This week, N&P: (clicking on the names will take you to the author website; book titles will take you to the books on Amazon)
Charlene Newcomb Charlene and I work together as part of the editorial team for EHFA (English Historical Fiction Authors) but I didn't tell her I'd bought her book, the first in a trilogy. I read Men of the Cross on Kindle having already read excerpts and short stories she'd written. I simply loved this book, with its subtle reworking of the Robin Hood legend, its tale - sometimes visceral and disturbing - of the fighting in the crusades and, at its heart, its story about two soldiers who fall in love. Charlene's prose is elegant, descriptive, and her characters are real and believable. The central love story is presented sensitively, and is of its setting. The author has clearly researched her period in depth and yet that research sits lightly on the pages. I'm really looking forward to reading the next in this captivating series.
Terri Nixon I read Penhaligon's Attic on Kindle and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's set in Cornwall in the early twentieth century and is the first in a series. The sea plays a huge part in the story, naturally enough, and the main focus in on a local family, particularly the daughter, Freya. But her family's story merges with that of a newcomer, Anna, who has a past that she's anxious to keep hidden. I was gripped by this tale and it kept me guessing until the end. Friendships and romance are kindled, and told well, and the reality of life in a fishing village is equally expertly depicted. As the nights begin to draw in again, this is a perfect book to curl up by the fire with. Although this is one of a series of three, it's also a standalone. However, I found that I wanted to read on and shall be settling down with Book Two soon I hope.
Sharon Penman Where do I start with this author? I was introduced to her books by my sister, who recommended The Sunne in Splendour, which I read and loved. But it was her Welsh Princes trilogy that I then fell in love with and although I've read some of her series about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, the Welsh novels are still my favourites, and of those it's a tough choice. I'm torn between The Reckoning, which is the final part of the trilogy, and Here Be Dragons and I think I'll plump for Here Be Dragons. This is where it all begins, and where, too, my love affair with Welsh history began. Joanna, illegitimate daughter of King John, is married to Llewelyn of Gwynedd whose relationship with the English king is well, let's say 'difficult'. Romance, history, sweeping saga - it's got the lot!
KM Pohlkamp I've recently downloaded Apricots and Wolfsbane after hearing great things about this book and, having sneaked a look at the opening pages I know I'm in for a treat. The cover is stunning, too. The book has a Tudor England setting and a beautiful young woman with a penchant for poison. So we have historical fiction, but with a dark edge. Lavinia seems like a fascinating character. Will I like or loathe her? I'm looking forward to finding out. It's an intriguing premise: a woman who kills in order to observe how her poisons work and who believes that confession will absolve her. Yet it looks like things are going to take a darker turn and the stakes will get ever higher... I don't think this is like any other book I've read before, and I'm itching to get stuck in to this one!
Perhaps you'll find your next best read or your new favourite author among this selection. Join me next time for more recommendations 😊