Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
Terry has been reading The Crown Spire by Catherine Curzon and Willow Winsham
THE CROWN SPIRE by Catherine Curzon and Willow Winsham
4 out of 5 stars
Historical romance, moi? Not usually, but I’ve read non-fiction by both Catherine Curzon and Willow Winsham, so was sure this would be beautifully written and well-researched, and indeed it is!
Alice and her daughter Beth are fleeing from Alice’s brute of a husband in London, and travelling to Edinburgh, where they are accosted by highwaymen. Just before all is lost, though, two dashing masked riders swoop in to save them. The excitable and frustrated Beth is eager for adventure and falls for her gallant rescuer immediately, though Alice needs some persuading. They stay the night at an inn, where they meet equally dashing landlord Edward Hogan, and the dour but most likeable Dr James Dillingham. Their journey comes to an end at the house of Alice’s dour but less likeable sister, Josephine; Beth is eager to break out of the staid lifestyle forced upon a girl of her class, and find romance and thrills. Alice, too, wonders if she has leapt from frying pan to fire, and is persuaded to venture out with Dr Dillingham. All will be revealed…..
The story flows so smoothly; it’s witty, almost tongue in cheek in style, in parts, and I am certain lovers of the Regency romance will adore it. Edward Hogan is a fine hero (I was quite jealous of Beth!), and the characterisation is excellent all the way through. The sex bits didn’t make me cringe, either, which is good for me, because they usually do, but it’s written in a relatively realistic way (relative for this type of romance, I mean!), and avoids the stock phrases and descriptions.
I did have slight doubts about an upper middle class girl like Beth sneaking around and going in to pubs at night on her own, but it didn’t really matter, and my disbelief remained suspended; I don’t think the story is meant to be a hundred per cent realistic. The rest seems to be perfectly researched; I’d sum it up as charming fantasy escapism for the romantically inclined.
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.