4 March 2017

KNIGHT of JERUSALEM by Helena P Schrader


Amazon UK £2.92 £10.99
Amazon US $3.64 $15.95
Amazon CA $20.75

Biographical Fiction / adventure / military
12th Century Crusades
Jerusalem

Book#1 of a trilogy

Knight of Jerusalem is the story of Balian d’Ibelin, a young man who went on Crusade to Jerusalem in the twelfth century. He is the impoverished son of a baron – which is why he, and many young men like him ‘Took the Cross’. He becomes the servant of a young prince who has been stricken by leprosy – the prince being the future King Baldwin IV. We meet several other noted names along the way in this skilfully written tale of men and war and hopes and desires.

The prose is elegantly and effortlessly written, with the dialogue fitting easily into the period: we get a splendid view of events, of motivations and consequences, all very believable and very well researched. Definitely one of the best novels about these turbulent years of our history.

Forget the Ridley Scott movie starring Orlando Bloom, this is  better.


© Helen Hollick
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3 March 2017

A Discovering Diamond Review of THE BELTANE CHOICE by Nancy Jardine

AMAZON UK £0.99    / £7.99
AMAZON US $1.22   / $10.99
AMAZON CA $14.80
Romance
AD 71

Roman Britain
Celtic Fervour Series #1

The Beltane Choice is standard formulaic romance. It didn’t have too many surprises plot-wise or with the final resolution, and the loose ends were all very neatly tied up. But that is how standard romances are meant to be, and which readers of this genre expect, even look for.

The history and politics were interesting and accurate, and it was good to see references to familiar names of real people. The character development was adequate and I cared what happened to Nara and Lorcan, as well as to his brothers and father. I enjoyed the settings, though I wanted to see more details about the various settlements, but then not all readers want specific detail, especially in a light romance read.

I did found some of the plot points a little contrived (would a woman run from a man and when he catches her, decide she is attracted to him enough to have sex?) but again this is the stuff of this genre, and many readers like the 'bad-boy' type hero. That said, the novel was entertaining and will hit all the right spots for devoted romance fans.

© Kristen McQuinn


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2 March 2017

A Discovering Diamonds Review of: A TASTE OF EVIL by Lindsay Townsend

AMAZON UK £2199
AMAZON US $2.40
AMAZON CA N/A

Mystery / Family Saga
1386
England

Alyson Weaver is Chaucer’s Wife of Bath given flesh and depth.  She is a weaver, a wealthy widow several times over, and a frequent pilgrim.  She is to be examined for witchcraft, heresy and the murder of her fifth husband, Peter.  He was poisoned, and all evidence conveniently leads to her door.

It is known that she and her husband were at war, and that he had a mistress, in whose house he died.  Peter had made enemies at different levels of society, some of whom stand to gain financially if Alyson is convicted and burned as a witch. With the aid of lawyer Solomon, and Pardoner Christopher, with whom she enjoys a close, if casual, relationship, she fights the church and secular powers on their own terms.

She faces attacks from all sides, both physical and more subtle, in the form of malicious gossip and family disloyalty; but she must stand firm, with the aid of her friends, to ensure that the truth is discovered.

Alyson is a lusty woman, and intelligent – more than her accusers, whom she fights with such weapons as she has available. Others are less fortunate, and their treatment is harrowing; but with her understanding of love in all its many shades, she determines to make all right for them.

It must be said is that this is not a stand-alone book; it follows immediately from a previous novel, An Older Evil, and feels as though it starts halfway through the story. However, the author has that rare knack of taking the reader seamlessly into the world of Medieval Bath. The sense of power and corruption, the miserable and vicious lives of the underclasses, the prevalence of dirt and disease, are all there without being pointed out, just as they would be to a person walking those streets at that time: accepted, because they were part of life.

True to its era, with a good twisting plot and a mystery to the end, this is recommended; but I suggest, read the other book first.

© Lorraine Swoboda 
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1 March 2017

THE TRIBUTE BRIDE by Theresa Tomlinson

AMAZON UK £4.64 £7.99
AMAZON US N/A
AMAZON CA $8.91

Biographical Fiction
7th Century
England

In the seventh century distant past of our history, the wives of chieftains, and this includes queens, often have no record of their lives, beyond, if we are lucky, a mention of their name. They were expected to play the role of diplomat and peaceweavers, to be brides to make alliances between families and mothers to secure a bloodline.

Acha, is the protagonist of this splendid novel. Bede mentions her just once as the sister to Oswald. In history, however, she played a major part in events which would lead to the formation of the Kingdom of Northumbria and the culture that led to the making of the Lindisfarne Gospels.

Ms Tomlinson’s tale creates a plausible re-telling of the period, with believable characters and the known facts skilfully interwoven with the imagined fiction. For Anglo-Saxon fans this must be a definite read, but for readers who enjoy history in general this is also a must, for it masterfully explains the making of England.

© Anne Holt

28 February 2017

A Discovering Diamonds Review of: THE PAPER CAPER by Tim Topps

AMAZON UK £4.64    / £4.71
AMAZON US $5.70
AMAZON CA N/A

Adventure / Mystery / Espionage / Humour

Post WWII 1940s - 1950s
England

Tim Topps is narrator and the hero of this post WWII / start of the Cold War tongue-in-cheek yarn of an adventure. Unable to avoid National Service, Tim is assigned to sort out the failing readership of a minor Army newspaper as a cover for discovering a ring of sleepers and their leader. The tension mounts as Tim travels the Shropshire and Herefordshire countryside slowly uncovering the truth, aided by his beautiful assistant, some intriguing helpers, more than a few suspects and several red herrings.

Some of the links to clues are tenuous and contrived, as with many thrillers, but that can be forgiven for this is a lovely, whimsical and enjoyable read. The characters are endearing, highly believable, and the whole novel most entertaining.

© Anne Holt
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27 February 2017

KINGDOM OF REBELS by Derek Birks

AMAZON UK £3.49 £10 99
AMAZON US $ 4.31
AMAZON CA N/A

Military / Family Saga
15th Century Wars of the Roses
England

Rebels and Brothers series #3

The Wars of the Roses are in full swing and Ned Elder has found himself exiled for five years. One of his two sisters is enduring, but surviving, her enforced poverty in the family’s Northumbrian castle, shielding a son that Ned is unaware of. But with exile close to its end, Ned intervenes against an assassination plot and so makes some deadly enemies.

Third in the Rebels and Brothers series, Kingdom of Rebels can easily be read as a stand-alone, but I strongly advise starting at the beginning with Feud and A Traitor's Fate. Full of action, and very well written, this magnificent story captures life in the 15th Century life with wonderful skill.

Thoroughly recommended.
© Mary Chapple
Note: this novel may appear to be incorrectly formatted on some e-reader devices 
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26 February 2017

It is the LAST SUNDAY of February: which means...

No reviews on a Sunday 
but today is your day for our
Reader's Voice Page
where you, the reader can have your 3pennyworth of views



Click HERE to be redirected 
Today:
Jane Eyre victim or rebel woman?
by Lucienne Boyce
LOOK OUT FOR!
  • Cover of Month announced on the FIRST Sunday of the month
  • Book of the Month announced on the SECOND Sunday in the month
  • Guest Spot - posted on the THIRD Sunday in the month
  • Reader's Voice - posted on the LAST Sunday in the month