Rosie’s Review Team #RBRT THE CROWN SPIRE by Catherine Curzon @MadameGilflurt #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs at https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading The Crown Spire by Catherin Curzon and Willow Winsham

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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.

Book Description

Scotland, 1795

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

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

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.

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THE DISCERNING GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE by @VirginiaHeath_ @HarlequinBooks #TuesdayBookBlog

The Discerning Gentleman's GuideThe Discerning Gentleman’s Guide by Virginia Heath
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Discerning Gentleman’s Guide is a Georgian historical romance from the Harlequin stable. The book is set in London in 1816.

Amelia Mansfield is a companion to Lady Worsted, they are travelling from Bath to spend a month with her nephew in London, once the daughter of a Viscount, Amelia suffered a terrible loss when he turned both her mother and Amelia out, in a cold-hearted move. Left penniless, they did the best they could on the streets of London. When Amelia’s mother died in the work-house, Amelia became determined to improve her position and worked hard to get a job and a place to live. But her interest and support of those wanting radical change in the city got her into trouble. Her luck changed when she applied for the job as ladies companion, but it took her away from London.

Returning now to the city Amelia has plans to visit her old haunts and help the poor at a local soup kitchen whenever possible. She’ll need to be discreet as they’ll be staying with the sixteenth Duke of Aveley.

Bennett Montague was a Duke and a politician. Dedicating his whole life to follow the plans and footsteps of his father, his life is rather lonely. The need for a wife has lead to him make a list of potential candidates. His guidelines for suitability of a wife-to-be are from a book he once wrote from lessons learnt from his own father, and there is a long line of ladies who would love to make the final cut.

Amelia has read Bennett’s book describing it as “drivel”, she’d never marry an aristocrat, they are pompous and out of touch with reality and she shows no qualms at voicing her opinion and challenging Bennett about his.

Bennett’s search for the perfect bride are soon turned upside-down with Amelia’s presence in his life, but how could a Duke ever consider marrying a mere ladies companion?

There were some great sub-characters in this book; Lovett, the butler, Bennett’s Uncle George and Lady Worsted, to support Bennett and Amelia is this charming rags to riches romance.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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Book Description

“Choosing a wife is not a task that should be undertaken lightly.” 

Bennett Montague, sixteenth Duke of Aveley, is seeking the perfect bride. He’s narrowed his search to five worthy “Potentials”…until the arrival of his aunt’s companion unravels his carefully laid plans. 

Having fought for everything she has, Amelia Mansfield is incensed by Bennett’s wife-selection methods. But as she’s forced to spend time in his company, she begins to see another side to Bennett—and that man is infinitely more tantalizing and enticing… 

About the author

Virginia Heath

I live on the outskirts of London with my understanding husband and two, less understanding, teenagers. 

After spending years teaching history, I decided to follow my dream of writing for Harlequin. 

Now I spend my days happily writing regency romances, creating heroes that I fall in love with and heroines who inspire me. 

When I’m not doing that, I like to travel to far off places, shop for things that I do not need or read romances written by other people.