Monthly Archives:: May 2017

Lots of historical romance books – completely free!

May 28, 2017 General, The Daughters of Allamont Hall 0

Eleven authors of historical romance have got together to offer you FREE books through BookFunnel. Whether your tastes run to medieval kings in their castles, sexy lairds in the heather, Regency romps, pirates, Victorian ladies or WWII, there’s something here for everyone.

All the books are complete stories, from novellas to full-length novels, and all the authors ask in return is that for each free book you download, you sign up for the author’s mailing list so they can tell you more about themselves – and perhaps offer you more free books! But don’t worry, you can unsubscribe from any author’s list at any time.

Click the image above or the button to go to BookFunnel and start downloading direct to your device. Any technical questions or problems? Click the ‘Help me’ link on the download page, and BookFunnel will assist you. Enjoy!

Click here to download FREE books from BookFunnel

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Review: ‘The Unflappable Miss Fairchild’ by Regina Scott

May 25, 2017 Review 0

When I first finished this, I marked it as a 5* read, but when I came to write this review I couldn’t for the life of me remember why. A book that slips out of my mind so quickly when I read so little these days is not really worthy of 5* for me.

It’s a nice story of two people who are very, very different, and, although attracted to each other, move in very different circles and have to overcome their differences to achieve their HEA. He’s a rake (yes, another one; anyone reading modern Regency romances would get the impression that London is entirely populated by rakes, rogues and scoundrels, and every last one of them an earl or a duke). And, as with all these rakes, he turns out to be a real softy at heart, nothing like as bad as he’s painted. She, meanwhile, is a very respectable, not to say dull, person, not his usual type at all. And unflappable, with a calm and practical demeanour.

As with all such stories, the immediate attraction the hero and heroine feel for each other has to be tempered with numerous obstacles, because heaven forfend that two young, unattached people should simply fall in love and marry. Sadly, the obstacles turn out to be that out standby, the misunderstanding, and the singularly stupid attitude of: oh, he can’t possibly love me so I must Wed Another. Sigh. Combined with a number of extreme coincidences, this seems like a regular trope-a-thon, doesn’t it? Nevertheless, I enjoyed it hugely and found it page-turningly readable. A good four stars.

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A giveaway, and some news

May 15, 2017 General, Sons of the Marquess, The Daughters of Allamont Hall 2

I’m giving stuff away!

I have some cool swag for 6 lucky people – mousemats, keyrings and drinks coasters featuring the covers of the Daughters of Allamont Hall. To have a chance to win, all you have to do is email me and tell me which is your favourite character from any of the books. Not read them yet? Can’t remember their names? No problem! Just answer ‘the butler’, because the poor servants never get much of a mention in Regency romances, do they? No purchase or commitment necessary to enter, and your friends are welcome to join in the fun too.

The competition runs until the end of May, when I’ll whip out my random number generator and pick 6 winners to receive an assortment of swag.
All the news, and coming soon – your next free book

The audiobook of Amy is almost finished, and I’ll have some to give away FREE, so if you’re a fan of audiobooks, watch out for that in the next few weeks.

I’m hard at work on the follow-on series to The Daughters of Allamont Hall, which follows the match-making efforts of Connie, now the Marchioness of Carrbridge, on behalf of her brothers-in-law. The first book of the series, Lord Reginald, will be released in September.

But you don’t have to wait that long to hear more of the Allamonts and their many relations! In the next few weeks, I’ll be releasing a novella, The Earl of Deveron, about Connie’s husband at the time he inherited his title, explaining why he was so devious in his dealings with Connie and almost lost her to his brother. It also hints at the financial troubles about to hit the Marquess and his family in the new series.

Best of all, it will be completely FREE and exclusive to my mailing list subscribers. If you’re not already subscribed, now’s the time to sign up to be sure to get your free novella.

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Review: ‘Sense And Sensibility’ (1995, 2008)

May 5, 2017 Review 0

The intention here was to write a review of the 2008 TV version of Sense and Sensibility. The problem with that is that it inevitably begs comparison with the 1995 Emma Thompson film version, which just happens to be one of my favourite films of all time, and by far my most-loved Jane Austen adaptation. So, for simplicity, I’ll combine reviews here to contrast the good and bad points of each.

One thing both got right was the casting of the main roles. The 1995 film had Kate Winslet as Marianne, Emma Thompson as Elinor, Hugh Grant as Edward Ferrars, Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon and Greg Wise as Willoughby. The 2008 version had Charity Wakefield as Marianne, Hattie Morahan as Elinor, Dan Stevens as Edward Ferrars, David Morrissey as Colonel Brandon and Dominic Cooper as Willoughby. They all looked and (mostly) sounded the part, in fact there were times when, if I closed my eyes, I couldn’t distinguish one actor from the other. David Morrissey’s flat northern vowels were inescapable, and Willoughby broke into Essex-speak in moments of high emotion, but since neither could be faulted for their acting otherwise, I forgive them. I have a slight personal preference for Hugh Grant’s bumbling Edward, and Charity Wakefield captured Marianne’s open-hearted affection and innocence to perfection, but really, there was very little to choose between them.

On the minor characters, the 1995 film won hands down. No one could better Robert Hardy’s Sir John Middleton, or Imelda Staunton and Hugh Laurie as the Palmers. It also made the excellent decision to prune away some of the less significant characters. Lady Middleton and her many children, Miss Steele and the Dashwoods’ young son all got the chop, and the story was the better for it.

The settings were both pretty good. Both had wonderful Norlands, and a suitably small, isolated and windswept Barton Cottage. If anything, the 2008 version made the cottage more rustic and therefore more of a contrast with Norland, with the peeling paintwork and low doorframes. It almost seemed a little too rustic, but let that pass. My only grumble was Mrs Jennings’ house in London which seemed somewhat too grand for a widow. Even in the early nineteenth century, housing in London was very expensive.

Where the two versions differ most is in the scripts. Emma Thompson’s captures all the wit and charm of the original. The scenes with Edward’s visit to Norland are delightful, with the discussion about the source of the Nile, and swabbing decks. It’s also particularly good with the subtext of Elinor’s desperate unhappiness, which the reader/viewer understands perfectly well, even when nothing explicit is said. My favourite part of the film is when Colonel Brandon offers a living to Edward and asks Elinor to tell him of it. The viewer feels for her as she tries to refuse, and then suffers the awkwardness of the meeting with Edward. Beautifully written, beautifully acted. The 2008 film skates over the words to show only the emotion bubbling below the surface, which works but loses all the subtlety of the original.

But then the whole angle of the 2008 version is towards ramping up the emotion. The camera frequently lingers on Marianne’s expressive face, and even gives Elinor moments of obvious distress (against her personality, but perhaps more in keeping with the visual age we live in). The scene where Willoughby takes Marianne to the house he hopes to inherit sums up in glorious style her love and trusting innocence as she lifts her face for that delicate kiss. And then a very telling moment, as Willoughby visibly draws back from thoughts of seduction and clearly decides that she’s too good for that and he must marry her instead. That was very nicely done.

One aspect the 2008 version got spectacularly right was in bringing to the fore Willoughby’s previous seduction of Colonel Brandon’s ward. In the book, this is kept as a background mystery until close to the end, by which time it has lost some of its impact. Here, the seduction is the first thing we see, and it makes Colonel Brandon’s later behaviour far more understandable and more poignant. I liked the duel, too, over-dramatic as it was.

Overall, I still prefer the 1995 Emma Thompson version, but the 2008 version, with its Andrew Davies script, is also very enjoyable to watch. And that stirring music is still running round in my head.

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