Cover Love

Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep

This three-book compilation of Michelle Griep’s Regency and Victorian-era Ladies of Intrigue series is so gorgeous.

The trilogy will be released in one volume at the beginning of next month. (It’s Christian fiction, though, so beware if that’s not your thing…)


The Widow of Ballarat by Darry Fraser

The Widow of Ballarat by Darry Fraser

1854, Ballarat, Victoria. When Nell Ambrton’s husband is shot dead by a bushranger, there are few who grieve his passing, and Nell least of all. How could she miss the monster who had abused her from the day they wed – the man who had already killed his innocent first wife? But his death triggers a chain of events that seem to revolve around the handsome bushranger who murdered him – a man to whom Nell, against her better judgement, is drawn. But Nell has far more than a mysterious stranger to worry about. With a mess of complications around her late husband’s will, a vicious scoundrel of a father trying to sell her off in matrimony, and angry relatives pursuing her for her husband’s gold, she is more concerned with trying to ensure her safety and that of her friend, goldfields laundry woman Flora, than dealing with the kind of feelings that led her astray so catastrophically before. After the violence on the goldfields, Nell’s fate also hangs in the balance. It seems that, after all, she might need to do the one thing she has avoided at all costs … ask for the help of a man.

The Widow of Ballarat by Darry Fraser

Anybody who has been to school in Australia has learnt about the Eureka Stockade (a rebellion on the gold fields). However, Darry Fraser’s take on one of the most (in)famous events in Australian history is so richly researched I was astonished by the detail.

There’s a common misconception Australian history has nothing to offer, but – in reality – we had all the dangers, the drama, the outlaws (bushrangers) you could possibly want.

Marketed to me as historical romance, but published under the MIRA line, The Widow of Ballarat is as much historical *fiction* as romance.

The early chapters were gripping in their originality. Each time I thought something would happen a certain way, it changed. I was really impressed with those scenes.

My only criticism is that occasionally all the characters’ internal debating went on for a bit…

However, it was great to read a book with these themes.


Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Cover Love

It’s as Victorian as it comes, and it’s beautiful. Christian fiction publishers really know how to produce amazing book covers.

Lady of a Thousand Treasures (The Victorian Ladies #1) by Sandra Byrd

Lady of a Thousand Treasures (The Victorian Ladies #1) by Sandra Byrd

Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.


Want to Read: Dominion by Peter Ackroyd

Released last week, I saw Dominion reviewed in Canberra Weekly, and now I *have* to have it! This is the fifth of six planned instalments about the history of England, and the time period it covers (1815-1901) is probably the one that fascinates me the most.

Dominion: The History of England from the Battle of Waterloo to Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee (The History of England #5) by Peter Ackroyd

Dominion The History of England from the Battle of Waterloo to Victoria's Diamond Jubilee (The History of England #5) by Peter Ackroyd

The fifth volume of Peter Ackroyd’s enthralling History of England

Dominion, the fifth volume of Peter Ackroyd’s masterful History of England, begins in 1815 as national glory following the Battle of Waterloo gives way to a post-war depression and ends with the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901.

Spanning the end of the Regency, Ackroyd takes readers from the accession of the profligate George IV whose government was steered by Lord Liverpool, whose face was set against reform, to the ‘Sailor King’ William IV whose reign saw the modernisation of the political system and the abolition of slavery.

But it was the accession of Queen Victoria, at only eighteen years old, that sparked an era of enormous innovation. Technological progress―from steam railways to the first telegram―swept the nation and the finest inventions were showcased at the first Great Exhibition in 1851. The emergence of the middle-classes changed the shape of society and scientific advances changed the old pieties of the Church of England, and spread secular ideas among the population. Though intense industrialization brought booming times for the factory owners, the working classes were still subjected to poor housing, long work hours, and dire poverty. Yet by the end of Victoria’s reign, the British Empire dominated much of the globe, and Britannia really did seem to rule the waves.

Northern Ireland

We left Belfast yesterday morning, and are now staying in the Antrim coast town of Ballycastle for a few nights. The town is famous for being the place the world’s first telegraph was sent. Robert the Bruce also went into hiding on the island just off the mainland.

We have a three-storey house all to ourselves, overlooking the harbour! You can see Scotland from here.

The view from my bedroom this morning:


The famous, heritage listed Victorian pub The Crown in Belfast on our last afternoon there:


Carrickfergus Castle north of Belfast, which is a big fortress with an important history:


The Antrim Coast route:



And Ballycastle Harbour: