Monday, July 18, 2016

The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley
Read: May 24, 2016

Young Adelia Monteforte flees fascist Italy for America, where she is whisked away to the shore by her well-meaning aunt and uncle. Here, she meets and falls for Charlie Connally, the eldest of the four Irish-Catholic boys next door. But all hopes for a future together are soon throttled by the war and a tragedy that hits much closer to home. Grief-stricken, Addie flees—first to Washington and then to war-torn London—and finds a position at a prestigious newspaper, as well as a chance to redeem lost time, lost family…and lost love. But the past always nips at her heels, demanding to be reckoned with. And in a final, fateful choice, Addie discovers that the way home may be a path she never suspected.

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Pam Jenoff has been one of my go-to writers for a while. I always enjoy the time I spend with her stories and I think that is why I put off reading The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach for as long as I did. I’d flagged it as a comfort read and kept it in my back pocket to distract me when I found myself in rough patch.

The story surprised me in many ways. I found it slower than Jenoff's other novels, but it is a story of self-discovery so the pacing was actually quite appropriate to the action. Adelia Monteforte is a young girl when Jenoff introduces her and it takes years for her to experience the events that shape the woman she becomes. It is a process that unfolds as she enters each new phase of her life and I liked how Jenoff structured the story to emphasize that idea. 

Another thing I like about this piece was how it highlighted America’s pre-war years. Europe was a world away and the United States didn’t really understand the magnitude or fear experienced by those on the other side of the Atlantic. I know the era through my own research, but I appreciated Jenoff’s effort at illustrating the naivety that existed in America and showing her audience how blissfully unaffected the average American was prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. 

The heart of the story, however, is the idea of family, the roles each individual plays in it, how those roles change over time, and how they play into the choices we make as adults. It’s a subtle idea with no flashy bells and whistles, but it’s elegant and moving nonetheless. It takes a while to get there of course, the narrative spans a handful of countries over a period of years, but there a sense that it comes full circle in the end and I liked how everything came into focus in the final chapters. 

The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach is a heartfelt coming of age novel of love and renewal. It’s not the heaviest historical I ever read, but I’d definitely recommend it to readers of period romance and/or women’s fiction. 

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“Running doesn’t make the pain stop. You take it with you.”
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Friday, July 15, 2016

The Secrets of a Vatican Cardina by Celso Costantini

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley
Read: June 15, 2016

On 19 April 1940 Celso Costantini prophetically wrote in his diary that if Italy followed Hitler into war, it would be allying itself with the "Anti-Christ." Within weeks, Mussolini's fascist regime plunged Italy into the destructive maelstrom of global military conflict. The ensuing years brought world war, the fall of fascism, occupation, liberation, and the emergence of a new political order. The Secrets of a Vatican Cardinal is an extraordinary and detailed behind-the-scenes account of crucial episodes in Europe's wartime history from a unique vantage point: the Vatican and the Eternal City. Costantini, a close advisor to Pope Pius XII, possessed a perspective few of his contemporaries could match. His diaries offer new insights into the great issues of the time - the Nazi occupation, the fall of Mussolini, the tumultuous end of the Italian monarchy, the birth of republican democracy in Italy, and the emergence of a new international order - while also recounting heartbreaking stories of the suffering, perseverance, and heroism of ordinary people. Less than a century later, with the world's attention gripped by the first papal resignation in six hundred years, The Secrets of a Vatican Cardinal presents a clear-eyed, fascinating, and complex portrait of the Roman Catholic Church's recent history.

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I picked up The Secrets of a Vatican Cardinal by Celso Costantini on a whim. WWII is my thing and simply I couldn’t resist the temptation of wartime diaries written by a senior official living inside the Vatican during the conflict. I’m not sure what I anticipated, to be honest I’m usually sold on anything relating to WWII before I’ve a chance to formulate much of an opinion, but the reality of the diaries blew me away.

Costantini’s prose is powerful to say the least. He writes with unfiltered passion about both religion and politics and I found his insights and perspective fascinating. I was further captivating by his command of language. Simply put, contemporary authors don’t write like this anymore. Somewhere along the way we’ve sacrificed linguistic elegance for base exposition, but I suppose that’s neither here nor there when assessing the qualities of Constantini’s work.

The book is packed to the brim with footnotes, which is great if you need to reference something, but I personally felt the sheer volume of additional information distracting. At five hundred and twenty-four pages, The Secrets of a Vatican Cardinal is not a quick read, but I felt it unnecessarily weighted by an overabundance of surplus description.

Minor complaint aside, I have to say that I loved this volume and am happy to have added it to my personal reference library. I’m not sure I’ll be recommending it very often as I don’t know many other enthusiasts, but it is definitely something I’d commend to anyone interested in Italian policy and social affairs between 1938 and 1947.

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What bitterness. What moral debasement. One must not forget that genuine liberty is an element of human dignity; although masters sustained their slaves, the latter were still slaves: they were treated as objects, not men. “Paucis vivit genus humanum,” Tacitus wrote. The human genus was a minority compared with the great mass of slaves. This was a monstrous situation and was abolished. How is it that Mussolini did not understand this – he who fought and suffered for freedom? Is he acting in good faith? Has he a logical pattern of thought?
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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Cover Crush: The Tears of Dark Water by Corban Addison

We all know we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but in today's increasingly competitive market, a memorable jacket can make or break sales.

I am not a professional, but I am a consumer and much as I loath admitting it, jacket design is one of the first things I notice when browsing the shelves at Goodreads and Amazon. My love of cover art is what inspired Cover Crush, a weekly post dedicated to those prints that have captured my attention and/or piqued my interest. Enjoy!

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Corban Addison's The Tears of Dark Water isn't something I'd typically pick up, but the jacket stopped me dead in my tracks. I love the layer in the embellishments and how the designer used the sun to draw the eye and illuminate the whole of the design and offset the rich tones of the water below. 

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Did this week's cover catch your eye? Do you have an opinion you'd like to share? Please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!

INTERESTED IN SEEING MORE?
CHECK OUT WHAT MY FRIENDS HAVE BOOKMARKED:

Magdalena at It's a Mad Mad World
Holly at 2 Kids are Tired
Heather at The Maiden's Court

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Interview with Susan Hughes, author of A Kiss From France

Author interviews are one of my favorite things to post which is why I am super excited to welcome author Susan Hughes to Flashlight Commentary to discuss her novel, A Kiss from France.

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Welcome to Flashlight Commentary Susan. It’s great to have you with us. To start things off, please tell us a bit about A Kiss from France.
The story is set during the latter part of WW1, and follows the lives of two British female munitions workers whose expectations are shattered by that war. One decides to make the best of it in spite of the hardships and looks to the future; the other is haunted by past failures and struggles to break free. Each woman must contemplate making a personal sacrifice so that when peace comes, they are able to exert some control over their lives.

Where did the idea for this story come from? 
After my grandmother died, I found half a dozen WW1 silk postcards in a box. They’d been sent from the western front one hundred years ago. With them was a black and white photograph of some prisoners of war. I had no luck finding out more information about the identities of the senders and recipient (although I suspect they were my great grandfather and great grandmother) but the cards continued to fascinate me. I decided to research the period and came across the female munitions workers’ stories. I knew I’d found my heroines for a story about the brave women left behind on the Home Front.

Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about Lizzie Fenwick? What kind of woman is she? 
Lizzie is nineteen and single when the novel starts in 1917. She is intelligent but, in line with the times, wasn’t formally educated beyond age 14. Nevertheless, she is quietly ambitious and wants to make something of herself beyond the confines of domestic service. The outbreak of war gives her the opportunity to work in a munitions factory where the better wages and greater social freedoms fuel her dreams of betterment. Of course, this being an era when spinsterhood was considered the cardinal sin and the death and casualty rate from the war was reducing the pool of possible suitors horribly, Lizzie feels the pressure to find a husband. The war complicates matters in the most grievous way, but ultimately she has to decide where her true future fulfilment lies. 

What about Eunice Wilson, how is she different from Lizzie? 
Eunice is married and finally a mother after four miscarriages. By WW1 standards (female life expectancy 50 years), she is middle aged at 32. The war has fractured her marriage and being a mother becomes all consuming. Unlike Lizzie she doesn’t expect the jobs women fill while the war rages to be continued once peace returns. Eunice is quite content in the domestic sphere and the social and economic freedoms Lizzie relishes are far less important to her. In the end it’s her heartfelt maternal instincts that inform her character and lead her to a decision which will come back to haunt her.

With the men off fighting the war, women had to step outside their traditional roles. Taking on these responsibilities is kind of a double edged sword isn’t it? Freedom and independence is not free of consequence and/or temptation. Do Eunice or Lizzie struggle to find balance in their new existence?
Lizzie is quite naïve and when we first meet her she is daydreaming about an idealised war-hero she is writing to, but hasn’t yet met. She is also reeling from the memory of being verbally abused at a dance by a soldier because she refused to sleep with him. She doesn’t see herself as ‘that sort of girl’. When Lizzie is caught in a horrific bombing raid it changes her outlook: if she might be dead tomorrow, she might as well live a bit first.  Soon enough she has to deal with the consequences of that decision, and she comes to realise that freedom and independence is indeed a double edged sword, particularly if your moral compass has been skewed by accepted wartime behavior.

Eunice, in charge of the household in her husband’s absence and earning good money, quite enjoys a degree of freedom and independence. But when the war brings grief, she succumbs to a temptation different from Lizzie’s. It doesn’t bring her the relief or joy she hoped for, rather it exacerbates her torment. Unlike Lizzie, balance in her new existence eludes Eunice. 

As a novelist, what drew you to this particular period?
Ever since I read Wilfred Owen’s war poems at school and, later, classic WW1 fiction, I have been drawn to that cataclysmic conflict. However, it was probably finding the WW1 postcards that really ignited my imagination. There’s something about a big conflict, life and death, with all its extremes - horror and grief at one end and love and kindness at the other - that spoke to something in me. Maybe it was knowing my relatives endured it? It was also a period when women stepped out of the shadows of their traditional roles and stood up to be counted, filling the men’s shoes. It might have only been ‘for the duration’, but there would be no going back from that.

What scene posed the greatest challenge for you as an author? Why was it troublesome and how did you work through it?  
I agonized over the ending. Lizzie has to make a choice. Given what she experiences, the times she lives through and the point at which I end the story, I think she makes the right decision. However, I’ve had some requests for a sequel to see how her decision pans out. Maybe I’ll do that.

Sometimes fiction takes on a life of its own and forces the author to make sacrifices for the sake of the story. Is there a character or concept you wish you could have spent more time on?
I really enjoyed imagining the character of Peggy Wood – a foundling whose confined, loveless upbringing fuels her desire to cast caution to the wind, have a good time and deny herself nothing. She is the link between Lizzie and Eunice and is the catalyst that encourages both women’s wartime behavior. Her approach to life can be encapsulated in her motto: “There’ll be plenty of time for regrets after the war – if you live that long.” Peggy is amoral – although her conscience does prick her occasionally – and I could have almost written an entire novel about her (note to self: write a book about Peggy!)

Historical novelists frequently have to adjust facts to make their stories work. Did you have to invent or change anything while writing A Kiss from France and if so, what did you alter? 
My munitions factory is based on an actual place but I altered one particular historical fact about it to suit the plotline. So I don’t give anything away, I’ll only say I changed the date of an event by a few months. That’s the only historical fact I altered, all other things are in accordance with the actual WW1 timeline.

If you could sit down and talk with one of your characters, maybe meet and discuss things over drinks, who would you choose and why?
Eunice’s husband, Jack Wilson. We only see him through Eunice and Lizzie’s eyes but his actions have a key impact on their lives. However, I think I’d prefer to meet him before the war changes everything. See him when he’s in his pomp as a professional boxer, handsome and attractive, winning trophies and female hearts. I might even flirt with him a little bit…

Just because I’m curious, if you could pick a fantasy cast to play the leads in a screen adaptation of A Kiss from France, who would you hire? 
Because my story is set in Britain, all but one of my leads are British. (I hope Amy Adams can master a British accent!)
Lizzie Fenwick: Amy Adams (fresh-faced beautiful redhead, has a certain naivety about her but behind the eyes there’s a determination to win!)
Eunice Wilson: Kelly Macdonald (physically, her particular features lend themselves to an old-fashioned look and would suit my period drama; but I like that there is an aura of fragility and vulnerablility about her)
Lizzie’s soldier-lover: James MacEvoy (Attractive without being classically handsome, he has the right balance of masculinity and sensitivity)
Edmund Fawcett: Richard Armitage (Tall, dark and commanding but compassionate – rather as he appeared in Mrs Gaskell’s ‘North and South’ British TV adaptation)
(Check out my Pinterest board for ‘A Kiss from France’ to see them https://uk.pinterest.com/hughes7584/a-kiss-from-france)

Finally, what's next for you? Do you have a new project in the works?
I’m sticking with the twentieth century. I’ve been immersed in the 1930s for my current project, which is almost finished: a suspense novel set in London, with a romantic element. I really love that period – the extremism in politics; the glamorous fashions; the class divisions – and I have another story set in that same era percolating in my head. 

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PRAISE FOR A KISS FROM FRANCE

"I was impressed by the way it deals with the trauma and desperation of those who return home from war, and the emptiness and pain of those who stayed behind and witnessed the return of men whose minds and lives were irrevocably broken. It’s about how exceptional and extreme situations, like wars, affect the lives of ordinary people in their daily lives, and influence their perception of life and love." - Luccia Gray, Goodreads Reviwer

"I really couldn't put this book down and as I reached the end I was sure how it was all going to finish. I have to say I was surprised when I'd reached the last page and the outcome was quite different. I'm not sure what the author's plans are but I would love to see a sequel." - Joanna Lambert, Goodreads Reviewer

"Beautifully written & I thoroughly enjoyed it .. the only thing I would say is it seemed to finish a bit too quickly for me, nevertheless I would happily recommend it & look forward to the authors’ next novel in the Spring. I hereby award it 4 stars." - Allison, Goodreads Reviewer

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I grew up north of the River Tyne but then I heard the siren call of London and left, never to live in the North East again.  As a child, I had little interest in dolls – I preferred climbing trees and catching water boatmen in a jam jar; my best ever toys were a go-kart and a scalextric. My grandmother’s home cooking fed my body but books nourished my soul.  All my meagre pocket money went on 3/6 paperbacks from T&G Allen in North Shields.

I live near the North Devon coast, where long walks and bracing
West Country air give me space and thinking time.  Around me swirl the ghosts of King Arthur at Tintagel, Lorna Doone on Exmoor and the denizens of Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Jamaica Inn’ on Bodmin Moor.

A Kiss from France is my debut novel.


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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Cover Cliché: White Repose

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see an image that gives me an oddly disconcerting sense of deja vu. I could swear I've never read the book, but I know I've seen the jacket image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Images are often recycled because cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. That said, I find comparing their finished designs quite interesting.  

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The more he tries to stay away from her, the more his obsession grows…

What if…
Elizabeth Bennet was more unsuitable for Mr. Darcy than ever…

Mr. Darcy is determined to find a more suitable bride. But then he learns that Elizabeth is living in London in reduced circumstances, after her father’s death robs her of her family home…

What if…
Mr. Darcy can’t help himself from seeking her out…

He just wants to make sure she’s alright. But once he’s seen her, he feels compelled to talk to her, and from there he’s unable to fight the overwhelming desire to be near her, or the ever-growing mutual attraction that is between them…

What if…
Mr. Darcy’s intentions were shockingly dishonorable…




A tale of time travel, true love, and Jane Austen

New York actress C.J. Welles, a die-hard Jane Austen fan, is on the verge of landing her dream role: portraying her idol in a Broadway play. But during her final audition, she is mysteriously transported to Bath, England, in the year 1801. And Georgian England, with its rigid and unforgiving social structure and limited hygienic facilities, is not quite the picturesque costume drama C.J. had always imagined.

Just as she wishes she could click her heels together and return to Manhattan, C.J. meets the delightfully eccentric Lady Dalrymple, a widowed countess who takes C.J. into her home, introducing her as a poor relation to Georgian society—including the dashing Earl of Darlington and his cousin, Jane Austen!

When a crisis develops, C.J.—in a race against time—becomes torn between two centuries. An attempt to return to her own era might mean forfeiting her blossoming romance with the irresistible Darlington and her growing friendship with Jane Austen, but it’s a risk she must take. And in the midst of this remarkable series of events, C.J. discovers something even more startling—a secret from her own past that may explain how she wound up in Bath in the first place.




A Tale of Uncharted Love on the Open Seas 

In this enchanting and highly original retelling of Jane Austen'sPride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet sets out for the new world aboard the grand ship Pemberley's Promise. She's prepared for an uneventful voyage until a chance encounter with the handsome, taciturn Mr. Darcy turns her world upside down.

When Elizabeth falls ill, Darcy throws convention overboard in a plan that will bind them to each other more deeply than he ever could have imagined. But the perils of their ocean voyage pale in comparison to the harsh reality of society's rules that threaten their chance at happiness. When they return to the lavish halls of England, will their love survive?





The stunning, massively bestselling story of Napoleon's first fiancé

< First published in 1953, this riveting true-life tale comes to life in diary form, giving readers an inside glimpse at the young Napoleon and his family. Désirée is enchanted by the young officer, and he asks her to marry him. But he must leave for Paris, where he meets his eventual wife Josephine. A heartbroken Désirée is unsure she'll ever find anyone again. A love story, but so much more, Désirée is the tale of a simple merchant's daughter who ends up with a kind of royalty she never expected: an unforgettable story just waiting to be reborn.





As a spirit of change overturns Europe’s old order, strong-willed Elzelina Versfelt enters her own age of revolution. Married as a romantic young girl to a man who wanted only her money, but neither loves nor desires her, Elza refuses to be chained any longer. Leaving Amsterdam, her marriage, and her home, she flees to France—where the old rules no longer apply, debauchery is not a sin...and nothing is forbidden.

Yet Elza finds herself bound in a new way, to the ambitious General Moreau. And while they share pleasure, pain, and carnal adventures, she dreams of another man, an unruly red-haired soldier she first saw in the promise of a Tarot card. Drawn by this half-real, half-imagined hero, Elza defies her relationship with Moreau, and begins a perilous search across war-torn Europe. But will this woman with the instincts of a survivor, the passion of a courtesan, and the gift of second sight ever find the destiny for which she has risked it all?

This stunning novel blends history with the language of the heart to tell a sensual story of an era of upheaval...and of the clamoring, dangerous desires of a woman’s soul.




When Martha Dandridge Custis marries her second husband, George, she never suspects that the soft-spoken Virginia planter is destined to command the founding of a nation—or that she is to be “Lady Washington,” the woman at the first President’s side. Only a select inner circle of women will know the cost of sharing a beloved man with history . . . and each will draw strength from the unique treasure given to them by a doomed queen.

Seeing farm and family through each harsh New England season, Abigail Adams is sustained only by the fervent reunions stolen between John’s journeys abroad. She will face the terror of an ocean crossing to join her husband in France—and write her own page in history. And there she will cross paths with kings, commoners—and young Sally Hemings.

Just as Sally had grown from a clever child to a beautiful woman, so had her relationship with Thomas Jefferson grown from a friendship between slave and master to one entangled in the complexities of black and white, decorum and desire. It is a relationship that will leave Sally to face an agonizingly wrenching choice.

Dolley Madison, too, must live with the repercussions of a forbidden love affair—although she will confront even greater trials as a President’s wife. But Dolley will become one of the best-loved ladies of the White House—and leave an extraordinary legacy of her own.

A lushly written novel that traces the marriages tested by the demands of love and loyalty, Patriot Hearts offers readers a dazzling glimpse behind the scenes of a revolution, from adversity and treachery to teatime strategies, as four magnificent women shape a nation’s future.




The restorative power of the ocean brings Jane Austen and her beloved brother Henry, to Brighton after Henry’s wife is lost to a long illness. But the crowded, glittering resort is far from peaceful, especially when the lifeless body of a beautiful young society miss is discovered in the bedchamber of none other than George Gordon—otherwise known as Lord Byron. As a poet and a seducer of women, Byron has carved out a shocking reputation for himself—but no one would ever accuse him of being capable of murder. Now it falls to Jane to pursue this puzzling investigation and discover just how “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” Byron truly is. And she must do so without falling victim to the charming versifier’s legendary charisma, lest she, too, become a cautionary example for the ages.




"Woman is born free and lives equal to man in her rights," declared Olympe de Gouges in 1791. Throughout the French Revolution, women, inspired by a longing for liberty and equality, played a vital role in stoking the fervor and idealism of those years. In her compelling history of the Revolution, Lucy Moore paints a vivid portrait of six extraordinary women who risked everything for the chance to exercise their ambition and make their mark on history.

At the heart of Paris's intellectual movement, Germaine de Staël was a figure like no other. Passionate, fiercely intelligent and as consumed by love affairs as she was by politics, she helped write the 1791 Constitution at the salon in which she entertained the great thinkers of the age. At the other end of the social scale, her working-class counterparts patrolled the streets of Paris with pistols in their belts. Théroigne de Méricourt was an unhappy courtesan when she fell in love with revolutionary ideals. Denied a political role because of her sex, she nevertheless campaigned tirelessly until a mob beating left her broken in both mind and body. Later came the glittering merveilleuses, whose glamour, beauty and propensity for revealing outfits propelled them to the top of post-revolutionary society. Exuberant, decadent Thérésia Tallien reportedly helped engineer Robespierre's downfall. In so doing, she and her fellow "sans-chemises" ushered in a new world that combined sexual license with the amorality of the new Republic.




Beautiful, dark-haired Marianne d'Asslenat fled England, leaving her dastardly husband for dead in the blazing ruins of what had been their home. In France her beauty and wit won the heart of the Emperor himself, Napoleon Bonaporte, and under his patronage she found a place high in Parisian society and a new career as an opera singer. But on the very night of her debut, she is terrified by a face in the audience - the scarred visage of Francis Cranmere, the husband she believed dead.

In desperation Marianne seeks someone to protect her from Francis' insane lust for revenge. But there is no one. Even Napoleon seems to slip away from her after his marriage to Marie-Louise of Austria.

So Marianne must once more venture into the unknown: to Italy and the magnificent villa of the Tuscan prince whose face no one has ever seen; a villa haunted by some strange, nameless evil...

English Title: Marianne and the Masked Prince




Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent older cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in Philip as his heir, a man who will love his grand home as much as he does himself. But the cosy world the two construct is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence. There he falls in love and marries - and there he dies suddenly. Jealous of his marriage, racked by suspicion at the hints in Ambrose's letters, and grief-stricken by his death, Philip prepares to meet his cousin's widow with hatred in his heart. Despite himself, Philip is drawn to this beautiful, sophisticated, mysterious Rachel like a moth to the flame. And yet... might she have had a hand in Ambrose's death?





Although it was illegal, secret, and against the express commands of his famously mad father, King George IV of England married twice--once for duty and once for love. While Caroline of Brunswick eventually became his lawful queen, it was the beautiful Maria Fitzherbert, recognized as his wife by the Catholic Church but not by the laws of England, who claimed his heart. In the hands of author Diane Haeger, their relationship becomes a mesmerizing love story, filled with intrigue and passion. The characters and drawing rooms of 18th Century England come alive to create a portrait of the age that is colorful and resonant with historical detail.





The task had taken shape thanks to the inconvenient way secrets had of bubbling to the surface. It went without saying that it was going to be difficult. But then, murder always was…

The London docks, 1817.

Beneath a silent moon, a mysterious exile slips back into the city to complete a nefarious mission that began decades before.

On that same night, London's titled, wealthy and beautiful waltz the night away at Glenister House. Among the guests aristocratic Charles Fraser, a former spy recently returned from the Napoleonic Wars, and his bride Mélanie, who has charmed London society but hides her own secrets. In the brilliance of Mayfair, a visitor from their past pulls Charles and Mélanie back into the world of danger and espionage they thought they had left behind. But this time, the intrigues are rooted in Charles's complex and troubled family.

An assassination, a secret society, and the dangerous liaisons of the Fraser family lead Charles and Mélanie from the glittering ballrooms and shadowy streets of London to the Fraser estate on the Scottish coast. This is a deadly game that could shake the fate of nations: but for Charles, the stakes are the lives of those he holds most dear, and the love of the enigmatic woman who shares his name...and his bed.


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Which cover strikes your fancy and why? What colors draw your eye? Do you think the image appropriate next to the jacket description? Leave your comments below!

Have you seen this image elsewhere? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know. 


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