Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Bloomsbury Girls Blog Tour ~ My Review

Hello, my friends! I'm very happy to be part of the Bloomsbury Girls Blog Tour, and I was delighted to read the book!

Bloomsbury Girls 
A Novel
by Natalie Jenner

Publication Date: May 17, 2022
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 368
Received: A received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher.
Rating: 4 stars

Book Description

Natalie Jenner, the internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society, returns with a compelling and heartwarming story of post-war London, a century-old bookstore, and three women determined to find their way in a fast-changing world in Bloomsbury Girls.

Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare bookstore that has persisted and resisted change for a hundred years, run by men and guided by the general manager's unbreakable fifty-one rules. But in 1950, the world is changing, especially the world of books and publishing, and at Bloomsbury Books, the girls in the shop have plans:

Vivien Lowry: Single since her aristocratic fiancé was killed in action during World War II, the brilliant and stylish Vivien has a long list of grievances--most of them well justified and the biggest of which is Alec McDonough, the Head of Fiction.

Grace Perkins: Married with two sons, she's been working to support the family following her husband's breakdown in the aftermath of the war. Torn between duty to her family and dreams of her own.

Evie Stone: In the first class of female students from Cambridge permitted to earn a degree, Evie was denied an academic position in favor of her less accomplished male rival. Now she's working at Bloomsbury Books while she plans to remake her own future.

As they interact with various literary figures of the time--Daphne Du Maurier, Ellen Doubleday, Sonia Blair (widow of George Orwell), Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, and others--these three women with their complex web of relationships, goals and dreams are all working to plot out a future that is richer and more rewarding than anything society will allow.
My Review

Bloomsburg Girls is a novel set in London during the 1950s, just after WWII. During the war, many women went to work, filling jobs that men typically would hold. After the war, women were expected to return home to their domestic duties. But times were changing, and women wanted their independence. They did not want to be pushed out and under-valued.

Evelyn Stone (Evie), whom some of us first met in Natalie Jenner’s The Jane Austen Society, continues in this story. But don’t worry, Bloomsbury Girls is a stand-alone! You won’t have any trouble jumping into this one!

Evie, Vivien Lowry, and Grace Perkins all work at Bloomsbury Books. Each woman has their own reason for working there, and they soon learn they need each other to get ahead in this world. 

There are quite a variety of characters in the story. I enjoy getting to know each of them and seeing a couple of cameos from characters from The Jane Austen Society. Although, for me, a slow reader, it seemed to take forever to get to the heart of the story. There were so many characters to introduce! 

I loved the store illustration in the front of the book, mapping each department!

Bloomsburg Girls is a charming story! And a powerful story about women uniting for a common goal! #WomenStrong

FTC Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher.

Purchase Links

Buy: Amazon (paid link) • Barnes & NobleBook DepositoryBookshopBookbub
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks! 


Narrated by esteemed stage and screen actress Juliet Stevenson, enjoy the full unabridged edition of Bloomsbury Girls. “Stevenson delivers the satisfying triumph at the end with perfect polish.” —AudioFile Magazine

Audiobook Excerpt

Audiobook Links

A Message From Author Natalie Jenner

Dear readers, I am immensely grateful for the outpouring of affection that so many of you have expressed for my debut novel The Jane Austen Society and its eight main characters. When I wrote its epilogue (in one go and without ever changing a word), I wanted to give each of Adam, Mimi, Dr. Gray, Adeline, Yardley, Frances, Evie and Andrew the happy Austenesque ending they each deserved. But I could not let go of servant girl Evie Stone, the youngest and only character inspired by real life (my mother, who had to leave school at age fourteen, and my daughter, who does eighteenth-century research for a university professor and his team). Bloomsbury Girls continues Evie’s adventures into a 1950s London bookshop where there is a battle of the sexes raging between the male managers and the female staff, who decide to pull together their smarts, connections, and limited resources to take over the shop and make it their own. There are dozens of new characters in Bloomsbury Girls from several different countries, and audiobook narration was going to require a female voice of the highest training and caliber. When I learned that British stage and screen actress Juliet Stevenson, CBE, had agreed to narrate, I knew that my story could not be in better hands, and I so hope you enjoy reading or listening to it. Warmest regards, Natalie

About the Author

Natalie Jenner is the author of the instant international
bestseller The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls. A Goodreads Choice Award runner-up for historical fiction and finalist for best debut novel, The Jane Austen Society was a USA Today and #1 national bestseller and has been sold for translation in twenty countries. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie has been a corporate lawyer, career coach, and most recently, an independent bookstore owner in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs. Visit her website to learn more.

Advance Praise

"Jenner follows The Jane Austen Society (2020) with another top-notch reading experience, using the same deft hand at creating complex, emotionally engaging characters [against] a backdrop chock-full of factual historical information... Fans of Christina Baker Kline, Kate Quinn and Pam Jenoff [will] appreciate this gem." —Booklist (starred review)

"An illuminating yarn... Fans of emotional historical fiction will be charmed." —Publishers Weekly

"Bloomsbury Girls is an immersive tale of three women determined to forge their own paths in 1950s London. Jenner has proven to be a master at spinning charming, earnest characters and paints a vivid picture of postwar England. I wanted to stay lost in her world forever!" —Stephanie Wrobel, internationally bestselling author of Darling Rose Gold

"Bloomsbury Girls is a book lover's dream, one of those rare reads that elicits a sense of book-ish wistfulness and nostalgia. Jenner has created a colorful cast of characters in a story about friendship, perseverance, and the ways that determined women can band together in a man's world. You're in for a treat." —Sarah Penner, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Apothecary

"In a London still reeling from the ravages of World War II and the changes war has brought to English society, three young women take their futures into their own hands. With Bloomsbury Girls, Natalie Jenner has penned a timely and beautiful ode to ambition, friendship, bookshops, and the written word." —Janet Skeslien Charles, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Library

“In post-war London, Bloomsbury Books survived The Blitz until Vivien Lowry, Grace Perkins, and Evie Stone set off their own bomb on the stuffy all-male management. What ensues is the most delightful, witty, and endearing story you will read this year. Natalie Jenner, bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society, proves that she was not a one hit wonder. Like Austen, her second book is even better than the first.” —Laurel Ann Nattress, editor of Jane Austen Made Me Do It 


Book Trailer

Congratulations to Natalie Jenner on the release of Bloomsbury Girls

Many thanks to Laurel Ann Nattress from Austenprose PR for organizing and including me in this tour!

And to St. Martin's Press for sending me a beautiful copy of the book!

Well, friends, what do you think? Is Bloomsbury Girls a book you'd like to read? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Maria Bertram's Daughter Blog Tour ~ Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! I'm happy to welcome Lucy Knight here to So Little Time...! She is here with an excerpt from her new book, Maria Bertram's Daughter. What a fantastic idea for a story! To follow that thread of what might have happened to Maria after running off with Henry Crawford. Interesting!

Maria Bertram's Daughter
A Mansfield Park Sequel
by Lucy Knight


She could be mistress of Mansfield Park. But is that what she wants? 

An unwanted child—conceived in circumstances her mother would rather forget—Dorothea Henrietta Rose grows up solitary and neglected with her dissatisfied mother and unpleasant great-aunt Norris. Raised without the knowledge that her mother is her mother or that their occasional visitor, Sir Thomas Bertram, is her grandfather, she is forbidden ever to set foot in Mansfield Park. 

Dorothea hopes for a happier life when sent away to school, but her difficulties are not over. She is obliged to make her way in the world as a governess and, thus, encounters human frailty, hypocrisy, good, and evil in her travels throughout England. 

She meets the Crawfords—Henry and Mary (now Lady Drumroth)—and inevitably does the one thing she must not do: unwillingly makes herself known to the inhabitants of Mansfield Park.

Thank you so much, Candy, for hosting me on my blog tour. This excerpt is short but extremely crucial. I love that it shows that my heroine, Dorothea, who is often so self-contained that she appears passive, is actually prepared to assert herself when she feels it is necessary. This action has many unforeseen consequences and I hope your readers will be left wanting to know what happens next! 


     “However, as it turned out, John was not to leave. Mr Allbright put him to work teaching the boys more of the practical skills so beloved of Mrs Edgeworth, so Dorothea saw him only at mealtimes when they ate with the family, and they had few opportunities for conversation. John continued to cast searching and ardent glances towards Dorothea, who was grateful for the fact that she was sitting next to Mrs Allbright and not closer to the pining swain. He hung about looking moody and disconsolate, and the atmosphere became strained between them. Eventually, she decided that she could not endure it any longer without speaking to him.

     One day while the little girls were engaged with their music teacher, an old lady who came up from the village once a week to coax the girls to make a pleasant sound on the pianoforte—at which attempt she was so far unsuccessful—Dorothea slipped away to the workshop that had been set up in an unused part of the stable block. She knew John would be alone because she heard the boys begging their father for a morning’s fishing at breakfast and saw them setting off across the lawn with their fishing rods shortly thereafter.

     John was alone, tidying up and putting new edges on the tools blunted by the careless schoolboys. He flushed as Dorothea entered.

     “Oh,” was all he said. He looked uncomfortable.

     “Mr Greenwood—” Dorothea began.

     “John,” he said quickly.

     “I feel we need to clear the air between us.”

     “I do not know what you mean,” said John hastily.

     “Oh yes, you do know what I mean. All this staring and looking like a dying codfish.”

     “You know, then?” He had turned pale.

     “I do not know what I know,” said Dorothea, who was determined not to admit what she thought she knew. Heaven knew she was not vain (though she knew she looked well now that the good food and fresh air at the Allbrights’ had filled out her figure and rosied her cheeks), but to suggest that she suspected a man of romantic leanings would sound like vanity indeed.”

This exchange between my young heroine and the handsome engineer who has been employed to build a Panorganon is about to precipitate a crisis. What is a Panorganon, you ask? Obviously, you need to read the book to find out, but I will just let you know that it was recommended by Maria Edgeworth as a useful aid to teaching the principles of mechanics to children. 

In addition to the crisis, this crucial conversation will lead to rediscovery of things that were thought lost, and, eventually, to some extraordinary revelations. 

I hope that has whetted your appetite? 

Buy: Amazon US (paid link) • Amazon UKAmazon FR

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon US. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!

About the Author

Lucy Knight grew up in Whitby, North Yorkshire, now a tourist
town but until recently a small and historic port which was known for shipbuilding, fishing (including whaling) and having an important Abbey. During her life she has moved around a great deal both in England and on the continent of Europe; she now lives in a tiny hamlet lost in the French countryside with two rescue dogs, two rescue chickens, an unknown number of bees and eight sheep. 

Lucy has two children and three grandchildren, all of whom live in England.

Lucy has only recently begun to write historical fiction but she enjoys it so much she can’t stop! Her background is in comedy and drama, so there will always be some jokes and plenty of dialogue. 

When she is not writing, Lucy teaches English and French, and she love to take long walks with her dogs during which she revels in the birds, butterflies, trees and flowers which are so abundant in her part of France. 

Connect with Lucy Knight

Maria Bertram’s Daughter Blog Tour Schedule

April 12 So little time… (you're here!)

Tour Giveaway

It's giveaway time! Meryton Press is giving away 6 eBooks of Maria Bertram's Daughter by Lucy Knight.

Enter through the Rafflecopter below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations to Lucy Knight on the release of Maria Bertram's Daughter!

Many thanks to Janet Taylor @ More Agreeable Engaged for organizing and including me in this blog tour!

So friends, does this book sound wonderful to you? Please leave us a comment!

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Death of a Dandy by Riana Everly ~ Blog Tour ~ Guest Post, Excerpt, & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! I have the lovely Riana Everly visiting the blog with her new book, Death of a Dandy: A Mansfield Park Mystery

The Moral Concerns About Acting

Thank you for hosting me on this stop along my blog tour for my latest mystery, Death of a Dandy: A Mansfield Park Mystery

In this book, the third in the Miss Mary Investigates series, the story takes place within the world of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, which might be her least-known novel. For those with only a passing knowledge of the work, here is a ridiculously brief summary. Poor relation Fanny Price is sent to live with her wealthy cousins, the children of Sir Thomas Bertram, baronet, at Mansfield Park. Most of the story takes place when she is around eighteen. Her eldest cousin, Tom, is determined to mount a performance of a popular play, and invites several young people from the neighbourhood to participate. There is a great deal of flirting and moral indignation, and eventually Fanny and Edmund get married. There is a great deal more to the story, but for the purposes of my novel, it is the play that takes centre stage (if you’ll pardon my pun).

Fanny is quiet and reserved but has firm ideas of what is proper
and what should be avoided. And acting in a play, she asserts, is quite inappropriate for people of good moral fibre. Edmund, who is to become a clergyman, initially feels likewise, but is convinced into participating by charming neighbour Mary Crawford.

But what, exactly, is wrong with putting on a play? After all, these days we idolise actors and many people from all walks of life dream of making it in Hollywood or New York.

But sentiment has changed over the years. For one thing, there was a big difference between reading plays at home for personal entertainment in a world pre-movies or pre-television, and performing in public. To spend quality time with the family while pronouncing the great words of Shakespeare (or a tamed-down version to protect the sensibilities of the ladies) was acceptable, even in the finest of homes. But to put oneself on display before others was quite a different matter.

There were, to be certain, many edifying plays available at the time, but many (the fun ones!) involved topics that were quite scandalous for the time. Flirtation, infidelity, and other inappropriate behaviours were exactly the things that drew audiences. Even Hamlet, alluded to by Tom Bertram in his plea to Edmund, involves the quasi-incestuous relationship between Hamlet’s mother and uncle.

How many a time have we mourned over the dead body of Julius Caesar, and to be’d and not to be’d, in this very room, for [father’s] amusement? 

But even here, Edmund is not convinced, seeing the Bard’s plays more as a means to learn rhetoric than as vehicles for performance.

It was a very different thing. You must see the difference yourself. My father wished us, as schoolboys, to speak well, but he would never wish his grown-up daughters to be acting plays. His sense of decorum is strict.”

In acting out a play like Lovers’ Vows, the characters dress up, possibly wear cosmetics, touch, embrace, fight, and caress each other, all most unsuitable for ladies of quality. One can see why Fanny would be so opposed to being involved in such a production.

Furthermore, acting was a profession, a task undertaken for
money, and actresses often found their patrons expected more than a note at the back of the program or an extra bow after the first performance. Even great artists of the stage like Mrs. Sarah Siddons were not considered entirely respectable, for all that she was a favourite of King George III and Queen Charlotte.

At one point in my novel, Fanny produces a volume of Thomas Gisborne’s work, An Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex (1797). Gisborne’s sentiments are echoed in Fanny’s own, and to a degree in Edmund’s, as he writes:

… yet what is even then the tendency of such an amusement? To encourage vanity; to excite a thirst of applause and admiration of attainments which, if they are to be thus exhibited, it would commonly have been far better for the individual not to possess; to destroy diffidence, by the unrestrained familiarity with the persons of the other sex, which inevitably results from being joined with them in the drama; to create a general fondness for the perusal of plays, of which so many are unfit to be read; and for attending dramatic representations, of which so many are unfit to be witnessed.

Because this is such an important part of Mansfield Park, I have included the play in my mystery. Here is an excerpt from Death of a Dandy: A Mansfield Park Mystery.

*. *. *. 

     “If Mr. Lyons wishes to take the case, I am certain my family will forgive my absence for a few days longer. However, I am loath to intrude upon Mr. and Mrs. Meldola’s hospitality for more than the short time they had expected.”

     “To that, Miss Bennet, you need have no fear,” Meldola offered. He had the expression of a man who dearly wished to laugh, but dare not. He most certainly did not look like a man anxious to return to his place of business. Alexander believed his friend was enjoying himself. 

     This hospitality was welcome; there were issues, however, which he could not raise at the moment. Later, he would speak with his friend, and then with Mary. That latter conversation was one he dreaded, and he determined to put it off for as long as possibly he could. A lump threatened in his throat at the thought, and he swallowed around it.

     Instead, hoping for a reprieve from what he must say later, he turned to Edmund Bertram. “You have mentioned sisters; how many have you? Who else is at Mansfield Park?”

     To his surprise, Mr. Bertram turned a rather unbecoming shade of red. Whatever could bring about this reaction? Alexander reached across the table for the notebook Mary had been using to record the replies to last night’s notes and turned to a new page. “Everything you say will be held in the strictest confidence, Mr. Bertram. However, if you wish for my assistance in this matter, I must have information. If there is something you wish Miss Bennet not to hear…”

     “No, no! Nothing like that.” Mr. Bertram sputtered. “It is… that is, we are… Oh, dash it! We are engaged in preparing a theatrical performance”

     “A play?” Mary’s voice held the intimations of a suppressed chuckle. “But that is a fine endeavour. There is no need for concealment. At Longbourn, my family’s estate in Hertfordshire, we often spend a winter’s evening reading through Hamlet or Lear or one of the comedies, with the unsuitable sections removed, of course.”

     “Er, well, yes, Miss Bennet, but we have not chosen one of the Bard’s plays, neither are we merely reading it, but acting it out like players on a stage. It is one matter for men to engage in such affairs, but my sisters… ladies! This borders on the disreputable.”

     “Surely there can be no harm in a simple amusement in the privacy of your house,” Mr. Meldola soothed. “Reading, even acting out a scene, is hardly the same thing as setting yourself up as an actress on the public stage.”

     “There can surely be no harm,” Mary added in her most prim voice, “in such a pastime, as long as one is not exposing himself to the eyes of the neighbourhood. Although acting can be seen as the entryway to less salutary pursuits, at home, with one’s own family, there can be no danger.” 

     Alexander could almost see her searching her mind for some quote from the sermons she used to read so assiduously.

     Bertram cleared his throat and shifted in his chair. “Well, you see… Here is the problem. Tom, my brother, set off to invite some of our neighbours to come as an audience…” He ran a hand across his brow.

Death of a Dandy
A Mansfield Park Mystery
by Riana Everly


The worlds of Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park meet when Mary Bennet lands in the middle of her third adventure with handsome investigator Alexander Lyons. 

The two friends are travelling back to Mary’s home after a visit to the Darcy family at Pemberley when their journey is interrupted by the news that Tom Bertram, the heir to Mansfield Park, has disappeared. Alexander is asked to take the case, and he and Mary find themselves as guests at the estate. The house is abuzz with activity as plans go ahead for a fox hunt and the performance of a play, and Mary sees intrigue in every interaction between the beautiful residents of Mansfield Park and their sophisticated guests. 

When the hunt ends in tragedy with the discovery of a body, Alexander’s involvement grows even deeper, but every clue leads to even more questions. The more Alexander digs, the more it seems this death might involve people much higher up than he can reach. And the biggest question of all is who, exactly, was the intended victim of what is surely murder most foul? 

Mary and Alexander find themselves hard at work to unravel a web of secrets and dark goings-on that enshroud the elegant estate of Mansfield Park. But Alexander is hiding a secret of his own, one which he knows will forever doom any possible future for him and Mary. 

Will they solve the mystery before somebody else dies? And will any hearts remain unbroken if they succeed?
Buy: Amazon (paid link) • Books2read
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!

About the Author

Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back. 

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

Riana’s novels have received several awards and citations as favourite reads of the year, including two Jane Austen Awards and a Discovering Diamonds review.

Connect with Riana Everly

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

Riana Everly is giving away five eBooks of Death of a Dandy: A Mansfield Park Mystery. She has set up a Rafflecopter draw, but for anybody who cannot use the link, please email her with your name and preferred email address, and she will add you manually to the list for the draw. Her email is riana.everly@gmail.com

Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations to Riana Everly to the release of Death of a Dandy! Thank you for visiting us here today!

Friends, what do you think? Please leave any questions or comments you have for Riana Everly below!

Thursday, March 17, 2022

A Stolen Heart by Clarissa Kae ~ Blog Tour ~ Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hello, friends! I'm thrilled to be part of A Stolen Heart Blog Tour! This book sounds fantastic to me. I mean, a Victorian twist on Robin Hood, what's not to love?!

Be sure to check out the fabulous giveaway! You can find details at the bottom of this post. 

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

A Stolen Heart (Victorian Retellings #3) 
By Clarissa Kae 

Historical Romance, Fairy Tale 
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 
264 Pages 
January 29, 2022 
by Carpe Vitam Press 

A Victorian twist on Robin Hood. 

The Earl of Rochelle, Nikolas Whitworth, is handsome, charming. And a traitor. 

He can outwit and outcon any Englishman—and any Englishwoman. When his debts are called in a savior appears, the criminal mastermind known only as the Tailor. 

Nikolas is bought and sold, his future no longer his. But when a beguiling thief picks his pocket, Rosalyn Devereaux steals more than his coin. Orphaned as a child, Rosalyn trusts no one. She picks the pockets of lords and ladies alike, donating her spoils to the poor. The Tailor notices her skills and demands Rosalyn enlist in his cause. 

With every moment beside Rosalyn, Nikolas changes from a life of lies to a man with a conviction. She occupies his every thought but can Nikolas outcon the Tailor and secure Rosalyn’s heart before the Tailor steals his love?

(Affiliate links included.)

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!

Read an Excerpt

Rosalyn bumped into the elder nobleman. She mumbled an apology before nicking his billfold. She crossed the street and hid behind the corner. Several boys snuck their way to her, grinning widely. Rosalyn tossed them their due and made her way east, towards home. She went through St. James square, her fingers lifting wallets and coins as Rosalyn made her way through the busy streets. 

“I’m sorry.” A familiar voice echoed. 

In the front garden of a townhome, Nikolas—the Earl of Rochelle—stood with his hand outstretched to a beautiful woman, her curls disheveled and her skin like a fine china doll. The woman shook her head and climbed into the townhome. He wiped his haggard face with a hand, his other arm wrapped against him. Rosalyn froze, her heart in her throat. She ducked behind the garden fence. 

Excerpted from A Stolen Heart by Clarissa Kae, Copyright © 2022 by Clarissa Kae. Published by Carpe Vitam Press.

Other Books in the Series

About the Author

Clarissa Kae is a preeminent voice whose professional career began as a freelance editor in 2007. She's the former president of her local California Writers Club after spending several years as the Critique Director.

Since her first novel, she's explored different writing genres and created a loyal group of fans who eagerly await her upcoming release. With numerous awards to her name, Clarissa continues to honor the role of storyteller.

Aside from the writing community, she and her daughters founded Kind Girls Make Strong Women to help undervalued nonprofit organizations—from reuniting children with families to giving Junior Olympic athletes their shot at success.

She lives in the agricultural belly of California with her family and farm of horses, chickens, dogs and kittens aplenty.

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

Three winners will receive a $25 Amazon gift card (US only)

Ends March 23, 2022

Grab Our Button!

Many thanks to Prism Book Tours for including me in this tour!

Monday, March 14, 2022

Daughter by Kate McLaughlin ~ My Review

Hello, my friends! I'm posting my review of Daughter by Kate McLaughlin. I was lucky enough to get an e-ARC of the book for my honest review. 

A Novel
by Kate McLaughlin

Publication Date: March 8th, 2022
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books
Pages: 336
Received: From the publisher via Netgalley.
Rating: 4 stars

Book Description 

Scarlet’s life is pretty average. Overly protective mom. Great friends. Cute boy she’s interested in. And a father she’s never known – until she does. 

When the FBI show up at Scarlet’s door, she is shocked to learn her father is infamous serial killer Jeffrey Robert Lake. And now, he’s dying and will only give the names and locations of his remaining victims to the one person, the daughter he hasn’t seen since she was a baby. 

Scarlet’s mother has tried to protect her from Lake’s horrifying legacy, but there’s no way they can escape the media firestorm that erupts when they come out of hiding. Or the people who blame Scarlet for her father’s choices. When trying to do the right thing puts her life in danger, Scarlet is faced with a choice – go back into hiding or make the world see her as more than a monster’s daughter. 

Kate McLaughlin’s Daughter is a novel about trying right deadly choices that were never yours to begin with.
My Review

In Daughter: A Novel, Scarlet Murphy, aka Brittany Lake, finds out she’s the daughter of the infamous serial killer Jeff Lake.

Fifteen years earlier, Scarlet’s mom divorced Lake, changed her name, and disappeared with her two-year-old daughter. Now Jeff Lake is dying in a prison hospital, and he says he is willing to give up the names and locations of his other victims, but only to his daughter.

That would be so crazy to find out that you are the daughter of a serial killer - and not in a good way!

When I first heard about Daughter, I was intrigued and knew I had to read it! It was excellent and kept me engaged. Although, it did go in a different direction than I thought it would. The romance in the story surprised me (because something like this would turn your life upside down), but I was glad Scarlet had someone to talk to who liked her for who she was and not because of her father.

Scarlet was courageous for facing Jeff Lake. She really wanted to help the other families, and I like the creative ways she was going about that and trying to take the spotlight off Lake and onto the forgotten victims. 

It is a YA novel, so not overly graphic, but there is drinking, drug use, sex, and foul language.

FTC Disclaimer: I received an ARC of the story from the publisher for my honest review.

Buy: Amazon (paid link)
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks! 

I am finding that I'm really getting into mysteries and thrillers! What about you?

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Her Country Gentleman: Timeless Georgian Collection, Bk 1 ~ Blog Tour ~ Excerpt

Hello, friends! I'm delighted to be part of the Her Country Gentleman Blog Tour

Her Country Gentleman is an anthology of three Georgian novellas. It is the first book in the Timeless Georgian Collection from Mirror Press. 

Today, I have an excerpt to share with you from Spring at Tribbley Hall by Sian Ann Bessey. I hope you enjoy it!


“I have no hesitation in giving five stars collectively to this book. Great writing. Outstanding characters and each story is very compelling and different.”Ken Reynolds, Goodreads

“This book is authored by three very talented authors, Sian Bessey, Sarah Eden, and Rebecca Connolly. I will admit upfront that these are three of my favorite authors so my expectations were high and they did not disappoint. This book is a truly wonderful read that I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.”Shauna Jones, Goodreads

“I enjoyed the premise of each book - high society lady going to the country. But each heroine found their own adventure as they learned to live a different type of life than they were used to. Each hero was engaging. And of course, I loved their HEAs”Caleen Picket, Goodreads

Her Country Gentleman
Timeless Georgian Collection (Book 1)
by Sian Ann Bessey, Sarah M. Eden, & Rebecca Connolly


Her Country Gentleman is the first book in the Timeless Georgian Collection, a new anthology series from Mirror Press. The book features three novellas from bestselling historical romance authors whose stories reveal that not all love is found in London. 

“Spring at Tribbley Hall,” by Sian Ann Bessey 

When Charlotte's grandmother invites her to accompany her to Norfolk, Charlotte jumps at the chance to visit the sea and escape the fuss surrounding her sister's wedding preparations in London. Lord William Cheston, on the other hand, is most unhappy when his mother informs him that her old friend and a granddaughter are coming to stay. Not only is it lambing season, but he's also dealing with the mysterious loss of several sheep. The last thing he needs is a child underfoot. When Charlotte and William first meet, he does not realize that the lovely young lady is the granddaughter in question, and she assumes that the man dressed in work clothes in the barn is a servant. Soon afterward, however, Charlotte stumbles upon a clue to William's sheep's disappearance, and when her life is placed in jeopardy, William is forced to choose between saving his unwanted houseguest and catching the thief.

“Love of My Heart,” by Sarah M. Eden 

Cordelia Wakefield has never lived anywhere but London and is not overly happy when her family is forced to retrench to a small estate near Teviotbrae, Scotland. An ill-fated game of battledore and shuttlecock brings her face-to-racquet with Sebastian, who runs the home farm at nearby Teviot Castle. What begins as a clash of personalities, expectations, and preferences, soon leads to a friendship neither had expected. As the magic of Teviotbrae weaves its spell, the possibility of something more than friendship begins to blossom. But what future is there for a lowly farmer and a London lady?

“Miss Smith Goes to Wiltshire,” by Rebecca Connolly 

Martha Smith wants to marry for love and will not be persuaded otherwise. She is highly sought after in Society for her beauty and status but refuses to consider any suitor whose only claim is that his prospects meet with her mother's approval. Her widowed mother has had enough of Martha's romantic sensibilities and is sending her to stay with unfortunate cousins in Wiltshire to show her that marrying for love is a risk that is too great. Benjamin Steele, Lord Hillier, is working on his new and dilapidated estate when he first catches sight of the striking Martha Smith. Becoming Lord Hillier has only brought him a house that needs significant repairs, tenant farms that had been abandoned, and only the money he'd already possessed. He wants meaning in his life, and he's more than willing to work for it. Though worlds apart in all else, on this point they can agree: a life of meaning would change everything. 


The Timeless Georgian Collection is a new series featuring novellas set in England during the Georgian era (1714 – 1830). It is part of A Timeless Romance Anthology series published by Mirror Press — a curated collection of novellas and short stories featuring bestselling authors from the contemporary and historical romance genres. The collection has hit the USA TODAY bestselling list and charted at #1 at Amazon.com. Learn more about the series and other anthologies published by Mirror Press at their website.
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Spring at Tribbley Hall, by Sian Ann Bessey
London, 1784

Chapter 1

Grandmama made her stunning announcement at the breakfast table. Charlotte’s father had just finished the last sausage on his plate. Across from him, her mother and sister, Margery, were reviewing their long list of appointments for the day. Charlotte was nibbling on her toast, hoping she might have enough time before she finished it to conjure up a worthy excuse to stay at home rather than join them in yet another shopping expedition for Margery’s trousseau. 

“I am going to the country,” Grandmama said. “Norfolk, to be precise. If you would be so good as to make a carriage available, Edward, I should like to leave tomorrow.”
The elderly lady would not have garnered a more stunned reaction had she told her family that she was visiting the moon. 

Charlotte’s mother was the first to recover.

“To Norfolk?” She set her teacup in its saucer, the slight rattle of the china a fitting reflection of her obvious shock. “Tomorrow?” 

“That’s right. And if she is willing, I should very much like Charlotte to accompany me.”

Charlotte’s heart leapt. Had she heard correctly? Not only had Grandmama formulated her own plan of escape from the prenuptial madness that currently surrounded them, she had engineered one for Charlotte also. 

Her mother’s expression moved from stunned to aghast. “But we have Margery’s wedding in a month.” 

“I am aware,” Grandmama said dryly.

Charlotte bit her lip to hide her smile. The entire house had been turned on its end in preparation for Margery’s upcoming marriage to Viscount Rothsey. Indeed, for the last few weeks, breakfast had been the solitary hour of calm before the whirlwind of daily premarital activities resumed. 

“My good friend, Lady Cheston, has written to invite me to visit. Her home is located not more than five minutes from the coast. Given all the chimney smoke hanging over London these past few weeks, I believe the sea air will do me good.”

“I have no doubt you are right, Mother.” Charlotte’s father had taken one look at his wife’s face and had obviously determined that he had best enter the fray. “But there is the matter of Margery’s wedding.” 

Grandmama released a frustrated breath. “I have no intention of missing my own granddaughter’s wedding, but I hardly think my presence is needed here before then. Nor Charlotte’s either, come to that. Constance already has things well in hand, and I would hazard a guess that Margery will fare perfectly well without her old grandmother’s and younger sister’s advice. Is that not so, Margery?”

Margery blinked, clearly unprepared for the question. She turned to Charlotte. 

“Would you like to go, Lottie?” 

Charlotte hesitated. She loved her sister, but an opportunity to be by the sea did not present itself often. Their family’s small country manor was in landlocked Leicestershire, and unlike most of their friends and acquaintances who divided their time evenly between the country and the city, her family rarely spent time away from London. Her father’s business demanded that he be in Town more often than not, and since her mother preferred the hustle and bustle of London over the slower pace of village life, she opted to stay with him. 

“If Grandmama is sure that we will be back to see you marry your viscount, and you feel that you can manage without me until then,” she said, “I believe I would.” 

Grandmama’s gratified smile was instant, and Margery gave her an understanding nod. 

“I daresay choosing linens is not a terribly exciting endeavor when one will never see them again no matter which are chosen.”

Charlotte laughed. “You forget, Margery. I intend to visit you in your new home often, and I shall pay particular attention to the towels you have out.”

“As will everyone else,” their mother warned. “Such things say a great deal about the mistress of a house.”

“I believe that with your expert guidance, I shall not go awry, Mother,” Margery said. 

“Well, be that as it may,” their mother said with a sniff, “Charlotte would learn a great deal by coming with us. It will surely not be long before she is choosing her own linens.”

Charlotte was all too aware of their mother’s desire to marry her two daughters off in quick succession, but as she had sighed with relief when every eligible gentleman who had come to call on her this Season left the house, she sincerely hoped that matrimony was not in her immediate future.

Pages 1-3

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About the Authors

Sian Ann Bessey

Born in Cambridge, England, but grew up on the island of
Anglesey off the coast of North Wales, Sian left her homeland to attend university in the U.S. and earned a bachelor's degree in communications with a minor in English.

She began her writing career as a student, publishing several magazine articles while still in college. Since then, she has published historical romance and romantic suspense novels, along with a variety of children's books. She is a USA Today bestselling author, a Foreward Reviews Book of the Year finalist, and a Whitney Award finalist.

She loves to travel and experience other cultures, but when she's home, her favorite activities are spending time with her family, cooking, and reading.

Sarah M. Eden

Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today bestselling author of multiple historical romances, including AML's "2013 Novel of the Year" and Foreword Review’s 2013 “IndieFab Book of the Year” gold medal winner for Best Romance, Longing for Home, and the Whitney Award's "2014 Novel of the Year," Longing for Home: Hope Springs. 

Combining her obsession with history and affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting witty characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library. Sarah lives with her husband, kids, and mischievous dog in the shadow of a snow-capped mountain she has never attempted to ski.

Rebecca Connolly

Rebecca Connolly is the author of more than two dozen novels. She calls herself a Midwest girl, having lived in Ohio and Indiana. She's always been a bookworm, and her grandma would send her books almost every month so she would never run out. Book Fairs were her carnival, and libraries are her happy place. 

She has been creating stories since childhood, and there are home videos to prove it! She received a master's degree from West Virginia University, spends every spare moment away from her day job absorbed in her writing, and is a hot cocoa addict.

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Congratulations to Sian Ann Bessey, Sarah M. Eden, and Rebecca Connolly on the release of your new book! It's a beautiful cover and I'm looking forward to reading the stories!

Many thanks to Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose PR for organizing and including me on the tour!

So friends, what are your thoughts? Which story has piqued your interest the most, or do they all sound fabulous to you?
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