Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Public Battles, Private Wars by Laura Wilkinson @ScorpioScribble

Today we have a review from Helen


Helen chose to read and review Public Battles, Private Wars by Laura Wilkinson


This was a really enjoyable read, and it almost got another star from me – what held it back was it not being quite clear what sort of book it was meant to be.
The social setting, a Yorkshire village in the time of the miners’ strikes, was powerfully drawn, convincing, and, for me, enlightening – I’d never spent time thinking about the personal consequences of this particular issue, and it gave me a really vivid impression of what it might have been like.
And the central character was fantastic, in her determination and her finding of unlikely strength. I believed in her progress through the novel, and in the way she responded to events – she wasn’t just drawn and then kept solid through the action, but underwent real and complex changes in response to her situation.
So, two skilled and subtle parts to the book, but then the romance was a real turnoff for me. I just didn’t think it needed it – perhaps (at a push) we needed the part relating to the central character’s husband, but not the rest of it. I can see why you might think it was necessary – to give more “human depth” to the story, and to extend it – but actually I think it limited it, by pushing it into a genre that it could have escaped from. I don’t think there’s an issue with romance novels, but this was so much more ambitious in its premise that it seemed a shame to push it back into the box.
(Oh, and was quiche lorraine really so exotic, for someone who’d been reading all about cooking and new what pasta alfredo was?)

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The Cheesemaker’s House by Jane Cable

The Cheesemaker's HouseThe Cheesemaker’s House by Jane Cable

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Cheesemaker’s House is a mystery. Alice Hart has moved to Great Fencote, a village in Yorkshire, after breaking up with her husband. She plans a new start in a house she wants to renovate along with a barn she’d like to turn into a holiday let.

In the small village, she makes friends and finds she’s intrigued by Owen Maltby, but there’s something mysterious about Owen and the way he acts at times. Alice employs Richard Wainwright to help with the renovations but he’d like to be more than friends.

At night Alice can often hear someone crying and what was Owen doing sat under a tree when he should have been somewhere else? When the builders discover a skull in the barn the mystery builds up, Alice has several visions and then Owen disappears and is seen jumping off a bridge into the river. It’s time to discover more about the history of Alice’s house which once belonged to a Cheesemaker and lay some ghosts to rest.

This is an interesting read set in the lovely Yorkshire countryside which includes the life of a village charmer and healer.

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Guest Author Sue Vincent

Today our guest is author Sue Vincent. I have read and reviewed a couple of Sue’s book “The Osiriad” and “The Initiate” co-written by Stuart France  Sue recently offered their book The Heart of Albion for out book Review Challenge.

Sue Vincent

Let’s find out more about Sue and her books.

1) Where is your home town?

I was born in West Yorkshire, in the City of Leeds, so technically I’m a city girl though these days I live in the village of Waddesdon.

2) How long have you been writing?

My mother and grandfather were both writers, so it seemed a natural thing to do. In 2008 I won the David Burland Poetry Prize. It wasn’t until Gary Vasey asked me to collaborate on The Mystical Hexagram (Datura Press) that I began to write seriously.

Meanwhile I had met Stuart France and together we had embarked upon the adventures in the landscape that gave birth to The Initiate. I would say that the rest is history… but we haven’t finished yet and our fourth book together, Doomsday: The Ætheling Thing, is almost complete.

3) In your book The Initiate you follow myths and legends around ancient sites and old churches. What were you following?

It started with the mysterious blue light that seemed to rise like a mist, caught on camera at sites of ancient sanctity. We were led along a trail of severed heads and coincidences; through the archaeology, art and medieval architecture of England. We found ourselves delving into religious iconography, folklore and legend. Perhaps what we were really following was a growing awareness that beneath the surfaces we see every day there are strange and deep mysteries, hidden in plain sight, just waiting to be noticed and seen with the eyes of the heart.

4) The Heart of Albion continues your mystical journey; where does it lead you? Where is Albion?

What had started as a very local adventure soon seemed to encompass the whole of the country; the mysteries that were unfolding are an integral part of our history, our race and the very land itself.

Albion is the oldest name for Britain and comes from an old word for ‘white’, which means ‘sacred’ too. For us, Albion is the deeper Britain, the life of the land and its people, where stream and blood flow together like the red and white springs of Avalon.

5) In Sword of Destiny your story is set in Yorkshire. Who is the ancient keeper of light?

The Keeper of Light is Merlin. He is the son of the Forest Lord and a mortal woman and it is his task to aid the four people who are brought together to champion the Light at a time of change in the world.

The moors are rich in lore and legend; magical creatures, giants and ghouls are everywhere and each rock and river has a story to tell. As we move into a digital age we do not sit by the fire and listen to these tales from Great Granny as we once did. The land sleeps, its dreams quiescent. Sword of Destiny only brushes the surface of folk memory, but I hope it captures something of the magic that brings the land to life.

6) Tell us about the coincidence of birds who find and follow you on your travels.

It all started at Uffington with the buzzards and the skylark who seemed tuned in to our conversation and mood. You would, of course, simply smile and put it down to coincidence. The long walk along the Ridgeway to Wayland’s Smithy was attended by birds. It seemed a little odd, the way they kept leading us onward. Especially after the great snowy owl that had flown up beside us in broad daylight the previous day. But again… just one of those things. Of course, next morning there were nine of them wheeling overhead… and a combined wingspan of some sixty feet is a little hard to ignore…

7) The Giants Dance is set in Derbyshire, what was the ancient stone circle you found?

One of the most important sites for Don and Wen is the little Barbrook stone circle. It is here that Wen begins an encounter with visions of a far distant past. The circle itself is half hidden by the grasses; cysts and further circles await discovery in the heather and to walk that moor open to the past brings it to a rich and vivid life.

8) Wen and Don set off on great adventures of discovery, tell us about the visions Wen sees.

                Wen has always been close to the land and has felt the echoes of the past as shadows brushing the edge of consciousness. She has a strongly sceptical streak and would have called it imagination, until and she and Don visit Wincobank. Then it gets personal.

What she sees there imposes itself upon Wen’s senses and emotions; an overlay of an other reality that shows her the story of a young girl, a seer, who calls her to witness tragedy and heroism through her eyes before taking Wen on a shared journey through a lifetime… and beyond.

9) You’ve also written a book called The Osiriad, tell us about this book.

My fascination with Egypt started early; behind the stories were deep and timeless truths that hold good for us today. Not simply moralistic tales, but abstract concepts that are only now being echoed in the various branches of Quantum Physics and modern spirituality.

But the tales were disconnected and made little sense on their own, so I pieced them together in a linear fashion that makes them understandable and cohesive. But I also wanted to make them easy and enjoyable to read, so the book is written in the first person, and it is Isis who tells the tales from Her own perspective.

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

                I write almost daily for my blog, Daily Echo and the books and new releases also feature on our website All the books are available on Amazon, as paperback and for Kindle. I can also be found on Twitter and on Facebook and via The Silent Eye website.

Sue's books

Thanks Sue, Good Luck with the new book.



Ravenscliffe by Jane Sanderson

RavenscliffeRavenscliffe by Jane Sanderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a historical novel set in Edwardian Yorkshire. It deals with mining and the political issues of the day. The vast gap between the aristocracy and the lower classes starts to crack under the influence of the children of Netherwood Hall. Toby marries the daughter of an American and his young wife invites Russian émigré, Anna, to decorate her rooms. Meanwhile, Eve’s brother giddy with success from trading in bananas, plans to expand into luxury sea travel with the help of his new coal mine. I loved the us of the Yorkshire dialect in the speech all the way through this book.

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The Little Village School by Gervase Phinn

The Little Village SchoolThe Little Village School by Gervase Phinn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve always been a huge fan of Gervase Phinn’s writing. He brings together lots of parts which I like such as; humour, English village life and the Yorkshire dialect. This book is a delightful tale of a tiny school on the verge of closure, a new Head Mistress is appointed and great changes are about to take place, but not everyone approves. New friends are made and some old wounds begin to close in this first book in the series.

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Guest Author Mark Richards

Today my guest author is Mark Richards, congratulations on being the first gentleman to brave my questions!

Hi Rosie – hope this is the sort of thing you’re looking for…

Name:              Mark Richards

Live?               By the sea in Yorkshire

When?            Can’t remember a time when I didn’t write

Type?             I write a regular weekly blog at which started as a newspaper column ten years ago. I write about the everyday trivialities of family life, and I hope I give people five minutes’ amusement and a wry smile from time. So my books are an extension of my blog – they’re a funny look at family life from a Dad’s point of view and (hopefully) they strike a chord with parents everywhere.

Tips?              Sit down and write – inspiration, if that’s what you call it, will arrive

Writing a book is only 2% of the work, promoting it is the other 98%

Writing is re-writing. And then more re-writing

Book?             I’m reading the latest – and I suspect the last – Harry Hole book by Jo Nesbo, Phantom. Yep, it’s good but like books that are part of a series if you’re going to read one, start at the beginning of the series. And I’m looking forward to Bring up the Bodies when it’s in paperback, as I thought Wolf Hall was truly excellent.

Sample?         The best introduction to my books is Best Dad I Can Be. All of 77p on your Kindle or Kindle app. Here’s the link

Best regards
Friday’s guest author will be Hope Charles

This Country Business by Max Hardcastle

Product DetailsThis Country Business by Max HardcastleMy rating: 4 of 5 stars   

This book got better as I got further in to it and all the many crazy named characters kept re-appearing, such as “Canary Mary, Thievin’ Jack and Fiery Frank”. The plot reminded me of the television series “Lovejoy” written by Jonathan Gash, which ran on the BBC from 1986-94 and followed the antics of an East Anglian antiques dealer who walked a thin line between right and wrong. “This Country Business” is set in one of my favourite areas, the Yorkshire Dales, where many of the characters would have fitted very well into Lovejoy’s world. The book is dedicated to the men who served in the Merchant Navy from 1939-1945 and there is a great piece written about ships for you to discover.

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Out of the Woods But Not Over the Hill by Gervase Phinn

Out of the Woods But Not Over the HillOut of the Woods But Not Over the Hill by Gervase Phinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Over the years I’ve read several books by Gervase. My first was Up and Down in the Dales. I love his tales from Yorkshire and his life as a teacher and then a school inspector. The Yorkshire dialect and humour is brilliant and funny, I’m always laughing out loud when I read his books. This book combines anecdotes and memories as well as a few personal opinions and Yes! I was still laughing.

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