Monthly Archives:: April 2017

Review: ‘An Inheritance for the Birds’ by Linda Banche

April 28, 2017 Review 0

This is a sweet little story, with loads of quirky charm. When an elderly lady dies, her will sets up a contest for her estate between her two likely inheritors: her great-nephew, Kit Winnington, and her companion, Angela Stratton. All they have to do is to keep the old lady’s pet ducks happy, with the winner being determined by the solicitor administering the will. Since both are poor enough for the inheritance to be an attractive proposition, the battle is underway.

This is a delightful premise, and the contest, as it unfolds, doesn’t disappoint. The protagonists are suitably hostile towards each other, while (naturally) each finding the other remarkably desirable, the ducks have plenty of character of their own while providing much of the comic relief, and there’s an array of eccentric friends and neighbours on hand to provide plenty of complications.

It’s quite short, so the conclusion is reached all too soon. My only objection is that the friends and neighbours are a little too silly for words, so the story loses the opportunity for any subtlety. And as for the prospect of any man of the era removing his shirt to work when ladies might happen upon him, and said ladies falling upon him with glee, and even touching him, while he’s in such a state of undress – no, just no. But the tale is so charming in every other way, that it would be churlish to complain too much. An enjoyable four stars.

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Film review: Northanger Abbey (TV, 2007)

April 20, 2017 Review 0

It’s years since I’ve read the book, so I watched this with more or less fresh eyes, as a casual viewer, and I have no idea at all how closely it adheres to the book. Not very, probably, given the sexytimes between Isabella Thorpe and the dashing if callous Captain Tilney, and the somewhat raunchy dreams of Catherine Morland. I found them pretty implausible but whatever.

I’m going to be honest and say that this film left me unmoved. It wasn’t bad, exactly, but it just wasn’t convincing, somehow. None of the characters felt quite right for their roles and even the costumes grated on me, for some unfathomable reason (usually these days the accuracy is spot-on and there’s a proper adjustment for rank and character, but these just didn’t do it for me). Even the romance fell flat, which was really disappointing.

Now it’s not that there was anything wrong with it at all, and there were elements that I loved – Catherine’s dreams, for instance, full of dashing heroes and wildly romantic moments. But somehow, overall it was just ho-hum. If I have to account for it, I’d say that it failed to provide me with the full immersion-in-the-Regency experience – in other words, although it was well done, I could never forget I was watching actors in costumes on film sets. Very sad.

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Review: ‘Mistaken Kiss’ by Kathleen Baldwin

April 5, 2017 Review 0

A Bookbub free download.

This is an oddball one. The start is delicious. Willa is the sister of a clergyman, steeped in the logical and philosophical debates of her brother and his friend, Sir Daniel Braeburn. When her brother realises that she is growing up (and Willa’s breasts have a great deal to do with this observation, to very amusing effect), he decides that she should marry his fusty friend, so that the three of them can go on exactly as before. Willa isn’t completely unwilling, but she feels that they only way to determine whether she and Sir Daniel would suit is to kiss him.

This she sets out to do, but being very short-sighted, and having to remove her spectacles before undertaking the deed, she ends up kissing the wrong man, Alexander Braeburn, the brother of Sir Daniel. Naturally, the passionate kiss she shares with him turns everything upside down. And from there on, the game is to get the two together. To spin things out (because obviously two young people instantly attracted to each other and with no obstacles to marriage cannot be tolerated in a Regency romance), Willa is whisked off to London by batty Aunt Honore, who puts her in all sorts of near-compromising situations in order to raise the protective instincts of her reluctant swain.

And… that’s about it, really. There are some side plots involving her friend and his, which are pretty silly, but no worse than most Regencies, the writing is good, the two main characters are lovely, and there’s some nice business with the horse breeding which the hero is involved with. Oh yes, and it’s laugh-out-loud funny. My main concern is that the frivolous side plots so quickly twist from amusing to serious. The boating incident, for instance, which was very funny initially, and I loved that the heroine deduced what was going on and got herself out of the boat, but then the whole escapade veered off into near-tragedy, a startling change of tone. And the batty aunt was quite dangerous, I thought, in getting Willa into some quite dodgy situations. I didn’t find her funny at all.

But overall, an entertaining and enjoyable read with a nice romance, a little spoiled by the abrupt changes of tone. Four stars.

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‘Hope’ is now available… and the series draws to a conclusion!

April 4, 2017 The Daughters of Allamont Hall 0

Click to buyThe final book in The Daughters of Allamont Hall series is now available at all Amazons, and you can discover just what happened to the two missing brothers, Ernest and Frank, and what Mama has been up to! I hope there will be a few surprises along the way and that you find the conclusion satisfying. Click the image to buy for just $2.99 – but hurry! That’s a special new release price. And for a few days only, you can get Amy completely FREE, and buy Belle for just 99c (or equivalent). All the books are also free to subscribers in the Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime programs.

For me this is the end of an eighteen month adventure, starting from an idea that came to me when I was a passenger on a long, boring car journey, and finishing with the final tally of six novels and a novella. I’ve had the most amazing fun getting to know these characters and their world, and bringing each sister her happy ever after. Thank you for sharing the journey with me.

But of course this isn’t the end of the Allamont sisters and their large extended family, so watch out for Sons of the Marquess, coming later this year. There will be a FREE prequel novella, The Earl of Deveron, coming this summer (or winter, if you live in the southern hemisphere!), and then book 1 of the series, Lord Reginald, will be released around September or October. You can read a sneak preview at the end of Hope. And for those wondering when Cousin Mary will find lasting happiness, rest assured it won’t be long; she and Daniel Merton will be important characters in the new series.

Happy reading!

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