Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs at https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/
Liz has been reading The Crown Spire by Catherin Curzon and Willow Winsham
Do you yearn for the world of dashing highwaymen and spirited women in glamorous 18th century dresses? Then be careful what you wish for. This is also a world in which only men have power and marriage can be a trap.
In The Crown Spire we become acquainted with Alice Ingram married for 20 years to an abusive, unpleasant man and her young niece, Beth, who is completely unaware of her aunt’s unhappiness. Fleeing along the Great North Road, they are suddenly in dire danger until two masked men save them and deliver them into the safe hands of the Bishop of Edinburgh. Both women find it difficult to forget their rescuers but once in Edinburgh they become entangled with two other men. Beth is quickly captivated by charming innkeeper Edward Hogan, even though he is well below her station but Alice maintains her dignity and has constant arguments with respectable doctor, James Dillingham.
Edinburgh of 1795 is, as you might expect, a city of charm and danger, but the lack of propriety shown by Beth is astonishing. Alice is a more empathetic character and the reader enjoys becoming closer to the reticent doctor. As in all good fiction, they have secrets, but love and passion will conquer all, until the dramatic events of the last section of the book threaten everyone’s happiness.
The description of the taverns give a sound historical authenticity to events but personally I would have liked to have read more about everyday life in the streets of Edinburgh. The fast-moving story is difficult to put down and I hope that there will be other romantic adventures, in this style, to follow.
When the coach carrying Alice Ingram and her niece, Beth, to Edinburgh is attacked, they’re grateful for the intervention of two mysterious highwaymen who ride to their rescue. Beth is thrilled by the romance of it all, but Alice, fleeing her brutish husband, has had more than enough drama in her life.
As the women find sanctuary in a tavern on the Great North Road, Beth is thrilled to meet Edward Hogan, the roguish publican. Despite the difference in ages and backgrounds, the couple have instant chemistry and when Ed invited Beth to visit his Edinburgh tavern, she resolves to get to know him even better. Yet Beth is also taken with the highwayman who rescued her; after all, there’s something irresistible about a rogue.
Shaken from the attack, Alice grudgingly allows herself to be seen by Doctor James Dillingham, Ed’s best friend. Though Dillingham sees the telltale signs of physical abuse on Alice, she refuses to speak of it. Dillingham is dour and Alice frosty, and the two take an instant dislike to each other, so why does their shared coach journey to Edinburgh the following day seem to sizzle?
Once in Edinburgh, Beth starts secretly spending time with Ed, who she begins to think might know more about those highwaymen than he is letting on. By day, Alice sorts Dillingham’s paperwork at the charity hospital he runs yet by night she sneaks off to meet her own highwayman, travelling the backroads of the city with the masked figure. Slowly, Alice is coming back to life. But will the husband she is fleeing find her out? And will her highwayman come to her rescue again?
Set during the heady days of the Georgian era when bodysnatching and highwaymen were never too far away, The Crown Spire is a thrilling romantic adventure rich with excitement and packed with historical detail.
About the authors
Catherine Curzon is a royal historian, best known for her non-fiction books Life in the Georgian Court and Kings of Georgian Britain. She also writes a fascinating 18th century history blog under the nom-de-plume of Madame Gilflurt.
Her work has been featured on the official website of BBC History magazine and in publications such as Explore History, All About History, History of Royals and Jane Austen’s Regency World.
She has provided additional research for An Evening with Jane Austen at the V&A, which she has also presented around the country.
Willow Winsham is the author of Accused: British Witches throughout History and she brings readers regular tales of witches and witchcraft on her blog The Witch, the Weird and the Wonderful
Combining a passion for research and history with a love of storytelling, she dedicates her time to investigating some of the most intriguing stories from the history of the British Isles.
When she isn’t digging out tantalizing historical tit bits or tracing elusive family members, she is busy home educating her two children.