Written in their Stars (The Lydiard Chronicles #3) by Elizabeth St.John

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London, 1649. Horrified eyewitnesses to King Charles’s bloody execution, Royalists Nan Wilmot and Frances Apsley plot to return the king’s exiled son to England’s throne, while their radical cousin Luce, the wife of king-killer John Hutchinson, rejoices in the new republic’s triumph. Nan exploits her high-ranking position as Countess of Rochester to manipulate England’s great divide, flouting Cromwell and establishing a Royalist spy network; while Frances and her husband Allen join the destitute prince in Paris’s Louvre Palace to support his restoration. As the women work from the shadows to topple Cromwell’s regime, their husbands fight openly for the throne on England’s bloody battlefields.
But will the return of the king be a victory, or destroy them all? Separated by loyalty and bound by love, Luce, Nan and Frances hold the fate of England—and their family—in their hands.
A true story based on surviving memoirs of Elizabeth St.John’s family, Written in their Stars is the third novel in the Lydiard Chronicles series.

REVIEW

Another triumph, another fascinating read. The author has retained that emotional tug at her reader’s hearts throughout the series, while at the same time providing a powerful tale of shattered dreams, hopes, and survival in a country torn by civil war, and rife with divisive politics that tear families apart. The trials and tribulations of the family, overwhelming at times, are rendered beautifully through the strength of the characters; characters who pull the reader into the turmoil, the chaos, the victories in an ever changing reality.  Let the pages turn, my fellow readers – Luce, Nan and Frances are calling you.   5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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About the Author

Elizabeth St.John spends her time between California, England, and the past. An award-winning author, historian and genealogist, she has tracked down family papers and residences from Nottingham Castle, Lydiard Park, to the Tower of London. Although the family sold a few castles and country homes along the way (it’s hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth’s family still occupy them – in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their imprint. And the occasional ghost. But that’s a different story…

For more information, please visit Elizabeth St. John’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

 

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two signed copies of Written in their Stars! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on January 10th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

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The Blood of Princes (The Craft of Kings #2) by Derek Birks

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A savage tale of love, treason and betrayal.
A bloody struggle for power at the heart of the royal court.

In April 1483, the sudden death of King Edward IV brings his 12 year old son to the throne.
Restless young lord and ex-mercenary John Elder is newly-appointed to the service of Edward, Prince of Wales, and charged with the boy’s safety. His first task, escorting the new king to London for his coronation, seems a simple one but the accession of a boy king raises concerns among the leading noblemen of the land.
As old jealousies and feuds are rekindled, the new king’s uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, seizes control and plunges the kingdom into crisis. But is Gloucester young Edward’s enemy, or saviour?
While John, outlawed and trapped, must wait to see how events unfold, other members of the battle-scarred Elder family are drawn, one by one, into his conspiracy. Soon they are mired so deep in the murky underbelly of London society, that there seems no hope of escape from the tangle of intrigue and murder.
In the end, all lives will hang upon the outcome of a daring incursion into the Tower of London itself.

REVIEW

I’m of the opinion that if you Google the phrase “adrenaline rush”, you should be directed to a page describing Derek Birks’ fictional 15th century family, The Elders. Throughout the tales in both the Rebels and Brothers series, and in the Craft of Kings, the reader is treated to intense emotional upheaval, traumatizing losses, hopeless situations; and yet the Elders persevere in the face of all the changes and challenges. I may have stated in my review of one of the prior books, that Eleanor Elder is at the top of a long list of my favorite fictional characters…after reading The Blood of Princes, I now have to add Lady Margaret Elder (Meg).

It’s tough enough being proclaimed an ‘outlaw’. Now, John Elder faces impossible tasks,.. keeping his family intact, rescuing Tower imprisoned Princes of the Realm, and by the way, staying alive. Book 2 is a certified roller-coaster ride through the transition from Edward IV to his son; but wait, there’re more contestants to the throne, more loyalties tested, more oaths sworn or forsaken, and a whole lot more danger to life and limb. The author has once again delivered the entire package, so dear reader, fasten your seat belts. The adrenaline is about to start coursing through your veins.  5 stars

 

His Last Witch Hunt by Deborah C. Foulkes

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An intriguing tale that takes place during the English Civil War about The Witch Finder General, Matthew Hopkins.  The village of Hopton is shaken by a death and witchcraft is suspected as the cause.  Matthew and his crew find themselves embroiled in a very confusing situation compounded by many factors that make this case very difficult for all involved.  The author does a fine job in rendering the hysteria, the fear and the hatred that the villagers feel towards the accused.  The characters are portrayed in a way that takes the reader into the mindset of this unfortunate time period of inquisition and religious fanaticism.  The story starts out to be a straight forward example of a superstitious accusation but the author entwines other human frailties and emotions  into the mix making for entertaining plot twists.  This is certainly a page turning delight to read.  4.3 stars

The Serpent’s Root by M.J. Logue

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To quote (sort of) The Most Interesting Man in the World, “I don’t always read about The English Civil War, but when I do, I like to read about Hollie (Rosie) Babbitt.”  This is book 5 in the Uncivil War series by M.J. Logue and I continue to be impressed with the style, the language, the plot lines and the development of the characters.  The author brings to life what the war did to both sides in this edition as the Parliamentarian’s take control of Cornwall, a region that would rather not be part of either side in the war.  Colonel Babbitt returns to the fray much to the chagrin of Het, his wife and this rough, professional soldier must battle not only a siege but also his tangled emotions.  The manner in which he finally understands and the healing of his troubled mind comes from a most unusual source; I will say no more on that other than I was entranced by this portion of the story.  Also intriguing is the relationship between Hapless, the Brat and Rosie…it just gets better with every book.  Hoover Book Reviews highly recommends this very entertaining series.  5 stars.

The Smoke of Her Burning by M.J. Logue

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For those of you keeping score, this is the fourth book of the series but chronologically it falls before the third book.  This one revolves around the Battle of Selby militarily, and the plight and antics of Thankful Russell, Trooper Gray and Cornet Luce Pettit, along with a smattering of homelife for Rosie Babbitt and his good wife Het.  As this is the fourth volume, I have had ample time to adjust to and admire the author’s somewhat unique writing style and have come to love the way she uses the local dialects and patois of the characters in the books to the point where I have found myself thinking in Drew Venning’s Norfolk idiom or Hollie’s Puritan voice.  Not a bad thing, but can be detrimental when writing work related emails and words like summat or nowt or the term Thee want to creep into the missive.  🙂  The Selby battle is brilliantly portrayed from the perspectives of Hollie and the three “amigos”, Thankful, Gray and Luce.  The chaos of a cavalry charge in the confines of town streets, the brutality of pikemen versus longswords and battle bred horses and the twists of fate are high points in the story’s telling.   Another salient aspect of the author’s skill is the continuing growth and development of her characters.  Poignant and exciting, The Smoke of Her Burning is an excellent addition to this wonderful series.  5 stars