Sunday, March 18, 2018

Ashley York’s EYES OF THE SEER – Love Amidst Warring Clans in Medieval Ireland

Set in 1095 in Eire (Ireland), this is the story of Astrid and Marcán of Clonascra, both from the same clan but meant to marry others. Of marriageable age, Astrid is tempting to those young men who only want her virtue. And the neighboring clan has plenty of warriors who fall into that category.

Marcán, however, has proven himself as a warrior and a gentleman, guarding Astrid’s virtue while wanting her for his own. Born with different-colored eyes, a condition thought by some, including Astrid’s mother, to mark him as a disfavored seer, he must fight Astrid’s mother who wants Astrid marry out of their clan.

Urged on by her mother, Astrid seeks the attention of a man who initially only wants her for pleasure but then decides it is politically expedient to marry her.

The story is rich in historical detail and puts you into the medieval era as opposing clans vie for control. The language reflects an earlier time, which I quite liked.

One clan treats their women well; one does not. Our heroine is from the clan that treats women well, but she makes some very foolish choices and has difficulty speaking up for herself. Too, her mother dominates her. Marcán is a noble sort and no “seer”. He only wants to do right by Astrid, but he cannot be everywhere and keep Astrid from putting herself in troublesome positions.

Eventually it all comes right but getting there is the adventure. Fans of medieval romance set in Ireland will enjoy it.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Daniel O’Connell, "The Liberator" of Ireland

The issue of emancipation for Catholics consumed England for many decades, beginning in the 18th century and continuing until the Catholic Emancipation Act in 1829. Prior to that, Catholics could not, among other things, hold public office nor serve in Parliament. Ironically, the Prince Regent opposed Catholic Emancipation even though he married (illegally) Maria Fitzherbert, a twice-widowed Roman Catholic, who was arguably the love of his life. He did not, however, veto the new law in 1829, which was pressed by the Whigs and opposed by the Tories.

Daniel O’Connell, who in the 1810s and 1820s was one of the leading barristers in Ireland, led the campaign for emancipation and won the title “The Liberator.” 

He stood for election in 1828 in County Clare in Ireland, and though he was elected, could not take a seat in the House of Commons until the change in the law in 1829. He was a moderate and a brilliant voice speaking for the Irish in a way that England could not ignore.

Though a Deist in his youth, after an infamous duel in 1815, where he killed John D'Esterre, a leading member of the Protestant Ascendancy who had challenged him, O’Connell returned to his faith and became a devout Catholic, to the great joy of his wife.
In 1817, he stated,

My political creed is short and simple. It consists in believing that all men are entitled as of right and justice to religious and civil liberty…I have taken care to require it only on that principle which would emancipate the Catholics in Ireland, would protect the Protestants in France and Italy, and destroy the Inquisition, together with inquisitors, in Spain. Religion is debased and degraded by human interference; and surely the worship of the Deity cannot but be contaminated by the admixture of worldly ambition or human force.”

Daniel O’Connell was a tall, handsome man with a head of dark curls and shinning blue eyes. I like to think my hero, the fictional Morgan O’Connell who is Daniel’s cousin, had the same appearance. Daniel O’Connell did have a Protestant cousin and Protestant friends, so it’s possible. In his younger days before he married, when he was training in England, Daniel was quite the rake. Perhaps my fictional Morgan O’Connell was one as well, that is until he met Rose Collingwood.

Get in the mood for St. Patrick's Day with... 
The Shamrock & The Rose

A stint playing Portia at the Theatre-Royal at Haymarket in London, a dropped valentine and a dangerous desire lead gentle-born Rose Collingwood into the arms of Irishman Morgan O' Connell whose love will hazard all she knows and is. 99¢ on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Emma Jensen’s MOONLIT: Wonderful Finish to the Regency spy trilogy… An Irish Romance to Remember!

This is book 3 in a trilogy of Regency romances that involve former spies for England during the wars with France. There were 10 spies to begin with (“the Ten”). Some were nobility. 

The first book, Entwined, written in 1997, was set in England in 1810, and tells the story of Nathan, Viscount Oriel and his Scottish love, Isobel. It was excellent and I gave it 5 stars in my review. The second, Fallen, written in 2001, is set in Scotland in 1812, and is the story of Gabriel Loudon, Earl of Rievaulx (also one of the Ten), and Maggie, Isobel’s beautiful sister. It was superb and also justified 5 stars.

Moonlit is book 3 and an amazing finish to an amazing trilogy. It’s the story of Viscount Trevor St. Wulfstan (another member of the Ten) and Nell Nolan.

Once, when she was a young girl in Ireland, Nell wished on the moon and looked into a mirror hoping to see a picture of the man who would one day be her lover. And she saw him. 

As a young man, his father beat Trevor so badly he remains scarred, both inside and out. Years later, both have grown up. Trevor is an impoverished Irish lord, who lives by his gambling and his work for the Crown. A member of the Ten, Trevor gets the assignments the others don’t want, the assassinations, for example. Now, someone is trying to kill him. Nell, now a widow named Mrs. Nolan, is staying in London only long enough to tie up a loose end: a British lord cheated her out of her husband’s pay owed him when he was killed in the war years ago. Because she cared for a Duke who was sick during his last years, everyone in the Ton assumes Nell was his mistress and she a courtesan. She won’t correct the impression, though false, because it serves her purpose. The Duke left her a wealthy woman but she wants her husband’s money for the principle, for his honor. Knowing nothing of this, Trevor decides he must have the notorious Mrs. Nolan. Neither shares the pain they carry nor the story of their past.

As with the two others in this trilogy, Jensen weaves a beautiful story with very real passions and hurts, in this case, children hurt by the sins of others. Her writing is wonderfully descriptive with no overly long introspection passages as some writers of romance engage in. It’s a well-told story. Her dialog is not mere banter, either, but meaningful conversations that bring you into the heart of the characters’ longings and fears. The love scenes are well placed and fit perfectly. Highly recommended.

My only regret is that she stopped at three stories. The tales are so good, one could have hoped for a dozen. They are all related so read them in order—and don’t miss them!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Lorna Peel’s BROTHERLY LOVE – Love Among Warring Families in a 19th Century Irish Village

Set in Ireland in 1835, this is the story of Caitriona Brady, a widow of two years, who carries a torch for Michael Warner, the brother of the local priest. Michael also wants her and soon, they acknowledge their love. However, not all in the village agree.

Caitriona’s husband was the best fighter among the Bradys who battle the Donnellans at regular intervals, typically after a religious event. Caitriona and Michael have declared their neutrality but no one seems to be listening.

The well-written story brings to light Ireland’s past when “Faction Fighting” occurred and “Ribbonmen” held sway. (I had to look up the term “Ribbonmen”. They were Irish Catholics who worked to prevent landlords from evicting their tenants; the name came from the green ribbon they wore as a badge.)

As if the villagers’ poverty was not enough of a challenge, they took out their hatred on each other, making their lives even more miserable, Caitriona and Michael’s lives among them. Even Michael's brother, the priest, opposes their love.

I admired Caitriona, first for her patience in enduring a loveless marriage and an unworthy mother in law, and then in trying to hold onto love when everyone seemed bent on tearing her and Michael apart. Michael is a noble hero but his failure to disclose his troubled past did not help.

If you want a slice of Ireland’s troubled past, this fast-paced tale is a good read. I recommend it.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Amy Fetzer’s THE IRISH KNIGHT – Superb Story of an Irish Princess and a Knight who is Loyal to the English King

A well-told tale set in Medieval Ireland that blends fantasy and historical fiction for a wonderful romance.

Set in the late 12th century, this is the story of Connal PenDragon, an Irish warrior and knight who fights for King Richard, away on crusade. Richard orders him to return to Ireland and secure the peace by marrying Sinead of Antrim, his childhood friend who is known to be a witch. Sinead remembers Connal well. She once saw him as her soul mate but he spurned her and now she considers him a traitor for fighting for England, even against his own people.

Connal must marry her for duty and to unite their lands for England, but she refuses, telling him he must win her heart, or she will never be his. Forbidden since childhood to use her magic on him, she has no weapons to fight the emotions she feels for him or power to deal with the dreams that speak of Connal’s death.

Fetzer has done a superb job of injecting fairies and magic into a well-researched historical novel. It’s Ireland, after all, so it all seemed to fit. The characters are worthy. Connal is noble and Sinead is strong and determined to do right for her people. Their love is a slow burn. The dialog was rich and captured my attention. I guess I could say I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

The Irish Trilogy

The Irish Princess
The Irish Enchantress
The Irish Knight

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Ana Seymour’s MAID OF KILLARNEY – Second Chances & a Great Follow-on to the Irish Trilogy

While not strictly a part of Seymour's Irish historical trilogy (THE BLACK SWAN, ROSE IN THE MIST and THE IRISH GYPSY), which tells the love stories of the three Riordan brothers from County Meath, this should be a part of the series. I liked the second one very much, but this 4th may be the best. It includes some of the same characters from ROSE IN THE MIST, and the hero, Dr. John Black, is also featured in that one.

John Black is a 45-year-old doctor/politician/warrior when this story opens in 1576. He's taking some time off to relax and visit the daughter of the woman he loved as a youth. Catriona (“Cat”) is now wed to Niall Riordan (their story is told in book #2 of the trilogy) and living in Killarney. On his way to visit them, John saves a young girl named Daphne from bullies and discovers she lives in the woods with her mother, Lily, known as the Witch of Whistler's Woods.

Lily is hiding from a past of shame and her family's rejection, but she is increasingly concerned her lame daughter wants more people in her life than just her mother. John offers to help Daphne walk better but Lily is hesitant. She's been hurt by trusting a man before...

This is a story of second chances...the story of a man who lost his first love and a woman who was betrayed by hers. I loved the more mature man that was John Black though there was a time in the story when I questioned his less than honorable intentions toward Lily. Lily was a survivor as only a single mother who loves her child can be.

It's a worthy tale, well told. I recommend it.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Brit Darby's EMERALD PRINCE - A Wonderful Tale from Medieval Ireland... A Legend, a Worthy Hero and a Courageous Heroine! A Keeper!

From the writing team of Patricia McAllister and Fela Dawson Scott ("Brit Darby") comes a wonderful story set in 13th century Ireland. I thoroughly enjoyed it! The novel reflects considerable research and careful attention to historical detail of 13th century Ireland.

The story begins in 937 (prologue) on Inisdeven Island in Eire (Ireland) as the Nordic Vikings descend on St. Gall’s priory. The only monk remaining alive is young Donal to whom a dying Viking gives a large Emerald that he says must find its way to a female in his line—a descendant of the Fairy Queen Fand.

Hundreds of years later, in 1209 in England, Lady Alianor Coventry (“Nora”) is widowed when her husband, an older knight, dies. He was a man she greatly loved and admired who was like a father to her. King John, tired of his pregnant wife Isabella, is pleased to learn the fetching young heiress of Coventry is now free to be his plaything. But Nora wants to help her people, something the king has no intention of allowing. Given a choice between becoming the king’s leman or marrying the Norman madman Quintin de Lacy, she chooses neither, but is nevertheless shipped off to de Lacy in Ireland. On the way, she is abducted by the outlaw, Liam Caomhanach, the one the Irish call “the Emerald Prince,” a man foretold by legend.

I thought the authors did an excellent job of incorporating history and the Legend of the Emerald Prince into the story. That is so important to me as I like real history in my historical romance. They have created wonderful characters with a rich backstory—and some real life persons, like King John and Queen Isabella. Both Liam and Nora are compelling—unselfish and courageous to the end.

It’s a great tale, well told, and I recommend it for you lovers of Irish medieval romance. No love scene but great sexual tension...!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Karen Robards’ DARK OF THE MOON – A Very Worthy Hero and a Different Irish Romance

I’m a huge fan of Karen Robards historical romances and many of them grace my best lists.

Dark of the Moon is another great romance and different because of its plot detour in the middle. It begins in Ireland in 1784 and tells of Caitlyn O’Malley who, at 15, has lived on the streets of Dublin disguised as a lad for so long, she no longer sees herself as a girl. When she tries to pick the pocket of Connor d’Arcy, Earl of Iveagh, an Irish nobleman, believing him to be English, she is caught.

Connor, having great sympathy for homeless lads, offers “the boy” a job on his farm with “three square meals a day.” Hungry, she accepts, traveling with him to Donoughmore Castle where Connor and his younger brothers farm sheep in the shadow of the burned out castle that was once their home. Caitlyn never considers her feminine gender will be discovered. She is, of course, wrong.

Connor, whose family has suffered under the dreaded Protestant Ascendency (“the colonizers of a once-free land”), takes on another persona at night—the Dark Horseman. Riding with his brothers, all dressed in black, Connor robs from the rich Ascendency to give to Ireland’s poor. He’s a very worthy hero and, of course, Caitlyn falls in love with him. But there is a local landowner, an evil man, who covets what is Connor’s.

This is very well written with great characters and had me on the edge of my seat wondering what the feisty Caitlyn would do next. But there’s a turn in the middle that takes Caitlyn to London. You’ll want to read it all.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Michelle Beattie’s HER PIRATE TO LOVE – Ruthless Pirate, Gracious Pirate and an Irish Heroine!

March is Irish month on Historical Romance Review… Irish heroines and heroes and stories set in Ireland. I’m starting with one that has an Irish heroine set in the Caribbean… a pirate tale!

Set in 1664 in the Caribbean, this is the story of pirate Sam Steele, a name assumed by Cale Hunter, to escape the tragedy that befell him when his wife and son disappeared leaving behind evidence of slaughter.

Grace Sullivan, an Irish lass, who defied her parents and took a ship to Ireland, or so she thought. Instead, she became the captive of the ruthless pirate, Roche Santiago who raped and tortured her, enjoying her pain. When Steele rescues her, she is reluctant to accept his help, fearing to trust no man, especially when she realizes she is pregnant with Roche’s child.

Amazon lists this as the first in the Sam Steele series, but it has the feel of a book in the middle of a series as some of Steele’s couple friends are characters (toward the end) and their stories are alluded to. It can be read as a stand alone, however.

There’s a lot of introspection in this book, some seemed repetitive, but if you don’t mind that (or you like it), you will enjoy the read. It’s well researched and there are some exciting fighting scenes, including one at the end when Roche Santiago shows up. It’s a pirate romance so some violence is to be expected. I enjoyed the fighting scenes but not Roche’s cruelty which is truly awful.

What surprised me: Grace is to give birth to the child of the ruthless, evil pirate who not only raped her, but also tried to kill her, yet she never worries about how she can raise a son that is his spitting image. I can see her having angst over that and then deciding to love the child anyway, but Grace never even has a thought about this. That seemed odd. But overall, it's a good story and pirate romance lovers will be happy.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

King's Knight on Sale Today for 99¢... Grab it!

King’s Knight, winner of the 2017 RONE Award for Medieval Romance is ON SALE for 99¢ today on Amazon US and Amazon UK. Grab it!

“A tantalizing and intriguing tale of medieval chivalry, intrigue, passion, duty, honor and romance. Walker's knowledge of history shines through. Masterfully and brilliantly written!”  — My Book Addiction and More

“A sweeping tale that pulls you in at the very beginning and doesn’t let you go. Along with a wonderfully developed romance, there is political intrigue and a great cast of supporting characters begging for their story to be told. It's medieval romance at its finest.”   
 — The Reading Cafe

See it on my Website.
And take a look at the Pinterest Storyboard!


Dubbed the Black Wolf for his raven hair, his fierceness in battle and his way with women, Sir Alexander of Talisand attacked life as he did the king’s enemies. But acclaim on the battlefield and his lusty escapades did not satisfy. King William Rufus would bind him to Normandy through marriage to one of its noblewomen, but the only woman Alexander wants is a commoner he once saved from a terrible fate.


The shame of being the child of a Norman’s rape dogged Merewyn’s steps from her youth. Determined never to be a victim of a man’s lust like her mother, in Wales she donned the garb of an archer and developed extraordinary skill with a bow. Despite her fair beauty, men now keep their distance. No longer in need of protection from other men, can Merewyn protect herself from Alexander when he holds her heart yet can never be hers?

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Best Pirate, Privateer and High Seas Romances!

Who doesn’t love a good pirate or privateer story? All that capturing, swashbuckling and romancing on the high seas—oh yes! Gets my blood boiling just thinking about it. Here’s my list of those I have rated 4 or 5 stars. Some do not have pirates as such, but may have a swashbuckling sea captain or a privateer. In almost every case, part of the story takes place on the high seas. 

·      A Kiss in the Wind by Jennifer Bray-Weber
·      A Pirate’s Love by Johanna Lindsey
·      A Pirate’s Pleasure from the North American Women trilogy by Heather Graham
·      Across a Moonlit Sea, The Iron Rose and Following Sea, Pirate Wolf trilogy by Marsha Canham
·      Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer
·      Bound by the Heart by Marsha Canham
·      Bride of the Baja by Jane Toombs (original author Jocelyn Wilde)
·      Broken Wing by Judith James
·      Call of the Sea by Rebecca Hart
·      Captain of My Heart by Danelle Harmon
·      Chance the Winds of Fortune by Laurie McBain
·      Crimson Rapture by Jennifer Horsman
·      Dead Man’s Kiss by Jennifer Bray-Weber
·      Desire in Disguise by Rebecca Brandewyne
·      Desire in the Sun by Karen Robards
·      Devil's Embrace and Devil's Daughter by Catherine Coulter
·      Embrace and Conquer by Jennifer Blake
·      Fields of the Sun by Nadine Crenshaw
·      Fortune’s Flames by Janelle Taylor
·      Fortune’s Mistress and Fortune’s Bride by Judith E. French
·      Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey
·      Her Pirate to Love by Michelle Beattie
·      Island Flame and the sequel Sea Fire by Karen Robards
·      Lady of Fire by Valerie Vayle
·      Lady Vixen by Shirlee Busbee
·      Lord of the Sea by Danelle Harmon
·      Love of a Lioness by Sawyer Belle
·      Magic Embrace by Jennifer Horsman
·      Master of My Dreams by Danelle Harmon
·      Master of Seduction by Kinley MacGregor
·      My Wicked Pirate by Rona Sharon
·      Passion’s Joy and the sequel, Virgin Star by Jennifer Horsman
·      Passion’s Ransom by Betina Krahn
·      Perfume of Paradise by Jennifer Blake
·      Pirate in my Arms by Danelle Harmon
·      Pirate’s Angel by Marsha Bauer
·      Pirate Royale by Cordia Byers
·      Sea Raven by Patricia McAllister
·      Sea Mistress by Candace McCarthy
·      Sea Mistress by Nancy Morse
·      Shadowheart by Laura Kinsale
·      Silver Storm by Cynthia Wright
·      Tainted Lilies by Becky Lee Weyrich
·      The Black Angel by Cordia Byers
·      The Black Rose by Christina Skye
·      The Captain of All Pleasures by Kresley Cole
·      The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss
·      The Game by Brenda Joyce
·      The Hawk and the Dove by Virginia Henley
·      The Hidden Heart by Laura Kinsale
·      The Legend of the Gypsy Hawk by Sally Malcolm
·      The Pirate and the Pagan by Virginia Henley
·      The Pirate Lord by Sabrina Jeffries
·      The Pirate’s Captive by Dana Ransom
·      The Pirate’s Widow by Sandra Du Bay
·      The Pride of the King by Amanda Hughes
·      The Prize by Brenda Joyce
·      The Rogue Pirate’s Bride by Shana Galen
·      The Storm and the Splendor by Jennifer Blake
·      The Wind and the Sea by Marsha Canham
·      The Windflower by Laura London (aka Sharon and Tom Curtis)
·      Till Dawn Tames the Night by Megan McKinney
·      Treasured Embrace by Marsha Bauer
·      Under Crimson Sails by Lynna Lawton
·      Velvet Chains by Constance O’Banyan
·      Wild Bells to the Wild Sky by Laurie McBain
·      With One Look by Jennifer Horsman

And, if you want to read a seafaring adventure with a British privateer hero, you might enjoy my novels, To Tame the Wind and Wind Raven. Both feature a pirate and a lusty sea captain. And for a pirate’s second chance at love, try Echo in the Wind with the dashing Jean Donet, comte de Saintonge. Ah yes, love on the High Seas!