*UPDATE*

I have updated my review and giveaway policies page (now just titled Policies above). If you are entering a giveaway, please read and abide by the applicable policy.

Attention Authors! If you arrived here looking for information on the Two Sides to Every Story guest post series, see the tab at the top of the page for more info!


Search This Blog

Monday, September 25, 2017

New Book Alert: September from Entangled Publishing

HistoricalRDB_925


I am excited to help Entangled Publishing celebrate the September release of four brand new, scintillating historical romances! Read on for all of the details and a little sneak peek teaser from titles by Liana De la Rosa, Tamara Gill, Robyn DeHart, and Lily Maxton!


     

   goodreads button

TO LOVE A SCANDALOUS DUKE by Liana de la Rosa
Book 1 in the Once Upon a Scandal series


Driven into exile years earlier, due to family scandal, Declan Sinclair is called home, devastated to discover his brother has been murdered and he’s the new Duke of Darington. When clues point to the man he blames for both his exile and his brother’s death, Declan resolves to ruin the culprit. If only the daughter of the man’s business partner, lovely Lady Alethea Swinton, didn’t tempt his resolve. Lady Alethea Swinton has cultivated her pristine reputation in the hopes of winning her father’s praise. When her childhood friend returns, Alethea finds she’s willing to court scandal and defy her father to help the handsome Declan uncover the truth behind his brother’s death. Until she realizes Declan’s redemption will mean her

Buy the Book: Entangled | Amazon | Barnes & Noble




  

goodreads button

TO CONQUER A SCOT by Tamara Gill
Book 1 of the Time-Traveler’s Highland Love series

 

Time-traveling isn’t what Abigail Cross had in mind for her Scottish vacation, nor was a potential marriage to the Laird Aedan Macleod. The fact that the obnoxious, yet hot, and definitely sexy Highlander sees the world very differently than she does, is beside the point. Aedan Macleod knows what he wants in a wife, and Abigail certainly doesn’t meet his Highland standard, even though he must rein in his desire, because beautiful, opinionated Abigail would never suit as a laird’s wife. Tempers flare yet passion is undeniable, as Abby navigates her way in seventeenth century Scotland—without toilet paper. When two rival clans threaten the maddening twenty-first century minx who’s captured Laird Aedan’s heart, the mighty Highlander is willing to sacrifice everything to keep Abigail safe.

Buy the Book: Entangled | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


    



  

goodreads button

THE SCOUNDREL AND THE LADY by Robyn DeHart
Book 1 in the Lords of Vice series


Iris Bennington is furious when she discovers her younger brother is following the instructions found in the acclaimed advice columns on How to be a Gentleman. The so-called “advice” is more likely to turn her brother into a scoundrel than a true gentleman. Iris decides to locate the author of the columns and confront him. Merritt Steel, the Earl of Ashby, cannot help but be amused by the slip of a woman who comes calling. Unwilling to let such a delightful potential conquest go, he proposes a wager: bring him anyone off the street and he can pass them off as a gentleman. It’s a bargain she readily accepts—but with a twist. Their bargain proves to be a greater challenge than either anticipated. Merritt finds it near impossible to keep his hands off Iris, and she begins to see the undeniable appeal of ungentlemanly behavior…

Buy the Book: Entangled | Amazon | Barnes & Noble




  

goodreads button
THE ROGUE'S CONQUEST
by Lily Maxton
Book 2 of The Townsend series


Wallflower Eleanor Townsend is not like most women. She has no interest in marriage, the ton, or fashion. Instead, her heart lies with science. And when the opportunity to present a paper arises, she takes it, even though it means dressing as a man. But her disguise doesn’t quite work. Someone notices—and the brute intends to blackmail her! Former prizefighter James MacGregor wants to be a gentleman, like the men he trains in his boxing saloon. His first step is gaining a beautiful, wealthy wife. Eleanor Townsend is not that woman, but a chance encounter gives him the leverage he needs. She’ll gain him entry to high society and help him with his atrocious manners, and in return, he won’t reveal her secret. It’s the perfect arrangement. At least until the sparks between them become more than just their personalities clashing. But there’s too much at stake for James to give in to his growing attraction.

Buy the Book: Entangled | Amazon | Barnes & Noble





Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Book Review: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

the-alice-network_thumb1

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
E-Book, 528 pages
William Morrow
June 6, 2017
★★★★★
goodreads-button3

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Personal Collection

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth ...no matter where it leads.

I have been a HUGE fan of Kate Quinn’s throughout her writing career having read almost all of her works (still trying to find time to finish Empress of the Seven Hills and start The Lion and the Rose). Her heroines always have this spunk and sass to them, that comes through when you meet the author as well, that instantly draws me to them. I’ve been a bigger fan of her novels set in the ancient world and had hesitantly taken interest in The Alice Network only because it is SO far removed from the era that I think Quinn excels in. The time period between and surrounding the World Wars hasn’t traditionally been my thing and I haven’t openly embraced it despite the shift in interest of the publishing houses to this arena lately. However, after hearing from successive bookish friends and bloggers just how much they loved The Alice Network, and finding myself with a big gaping hole in my reviewing schedule, I jumped at the opportunity to pick up a copy and get to it!

Each chapter alternates between the WWI period told from the perspective of Eve and the immediate post WWII period told from that of Charlie. There are parallels that can be drawn here between these ladies who are similarly aged but seemingly so different for so much of the book, however deep down, they are more alike than they realize. For awhile I was much more into the Charlie chapters. While I loved the behind-the-lines, spy storyline of Eve’s, I felt that Charlie’s internal narrative was more of a personal struggle and I loved watching her grow over the story. I also loved that Charlie’s narrative is where the pieces start to come together and resolve.

The characters were all fabulous. Eve is so unusual a heroine, but that would be why she was so effective a spy: she was easy to overlook, but she had so much going on under the hood and she was passionate and daring. She gave up so much of herself for something so much bigger than herself. Charlie is a girl in trouble, but also a girl on a mission. She is trying to redeem herself and escape from the shadow of her parents expectations and money. This makes her and Eve such a hilarious foil of each other. And throw Finn into the mix and they are one interesting road trippin’ trio. Really, I found Finn to be one of the only truly likable male characters, despite his background, and I LOVED his character development throughout the story and how he effected the other two ladies. And his relationship with his car is something else! This trio was phenomenal to read.

Kate’s writing is always fun to read and she throws in some humorous scenes throughout, even little moments that just take the edge off some of the deeper, more tension fraught scenes.

I very rarely read a book a second time (has only happened twice) or own a book in multiple formats, but simply based off my enjoyment of the book and the sample of the audio I have listened to, I am very interested in going through this one again as an audiobook (I also might need to get it in print because…deckle edge!!)

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia


Also by Kate Quinn:

mistress-of-rome_thumb
Mistress of Rome
(Empress of Rome Book 1)
[My Review]

daughters-of-rome_thumb
Daughters of Rome
(Empress of Rome Book 2)
[My Review]

empress-of-the-seven-hills_thumb
Empress of the Seven Hills
(Empress of Rome Book 3)

The-Three-Fates_thumb
The Three Fates
(Empress of Rome Book 3.5)

lady-of-the-eternal-city_thumb
Lady of the Eternal City
(Empress of Rome Book 4)
[My Review]

the-serpent-and-the-pearl_thumb
The Serpent and the Pearl (The Borgias #1)
[My Review]

lion-and-rose_thumb_thumb
The Lion and the Rose
(The Borgias #2)

song-of-war_thumb_thumb
A Song of War
(Short Story Collaboration)
[My Review]

a-day-of-fire_thumb
A Day of Fire
(Short Story Collaboration)
[My Review]

year-of-ravens_thumb
A Year of Ravens
(Short Story Collaboration)
[My Review]


Find Kate Quinn: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cover Crush: The Carnelian Crow

cover crush

We can all say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I guarantee that we all have done so at least once! Cover Crush is designed to feature some of those covers that have caught the eye as a standout on the bookshelf.

the carnealian crow

I will admit that this might not be a top 5 cover, but it certainly makes me stop and do a double take and spend time considering it.  I mean, how many covers really feature any bird, in such vivid detail, on its cover?  The woman really isn’t anything more than a vehicle to present the bird.  It definitely makes me think.

What are your thoughts on this cover?

I wonder what my friends are crushing on this week? Let’s check it out: (to be updated as they go live).

keep calm and support book bloggers_thumb_thumb




Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Two Sides to Every Story: Port Royal, Jamaica

two sides

Today I have the opportunity to welcome Johanna Craven, author of The Devil in the Deep Blue Sea, to The Maiden's Court with the next contribution to the Two Sides to Every Story series.  I know it has been a long delay since we had an installment in this series (more ARE coming) and I hope you will enjoy this one.  Today we are treated to a piece about the life in Port Royal, Jamaica.

Port Royal, Jamaica – Wicked City or Island Paradise

In the seventeenth century, tiny Port Royal on the south coast of Jamaica was a flourishing trade centre and a notorious hang-out for pirates, privateers and prostitutes. The streets glittered with gold and the taverns numbered one for every ten men. In 1692, the town was destroyed by an enormous earthquake and tsunami that left a third of the city at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea. An act of divine retribution against 'the wickedest city on earth'? Or a tragic end to an island paradise?

Well, that depends on who you ask…


6th March, 1686

My dear sister Mary,

It has been three days since John and I arrived in Port Royal. This is a place of great beauty; clear blue seas and white sands, with a dramatic backdrop of the Blue Mountains. Flowers grow in every colour of the rainbow and fish leap from the sea like firecrackers. A paradise, some would say. But looks can be deceiving, Mary. This place is far from paradise.

Port Royal has a fine harbour and its position in the centre of the Caribbean makes it a perfect base for merchants and naval men. But with these honest seamen have come a despicable crowd of pirates, privateers, and smugglers, all eager to make their fortunes, with no regard for decency. The churches are near empty while the taverns overflow with scoundrels and fallen women. 'The Sodom of the New World', says John. I pity my dear husband for the impossible task he has been given; saving the souls of these wayward people. Indeed, this town is a veritable hell on Earth.

Keep us in your prayers. I shall write again soon.

Ever yours,

Elizabeth


9th October 1688

Edward, my friend, I have found Heaven. A paradise where the liquor flows like water, the streets shine with gold and the women leave little to the imagination.

They welcome privateers here- the celebrations in the street when a ship returns full of French treasure is something to behold. Ah, but don't worry, I've no thought of turning to lawful privateering. Why should I give a share of my hard-fought riches to the Crown?

No, my friend, it is still a pirate's life for me- and men of our sort are welcomed in Port Royal. All right, perhaps it's a stretch to say the governor welcomes us, but he certainly turns a blind eye to our comings and goings. With the sheer numbers of our kind, the poor fool has little choice!

Needless to say, our crew is now using this fine town as a base- indeed several of the men have found wives here, although I fail to imagine what would possess them to give up the lavish life this place offers in exchange for a family!

The drink of choice here is a rum punch we like to call Kill-Devil. Our captain claims the secret ingredient to be gun-powder. Whether to believe him, I am unsure! Either way, the punch has fuelled many a memorable night. I only wish you could join us, my friend.

A man in search of a fine life could do no better than to come to this jewel of a town.

Your friend,

Jack


3rd November, 1691.

Mary,

As you know, it has been four years since anti-piracy laws were passed in this Godforsaken town. Four years I've been hoping to see its inhabitants come to their senses; to awaken to the error of their ways.

And yet such wickedness persists. Have these men no fear of the gibbet? The bodies of captured pirates now dangle from Dead Man's Cay, and yet the pirates of Port Royal look to this as a challenge, rather than a deterrent.

Have they no fear of the Lord's wrath? These people will be punished, there is no doubt in my mind. It will be a happy day when Port Royal is destroyed. Mark my words, dear sister, this town cannot stand, but will sink and be destroyed by the judgement of God.


7th June, 1692

Are you a superstitious man, Edward? I confess that I am, though I'm sure this will not surprise you, me being a seafarer and all.

An uneasiness has fallen over the city. People fear an attack from our enemy is imminent- they see French spies around every corner. But it is more than just the war that has us unsettled. The town was visited recently by a man who claimed to read the stars. Yes, I can imagine what you're saying. A charlatan. Witchcraft. But in the stars, he claimed to see a terrible end for Port Royal. A 'cataclysmic earthquake', he said.

The weather is not helping things. It is steamy and windless, the sea like glass. We've experienced this before, you see. And each time, the eerie stillness brings a shake of the earth.

Thanks to this man's prediction, the streets are now full of self-made prophets: arm-waving madmen with ragged clothes and flashing eyes. Fools, yes, and yet something stops me from casting their words aside.

Something is not right. Out of my window, I see a golden glow in the sky. It is otherworldly and unnatural. I am afraid, Edward. There, I've said it. Against enemy fire, I feel nothing but excitement, but I know I cannot hope to battle the will of a God I've long ignored. Do you think it is truly possible this man saw Port Royal's demise in the stars? Could this be the end?

Screenshot_20170913-080856

Johanna Craven was born in Australia in 1981 and grew up in Melbourne. As she was finishing school, she agonised over whether to pursue a career in music or creative writing, before finally coming to the (painfully obvious in hindsight) realisation that she could do both. She ended up studying composition at uni, interspersed with writing classes in which she began the story that would become her first novel, Music From Standing Waves.

After uni, she worked a ridiculous number of jobs in order to move to Los Angeles and study film scoring. She loved the energy of L.A. and the incredible experiences it provided: the chance to learn from some of the world's best teachers, a lecture by David Lynch, the chance to conduct an ensemble who had come straight from recording a John Williams score...

After returning to Australia in 2007, she worked steadily as a composer for several years, writing for film, theatre and television both in Melbourne and abroad. 

She moved to London in 2011 with her partner and immediately fell in love with the place. She continued work in film scoring, but also began to feel a strong desire to share her own stories with the world, as opposed to helping other people tell theirs. She pulled Music From Standing Waves out of my bottom drawer and self-published it in 2015, before signing with Endeavour Press for her second novel The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

When not working, Johanna loves to travel, cook (and eat...) and is passionate about environmental issues, particularly the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef. She loves ghost hunting, dance meditation and is learning to play the fiddle!

Find Johanna Craven: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

devil in the deep blue sea

goodreads button

Book Blurb:

1692. The Atlantis, captained by veteran seaman Benjamin Archer, flies the colours of an English merchantman on the high seas between the English Channel and the Caribbean.But she also runs up the ‘jolie rouge’ – the Jolly Roger – whenever the prospect of plundering a Spanish treasure ship presents itself.
Nipping at Spain’s empire is common practice for state-sponsored privateers like the Atlantis at a time when lesser European powers dare not directly make war on Spain.

But when those governments abandon the practice of issuing letters of marque to privateers against the Spanish galleons, many of the crews turn pirate.
Such is the fate of Archer’s men.

The crew is forced to sign the ship’s articles consenting to their new piratical ways, thereby placing their heads in a noose. Unless, that is, they can stage a mutiny and turn Archer over to the authorities in the Caribbean city of Port Royal, a popular homeport for privateers – and notorious for its gaudy displays of wealth and loose morals, the ‘wickedest city on earth’.

But superstition is rife among seamen and the presence on board the Atlantis of two women – one a high-born French stowaway Catherine and the other a Jamaican slave-born ‘cabin boy’ Serafine – will only be a bad omen if they are discovered.

Worse, the runaway is thought by her family to possess the powers of a witch while the ‘boy’ worships voodoo gods who rule life from beneath the waves.
Will the mutiny succeed? What is the secret bond between Archer and Serafine?

And can Catherine escape the captain’s determination to make her his after she has fallen for another young officer?

Is some unstoppable divine force slowly gathering to punish the profane?

Beyond the power and control of man lies what …?

Buy the Book: Amazon



Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, September 18, 2017

Wish List 5: Denied by Netgalley

IMG_20161004_224228_696000

Once a month I am planning on sharing with you all 5 of my biggest wish list books broken up by theme.  I know that you all need more on your TBR!!!  This month’s theme is books that I have been denied review copies on Netgalley that I still want to read.  Honestly, in my 8 years of reviewing, Netgalley has only denied me a small handful of requests, which is amazing considering my completion percentage has been dismal!  The 5 below are the ones that bug me the most, especially when all my blogging friends are approved and I’m not!  Kidding! (only slightly!)

The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron

the last neanderthalFrom the author of The Bear, the enthralling story of two women separated by millennia, but linked by an epic journey that will transform them both.

40,000 years in the past, the last family of Neanderthals roams the earth. After a crushingly hard winter, their numbers are low, but Girl, the oldest daughter, is just coming of age and her family is determined to travel to the annual meeting place and find her a mate.

But the unforgiving landscape takes its toll, and Girl is left alone to care for Runt, a foundling of unknown origin. As Girl and Runt face the coming winter storms, Girl realizes she has one final chance to save her people, even if it means sacrificing part of herself.

In the modern day, archaeologist Rosamund Gale works well into her pregnancy, racing to excavate newly found Neanderthal artifacts before her baby comes. Linked across the ages by the shared experience of early motherhood, both stories examine the often taboo corners of women's lives.

Haunting, suspenseful, and profoundly moving, THE LAST NEANDERTHAL asks us to reconsider all we think we know about what it means to be human.

The Pharaoh’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

the pharaoh's daughter“Fear is the most fertile ground for faith.”

“You will be called Anippe, daughter of the Nile. Do you like it?” Without waiting for a reply, she pulls me into her squishy, round tummy for a hug.

I’m trying not to cry. Pharaoh’s daughters don’t cry.

When we make our way down the tiled hall, I try to stop at ummi Kiya’s chamber. I know her spirit has flown yet I long for one more moment. Amenia pushes me past so I keep walking and don’t look back.

Like the waters of the Nile, I will flow.

Anippe has grown up in the shadows of Egypt’s good god Pharaoh, aware that Anubis, god of the afterlife, may take her or her siblings at any moment. She watched him snatch her mother and infant brother during childbirth, a moment which awakens in her a terrible dread of ever bearing a child. Now she is to be become the bride of Sebak, a kind but quick-tempered Captain of Pharaoh Tut’s army. In order to provide Sebak the heir he deserves and yet protect herself from the underworld gods, Anippe must launch a series of deceptions, even involving the Hebrew midwives—women ordered by Tut to drown the sons of their own people in the Nile.

When she finds a baby floating in a basket on the great river, Anippe believes Egypt’s gods have answered her pleas, entrenching her more deeply in deception and placing her and her son Mehy, whom handmaiden Miriam calls Moses, in mortal danger.

  As bloodshed and savage politics shift the balance of power in Egypt, the gods reveal their fickle natures and Anippe wonders if her son, a boy of Hebrew blood, could one day become king. Or does the god of her Hebrew servants, the one they call El Shaddai, have a different plan—for them all?

Garlic, An Edible Biography: The History, Politics, and Mythology Behind the World’s Most Pungent Food – With Over 100 Recipes by Robin Cherry

garlicGarlic is the Lord Byron of produce, a lusty rogue that charms and seduces you but runs off before dawn, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Called everything from rustic cure-all to Russian penicillin, Bronx vanilla and Italian perfume, garlic has been loved, worshipped, and despised throughout history. No writer has quite captured the epic, roving story of garlic—until now.

While this book does not claim that garlic saved civilization (though it might cure whatever ails you), it does take us on a grand tour of its fascinating role in history, medicine, literature, and art; its controversial role in bigotry, mythology, and superstition; and its indispensable contribution to the great cuisines of the world. And just to make sure your appetite isn’t slighted, Garlic offers over 100 recipes featuring the beloved ingredient.

Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon

flight of dreamsOn the evening of May 3rd, 1937, ninety-seven people board the Hindenburg for its final, doomed flight to Lakehurst, New Jersey. Among them are a frightened stewardess who is not what she seems; the steadfast navigator determined to win her heart; a naive cabin boy eager to earn a permanent spot on the world’s largest airship; an impetuous journalist who has been blacklisted in her native Germany; and an enigmatic American businessman with a score to settle. Over the course of three hazy, champagne-soaked days their lies, fears, agendas, and hopes for the future are revealed.

Flight of Dreams is a fiercely intimate portrait of the real people on board the last flight of the Hindenburg. Behind them is the gathering storm in Europe and before them is looming disaster. But for the moment they float over the Atlantic, unaware of the inexorable, tragic fate that awaits them.

Brilliantly exploring one of the most enduring mysteries of the twentieth century, Flight of Dreams is that rare novel with spellbinding plotting that keeps you guessing till the last page and breathtaking emotional intensity that stays with you long after.

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

i was anastasiaAriel Lawhon, a rising star in historical suspense, has set her sights on one of history's most beguiling mysteries: Did Anastasia Romanov survive the Russian Revolution, or was Anna Anderson, the woman who notoriously claimed her identity, an impostor?

Russia, July 17, 1918 Under direct orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police force Anastasia Romanov, along with the entire imperial family, into a damp basement in Siberia where they face a merciless firing squad. None survive. At least that is what the executioners have always claimed.

Germany, February 17, 1920 A young woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia Romanov is pulled shivering and senseless from a canal. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water or even acknowledge her rescuers, she is taken to the hospital where an examination reveals that her body is riddled with countless, horrific scars. When she finally does speak, this frightened, mysterious young woman claims to be the Russian Grand Duchess.

As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre at Ekaterinburg, old enemies and new threats are awakened. The question of who this woman is and what actually happened to Anastasia creates a saga that spans fifty years and three continents. This thrilling page-turner is every bit as moving and momentous as it is harrowing and twisted.


If you are looking to add more books to your list, here are some of the wishlists from a few of my friends this month: (to be updated as they go live)

  • Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede –
  • Colleen @ A Literary Vacation –
  • Erin @ Flashlight Commentary –
  • Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books –
  • Stephanie @ Layered Pages –

keep calm and support book bloggers



Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Friday, September 15, 2017

New Book Alert: Last Gentleman Standing by Jane Ashford

Last Gentleman Standing cover

Last Gentleman Standing by Jane Ashford
e-Book & Mass Market Paperback; 354 pages
Sourcebooks Casablanca
September 5, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
goodreads button

Book Blurb:

A fortune hunter's dream...

Miss Elisabeth Elham is an unlikely heiress. She never knew the curmudgeonly uncle who died suddenly and left her a fortune. She's proud, outspoken and independent―a definite challenge for London's fortune hunting suitors.

As various determined gentlemen vie for her attention at balls, routs, picnics and parties, Elisabeth finds herself embroiled with a charming rake, a mysterious nabob, and an elegant neighbor. This would all be great fun, if only she wasn't so fascinated by the one man in London who's not trying to woo her...

Originally titled Bluestocking, this story has been unavailable for over 25 years.

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound

Last Gentleman Standing spotlight graphic

I have an awesome excerpt of Last Gentleman Standing for you today!

Elisabeth had recrossed a stile and was traversing an open field when she heard hoofbeats behind her. Turning, she was just in time to see the rider urge his magnificent chestnut up and over the fence she had just climbed. The form of both was flawless, and she forgot herself in her admiration of the jump, watching unself-consciously, as the horseman approached her.

The chestnut had white feet and was one of the most beautiful and spirited animals she’d ever seen. He moved with the ease and power of a true thoroughbred and might have made almost any rider appear insignificant, but the man on his back matched his quality. He looked to be tall, and his figure was well-molded and athletic. His buckskin breeches fitted him to perfection, and his coat fairly cried out its fashionable origin in the workrooms of a Weston or a Stultz. Elisabeth had seen a few gentlemen of the haut ton in Bath, and she knew enough to recognize that the deceptive simplicity of the folds of his cravat and the carefully casual arrangement of his hair were the signs of a veritable tulip, a top-of-the-trees corinthian. At that moment, she met his slightly mocking gaze and looked down in confusion, recalling herself with annoyance. She had been gaping like a schoolgirl, she thought.

The rider pulled up before her. “I almost feel I’ve been in a competition,” he said. His voice was deep and resonant. “I hope you gave me full points for that jump.”

Elisabeth looked up. His eyes were pale blue, she noted, in spite of his black hair and rather dark complexion. “I was staring quite rudely, I know,” she replied. “I beg your pardon. But I was transfixed by the way your horse took that fence.”

The man patted the chestnut’s neck, “He’s wonderful, is Tristram.”

“Tristram?” repeated Elisabeth, smiling. “That’s an uncommon name for a horse. Do you take it from Tristram Shandy?”

The rider looked at her with much more interest than he’d first shown. “Yes, I’m fond of Sterne.”

“Oh, it is my favorite of all books. I thought hardly anyone read it now.”

He smiled back at her somewhat quizzically. “And I should hardly have thought it fit reading for young ladies.” He surveyed her. He was the despair of his mother and several aunts, who had all at one time or another introduced to him dazzling debutantes calculated to urge him into marriage. But though he’d treated them politely, he’d been extremely bored in their company and really had very little notion of what to say to conventional young women. Seeing that Elisabeth was a bit uncomfortable under his gaze, he continued, “But then I rarely find young ladies wandering about my land unattended. So I can’t quite make you out. Are you someone’s governess, perhaps? Do you teach your pupils from Sterne?” His amused smile faded as he went on before she could answer. “No, that doesn’t seem right.”

Looking down at her drab garments, Elisabeth laughed. “I’m sure I don’t know why you say so. I do look very like a governess. In fact, until a few weeks ago, I was a teacher at a seminary for young ladies. Now that my uncle has obligingly left me his fortune, I shall have to change my style of dress.”

“Uncle?” he asked. His eyes narrowed. “You can’t mean old Anthony Elham? I heard of his death.”

“Yes. I am Elisabeth Elham. Though it is not at all the thing to go about introducing oneself to strange men,” she told herself reflectively.

The rider laughed. “I hope I’m not strange. But I beg pardon. I should have made myself known to you immediately. I am your neighbor, Derek Wincannon. Do you mean to say that old Elham has left you Willowmere?”

Elisabeth shrugged. “It is part of the estate. And a very ramshackle part, I must say. I have never seen so neglected a house.”

“It’s the scandal of the neighborhood,” said Mr. Wincannon. “Your uncle was a shocking landlord and a worse neighbor.”

“From what I heard of him,” answered Elisabeth, “he was uniformly shocking. I’m rather sorry I never met him.” The man laughed again. “But in any case, you may inform the neighborhood that I shall be putting the place to rights as soon as I may.”

“That’s good news. Will you be settling there?”

“No. At least, not immediately. I shall live in London for a time, at Elham House.”

“For the season, I assume.”

“Yes, I’ll be bringing out my cousin.”

“You are bringing out someone? I’d have thought it would be the other way about.”

“Oh, no,” Elisabeth smiled. “I’m beyond that sort of thing. Quite on the shelf, in fact,” she added lightly.

“I see it now,” he responded dryly, “a veritable antique. How can I have mistaken you for girl in her twenties?”

She laughed. “Well, I daresay I shall attend a few parties also, if I’m asked.”

He smiled. “There can be little doubt of that, I should think. You’ll wish to sample the gaities of the season and attend the assemblies at Almack’s.”

“Almack’s? Oh, no, I shouldn’t think so.”

He raised his eyebrows.

“My father used to tell me stories about London, and he was most severe on Almack’s. He called it the Marriage Mart and painted such a vivid picture of the trials young girls undergo as they are catalogued and labeled according to their faces and fortunes that he gave me quite a horror of the place. I don’t at all wish to go there now.”

Mr. Wincannon’s interest was definitely caught. “Now?”

“Well, of course I might have done so some years ago had I been offered the opportunity,” Elisabeth explained obligingly. “When one is thrown penniless upon the world at the age of nineteen, one is willing to try any shift to come about again. I was very willing then to marry to make my fortune. But I wasn’t given the chance, and how fortunate that was, really. For now, you see, there is no need.”

Derek Wincannon laughed. “You are a most unusual girl,” he said.

“Because I prefer to order my own life now that I have the means to do so?” asked Elisabeth. “I’m persuaded you can’t really think so. Would you give up your independence without need? No indeed. When I was desperate and might have married, no one dared offer for me. I certainly won’t encourage anyone to do so now that I have an income.”

“Much good that will do you, I should say.”

jane ashford

Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Spain, as well as the US. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Beverly Hills, CA.

Find Jane Ashford: Website | Facebook | Goodreads


Tour-Wide Giveaway

After enjoying this classic romance, dive into Jane Ashford’s current series, The Dukes Sons! Enter to win a copy of Heir to the Duke by Jane Ashford.  You can enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter below or on any of the host blogs in this tour.  If you have any questions please contact the publisher who is hosting this review.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Cover Crush: Lies & Letters

cover crush

We can all say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I guarantee that we all have done so at least once! Cover Crush is designed to feature some of those covers that have caught the eye as a standout on the bookshelf.

lies and letters

This has an ethereal cover for sure.  At first all I saw was the woman and how she fades into the background.  As I look at it more, it looks like there is handwriting of a letter in the background.  Then with the title, loved that the ampersand is more faded while the words are clear and crisp.  Love!

What are your thoughts on this cover?

I wonder what my friends are crushing on this week? Let’s check it out: A Literary Vacation; A Bookaholic Swede; Of Quills and Vellum; Flashlight Commentary; Layered Pages; 2 Kids and Tired.   

keep calm and support book bloggers_thumb_thumb




Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court