First Line Fridays 36: Prince Edward's Warrant by Mel Starr

/ August 17, 2018


This week I am sharing the first line not from the book I am currently reading, but from a book I received recently, and hope to start reading soon. I'm going away next weekend, and this book is going to be coming with me. 

Prince Edward's Warrant is the latest installment in the ongoing medieval mystery series, The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon. Its the eleventh title in the series, and actually is not due for release in the UK the 24th August but thanks to the lovely team at Lion Fiction, I was sent a copy a couple of weeks early. 

The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton are literally one of my favourite series- ever. I'll happily gush about the books, and receiving the latest title in August or September has become one of the highlights of my reading year.
The series recounts the adventures Hugh, youngest son of a knight who becomes a  surgeon and bailiff in late 14th century Oxfordshire. Although two of the most recent stories have expanded the scope of the series to outside the county: one was set in France, and this one is set in London I think. 

Master Hugh won the Black Prince’s* favour when he helped ease the prince’s illness. Now, in the autumn of 1372, the prince is suffering a relapse and sends to Bampton for Master Hugh to attend him. While at dinner in Kennington Palace, Sir Giles, the knight who escorted Hugh to London, is stricken and dies. Poison! Sir Giles is not popular, and there are many who would gladly see the fellow done away with… except for Prince Edward.

The Black Prince feels a debt to the slain man because of his heroic behaviour at the Battle of Crecy, where the knight stood firm with the prince when the fight seemed of uncertain outcome. Despite caring little for Sir Giles, Master Hugh must once again place himself in jeopardy and seek to uncover the perpetrator of the crime…

I have another little Meme for today's first line:



 Remember to click the meme to see what the other members of the group are reading: or comment with your own First Line

https://hoardingbooksblog.wordpress.com/category/first-line-fridays/




This week I am sharing the first line not from the book I am currently reading, but from a book I received recently, and hope to start reading soon. I'm going away next weekend, and this book is going to be coming with me. 

Prince Edward's Warrant is the latest installment in the ongoing medieval mystery series, The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon. Its the eleventh title in the series, and actually is not due for release in the UK the 24th August but thanks to the lovely team at Lion Fiction, I was sent a copy a couple of weeks early. 

The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton are literally one of my favourite series- ever. I'll happily gush about the books, and receiving the latest title in August or September has become one of the highlights of my reading year.
The series recounts the adventures Hugh, youngest son of a knight who becomes a  surgeon and bailiff in late 14th century Oxfordshire. Although two of the most recent stories have expanded the scope of the series to outside the county: one was set in France, and this one is set in London I think. 

Master Hugh won the Black Prince’s* favour when he helped ease the prince’s illness. Now, in the autumn of 1372, the prince is suffering a relapse and sends to Bampton for Master Hugh to attend him. While at dinner in Kennington Palace, Sir Giles, the knight who escorted Hugh to London, is stricken and dies. Poison! Sir Giles is not popular, and there are many who would gladly see the fellow done away with… except for Prince Edward.

The Black Prince feels a debt to the slain man because of his heroic behaviour at the Battle of Crecy, where the knight stood firm with the prince when the fight seemed of uncertain outcome. Despite caring little for Sir Giles, Master Hugh must once again place himself in jeopardy and seek to uncover the perpetrator of the crime…

I have another little Meme for today's first line:



 Remember to click the meme to see what the other members of the group are reading: or comment with your own First Line

https://hoardingbooksblog.wordpress.com/category/first-line-fridays/


Continue Reading
Tales of Fearaven #1 
Published June 2012, Harbourlight Books 
Print and Ebook 
 
Genre: Fantasy  
 
 The High Queen is dying...

At the royal summons, Shae mounts a wingabeast and soars through the air to the high hold of Faeraven, where all is not as it seems. Visions warn her of danger, and a dark soul touches hers in the night. When she encounters an attractive but disturbing musician, her wayward heart awakens.

But then there is Kai, a guardian of Faeraven and of Shae. Secrets bind him to her, and her safety lies at the center of every decision he makes.

On a desperate journey fraught with peril and the unknown, they battle warlike garns, waevens, ferocious raptors, and the wraiths of their own regrets. Yet, they must endure the campaign long enough to release the DawnKing and the salvation he offers to a divided land. To prevail, each must learn that sometimes victory comes only through surrender.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


I'm trying to get through books I've had on my Kindle or in my computer for years, and this was one on my list.
This book was a pleasant surprise. So much epic fantasy is not strong on the world-building, for various reasons. In a lot of it, the 'Medieval' setting resembles either Colonial America or Ancient Israel, or a combination of the two.

This one was quite different, the Medieval setting is quite authentic (no potatoes, I mean literally), and the story a world building was very strong. Only thing is I think the Glossary could have done with being at the front instead of the back, because I had to keep looking things up to remind me of what some of the 'odd' words meant.

I don't know if this is counted as YA or Adult, but the Quest/Adventure formula worked very well, although it does not start until about halfway through. Before that its sort of introducing the character/setting. Its like a classic Quest story, almost the type of formula you see in Medieval Literature except with winged horses, and a glowing sword and various other mythical elements.

A very good book, its helpful that this and the sequel are both available on Kindle Unlimited.


View all my reviews
At the moment, I'm between books (two that I am working through at the moment) so there probably won't be any reviews up in the next couple of days, although I am already 3 books behind on my Goodreads challenge.

So this time, I am doing something a little different, and making a little list of some of my favourite books. This time they're devoted to Medieval Research: yes I have authors in mind, as well as those who just want to learn something about the period, especially since I don't endorse learning history from fiction. Ha ha.

Joseph and Frances Gies  

 Life in a Medieval CityLife in a Medieval CastleMarriage and the Family in the Middle AgesLife in a Medieval VillageCathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle AgesThe Knight in HistoryWomen in the Middle Ages

Now don't get me wrong: I love Joseph and Frances Gies. The late American duo were like a History Super-Couple. I've got almost all of their books,
They're  wonderful. Very informative, accessible, engaging and user-friendly, so to speak. Its no wonder certain titles such as  Life in a Medieval Castle are the go-to resource for many of the writers or would-be writers I know who write stuff set in the Middle Ages. 

However, as great as they are, some of the Gies books are kinda, a little, outdated. There's been some new research and work since then. Or they're just a bit narrow in focusing on only one place or short period. I'd recommend them to anyone as as a starting point, but I think if you want to know a little more about certain subjects, its necessary to read other books too.


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4936457-the-time-traveller-s-guide-to-medieval-england?ac=1&from_search=true
The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer 
I read this book when in first came out, all the way back in 2009. Its the fourteenth century written as a Travel Guide. Yeah, its fun but really educational at the same time, not to mention a lively and exciting introduction to the period. 

 Print, Ebook and Audiobook editions available.




https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25821751-the-middle-ages-unlocked?ac=1&from_search=true
The Middle-Ages Unlocked by Gilian Polack & Katrin Kania 

This book is literally incredible. Its jam-packed full of facts and and information about practically everything on the period between 1000-1350. From fashion to education, law and religion and living conditions. 
I'd literally advise keeping a notepad handy with this book. It so useful and even folks who've read a lot about the period will probably learn something.

Print and Ebook, but not Kindle Edition. Was sadly taken down from Kindle for some reason, but ebook is available on Google, Nook and Kobo.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2193517.Mistress_Maids_and_Men?ac=1&from_search=true
Mistress, Maids and Men by Margaret Wade Laberge 
I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to know anything about life in a Medieval Manor house or noble household. It's got everything: how estates and households were run, what people wore, what servants got up to, what everyone ate and where it came from- even some stuff about etiquette.

Sadly, its out of print but second hand copies can be found: and the author is Canadian. She was another super history lady who also wrote amazing books on Medieval women and the Plantagenet King Henry V. 

                                    Available in Print only. 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13657306-castle

Castle by Marc Morris 

This is literally like a history of Medieval and Early modern Britain through its castles. All the way through the Golden Age of castles in the Middle Ages, to the English Civil War of the 1600s when many were destroyed or abandoned and beyond. 
Lots of famous ones, and some not so famous ones in England, Scotland and Wales. There was even a BBC series that originally accompanied the book which you can watch on Youtube. 

                                    Print, Ebook and and Audio version too.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/985439.Medieval_Women
Medieval Women by Eileen Power 

'Power' was a fitting name for the author of this book, she was a renowned Medieval Oxford scholar who sadly died prematurely in 1940. Anything you can find by her is worth reading. 

Although its only just over 100 pages long, this book its so informative and detailed. Its also very readable, at times like the author was talking to you. One of my go-to books about Medieval Women.

Available in Print only, but in numerous editions. 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55139.The_Year_1000The Year 1000 by Robert Lacey & Danny Danzinger 

I read this book a lot of years ago, but from what I recall it was another history book that was great fun, but educational at the same time. Although its not advised for serious Historians of the period.
It has Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, world trade, customs. All sorts of things about England at the turn of the first millennium. Before those dastardly Normans came and ruined everything 😄 Kidding- mostly. 
Available as Print and Audio 



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/760238.1215
 1215 by Danny Danzinger & John Gillingham 

Britain (and a bit of the rest of the world) in the year wot the Magna Carta was sealed. This book is also great fun, with a bit more in the way of serious history. Very lively, entertaining, and also educational of course.

Great introduction to all things relating to the Great Charter and early 13th century Britain.

Print, ebook and audio (available in the US I think but not the UK).


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/645627
 A Brief History of the Anglo-Saxons by Geoffrey Hindley 

Because the writer of this blog is extremely biased and loves the Anglo-Saxons way more than the Vikings or the Normans or the Romans. 

This is just a flippin' brilliant book on the Anglo-Saxon age, that period between the 5th century and 1066 when the people who gave England its name lived and ruled there. Beowulf, Alfred the Great, Warriors, Kings and Saints, sometimes all at once.

It doesn't have everything, but if you want that just look for another book on them. Can't have too many books on the Anglo-Saxons!

                                    Available in print, ebook and Audio


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8660510-holy-warriors
Holy Warriors by Jonathan Phillips 

 Shortish, but one of the best books on the Crusades I have read (though I have not read many), and gets past some of the myths about the period, recommended.

Available in Print and Ebook 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10474746
 The Genesis of Science by James Hannam 

The popular book about Medieval Science history, although look elsewhere for something on Medical History. 
Prepare to have preconceptions challenged with this book (although be aware of a slight antagonism to the Protestant Reformerers in a few passages). 

Excellent book which everyone should read. 

Print and ebook
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/246258.Those_Terrible_Middle_Ages?ac=1&from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24611571-magna-carta?ac=1&from_search=true
Those Terrible Middle Ages by Regine Pernoud 

Translated from the French, a work by a prominent French Historian from the 1970s. 

The title is basically self-explanatory, and the subtitle 'Debunking the Myths'. Short, concise and to the point, readers might not think about the period the same way again after this. 

Print only 

Magna Carta by Dan Jones 

Another book on the Magna Carta, this one focuses a bit more on politics and the nobility. Also look out for the sequel entitled A Realm Divided: England in 1215. 

 Available in Print, Ebook and Audio 




https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15811559-the-plantagenets?ac=1&from_search=trueThe Plantagenets by Dan Jones 

A good introduction to the Plantagenet Kings of England, up to Richard II, the grandson of Edward III who reigned from 1377-1399. The Plantagenet dynasty went on for another 86 years after that, but this book is a great starting point. 

Look out for books on the later Kings maybe in a later list on Kings and Queens

Available as Print, Ebook and Audio in the USA.




Despite being so massively behind in my Goodreads challenge (4 books!), I am actually reading, and I have started a new audio book. I hope to catch up at some point, maybe when I'm back at work after the summer.

Since I've featured both the eBooks I am currently reading in previous posts, I will include the paperback I recently opened up here.

Remember Me is the sixth book the the Hawk and the Dove Series by British author Penelope Wilcock, set in and around a monastery in fourteenth century Yorkshire . I must admit I was not impressed by the last book, but I'm continuing the series, since I got three of the books free from the Publisher a few years ago. You can see the synopsis below.

Father William knew something was changing deep within him. He felt it—from his belly, from his from his heart, from his soul—the reality of what was streaming forth unchecked. There was no denying it. This was love.

Yet Father William has more to worry about than simply upholding his vows to God, to the brothers of St. Alcuin, and to Abbot John. The brotherhood is running out of money and Father William must decide whether or not to take matters into his own hands.

Seasoned author Penelope Wilcock unlocks the story of one man’s struggles, mistakes, and heart’s longings, and traces the possibility of what it means to get things wrong and to begin again. She helps us see the unexpected ways God often chooses to heal a broken life, revealing the heart of God to make us whole.

....and there is the graphic with the first line. I'm very pleased with he picture of a ruined monastery I found on Canva.



 Until next time, enjoy have a great week and happy reading. 
Don't forget to click the meme to see what other members are reading, or post your own first line. 

https://hoardingbooksblog.wordpress.com/category/first-line-fridays/


Sooo much has been going on recently, last week I was coming back from holiday, so I took a break from posting. Today, I spent several hours an an annual Joust and Tournament event held at my local castle. Yup, that's one of the good thinks about living in Britain: we often have castles and other historic buildings within a few miles of us.
Possibly expect some pics from that soon, either here on the Facebook page.

Today I am sharing a first line from one of the stories in the Regency Brides Romance Collection , a collection of seven short Regency stories which was published late last year by Barbour. I'm onto the fourth of the seven stories called The Gentleman Smuggler's Bride by Michelle Griep. 

Ah, I'll bet you though I was going to share something from a Medieval book, didn't you? Nope, not today. This particular story is set in Cornwall with shades of Poldark: so without further ado here is my first line. 


1815 Port village of Treporth, Cornwall, England

          Pretend I am courageous. 
          Pretend my heart still beats. 
          Pretend all manner of blissful things 
          … and that I shall find him alive.
"Recreasing a worn scrap of foolscap, Helen Fletcher tucked the paper into her valise, then snapped shut the clasp, wishing most of all she’d never received such horrid news. No one had ever warned her about the dangers of parchment."

Good eh? Yes I know, I cheated and that this is actually several lines. About 5, but I felt it was necessary because it begins with those verses, and that the scene setting line ought to be included.

 As usual don't forget to click the link to see what the other members of the group are reading, or share your own first line.

https://hoardingbooksblog.wordpress.com/category/first-line-fridays/


Haven Manor #1
5th June 2018, 386 Pages, Bethany House 
Print, Ebook and Audio 

Genre: Historical Fiction 
Setting: Regency Britain (Marlborough & London, 1816) 

When Katherine "Kit" FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she's forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend's missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she's telling.

After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can't matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. And as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, revealing the truth isn't worth putting him and everyone she loves in danger.

 My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Well, this was certainly a very unusual Regency novel. Not many balls or engagements here.
Basically, Kit and her best friend Daphne fled from the censure of 'society' years before acquired a secluded manor house in rural Marlborough, where she lives 12 years later with Daphne, a Frenchwomen called Jess with a colourful past, and a passel of children, illegitimate and seemingly unwanted by their parents. 

By taking in the children, Kit is and her friends see themselves as helping the aristocratic mothers, who would otherwise be shunned by society, and their children, who would face a bleak life.
However, she uses some rather dubious methods to support them, and has become so jaded by what she as seen that she has developed a bitter and twisted attitudes towards aristocratic men, believing them all to be worthless, irresponsible hypocrites and predators.

That is until Graham Wharton, the son of an Earl appears unexpectedly on the scene. Graham is a young man who is deeply bored with parties and balls and the normal activities of society, but also a deeply moral man who does not gamble or dally with young ladies.
He prefers to spend time with his two boyhood friends and sees an expedition to the country as a chance for an adventure.
The chemistry between the him and Kit was well-written from the start. Graham shows a better way, but still wants to help and his caring and largely non-judgemental attitude is key to moving the story on. It seems he is the father figure many of the children need, and the person to chip away at Kit's defenses by proving there are good and honourable men in the world.

His kindness and generally non-judgemental attitude is usually a winning one. Although he does call Kit out on her faults nearer to the end. By which time both and many important lessons about true love, redemption, healing and finding their place in the world.
Its just an very good story on a difficult subject, which is tightly plotted and well-told. Some might find this novel 'preachy' towards the end, and there is a lot of talk of prayers, but that goes with the territory in this genre.

I thought some of the passages which explored the spiritual themes were very good, and well handled. Kit was wracked with guilt over her past mistakes, which she felt had ruined her friend's life as well as hers, and saw what she was doing as a way of atoning for them: but also used that as a way to justify the less than savoury aspects of that.

My main complaints were all the Americanisms in the story. There were just so many, and I found them really jarring and annoying. Nor were they just in the dialogue with the British characters talking about 'going to the store' and 'giving candy' to the children.
It was in the mannerisms as well- there was a reference to Daphne teaching the children life-skills like 'how to hold their fork properly': because they all eat the American way with only a fork, and another reference to a character telling another their tea 'needs more cream'. No, it does not. Tea needs milk, not cream.

This author's works are far from the only Regency or British set novels riddled with Americanisms, but its as issue for me. I mean, I liked the book overall and look forward to the next one (Daphne's story!), but I do wish there was not this need for British characters to talk and act exactly like Americans in British Fiction.
What's wrong with being a little more authentic? I'm sure its not beyond the capacity of American readers to understand different words or mannerisms.

I was sent a free copy of this book via the Publisher's UK distributors, and purchased the audio-book of my own volition.
I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own

Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope #2
Kregel, 226 Pages, 24th July 2018
 Print and Ebook 

Genre: Historical Fiction 
Setting: Regency Britain (Derbyshire & London, 1817-18)

With devastating scars in her past, Serena Winthrop is sure no man can be trusted—especially not men like the far-too-smooth Viscount Carmichael. His reputation as a charmer and a gambler is everything she despises. And the young artist makes sure that this disreputable heir to an Earldom knows of her deep disapproval whenever they encounter one another.

Henry, Lord Carmichael, is perfectly aware of his charms to the women of the ton. He's gambled with plenty of their hearts as easily as he does their husband's money—it's all in good fun to him. But lately he's been wondering if there's more to life—and confronting the idea that his actions might not prove worthy of the admirable wives his friends have found.

When Serena's brother-in-law asks his best friend to protect his young ward, Henry promises to be on his best behavior and not woo her. But the more he learns of her, the more he realizes she might be his best reason for changing his character. Then the lady's art leads her to London infamy. Now Henry must choose between the life mapped out for him as the Earl apparent, and the love of his life. And Serena's secret may mean the end of his titled family line.


My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Carolyn Miller became one of my favourite Regency authors with her first series, and this second series is proving to be just as good. I love her rich plots full of historical detail, witty dialogue and treatment of flawed, yet sympathetic characters. Plus, the faith elements are woven seamlessly into the story without appearing too preachy.

This story followed Serena, the younger sister of Katherine Winthrop from the last story, and the male protagonist is one of Johnathan Curlew 's (the hero from that story) friends. Henry, Viscount Carmichael. I won't call him a rake, he seemed to be more of a lovable rogue at the beginning.

He's a struggling nobleman commissioned by his friend John to look out for his young sister in law, Serena. She's supposed to be very young. No more than about 18 or 19, or something, and recently escaped an unfortunate situation involving a sleazy Art Teacher.. Serena is a talented artist: although her negative experience and the censure of society leave her unsure of her vocation.

Many adventures, rendezvous, polite dinners and society functions later, and of course Serena and Henry (one of my favourite names), are in love, but there's much keeping them apart. Henry's estate is struggling, his father threatens to disown him if he does not marry the person he wants, and Serena wants nothing to do with a man who gambles: nor does she believe he can ever trust a man again. Although Henry is very sweet, kind and reaches out to her with acceptance, and introduces her to his family. 
His sister and her two lovable children: lovable and typically forthright, who immediately ask of their new friend is going to marry their favourite Uncle.

The title, in some sense refers to 'secrets' or rather the difficulties that have to be overcome on both sides,. Henry's problems are not a 'secret' per-se, but he wants to change to earn the love of a good woman: and because he knows he's not the man he wants to be. He needs to grow up and face the responsibility of running his estate, only to be faced with illness in his family.
Again, there were shades of the Classics, and Austen here: but the novel is not just aping them. Its an independent creation.

As before, I loved how the landscape and details about the region were used in this story: in this case its a mention of a local stone, a type of Agate which is only found in parts of the county of Derbyshire. One would almost not believe the author is, in fact, Australian.

The only minor niggle that I had (which other reviewers have pointed out), is some uncertainty over the precise details of certain events relating to Serena, and a hint at some behaviour on the part of Henry which did not seem consistent with the way he was presented in the story before. I just could not really believe he had done such a thing before his reformation. Also, younger readers might need to be aware of a couple of scenes towards the end relating to adult themes, and the consummation of marriages. There is nothing graphic, but might be a bit embarrassing for some.

Overall though, this was another wonderful story and addition to the latest series. I downloaded an ebook of this title courtesy of Kregel Blog Tours and was not required to write a positive review, all opinions expressed are my own.