Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Dorothy Eden’s SLEEP IN THE WOODS – Absorbing Story from New Zealand in the Late Victorian Era

Though it was first published in 1960, it is now on Kindle. A worthy story readers will enjoy today (with possibly one caveat you’ll see below).


Set in the late Victorian period, the story tells of Briar Johnson, who as a baby was found in a cold ditch by the side of the road clutched in the arms of what was presumably her dead mother. Briar was fortunate to be raised in the home of a schoolmaster who found her intelligent and taught her to speak well and read the classics. When he dies, she takes a position as a maid and sails away to New Zealand with two young ladies sent by their family to find proper husbands.


Beautiful Briar (named after the briar rose) determines she will one day have the finer things in life, the life she believes she was meant for. So, when the opportunity comes, she attends a ball that would be forbidden to her and dons a mask for a masked game that has the men picking prospective brides. Alas, she did not get the man she wanted. Instead, she got the hard Saul Whitmore, cousin to an earl and wealthy in his own right with a sheep ranch and the finest house in the area deep in the wild country.


Saul, at his mother’s urging, intends to take a wife, but most of the women he meets are insipid creatures who can only talk of gowns and parties. In Briar, he sees a woman who has a fire in her green eyes that intrigues him. So he determines to have her. With few options and urged on by all, Briar accepts his proposal of marriage even though she hates the hard man who mocks her at every turn.

The title, “Sleep in the Woods” was used twice in the book, once as a euphemism for death, the death that was all around the pioneers living in Taranaki in the shadow of Mt. Egmont on the North Island of New Zealand. When they were under siege by a renegade band of Maoris, the Reverend prayed: “Grant us to live, and not to sleep in these woods, unless that be Thy will. If we must die, let us do so bravely…” But then later, Briar remembers a passage from Ezekiel 34: “…they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods,” which gives a more favorable aspect to the title and comports with the excellent and very happy ending.

Suspenseful action is infused throughout this well-researched story. Wonderful characters populate every page. Beautiful descriptions of both flora and fauna are tucked in without you really being aware. And the hero and heroine are striking. Saul, a man whose strength enabled him to carve out a destiny in New Zealand’s wild country, was a worthy hero, though often harsh. Briar, grasping at the security Saul’s wealth provided, had a tender heart for all. She was the mistress of his house and the courage of the people as they faced hardship and death. I could not help but love her.


The only thing this story lacked—and might have been better for it—were love scenes. So much emotion was left in the dark. What Saul and Briar shared in their intimate moments might have told us their real feelings for each other when their words did not. An entire wedding night was summed up with one word, “Afterward.” There is even a bodice-ripping scene rather late in the book but, without the follow through, it was a bit obscure. But one must make allowances for its year of publication—1960.


A great classic and a worthy read—and set in an exotic locale!



Monday, August 8, 2022

Elizabeth Chadwick’s– Forbidden Love in Jerusalem in the time of the Templars!

This story shifts from William Marshall (The Greatest Knight) as a knight in the Holy Land to his pilgrimage to Jerusalem to lay the young King Henry’s cloak on the sepulcher to his dying days in England. Along the way, in Constantinople, William and his brother, Ancel, encounter evil men who believe them to be spies for Rome.


In Jerusalem, they become embroiled in the politics of the ancient city while helping King Baldwin who is suffering from leprosy. It is there William encounters the dangerous Pascia de Riveri, the concubine of the highest churchman in the land. William pursues an affair with Pascia, hoping to keep it secret. Once discovered, their lives are in danger. Their only chance to see home again will depend upon the Templars who protect them and the two silk shrouds William has purchased for his eventual death.


As with all Chadwick’s books, she takes you into the time and place with vivid descriptions, meticulous research and her gift for painting a scene. Having read all her William Marshall stories save this one (book 6), I was surprised that Marshall was so weak in the face of rejection by a woman who was already compromised. But Chadwick did a good job bringing their emotions to the fore.


The story will draw you in. The flashbacks to the Holy Land are what make it enjoyable. To realize he is seeing it again in his mind as he lay on his deathbed made it a bit sad. Still, a good one to add to the collection. All her books shine with excellence.



Saturday, August 6, 2022

Loretta Chase’s CAPTIVES OF THE NIGHT – A Captivating Story Set in Paris

I bought all the romances in this loosely woven series before I read one of them. They include The Lion’s Daughter, set primarily in Albania, Captives of the Night, Lord of Scoundrels, and The Last Hellion. The last two are as related as the first two.


Captives is set in Paris and London. It’s the story of Leila Beaumont, a brilliant artist, who through a series of events, is forced by circumstances to marry a degenerate, who actually loves her but is incapable, as a result of his own bad choices, of being a good husband. She decides to shut him out of her bedroom but she remains celibate and faithful.

Meanwhile, her husband basically lives his separate debauched lifestyle. Now in her mid 20s, Leila comes to the attention of the handsome and sophisticated comte d’Esmond (who is the attractive villain Ismal from The Lion’s Daughter but with a new identity). They first meet in Paris and later, in London, where Leila and he are thrown together to solve a murder.


The sexual tension is well done and runs high throughout. Both are interesting and attractive people and have much to bring to a relationship. There are secrets lingering from The Lion's Daughter so you'll want to read that before this one. (The secrets are interesting and worth discovering.)

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Joanna Lloyd’s BEYOND INNOCENCE – Australia in the early 19th Century…a handsome sheep rancher and his prisoner bride!

A well-researched, well written historical romance, and a fabulous debut novel for Lloyd—a story set in the time when England shipped off its prisoners to New South Wales in Australia.


The story begins in London in 1819 as Electra Shipley, daughter of Vicomte Gascombe, is arrested for felony theft, set up by her evil uncle, who took her father’s title after his death. Convicted by the testimony of false witnesses, Electra is transported to Australia to serve a 7-year sentence as an indentured servant.


William Radcliffe, a wealthy sheep rancher, spots the beautiful Electra when the ship docks in Sydney, and saves her from a crewmember’s rape. Electra is taken with the others to the women’s factory where the prisoners work on the wool. Since the colonists are free to take a prisoner as their bride, many come to claim the women. Electra refuses all until William offers her marriage. With few options, and a budding attraction, Electra agrees.


Both Electra and William harbor secrets from their past, secrets that affect their new marriage. But despite all, they begin to care for each other.


Lloyd brings to life the Australia of the past when the population consisted of colonists, prisoners, former prisoners and the natives. Many came to New South Wales fleeing a past they would rather forget; others came for opportunity. All the prejudices come out as Electra and William attempt to build a new life in a harsh land. There are storms, fire, outlaws and the dangers of the bush country.


The romance between Electra and William is satisfying and there is adventure aplenty, though the pace at times is a bit leisurely. Some wonderful secondary characters, though, including a Scots couple I loved. I recommend it.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Elizabeth Kingston’s FAIR, BRIGHT AND TERRIBLE – A Rich Tapestry of Emotions in this Story of Love after England Conquered Wales

August is Exotic Locales month when we look for that true escape to novels set in places we may not frequently encounter. This one is a great story from one of my favorite authors.


Set in the late 13th century, it’s the story of love between a Welsh noblewoman and an English knight after Wales has been brutally conquered by Edward I.


Eluned has lost her country and her hope. But she intends to have her vengeance on Mortimer, the English nobleman who was responsible for the death of the Welsh leaders. She has a calculating mind and plans carefully how she will do it. When her husband dies and she has the chance to marry Robert de Lascaux, the man she fell in love with 18 years earlier, she takes it as it will give her access to the English nobility.

When Robert is asked to marry the woman he loves but has been denied, he gladly accepts thinking he will at last have the woman he wants. But the lady who greets him at the altar has so little in common with the girl he adored that he begins to doubt that there is anything left of her.

Kingston weaves a rich tapestry of intrigue, treachery, stalwart love and lost dreams realized. Medieval Wales is brought to life. The story will draw you in as you eagerly hope for love to at last to be regained. A beautifully told tale, one not to be missed!


I recommend reading the series in order as they are closely related. The Welsh Blades:


The King’s Man

Fair, Bright and Terrible

Desire Lines

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Day Taylor’s THE BLACK SWAN – Civil War Saga and a Classic!

Set in the Civil War between the years 1850 and 1865, it’s a sweeping saga of the South and the love between two people who grew up on opposite sides of the slavery issue but with similar views: our noble hero, Adam Tremain, a blockade running captain, who moved the Underground Railroad to the sea, and Dulcie Moran, the only daughter of Savannah's most prosperous slave-breeder.


It is divided into three “books”: Adam (1852-59); Dulcie (1850-1862); and The Black Swan (1862-1865). While he was still a teenager, Adam experienced the hatred of the white slave owners for any who cavorted with the slaves, and he wanted no part of it. He vowed to become one who sent the slaves north to freedom. Dulcie, raised as an indulged young woman in the genteel Southern society by a father who considered the slaves mere animals, couldn’t understand why the slaves she loved weren’t treated like family.


The characters were well developed and the imagery vivid. We know exactly what motivated Dulcie and what moves Adam. We experience their young loves and are not surprised when they are attracted to each other. They are not so different really; each believes the slaves should be treated as people, and they lament a society in which they are not. Each has the courage to fight Southern Society for what they believe is right.


There are some wonderful secondary characters, including Tom, the aristocrat from New Orleans who married Ullah, a light colored slave, because he loved her, the families of Adam and Dulcie, and Adam’s two childhood friends, Beau and Ben, who join him as fellow captains.


Most of this book is “keeper” material, but in the 3rd “book” the story took a bizarre twist with a shipwreck, a voodoo island and a disturbed family that holds Dulcie captive. Adam and Dulcie are separated and both partnered (willingly or unwillingly) with others. The story finally comes back around for a great close, but you should be aware of this detour.


For more of Adam and Dulcie’s romance you have to read the second in the duology, Moss Rose, set in the Reconstruction Period after the end of the Civil War.


Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Best American Patriotic Historical Romances

The month in which we Americans celebrate our Independence is a great time to read a story with a noble hero and a worthy heroine set in times when America’s future was on the line. Here’s the list you’ll want to pick from—all good ones! All on the list are rated 4 or 5 stars.


The French and Indian War (America before Independence):


Follow the Heart by Anita Mills

Ride out the Storm by Aleen Malcolm

Scattered Seeds by Julie Doherty

Windsong by Judith E. French


The War of Independence/Revolutionary War:


Caroline, Touch the Sun and Spring Fires, from the Beauvisage series by Cynthia Wright

Dear George, Dear Mary by Mary Calvi

Devon and the sequel The Black Angel by Cordia Byers

Fortune’s Bride by Judith E. French

In From the Cold by Nora Roberts

Lanterns in the Mist by Mairi Norris

Love a Rebel, Love a Rogue by Shirl Henke

Love Among the Rabble by Lauren Laviolette

Love Not a Rebel by Heather Graham

Master of My Dreams and Captain of My Heart by Danelle Harmon

Mood Indigo by Parris Afton Bond

Old Glory by Christopher Nicole

Passion’s Ransom by Betina Krahn

Scarlet Ribbons by Judith E. French

Silver Storm, from the Raveneau series by Cynthia Wright

The Calling of the Clan by Parris Afton Bonds

The Paradise Bargain by Betina Krahn (Whiskey Rebellion), first released as Love’s Brazen Fire

The Wayward One by Danelle Harmon

Under Crimson Sails by Lynna Lawton (post Revolutionary War)

Velvet Chains by Constance O’Banyon


The War of 1812:


Fortune’s Flames by Janelle Taylor

Lady Vixen by Shirlee Busbee

Lord of the Sea by Danelle Harmon

Masque of Jade by Emma Merritt

Midnight Masquerade by Shirlee Busbee

My Love, My Enemy by Jan Cox Speas

Tainted Lilies by Becky Lee Weyrich

The Captain’s Captive by Christine Dorsey

The Plains of Chalmette by Jack Caldwell

The Windflower by Laura London (aka Sharon and Tom Curtis)

To Save a Lady by Patricia Preston


The Underground Railroad:


Passion’s Joy by Jennifer Horsman


The Civil War:


A Time for Everything by Mysti Parker (post Civil War)

An Outlaw in Wonderland by Lori Austin

An Honorable Man by Rosemary Rogers

Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen Woodiwiss

Beauty and the Bounty Hunter by Lori Austin (post Civil War)

Bittersweet by Anita Mills (mostly post Civil War)

Bonds of Love by Lisa Gregory

Clingstone by Marti Ziegler

Dark Stranger and Rides a Hero (first two books in the Slater Brothers trilogy) by Heather Graham

Lavender Blue by Parris Afton Bonds Virginia Henley

Midnight Confessions by Candice Proctor

No Greater Glory by Cindy Nord

One Wore Blue, And One Wore Gray, And One Rode West, Cameron Civil War trilogy by Heather Graham

Rebel, Surrender, Glory and Triumph (from the Old Florida's McKenzies series) by Heather Graham

Rules of Decorum by Leigh Lee

Sing My Name by Ellen O’Connell

Southern Rapture by Jennifer Blake

Straight for the Heart by Marsha Canham

Surrender in Moonlight by Jennifer Blake

The Black Swan and Moss Rose, duology by Day Taylor

The Outlaw Hearts by Rebecca Brandewyne

Tomorrow the Glory by Heather Graham

Vagabond Wind by Amanda Hughes

When the Splendor Falls by Laurie McBain


In addition to those listed above, I hope you will consider To Tame the Wind, my Georgian romance set in the last year of the Revolutionary War with privateers and spies in England and France. And, for a story with a sea captain hero and a heroine looking back at the War of 1812, you might enjoy Wind Raven.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Judith E. French’s SCARLET RIBBONS – Exciting Story of Love in the time of the Revolutionary War!

Set in Maryland in 1777, scarlet ribbons tells the story of Sarah Turner, originally from England who, through a series of misfortunes, is now innkeeper of King’s Landing, and wed to a man serving the loyalists. Then one day to her inn comes Forest Irons, a Rebel spy sent to watch the goings on at the inn for General Washington. Forest dons the disguise of a beard and an eye patch and poses as a man in need of work, a man with no loyalties. Sarah needs help at the inn and for her young son, so she hires him, never knowing he is an enemy and never telling him her husband lies in an unmarked grave nearby.


With treachery, intrigue, and bad guys aplenty, French weaves a well-written tale of love in the time of war. The story reflects extensive research as she puts you in the scene with conflicting loyalties as some Americans supported England’s reign and others wanted their new country free from England’s tyranny. Forest is a worthy hero, bound by his dream of a free America to the Rebel cause, yet finds himself falling in love with a courageous woman who is loyal to the Crown. Sarah is one smart, clever heroine who will have you cheering.


If you want to experience our nation at war in the time of its early beginnings, this is a great romance to read. While there are no battles, you’ll see what went on in the early days of the war between Maryland and the Rebels’ winter camp in Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Jennifer Blake’s SOUTHERN RAPTURE – A Wonderful Post Civil War Story with an Intriguing Hero and a Winning Heroine

Lettie Mason, a Boston schoolteacher, lost her brother to an outlaw’s bullet in a small Louisiana town during the Civil War. As a result, when the war is over, she travels to that same town to learn about her brother’s death. She believes he was killed by an outlaw known as the “Thorn”. She has heard tales of his many good deeds as well as the bad. And when she encounters him in the dark, he kisses her and then, later, makes love to her. She does not resist.


Meanwhile, she has begun to teach two young men at Splendora, the estate where she is staying. One, the very handsome Ransom Tharp, who returned from the war with a head injury that left him “not quite right”. Or is he?


A local hero carries on with two personalities to help his people…a disguise that keeps him from the woman he would have. But Lettie suspects all is not as it seems.


A great story, well told by a master of historical romance. Highly recommended.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Patricia Preston’s TO SAVE A LADY – Intriguing Story set in New Orleans During the War of 1812

Set in 1814 in New Orleans, this is the story of Elisa Plaisance, a lady’s maid, who becomes a messenger for the Americans, feeding information to Capt. Jesse Cross, an aid to General Jackson. She does this as a part of a bargain she made with a man named Louis Beauvais, who agrees to search for her mistress’ missing son. Her mistress, having lost her husband and her other children is pining away for her son.


Elise’s one desire is to avoid her mother’s fate, ending up as the neglected mistress of a married man. Yet she falls in love with Jesse and is the one to suggest they make love—without benefit of marriage. Jesse seems to have only honorable intentions but it takes him a while to get around to that. And then there is the war…


Preston brings to life the time at the end of the War of 1812 when, unaware that a peace treaty had been reached, the Americans and British in New Orleans fought on. She obviously did much research to get the events correct. Her fight scenes are exciting and the fictional intrigue believable. Elise is a sympathetic figure though at times she does seem a bit confused about her goals. Still, she is unselfish and wants only the best for her mistress, who saved her from a fate worse than death. Jesse is honorable in all things and his cousin is a worthy character (who will be a hero in an upcoming book).


It’s a great start to her French Quarter Brides series and I recommend it.


Saturday, July 16, 2022

Anita Mills’ BITTERSWEET –Post Civil War Heading West

A well-written story of two people who find love in the midst of recovering from the past and the war that tore apart a nation.


The story begins in Tennessee in 1864 as Spencer Hardin, surgeon for the Southern troops, is trying to provide medical care without supplies to do it. Meanwhile, his young wife, Lydia, sends him letters urging him to desert and come home. While he tells her to endure, he sends a friend home with a medical discharge and encourages him to take care of Lydia and help her manage until the war is over. As it turns out, the friend will help himself to Spence’s wife.


A year later, the war is over and Spence returns home only to discover his wife has run off with the other guy, taking Spence’s young son with them. Intent on recovering his son, Spence heads for San Francisco where he learns they may be. Along the way, he discovers his wife has died of cholera, but he goes on. In a railroad camp, he encounters a pregnant Laura Taylor, the widow of a man who once helped him and died working on the railroad.


Spence and Laura are the kind of people you want to know, noble, courageous and despite their own hardships, willing to help others. Life on the frontier in railroad towns is not easy but Laura decides to take in laundry. Spence, who is desperate to find his son, won’t leave her in the lurch. Each must come to terms with the shortfall in their marriages and what they want for the future.


A post Civil War story from a great storyteller!

Thursday, July 14, 2022

LAST DAY for 99¢ Sale for A FIERCE WIND, Love in the time of the French Revolution!

Today, July 14, is Bastille Day🇧🇶 when the French recall their revolution. Read the real story and fall in love along the way with A FIERCE WIND. On Sale in the US and UK for 99¢/99p today only on Amazon.
Zoé Ariane Donet was in love with love until she met the commander of the royalist army fighting the revolutionaries tearing apart France. When the dashing young general is killed, she joins the royalist cause, rescuing émigrés fleeing revolutionary France.
One man watches over her: Frederick West, the brother of an English earl, who has known Zoé since she was a precocious ten-year-old child. At sixteen, she promised great beauty, the flower of French womanhood about to bloom. Now, four years later, as Robespierre’s Terror seizes France by the throat, Zoé has become a beautiful temptress Freddie vows to protect with his life.
But English spies don’t live long in Revolutionary France.
" of Regan Walker’s best yet! Heartwarming romance combines with the dangerous backdrop of the French Revolution to create a dramatic, engrossing story you can’t put down.” 
– Reading in Wellies

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Virginia Henley’s MASTER OF PARADISE: A Worthy Civil War Adventure and an Endearing Romance

This romance features life in the American south in the 19th century on the eve of the Civil War, though the beginning and the end take place in England (in Kent). Henley did justice to a difficult theme and portrays the mixed feelings of some Southerners and the real, economic conflict over the issue of slavery. The story is entertaining and the love between the hero and heroine very believable.


Nicholas Peacock always thought he’d inherit Peacock Hall in Kent from his British lord father. But just as he is ready to take over their lands, he learns he is a bastard, and will not be the son to inherit. When his father dies suddenly, Nicholas faces a vindictive stepmother, so he sails to South Carolina, determined to become the owner of a successful plantation.


He buys land and plants cotton and works very hard, right alongside his slaves. Eventually he builds a magnificent house known as Paradise Plantation. Though he does not like the concept of owning another person, he accepts slavery as a part of the Southern way of life. He falls in love with Mandy Jackson, the young daughter of his neighbor, but her youth forces him to agree to a marriage in name only, a marriage he promises her father he won’t consummate until she is 18.


One of the things I loved about Nick as a hero was his unwavering love for Mandy. And, Mandy, even as an immature teenager, had great courage and common sense with an adventuresome spirit. Nick could spot a diamond in the rough and he chose Mandy the first time he saw her. Those guys are few, so I enjoyed him very much!


As with all Virginia Henley’s romances, I recommend them as worthy tales.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Jan Cox Speas’s MY LOVE, MY ENEMY – Exciting Love Story Brings the War of 1812 to life!

Set in 1813 in Baltimore, London, France and in the Atlantic, this is the story of an American girl and a British viscount. It is one of the wonderful historical romances that comprise the legacy of Jan Cox Speas.


Of the seven daughters born to Samuel Bradley, gentleman of the Chesapeake, Catherine Page (“Page”) was a rebel who tried the patience of Duncan MacDougall who worked for her father. But even he could not foresee that the bored 18 year old, wanting to spend her birthday money for some new frippery, would stow away on the small sloop Duncan sailed across the Bay to Annapolis to pick up her father’s Madeira. Once there, she manages to get into further trouble when she rescues a British gentleman from a local mob who want to hang him as a spy. When she and Duncan sail back to get the British man and his servant to safety, they run right into a British warship.


Taken aboard the English frigate, Page learns that the British gentleman she rescued is Jocelyn Trevor, Viscount Hazard of London.


Lord Hazard claimed to be in America to visit his sister though Page questions that. (He was an officer on Wellington’s staff, and it seemed odd that he’d be allowed to leave the Spanish front for family business.) In fact, he is the spy the mob in Annapolis accused him of being, though Page doesn’t know it. But since Page and Duncan MacDougall end up on a British warship because of him, Hazard vows he will see her safely back to her father.


This story reminded me of the statement of Bilbo in Lord of the Rings when he says to his nephew, “It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Page steps out of her door and is swept away on one adventure after another as she gets caught up in the War of 1812 and the life of one particular British lord.


Speas allows us to see the conflicting emotions of those on both sides of the war. Lord Hazard is shamed by the British atrocities at Hampton, and Page experiences gracious treatment at the hands of the British officers when aboard their ship. Though there were several reasons America declared war on Britain, Speas deals specifically with the impressment of merchant sailors into the Royal Navy—sailors who considered themselves Americans. We also get to witness America’s clever privateers at work with the character Mason.


I love that Speas incorporates her extensive research of the history into this endearing and charming love story. It’s a bit lighter than her others but still quite wonderful!

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Danelle Harmon’s THE WAYWARD ONE – Revolutionary War Story with an Irish Hero

Set in 1779, this is the story of Irish Captain Ruaidri O' Devir, a commander in the American Continental Navy, selected by John Adams to sail to England and steal a new explosive formula developed by an English nobleman.


Lady Nerissa de Montforte, the youngest sibling in an aristocratic English family, is excited to accompany her brother to a demonstration of his new explosive invention. When her brother sends her to safety so she will not feel the device’s impact, it provides the perfect opportunity for Ruaidri to abduct her, thinking he will ransom her for the formula.


Having experienced the brutality of being impressed into serving the British navy, Ruaidri is contemptuous of all English and particularly the aristocracy. Nerissa finds the Irish captain both arrogant and attractive. Neither counts on falling in love, but they do and very quickly while the British Navy is searching the seas to reclaim her and do away with the Irishman.


This is a well-told story of second chances set against the time of America’s War of Independence. Nerissa’s fiancé jilted her and Ruaidri’s first love betrayed him with his best friend. In addition she is from wealth and title; he is from a poor Irish family. So, both carry baggage into their already problematic relationship. But Ruaidri is noble of heart, if not birth, and also a gentleman, so we want him to get the girl.


Harmon has included some exciting scenes of battles at sea with vivid descriptions and accurate nautical terminology. Those who love authenticity in their historical romances will appreciate her attention to detail.


This is book 5 in the de Montforte Brothers series and I recommend reading them I order. Also, Harmon’s various series are related and characters from one series may appear in another. From the beginning of The Wayward One, couples and characters from the earlier stories appear, some remaining to be characters in this story. If you want to understand who they are, best to begin at the beginning.


The de Montforte Brothers:


The Wild One

The Beloved One

The Defiant One

The Wicked One

The Wayward One

Friday, July 1, 2022

Christopher Nicole’s OLD GLORY - Irish Hero and the Forming of the Young American Navy and Love Amidst War

July is Patriotic Historical Romances month when I feature stories from America’s past when the country’s future was at risk. This first one is book one in The McGann saga. The story begins in 1769 when young Harry McGann, an excellent seaman engaged in smuggling along with his village, gets into a fight with the squire’s son (a very arrogant young man) while trying to save the man’s daughter from a fall. Harry is told to get out of town for awhile and he goes to sea, bound for New York. That was a terrible experience but just before he left, he met Elizabeth Bartlett, the daughter of a wealthy New York merchant. He vows to return, well dressed and with coin in his pocket.


No matter his good intentions, Harry is forever involved in fights with despicable men. He even experiences treachery from his fellow sailors whose allegiances change quickly. But in all he encounters, he comes to love America. And, once Harry hooks up with John Paul Jones, he becomes involved in the formation of the American Navy. But he never forgets Elizabeth.


It’s an engaging tale well told with some exciting battles at sea. Harry is a flawed but loveable hero and Elizabeth, though constant in her affection for him, also makes some bad decisions. Still, all comes right in the end and we are given a glimpse of America’s early naval ventures.