WINNER and Runner-Up of the 2015 Historical Fiction Award #SundayBlogShare

Winner Historical Fiction

The 2015 Golden Rose Book Award for Historical Fiction

went to Zoe Saadia with Two Rivers

Zoe Saadia Two Rivers

Meet Zoe

Zoe Saadia is the author of several novels of pre-Columbian Americas. From the glorious pyramids of Tenochtitlan to the fierce democrats of the Great Lakes, her novels bring long-forgotten history, cultures and people to life, tracing pivotal events that brought about the greatness of Meso and North America.

Having researched various pre-contact cultures of this continent for more than a decade, she is convinced that it’s a shame that such a large part of history was completely overlooked, by historical fiction most of all. Both Americas has an extremely rich, diverse, fascinating history long before this continent came in contact with the rest of the world.
So her professional motto is set. America has not been ‘discovered’, not yet. Not in her novels.

Find Zoe on Twitter @ZoeSaadia

Book Description

Having survived the failed raid on the enemy lands, Tekeni had no illusions. He was nothing but an enemy cub, adopted into one of the clans, but not accepted, never for real. To fit in was difficult, to run away – impossible. To get into trouble, more often than not, was the only available option. They did not expect anything else from him, anyway.

However, when a meaningless row during a ballgame grew out of proportion, resulting in a fight, Tekeni has found himself in a truly grave trouble. Neither he nor anyone else could have foreseen the chain of events the consequences of this fight would release, when the highly esteemed but controversial Two Rivers decided to help Tekeni out.

Two Rivers was a strange person with unacceptable notions and ideas. He maintained that to war on and on was a mistake of disastrous consequences. He went as far as suggesting a negotiation of peace with some of the neighboring nations. Even Tekeni, the despised enemy, thought such ideas to be far-fetched and wild. And yet…

With their trouble mounting and the revengefulness of some people around them growing, both Tekeni and Two Rivers find themselves pushed beyond limits.

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The Silver Award went to

Frances Evesham with Danger At Thatcham Hall

Frances Evesham and Danger at Thatcham Hall

Meet Frances

Frances Evesham writes mystery stories: the Exham on Sea contemporary crime series set in a small Somerset seaside town, and the Thatcham Hall Mysteries, 19th Century historical mystery romances set in Victorian England.

She collects grandsons, Victorian ancestors and historical trivia, likes to smell the roses, lavender and rosemary, and cooks with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other. She loves the Arctic Circle and the equator and plans to visit the penguins in the south one day.

She’s been a speech therapist, a professional communicator and a road sweeper and worked in the criminal courts. Now, she walks in the country and breathes sea air in Somerset.

Catch up with Frances on Twitter @FrancesEvesham

Book Description Danger At Thatcham Hall published by Wild Rose Press

Ambitious lawyer Nelson Roberts, embittered by war, jilted by his fiancée, and trusting no one, aims to make his name solving the mysterious thefts and violence at Thatcham Hall, a country house in Victorian England.

Olivia Martin, headstrong and talented, will stop at nothing to overcome the conventions of the day, avoid a miserable fate as a governess and fulfill dreams of a musical future.

The pair stumble on a body. Is the farmhand’s death a simple accident, or something more sinister? Who attacked the livestock at the Hall and why are the villagers so reluctant to talk? Can Nelson and Olivia overcome their differences and join forces to unravel the web of evil that imperils the Hall?

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Final congratulations to all our Historical Fiction nominees.

Alison Williams with THE BLACK HOURS

William Savage with AN UNLAMENTED DEATH

Tony Riches with OWEN

Vanessa Matthews with THE DOCTOR’S DAUGHTER

ANNOUNCING winners and runners-up in the 2015 Rosie Amber Golden Rose Book Awards #TuesdayBookBlog

Plain Golden Rose

Welcome to the Official Awards Ceremony of the 2015 Rosie Amber #RBRT Book Awards. We had almost one thousand votes. A Huge thank you to all the nominees and their supporters.

Here Are The Results



2015 Rosie Amber Book Award

Fantasy and Sci-Fi

Winner of the Golden Rose is

Winner Fantasy Sci Fi

Barb Taub with One Way Fare

Barb and one way Fare



Runner-up and receiver of the Silver Rose is

Silver Fantasy

John Privilege with The American Policeman

John and The American






2015 Rosie Amber Book Award

Mystery and Thriller

Winner of the Golden Rose is

Winner Mystery Thriller

Rose Edmunds with Concealment

Rose and concealment


Runner-up and receiver of the Silver Rose is

Silver Mystery

Robert Leigh with Any Man Joe

Robert and Any man



2015 Rosie Amber Book Award


Winner of the Golden Rose is

Winner Contemporary

Mark Barry with The Night Porter

Mark Barry Night Porter


Runner-up and receiver of the Silver Rose is

Silver Contemporary

Terry Tyler with Last Child

Terry and Last Child




2015 Rosie Amber Book Award


Winner of the Golden Rose is

Winner Romance

Lynne Shelby with French Kissing

Lynne Shelby and French Kissing


Runner-up and receiver of the Silver Rose is

Silver Romance

Patricia Sands with The Promise Of Provence

Patricia and The Promise



2015 Rosie Amber Book Award

Historical Fiction

Winner of the Golden Rose is

Winner Historical Fiction

Zoe Saadia with Two Rivers

Zoe Saadia Two Rivers


Runner-up and receiver of the Silver Rose is

Silver Historical

Frances Evesham with Danger At Thatcham Hall

Frances Evesham and Danger at Thatcham Hall

A round of applause please for all our finalists;

Dylan J Morgan

C.S Boyack

Rewan Tremethick

Celine Jeanjean

Geoffrey West

Noelle Granger

Rob Sinclair

Faith Mortimer

Sue Hewitt

Laura Wilkinson

Tonia Parronchi

Dena Haggerty

Helen Pollard

Heather Hill

Donna Brown

Emily Arden

Alison Williams

William Savage

Tony Riches

Vanessa Matthews

I will be posting feature posts on the Winners and Runners-Up authors over the next few days.


Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Danger at Thatcham Hall by @FrancesEvesham #Histfic #Bookreview

Today’s review is from Noelle, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Noelle, chose to read and review Danger at Thatcham Hall by Frances Evesham


Book Review: Danger at Thatcham Hall by Frances Evesham

This is the second of Frances Evesham’s Thatcham Hall Mysteries, 19th Century historical mystery romances set in Victorian England. It continues the story begun in An Independent Woman, in which Philomena, a woman from a lower class escaped London dressed as a boy, meets, falls in love with and later marries Hugh, Lord Thatcham. In this second novel, Olivia Martin, a thoroughly headstrong but impoverished young woman, is looking forward with dread to life as a governess and music teacher to support herself. While out for a walk, she is rescued from a cow, which she thinks is a bull, by Nelson Roberts, an up-and-coming lawyer from London. Together they discovered the body of a local farmhand. Roberts has been retained by Lord Thatcham to investigate attacks on his livestock and thefts of personal items from Thatcham Hall, a country house in Victorian England . The lawyer has been embittered by his role as an officer in the war in Afghanistan and has been jilted by his fiancée, so he approaches this task in a dark state of mind. Now he has the now added responsibility of discovering the truth of what happened to the farm hand.

As in the first book, there is more or less instant attraction between the two protagonists, although they are reluctant to acknowledge it, except to themselves. Olivia, upon being brought home by Roberts, hies herself off to Thatcham Hall for a previously arranged and convenient visit, hoping to see him again. There she is to spend time with the aforementioned Philomena and Hugh, as well as Miss Selena Dainty, Lord Thatcham’s only sister. She is a beauty with blond ringlets and blue eyes of whom Olivia cannot help but be jealous, especially of Selena’s prospects for the future.

Mr. Roberts begins his investigation, but circumstances keep throwing Olivia into his path, and eventually they combine forces to solve the various mysterious threads of the story. Various well-drawn and interesting characters begin to accumulate on the list of suspects: old witchy old woman, who knows and uses herbs as drugs, and her semi-wild grandson living in a hovel in the woods near Thatcham Hall; the baker’s daughter, who is pregnant and claims to have been seduced by a servant at Thatcham Hall; Major Lovell, an army officer with whom Roberts is well acquainted and to whom Miss Dainty is attracted. The reader quickly senses his evil nature. I can’t say more without giving away important details.

Roberts and Olivia alternate between confrontation and attraction for most of the book. Some of this seems a bit contrived, as is their sudden attraction, and I found this the most tedious aspect of the book. However, Olivia’s independence and spunkiness was refreshing against the backdrop of societal propriety.

The author has done a wonderful job in her descriptions of the customs, mores and dress of the times; I was fully drawn into the world of Thatcham Hall. She has also done a good job of creating and tying together her main plot and subplots, leaving good surprises both along the way and at the end. This book was overall a good read, and I can recommend it to lovers of this genre.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Danger at Thatcham Hall by @FrancesEvesham #Histfic #bookreview

Today’s team review comes from Liz, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Liz chose to read and review Danger At Thatcham Hall by Frances Evesham


Danger at Thatcham Hall by Frances Evesham

Olivia Martin, impetuous 19 year old heroine of “Danger at Thatcham Hall” shares many characteristics with Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennett. She is forthright and courageous and too intelligent to fall in love with every handsome young man she meets.


Early in the first chapter, Olivia finds herself marooned in the alien world of “the Countryside” with an unnerving stranger and tales of maimed animals and a possible murder. She longs to return to London to follow her dreams of success in music but she knows that this is not possible for a young lady with limited funds. Instead she finds herself aiding an infuriating older man, with a mocking smile, to solve the mystery of dangerous events.


But can she trust Nelson Roberts, an ex-army officer, recently trained as a lawyer, who has come to help Lord Thatcham? As readers we soon realise that Nelson is a complex man who wrestles with unpleasant memories from his time in Afghanistan and his motives change as the plot moves forward. Both he and Olivia have put their own lives at danger.


Thatcham Hall is in the reliable hands of Mayhew the butler and Mrs Rivers the housekeeper but some of the other servants seem less trustworthy. The villagers are not very friendly and deep in the wood lives an old lady who brews herbal remedies. The setting is vividly described as each new twist of the plot is gradually revealed.


I cannot fault this well-crafted story which contains all the best ingredients for a mystery, romance and period novel without being in any way derivative. If you pick it up to read you won’t want to put it down.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Danger At Thatcham Hall by @FrancesEvesham

Today’s team review is from Barb, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Barb has been reading Danger At Thatcham Hall by Frances Evesham


My Review: 4.5  stars out of 5

In John Bowen’s talk filmed at Horace Walpole’s miniature gothic Strawberry Hill—birthplace of the gothic novel—the Professor of 19th century literature at the University of York lists the essential elements of the gothic genre. Danger at Thatcham Hall, Frances Evesham’s latest novel, provides a seamless illustration of each point:

  • A proper gothic requires its heroine to be transported to a strange place, such as a wilderness or prison. When Olivia Martin’s father dies leaving his wife and daughter in dire financial straits, they accept her cousin Hugh’s offer of an empty manor house near his own estate, Thatcham Hall. Although only a train ride from London’s amenities, the English countryside is a place full of unknown terrors for London-raised Olivia, who we first meet during her encounter with a terrifying horned beast—which turns out to be a placidly grazing Jersey milk cow. Her fear is mocked by an elegant stranger, barrister Nelson Roberts, also a London transplant brought in by Lord Thatcham when one of his servants is falsely accused of animal maiming. In best gothic fashion, her relief that the cow isn’t an attacking bull is short-lived, as another stumble leads to the discovery of a murdered body. Of course, a proper gothic also includes a contrast from the past, and Olivia soon meets that in the form of a strange young boy and his even stranger grandmother, whose tragic history is connected to both Thatcham Hall and to Nelson Robert’s military service as a British Major during a botched Afghan campaign.
  • Power is always a theme in gothics, and frequently expressed in their fascination with sexuality. Vulnerable young women are threatened, either explicitly with rape or at least with the sexual power of patriarchal figures who seem to have no restraints on their desires. But the gothic is all about the ways in which those seemingly fragile and vulnerable women triumph over such supposedly unbeatable forces. In Danger at Thatcham Hall, Olivia is indeed vulnerable, seemingly without protection or resources. As she and Nelson investigate the mysterious deaths and other events, however, we learn that she is both self-reliant and strong, with a plan to escape her fate. The hero, interestingly, is not part of this power dynamic. His job, plain and simple, is to be strong, preferably witty, and save the heroine while (unsuccessfully, of course) attempting to conceal his tortured soul (from which torment, of course, she rescues him). Olivia senses the darkness and conflict in Nelson, suffering from what we would today call post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • The indispensable tools of the Gothic-genre are the uncanny and the sublime. The former surfaces as Olivia and Nelson see familiar items used in peculiar ways, such as personal items stolen from Lord Thatcham’s family, rope with strange items twisted into it, or seemingly innocent herbs. For eighteenth century readers and still today, terrifying and overwhelming natural events such as storms or fire—things outside of the usual categories of beautiful or harmonious—contained sublime meaning. In Danger at Thatcham Hall, for example, a storm rages the night Nelson is accused of murder, while a climactic fire provides answers to the final mysteries.
  • As they describe frightening events, gothics usually fall into either terror or horror categories. Some, such as Frankenstein or Dracula, embrace supernatural phenomena to evoke horror. One of the early masters of the gothic, Ann Radcliffe, believed that terror could be “morally uplifting” by not explicitly showing horrific events, but only warning readers of their possibility. Horror, on the other hand, would describe those events fully, and thus be “morally bad”. In choosing terror over horror, the writers often looked for a natural or realistic explanation for perceived supernatural phenomena. For example, the ghostly sounds and events Jane Eyre witnesses prove to be caused by her lover’s very-much-alive hidden wife. As they investigate the mysteries in Danger at Thatcham Hall, Olivia and Nelson hear whispers of witchcraft, curses, and echoes of past evil.

It is such a pleasure to see an expert at work, and Frances Evesham is clearly a master of the gothic novel genre. Danger at Thatcham Hall is the second book in her Thatcham Hall Mysteries, but also stands well on its own. The main characters, Olivia Martin and Nelson Roberts, are at the same time perfectly shaped by their world and struggling against the limits imposed by their backgrounds and demographics. By rights, as the daughter of an impoverished widow, Olivia should be destined for a life as a governess or paid companion. Nelson should have been at the center of a group of military heroes telling tall tales of his exploits. But she is determined to earn a living with her music, while he struggles to make a name for himself as a barrister. Frances Evesham’s technique of alternating points of view between the two main characters allows us see them both from the outside and also get a glimpse of the people beneath their conventional facades. The Victorian vocabulary of the gothic is particularly entertaining, such as Olivia becoming properly “breathless” when being carried by Nelson. And I’m no expert on Victorian times, but I’m bowled over by the amount of period detail and research she commands.

My complaints are fairly minor. Even Victorians, I believe, would not be so formal in private as to have Miss Dainty refer to her cousin and friend Olivia as “Miss Martin” even when the two are alone. More significantly, I just couldn’t buy the final revelation of the identity of the villain who is manipulating the whole chain of events. Without going into spoiler-territory, I have to say I didn’t see enough buildup in the story to ever believe that “the villain” could possibly have the understanding and depth to influence and/or cause the events.

But overall, for the pitch-perfect orchestration of the gothic genre in all its elements, for the beautifully paced and written narrative, and for the creation of two wonderful lead characters, I would give Danger at Thatcham Hall four and a half stars out of five. And I certainly can’t wait for the next book in this incredible series!

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Danger At Thatcham Hall by @FrancesEvesham #bookreview

Today’s second team review comes from Luccia, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Luccia has been reading Danger at Thatcham Hall


Victorian Crime Mystery

Frances Evesham has taken us back to Thatcham Hall, a large country estate in Victorian England, to encounter and solve more mysteries and encounter sweet romance.

Danger at Thatcham Hall is easy to love if you enjoy well-written, entertaining, moving, exciting, and romantic, crime novels, set in Victorian England. It was easy for me to love. Victorian England is my favourite place, so it was a joy to spend several hours wandering around the English countryside, solving crimes.

On this occasion, there are two guests at the Hall, and a murder mystery to be unraveled, which endangers the lives of the residents at the Hall. Nelson is Lord Thatcham’s ambitious lawyer, who is a physically and spiritually scarred man, having experienced trauma at war and the betrayal of his fiancée. He meets Olivia, a strong willed pianist, who fears she may have to become a governess due to the constraints women faced when pursuing musical careers.

They stumble across a dead body, and Lord Thatcham asks Nelson to investigate the accusations against one of his staff. Nelson accepts the job and with Olivia’s help finally disentangles the mystery.

There are plenty of richly drawn characters including a villain, a spoilt child, the imposing Dowager, the lovers, a mysterious healer, villagers, farmhands, and servants at the Hall. The reader is submerged with the characters into daily life in Victorian England, including a visit to London.

Once again, the author shows expert knowledge of Victorian England, which she transmits wrapped up in an enjoyable parcel of mystery, action, and romance.

Danger at Thatcham Hall can be read as a stand-alone. The action in the first book in the series, An Independent Woman, revolved around Lord Thatcham and how he met his wife-to-be, Philomena. My only complaint is that I would have liked to see more involvement of these two impressive characters in this second novel. Of course, it is no longer their story, but I came to like them enough to want to know more. If you have not read an Independent Woman yet, I also highly recommend it, too!

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