cleves’ Shetland series, now a superb TV adaptation in the bleak but beautiful islands off northern Scotland.
An excellent blend of folklore, myth, crime, and rural creepiness makes compulsive reading with the novels of Phil Rickman’s series with Merrily Watkins the priest in the depths of Hereford, starting with Wine of Angels.
If I want a novel of family or the relationships and interaction between people, then there can be no better than Anne Tyler. I first discovered her years ago with Breathing Lessons, and continue to read her novels.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) They tended to be historical. My interests have not changed.
A loved the novels of Mary Renault, particularly those which brought the Greek myths to life. I think the first I read were The King Must Die and Bull from the Sea. The novels of Alexander the Great also make great reading in my teenage years, starting with Fire From Heaven. I have re-read them more recently and find they have stood the test of time.
The Passionate Brood was the first historical novel by Margaret Campbell Barnes that I recall reading. It tells the tale of the children of King Henry II and Robin Hood. It showed me what could be done with history to make it a page turning experience for the reader.
Mary Stewart’s novels of King Arthur and Merlin, beginning with The Crystal Cave , captivated me, and still do. I still have a soft spot for King Arthur novels.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) It has to be, every time, holding the completed novel in my hands. All is done and it can no longer be changed and edited. It is complete in its cover. It is proof that I have produced something tangible over the past year that has come together in readable form. It is proof that not only have I enjoyed writing it, but my editor and my agent have also enjoyed reading it. It is also a time of some trepidation of course. Now the novel is out of my hands and available to the vast the reading public. I always hope that they enjoy it too.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) For me writing is a very private matter. No one reads my novel, not even sections of it, until it is finished when it is sent off to my agent and editor. Even so the support of those around me is invaluable. My husband who I often dragged into my discussions of historical motivation and logic. His interest in 19th Century history but he is fast becoming well educated in the politics of medieval England. My agent who I know will give me all her support if I get into difficulties or simply need some encouragement. My editor who has the final sweeping view of the novel and gives me advice. I trust her expertise implicitly.
I am blessed to have such support in what can be a very lonely world between me, my PC, and people who have been dead for at least six hundred years.

AOB
Anne O’Brien
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***Review to follow soon***

 

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Juliet & Romeo by @david_hewson #Literary #Romance #Historical #NewRelease @DomePress #JulietAndRomeo

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Juliet & Romeo by David Hewson
Synopsis:

Two young people meet: Romeo, desperate for love before being sent away to study, and Juliet facing a forced marriage to a nobleman she doesn’t know. Fate and circumstance bring them together in a desperate attempt to thwart their parents with a secret marriage. But in a single fateful week, their intricate scheming falls terribly apart. Shakespeare’s most well-known and well-loved play has been turned in to a gripping romantic thriller with a modern twist. Rich with the sights and sounds of medieval Italy, peopled with a vibrant cast of characters who spring from the page, this is Shakespeare as you’ve never read it before.

Extract:

Part One: To Borrow Cupid’s Wings

The Marangona bell in the Torre dei Lamberti had just sounded the hour. Nine of a busy Monday morning in what was once Verona’s imperial Roman forum, now its marketplace, the Piazza Erbe. The square thronged with shoppers bargaining at stalls selling meat and fish, cheese and fruit and vegetables, cheap wine and cheaper beer. In the shadows of the colonnades two youths lurked, Samson and Gregory, both servants of the Capulets. The first a skinny seventeenyear-old kitchen boy, the second a priest’s bastard from Padua, a tall and hefty stable hand shuffling on his big feet as he caught the glint of metal in Samson’s grubby hand. They wore the clothes of their class – rough wool jerkins, baggy britches, sandals held together by thread and nails. This poverty extended to the weaponry they took with them on to the streets. The sons of fine families were in the habit of carrying daggers and rapiers forged in Florence and Milan. The lower orders snatched at anything they could lay their hands on, sharp or blunt. They fought with fists and boots and punches to the balls. Died that way, too. A crude swagger stick sat on a piece of rope round Gregory’s fat stomach, a mallet handle with a spiked iron ball on the end. The blade Samson owned was nothing more than a paring knife stolen from the

kitchen, the edge honed carefully until it gleamed. He held it now, low by his side so that only his companion might see. ‘There’s that fat Montague pig Abraham with his mate. Time to put that stick of yours to some use, Gregory. Go over and wallop him. He wants it.’ Across the piazza, just visible beyond the stalls, two figures moved through the market. Much the same age as the two Capulets. Much the same size: one short and lean, one tubby and daydreaming. Samson and Gregory wore a scarlet feather in their caps. The Montagues a blue one. Not that any of these were flesh and blood of the Montague or Capulet lines. Just servants, sharing the same borrowed hatred and never asking why. Gregory kicked a fish head and stuck his fists deep into the pockets of his britches. ‘I don’t know. We’re getting hard looks from those blokes on the stalls. They don’t like trouble when they’re trying to sell stuff.’ ‘I reckon it was them Montague lads who had that kitchen girl of ours last week.’ Lucia. An orphan who worked the ovens. She’d gone out for a walk by the river. Came back in tears and rags, telling tales the soldiers of Escalus, the city’s current military master, didn’t want to hear. ‘That hare-brained lass should have been in the kitchen stirring the pots, not hanging round down them dark alleys in Sottoriva. Could have been anyone had his way with her. Besides the watchmen reckoned she was up for it. Plenty been there with that daft cow. You for one.’ ‘Scared are you?’ ‘Just thinking it through.’ The Montague pair had spotted them but they hadn’t moved their way. ‘I don’t see you in a rush either.’

Fights were fine so long as the numbers were on your side. And you had the right comrades. Samson liked to whine. It was his principal pastime. Action always came last. ‘It’s only fair. They had one of ours. A bit of gravy on their chops and then we leg it.’ Gregory pulled a stick of dried sausage out of his pocket, bit off a chunk and waited. ‘Master sent us out to buy grub for his ball tonight. He won’t be happy if we come back empty-handed.’ ‘We whack them round the head a bit. Then go hunting round the back of their palazzo. First girl that comes out of the kitchen’s mine. Unless she’s hideous – then you can have her.’ Samson had a sly and cruel face and it was turned on Gregory. ‘With a bit of luck we might get a virgin if the Montagues have got any left. You all right with that?’ ‘I’m all right with the girls. Escalus ain’t so bothered about them. It’s the walloping bit–’ ‘They got to know who’s boss. You with me or not?’ Gregory patted his pocket. He had a stable knife with him as well as the swagger stick. Short, a bit blunt. But he was strong enough to hold a struggling stallion when he had to. The thing would do. ‘I hate the buggers, too, you know. But like I say. Escalus has got that one wicked eye on lads like us. Same way his bosses in Venice have got their eyes on him. The Marshal hates riots. They get him in trouble too. I don’t fancy jail or worse just for giving one of them scummy Montagues a few bruises and a sore head.’ ‘Then let’s get clever. Make them start the scrap. I’ll look at them funny. Get ’em going. That way we’re just… defending ourselves. Which is every man’s right, and Escalus is bound to uphold us in that.’ Samson grinned, displaying a remarkable absence of teeth. ‘As

to the kitchen girls… well… everyone knows what they’re like. I want first go though. This’ll do it.’ Samson winked, grinned and bit his thumb. The oldest, stupidest gesture any of them knew. Someone said the Romans used to do it when they fancied a brawl. ‘Go on then,’ said Gregory and didn’t move. Samson looked up at him. ‘You first.’ ‘When we get around to the girl, you mean?’ ‘No. The fight. You’re the big one. You lead. I’ll follow.’ Gregory slapped him hard on the shoulder. ‘Ow,’ Samson whined. ‘That hurt.’ ‘Oh sorry, friend. We’re supposed to be buying stuff for the evening ball. There’ll be trouble if that goes wrong. Capulet will do the walloping himself and we both know what he’s like with that whip of his.’ Samson went quiet. He’d had enough of Capulet’s beatings. ‘Tell you what,’ said Gregory. ‘We’ll skip the girl. Next week. When we’ve got more time. And…’ A shape they recognised was moving through the crowds, a tall youth around their own age. But he was an aristocrat; it showed in his clothes, his manner, the haughty way he held his head above the swarms of common folk around him as if he couldn’t stand the stink of them. ‘Well, well,’ Samson murmured, gleeful all of a sudden. ‘If it isn’t our master’s well-loved nephew. Just the chap you’d want at a time like this.’ ‘I suppose,’ Gregory agreed, though the sight of the young man across the Piazza Erbe gave him pause. ‘I heard the noble Tybalt crippled a clerk who’d done nothing more than bump into him in the street a month or so ago.’

‘Dead right he did. I was there and he paid me well to keep quiet. Back last winter he ran a cheeky cart boy right through down by the brothels in Sottoriva.’ Gregory didn’t like those dark and dangerous colonnades by the river. ‘Our Tybalt got caught hanging round the tarts down there?’ ‘The only kind of girl that one beds are the sort you pay for. Expensive business. The old man had to dig deep to keep him out of Escalus’s clutches after he murdered the poor little bugger.’ Tybalt was bloodthirsty, vicious and short tempered, always armed with the latest weapons, forever spoiling for a quarrel and a chance to use them. ‘Nothing stopping our Tybalt,’ Samson added. ‘’Specially when there are Montagues around.’ He clapped his grubby hands. ‘This will be fun.’

DH
Photo: Dingena Mol / Crimezone Magazine
David Hewson
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Street Orphans by @Authormary Mary Wood #Saga #NewRelease #HistoricalFiction @panmacmillan ‘A stark portrayal of the Victorian era in Lancashire 5*’

The Street Orphans high res cover
The Street Orphans by Mary Wood
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Born with a club foot in a remote village in the Pennines, Ruth is feared and ridiculed by her superstitious neighbours who see her affliction as a sign of witchcraft. When her father is killed in an accident and her family evicted from their cottage, she hopes to leave her old life behind, to start afresh in the Blackburn cotton mills. But tragedy strikes once again, setting in motion a chain of events that will unravel her family’s lives.

Their fate is in the hands of the Earl of Harrogate, and his betrothed, Lady Katrina. But more sinister is the scheming Marcia, Lady Katrina’s jealous sister. Impossible dreams beset Ruth from the moment she meets the Earl. Dreams that lead her to hope that he will save her from the terrible fate that awaits those accused of witchcraft. Dreams that one day her destiny and the Earl’s will be entwined.

My Review:

I have previously read and loved Brighter Days Ahead by Mary wood. Which I thoroughly enjoyed as a ww2 fiction saga. This novel however, takes on a whole other angle. The Street Orphans is a much darker novel, which fully explores the themes of poverty in Victorian society. The plight of the children, whilst remaining factual accurate, is unbearable at times. It is just so painful and as a parent myself, I dreaded the thought of having to endure such harsh times.

The novel opens in 1850 when the lives of one young family are ripped apart. Ruth Dovecote is the oldest of five siblings, she finds herself the mother figure. After the death of their father in a recent accident, the family are served an eviction notice 24hrs after the funeral. They are cold, penniless and hungry. Their mother decides to make the trek to Lythe Fell in Blackburn, to her cousin’s residence.
Only the journey doesn’t go as planned.

On the journey the carriage of the Earl of Harrogate hits Ruth’s mother causing an instant death. Despite witnessing the death of their beloved mother, the children rally to save the passengers. The Earl is far from grateful and mocks Ruth’s club foot, with nothing but utter contempt for her. . .

‘And us within spitting distance of Pendle Hill, where they hanged a whole bunch of your kind a couple of centuries ago’ – Earl of Harrogate

The legend that surrounds Pendle Hill and specifically the witches of Pendle Hill, is well known. At least it is to me. I grew up in Lancashire and Pendle Hill could be clearly seen from the front doorstep of my grandmother’s house on Summer Street in Nelson. I can remember my granny Winnie filling my head with tales of her past in Lancashire. My Gran worked in the mills and my grandad worked down the pits. They had both known harsh childhoods, full of poverty and yet gave nothing but love their entire lives. My Grandfather himself was an Orphan at 17yrs of age. His father committed suicide after ww1, my grandad found his body at just 10yrs old. So, I suppose the themes of orphans/poverty hit me quite hard emotionally. I remember my gran telling me that at 17yrs old my grandad couldn’t afford shoes for his feet and that he had also endured sleeping rough. This is a man that would give you the shirt of his back, his last fiver or giant hug whenever you needed it. Lancashire might have a history of poverty and endurance under difficult times. But it also has an incredible history of love, friendship and warmth amongst its people.

Anyhow, back to the story before I am crying!
Ruth saves the Earl despite his vile attitude towards her. when he then makes violent threats towards her younger sister Elsie 4yrs old.
Ruth sees red and this leaves the Earl dead!
What will become of the children now?

Across Lancashire we are introduced to Katrina, daughter to a wealthy mill owner. She is betrothed to Lord Bertram Rollinson, the Earl of Harrogate. At just 21yrs old, she finds this a rather daunting prospect.
She is unable to marry for love and this she finds disheartening. . .

‘Lord Rollinson is trading a title for me, and daddy’s acceptance into society circles, just to get his hands on our money. How could you wish this to happen to me?’ – Katrina

However, Katrina is in for a surprise because Bertram is no longer among the living. Which will lead to his brother Frederick to take his place as Earl. Which brings a whole new dimension to Katerina’s marital woes.

‘Marriage in your society is no more than a business contract’ – Arkwright

The new Earl of Harrogate, Frederick is deeply concerned for the welfare of the children involved in the crash. He knows their actions allowed his mother Lady Eleonore to survive it. He hunts them down in a desperate attempt to help them. But these are street smart kids, who’s only experience of ‘toffs’ is one of exploitation and abuse. Ruth avoids the earl at every turn, which leads her to Ma Perkins and a whole new nightmare!

The novel covers a wide-range of themes as we follow not only the working-class characters but the society elite. Whilst the poor may fall prey to violence, rape and extreme poverty. The wealthy experience their own set of struggles. They live in s society built on reputations, where their status can be crushed in the blink of an eye. The women also experience being married off, as though they are pawns in a game of chess, being moved off to advance the males in the family. The author has done an outstanding job of covering the various people within the society and maintaining historical accuracy.
A stark portrayal of the Victorian era in Lancashire 5*

Mary Wood
Mary wood
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My ReviewBrighter Days Ahead

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