Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Amanda Reviews The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham

Today we have a review from team member Amanda, she blogs at


She chose to read and review The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham by Tony Riches.


Wow what a book i really did enjoy it . This is one of the first books by Tony Riches i had read so i was not sure what it would be like . I pick to read because i love history and i was so happy i pick , it a very powerful read . The story will just grip you . I got pulled into the plot by the first few pages . It became a page turner for me .The story is told from the point of view of Eleanor who was the Duchess of Gloucester she was put on trial for witchcraft and treason against Henry VIEleanor was the wife of the duke Humphrey of Gloucester he was one of the richest men in the country i was not sure if i like him what did you think ? He was next in line to the throne so one day Eleanor hoped she would become the Queen of England .
I enjoyed reading about Eleanor interest in astrology and the dark arts but was she into witchcraft you will have to make up your own minds i was not sure ?
what will you think ?

Her husband seem to be a very powerful man but he did a few things that lead to his enemies accuse Eleanor of a plot against the king
She was found guilty of sorcery and witchcraft but for some reason the king Henry VI order her to be imprison for life ,this was for about 10 year normally people were killed or hanged for this crime in them days .
Eleanor was now the kings prisoner she when to the finest palaces i enjoy read about them all tony wrote then in such detail i could see them in my mind .
Leeds castle sounded one of the best but i felt the isle of man was one of the worst .The condition were so bad very basic and so not fit for anyone to be put in .My heart when out to her .She lived a very tough life she had to deal with so much i want to tell you more but i want you all to read
She did have a maid to help her and look after her but were they good to her ?
Did they go behind her back ?
Where did her jewellery go that she sew into her dress ?
I not sure she could trust any one
The book tells you how Eleanor got her writing things her inks and parchment i like how she made her pens from the crows feathers she found in the gardens if she allow to walk around she hid them to use later .

She was very clever and wrote her diary in a code she learn how to write it took a while for her to understand she wrote about her life . The book tell you of her affairs and the love of her life too . The last place she was at was Becunuris Castle on the island of Angley . This was were she hid her box and some year later workmen found her old wooden box hided under the floor broad her parchment had gone yellow it took year to understand what she had wrote it was so well coded that people could not understand

I did feel a connection with the characters i did feel there were all very strong and some were very in dept i did find Eleanor hard to read sometimes but i like that about her she was a very brave lady she must of live thought hell her life was tough i did feel it was a very powerful insight to how she was treated as a prisoner it was just so interesting to read i was gripped .i wanted see what would happen next to her . You just get pulled into the plot you feel like you are there with her .I like that we got hear all her motives and actions and why she did things .I felt the plot was very well research the book a wonderful read .

Tony writing style just so easy to follow you will be addicted to the plot i was.
Tony description are so good and very clear you can see in all in your mind
The book got a lot of real facts in which i like reading this book has made me want to find out more about her as i loved the history of the story
I enjoy that last part of the book were Tony tell how or were he got all his facts from
I got to say i was not sure on this part of history i should have took more notice in school but that did not spoilt the book it just a very well written story you will be hooked on it i was .
I love to recommend you all read
4 dolls
I would like to thank Tony for letting me read his wonderful book

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT The Secret Diary Of Eleanor Cobham by Tony Riches

Today’s review is from team member Liz, she blogs at


Liz chose to read and review The Secret Diary Of Eleanor Cobham by Tony Riches


The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham by Tony Riches


Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester was unknown to me until I began to read this book, but she features in Shakespeare’s play, Henry VI, and was a significant historical character.


Written in the first person as a secret coded diary we soon learn that Eleanor is imprisoned in Beaumaris Castle on the island of Anglesey, her fourth prison over nearly 10 years. Although I sympathised with her plight I was interested in how she would explain her circumstances.


After the death of her mother at a young age and estrangement from her father after his remarriage, Eleanor considered herself lucky to become a lady-in-waiting to Jacqueline Countess of Hainault, Holland and Zeeland. Escaping civil wars at home Jacqueline was a guest at court, trying to terminate her marriage to her unpleasant husband, Charles, Duke of Brabant on the grounds that he was her first cousin. Eleanor found the lively, attractive Countess good company, although she had to adjust to her condescending manner.


Eleanor became Jacqueline’s close friend so as a reader it is difficult to sympathise with Eleanor when she betrays that friendship. Jacqueline was staying at Baynard’s Castle, near St Paul’s wharf on the River Thames at the invitation of Humphrey Plantagenet, the Duke of Gloucester. When he joined the two women, both their lives changed for ever.


This story of Eleanor’s early life is gradually revealed by Eleanor as she also describes her everyday life as a captive at Beaumaris. Looking back, she has some regrets, but her ambition and love for Humphrey, probably dictated her actions. Her complex character is not whitewashed, we see her “warts and all,” and maybe begin to understand her better. Imprisoned for witchcraft and treason against King Henry VI, she is lucky to be alive, even though she has been banished from those she loves.


A necessary part of the plot is description of battle scenes including Agincourt. These would not be my first choice of reading but Tony Riches brings the horror to life in a convincing clear account which enriches our image of the Duke of Gloucester.


As a very readable story of the complex politics of medieval life, this is an excellent read. I particularly enjoyed the way in which the reader enters the mind of a strong, determined and humane woman, gaining understanding of her motives and actions.

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October Editions of Fleet Life and EHD #Bookreviews

I am lucky enough to write a set of book reviews for two local magazines both with on-line versions.

Oct Fleet

This month’s books in Fleet Life can be found at click on the on-line directory and turn to page 6 where you’ll fine the following books;

The Shell by Tony Riches

Wild Water by Jan Ruth

The Road To Yesterday by Randy Mixter

Round and Round by Terry Tyler

Beneath The Surface by Mike Martin

Books featured in The Elvetham Heath Directory with it’s online version at , click on the on-line directory and turn to page 6 for;


The Mystery Box by Eva Pohler

Reckless Recon by Rinelle Grey

My GRL by John Howell

The Scrolls of Scion by TJ Therien

Manic Mondays by Michaela Weaver

What book have you read multiple times? Features Praxis by Fay Weldon

More from the popular post “What book have you read multiple times?”

Author Tony Riches chose to tell us about “Praxis” by Fay Weldon.


Here are his thoughts.

I’ve read many books by Stephen King more than once – but the one I’ve chosen to recommend is Praxis By Fay Weldon. I enjoyed it on the first reading, then returned to it again when I was trying to understand how to write novels. Over the years I’ve discovered it is a book you can happily re-read, always noticing something new. Sometimes disturbing, even shocking, Praxis is also poignant and funny. Fay Weldon at her best. 

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Guest Author Tony Riches


Today our guest is Tony Riches author of yesterday’s book “The Shell”, here is a link to the post if you missed it.

Tony Riches

Let’s find out more about Tony.

Author interview with Tony Riches:


1) Where is your home town?

I live in the by the coast in Pembrokeshire, rural West Wales, UK.

2) How long have you been writing?

I started writing for a wide range of magazines in my twenties, then had my first successful non-fiction book, which became an Amazon best-seller.

3) What was the one idea behind the writing of “The Shell”?

My wife and I found ourselves in a very dangerous situation, alone on a remote beach while on holiday in Mombasa. On the flight home I started thinking about what could have happened and decided it would make a great story.

4) What safety precautions did Lucy and Steve ignore whilst on holiday?

Like we did, my fictional couple were blissfully unaware of the dangers – until it was too late. We were told to ask for an escort at all times, and not to go exploring the beach away from the hotel.

5) What is a dhow?

A dhow is a primitive but effective wooden sailing boat with a distinctive triangular sail used by the local people to fish along the coast of the Indian Ocean. They are a common sight on holiday in Mombasa.

6) Who was Lucy kidnapped by and why?

My heroine Lucy was kidnapped by members of one of the many armed gangs roaming the coast of northern Kenya, particularly close to the border with Somalia. It was ‘opportunistic’ as they saw a chance to make a fortune from holding her for ransom.

7) Where were the kidnappers taking Lucy?

The region to the north east of Kenya is very hard to police, with vast expanses of desert and jungle which offered good hiding places. The kidnappers were taking her to one of their remote camps, where she could be held indefinitely.

8) What was the importance of keeping the kidnapping low profile and the media reporting controlled?

The value of the tourist industry to Kenya is immense, so the authorities prefer to keep any incidents low profile while they can. The British Consulate also has a policy of not supporting paying of ransoms to kidnappers, so this is sometimes done in secret.

9) You set aside your book when you first wrote it, why?

While I was writing The Shell another couple were attacked on the beach. The wife was kidnapped for ransom and sadly the husband was murdered trying to save her. I was more than half way through writing the novel and didn’t want anyone to think I was exploiting their misfortune, so I put it on hold. (A ransom was eventually paid to the kidnappers and the woman was safely returned.)

10) Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

More information about The Shell and my other books can be found here:   I also have a blog, The Writing Desk at and am on Goodreads:


The Shell Video Trailer:

Tony Riches is a full time writer and lives with his wife in Pembrokeshire, one of the most unspoilt areas of the UK. His first novel, Queen Sacrifice was written after looking into the early history of Wales and seeing the parallels to a game of chess, with kings and queens, bishops and castles – and the people becoming pawns in their civil wars. When not writing Tony enjoys sea and river kayaking. He also enjoys hiking and plans to complete the full 186 miles of the Pembrokeshire Coast path which passes fifty-eight beautiful beaches and fourteen harbours. You can find him on Twitter @tonyriches and his new Facebook Author Page

The Shell





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Thank you Tony, your book is a stark warning to all tourists.

The Shell by Tony Riches

The ShellThe Shell by Tony Riches

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Firstly the book cover is very striking, the eye looking deeply out at you, connects to the book in several places. You never know just who is watching you. This story is about the kidnapping of Lucy a British tourist on holiday in Mombasa, Kenya with her husband Steve. They ignore the safety warnings about not leaving the hotel beach and sadly are the victims of desperate people who see rich westerners as an easy money source.

Although the British Government policy is not to pay ransoms, I’m sure any family who have a member kidnapped will do anything to get them safely back. This book resonates with many actual kidnapping cases in war-torn and dangerous parts of the world.

Lucy is taken first by boat and then lorry towards to border with Somalia. It is believed she is taken by rebels sympathetic to the local Pokomo tribes. The Pokomo are a settled agricultural people who constantly fight over land and water with the nomadic cattle-herding Orma peoples. Mixed with this the political unrest caused by enforced borders and there is a ticking time-bomb in the whole area.

Lucy’s husband was knocked unconscious in the kidnap attack and wakes on the beach to find Lucy gone. With the help of the hotel staff, the local police and the British Consulate the search for Lucy begins. Lucy is taken on a frightening journey and must rely on her inner strength and common sense to make the most of every opportunity that presents itself to her.

The main kidnapping story is supported by a lot of back story in the form of day dreams, memories and dreams from both Steve and Lucy. I did enjoy reading about the tribal conflicts and how the peoples of Kenya lived and dealt with everyday incidents. So much of the real people’s lives are lost in news reports which focus on the violence and horror. Tourism brings much money to poor countries but it also brings new problems which affect the balance of nature and those who live a simpler life.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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Tony will join us tomorrow on the blog as our guest author do come back and find out more about him and his writing.

Good Deeds Challenge Year 2, Week 12

Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year.

New Good DeedsDuring my week I’ll also being updating you on My Kindness Challenge which I’m also doing. I read about a new challenge to make the world a better place to live in. “Speak Kind Words, Receive Kind Echoes” see the inspiration on  The Kindness blog . During my learning process I’m donating money to charity for my slip-ups to make me work harder to achieve results. I earn no money from any of my book reviews, so having little to spare should focus my mind.

This week I’ve been doing the following;

July 6th – Busy drafting up book review posts as they come in from the recent Book Review Challenge and my Book Review Team. Added another book to the Book Review Team booklist. Don’t forget anyone can request to join up at any-time. There are no minimum  or maximum rules as to the number of books you read. All we ask is that you read a book within a month of receiving it and you write a review which you will post on at least 2 sites. These can include your blog, Goodreads, Amazon etc. Plus you send me a copy of the review and I’ll post it here on the blog with full recognition going to the reviewer. I have a badge you can use on your posts too.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

July 7th – My morning volunteering at the local school. Then more work on book review drafts. Having serious talks with Stephanie Hurt about this years Romancing September Tour. We will soon be announcing the details, the format will be the same as last year, 2 posts per day either side of the Atlantic, double posts, double exposure. Writers of romance should really put their work forward for this.

July 8th – Ran out of time at work today, but had plenty more work to complete, so brought the work home and finished it later. This will help keep us on top of things, well maybe! Drafted up my review of Manic Mondays by Michaela Weaver ready to post on the blog later in the month.

July 9th – Picked up litter, provided the cricket teas for this evenings game and picked up lots more litter at the cricket ground.

July 10th – Dug out the electric sander for my brother-in-law who needed to borrow the item for the house he is building. Sorted out books for the book review team. I’m reading “How to Promote and Market your book” by Madi Preda it is full of really useful tips, ideas, templates and case studies. Plus it gets you to think about promoting yourself, not just your book and looking at the whole process as running a small business.

July 11th – Today’s book post was for a book called “The Silence of Juliet Mann” by Joanne Phillips, all profits for the book are going to the British Stammering Association, please do check it out

Caught up quickly with a good friend providing a well earned cuppa, raced off for more cricket and picked up more litter on the village green. Liaising with all the authors and book reviewers is pretty hectic, still I’m enjoying it all I’m just not getting much of my own reading done.

July 12th – Sent an author some advice about pitching her book to reviewers as it needed some work. Wrote a newsletter for the book review team to let them still feel loved. Am reading The Shell by Tony Riches a book about a kidnapping in Kenya.