Tuesday 19 December 2023

Head back to 1918 Montana in Milana Marsenich's fabulous novel - Beautiful Ghost

 


Beautiful Ghost 
By Milana Marsenich


During the fall of 1918, the influenza pandemic crosses the nation and reaches the mining town of Butte, Montana. 

Marika Jovich, who wants to go to school to become a physician, works menial tasks for Dr. Fletcher. She feels useless as she tries to save friends and neighbors from the ravages of the flu. In the midst of the pandemic, she watches the town shut down, young and old perish, and her medical dreams all but evaporate.

Kaly Monroe used to be a half-good woman of the night. She left that life to raise her daughter, Annie, and live and work with her long-lost mother, Tara McClane. Kaly waits for her husband, Tommy, to return from the war. Word from the east is that soldiers are dying of influenza and she prays that Tommy is not one of them.

When an out-of-town woman named Amelia suddenly dies in Dr. Fletcher's office, both women try to learn more about the mysterious woman and the circumstances regarding her death. Is she another casualty of the pandemic, or the victim of manmade foul play? Who is this stranger, and is her demise a portent of the fate that awaits the residents of Butte?

Praise
 
“Marsenich doesn't just describe the place and times, she conjures it up like time travel.” 
Amazon Review by Ellen Leahy Howell


Excerpt

Marika Jovich looked around Dr. Fletcher’s office at the folded laundry and the clean desk, savoring the quiet satisfaction of a job well done. The late afternoon cooled. Smoke wafted out across the street. She had wanted to be a doctor, but her father had promised her in marriage to Michael Jovich and marrying him had interfered with her medical dreams. Instead, she ran trivial errands for the doctor, and cleaned up the rooms at the end of the day. This day was over, and she was glad of it. Pushing her long black hair back into its fallen bun, she turned to go. As she grabbed her coat, someone knocked on the door. 

This knock shifted the air in the room. Smooth and quiet as silk, the joyful moment fluttered away, taking the breath of it and leaving not a trace to recall later. A soft pulse, deep in Marika’s stomach, twitched. At first, she ignored the knock, hoping the person on the other side of the door could wait until morning. She wanted to get home to her family and Mama’s good cooking. 

Fighting the urge to sneak out the back, she opened the front door. A pale young woman, about her own age, dressed in a gray dress, pulled a brown wool coat tightly around her shoulders and shivered. Thick strands of blond hair straggled around her face. Her heavy lids shielded milky green eyes. She was lithe and thin, a wisp of wind, blown to the open door without direction or purpose. A crow sat on the porch railing and cawed. Pink clouds stretched out toward the Highlands, dusk barely forming a thought in the sky. 

“May I help you?” Marika asked. A pure wave of urgency flashed at the back of her brain. This woman needs a doctor, a real doctor.

Grab your copy HERE!

Milana Marsenich


Award winning author, Milana Marsenich lives in Northwest Montana near Flathead Lake at the base of the beautiful Mission Mountains. She enjoys quick access to the mountains and has spent many hours hiking the wilderness trails with friends and dogs. For the past 20 years she has worked as a mental health therapist in a variety of settings. As a natural listener and a therapist, she has witnessed amazing generosity and courage in others. She first witnessed this in her hometown of Butte, Montana, a mining town with a rich history and the setting for Copper Sky, her first novel. 

Copper Sky was chosen as a Spur Award finalist for Best Western Historical Novel in 2018. Her second novel, The Swan Keeper, was a Willa Award finalist in 2019. Her short story, Wild Dogs, won the Laura Award for short fiction in 2020. 

She has an M.Ed. in Mental Health Counseling from Montana State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana. She has previously published in Montana Quarterly, Big Sky Journal, The Polishing Stone, The Moronic Ox, BookGlow, and Feminist Studies. 

She has three published novels, Copper Sky, The Swan Keeper, and Beautiful Ghost, and one popular history book, Idaho Madams. Her upcoming novel, Shed Girl: A Juliet French Novel, will be released January 2024. Her popular history book, Mary MacLane: Butte’s Wild Woman and her Wooden Heart, will be out sometime in 2025. 

You can find her books and blog posts at https://milanamarsenich.com

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Monday 18 December 2023

Check out Heidi Eljarbo's fabulously festive novella - Twelfth Cake House

 


Twelfth Cake House
By Heidi Eljarbo


Publication Date: December 15th, 2023
Publisher: independently published
Page Length: approx. 90 pages
Genre: Clean Historical Christmas Romance

Even a clever matchmaker may need a push in the right direction if she’s to find true love. When she’s asked to find a match for herself, it proves to be the most difficult task she’s ever undertaken.

Mid-December 1796.

Sixty-year-old spinster Miss Jemima Thurgood has three weeks to finish the preparations for her annual Twelfth Night party. In her position as a matchmaker, for over forty years she has assumed a grave responsibility. Luckily, she’s a shrewd observer of people, and many happy reunions have come about due to her exceptional talent for nudging kindred hearts in the right direction.

Every year, Jemima invites twelve carefully selected men and women to her festivity, and each guest is assigned a dinner partner. The days before the merrymaking are constantly disrupted by one unforeseen event after another. Jemima must work hard to be ready in time, and more importantly, to provide the kind of celebration her chosen guests deserve.

But this year, what Jemima doesn’t know is that her life is about to take a sudden change of course—one she could not have predicted or planned for. As the days pass, several gentlemen indicate they are interested in becoming better acquainted with her, but only a very special man can charm a matchmaker.

A sweet romance novella set during a witty and enchanting Georgian-Era Christmas, Twelfth Cake House is a story about traditions, goodwill, and finding hope and the courage to change and take a chance on finding true love. 



Grab your copy HERE!

This novel is free to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription.


Heidi Eljarbo



Heidi Eljarbo is the award-winning author of dual-timeline historical fiction with heartwarming clean romance, wit, and adventurous mystery.


Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and never imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, danced on the BYU Ballroom Dance Team, and still sings in choirs.


After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She lives with her husband on a charming island and enjoys walking their Wheaten Terrier in any kind of weather, hugging her grandchildren, and has a passion for art and history. 


Her family’s chosen retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summer and ski the vast white terrain during winter.


Heidi’s favorites are her family, God's beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.


Connect with Heidi:

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Friday 15 December 2023

Head back in time to 1885, England in Marcia Clayton's new release - Millie’s Escape

 


Millie’s Escape
By Marcia Clayton

Publication Date: 2nd November 2023
Publisher: Sunhillow Publishing
Page Length: 348 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction / Family Saga / Women’s Literary Fiction

1885 North Devon, England
 
It is winter in the small Devon village of Brampford Speke, and a typhoid epidemic has claimed many victims. Millie, aged fifteen, is doing her best to nurse her mother and grandmother as well as look after Jonathan, her five-year-old brother. One morning, Millie is horrified to find that her mother, Rosemary, has passed away during the night and is terrified the same fate may befall her granny, Emily.
 
When Emily’s neighbours inform her that Sir Edgar Grantley has also perished from the deadly disease, the old woman is distraught, for the kindly gentleman has been their benefactor for many years, much to the disgust of his wife, Lilliana. Emily is well aware that Sir Edgar’s generosity has long been a bone of contention between him and his spouse, and she is certain Lady Grantley will evict them from their cottage at the first opportunity.
 
As she racks her brain for a solution, Emily remembers her father came from Hartford, a seaside village in North Devon and had relatives there. Desperate and too weak to travel, she insists Millie and Jonathan leave home and make their way to Hartford before the embittered woman can cause trouble for them. There, she tells them, they must throw themselves on the mercy of their family and hope they will offer them a home.
 
With Emily promising to follow as soon as possible, the two youngsters reluctantly set off on their fifty-mile journey on foot and in the harshest of weather conditions. Emily warns them to be cautious, for she suspects Lady Grantley may well pursue them to seek revenge for a situation that has existed between the two families for many years.

Excerpt

Living in Pengelly Court was quite an eye-opener for Millie and Jonathan, but they were well-treated, given enough to eat, and not harmed. The women tended to rise late in the mornings, for they knew there would be little trade early in the day, and they usually needed to sleep off the effects of the alcohol and drugs they relied on to cope with their sordid life. They would leave the house late in the morning and then come home around tea time for their main meal before going out again to work the night shift.

Millie and Jonathan were fascinated by Fanny Prowse, the landlady of the house. No one knew how old Fanny was or how she had come to own the place, but she was quite a character. Her plump face was lined with wrinkles and fine red lines, and her large, slightly purple nose was a testament to her life of alcoholism. She had wispy white hair, thinning on the top and barely hiding her shiny scalp. She was seldom seen outside the house without her faded yellow bonnet tied with ribbons under her chin. A prostitute herself in her younger days, three of the girls were her daughters, and she did her best to keep them as safe as possible. Fanny knew enough muscle around the town to frighten off any men with ideas of becoming the girls’ pimp, and few would dare to cross her.

At first, Millie and Jonathan were frightened of this formidable lady, for her language was ripe, with every other word an obscenity, but one day when Jonnie was suffering from an earache, she mixed up a potion to ease the pain, then cuddled him on her lap until he fell asleep. She was the same with all the youngsters, and Millie thought the old lady loved them more than their mothers.


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

Marcia Clayton


Marcia Clayton is the author of five books in The Hartford Manor Series, a heart-warming family saga stretching from the Regency period to Victorian times. A sixth book is to be released in 2024.
Marcia was born in North Devon, a rural and picturesque area in the far South West of England. When she left school, Marcia worked in a bank for several years until she married her husband, Bryan, and then stayed at home for a few years to care for her three sons, Stuart, Paul and David. As the children grew older, Marcia worked as a Marie Curie nurse caring for the terminally ill and later for the local authority managing school transport.

Now a grandmother, Marcia enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She’s a keen researcher of family history, and this hobby inspired some of the characters in her books. A keen gardener, Marcia grows many of her own vegetables. She is also an avid reader and enjoys historical fiction, romance, and crime books.

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Saturday 9 December 2023

Book Review - Muskets and Masquerades by Lindsey Fera

 


Muskets and Masquerades
By Lindsey Fera


Publication Date: 18th April 2023
Publisher: Pompkin Press
Page Length: 490 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Jack and Annalisa are married only five months when, enroute to France, a shipwreck separates them. On different shores, each believes the other dead. But when Annalisa learns Jack is alive, she returns to America and discovers much has changed. After a betrayal, she flees town as her alter ego, Benjamin Cavendish, and joins the Continental Army.

Unbeknownst to Annalisa, Jack has also joined the Continentals, harboring shameful secrets from his days in mourning. Against the backdrop of war with Britain, fa├žades mount between Jack and Annalisa, and the merry minuet of their adolescence dissolves into a masquerade of deceit, one which threatens to part them forever.

Despondent, he stared at the deckhead. The world around him swirled into a dizzying mass of gaol cell irons and soiled hay. Beyond the porthole, the sky darkened, and Jack threw an arm over his eyes. Where is Annalisa? 

Having fought for their love and been victorious, Jack and Annalisa can finally call themselves husband and wife. So, when Jack is called away, and sent to France, Annalisa cannot simply let him go, and stay behind, waiting for the day of his return. She insists she must join him, and travel alongside him. They had made their vows, and were not prepared to break any of them so soon – till death do us part. 

When a storm blows in, wrecking the ship Jack and Annalisa were aboard, their futures are unknown, tossed into the wind for fate to play with. Both awaken, but they are no longer together, and know not where the other is, or how they fare. Jack finds himself alone, in the holding cell of a British ship, facing torture at the hands of the Redcoats. When Annalisa awakens, she does not even know who she is, let alone where. An injury to her head has left her memory blank, her life and past as much a mystery as her future.

Soulmates, torn apart and doomed to live life apart, set against the murky backdrop of soldiers, fighting for their country’s liberty from the British’s iron grip – Muskets and Masquerades by Lindsey Fera is a novel of desperation, of hoping and praying against all odds for a positive outcome, no matter how unlikely or difficult the circumstances.

Once again, Ms Fera has encapsulated this historical period in impeccable detail, and with such a care towards her characters, they are truly real in the telling. Annalisa and Jack were an absolute joy to reunite with, and after getting to know them in the first book of the series, Muskets and Minuets, for them to be ripped apart from one another was devastating to read about. For each to believe the other dead, and all their family to believe both dead, made for some truly heartbreaking scenes, especially so when certain characters, inevitably, discover Jack and Annalisa still live. 

This is a novel full of deceit, of heartbreak leading to bad decisions, and rashly made choices creating less than ideal outcomes. With things to hide from one another, Jack and Annalisa seem to slowly push wedges between themselves. The all-consuming guilt that they have done something the other should know about, but finding themselves unable to come clean, slowly chips away at their trust in each other. They thought they loved each and every piece of the other, but cracks in the surface reveal trauma that can’t be pushed aside, anguish that lives inside, and ordeals that have changed each of them forever. 

Jack’s use of substances to attempt to numb the pain of losing Annalisa is particularly difficult to read. He is such a kind, generous, and honourable man, and to watch him change from a carefree boy, smiling and cracking jokes, to a broken man, depending on opium and alcohol to sleep at night, is certainly reason enough to keep a box of tissues to hand. Jack suffers terribly in this novel, the agony of pain he cannot forget or move on from writhes in his head, forcing him to leave his carefree self behind. He finds himself on edge, uneasy when leaving the areas he knows, always checking behind him to make sure he is not being followed. Paranoia and melancholia, on top of substance abuse, certainly made Jack the centre of my sympathy while reading. He is a character you cannot help but love, and to watch him suffer so is harrowing.

The additional perspective of George, Annalisa’s brother, in this novel is certainly enjoyable. He featured in Muskets and Minuets, and had a few chapters dedicated to him, but he truly came to life in this novel. He is on the front line, coming face to face with the British and fighting for what he believes in. Many of his friends and fellow comrades lose their lives to the revolution, and yet George holds steadfast. He certainly grows into his own character throughout this novel, revealing who he really is, and what he will and will not fight for. George ties the revolution into the story, for while many of the characters are affected by the ongoing war, George is the only one who is fighting from the start of the novel to the end, providing a running commentary on how the war was going, and who was winning. 

While it is incredibly easy to love many of the characters in this novel, there are also a few that are very easy to dislike. Hate is a strong word, but when it comes to certain characters, it is certainly a word that can be used. In Muskets and Minuets, Jack and Annalisa contested with their parents and society to fight for their love. In this novel, everyone has grown up, even though it has only been a few months. They are no longer seeking society’s approval, but instead are walking a path of hot coals to try and find the loopholes in the law regarding marriages and divorces. In particular, Annalisa’s sister, Jane, is a massive point of contention in this book. She was previously promised to Jack, before he fell in love with Annalisa, and with uncertainty over who is truly alive and who is not, Jane has set her sights on Jack again. She acts in a truly despicable manner throughout this novel, and at times you want to do nothing but thump her, and tell her to back off and leave Jack alone. After all he and Annalisa go through, for family to once again get in the way, and try to tear things apart is maddening.

This is a rather lengthy novel, coming in at just under 500 pages, much alike Muskets and Minuets. Such a lot happens in both novels, with in-depth character building, and complicated relationships between families, friends, and foes, it could be difficult to jump straight to Muskets and Masquerades without having read the first book in the series. To completely fall in love with the characters, and feel every ounce of joy and heartbreak in this book, I would recommend reading Muskets and Minuets first. 

Muskets and Masquerades by Lindsey Fera is a novel bursting at the seams with things to talk about. It cannot be simply summed up, but could be talked about for hours. It is a story that begs to be spoken about, discussed, and re-read, for it holds so much – so much detail, so many lives, a rollercoaster of emotions – you cannot simply read it and then put it back on your shelf.

I Highly Recommend. 

Lindsey S. Fera


A born and bred New Englander, Lindsey hails from the North Shore of Boston. A member of the Topsfield Historical Society and the Historical Novel Society, she forged her love for writing with her intrigue for colonial America by writing her debut novel, Muskets and Minuets. When she's not attending historical reenactments or spouting off facts about Boston, she's nursing patients back to health in the ICU.

Connect with Lindsey: 

Wednesday 6 December 2023

Have a peek between the covers of Justin Newland's fabulous novel - The Mark of the Salamander

 


The Mark of the Salamander
By Justin Newland


Publication Date: 28th September 2023
Publisher: The Book Guild 
Page Length: 256 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction 

1575.

Nelan Michaels is a young Flemish man fleeing religious persecution in the Spanish Netherlands. Settling in Mortlake outside London, he studies under Queen Elizabeth’s court astrologer, conjuring a bright future – until he’s wrongly accused of murder. 

Forced into the life of a fugitive, Nelan hides in London, before he is dramatically pressed into the crew of the Golden Hind.

Thrust into a strange new world on board Francis Drake’s vessel, Nelan sails the seas on a voyage to discover discovery itself. Encountering mutiny, ancient tribes and hordes of treasure, Nelan must explore and master his own mystical powers – including the Mark of the Salamander, the mysterious spirit of fire. 

THE MARK OF THE SALAMANDER is the first in The Island of Angels series: a two-book saga that tells the epic story and secret history of England’s coming of age during the Elizabethan era


Excerpt

That night, Nelan had both light from the candles and some valuable space. With no room in the cramped cells, some prisoners slept in the wardens’ shed, and the new arrivals slept in the freezing yard. Marshalsea was a hard taskmaster; many fell by the wayside who could not afford the garnish. Squeezed into the corridor outside the infirmary, he got out his char cloth, iron, and flint, and lit the candle. Again, he read the two papers Dee had given him, but his mind prodded him about shoes. Not those in the cordwainers’ and cobblers’ shops, but the ones that never wore out. Dee had given him a clue in the Geneva Bible. Recalling the lines from the Book of Job, Nelan spoke Chapter 10, Verse 1 out loud:

My soul is cut off though I live.
I will… speak in the bitterness of my soul.

What did that mean? What were the connections between cutting off and living, and bitterness and the soul? And what had they to do with the shoes that didn’t wear out? Dr Dee had said it was a clue, so Nelan resolved to muse on the biblical passage until it revealed its inner meaning. He recalled the fear he’d felt on waking during his first night in Marshalsea, and then he wondered about sweetness and bitterness. Was the soul averse to certain flavours? Perhaps it was more sensitive to some emotions than to others.

Pick up your copy HERE!

Justin Newland


JUSTIN NEWLAND’s novels represent an innovative blend of genres from historical adventure to supernatural thriller and magical realism. His stories explore the themes of war and religion, and speculate on the human’s spiritual place in the universe.

Undeterred by the award of a Doctorate in Mathematics from Imperial College, London, he conceived his debut novel, The Genes of Isis (Matador, 2018), an epic fantasy set under Ancient Egyptian skies. 

The historical thriller, The Old Dragon’s Head (Matador, 2018), is set in Ming Dynasty China in the shadows of the Great Wall. 

The Coronation (Matador, 2019) was another historical adventure and speculates on the genesis of the most important event in the modern world – the Industrial Revolution. 

The Abdication (Matador, 2021) is a mystery thriller in which a young woman confronts her faith in a higher purpose and what it means to abdicate that faith.

The Mark of the Salamander (Book Guild, 2023) is the first in a two-book series, The Island of Angels. Set in the Elizabethan era, it’s an epic tale of England’s coming of age. 

His work in progress is the second in the series, The Midnight of Eights, the charting of the uncanny coincidences that led to the repulse of the Spanish Armada. 

Author, speaker and broadcaster, Justin appears on LitFest panels, gives talks to historical associations and libraries and enjoys giving radio interviews and making podcasts. 

Born three days before the end of 1953, he lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.

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Monday 4 December 2023

Have you ever wondered how to dress like a Tudor? Find out in Judith Arnopp's fabulous new book - How to Dress Like a Tudor

 


How to Dress Like a Tudor
By Judith Arnopp


Publication Date:
(Hardback) 4th October 2023
(Kindle) 21st December 2023
Publisher: Pen and Sword Books
Page Length: 224 Pages
Genre: Historical Non-Fiction

Have you ever hankered to dress like a Tudor lord or lady, or perhaps you prefer the status of goodwife, or costermonger, or even a bawd? 

For beginner historical reenactors, the path to authenticity can be bewildering and sometimes intimidating. Judith Arnopp uses her own experience, both as a historian and a medieval/Tudor lady, to make your own journey a little easier.

The author traces the transition of fashion from the relatively subtle styles popular at the court of Henry VII, through the carefully constructed royal grandeur of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary I to the pinnacle of majesty and splendid iconography of Elizabeth I. 

In contrast to the magnificence of court come the ordinary folk who, subject to sumptuary laws and regulations, wore garments of a simpler cut and cloth – a strata of society that formed the back bone of Tudor England.

This brief history of 16th century fashion examines clothing for both rich and poor, adult and child, and offers tips and tricks on how to begin to sew your first historically inspired garment, this book is aimed at helping the beginner learn How to Dress like a Tudor.


Grab your copy HERE!

Judith Arnopp


Judith writes historical fiction set during the late medieval and Tudor period. Her usual focus is on the women who lived close to the monarch, women like Margaret Beaufort, Elizabeth of York and Mary Tudor but more recently has been writing from the perspective of Henry VIII himself. Her books are on Kindle, Audible and Paperback.

She also writes non-fiction, her work featuring in many anthologies and online magazines. Her latest non-fiction, How to Dress like a Tudor published by Pen & Sword Books is available now. 

Judith is a founder member of a reenactment group The Fyne Company of Cambria, and began making Tudor costumes for herself, her husband, John, and other members of the group. It was this that inspired How to Dress like a Tudor and she hopes to write more non-fiction Tudor history in the future.
   
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Saturday 2 December 2023

Book Review - Muskets and Minuets by Lindsey S. Fera

 


Muskets and Minuets 
By Lindsey S. Fera


Publication Date: 19th October 2021
Publisher: Zenith Publishing
Page Length: 486 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction 

Love. Politics. War.

Amidst mounting tensions between the British crown and the American colonists of Boston, Annalisa Howlett struggles with her identity and purpose as a woman. Rather than concern herself with proper womanly duties, like learning to dance a minuet or chasing after the eligible and charming Jack Perkins, Annalisa prefers the company of her brother, George, and her beloved musket, Bixby. She intends to join the rebellion, but as complications in her personal life intensify, and the colonies inch closer to war with England, everything Annalisa thought about her world and womanhood are transformed forever.

Join Annalisa on her journey to discover what it truly means to be a woman in the 18th century, all set against the backdrop of some of the most pivotal moments in American history.

“Annie? Debut?” George guffawed. “She’d rather shoot a firelock than dance a minuet.”
“Is this true?” Abigail lifted a hand to her breast.
“It is.” Annalisa glanced at the doorway through which Jack had followed Jane and Oliver. “But Mamma says I may have my debut come springtime.”
The same as when I join the militia.

Jack Perkins was not at all the person Annalisa had expected him to be. Annalisa expected to see the man her older sister would marry, but instead, she found a man more alike herself. A man who shared her views against the king, and who listened to her when she spoke. 

In the height of the revolution, Annalisa is ready to stand besides Jack and her brother, George, and show her support for the Patriots, but she constantly seems to find herself at dead ends. She is told she cannot stand and fight, for she is a woman. She is told to keep her ideas to herself, while she knows she is just as smart and strong as the menfolk in her life. Desperate to show her support and prove herself, she dons some old breeches, a new name, and joins a militia. 

With the uncertainty of the revolution, the frustrations of society’s demands, and a forbidden love doomed to fail, Muskets and Minuets by Lindsey Fera is a novel that wants for nothing, and leaves you unable to put the book down at the end of each chapter.

Annalisa despised that fate had been so cruel as to make her a girl, who was not allowed an opinion about the politics of the revolution, and is told to put her efforts towards learning French and how to dance the minuet, rather than learning how to load and shoot a firearm. She would rather be outside, practicing her aim, than inside with some sewing. The frustrations that Annalisa feels, the prison she is trapped in, with everyone telling her what she should and should not be doing, are portrayed with such care, the reader begins to feel these frustrations themselves. Why should Annalisa sit at home and perfect her needlepoint, when those she loves are joining up and shouldering their muskets to show their support for their country? As Annalisa grows into womanhood, she strays further from what society and her mother say a woman should be, and her independence and determination to follow what her heart tells her is right is truly admirable. She is an incredibly strong character, and one who is truly a delight to follow and get to know. 

Annalisa grew up very close to her older brother, George, who was a very important role model for Annalisa throughout this book. She idolised him as a child, and he was the one to teach her how to reload and aim Bixby, their trusty firelock. He taught her how to stand up for herself, and yet, he too seemed to fall into the mindset that she shouldn’t put her talents to good use because of her gender. George is an incredibly likeable character, although at times he can grow rather frustrating. Even though he knows Annalisa is more than capable of showing her support for the Patriots, he attempts to stop her, to placate her and tell her what she should be doing instead. 
Despite his several misgivings, George is one of those characters you can’t help but like. Together with Annalisa and Jack, the three create a rather formidable force.

Although Jack is heir to large estates, Annalisa is the second daughter of her family, and so they are not a match to be sought out. With his titles, Jack would be much better suited to Annalisa’s older sister, as society dictates the oldest sister should be married first. But, Jack cannot deny that, while Jane is beautiful, Annalisa is someone he can’t ignore. He is drawn to her, entranced by her courage and resolution that no man will tell her what to do, nor will anyone tell her not to speak her own mind. However, Annalisa and Jack find themselves of the opposite side of society and their parents, fighting a losing battle to be able to be together. Their desperation is clear among the pages, and you find yourself reading faster and faster, needing urgently to know if there is a happy ending in store for them or not. Their respect and admiration for each other made them an easy couple to root for, and you certainly find yourself reading with your fingers crossed, hoping against hope that, somehow, things will fall into place for them.

This novel, particularly in the relationships and the feelings between certain characters, highlights the ever relevant subject of generational splits, with different generations having wildly different ideas over what is right, and what is wrong. There are several characters in this book who, given their own way, could easily sort out their own relationships and set themselves on the path they see to be correct for themselves. However, with different people in charge of how their lives play out, there is friction and misery. Although acting against the norms of the era, the younger generation of this novel have very clear views on what they want from their own lives, which do not necessarily line up with what the older generation see for them. Unfortunately, in this era, the older generations generally had the last say, which makes Jack and Annalisa’s desperation and desire to be together heart wrenching to read about, for their chances of ending up together are so slim.

The historical detailing in this novel is immersing, and combined with an admirable portrayal of human life, Ms Fera has been wildly successful in creating a novel worth reading. The era has clearly been carefully researched, and plenty of time has gone into every mention of the revolution and the soldiers fighting for their own freedom. In particular, the mention of Annalisa’s monthly menses made the characters come across as very real in the telling, turning them into real people, rather than just names upon a page. This is a novel that has been penned with extreme care to fully entrap the reader within the pages, engross them in the political and social drama of the period, and leave them wanting more once the final page has been turned. With such loveable characters, and a narrative that makes it extremely difficult to put the book down, this is certainly a book not to be missed.

Muskets and Minuets by Lindsey Fera is a wild ride you don’t want to get off, but rather want to ride again and again. With the pull of two hearts desperate to find each other, the frantic energy of battle, and the drama of friendships and society gossip, this is a novel that begs to be savoured, for it is not just a story to read, but one to experience. 

I Highly Recommend.

Grab your copy HERE!

Lindsey S. Fera


A born and bred New Englander, Lindsey hails from the North Shore of Boston. A member of the Topsfield Historical Society and the Historical Novel Society, she forged her love for writing with her intrigue for colonial America by writing her debut novel, Muskets and Minuets. When she's not attending historical reenactments or spouting off facts about Boston, she's nursing patients back to health in the ICU.

Connect with Lindsey: