Bitter Harvest

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While everybody knows about the Holocaust, there was another major genocide in Europe in the 20th century that is almost unknown.

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The Holodomor, Stalin’s manufactured famine/genocide, is believed to have killed up to ten million people in Ukraine in the 1930s. Still denied by Moscow, this genocide has received little to no attention from the West, and none whatsoever from Hollywood.

A new film is due out now which tackles this topic, focusing on a Ukrainian Cossack couple. Keep an eye out for Bitter Harvest this month.

Surrender to the Marquess (Herriard #3) by Louise Allen

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Please ignore the silly blurb; it’s a much better book that the publisher wants you to think!

When Lady Sara Herriard’s husband dies in a duel, she turns her back on the vagaries of the ton. From now on, she will live as she pleases. She won’t change for anyone certainly not for the infuriating Lucian Avery, Marquess of Cannock!

Lucian must help his sister recover from a disastrous elopement and reluctantly enlists Lady Sara’s help. She couldn’t be further from the conventional, obedient wife he’s expected to marry, but soon all he craves is for her to surrender and join him in his bed!

Surrender to the Marquess (Herriard #3) by Louise Allen

Gorgeous cover!

I will read anything Louise Allen writes. She is far and away one of my favourite historical romance writers, and she should not be overlooked because she writes for Mills and Boon/Harlequin instead of one of the other publishers.

This might be one of my favourite books by her, even though I’ve not yet read the others connected to it.

This story features the daughter of a marquess, who meets a marquess in disguise in a coastal town in Dorset. It’s not some silly, contrived disguise plot, but because he is trying to protect his younger sister’s reputation after he rescued her on the Continent, close to death.

I loved that he had to give up on the deception early, because a peer can spot a peer amongst the working and middle classes. I also liked how hero and heroine came to be together, from him thinking she was a widow he could have an affair with, to him needing her to help with his sister.

The heroine is twenty-four, but already widowed because she lost her husband in a duel. She has no interest in marrying back into her class, where the men have paternalistic ideas about honour and protecting women – and this is exactly how the hero is.

Things progress believably, and there is a lot for both characters to overcome.

There is also the mystery surrounding the hero’s sister, and a mystery surrounding another man in town.

Not all the book takes place in Dorset, and we do get our time with the aristocratic families – something most people seem to think is necessary for a Regency romance!

I can’t really explain why some authors are so much better than others (I was reading another Regency at the same time, and there was NO comparison). However, everything about this book works.

From the historical accuracy and total understanding of social rules – nobody is addressing someone out of turn or in the wrong way. To the true English feel to it (it helps the author lives in England) – no silly, inaccurate stereotypes you find in too many books like this. To the genuine ROMANCE that develops even though both characters only planned to be lovers at first (made believable by the fact the heroine has already been married once).

To the amount of PLOT from start to finish, which means my mind never drifted…

Every time I read one of Louise Allen’s books set on the English coast, I feel like planning another trip!

This was such a good read.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

What I am up to.

When I travel I always have the best intentions of maintaining my blogs, but of course that never happens!

I have begged off lunch in Venice today to catch up on some things in my work life, but when you are staying on the Grand Canal it is always easy to be distracted!

It didn’t help that when I ducked out to the supermarket I was discovered by friends and “forced” to stop for pre-lunch drinks!

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I finished Mary Balogh’s latest the other day, and loved it to pieces (I honestly don’t ever cry, but this is one of four of thousands of books I’ve read that nearly made me). However, there won’t be a review until I return home in March.

I am now in the process of reading a bunch of Australian books by women writers, as I am to moderate at the Jugiong Writers’ Festival shortly after I return home:

http://jugiongwritersfestival.com/?page_id=715

http://jugiongwritersfestival.com/

I am also now reading a review copy of Eloisa James’ latest book – my first by this very famous author! It is great so far.

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Breakfast view.

However, I am in Venice at Carnevale, the most important time of the year, there are people in spectacular costumes everywhere, and our long-term Italian friends (who we’ve known since living in India many years ago) have driven here from Asti to spend time with us. So I am falling behind.

My Italian-language skills are becoming terrible, because these days so many people speak English.

I am sorry for all the typos I am sure are in this post, but I have no proper computer at the moment!

I am also sorry for not responding to people. It is not on purpose!

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

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I have seen exactly ten minutes of one episode of the television adaptation of this series, but now find myself the unexpected owner of a bunch of Miss Fisher books.

Set in Melbourne, Australia in the 1920s, the show turned out to do fairly well overseas, which surprised me a bit (in the parts I’ve seen, there are some VERY heavy Australian accents in there!). However, the costumes look gorgeous:

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Has anybody read these? I have no idea when I’ll find time to, but I figure I’d better at least try one!

Walking Jane Austen’s London by Louise Allen

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Walking Jane Austen’s London contains eight new walks to appeal to Jane Austen enthusiasts, history buffs and anyone who enjoys exploring London. It is lavishly illustrated in colour with detailed maps, original prints of the period and photographs.

Walking Jane Austen’s London by Louise Allen

Louise Allen is one of my favourite authors, and – in addition to writing excellent Regency-era stories, she produces some non-fiction guidebooks to the London of two hundred years ago.

I’ve owned Walking Jane Austen’s London for a while now, but recently revisited it for an upcoming short trip to the city.

Having lived on Fleet Street (in the City with a capital *C*), in nearby Holborn on the edge of the West End, and in Notting Hill, I find Allen’s guide very useful, as the old rich, Mayfair part of London is probably the bit of town I’m the least familiar with.

This guide points out heaps of little historical details about the streets and buildings you’d otherwise never know, as well as tying it all in to Austen’s books.

Allen has another guide worth a look: Walks Through Regency London.

Walking Jane Austen’s London is interesting if you plan on being in London soon, or if you’re just a fan of historical fiction.