Tuesday 31 October 2023

Have a peek between the covers of Anna Belfrage's fabulous novel - Times of Turmoil


Times of Turmoil
By Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: September 29th, 2023
Publisher: Timelight Press
Page Length: 382 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction / Time Travel Romance

It is 1718 and Duncan Melville and his time traveller wife, Erin, are concentrating on building a peaceful existence for themselves and their twin daughters. Difficult to do, when they are beleaguered by enemies.

Erin Melville is not about to stand to the side and watch as a child is abused—which is how she makes deadly enemies of Hyland Nelson and his family.

Then there’s that ghost from their past, Armand Joseph Chardon, a person they were certain was dead. Apparently not. Monsieur Chardon wants revenge and his sons are tasked with making Duncan—and his wife—pay. 

Things aren’t helped by the arrival of Duncan’s cousin, fleeing her abusive husband. Or the reappearance of Nicholas Farrell in their lives, as much of a warped bully now as he was when he almost beat Duncan to death years ago. Plus, their safety is constantly threatened as Erin is a woman of colour in a time and place where that could mean ostracism, enslavement or even death.

Will Duncan and Erin ever achieve their simple wish – to live and love free from fear of those who wish to destroy them?


“Who goes there?” Duncan demanded. “Show yourself before I shoot!”
In response, a woman stepped out from under the closest trees, the light of the returning day striking her face. “I was just biding my time,” she said in a low voice. “Didn’t want to wake you this early.” She craned her head back. “Good morrow to you, cousin.”
He didn’t recognise her at first. It could be the fading bruises or the slump of her shoulders that made it difficult to do so. This was a dowdy woman dressed in worn clothes who threw repeated looks over her shoulder, seemingly as skittish as a horse. But when she finally met his eyes, her lips quirking into a hesitant smile, he leaned out of the window.
“Aye.” She ducked her head.
“What in God’s name are you doing here? And at this ungodly hour, all alone?” he barked, and she flinched. She flinched! He gaped and felt Erin at his back, her hand on his shoulder. 
“Hi,” she said, looking down at Lettie. “How about we let her in first before we start the inquisition?”
The moment he opened the door, Lettie stepped inside, throwing several looks over her shoulder. “There’s no one there,” he said, peering over her shoulder in the direction of the lane and the apple orchard that extended along one side of it.
“One never knows.” She shuddered. “The first person I saw once I’d disembarked in Philadelphia was that obnoxious Farrell." Her eyes met his. No need for more words than that. After all, she knew full well what Nicholas Farrell had done to ten-year-old Duncan. He fisted his hand at the unbid memories, recalling weeks of pain, months—nay, years—of fear, of always looking over his shoulder. 
“Did he see you?” Duncan asked, studying her in the weak light that spilled through the narrow windows set on each side of the large double door. She shook her head, setting down the sad little bundle she was holding. “But I thought it best not to tarry in Philadelphia, so I set out directly.”
“Alone?” he asked.
“Aye. But I went canny.”
Lettie was tall for a woman, but the way she held herself, shrinking into herself, took several inches of her height. She wrung her hands repeatedly, revealing nails bitten to the quick and red and irritated cuticles as well as what looked like half-healed burns.
“Fat,” she muttered. “From the skillet.” She tugged at her sleeves, hiding most of her hands as she followed him to the kitchen.
It did not take long before Lettie was seated in the kitchen, sipping at the herbal tea Erin had made. His wife bustled about in only her nightgown and a shawl, her hair standing like a cloud around her.
Out of the corner of his eye, he caught Lettie staring at Erin, a deep furrow between her dark brows. “That’s your wife?” she finally said in an undertone, sounding incredulous.
“Yes.” Duncan swelled with pride. “That’s my Erin.” He smiled when his wife took a firm grip of her hair, twisted it into some semblance of neatness and hastily pinned it into place before turning to offer their impromptu guest bread and cheese. 
“But she’s . . .” Whatever else Lettie had intended to say she swallowed back, thanking Erin for the food. She wolfed it down. Duncan shared a quick look with Erin before going back to stare with some awe as his cousin cleared the generous portion of bread and cheese in concentrated silence before sitting back with a little sigh. 
Lettie caught him looking and flushed. “I was hungry,” she muttered. “I had coin enough to buy passage here, not much else.” She fretted with the ends of her shawl. “I did not dare stay with family in Annapolis—he’d go there first—so I stayed at a boardinghouse. But then I realised that it would not take him long to find me there, so . . .” 
To Duncan’s consternation, Lettie bowed her head, a fat teardrop plopping down on the table. 
“Hey,” Erin said, moving closer. “It’s okay, you’re safe now.”
“Okay?” Lettie dabbed at her eyes with her sleeve. “I cannot quite remember when I last heard someone say that.” She gave Duncan a teary smile, not quite looking in Erin’s direction. “Grandma Alex used to say that all the time.”
“Aye. That and bloody hell.” Duncan smiled. “And that last expression was very often related to your mischief.”
To his relief, that made Lettie laugh. 
A cup or two of Erin’s herbal tea apparently had a soothing effect, at least to judge from how Lettie finally reclined in the chair. 
“It’s your husband, isn’t it?” Erin said. “The one who’d come looking in Annapolis first,” she clarified. 
“It is.” Lettie gave herself a little hug. “And I couldn’t go home to Graham’s Garden either.” She looked at Duncan. “But I am hoping he still thinks I am somewhere closer to Charles Town.”
“Charles Town?” Duncan frowned. “I though you lived in Jamestown.”
“I did. With my previous husband,” Lettie said with a little laugh that sounded brittle. “And when Aaron died in 1715, well, there was Emrick.” She shivered. “How could I be so foolish?” she muttered.
“Aye. I should have known better than to be swept away by him—him and his lying, treacherous eyes.” She suddenly looked directly at Erin. “Eyes the colour of emeralds, the colour of a viper’s eyes.” 
Erin blinked, thick lashes shielding her eyes—green eyes flecked with gold. 
Duncan cleared his throat and held out his hand to Erin, drawing her close enough that he could slip his arm round her waist. Lettie’s gaze followed his movement, her normally so generous mouth flattening into a tight line. 
“Why would he think you’re still in—ah,” Erin said, “because of Blackbeard.”
Lettie nodded. “For once, God was on my side,” she said. “The Siren departed on the eve of the day Blackbeard began his blockade of Charles Town. I am hoping Emrick thinks I am still hiding somewhere nearby.” 
“The blockade has been lifted,” Duncan said. 
Lettie just nodded, swallowing repeatedly.
“He’ll not find you here,” Duncan said, even if he couldn’t really promise that. Once Lettie’s husband concluded she’d gone to Annapolis, it would not take him long to find out she had relatives living in Pennsylvania. “He might not even bother to come after you.”
In response, Lettie gave him a long look. “He will,” she whispered. “And God help me when he does.” 
“Just because he finds you doesn’t mean you have to go back with him,” Erin objected, and Duncan frowned in warning.
“What?” Erin said. “He’s abusing her!”
“He is her husband,” Duncan replied, and at that Lettie broke down and wept.

Grab your copy HERE!

This novel is free to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription

Anna Belfrage

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.  

Anna has also published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients. 

More recently, Anna has been hard at work with her Castilian series. The first book, His Castilian Hawk, published in 2020, is set against the complications of Edward I’s invasion of Wales, His Castilian Hawk is a story of loyalty, integrity—and love. In the second instalment, The Castilian Pomegranate, we travel with the protagonists to the complex political world of medieval Spain, while the third, Her Castilian Heart, finds our protagonists back in England—not necessarily any safer than the wilds of Spain! The fourth book, Their Castilian Orphan, is scheduled for early 2024.

Anna has recently released Times of Turmoil, the sequel to her 2021 release, The Whirlpools of Time. Here she returns to the world of time travel. Where The Whirlpools of Time had Duncan and the somewhat reluctant time-traveller Erin navigating the complexities of the first Jacobean rebellion in Scotland, in Times of Turmoil our protagonists are in Colonial Pennsylvania, hoping for a peaceful existence. Not about to happen—not in one of Anna’s books!  

All of Anna’s books have been awarded the IndieBRAG Medallion, she has several Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choices, and one of her books won the HNS Indie Award in 2015. She is also the proud recipient of various Reader’s Favorite medals as well as having won various Gold, Silver and Bronze Coffee Pot Book Club awards.

Find out more about Anna, her books and enjoy her eclectic historical blog on her website, www.annabelfrage.com  

Monday 30 October 2023

Have a peek between the covers of Who She Left Behind by Victoria Atamian Waterman


Who She Left Behind
By Victoria Atamian Waterman

Publication Date: October 17th 2023
Publisher: Historium Press
Page Length: 230 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

“Who She Left Behind” is a captivating historical fiction novel that spans generations and delves into the emotional lives of its characters. Set in various time periods, from the declining days of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey in 1915 to the Armenian neighborhoods of Rhode Island and Massachusetts in the 1990s, the novel completely immerses its reader in a lesser-known era and the untold stories of the brave and resilient women who became the pillars of reconstructed communities after the Armenian Genocide.

It is a story of survival, motherhood, love, and redemption based on the recounted stories from the author’s own family history. The narrative is framed by a mysterious discovery made almost six decades later of a pair of Armenian dolls left at a gravesite. 


“Marta tells me your needlelace is very lovely, and you’re a good teacher.”
“Thank you, Miss Jeppe,” Victoria said. 
“It’s important to me that my girls leave here with dignity, knowing their value and confident in their abilities.” 
Victoria nodded. 
“It’s not enough to churn out girls who can work a loom or stitch a hem, you see. Your people, your culture, they must be preserved even as you scatter into the world. We send girls back to their families when we can. We find them marriages, but most of all we give them the gift of self-sufficiency.”
“It’s a great gift,” Victoria said. “It’s a terrible thing to feel powerless.”
Miss Jeppe dipped her chin in acknowledgment. “Authenticity and quality,” Miss Jeppe continued. “These make your products desirable, they command the best prices in the market. Fine lace and beautiful weavings bring your beautiful history to the eyes of the world and ensure your people aren’t forgotten.” 
Victoria nodded again, unsure why she was singled out for this conversation. It was a speech Miss Jeppe and her volunteers made often. "Marta tells me you want to help us with our work.”
"Yes, I do."
Victoria’s pulse skipped. This was why.

Grab your copy HERE!

Victoria Atamian Waterman

Victoria Atamian Waterman is an Armenian American storyteller and speaker who draws inspiration from the quirky multigenerational, multilingual home in which she was raised with her grandparents, survivors of the Armenian Genocide.

Her empowerment of today’s women and girls makes her voice ideal for telling the little-known stories of yesterday’s women leaders. Her TED Talk, “Today’s Girls are Tomorrow’s Leaders” has been seen by thousands of viewers. When she is not writing and speaking, she is reading, puzzle-making and volunteering.

Victoria lives in Rhode Island and is enjoying this next chapter of life with her husband, children, and grandchildren. “Who She Left Behind” is her first novel.  

Connnect with Victoria

Friday 27 October 2023

Look who is in the Spotlight - The Winds of Change by Joan Fallon


The Winds of Change 
By Joan Fallon

Publication Date: 30th September 2023
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 322 Pages
Genre: historical fiction / 20th century

The Winds of Change is a story of love, loyalty and betrayal on the eve of the Spanish Civil War, when the country is political turmoil with strikes and demonstrations, unemployment is high and the people are starving

In this complicated love triangle we meet Ramon, a member of the Republican Left, who has accidentally killed a policeman and is on the run from the Guardia Civil and Hugo, the son of the wealthy owner of a local sherry bodega. Both men are in love with Clementina, the beautiful daughter of a well-known gypsy horse trader but there are obstacles in both their paths.

Hugo finds that when he tries to see Clementina again, both his parents and hers do everything they can to stop him.

Meanwhile Ramon's brother, Pedro, is arrested and imprisoned because he will not reveal his brother's whereabouts to the Guardia Civil. Now Ramon has to choose between his brother and the woman he loves.

This fast moving historical novel is a story of love, politics, class prejudice, intrigue and betrayal in the year leading up to the Spanish Civil War.

Grab your copy HERE!
This title is free to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription.

Joan Fallon

Teacher, management trainer and business woman, the Scottish-born novelist, Joan Fallon moved from the UK to Spain in 1998 and dedicated herself to full-time writing. She is now the self-published author of eighteen books, many of which are historical novels set in southern Spain, and focus on two distinct periods in the country’s history, the Spanish Civil War and Moorish Spain. 

More recently she had turned her attention to writing contemporary crime fiction, with a series of novels entitled The Jacaranda Dunne Mysteries but her love of historical fiction has lured her back to writing about Spain in the 20th century in her latest novel The Winds of Change.

Connect with Joan

Thursday 26 October 2023

Book Review – Offers of Atonement (Regency Tales, Book 5) by Maria Yrsa Rönneus @ars_ronnei

Offers of Atonement 
(Regency Tales, Book 5) 
By Maria Yrsa Rönneus 

Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: 29th August 2023
Pages‏: ‎457 Pages
Genre: Regency Romance

"We shall need a corpse."

When Captain James Hartcourt’s best friends ask him for an unusual favour, he doesn’t hesitate. Losing fortunes at cards, London’s shady underworld, his mother’s schemes – few things daunt him. Until he meets Lady May.

Destitute, Lady May stakes her reputation in one great gamble to retrieve her family’s estate. Arriving alone in London with a proposition he cannot refuse, she discovers that Captain Hartcourt is a cardsharp with emerald eyes, dangerous kisses, and a shed that seems to house horrendous secrets. Soon she must wonder whether he is a murderer too.

Set in 1820, just as George III has died and all of London is plunged into mourning, Offers of Atonement is the fifth stand-alone novel in the Regency Tales series. For those who loved Northanger Abbey, this romantic comedy of manners takes a grittier twist to paint a realistic portrait of the era, outside the polished salons.

Regency Tales is an epic series of evocative dramas of love and jealousy, friendship and deceit, spanning the years following the horrendous battle of Waterloo against a backdrop of political tension, societal pressure, and the opulence of the British aristocracy.

Trigger Warnings: Contains profanity, mild sex, violence, attempted rape.

Grab your copy HERE!

Blue-grey like stormy, Irish seas, her gaze washed over him, leaving him fighting for breath in the swell. He had intimately known scores of women, courtesans, ladies, ten times as beautiful, yet there was something about those eyes that might haunt a man; a surf that might whisk him away. Breathtaking. Endearing. 

‘Who the devil are you?’ Struggling to conceal his consternation, his voice came out rough.
‘I am Baroness Talleyn, and I am come to propose a business arrangement.’ 

To live by a deck of cards is a cruel existence, for you can never truly win. Captain James Hartcourt may have won an estate, but with it came the guilt that the loser was a man who had lost everything he had left. Hartcourt did not particularly care for the estate, for it was far away and in the country, but it seemed determined to haunt him.

Lady May was devastated to learn that her father’s estate no longer belonged to the family. In a desperate bid to keep the house and land she had loved her entire life, she travels to London to find the Hartcourt fellow who had accepted the stakes and gambled with her life. May had but one plan when she found him – the only way to keep her beloved home was to make it hers again through marriage.

An unlikely match, but one destined to happen, Offers of Atonement (Regency Tales Book 5) by Maria Yrsa Rönneus is a novel of a romance written in the cards, and the wager of a lifetime.

When they meet, a match between Hartcourt and Lady May seems to be a win-win scenario. May would get to preserve her beloved King’s Ear Court, and Hartcourt would finally have a way to escape the social pressures of his mother, who would see him succumb to social rejection and ostracism rather than simply allow him to live his own life. A marriage was the final hand he could play in an attempt to escape her hold on him. But yet, Hartcourt and May barely knew each other. They were strangers joining hands in a church, and neither truly knew what they were getting themselves in for.

Lady May is a very lovable character. She is prone to speaking her mind, and does so while shouting at multiple points in this novel, but she clearly knows her own thoughts and is not afraid to make them known. She does not expect to fall for Hartcourt as she does – she expected a wedding and then for them to never truly speak, going their separate ways with nothing but a piece of paper tying them together. In the same way, Hartcourt had never predicted marriage for himself, and it was not something he was particularly bothered by, but there was something about May he just couldn’t ignore. The redecorating of the house, turning it from a lonely, damp, and cold building into a bustling household, fully furnished and full of warmth, shows the true effect May had on Hartcourt. She might’ve completely turned his life upside-down, but he was for once standing on his feet rather than drowning.

While both May and Hartcourt clearly find each other remarkably attractive, their relationship hits many ruts on the road, and there are more than a few ups and downs. But what is a true Regency romance without a relationship full of unexpected turns and hurdles? Neither truly knows the other’s feelings throughout the book, and both are of the impression that their feelings are one-sided, causing a lot of things to be hidden, and many things are not said that should really be spoken about. However, as the reader is privy to each of the character’s emotions and thoughts, you cannot help but root for them to learn of the other’s feelings, and confess their love for each other.

This is a novel of romance, of elegant, sweeping turns of phrase, and poetic notions that could make you swoon. This book truly draws you in and you cannot help but be carried along through the tender prose. It is difficult to put this book down once started. This novel has been penned with great care and attention to detail, and it truly brings the Regency era back to life within the pages. The clash between the genteel and the working classes, the fear of scandal and the delight at being invited to an exclusive evening event – it all comes together to create an unforgettable experience.

It is not all love and happiness, however, for secrets are keeping Hartcourt and May apart, things that might change everything if they are discovered. There are documents in Hartcourt’s desk that do not make sense – why was there a death certificate dated for April, when it was still only March? What confused the situation further was that the man who had supposedly died was still very much alive. Unless, there was something much darker afoot. Hartcourt is clearly involved in something horrendous, something he cannot bear to reveal to May, and she is determined to figure out what it is. The secrets are a wild card in their relationship, and whether it will tear them apart or things will be revealed and they grow even closer is unpredictable, keeping you turning the pages as fast as you can to find out.

This may be book 5 of a series, but it stands alone and you do not have to read the previous books to enjoy this one. Rather, once you have read this, you will want to go back and read the others, for you will not want to leave the world inside the pages. The author has done a fabulous job at creating a book you will not want to put down, and characters you do not want to leave behind. To read the other books may provide additional insight into some of the other characters, but it is not a necessity to read them all.

Offers of Atonement (Regency Tales Book 5) by Maria Yrsa Rönneus is not to be missed, for it has all the intrigue, social and domestic issues, and romance that a Regency novel can possibly have. This book makes you want for nothing but more, and I found it difficult to read as quickly as I wanted to, while also savouring every word.

I Highly Recommend.

Maria Yrsa Rönneus 

Hello, I'm Maria Yrsa Rönneus – author, artist, graphic designer.

As a child, I wanted to grow up to be three things: a ballerina, a farmer, and a writer. Many years and five published novels later, I think that one out of those three isn’t bad. 

Amongst my earliest memories is crayoning by the kitchen table and making up stories about the drawings, and I’ve been doing that ever since. Yet it was decades before I had enough courage to pursue it professionally; when I finally did, it was burnout from stress and childhood abuse that tipped the scale. 

At university, I studied art and philosophy mainly, but also film, literature, physics, and logic. I tried many different professions: teacher, project manager, care assistant, library assistant; I’ve been a cabbie and (briefly) a prison guard. I pursued a career in politics and was elected for public office. But, whilst many of these roles were rewarding, great privileges even, they were never a perfect fit. I treasure all of these experiences as they make me better at what I was meant to do – tell stories.

Born and raised in rural Sweden, rambles through fields and forests shaped me and continue to influence all my work; animals and plants are ever present. Whether images or words, I immerse myself wholly in my work. There’s a story behind every brush stroke, an image behind every word, although only a small fraction ever gets processed enough to share with others. The majority of my stories are written in English and, most commonly, in the genres of historical fiction, contemporary romance, or short stories inspired by Scandinavian mythology and folklore. 

Being a life-long history buff, I like to fancy myself a bit of an amateur historian and digging through archives and chasing facts for my novels is precisely my idea of a good time. Luckily, I also enjoy dancing, else I might never have met my husband. We live in the southern tip of the Scandinavian peninsula where, in the words of Voltaire, we cultivate our garden.

Connect with the author:



Wednesday 25 October 2023

Cosy up with a quick read filled with friendship, love, and a deep adoration of coffee and muffins - Escape The Choice (The Choice Series, Book 1) by Ellie Yarde


Escape The Choice 
(The Choice Series, Book 1) 
By Ellie Yarde

How do you make a choice when you don't want to choose?

Oliver's friendship may be important to Ali, after all, she's the only friend he's got, but that's all they will ever be – friends. When it comes to Noah, she can't help but hope their friendship will become something more. Her heart flutters when he is near, and her eyes always seem to find his.

Unfortunately for Ali, Oliver would make things very difficult if anything were to happen between her and Noah, and while Noah has never told her not to be friends with Oliver, his distaste for the man is quite clear. For Ali to resolve the ongoing dispute, she will have to choose between them. But how can Ali choose between the two men when her decision will mean she has to cut one of them from her life?

A quick read filled with friendship, love, and a deep adoration of coffee and muffins.

This novel is free to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription.

Ellie Yarde

Ellie Yarde is an author, reader, blogger, and Vine Amazon Reviewer. She has been reading and reviewing fiction for as long as she can remember, and has always had a love for the genre. Working with The Coffee Pot Book Club greatly encouraged her love for history, and she can now often be found researching the history of the village she grew up in.

Ellie has been reading and reviewing for several years, and can often be found reading when she’s meant to be doing other things! She now spends her time reading, binge-watching television series, down the pub (working behind the bar, not drinking!), and riding horses.

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Have a sneak-peek between the covers of Carolyn Hughes' fabulous novel - The Merchant’s Dilemma


The Merchant’s Dilemma
By Carolyn Hughes

Publication Date: 20th September 2023
Publisher: Riverdown Books
Page Length: 232 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

1362. Winchester. Seven months ago, accused of bringing plague and death from Winchester, Bea Ward was hounded out of Meonbridge by her former friends and neighbours. Finding food and shelter where she could, she struggled to make her way back to Winchester again.

Yet, once she arrived, she wondered why she’d come.

For her former lover – the love of her life – Riccardo Marchaunt, had married a year ago. And she no longer had the strength to go back to her old life on the streets. Frail, destitute and homeless, she was reduced to begging. Then, in January, during a tumultuous and destructive storm, she found herself on Riccardo’s doorstep. She had no plan, beyond hoping he might help her, or at least provide a final resting place for her poor body.

When Bea awakes to find she’s lying in Riccardo’s bed once more, she’s thankful, thrilled, but mystified. But she soon learns that his wife died four months ago, along with their newborn son, and finds too that Riccardo loves her now as much as he ever did, and wants to make her his wife. But can he? And, even if he can, could she ever really be a proper merchant’s wife?

Riccardo could not have been more relieved to find Bea still alive, when he thought he had lost her forever. She had been close to death, but is now recovering her health. He adores her and wants her to be his wife. But how? His father would forbid such an “unfitting” match, on pain of denying him his inheritance. And what would his fellow merchants think of it? And their haughty wives?

Yet, Riccardo is determined that Bea will be his wife. He has to find a solution to his dilemma… With the help of his beloved mother, Emilia, and her close friend, Cecily, he hatches a plan to make it happen.

But even the best laid plans sometimes go awry. And the path of love never did run smooth…

The Merchant’s Dilemma is a companion novel to the main series of Meonbridge Chronicles, and continues the story of Bea and Riccardo after the end of the fourth Chronicle, Children’s Fate. It is a little more romantic and light-hearted than the other Chronicles but, if you’ve enjoyed reading about the lives of the characters of Meonbridge, you will almost certainly enjoy reading The Merchant’s Dilemma too!


She’d claimed she was tired but, in truth, Bea was disheartened, and wanted to be alone to think. She undressed and lay down on the bed, pulling the sheet and coverlet up to her chest and folding her arms across the top of it. The spring weather was improving, and the weak afternoon sun shining through the window had already made the chamber a little warmer.

But even if her body was warm, a chill had crept into her heart.

Of course, she was thrilled when Riccardo said he wanted her to be his wife. “Our future together” he’d said, and for a few moments her heart had bubbled with excitement. But then he mentioned “obstacles”. Her elation turned to frustration when she learned it might be years before they could wed. Hadn’t she already waited long enough? As for Riccardo’s idea about her keeping hidden whenever someone came to the house, it was humiliating!

And what was Riccardo’s reason for the waiting and the hiding?

He didn’t want to upset his father. But he was perfectly willing to upset her!

The idea of living in the grand mansion Riccardo had described was agreeable, of course it was. The joyful picture he painted of his childhood there was just what she’d want for her own children. Yet, surely, they could have the same such happy life in some other house?

Why wasn’t he prepared to forget his father, to leave Winchester and start a new life somewhere else? It would be exciting. But when she said she’d be happy to leave, he dismissed it, saying it’d be too hard. Yet surely a man like Riccardo, a successful, well-respected and wealthy man, would have no trouble establishing himself again?

Yet he seemed unwilling even to try.

She’d turned her back on Meonbridge and her own family, in order to be with him. Why wouldn’t he do the same for her? 

Maybe he didn’t truly love her as he said he did…

After all, he’d said he loved her when he first brought her here to live with him. He’d made her think then he’d marry her, though he never actually said so.

She thought back to their earlier conversation, when she’d reminded him how she’d heard he was getting married. He’d obviously regretted not having told her earlier. But, even if he had, it wouldn’t have made it any easier to bear.

She’d frowned. ‘You promised to look after me, to set me up in my own little house and continue seeing me. But, only a few months later, you’d abandoned me.’

‘Oh, Bea, that’s a terrible word––’

‘But a true one. Then the pestilence came, and I left Winchester, expecting to find safety in Meonbridge…’

Riccardo had looked as miserable as she felt. ‘You must believe me when I say I have never forgiven myself for all that happened to you. But Katherine was so difficult, I simply could not find the time for you as well. I had hoped, with the rooms I left you, and the gift, you could somehow start again…’ He stared at his feet. ‘I am so sorry it did not work out that way.’

Yet, despite his seeming sorrow, he’d still gone on to tell her he couldn’t marry her because of his father…

She must have dozed a while, for she found herself waking from a dream of a grand house that looked much like the de Bohuns’ back in Meonbridge. It was surrounded by woods and fields, in which a bevy of young children ran together, and the air was filled with squeals and laughter. She felt a warmth inside as the dream began to fade, but moments later it had vanished altogether.

She let her waking mind then conjure such a house, with her and Riccardo standing hand in hand at the door, watching their brood of offspring play. It was a life that, years ago, she couldn’t even have imagined for herself or any children she might bear. But maybe it was possible now? Not yet, but in a while. And, after all, it might not be all that long, for Riccardo’s father was quite old…

Was it really too much for him to ask her to be patient? 

Grab your copy HERE!
This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

Carolyn Hughes 

Carolyn Hughes has lived much of her life in Hampshire. With a first degree in Classics and English, she started working life as a computer programmer, then a very new profession. But it was technical authoring that later proved her vocation, word-smithing for many different clients, including banks, an international hotel group and medical instruments manufacturers.

Although she wrote creatively on and off for most of her adult life, it was not until her children flew the nest that writing historical fiction took centre stage. But why historical fiction? Serendipity!

Seeking inspiration for what to write for her Creative Writing Masters, she discovered the handwritten draft, begun in her twenties, of a novel, set in 14th century rural England… Intrigued by the period and setting, she realised that, by writing a novel set in the period, she’d be able to both learn more about the medieval past and interpret it, which seemed like a thrilling thing to do. A few days later, the first Meonbridge Chronicle, Fortune’s Wheel, was under way.

Six published books later (with more to come), Carolyn does now think of herself as an Historical Novelist. And she wouldn’t have it any other way…

Carolyn has a Master’s in Creative Writing from Portsmouth University and a PhD from the University of Southampton.

You can connect with Carolyn through her website www.carolynhughesauthor.com and social media.

Connect with Carolyn Hughes