This week - B (clicking on the names will take you to the author website; book titles will take you to Amazon)
Sue Barnard I've got to 'know' Sue through Facebook, where I'm constantly amused by her war against bad grammar and erroneous apostrophes and, belatedly, I realised I recognised her from her appearance on telly (Only Connect). Sue is an award-winning writer who has an impressive back-catalogue and who writes in a number of different genres and mediums. She describes herself as an author, editor and poet. The book which intrigued me was Heathcliff: The Unanswered Questions Finally Answered? in which Sue examines what happened to Heathcliff between his running away and returning to Wuthering Heights. This is been cued up on my Kindle since I read the sample pages and simply had to know more. I can't wait to get started on this one.
Prue Batten Prue is a multi-genre author who writes brilliant, elegant prose and draws her readers into the world she's writing about. She's written The Gisborne Saga, and children's books, as well as the fantasy Chronicles of Eirie, but I know of her work because of the Triptych Chronicles. I read the first in this series, Tobias, and loved the way she sets up her scenes using all five senses. The opening page is masterful, plonking the reader in the heart of the story and introducing Toby in all his pugilistic glory. When offered a review copy of Michael, I found that she had not lost her wonderful knack for painting pictures with words and I'm thrilled that the book has recently been announced as joint winner in the Chaucer awards for historical fiction. Prue has a contemporary novel, Passage, out soon.
Cryssa Bazos writes book set in the 17th century, my second-favourite period of history. She's also one of my co-editors on EHFA. Traitor's Knot is a stunning debut novel, telling a tale of love, loyalty, and the divisions of the English Civil War. Cryssa takes the utmost care over her research, agonising over details to make sure she has everything just right for the period. Her research, though, is purely to ensure that the world she writes is 'real' and doesn't get in the way of her story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, feeling as if I was there alongside her wonderfully-drawn characters, and am excited to say that the sequel, Severed Knot, will be published on 7 June 2019. I'm even happier to say that I have an advance copy, so keep your eyes peeled for my review!
Anna Belfrage first came to everyone's attention with her time-slip series, The Graham Saga, one volume of which won the Historical Novel Society's Indie Book of the Year, but then she wrote an equally stunning and award-winning series about Adam and his love, Kit, in her series The King's Greatest Enemy. I've read the first in this series, In the Shadow of the Storm where I followed Adam and Kit from their first meeting to the dangers faced by Adam especially during the barons' rebellion against King Edward II. The latest in the King's Greatest Enemy series, under the approaching Dark, has just been announced joint winner in the Chaucer awards for historical fiction. Anna has published two books in her new series, The Wanderer: A Torch in Her Heart and Smoke in her Eyes.
Pamela Belle I can't remember how or why I came across this wonderful series of books, but I do know that I spent all of last summer 'living' at Wintercombe. This series - four books in all - tells the story of a family who lived during and after the English Civil Wars. The first two concentrate on Silence, a young puritan wife who finds herself defending her home against the royalist soldiers billeted there. The last two books feature the younger generations of the family. Pamela is the master of the twisty yet believable plot and at times I was on the edge of my seat wondering how she would resolve things. The characters are well-drawn, and her world-building is skilful. I'm pleased to say that the books are now available as e-books with shiny new cover designs.
Nancy Bilyeau Nancy is the author of a series of historical thrillers, the Joanna Stafford Books, set in Tudor England. She's also worked as editor of various magazines and writes for a number of websites. But she's recently created a stir with her new release, The Blue, set in the world of the 18th-century porcelain trade and telling the tale of Genevieve, who wants to travel to Venice, where she hopes she might be taken seriously as an artist. She sets out to discover the secrets of 'the blue', but learns much more besides. Nancy's credentials as both author and historian are impeccable. The Blue has received fabulous reviews as well as a great deal of press attention and, after reading the sample pages, I downloaded it to my Kindle and am looking forward to reading this thoroughly-researched novel.
Steve Bivans I've got to 'know' Steve recently through Twitter, where I quickly discovered what an amusing and supportive author he is. Steve describes himself as a 'hobbit' who has a scholarly interest in Vikings. That's quite enough to make me reach for his books, but he also Tweets little character exchanges from Anno Draconis: Dawn of the Dragon (Liber Draconis Part One) and they never fail to amuse and/or it intrigue me. I've now downloaded this and am thoroughly looking forward to being entertained by these great characters. “Wine saves lives,” Sigurd said with a tight grin, “Other men’s lives.” Olaf broke into full on laughter. “Ja! It does!” Olaf boomed, “Pass that pitcher back down here! Let us save the lives of a thousand men!” Steve tells me this is free for the next few days!
Sharon Booth Sharon is a Yorkshire lass, which is the setting for her books. By her own admission, she's a believer in the happy ending, but she makes her characters work for it. Sharon is a prolific author who has written a number of different series: Bramblewick, The Witches of Castle Clair, Moorland Heroes, Skimmerdale, and Kearton Bay. I downloaded There Must be an Angel some time ago, which is the first in the Kearton Bay series, and then lost my tablet, which meant that for a while I forgot about the books there. I now have a brand new Kindle and have just started re-reading 'Angel'. It's one of those where the first page just grabs you - ever so gently, mind - and sort of says, 'You're going to enjoy this'. I know I shall, and I can't wait to settle down into this book.
Niamh Boyce I came across this author in a Facebook readers' group, and I'm currently about halfway through the paperback copy of Her Kind, (having downloaded a sample initially on Kindle), and so far a lot of the plot is still a mystery. It's clear that Petronelle - the name she has to use to disguise her Irish origins - has 'previous' with Alice Kytler, but what that history is, I'm not too sure yet. This is a story of witchcraft, specifically witch hunts, but unusually it's set in 14th-century Ireland, against the backdrop of the Kilkennie witch trials. So far, everything is set up nicely. The bishop, Ledrede, is clearly going to be Alice's nemesis, but we are getting there step by delicious step, and I've yet to work out what part Petronelle's daughter will play in the story. I'll report back when I've finished it!
Kate Braithwaite I've had the privilege of working with Kate, who has written articles for us over on EHFA. I was delighted to be able to review her book recently for Discovering Diamonds. (Review will appear next month) By a lovely 'happenstance' I had just bought the book when the submissions list for 'Diamonds' came through. This tale, based on the true events surrounding Titus Oates and the Popish Plot, tells how Oates and his allegations affect one particular group of friends, and especially a married couple. Nat Thompson makes it his personal mission to gather evidence which will put a stop to Oates, but the consequences for Nat's wife, Anne, and their friends, are tragic. Get a copy of this book - you will learn history as well as being entertained.
Julia Brannan Julia and I once spent the whole day in my house, talking books, history, and drinking tea and eating cake. What a great day that was, because it was in fact the first - and thus far only - time we'd met. I'd already read the first two in her Jacobite Chronicles at that point. To discover what a lovely human being she is was a real treat and bonus! There are six books in this story, the tale of Alex, Beth, and a whole host of characters - the most memorable perhaps being Sir Anthony - and the backdrop is the troubled period leading up to Culloden. Julia is now working on a series of books about some of those other characters - The Whore's Tale is the story of Sarah, and she is busy writing Harriet's story. The Jacobite Chronicles are also currently being produced as audio books, and the first, Mask of Duplicity, is already available as an audio book.
I urge you to check out these books and maybe you'll find a new favourite author. Join me next week when, unsurprisingly, I'll be recommending books I've read, or currently own, by authors whose names begin with C.