Monday, October 15, 2018

Jennifer Roberson’s LADY OF THE FOREST – An Opus Telling of the Robin Hood Legend, Rich in Historical Detail

Set in Nottinghamshire in 1194, at 608 pages, this is a thorough telling of how Robin Hood came to be… and the love story of Sir Robert (Robin) of Locksley and Lady Marian of Ravenskeep. In the words of the author, it’s “…a fictional interpretation of imaginary events leading to the more familiar adventures depicted in novels…” And so it is.

The whole cast of characters is included in intricate detail: Alan of the Dales, Little John, Friar Tuck, William Scarlet, one-handed Wat and the boy, Much, to name some—Saxons made outlaw by Norman cruelty, King John’s egregious taxes and the Sheriff of Nottingham’s “justice” fed by his selfish ambition. Richard the Lionheart, though not a character, is mentioned frequently and motivates the stalwart souls to engage in thievery to raise his ransom.

Sir Robert (whose mother called him “Robin”) returns from the Crusades as a broken man, plagued by memories of his captivity with the Saracens. His father, the Earl of Huntington, has plans for his son to take his place as heir to their castle at Locksley. But much has changed in England while Robert was gone and Robert/Robin has little desire to live in the castle.

Self-serving, ambitious Prince John seeks to rein in his brother’s sted and William de Lacey, the Sheriff of Nottingham, seeks more power and wants Marian in his bed. With the death of her father, Marian is now a ward of the Crown and alone at Ravenskeep.

Marian begins as a woman too easily manipulated by the conniving Sheriff, but at times shows a backbone as she learns to stand on her own when she is abducted by a murderer (Will Scarlet who, with good reason, murdered four Normans) and is then rescued by Robin with whom she spends the night in Sherwood Forest. She is ruined, no matter that nothing happened.

I am a fan of Roberson and loved Lady of the Glen. So, I couldn’t wait to devour this one. It’s a bit different and you just need to be ready for that. Unlike Lady, this story, though it  kept me turning pages, contains a lot of detail, a lot of perspectives (every character had one) and at times was just a tad repetitive. Still, it’s superb storytelling and it has Roberson’s wonderful characterization and writing.

I love her work and this is an exceptional effort. The sequel is Lady of Sherwood.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Shelly Thacker’s HIS STOLEN BRIDE – French Noblewoman Abducted by a Highland Chief

First released under the title Falcon on the Wind, the story is set in Scotland in 1294 and tells of Lady Laurien d’Amboise, whose step father would force her to wed the cruel comte de Villiers. She is just about to escape when she is abducted by Highland lord Darach of Glenshiel who needs her to secure France’s support for Scotland.

Laurien thought to return to the convent at Tours where she grew up but that was before Darach captured her heart. Little does she know he is already married. And that won’t stop Darach from claiming what he wants.

A clever plot with a twist toward the end and some good action scenes keep the reader turning pages. I enjoyed the characters and anytime I can get a bit of the Highlands in the story, I’m delighted. There are a few historical references that anchor the story well in Scotland’s history.

My first by Thacker but it won’t be my last.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Mary Gillgannon’s LADY OF STEEL – Medieval Adventure!

Set in the 12th century, beginning in 1189, this is the story of Lady Nicola and Fawkes de Cressy, one of King Richard’s knights. The tale begins as Lady Nicola’s abusive and wicked husband, who doesn’t desire women, forces her to have sex with Fawkes to conceive an heir. They share one day of passion and, thereafter, Fawkes goes off to fight in the Crusade.

When Fawkes returns, King Richard awards him Nicola’s lands, the holdings of his enemy, who Fawkes promptly slays in combat. Nicola is afraid to tell Fawkes that a child she hides is his because she doesn’t trust him. Once they shared passion, now they must learn to trust in the face of deception and enemies all around.

It seemed that the hero and heroine mistrusted each other for one reason or another for most of the book, notwithstanding that they were sleeping together. The heroine is a strong-willed woman who asserts herself in decisions affecting the castle’s management and, fortunately, the hero admires her for it. Lots of subplots and many characters add to the story including a healer, several knights and a few villains (one a jealous female). Gillgannon pays attention to details that give the story an authentic feel.

It’s a medieval adventure that fans of Gillgannon will enjoy.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Heather Graham’s LIE DOWN IN ROSES – Great Storytelling in a Wonderful Medieval Romance

This one is hard to put down and very well written, but with some disturbing elements. Set in the 15th century England during the time of the War of the Roses (when Richard III and Henry Tudor compete for the throne), this is the story of Lady Genevieve whose family seat is Edenby Castle, a lovely place on the English coast.

When Lord Tristan, nobleman and knight loyal to Henry Tudor, asks for her father to feed his knights and is denied based on the family's loyalty to Richard III, the anger of Henry Tudor rises. He tells Tristan to take the castle and do whatever he wants with Genevieve. In the process, her father, many of his men and her much loved fiancé are killed and she is left the "lord of the castle" to negotiate with Tristan.

Following a plan conceived by others, she lures Tristan and his men into a trap that backfires. Tristan is bitter with what he perceives as her treachery, but wants the lady for his pleasure so he takes her. Thereafter, he treats her abysmally, locking her away in various rooms of the castle. Throughout this, Tristan undertakes battles for King Henry, all successful, and grows in stature, power and wealth within the English court.

You really feel for Genevieve, however, the beautiful, proud and courageous young woman who is forced to become his prisoner and his whore to her great shame without much of a life except for the nights he chooses to spend with her. And, yes, they do share a passion but it's hard to see how that can make up for being treated so badly. And how can he blame her when she repeatedly tries to escape? What woman wouldn't?

He has no interest in marrying her even when she becomes pregnant with his bastard child. But at least King Henry likes her and has a major role in the happy ending. I did find her folding to him at the end a bit difficult to believe. Not sure that would ever happen. Ah, but this is romance, right?

Friday, October 5, 2018

Mary Jo Putney’s UNCOMMON VOWS – A Worthy Tale from 12th Century England

Set in 1143, when England was torn apart by the war between King Stephen and Matilda, King Henry I’s only legitimate heir, this is the story of Lady Meriel de Vere, a high spirited young woman who loves riding fast and training her falcon. Convent raised, she is considering taking the veil until a vision of a mounted knight blocking that path warns her from it.

Adrian de Lancey, Baron Warfield thought to become a priest, but the death of his father and older brothers at the hands of their enemy, Guy of Burgoigne, gave Adrian the title and a reason for vengeance. Adding to that, Matilda names Adrian Earl of Shropshire and King Stephen bestows the same title on Guy.

One day when Meriel is hunting with her falcon, she strays into the royal forest where Adrian and his men find her and accuse her of poaching. Meriel fears to tell him she is a Norman from her brother’s holding, Avonleigh, because they support King Stephen and she knows Adrian supports Matilda, so she lies and tells him she is a Welsh commoner. Adrian takes her back to his castle at Warfield and forcibly holds her prisoner in a small stone chamber, telling her she will remain there until she agrees to become his mistress. Meriel vows never to give in, preferring death to dishonor.

Adrian is her knowing his perfidy by her amnesia…which renders her a docile female, hardly recognizable from the strong-willed beauty she had been. Of course, Adrian takes full advantage.

This one will definitely keep you turning pages. Though it did bother me a bit that Meriel could have been free any time if she but told Adrian who she was. Alas, she does not and remains Adrian’s prisoner. For Meriel, who loved her freedom, it was a horrible fate. Adrian apparently buys her tale that she is common born, though her speech must have been that of a lady. And, though he realizes she is an innocent, he prays for wisdom to seduce her. (The word “cad” came to mind.) I so wanted him to grovel in the end.

The falconry aspects of the story are fascinating and Putney has done her research to present the noble sport well. The historical background is rich and surrounds the romance. I quite liked that. This story has it all: history, a great romance, vengeance, treachery, deceit, amnesia and, at one point, near rape. Oh yes, the ending is an exciting one!

A worthy medieval romance, I recommend it!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Carmen Caine’s THE WITCH OF THREADNEEDLE STREET – Wonderful Story of a Highland Lord and a Young “Witch of the Heart”

Set in 1590, this is the story of Moll Thatcher, who was married by her unloving father to
an abusive Threadneedle Street tailor, who dies in a fire when they burned the town due to the plague. Now a widow, Moll adopts six street children and flees to Haddon Hall where she hopes to find food.

Highland warrior Alexander Taran Mackenzie is biding his time waiting to see Queen Elizabeth who has his clan’s silver. Meanwhile, he is avoiding two women whose fathers want him to pick one as his bride. He knows he must marry for the sake of his clan but he wants neither of them. 

When he meets Moll, she is surreptitiously strapping a pillow under her gown to make it look like she is with child. As he watches, she herds several small children to the castle gates to beg food. Taran intervenes to gain her access and decides to become her protector, telling everyone she is his lover and the street children are his own.

As always Caine delivers great writing with good descriptions and enough history (Queen Elizabeth makes an appearance) to give her story a feel of authenticity. Taran and Moll are worthy characters and this is a thoroughly enjoyable tale.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Catherine Coulter’s WARRIOR’S SONG – Great First in the Medieval Song Series!

October is Medieval month and I’m starting with a wonderful story with a magnificent heroine by one of my favorite authors!

Set in 1272 in England and the Middle East, this is the story of Chandra, who was raised by her father to be a warrior, to fight like a man and to enjoy the company of men. She loathes the traditional role of women that confines them to being a broodmare under a man’s domination. She loves her father and her home, Croyland Castle, on the Welsh border and never wants to leave. But her father has other plans. He has found a man who respects Chandra, Jerval de Vernon, who has even saved her from a bad guy (the hero in FIRE SONG) and has decreed she will marry Jerval whether she likes it or not. Chandra thinks of Jerval as a friend, a playmate, but when she marries him, he turns into a domineering man just like all the others.

This is a wonderful fast-paced story that takes you from the Welsh marches of England to Cumbria on the border of Scotland and then to the Mediterranean and the Holy Land on crusade with King Edward. During many adventures, Chandra and Jerval blend their different personalities and to find love in the midst of many challenges. Chandra is a heroine to die for: brave, unique, independent and willing to fight for her right to use her gifts. She takes a bad beginning with a mother who doesn’t love her and uses it to build strength. I loved this woman. Jerval instantly finds himself lusting after her but doesn’t realize that when they are married she will still be the warrior woman she is when they meet. Like many husbands, he thinks to change her. But they both change.

Coulter did a great job on the research of the times and gives us a feeling for both 13th century England and the 9th and last Holy Land Crusade. Her dialog is excellent, her characters rich and the plot is believable (though I admit Chandra’s skills are a bit over the top). I really enjoyed this one and think you will, too.

The Medieval Song Series:

Warrior's Song (Earlier Version Titled Chandra)
Fire Song
Earth Song
Secret Song

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Judith McNaught’s WHITNEY MY LOVE – Great Story with a Mean Cad Hero

I'm finishing the month with a classic Regency, Judith McNaught's first novel, which she wasn't able to sell it until she had two others published. 

I have read and reviewed all her other romances and I remain a dedicated fan. She is a brilliant writer. I love her ability to create and maintain sexual tension and weave a wonderful story. But she often makes the hero out to be such a mean cad that it is difficult to like him...ever. In Whitney My Love, I thought it would be different, but I was wrong.

Whitney is a young, spirited intelligent girl of the country gentry who is sent by her hard, unloving father to Paris to live with her aunt and uncle who love her. There she thrives and becomes an ingénue who is embraced by Paris society. She has many suitors, among them a Frenchman, Nicholas Du'Ville (Nicki) who is really the one you want her to love. (Not atypical for McNaught, there is a good guy who loses to the cad in the end.)

Meanwhile, Clayton Westmoreland, the Duke of Claymore, becomes enamored with her for her spunk and beauty, and though he has his choice of women both in France and England, he wants her. He doesn't want to compete with her suitors, however, so he does research and finds her father is deeply in debt. He decides to essentially buy her from her father, who quickly recalls her to England without telling her she is betrothed to Westmoreland. Westmoreland goes to the countryside where she lives and buys a small home there and assumes a disguise as an ordinary man, ostensibly to court her without having her impressed by his title.

Here's where the character of the hero is a bit inconsistent. For most of the book, he is patient, humorous and tender. Whitney does not want him, however, preferring her childhood love, Paul, who, frankly, is rather bland. Westmoreland takes all this in stride and woos her rather well, actually. She's even starting to realize how much she's attracted to him. But then she discovers Westmoreland is her betrothed and she rebels at his deception. Just as she realizes Paul is not a good choice for her and begins to see that Westmoreland is the right man, one of Whitney's enemies, a catty female who is jealous of her, tells Westmoreland that she has slept with others (untrue).

Does he ask Whitney about this? No. In a fit of rage, Westmorland violently rapes her, realizing in the midst of it she is a virgin. At this point, I didn't see how Whitney could ever get over that. I really don't think a real woman ever would. Westmoreland regrets the rape and realizes he loves her but does he do the honorable thing and marry her? Beg for her forgiveness? No, he drops her like a hot rock. See what I mean about his being a cad?

Meanwhile, she is despondent and our spirited Whitney turns into a mush ball. She finally gets him back by humbling herself before him in front of his new fiancé. But then he does another weird mean cad switch when he misreads a note and believes she's taken a lover (when did she find the time?) and believes the baby she carries may not even be his. At this point I felt whipsawed.

It's typical early McNaught...great story, great writing, but a hero who overreacts and abuses the heroine, in this case more than once. But I could not put it down. So it goes on the Best List.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Best Georgian & Regency Romances

I have read many Georgian and Regency romances over the years, so it was inevitable that I should have a “best list” on my blog, Historical Romance Review, that would include those I've rated 4 and 5 stars.

The Georgian era covers the period from 1714 to 1830, with the sub-period of the Regency, 1811-1820, when George, Prince of Wales (‘the Prince Regent”) reigned during the mental illness of his father George III, so all these stories are set in that era.

A Counterfeit Heart by K.C. Bateman
A Rose in Winter by Kathleen Woodiwiss
Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught
An Indecent Proposition by Emma Wildes
Barely a Lady by Eileen Dreyer
Caledonian Privateer by Gail MacMillian
Come the Night by Christina Skye
Crimson Rapture by Jennifer Horsman
Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer
Entwined, Fallen and Moonlit, Regency spy trilogy by Emma Jensen
For Love Alone by Shirlee Busbee
Forbidden Love by Karen Robards
Frederica by Georgette Heyer
Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare
Hearts Beguiled by Penelope Williamson
Highlander’s Hope by Collette Cameron
Love Only Once by Johanna Lindsey
Lovers Forever by Shirlee Busbee
Man of My Dreams by Johanna Lindsey
Mine Till Midnight, Seduce Me at Sunrise, Tempt Me at Twilight, Married by Morning and Love in the Afternoon (the Hathaways) by Lisa Kleypas
My Heart’s Desire by Andrea Kane
Once and Always by Judith McNaught
Once in a Blue Moon by Penelope Williamson
Someone to Watch Over Me, Lady Sophia’s Lover and Worth Any Price (the Bow Street Runners trilogy by Lisa Kelypas)
Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss
Slightly Married by Mary Balogh
Some Like it Wild by Teresa Medeiros
Something Wonderful by Judith McNaught
Stealing Heaven by Kimberly Cates
Swept Away by Marsha Canham
The Black Rose by Christina Skye
The Divided Heart by Beppie Harrison
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
The Irish Duke by Virginia Henley
The Lady and the Laird by Nicola Cornick
The Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews
The Perfect Scandal by Delilah Marvelle
The Rake by Mary Jo Putney
The Sherbrooke Bride by Catherine Coulter
The Storm and the Splendor by Jennifer Blake
The Thief’s Daughter by Victoria Cornwall
The Wicked Marquis by Barbara Cartland
Then Came You and Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
Till Dawn Tames the Night by Meagan McKinney
To Taste Temptation, To Seduce a Sinner, To Beguile a Beast and To Desire a Devil (Legend of the Four Soldiers series) by Elizabeth Hoyt
Until You by Judith McNaught
With His Lady’s Assistance by Cheryl Bolen
What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris
Whisper to Me of Love by Shirlee Busbee
Whitney My Love by Judith McNaught

And I do hope you will try my own Georgian and Regency romances: The Donet Trilogy: To Tame the Wind, Echo in the Wind and A Fierce Wind. And the Agents of the Crown series: Racing with the Wind, Against the Wind, Wind Raven, A Secret Scottish Christmas and, coming soon, Rogue’s Holiday.

You might also like my holiday Regency novellas: The Shamrock & The Rose, The Twelfth Night Wager and The Holly & The Thistle.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Georgette Heyer’s DEVIL’S CUB – A Very Bad Boy Meets His Match!

This might be a Georgian set romance (late 18th century) as there is much talk of wigs and powdered hair. It’s the story of Dominic Alistair, Marquis of Vidal, the “Devil’s Cub” and a rake and seducer, good with sword and pistols and happy to duel. As the handsome and wealthy heir to a dukedom, he is still a coveted prospect on the marriage market. Vidal currently has his eye on the lovely and vacuous Sophia Challoner, thinking to sweep her away to France and make her his mistress.

When Sophia’s sister, the straight-laced, brown-haired Mary Challoner, discovers his intent and her sister’s willing participation, Mary intervenes to deceive them both and take her sister’s place. When Dominic discovers the ruse, he is very angry and decides to take Mary to France instead, instantly ruining her. Soon, he discovers this sister is not like the other and her intelligence, calm demeanor and courage win his admiration and, eventually, his heart. He insists on marrying her but Mary will have none of it.

Like many of Heyer’s romances, it is rich in characters who love to talk. The descriptions might be few and the dialog sometimes overwhelming with many Regency-era words that you’ll not recognize. But the tale will draw you in and you’ll want to see how a man like Dominic can win the heart of Mary who is determined to avoid him. But Dominic has his charm and his rough ways are winning.

Note: Dominic is the son of the Duke of Avon from Heyer’s earlier novel, These Old Shades, and the Duke and Duchess of Avon are characters in this book.

The Alastair Trilogy:

These Old Shades
Devil’s Cub
Regency Buck

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Christina Skye’s COME THE NIGHT – Compelling Tale of a Tortured Highwayman and the Innocent who Stole his Heart

Set sometime in the Regency (since mad King George is referred to), this is the story of Silver St. Clair, the daughter of a famous perfumer who died without giving Silver the formula. Now she struggles to keep the lavender farm in Norfolk running even as she discovers her father’s diary that tells her both her parents were murdered. Evil men want both her and the farm. But she finds an ally in the mysterious highwayman, Lord Blackwood, who is actually Lucien Delemere, the eldest son of the Duke of Devonham.

Luc is a tortured soul with horrible memories of being abducted from London and swept away to an English prison hulk only to be rescued into a life as a warrior slave in Algiers. His good memories are of wide lawns and his family’s estate in Norfolk, but he has long since given them up and now lives as a rogue highwayman. That is until he meets the young innocent Silver.

The author does a wonderful job of bringing us into the business of lavender growing and the mysterious art of perfume making, at which Silver’s father excelled. Silver’s young brother, a delightful character, has the same skills. We experience Luc’s tortured thoughts as well as his burning desire for the girl he must deny himself.

The hero and heroine are compelling, as are the secondary characters, Luc’s faithful caretaker Jonas Ferguson and Silver’s protective friend Tinker. There’s even a faithful sheepdog.

So well done and definitely recommended.

Come the Dawn is book 2 in the Dangerous Delemeres

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Georgette Heyer’s REGENCY BUCK – Clever, Witty Regency with a Mystery and a Twist

Set in the Regency (1811-1820) but no date given, this is the story of Miss Judith Taverner and her brother Peregrine who, at their father’s death, travel to London to meet their guardian, Lord Worth. They expect Worth to be an elderly man. Instead, they find him to be a man near Judith’s age and one both she and Perry have already encountered leaving them with a very negative impression. (He stole a most inappropriate kiss from her when he met her on the road.)

Though neither Miss Taverner nor Peregrine like their guardian, finding him arrogant and dictatorial, they cannot help but admire his competence to handle their affairs. When someone appears to be trying to kill Perry (Judith will inherit his wealth as well as have her own), they begin to wonder whom of their new acquaintances and Judith’s many suitors might be involved.

Much of the story is taken up with Regency entertainments and the pastimes of the rich, both in London and Brighton, but there is a mystery that grown in importance. Cameos by the Prince Regent, Beau Brummel and other Regency era stars are delightful. The dialog is witty. The story gets exciting toward the end when Perry disappears.

Though it may not be my favorite by Heyer, I enjoyed it and the rich tapestry of characters and the ending was not unexpected but the telling of it was very good.

Monday, September 17, 2018

My Guest Today: Bestselling Regency author K.C. Bateman

My guest today is Kate Bateman, writing as K. C. Bateman, bestselling author of Regency and Renaissance historical romances. 

Her books feature feisty, intelligent heroines, (badasses in bodices!) wickedly inappropriate banter, and heroes you want to both strangle and kiss. When not writing, Kate leads a double life as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several TV shows in the UK. She currently lives in Illinois with a number-loving husband and three inexhaustible children, and regularly returns to her native England “for research”.

She’s answering some questions and telling us about book #1 in her Regency Spies and Secrets series.

She’s answering some questions and telling us about book #1 in her Regency Spies and Secrets series.

Be sure and leave a comment with your email as Kate is giving away to one lucky reader her choice of any one of her ebooks or a signed print copy of The Devil To Pay, her new Renaissance Historical. 
1.     What drew you to write in the genre(s) you do?

I’ve always loved the ability of historical romance to transport you to another time and place. It’s magical. As a history geek, I have a keen interest in getting the historical details right, but also to provide my readers with a romantic, witty, action-packed adventure story too. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy the thrill of flirting in a Regency ballroom, or taking part in the intrigue of a Renaissance court—while tucked up safely in their own comfy armchair?

2.  If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?

I’d definitely go back to my ‘other’ job, that of antiques and fine art appraiser. When I lived in England, before I moved to the US, I ran my own auction house, and I absolutely loved my job. Every single day was different, and you never knew what interesting or beautiful item was going to walk through the door at any moment. I loved the variety of that. Every piece has a story attached to it, too, what we auctioneers call its ‘provenance’ and I love hearing those. Now I have to get my history fix by sneaking historical facts into my novels instead.

3.  What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?

Finishing a manuscript, or handing back final edits, is a wonderful feeling. I usually have a celebratory drink—either a cup of tea or a nice glass of wine—depending on the time of day! And I sometimes treat myself to a massage, as a reward, too!

4.  If you could interview one person (and it doesn’t have to be a writer) who would it be?

I’d love to interview the historical romance author Laura Kinsale. I love her writing, and her use of unusual time periods, and I’d be interested to know how she comes up with her plots and what her writing process is.

5.  If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go and why?

Wow, there are so many places I’d want to visit. I think it would be pretty amazing to spend an evening at Versailles during the reign of Louis XVI, flirting and dancing. Just think of the amazing dresses, jewels and gossip!

6.  Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?

Being English, I really am a walking cliché and drink a LOT of tea. It’s really almost all I drink, (except maybe alcoholic beverages like gin and tonic!) I’m a big fan of strong black tea, and my favorite is Yorkshire Gold, with a bit of milk and half a teaspoon of sugar. There’s literally no situation that can’t be improved by a nice cup of tea!

7.  What will always make you smile, even on a bad day?

Videos of otters! I know some people go mad over cats and dogs, but a video of an otter doing something silly will always make me smile. They seem to have a real ‘joie de vivre’.

8.  What are the next five books on your ‘to be read’ pile?

My TBR pile is enormous. It’s in danger of toppling and squashing me flat, because I prefer real physical books to reading on a Kindle or Nook. I have a whole room of shelves filled to bursting. The next five books on there, in no particular order, are: The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne, Ten Ways To Be Adored When Landing A Lord by Sarah MacLean, As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, Crooked Hearts by Patricia Gaffney, and The Proposition by Judith Ivory.

9.  How did you come up with the idea for your latest book?

Almost all of my books have real-life events as plot points. I love researching and regularly get sidetracked and sucked into a rabbit hole of fascinating information. I’m amazed at the true facts – really often stranger than fiction—that I discover. The first book in my new Bow Street Bachelor’s series, This Earl of Mine, for example, (which will be out next year with St Martin’s Press), features a true historical plot to rescue Napoleon from exile on the island of St Helena via submarine! I had no idea that submarines had been invented and used in warfare in 1816, but I found a fascinating report of an American inventor named Robert Fulton who did just that. I incorporated ideas from that true event into the story – with a little artistic license of course!

The book I’m currently writing (the second book in the Bow Street series) has at its heart the true story of the theft of the French Crown Jewels from Paris in 1792. It was rumored to have been an inside job. Although some of the jewels were eventually recovered, others are still unaccounted for, and some—such as the huge Bleu du Roi blue diamond—were cut down to disguise their background. The larger half of the Bleu du Roi is now known as the Hope Diamond. The smaller “half” is still out there somewhere.

I love playing the author game of “what if...” and wondering what happened to all those jewels, who stole them, and how they ended up where they did. In my version, some of them were stolen back and hidden for the glory of France by a mysterious thief known only as the Nightjar.

A Counterfeit Heart...

As Sabine de la Tour tosses piles of forged banknotes onto a bonfire in a Paris park, she bids a reluctant farewell to her double life as a notorious criminal. Over the course of Napoleon’s reign, her counterfeits destabilized the continent and turned scoundrels into rich men, but now she and her business partner must escape France—or face the guillotine. Her only hope of surviving in England is to strike a deal with the very spy she’s spent her career outrunning. Now after meeting the arrogant operative in the flesh, Sabine longs to throw herself upon his mercy—and into his arms.

Richard Hampden, Viscount Lovell, is prepared to take any risk to safeguard England from the horrors of the French Revolution. To lure the insurgents out from the shadows, he’s even willing to make a pact with his archenemy: Philippe Lacorte, the greatest counterfeiter in Europe. But when a cheeky, gamine-faced beauty proves herself to be Lacorte, Richard is shocked—and more than a little aroused. Unlike the debutantes who so often hurl themselves at him, this cunning minx offers a unique and irresistible challenge. Richard will help her. But in return, he wants something that even Sabine cannot fake.

See the book on Amazon. And see the Historical Romance Review.  Kate loves to hear from readers. Contact her via her Website and sign up for her newsletter to receive regular updates on new releases, giveaways and exclusive excerpts. And find her on Twitter @katebateman, Facebook, Pinterest and on her Amazon Author page.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

K.C. Bateman’s A COUNTERFEIT HEART – A Spy and a Forger Find Love in Regency England

Set in 1816, beginning in Paris, this is the story of master forger Sabine de la Tour who worked for Napoleon under the name Philippe Lacorte. Her counterfeits destabilized the continent and made many men rich. Now that the war with Napoleon is over she want’s to go straight but she needs funds to do so. She decides to strike a bargain with the English spy she’s tangled, Richard Hampden, Viscount Lovell.

When a young woman shows up on his doorstep late at night claiming to be the notorious forger, Richard is skeptical. But she quickly proves her claim to be true. Then he is intrigued. He’s between mistresses and Sabine is unlike the women who typically throw themselves at him. So, they make a deal: she will work for him for a month, helping to trap some dissidents and he will pay her 10,000 pounds. Unfortunately, he insists that she remain in his home for that month.

Sizzling chemistry, hot sex, a strong heroine and a self-important noble combine for a fast-paced, well written romance. While it’s obviously a part of a series, it can be read as a standalone. Bateman has done much research and she’s an expert in antiques so her tidbits about art ring true. Lots of historical detail makes it a rich tapestry. You won’t be bored!

Secrets and Spies series:

To Steal a Heart
A Raven’s Heart
A Counterfeit Heart

Note: Kate will be on the blog on the 17th so don't forget to check in as she will be offering a Giveaway!