Thursday, February 19, 2015

Book Review: Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

And Giveaway of a Lace Bookmark!

Mist of Midnight is in a Victorian setting, mostly in the house of a young woman returned to her estate after growing up in India, the daughter of missionaries who died in the Rebellion. Eager to arrive at Headbourne House to grieve but also to settle into her life, Miss Rebecca Ravenshaw becomes most unsettled upon learning that her inheritance had already been claimed by an imposter who now lay in a grave with Rebecca's name chiseled into the stone. What is worse is that most people in the area see Rebecca as the probable pretender. A third claimant, the appealing Captain Luke Whitfield, had taken up residence before even the first "Miss Ravenshaw", and the staff was loyal to him.

How could Rebecca prove her identity? What would she do while waiting for the truth to be revealed? And what of this charming man? Was his kindness genuine, or was it part of a plan to put her, too, in a grave near the other?

Ms. Byrd kept me in the Victorian era. A Gothic feel to this mystery kept me turning pages. And the various characters kept me hoping, concerned, or judgmental--to the end.

Ms. Byrd showed excellent research historically and geographically both in England and India. And I wish now I'd put post-its at some of her excellent turns of phrase to share them with you, but you'll enjoy them yourself when you settle down by the fire with this new release.

I received this book free of charge for an honest review.

Link to Mist of Midnight on the Simon and Schuster/Howard Books Website:

About the author:
Sandra Byrd is a best-selling author and has earned Library Journal's Best Books of the year pick twice, in 2011 for To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn, and in 2012 for The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr.  She's twice been a Christy Award finalist, for To Die For and for Let Them Eat Cake: A Novel. Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I published April 2013

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New Release: Stolen, by Sheila Dalton

I was intrigued by a recent post on this blog, “Paper Gods and Iron Men: Ordinary people in
extraordinary situations” by Kevin Cowdall, because that is really what my novel, Stolen, is about - how a series of tragic and tumultuous events affects my heroine, an ordinary young woman who must re-assess herself in the face of difficult situations beyond her control.

The seventeenth century was a challenging age: poverty in England was widespread because of a huge jump in the population between 1529 and 1630. (My novel begins in 1633.) Poor and homeless people were consequently frequently arrested and transported to the new colonies in the Americas and the Caribbean, where labour was desperately needed. They went as indentured servants, a position even lower than that of slave in some instances. Many died on the journey, and many more died of their labours and terrible living conditions shortly after arrival.

The era was also known as The Golden Age of Piracy. Lizbet Warren, at nineteen years old, must face a raid on her village by Barbary Corsairs, in which her parents are carried off to the slave markets in Morocco. Later, she is captured at sea by the British pirate, Gentleman Jake. It is while sailing with him that she confronts many of her most difficult choices: he is a black slaver, and in order to continue her quest to find her mother in Morocco, she colludes in this activity. She must also fight for her life, and finds, somewhat to her horror, that she is able to do so.

Her experiences inevitably transform her, and she is not always happy about how. But she also discovers depths of courage within herself, determination to forge her own path, and the strength of character to change what she can in the world around her.

Stolen is currently available as an ebook for the Kindle UK, Kindly US, Kindle CA, Kobo, Nook and iTunes.