Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Historical Fiction Enticements 5/15

Welcome to our weekly Wednesday feature, Historical Fiction Enticements. Five histfic novel synopses will be highlighted each week. 

The Winchester Goose: at the court of Henry VIII
Judith Arnopp

Tudor London: 1540. Each night, after dark, men flock to Bankside seeking girls of easy virtue; prostitutes known as The Winchester Geese. Joanie Toogood has worked the streets of Southwark since childhood but her path is changed forever by an encounter with Francis Wareham, a spy for the King’s secretary, Thomas Cromwell.

Meanwhile, across the River, at the glittering court of Henry VIII, Wareham also sets his cap at Evelyn and Isabella Bourne, members of the Queen’s household, drawing the girls into intrigue and the shadow of the executioner’s blade.

Set against the turmoil of Henry VIII’s middle years, The Winchester Goose provides a brand new perspective of the happenings at the royal court, offering a frank and often uncomfortable observation of life at both ends of the social spectrum.

Amazon US
Amazon UK


On a Foreign Field
Hazel West

Sir Reeve Montgomery is an Englishman born and bred, proud of his heritage and the right to serve his country fighting against the Scottish rebels. But when the tide is turned unexpectedly during the Battle of Stirling Bridge, he is wounded by an English arrow, left for dead by his comrades who he always thought of as brothers, and is taken captive by William Wallace's army. Wounded, and alone on a foreign field, he knows he should expect nothing but torture and death at the hands of the Scottish rebels who are known to be complete savages.

At first, he is bitter, angry at his betrayal, and wanting revenge. He plans to escape as soon as his wounds heal, and hopes to take Wallace’s head back to England with him.

However, as he comes to know this tight brotherhood better, and sees Wallace's utter devotion to his men and the cause of freedom, he is surprised to find that his feelings are conflicted. He had been taught in his training as a knight that the Scottish were barbarians and had no honor on the battlefield. But seeing Wallace care for his men, coupled with his own interventions on Reeve’s behalf, causes the Englishman to wonder whether the English are right to oppress them at all, and even more dangerously, whether he could ever fight against the Scots again.

Faced with these troubling thoughts, Reeve must decide whether he will stay true to his king and the country of his birth, or join Wallace’s brotherhood of freedom fighters, thus turning his back on everything he has ever known or believed in and committing treason, a crime punishable by a horrid form of execution. But there are other factors to consider as well, including his budding comradeship with the men and something else entirely concerning the beautiful Maggie Armstrong.

On a Foreign Field is a heartfelt, thought-provoking read for teens and adults alike, focusing on the reality of war, and the friendship, love, and loyalty that can be formed among people fighting for the same thing.

Amazon US
Amazon UK


The Companion of Lady Holmeshire
Debra Brown

Returning by carriage from London to a cold Northumberland castle where she had once scrubbed the floors, Emma Carrington knew that life would be different—and difficult at that. Though there would be none of the previous chores, she would accompany her mistress, the sweet and unconventional Countess of Holmeshire, to dinners and tea, reproached for her status by many. But Her Ladyship would insist.

Emma adored Wills, Her Ladyship’s son, the young Earl of Holmeshire, though he was engaged by arrangement to Lady Genevieve, who was, of course, suitable. His warmth toward the former housemaid Emma and irritation with his fiancé were unmistakable. But conventions would be honored. When The Season began, they would find themselves in London following society’s rules.

Who was the old, tattered man following Emma about the village? It frightened her! And Emma wondered—what were the secrets her mistress hid?

Emma hoped to beg off from dinner with Genevieve’s family, but it was not to be. She must endure the glare of the Marquess of Breighton and the condescension of his insecure wife. Curry was served, a nod to their love of India. Genevieve despised the Indian décor and especially the Holmeshire mud and moors in favor of balls and the lights of London. “At least,” she said, “when I am mistress of Holmeshire Hall it will be kittens and rococo for me.” Wills had spent thousands on Italian marble and art. The rococo would go to the London house Genny would have as a settlement.

Who were the well-dressed men following Genny in Town? It frightened her. Something, at last, united Genevieve and Wills. No hope existed for Emma. Or did it?

Wills rose quickly in Parliament as the future son-in-law of the marquess. The peers respected his opposition to the workhouses and his philanthropic efforts—until everything fell apart.

What might the force of Lady Holmeshire’s secrets reveal? And just who is this story really about?


Cossacks in Paris
Jeffrey Perren


How far will one man go for love and freedom?

Rebellious Breutier Armande, a rising young civil engineer in Paris, is drafted into the Grande Armeé on the eve of Napoleon's 1812 Russian campaign.

On a scouting mission in St. Petersburg he meets Kaarina, a Finnish mathematician and daughter of the counselor to Tsar Alexander I. The pair soon fall in love — but Kaarina is betrothed to Agripin, a vicious Cossack and a favorite of the Tsar. When she refuses him, Agripin kidnaps her, aided by Kaarina's envious twin sister, Kaisa.

During Europe's brief, uneasy truce Breutier deserts Napoleon's army and the Tsar's employ to reclaim Kaarina. Dodging the vengeance of the world's most powerful rulers sends him on a perilous quest to hunt down the era's most ruthless Cossack.

Interweaving the characters' personal dramas with the epochal events of the following two years forms the core of the story. Historically accurate, the novel climaxes at the moment when, for the first time in 400 years, foreign armies invaded France, leaving behind Cossacks in Paris.

Amazon US
Amazon UK



Have No Shame
Melissa Foster

When civil rights and forbidden love collide

This book will resonate with readers who enjoyed Kathryn Stockett's, The Help, Julie Kibler's, Calling Me Home, John Grisham's, A Time to Kill, Sue Monk Kidd's, The Secret Life of Bees, and Kathleen Grissom's, The Kitchen House.

"Within moments of starting to read, you will be transported back to the Arkansas of 1967 - hot, dusty, utterly rural and edgy. Poor white farmers dependent upon cheap black labor who, due to their superior numbers, are constantly suppressed, living on the wrong side of town, ghettoised and terrified. You will remember scenes from `In the Heat of the Night' and `Easy Rider'; you will remember that, less than fifty years ago, if you were black, you could be beaten for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And if you died at the hands of a white youth, justice would almost certainly be denied you." Author Roderick Craig Low


Alison Tillman has called Forrest Town, Arkansas home for the past eighteen years. Her mother's Blue Bonnet meetings, her father toiling night and day on the family farm, and the division of life between the whites and the blacks are all Alison knows. The winter of 1967, just a few months before marrying her high school sweetheart, Alison finds the body of a black man floating in the river, and she begins to view her existence with new perspective. The oppression and hate of the south, the ugliness she once was able to avert her eyes from, now demands her attention.

When a secretive friendship with a young black man takes an unexpected romantic turn, Alison is forced to choose between her predetermined future, and the dangerous path that her heart yearns for.

"A gripping and poignant novel dealing with a subject once taboo in American society." Hagerstown Magazine

"Have No Shame is a powerful testimony to love and the progressive, logical evolution of social consciousness, with an outcome that readers will find engrossing, unexpected, and ultimately eye-opening." Midwest Book Review

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Come back next Wednesday for five more synopsis. You may find your favorite-ever book!

Authors of historical fiction from any location may contact me to submit a synopsis using the contact form on this site. No steamy romance novels, please.


Hazel West said...

Thanks again for featuring my book!

Cheers, Hazel

Melissa Foster said...

Hi Debra, love your blog and the focus on historical fiction. I'm honored to see HAVE NO SHAME featured. Thank you! xox

Anonymous said...

Hi Just wondered how I can ask about being featured here?


Anonymous said...

And should have said I love the look of your page - thoe beautiful pics down the side...

Lana Williams said...

These seem like excellent options! Thanks for sharing them!