22 Jan 2020

A Pursuit of Home by Kristi Ann Hunter Review

Haven Manor #3 
Bethany House, 380 Pages, 5th November 2019 
Print, Ebook and Audio 

 Jessamine Beauchene has spent most of her life in hiding and always on the move in an effort to leave her past far behind her. But when she learns the family she thought long dead just might be alive and in danger, she knows her secrets can only stay buried for so long.

Derek Thornbury loves the past, which has led him to become an expert in history and artifacts. He knows Jess has never liked him, but when she requests his help deciphering an old family diary, he can't resist the urge to help solve the puzzle.

As Jess and Derek race to find the hidden artifact before her family's enemies, they learn as much about each other as they do about the past. But can their search to set history right lead to a future together?

 My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


I think this novel might have been my favourite in the Haven Manor Trilogy. I think its because it takes the action outside the fictional Haven Manor, in an exciting adventure across Regency England, and beyond when Jess (Jessamine) the female protaganist has to face her colourful past.

Jess was a major character in the last 2 books in this series, the French cook cum bodyguard with a mysterious past and unconventional ways. Except she's not French. In this novel her story unfolds, including her background, with the danger and intrigue that she has always lived in the midst of.

Honestly, Jess was never a character I knew what to make of. I neither loved nor hated her. This is her story, and she emerges as a fascinating character who hides her vulnerability and grief about her past behind her tough and aloof personality.

Derek Thornbury is probably what today would be called a nerd. I man whose interest in a relatively obscure subject has become his life's great passion. Honestly, I just love nerdy characters, and Derek's passion for art and history are infectious.

Jess, initially only intends to use him for her own purposes, but there is a spark between them. They are thrown together on a cross country journey, which leads to witty repartee aplenty, as well as some interesting and mad escapades (including ingenious disguises). Since this is a romance, its inevitable the protagonists will fall in love, but I think this was well portrayed and developed.

Although a little complicated and perhaps over-ambitious in places, A Pursuit of Home was great fun overall. An atypical regency with some atypical characters. I did enjoy how different subjects and details were used in this story, from the landscape to details about technology, art and snippets of other languages. There are also hints of political intrigue and mystery. All of these apparently disparate threads are woven together well.

My only complaints were several Americanisms, and some modern intrusions in the characters speech. (The word 'okay' as I recall, is not recorded until the 1840s came from American slang- what on earth is a high born European woman doing using it 30 years earlier?). I did feel there was one aspect that was a little inconsistent in this story.

I don't remember Jess being especially religious in the previous books. She seemed indifferent, if not slightly hostile. Yet here she's a lot more open than she was before, even remembering previous, and not mentioned experiences.
I felt that contradicted some of what the reader had previously been told about her character, but its not a major issue.

I requested an ARC of this title for review. I was not required to write a positive one, and all opinions expressed are my own.

17 Jan 2020

First Line Friday: The Heart of the Rebellion by Sian Ann Bessey

Its my first FLF post of 2020. The group hosted by Hoarding Books

Today I am featuring a book that was published late last year, but I've only just started reading it. Its set in Wales at the turn of the 15th century, when the country was on the verge of rebelling against the new King of England. There really was a rebellion in Wales in the early 1400s, against King Henry IV of England, and it was led by a Welsh National hero by the name of Owen Glendower, or as my Welsh friends would tell me to spell it Owain Glyndwr.

The hero is of this novel was a a cousin of Glyndwr, who comes from an Old Welsh family by the name of Tudur. Ring a bell?

September 1400

King Richard II of England is dead. And after three years in His Majesty’s service, Rhys ap Tudor and his brother Gwilym are finally free to return to their ancestral home in North Wales. Their long- anticipated homecoming is overshadowed, however, by the harsh changes they encounter in their once peaceful land. The new king, Henry IV, rules with an iron fist, and the country is ripe for rebellion. Instantly thrust into the forefront of the conflict, the proud Tudor brothers enter the fight for their freedom.

Lady Catrin Buckley is alert to the unrest swirling around her. As the daughter of an English father and a Welsh mother, she knows too well the trouble her lineage poses. Her own battle, however, is one of the heart: she is to be married to a man she neither knows nor loves. Then an unexpected encounter with the enigmatic Rhys ap Tudor changes everything. Soon, Catrin finds herself swept into a rebellion that could not only change history but also rewrite her own future.

 The First Line: 

 What about you? What are you reading and what's the First Line? 


1 Jan 2020

English Lady: Reading Plans and Goals 2020

Happy New Year and New Decade to ya'll! 

I've decided to go out on the limb and write a post which isn't related to one of my groups to reflect and outline my reading plans for this year. 

I wanted to clear my Kindle Backlog last year. In fact, I've been doing that the last 2 years, and progress has been good-ish.

Although I have 129 books on my Christian Fiction To Read list on my Kindle, I have over 200 on the Read list, and I now have none dating from before December 2015. Which means that all the books on there were purchased in the last 4 years. Since I've had Kindle since summer of 2011 surely that counts for- er something?

There are several titles that I've absolutely made it my  Resolution to read this year including To Shine With Honor a novel written by my online friend Scott Amis, and which I've had on my Kindle since late 2016. Also I AM going to read books 2 and 3 in Deborah Kinnard's now sadly out of Print Faith Box Trilogy; and hopefully Defender of Jerusalem, 500 plus page long sequel to Knight of Jerusalem by Helena P. Schrader.

On my physical books, I'd like to finally get around to The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen.

I'd also like to clear the backlog of some of the titles on Netgalley. I mean there aren't that many in the more than 3 months old section now. Only 12 to be exact, but a few might have been on there for years. 

To reduce, or at least keep on top of my To Read List I've been adopting a fairly strict policy of limiting the amount of new books I'm buying.
Now, I won't usually buy it unless its a standalone that I really like the look of part of  a series I've already started or by an author I've read before. Or a title that I read from Netgalley, or listened to as an Audiobook and I now want to own for myself.

Honestly, buying 3 or 4 books in a series because they were on sale, without ever having read anything by the author before and having no idea whether I'll like them now seems like a terrible plan. That's why I've also been ruthless and culled out some of my books. Generally, these were titles from say, the Middle of a series, where I did not have the first or subsequent book and I'd only purchased because they were on sale or free.

Some of these titles I will probably end up reading by Kindle Unlimited, and then buying them again afterwards if I like then. Although Amazon UK seem to have changed the rules with KU and made it so you can't take advantage of the latest offers if you've had a Kindle Unlimited subscription in the last 6 months.

Of course, that doesn't mean I won't read any newer books, because of course several of my favourite authors have new books out this year. The usual suspects: Roseanna M White, Sarah Ladd, and Michelle Griep are among them, but there will be other series to finish, and undoubtedly new books to discover.

I've been on Netgalley voting on the 'Most Anticipated' reads for the year, most of which I will try to get my hands on. Of course, I've also created my Medieval Christian Fiction List on Goodreads for this year.
Its an annual event I've been doing since 2015, and I add titles throughout the year.

I've mad some beautiful buttons to link to the List for this year and last year. Have a click.


 Maybe this year I'll go out there and create one for other periods, but this is always a bit of fun. Feel free to vote, but please read the instructions before voting. 

So, these are my plans for the year. Hopefully by summer I'll have made some good progress. What are your goals for the year? Do you have any of the same books as my on your TBR list?

13 Dec 2019

First Line Fridays: The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews

Its been over a month since I last did one of these First Line Friday posts. Its less than 2 weeks to Christmas , and today marks the day that the results of our election were announced here in the UK. 

I've read a couple of rather intense novels recently with lots of battle and fighting scenes, so The Work of Art is a return to the relatively light material of a Regency Romance.This has been on my Kindle for a couple of months, since I got it on Netgalley, and I wanted to get it read before Christmas. 

The Work of Art, like Matthews other novels is published by Perfectly Proper Press, but it is technically a general market title and not Inspirational. Though it is plugged as a clean Romance, and I don't think there is much content that an Inspy reader would object to (apart from one semi-detailed scene, so far). 

An Uncommon Beauty...

Hidden away in rural Devonshire, Phyllida Satterthwaite has always been considered more odd than beautiful. But in London, her oddity has made her a sensation. Far worse, it's caught the eye of the sinister Duke of Moreland--a notorious art collector obsessed with acquiring one-of-a-kind treasures. To escape the duke's clutches, she's going to need a little help.

An Unlikely Hero...

Captain Arthur Heywood's days of heroism are long past. Grievously injured in the Peninsular War, he can no longer walk unaided, let alone shoot a pistol. What use can he possibly be to a damsel in distress? He has nothing left to offer except his good name.

Can a marriage of convenience save Philly from the vengeful duke? Or will life with Arthur put her--and her heart--in more danger than ever?

 Now its Your Turn? What are You reading? Comment with your Own First Line 


10 Dec 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Reads of Christmas, Past, Present and Future

You get the title of the post. I know, I thought it was quite clever. Very good for another seasonal post for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the Artsy Reader Girl blog.

So without further ado, here are my books

Books of Christmas Past 

Books I've Read in the Last Year or So, which have some theme or plot-line relating to Christmas.

 Books of Christmas Present

Seasonal Books that I plan to read very soon. In the next few weeks- I hope. Since two of these are novellas that should be achievable. 

Books of Christmas Future 

You know what this is going to be: yes, Christmas Books I have on my TBR List and Plan to read in future. Though heaven knows when that will be. You can read books set at Christmas all year 'round right? 


9 Dec 2019

The Lady of Kingdoms by Suzannah M. Rowntree Review

Watchers of Outremer #2
November 26th 2019, 569 Pages, Print and Ebook 

Magic Made Her A Warrior.

Justice Will Make Her A Legend
Jerusalem, 1180: A catastrophe destroyed Marta Bessarion's family and whisked her away from everything she once knew. Now, armed with a magic spear and a burning thirst for justice, Marta vows to protect her new home and family, no matter the cost.

But trouble is brewing in the glittering palaces of Jerusalem...

The young Leper King, Baldwin, is dying. Before he goes, Baldwin must choose a successor...but every choice is a bad one. An innocent child, exploited by stronger men? A crafty cousin who has already tried to snatch the crown? Or his brilliant, passionate sister who is determined to rule - even if it triggers a war?

When enemy armies muster on the kingdom's borders, Marta charges into battle. But when Baldwin's choice puts her newfound family at risk, Marta finds herself fighting a new kind of battle - one in which intrigue, deception, and betrayal are the weapons.

To save the kingdom, she’ll need more than a magic spear to destroy its enemies.

She'll need a saint to save its soul.

 My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Watchers of Outremer series continues when teenage Marta Bessarion is catapulted through time from the 7th to the late 12th century.

She lands (quite literally) in the Holy Land just before the 3rd Crusade. The rest of the novel takes the reader on an exciting, thrilling- and sometimes breathtaking right through the Crusader states in the 1180s.

The reader will be immersed in the complex politics of the period, and meet some famous historical figures along the way, including Balian d'Ibelin, Baldwin IV 'The Leper King' of Jerusalem, and his flamboyant sister Sybilla. They stand alongside some fascinating Fictional characters, including a love interest for Marta and Persi, a young woman of business who represents the oft forgotten Christian Kingdoms of Medieval Africa.

Of course, there are some stops along the way to take in the culture and customs of the period.
It may come as a surprise for some to learn that 12th century Jerusalem under Crusader rule was prosperous, tolerant and cultured. They rebuilt cities, gardens, churches and places of worship. The depopulated and ruined city Martha knew is replaced with a beautiful metropolis, wealthy and bustling with different cultures.

The events of the period makes for a plot seething with undercurrents of political intrigue and war . Which leads the character into many dangerous and exciting adventures and escapes as the protagonists are are caught up in battles, sieges, and swept up in the time of political intrigue, whilst she struggling to stay determine what is right and just.

The atmosphere of conflict and tension goes deeper with the fantasy elements of a Magic spear said to make the bearer invincible, an evil sorcerer in Saladin's camp and shape-shifting demon using her influence to corrupt some of the most powerful people in the Kingdom. Yet all of these just -work- in the story, which although meticulously researched wears it very well.

I only had a couple of complaints. I related to Marta only in part, and some other characters more. I think part of if was that she came over as a little too perfect, and at times quite naive to what those who ruled had to do to secure the Kingdom.
There also seemed to be an element of fatalism in the idea that only if everything was done in a certain way would the Kingdom be saved. I understand the idea of following the path of righteousness, but at times I felt this was little more than Marta's rigid ideas and her belief that everything would be OK if people just listened to her.
Almost as if as if everything was foreordained, but not allowing for free will or personal choice.
It puts me in mind of what one of the characters says (roughly paraphrasing) that real life is not like the Courtly Romances, "where the virtuous always end up happy and the wicked always die"'.

There were also a couple of places where the story did not feel complete and I wanted to see more of the characters, but that was a deliberate choice to make room for a sequel (or two).
I found some of the action scene a little hard to follow in a couple of places, but this did not detract from the story.
It was well researched and excellently written story, well recommended for lovers of Historical Fiction and Fantasy with strong female leads.
Finally, isn't the cover just gorgeous? The book releases on the 27th of this month. Preorder your copy from all e-book retailers.

I agreed to be an Early Reader for this title and was sent an ARC by the author. This did not influence my review and all opinions expressed are my own.

6 Dec 2019

Misleading Miss Verity by Carolyn Miller: Kregel Blog Tours

Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley #3
Kregel Publications, November 26th 2019, 352 Pages 
Print and Ebook

 Verity Hatherleigh has a mind of her own—but her actions do not impress her viscount papa. When she gets into one scrape too many, he sends her off to the wilds of Scotland to rethink her headstrong ways.

Anthony Jardine relished his role as curate, but his new duties as laird of Dungally aren’t always to his liking. Though he thought his new inheritance would be a blessing, somehow he’s finding nothing but trouble on these estates. And the intelligent, compassionate, feisty lass who was sent to rusticate in his territory is one of the biggest problems. He’s falling in love with her, but she doesn’t share the faith that’s his foundation—not to mention he’s been lying to her about who he really is. For the truth-loving Verity, that may be unforgivable.

The tangled web these two have woven may spell disaster for their happiness—and for the tenants of Dungally.

My Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐


I enjoyed this final installment in the 'Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley series by Carolyn Miller. It follows Verity, the youngest and arguably the most precocious of the 3 sisters. Verity often clashes with her mother because of her forthright manner and tendency to defy social convention. She lives up to her name, which the Latin for 'truth'.

Most of the story follows Verity's adventures in Scotland, where so goes to visit a school friend with whom she had previously enjoyed many adventures and misadventures. Anthony Jardine arrives back in his homeland only a few weeks before Verity after a sojourn in Australia, where he served as a curate, and meets the intriguing lass (who is staying next door) when she ventures into the grounds of his manor.

Misleading Miss Verity has a lot to offer in terms of witty repartee and the often hilarious capers of the characters, including a sporting event where a character dresses as a man, climbing out a window to attend a masquerade, and even a hint of feuding between rival Scottish clans. Which reminds me that the Scottish countryside features heavily in this story, as well as some people with accents of varying thickness.

Both Verity and Anthony were well drawn characters, but I also liked Helen, Verity's school friend and her large family. Verity's struggle to find love and acceptance provided a realistic edge to the story, making her more human and vulnerable.
Although I didn't agree with all the choices the characters made, or that they were always entirely consistent with their their personalities.

The Romance elements weren't overwhelming in this novel, which is sort of a welcome change, and the reader will be left wanting to find out how everything turns out as it hurtles towards the conclusion. Recommended for Regency readers and lovers of Historical Fiction. 

Thanks to Kregel Blog Tours for sending me a copy of this book: I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

27 Nov 2019

Wind from the Wilderness by Suzannah M. Rowntree Review

Watchers of Outremer #1
422 Pages, October 29th 2018, Print and Ebook

Hunted by demons. Lost in time.

Welcome to the First Crusade.

Syria, 636: As heretic invaders circle Jerusalem, young Lukas Bessarion vows to defend his people. Instead, disaster strikes.

His family is ripped apart. His allies are slaughtered. And Lukas is hurled across the centuries to a future where his worst nightmares have come true...

Constantinople, 1097: Ayla may be a heretic beggar, but she knows one thing for sure: nine months from now, she will die. Before then, she must avenge her father's murder--or risk losing her soul.

Desperate to find their way home, Lukas and Ayla join the seven armies marching east to liberate Jerusalem. If Lukas succeeds in his quest, he'll undo the invasion and change the course of history.

But only if he survives the war.

Only if his enemies from the past don't catch him.

And only as long as Ayla never finds out who he really is.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I rarely finish a book of this length in 2 days (well really a little over 2), but I had the time and inclination. I actually only read it because I agreed to be an early reader on the second book and wanted to catch up

I'm glad I did. Wind From the Wilderness really was a breathtaking, thrilling, rollercoaster of a ride through period of the First Crusade . Readers be prepared: this is not your typical Historical fiction. It has Time Travel, and evil sorcerer alongside the labyrinthine politics of the Medieval Near East.
Throughout it all out hero Lukas Bessarion must survive in a culture and time entirely alien to him, and endure a grueling trek through the mountains and deserts of Asia Minor with the armies of the Baron's Crusade, enduring battles, physical privations and bullying whilst trying to figure out a way to get home. As well as coming to terms with his feelings for the Turkish girl Ayra.

Oh, and he's also being chased by an evil harpy demon in the form of a vulture that brings death and misery in its wake, whilst trying to find out the identify of the mysterious group known as The Vowed, who may be tied up with the fate of his family.

There are battles and fights. The former of which are meticulously researched. Honestly, I think this has some of the best and most accurate descriptions of 11th century French battle tactics I've ever encountered in fiction. What's more it avoids an overly partisan view of the Crusades.
So many authors choose to depict the Franks and Western Christians in a one dimensional way, as greedy and stupid religious fanatics, whilst the Byzantines are long-suffering Saints and the Turks Enlightened humanitarians reluctantly driven to give up their pacifism.

If the complex motives and personalities are anything to go by the Byzantines, Armenians and Turks were truly about as bad as each other.

The only concerns I had were few, and mostly about the theological treatment of different religions (mostly the treatment of Islam and Christianity as essentially the same).
Apart from these though, Wind from the Wilderness is a truly magnificent read. Much recommended. 

11 Nov 2019

Diamond in the Rough by Jen Turano Review

American Heiresses #2
Bethany House, September 3rd 2019, 349 Pages
Print, Ebook and Audio 

When Miss Poppy Garrison accepts her grandmother's offer of financial help for her family in exchange for Poppy joining the New York social season, she quickly realizes she is far less equipped to mingle with the New York Four Hundred than even she knew. As she becomes embroiled in one hilarious fiasco after another, becoming the diamond of the first water her grandmother longs her to be looks more impossible by the day.

Reginald Blackburn, second son of a duke, is in New York to help his cousin find an American heiress who can help save his family's estate. But when his very proper British manners lead Poppy's grandmother to request he teach etiquette to Poppy, he quickly finds himself in for much more than he bargained for.

And while they couldn't be more opposite, Reginald and Poppy just might find they have more to teach each other than they ever could have expected.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Diamond in the Rough was not the type of book I normally read. In fact, its my first Jen Turano book. It was great fun, sometimes laugh out loud fun, with the accident prone Poppy and her antics. She always seemed to be getting into trouble: and usually in a funny way. In an early scene she ends up with her top end hanging out of a window.

What with that and her unconventional family situation, she's far from a typical debutante, but she nevertheless catches the eye of Reginald Blackburn. In fact a couple of times he has to catch her physically. And rescue her on a couple of occasions. This is not done in a degrading way, it comes over as charming and its all part of the fiascos she gets into , often because she's trying to help someone herself.

At times, I must admit it was a little hard to keep track of all the characters, but overall I enjoyed this story as a light and fun read set in New York in the late 1860s.

The only thing I felt was a little implausible was that Poppy and even Reginald extreme surprise at the plight of the poor, and the implication they had basically never seen a poor person. There were charitable organization and projects to help the poor in Britain at this time and before, I think Reginald would not have been quite so naive.

Thanks to the Publisher via Netgalley for allowing me to read this book at my request. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

8 Nov 2019

First Line Fridays: An Artful Match by Jennifer Delamere

Its been over a month since I last posted. I know: life happens. I'm going post  to today the First Line from one of the books I'm currently reading. 

The Artful Match by Jennifer Delamare: London Beginnings #3  



This book came out back in April, and I've only just got around to reading the Netgalley book now. Since I've read the first two books in the series set in and around Victorian London, I think its about time I read this one. 

Also, I have three books in my Netgalley library which were published by Bethany Housse in the first part of the year. So yeah, I need to get around to them. 

Today's First Line comes from Chapter One (though I am on Chapter 6). 

 "It was going to be a fine day - no matter what anyone might say about it"

  Click the Meme to see what others are reading, and Comment with your own First Line.


29 Oct 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Chilling Reads, or suited to Chilly Weather

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday post, from the group hosted by the Artsy Reader Girl blog. 

The official title of today's post is Halloween Freebie, but I don't really do Halloween. I don't have really extreme views on it, its just not something we really did as kids, and all those sweets. Yeah I like candy but- eauch. Too many. 

So instead of Halloween books, I'm going to include some titles that are Mysteries, Thrillers, or spooky (sometimes a combination). These aren't necessarily ghost stories nor about the supernatural or paranormal, but they might send a shiver or two down your spine, or just have you on the edge of your proverbial seat *.

Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in 1908. When clues lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access and uncover the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.
A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother--who is battling dementia--compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman who haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns--and with it, Heidi's fear for her own life.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20665064 Abigail Foster fears she will end up a spinster. When financial problems force her family to sell their home, a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play . . .

The local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem to know something about the manor's past, the only information they offer Abigail is a warning: Beware trespassers who may be drawn by rumors that Pembrooke contains a secret room filled with treasure.

Hoping to improve her family's financial situation, Abigail surreptitiously searches for the hidden room, but the arrival of anonymous letters addressed to her, with clues about the room and the past, bring discoveries even more startling. As secrets come to light, will Abigail
find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?

Jessica Neale's faith is lost the day of her husband's death, and with it, her belief in love. In a journey to find peace, she encounters a gentle, green-eyed stranger who leads her to the ruins of the medieval castle, Gallimore. On his way to battle, Colwyn Haukswyrth, knight of Gallimore, comes face to face with a storm the likes of which he's never seen, and a woman in the midst of it who claims to live centuries in the future.

The Lady Jessica of Neale is an irksome, provoking bit of woman to be sure. And she's about to turn his beliefs on end. The product of a family rooted in pain and evil, Colwyn has focused on naught but himself-until Jessica. To a mysterious prophecy stitched on a tapestry, through the invasion of Gallimore itself, Colwyn and Jessica are bound together by a lesson in forgiveness and love-a bond that might be strong enough to survive the grave.

Alan, the beadle of the manor of Bampton, had gone out at dusk to seek those who might violate curfew. When, the following morning, he had stillnot returned home, his young wife Matilda sought out Master Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff of the manor.

Two days later Alan's corpse is discovered in the hedge, at the side of the track to St. Andrew's Chapel. His throat has been torn out, his head half-severed from his body and his face, hands, and forearms lacerated with deep scratches.

Master Hugh, meeting Hubert the coroner at the scene, listens carefully to the coroner surmise that a wolf had caused the great wound. And yet . . . if so, why is there so little blood?

In the autumn of 1140 the Benedictine monastery at Shrewsbury finds its new novice Meriet Aspley a bit disturbing. The younger son of a prominent family, Meriet is meek and biddable by day, but his sleep is rife with nightmares so violent that they earn him the name of "Devil's Novice". 

Shunned by the other monks, Aspley attracts the concern of Brother Cadfael. Then a body appears, that of a young priest last seen at the Aspley estate. Can Meriet be involved in the death? As events take a sinister turn, it falls to Brother Cadfael to detect the truth.


If you want something a little on the Lighter side, I would recommend Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen. Northanger Abbey was actually her first novel, but was not published until after her death. Some have described it as a parody of the Gothic Novels popular in the early 1800s: its certainly about a Young Woman who reads too many novels. 

I'm also going to push the boat out a little bit and include a couple of titles relating to Guy Fawkes Night, or Fireworks Night, the 5th of November. 

Guy Fawkes was originally the bigger deal in England, modern Halloween is more of a modern American import. Of course, it also commemorates a historical event, the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 when a group of Catholic conspirators planned to blow up the Scottish King James I and Parliament gunpowder, stored in a cellar under the Houses of Parliament. 

Traditionally, Guy Fawkes night was commemorated by children making a 'Guy', something like a scarecrow or human effigy, and then take it along the houses in their neighburhood asking for a penny. 
The culmination was the 'Guy' being burned on the seasonal bonfire, usually accompanied by a firework display.  

Some parts of Britain retained- interesting, if controversial traditions in which the Guy might be made to look like an unpopular political figure, and in one city, even burned small figures of the Pope.


Above all guys, have fun responsibly, and remember that our furry friends really don't like fireworks. 

* Content Warning: Gallimore by Michelle Griep does indeed contain some references to the supernatural with a character who practices Black Magic and Necromancy, but this is strictly presented in a religious context.
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