Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Historical Fiction Enticements 8/7

The Circle of Ceridwen
Octavia Randolph

How far would you go for your best friend? Would your risk your life to ensure her safety? Place yourself in danger to protect what is most precious to her?

Remember the courage you had at fifteen. Remember the need that drove you to make your own way.

Now step back over a thousand years. It is the year 871, when England was Angle-Land. Of seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, five have fallen to the invading Vikings.

Across this war-torn landscape travels fifteen year old Ceridwen, now thrust into the lives of the conquerors. Driven from the priory in which she was raised, she is discovered by the warriors accompanying young Ælfwyn, daughter of a Saxon lord, sold against her will in marriage as part of a peace treaty with a marauding Viking war chief. Their destination is the captured fortress of Four Stones, a ruin holding glittering treasure. There Ælfwyn must keep her vow and wed Yrling - and Ceridwen must do all she can to support her new friend in the rebuilding of the ravaged village and great hall.

But living with the enemy affords Ceridwen unusual freedoms - and unlooked-for conflicts. Amongst them she explores again her own heathen past, and learns to judge each man on his own merits. Yrling's nephews Sidroc and Toki, both formidable warriors yet as different as night and day, compete to win Ceridwen for their own.

As the threat of full-scale war escalates, a midnight party of furtive Danes delivers someone to Four Stones who destroys the girls' hopes of peace and contentment. Now Ceridwen must summon all her courage - a courage which will be sorely tested as she defies both Saxon and Dane and undertakes an extraordinary adventure to save a man she has never met.

The first book of The Circle of Ceridwen Trilogy, the historical adventure saga enjoyed by thousands of readers in over 125 nations. With illustrations by Marta Roselló.

Young women with courage. Swords with names. Vikings with tattoos. Warfare. Passion. Survival. Sheep. And Other Good Things...

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The Last Seal
Richard Denning

Gunpowder and Sorcery in 1666

On the eve of the Great Fire of London, Benjamin, a truant schoolboy and Freya, a thief orphaned during the plague, blunder into a struggle between rival secret societies. Whilst evading its deadly agents they discover that the Liberati serve a powerful demon which was trapped under London by their opponents - the Presidium - who created arcane seals round the city which the Liberati aim to destroy when they start the fire at Pudding Lane. The fire destroys seal after seal, each releasing horrific servants of the demon which drive the fire onwards.

Before the fire the Liberati had fought and almost destroyed the Presidium and so Gabriel, the sole remaining member of the Presidium is forced to recruit the two youths along Tobias a doctor - the son of another Presidium member murdered by the Liberati - to try and locate the Last Seal where the demon himself is trapped. The Liberati dog their every footstep and so a desperate race ensues. Meanwhile all of them must evade agents of the King who suspect that they are foreign spies who started the fire, as well as dealing with their own problems and motives.

Freya must overcome her natural self interest, aided by love for “her City” to protect it from the demon. Tobias is bitter, cynical and skeptical of his murdered father’s beliefs and motivated by a desire for revenge that could consume him. Gabriel is afraid his failures led to the death of Tobias’ father and that he will fail again. In the end though success or defeat depends on the school boy Ben who learns he must confront his own guilt over his parent’s death in order to gain the means to destroy the demon.

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Eulogy's Secret
Grace Elliot

Greed, prejudice and a stolen identity
(A Regency Romance)

Eulogy Foster craves to learn more about the mother who died giving her life. With her guardians passing, Eulogy sets off to London in search of her last living relative, a brother, Lord Lucien Devlin. But rather than welcome his estranged sister, Devlin denies their blood tie and throws her onto the streets. A passing stranger, Jack Huntley, gives Eulogy shelter and helps to find an old acquaintance of her mother's, the once great artist Tristan Farrell. But Farrell has fallen on hard times and is a derelict drunk. However, Eulogy's sudden appearance shakes Farrell, reminding him of the woman who once begged for help…and he turned away. Could Eulogy be a second chance to right past wrongs?

Jack Huntley doesn't trust Farrell and keeps a protective eye on Eulogy, but the more he sees of her quiet determination to unearth her mother's story, the deeper he falls in love. This faces Jack with an impasse, a life without her would be empty and worthless, and yet Eulogy is far beneath him on the social scale and marriage is unthinkable…and she refuses to become his mistress.

With Eulogy as his muse Farrell starts to paint again, to critical acclaim. Eulogy's pictures take the ton by storm, Farrell's talent is rediscovered and she is feted by society. Meanwhile Huntley lies to himself that his only interest in Eulogy is as a business investment, whilst he falls deeper in love. But with her reputation on the rise a series of dangerous accidents take place that make Huntley suspect someone wants Eulogy dead. But who… and why? What secret from the past is worth her life and will Huntley realise in time, that nothing matters besides love?

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Edith and the Mysterious Stranger
Linda Weaver Clarke

Intriguing letters... letters that were given much thought... letters written so eloquently... letters that touched Edith's heart! Who had written such letters? This was the last thing Edith had expected in this historical romance novel.

With mysterious letters, cattle rustlers, a spunky woman, Halloween, and young love, there is always something happening. Edith, a nurse, moves to Idaho to care for her cousin Melinda who is having a difficult pregnancy. She has wonderful qualities but never gives a man a second chance because her expectations are so high. However, all that changes when a mysterious stranger starts writing to her. For the first time, she gets to know a man's inner soul before making any harsh judgments. Whoever he is, this man is a mystery and the best thing that has ever happened to her. The question that puzzles her is whether or not he's as wonderful in person as he is in his letters.

Edith used to sing professionally but has now settled down and serves others through her nursing abilities. While visiting her parents in Idaho, she meets two men. Henry, the superintendent of schools, seems to be arrogant, flirtatious, and quite impressed with her talents. Joseph, a farmer and ranch hand, acts completely disinterested in her and unimpressed with her talents. At first, both men get on her nerves until she decides it's about time to not be so judgmental.

"Clarke's passion for her historical subject matter is apparent in the solid writing, which transports the reader back in time effortlessly. Her multi-layered characters are unique individuals who evoke empathy. The experiences, challenges, dialogue, and dress are realistic for the time period and the descriptions are so vivid the reader is more a participant in the events than a page-turner. Edith and the Mysterious Stranger is a highly recommended read. It's a great adventure story with strong values; great for the entire family." --Lisa Haselton, Allbooks Reviews

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