Jenny Kane: Coffee, cupcakes, chocolate and contemporary fiction / Jennifer Ash: Medieval crime with hints of Ellis Peters and Robin Hood

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Focus on: A Cornish Escape

This week, let’s focus in on my first Cornish romance/romcom – A Cornish Escape.

Abi’s life is turned upside down when she is widowed before her thirtieth birthday. Determined to find something positive in the upheaval, Abi decides to make a fresh start somewhere new. With fond childhood memories of holidays in a Cornish cottage, could Cornwall be the place to start over?

With all her belongings in the boot of her car but no real plan, a chance meeting in a village pub brings new friends Beth and Max into her life. Max soon helps Abi track down the house of her dreams but things aren’t as simple as Abi hoped.

Can Abi leave her past behind and finally get her happy ending?

(A Cornish Escape was previously published as Abi’s House)

Buy Links– A Cornish Escape is available from all good bookshops and e-retailers – including…

Amazon – mybook.to/ACornishEscape 

Waterstones- https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-cornish-escape/jenny-kane/9781786157683

Kobo – A Cornish Escape eBook by Jenny Kane – 9781472275431 | Rakuten Kobo United Kingdom

Nook – A Cornish Escape eBook by Jenny Kane – 9781472275431 | Rakuten Kobo United Kingdom

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Here are some of the lovely reviews my kind readers have given A Cornish Escape

‘…I often caught myself smiling for pages on end and found it nearly impossible to put down. It’s a genuine treat to read, with a dual narrative (easy to follow) and not too short chapters to allow you to get into the story, but not too long so it breaks the flow.

‘It had the right amount of romance, to perfect scenery, and exciting plot which just makes A Cornish Escape an all-round lovely read.

‘It’s got an original concept and is all about finding yourself with a gorgeous backdrop – I often want to escape and move to France/ New York, so it was nice to see someone else do this (albeit fictional, but Abi feels real!), and her journey towards becoming happier.

‘I genuinely sit on the edge of my seat waiting for the next book by this author – I can’t get enough of Kane’s writing style and heart-warming stories which keep you engaged throughout….’

You can read the rest of this incredible review at Bookmark That 

‘…I absolutely loved it and only have positive things to say!  The storyline is wonderful, enchanting and draws you in. Jenny Kane does such an amazing job of describing the scenery and I honestly felt like I was there, in Cornwall, on the adventure with Abi.  It made me really want to be in Cornwall right now!  From the sea, to the little tea/coffee shops, to the shop and the houses – you can see and feel it all.  I could even imagine the seagulls having a sing in the morning (easy when I live near the sea I suppose!).  A Cornish Escape has just re-enforced the fact that I have to visit Cornwall at some point – I seem to be drawn to it and this made me love it so much more.

So on to the characters…….I adore Abi, the protagonist.  She has had a bit of rough time, her Husband has recently passed away, and she is trying to re-find herself.  Learning about what she’s been through, and making new friends with her, you can’t help but fall in love with her. I was behind her every decision and felt so protective; just like she’s one of my real life friends!!  Beth and Max are both equally amazing.  They’re exactly the sort of people you’d want to bump into and be taken under their wing.  Again, you can’t help but love them and only want the best for them.  And probably my ultimate favourites – Stan and his dog!  Amazing and utterly adorable, I just wanted to hug him constantly! But as you would expect, not everyone can be nice…..and there is one character you will not love and not route for.  He is a piece of work and the things he gets up to will shock you – I honestly just wanted to punch him myself!

Although this is a happy and heartwarming story, don’t be fooled.  This will also take you on a bit of a rollercoaster as you go on the journey with Abi.  At points I was fuming, then I was hoping and had everything crossed, then I was nearly in tears, and then I’d be smiling!  But this is because Jenny Kane has done such a wonderful job of making the characters relatable, real and loveable.

The story is enjoyable to read; a dual-narrative that is easy to follow with a beautiful plot.  I honestly couldn’t give this any more praise!  If you’re looking for your next read and fancy something that you will enjoy reading, will draw you in and make you completely invested in the characters; whilst taking you on a journey to beautiful Cornwall then this is for you.  You really don’t want to miss this, it will warm your insides and put a big smile on your face.  This comes highly recommended by me – I’m glad I have the paperback to keep and read again and I’m so excited that there is another book, A Cornish Wedding which I cannot wait to read!… ‘  You can read the rest of this amazing review at Curled Up With A Good Book 

 

‘…Chicken soup for the soul!

A Cornish Escape isn’t just about romance. It is also about loss, recovery, starting over, and many acts of basic human kindness. It doesn’t feature only the young and the beautiful. There is a wide spectrum of characters, including the elderly who are portrayed with great sensitivity. Stan is my absolute hero, and he is no spring chicken!

If you’re feeling slightly under the weather and a little bit stuck in emotional lockdown, warm your heart up with that lovely story. It is well written with beautiful descriptions of Cornwall which are vivid enough to make you feel, just for that one fleeting moment, that you are actually there….’ BookMarkedReviews 

‘…A Cornish Escape by Jenny Kane was a wonderfully uplifting, cosy and fun-loving story with a cast of chatty, vibrant characters and a setting so delightfully charming it will entice you in a way that you’ll find impossible to ignore. This is the first of Jenny Kane’s books I’ve had the pleasure of reading and I can honestly say I’m already looking forward to more from the author. This story tugged me into its pages and wrapped me up in the wonderful world within, so much so that I really didn’t want to stop reading for having to return to reality, which seemed nowhere near as picturesque and romantic as the Cornish coast….’ The Book Babe Reviews

‘I love this book so much…just reading it can make me smell the beaches, the vinegar on the chips, the clotted cream mmmmmm …’  Reader review from Facebook.

‘Its’ a fabulous fabulous fabulous. You wont just read it, you will live it…and who wouldn’t want to live in the best place called Cornwall…’ Reader review from Facebook.

Focus On: Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange

As I head off for a week of teaching and guest-care at the Northmoor Writing Retreat, I thought it would be nice to leave you with a little look at the first in the #MillGrange #series – Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange – a set of novels inspired by Northmoor itself.

Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange

A warm-hearted, feel-good romance from Jenny Kane, a Kindle #1 bestselling author.

Thea Thomas needs to get away from her old life… and the interfering ex who won’t leave her alone. When she lands a job heading up the restoration of Mill Grange, a stunning Victorian manor in Somerset, it feels like the perfect opportunity to start afresh.

What Thea didn’t anticipate was how hostile the volunteer team, led by the formidable Mabel Hastings, would be about accepting new leadership. And with the deadline looming before the grand opening, Thea is in desperate need of more volunteers.

A broadcast appeal on the local news attracts the interest of arrogant but undeniably attractive celebrity historian Shaun Cowlson, who wants to make a TV programme about the restoration. It’s hard enough adding one more big personality to the mix – but then her ex turns up as one of the volunteers! What seemed like a dream come true is fast becoming a total disaster! Can Thea find a way to save the manor?

Available from all good bookshops, and as an ebook, from Nook, Kobo, as well as Amazon UK and Amazon US,

                                                             Northmoor House

Here are a few of the very kind reviews, Midsummer Dreams, has prompted.

‘… I particularly liked the book’s setting – Mill Grange is vividly drawn, the details of its renovation, the impending opening celebrations and the question mark over its future driving the overarching story. The surroundings of Exmoor are well used too – there’s that really strong sense of place that I always look for and enjoy.

The romance elements are something I equally enjoyed – both romantic threads have their unexpected twists and turns, and both are entirely satisfying (and particularly heartwarming) in the way they’re resolved.

But there’s also a fair bit of well developed tension too – both over the future of Mill Grange and the dogged and determined pursuit by Thea’s increasingly sinister ex. And there’s one particular episode that had me on the edge of my seat, real danger particularly well handled and very well written.

And while I’m talking about the writing, I will mention how much I loved that too. The author has a style that’s very easy to read, comfortable to relax and disappear into – this was perfect summer reading, and most definitely recommended…’ Being Anne

‘Another book that feels like a cuddle from Jenny.

Set against the romantic backdrop of Exmoor this book helps you escape for a few hours. We meet new friends working to restore one of Exmoor’s treasures. A lovely cast of characters had me rolling my eyes at their antics and cheering for a certain couple. Looking forward to see what else is going to happen at Mill Grange.’ Goodreads

Thea Thomas needs to get away from her old life…and the interfering ex who won’t leave her alone. When she lands a job heading up the restoration of Mill Grange, a stunning Victorian manor in Devon, it feels like the perfect opportunity to start afresh…
I hadn’t realised when picking this book that it was set in the lovely Exmoor, not too far from where I live. The various mentions of local landmarks, from Tarr Steps to Cold Harbour Mill, just added to the warm feeling I got from reading this great story… My first #jennykane read but definitely not my last.’  Goodreads

‘Thea, smart, focused, and an expert in her field, all she wants is to successfully complete her project … and to avoid a thorn in her past that keeps popping up. Fortunately, there are far worse places to soak up a challenge than Mill Grange. Author Jenny Krane expertly wraps Thea’s problems around one of the most enchanting settings of the year, and it’s fascinating as she taps into the nitty gritty and some of the challenges—especially the financial—that come with large scale restoration projects.

Of course, while the landscape provides plenty of fun and tension, the real heat stems from Thea herself. Krane has written her with such a vulnerability that, when she senses the first bit of tension on the horizon, there’s genuine worry. Will the project finish on time? Will she get the volunteers on her side? How will she handle her ex? Thea has a headache around practically every corner. Even so, Krane balances everything out with plenty of levity. A cast of quirky cast, small town drama, and the potential spark of romance all blend together to keep things jaunty.

A total joy from beginning to end, Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange, unlike the titular property, needs no renovation. It’s downright sweet.’ Netgalley

‘A lovely book set in a beautiful stately home which you can imagine yourself there as you read.’ Netgalley

‘Very enjoyable. Being part of a small team dealing with a local restoration project and volunteers made this book all the more enjoyable.  I know I have met a few Mabel’s in my life. As with all Jenny’s books she easily captures your imagination and makes you feel like you are there getting stuck in.’ Netgalley 

Happy Birthday to Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange

Book three in the #MillGrange series is a year old today!

Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange.

BLURB

Helen Rogers has been lying to herself over her feelings for Tom since the moment they met. And for good reason; not only are they colleagues, working together with the archaeology groups at Mill Grange, but her sabbatical is almost over and she’ll soon have to return to Bath.

Tom Harris knows he’s falling in love with Helen. How could he not? She’s smart, kind and great with his son Dylan. But with his ex-wife suddenly offering him a chance to spend more time with Dylan, and the staff of Mill Grange about to host a wedding, everything else has to be put to one side. Even his feelings for a certain archaeologist.

As Helen’s time at Mill Grange runs short, the two are forced to consider what matters most…

 

Set in the beautiful Exmoor countryside, on the border of Devon and Somerset, Spring Blossoms, continues the story of Thea, Shaun, Sam, Tina, Mable and Bert – as well as Helen and Tom, who were newcomers to the house in Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange.

Here’s the prologue…

Helen cradled the stone in her palm. The size of a cookie, grey in colour, it was jagged on one side and smooth on the other. Once upon a time it had been part of the bedrock; a tiny fragment of the geology that had formed the basis of the village of Upwich and its surrounds. Now, however, it felt like the most precious possession she’d ever owned.

She hadn’t had the heart to tell Dylan that it wasn’t an exciting find from the Roman fortlet they were excavating in Mill Grange’s garden. The five-year-old had been so thrilled to be able to help his dad, Tom, when they’d peeled the tarpaulin off the archaeological site after a frosty winter, that when he’d picked up the stone and run to her, his face wide with pleasure, she’d held it with a reverence normally reserved for the crown jewels.

The boy’s eyes had got wider and wider as she’d told him about the land beneath Exmoor, how it had formed, and how the stone he’d found was part of that.

Helen had been conscious of Tom’s eyes on her as his son had sat on her knee and listened with rapt attention to every word she said.

Laying the stone back on her desk, tucked neatly in the corner of the store room, Helen sighed. She had come to Mill Grange to take a break from the pressures of her management job. She had not come to fall in love – especially not with Tom – a man with a horrendous track record with woman – and a son…

You don’t have to have read Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange or Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange, to enjoy Spring Blossoms, although you’d probably get more from the story if you have. Spring Blossoms is then followed by Winter Fires at Mill Grange.

If you would like to buy a copy of Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange, you can purchase a copy from all good retailers, including…

Many thanks for dropping by today,

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Focus On: Another Glass of Champagne

A warm-hearted, contemporary tale about a group of friends living in a small corner of busy London, by bestselling author Jenny Kane.

Fortysomething Amy is shocked and delighted to discover she’s expecting a baby – not to mention terrified! Amy wants best friend Jack to be godfather, but he hasn’t been heard from in months.

When Jack finally reappears, he’s full of good intentions – but his new business plan could spell disaster for the beloved Pickwicks Coffee Shop, and ruin a number of old friendships… Meanwhile his love life is as complicated as ever – and yet when he swears off men for good, Jack meets someone who makes him rethink his priorities…but is it too late for a fresh start?

Author Kit has problems of her own: just when her career has started to take off, she finds herself unable to write – and there’s a deadline looming, plus two headstrong kids to see through their difficult teenage years…will she be able to cope?

 

A follow-up to the runaway success Another Cup of Coffee.

Available as:

A paperback or ebook from Amazon UK, Amazon.com, Nook, Kobo, and all good retailers.

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Reviews:

“It’s nice to have the whole gang back together for the series finale, along with a couple of new faces to join in with – and add to – the drama along the way! Jenny Kane has tied up some loose ends perfectly, whilst at the same time creating enough new openings to wish that this wasn’t the last we will see of Jack, Amy, Kit et al.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was sad to get to the end (even though I raced through to find out what would happen next!) I hope someone can convince the author to give us one last visit to Pickwicks… or maybe two ;)” Amazon UK

“…Going to miss this bunch, a lot…” Amazon UK

Paperback cover

“I adore delving into the lives of these characters. Their stories make me feel like I’m sitting in the coffee shop, sharing them with them as old friends. I really hope this fabulous book won’t be the final chapter in this beautiful world where I feel completely at home. Please Jenny, treat us to a little cup or glass of something else.” Amazon UK

“I just can’t get enough of Jenny Kane & her lovely characters. Reading her novels renew your faith in mankind & leave you with a warm feeling inside. So we’ll written are the characters that you expect to see them in every café you visit. Brilliant escapism & best drank sipping hot black coffee.” Amazon UK

 

Opening Lines with Morwenna Blackwood: Underrated

I’m delighted to be welcoming Morwenna Blackwood back to my blog today, with the first 500 words from her brand new novel, Underrated.

Underrated is the third novel in the Glasshouse series. The novels stand alone as stories, but they are interconnected. In Underrated, we get Will’s version of events and find out why you should never underestimate a friend…

BLURB

I stand as close as I can to the Liver Building without looking proper weird and tip my head back. My eyes can’t focus properly, but I can make out a turquoise shape right at the top, soI mouth ’iya to Bella. I’m a bit soft on the Liver Birds. They’re 300-odd feet up in the air, so they should be able to see everything, but they’re chained down…

A story of the far-reaching effects of unrequited love and drug (ab)use, Underrated follows five lads who are just trying to make things better for themselves. In Liverpool and on the south Devon coast, their lives entangle as they turn to cocaine.

While some people take drugs to escape their circumstances, others deal drugs to escape theirs. But is escape ever really an option?

First 500 words of Underrated

It’s like tinnitus.

The silence with Mum and Dad in the front room is deafening and all-encompassing. Dad’s pretending to read the Sunday paper, and Mum’s pretending to read the magazine that came with it. I’m scanning the free paper for cheap, second-hand cars, but the pressure in the room renders me incapable of it, so instead I stare out of the patio doors at a load of crows that are hopping about on the lawn. There’s that phrase – you could have cut the tension with a knife. In all honesty, I wish one of them would cut the other with a knife – or me, or, better still, darling Dominic – because then it would be over with. The atmosphere in here is so tense that it’s given me a blinding headache. I stand, deciding to retreat up to my cave, and the sudden movement makes the crows take flight. I wish I could just fly away. Why the fuck do we all go on with this charade?! I can feel myself going mental; at some point I’ll crack and then I’ll take things into my own hands and force a change. Because this is absurd. It’s pathetic. It’s fucking killing me!

My bedroom – I think of it as my cave – is small; a dark box with a north-facing window. Even though I’m the oldest, I got last pick – or rather no pick – of the bedrooms, but mine does have a built-in wardrobe, so that, apparently, makes everything all right. Anyway, this room is all I’ve got, so it’s my refuge.

Though I want to slam it, I close my door quietly. It doesn’t matter how loud I am – no one notices me, so I don’t bother any more. I stare out of my bedroom window onto what is probably the most uninspiring view known to man: the length of our parquet-paved cul-de-sac, with its widely spaced four-bedroom houses and their uniform lawns that run flat from the house to the kerb. All the front gardens sport the designer slash that the housing developers refer to as ‘landscaping’, which is basically a strip of clay soil planted with hardy shrubs and a rowan sapling that wears a wire mesh dress. Outside every door are the generic pansies and lobelia in pots, in varying states of health. And then there’s the big, posh house – the former show home – at the open end of the cul-de-sac, blocking out the rolling hills and anything else that might be behind it, except the main road that connects our estate to everything and everywhere else in this shitty little town, which is basically nothing and nowhere.

I can hear my younger sister, Sally, in the kitchen; her overbright voice chirping on about biscuits and essays, while she makes another fucking cup of tea. I want to scream at her to stop it! I grab the nearest sheet of plain A3 to me – I draw a lot, there’s stuff everywhere – and shove it up against the window…

Buy-links:

The (D)Evolution of Us – mybook.to/devolution

Glasshouse – http://mybook.to/glasshousenovel

Underrated – mybook.to/underrated

Author biog:

BIO

When she was six years old, Morwenna wrote an endless story about a frog, and hasn’t stopped writing since.

She is the author of bestselling noir psychological thrillers, The (D)Evolution of Us and Glasshouse, has an MA in Creative Writing, and can usually be found down by the sea. Her third novel, Underrated, was published by #darkstroke 14/02/22.

She often thinks about that frog.

Social media links:

www.morwennablackwoodauthor.com

www.amazon.com/author/morwennablackwood

www.facebook.com/morwennablackwood

Twitter: @MorwennaBlackw1

Instagram: morwennablackwood_

TikTok: @morwennablackwood

Many thanks Morwenna.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Sex and Sexuality in Tudor England: Aphrodisiacs

I don’t often often feature nonfiction on my blog, but today I make a worthy exception.

This book –  Sex and Sexuality in Tudor England – by fellow novelist and historian, Carol McGrath, promises to be something special. So, if you have a fascination with the Tudor period, this is a must read.

This blog is the first on a blog tour.

Over to you Carol..

There has long been an appetite by readers and film viewers for the Tudor period as portrayed in novels, sumptuous costume dramas and documentary film. Have you ever been curious about the Tudors’ view of sex and sexuality? My recently published book Sex and Sexuality in Tudor England reveals myths and truths about how our Tudor antecedents conducted their sexual relationships romantic affairs, and marriages. Amongst many interesting titbits I discovered whilst researching this book aphrodisiacs as used or thought about in Tudor times intrigued me.

An aphrodisiac is a food, drink or drug that increases libido and enhances sexual pleasure and performance. These aids to sexual performance have been recorded throughout history. One of the earliest treatments for impotence appears in an ancient Hindu text known as Sushruta Samhita c.600 BC. It suggests powders of sesame and sali rice should be mixed with saindhara salt and a quantity of the juice of sugar cane mixed with hog’s lard and cooked with clarified butter. Medieval and Tudor people believed the food they consumed could influence their sex lives; it was all part of the humoral notion. They thought, according to medical theory, that food and drink was one of the things on which health should depend. A poor diet could cause illness but a patient could be restored to health by changes in diet. This sounds rather familiar.

However, they also believed that food and drink could solve sexual problems including impotence and infertility. Medieval medical texts contained references to foods and sexual advice for the late medieval man. Constantine the African was a translator of Arabic medieval texts into Latin. He lived in Salerno, Italy’s medical centre during the medieval era. His text on human fertility, De Coitu, has a section on foods and herbs which provoke desire. These were foods that were likely to generate semen and incite a man to intercourse. He also suggested foods to dry up and diminish semen so that men could eat according to whichever condition they suffered- whether too much desire or too little of it. Medieval doctors believed semen was a processed form of blood and therefore derived from food.

Three types of food were conducive to the production of semen and were grouped as nourishing foods, foods especially windy and foods that are warm and moist. Chickpeas contain all three and were considered an aphrodisiac. Other foods they thought drew out and produced semen were fresh meat, pepper, wine, brains, and egg yolks. However, cold foods such as fish, cucumber and lettuce might repress, impede or thicken semen and therefore destroy lust.

Aphrodisiac recipes were included in handbooks and regimes to help Tudor men with their sexual problems. Cloves in milk and blueberry juice, the brains of small sparrows, grease surrounding the kidneys of a freshly killed billy goat, all these might treat impotence. On the other hand, rue, powdered and added to a potion, could be drunk to dry out sperm, and the juice of water lilies taken for forty days might take care of the over-sexed problem.

The oyster is the most well-known and enduring of aphrodisiacs. During the sixteenth century oysters came into their own as a libidoenhancing culinary food. In 1566 Alain Chartier suggested oysters ‘doe provoke lecherie.’ Pickled oysters were sold in brothels in 1646. It is likely they were also sold in brothels during the previous century as a sex-inducing food. This no doubt stems from the fact that an oyster has a resemblance to the vulva with soft folds of pink, salty flesh with nestling pearls. It was slang for vulva during the sixteenth century and later the figure of an oyster girl selling them on the streets became associated with sex workers. There has been no scientific evidence that oysters are an aphrodisiac although they are a healthy food. Shellfish, though, are associated with Aphrodite-Venus who was allegedly born from the sea and appears in Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.

DID YOU KNOW ?

An anophrodisiac, the opposite of an aphrodisiac, was intended to supress libido and impair sexual function. Anophrodisiacs fell into three categories: starving the body, cooling the body and sedating the body. Sedating might be achieved through fasting and rigorous exercise. Early Christian saints regularly fasted to purify the body and monks would starve for long periods to control their sexual hunger and desire for food.

Regimen Studies by Maino de Maineri suggests the man who wished to avoid the production of semen and repress lust should make use of cold foods such as lentil water cooled with cauliflower seeds, water lily and lettuce seeds, lettuce water made slightly vinegary, or seeds of purslane. Camphor was considered useful to dry out lustful parts and if rubbed on the penis might keep the member flaccid. Spicy hot food could inflame the senses but cucumbers were cool and bland and even though phallic in shape were considered an effective anophrodisiac.

In the sixteenth century Francis Rabelais suggested, in addition to the benefits of water lily seeds, willow twigs, hemp stalks, woodbine, honeysuckle, tamarisk, mandrake, and the dried out skin of a hippo. In a way, Rabelais was sending up medieval quackery.

I am not sure I would want to put much store in any of the remedies above. This information carries a health warning. Don’t try it at home!

You can buy Sex and Sexuality in Tudor England here https://tinyurl.com/2p9ayfca

Bio

Following a first degree in English and History, Carol McGrath completed an MA in Creative Writing from The Seamus Heaney Centre, Queens University Belfast, followed by an MPhil in English from University of London. The Handfasted Wife, first in a trilogy about the royal women of 1066 was shortlisted for the RoNAS in 2014. The Swan-Daughter and The Betrothed Sister complete this highly acclaimed trilogy. Mistress Cromwell, a best-selling historical novel about Elizabeth Cromwell, wife of Henry VIII’s statesman, Thomas Cromwell, published by Headline in 2020. The Silken Rose, first in a Medieval She-Wolf Queens Trilogy, featuring Ailenor of Provence, was published on 2nd April 2020. This was followed by The Damask Rose. The Stone Rose will be published April 2022 completing the Trilogy. Carol is writing Historical non-fiction as well as fiction. Sex and Sexuality in Tudor England was published in January 2022.

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Many thanks for visiting today Carol, good luck with your new book and your blog tour.

Jenny x

Opening Lines with Rachel Brimble: A Very Modern Marriage

Opening Lines time is with us once again, and this week I’m delighted to welcome my friend and fellow author, Rachel Brimble, to share the first 500 words from her latest historical romance/saga,

A Very Modern Marriage.

Over to you, Rachel…

Hi Jenny!

Thank you for having me back on your blog and giving me the chance to share the Opening Lines of my latest release A Very Modern Marriage.

This is the final instalment in the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy (all the books can be read stand alone) and tells Octavia’s story. She is one of the three women who live and work together in a brothel situated in the backstreets of the Victorian city of Bath.

In books 1 & 2 (A Widow’s Vow & Trouble For The Leading Lady), we saw Louisa and Nancy struggling to find their true life purpose while facing the world with an unshakeable determination to survive. The same is now true of Octavia.

As her friends’ lives change, Octavia realises hers must too and decides that drastic action is necessary…whatever that might mean!

BLURB:

He needs a wife…
Manchester industrialist William Rose was a poor lad from the slums who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, but in order to achieve his greatest ambitions he must become the epitome of Victorian respectability: a family man.

She has a plan…
But the only woman who’s caught his eye is sophisticated beauty Octavia Marshall, one of the notorious ladies of Carson Street. Though she was once born to great wealth and privilege, she’s hardly respectable, but she’s determined to invest her hard-earned fortune in Mr Rose’s mills and forge a new life as an entirely proper businesswoman.

They strike a deal that promises them both what they desire the most, but William’s a fool if he thinks Octavia will be a conventional married woman, and she’s very much mistaken if she thinks the lives they once led won’t follow them wherever they go.

In the third instalment of Rachel Brimble’s exciting Victorian saga series, The Ladies of Carson Street will open the doors on a thoroughly modern marriage – and William is about to get a lot more than he bargained for…

FIRST 500 WORDS

Chapter 1

Octavia Marshall blinked back tears as her newly married best friend stood alongside her husband outside the green arched door of Bath’s town hall. As Nancy and Francis were showered in rose petals, Octavia’s lips trembled under the strain of her forced smile, anxiety for her uncertain future tightening her chest.

She despised her selfishness. Nothing but her friends’ happiness should be at the forefront of her mind today, but she could not stop fretting about what this wedding meant for the brothel on Carson Street – for her – now that Nancy, who had worked alongside her for so long, was respectably married.

The house meant everything to Octavia. Since her harsh separation from her father several years before, she had gone from being a privileged young girl living in a beautiful home, to homeless and hawking herself on the streets. Then Louisa Hill, the owner of the Carson Street house, had found her – saved her – and their home and workplace became Octavia’s haven, her sanctuary – the people living with her there, her saving grace.

Now she feared if the brothel collapsed, she would too.

Why had she allowed herself to believe it would be her, Nancy and Louisa, side by side against the world for as long as they could work? Louisa had fallen in love with Jacob, their doorman and all-round protector, over a year before. And now Nancy was wed. Yet, the loss of Louisa’s heart to Jacob had not affected Octavia as much as Nancy’s falling in love with Francis. After all, as madam and owner of the house, it was inevitable Louisa would come to distance herself from the practicalities of the brothel in time.

But with Nancy’s wedding came her permanent departure from the house and a ticking clock in Octavia’s mind. It was only a matter of time before Louisa wanted to start a family and then the Carson Street house would close for good.

Taking a deep breath, Octavia tried her best to shake off her melancholy and walked closer to her friends. She pressed a firm kiss to Nancy’s cheek. ‘You look beautiful, darling. Absolutely beautiful.’

‘Thank you.’ Nancy’s cheeks flushed with happiness and her auburn hair, speckled with white flower buds, gleamed beneath her ivory veil. ‘I can’t quite believe a good-time girl like me is actually married.’

‘Married and expecting,’ Octavia said, as she nodded towards Nancy’s slightly curved stomach. ‘All too soon there will be a tiny Nancy or Francis running around and then where will you be?’

Nancy laughed. ‘As happy as a pig in sh—’

‘Um, darling…’ Francis raised his eyebrows. ‘Shall we head to the White Hart before your happiness bursts forth in a barrage of unfettered expletives?’

‘It’s too late to start looking down your nose at me now, Francis Carlyle,’ Nancy sniffed, her gaze soft with love even as she feigned a scowl at her new husband. ‘Like it or lump it, I’m yours for the rest of our lives. Unfettered expletives and…’

***

You can buy your copy of A Very Modern Marriage here: https://geni.us/xa9ln5

BIO:

Rachel lives in a small town near Bath, England. She is the author of over 25 published novels including the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy, the Shop Girl series (Aria Fiction) and the Templeton Cove Stories (Harlequin). In January 2022, she signed a contract with the Wild Rose Press for the first book in a brand new series set in past British Royal courts.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association as well as the Historical Novel Society and has thousands of social media followers all over the world.

To sign up for her newsletter (a guaranteed giveaway every month!), click here: https://bit.ly/3zyH7dt

Website: https://bit.ly/3wH7HQs

Twitter: https://bit.ly/3AQvK0A

Facebook: https://bit.ly/3i49GZ3

Instagram: https://bit.ly/3lTQZbF

Many thanks for your wonderful Opening Lines, Rachel,

Happy Reading,

Jenny x

Cornish Romance for St Valentine’s Day?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Why not treat yourself, or a loved one, to a little Cornish romance? 

My first Cornish novel, A Cornish Escape, was never meant to be a romance. I hadn’t noticed, until after I’d written it, that within this tale of friendship and self discovery there lies an old fashioned love story. 

Newly widowed at barely thirty, Abi Carter is desperate to escape the Stepford Wives-style life that Luke, her late husband, had been so keen for her to live.

Abi decides to fulfil a lifelong dream. As a child on holiday in a Cornwall as a child she fell in love with a cottage – the prophetically named Abbey’s House. Now she is going to see if she can find the place again, relive the happy memories … maybe even buy a place of her own nearby?

On impulse Abi sets off to Cornwall, where a chance meeting in a village pub brings new friends Beth and Max into her life. Beth, like Abi, has a life-changing decision to make. Max, Beth’s best mate, is new to the village. He soon helps Abi track down the house of her dreams … but things aren’t quite that simple. There’s the complicated life Abi left behind, including her late husband’s brother, Simon – a man with more than friendship on his mind … Will Abi’s house remain a dream, or will the bricks and mortar become a reality?

If your loved one – or you – enjoys the Cornish countryside, a touch of romance, a story with twists and turns- and a cute Labrador…then this is the book for you! 

A Cornish Wedding also contains a love story- but this time it’s the older generation having all the fun!

Abi Carter has finally found happiness. Living in her perfect tin miner’s cottage, she has good friends and a gorgeous boyfriend, Max. Life is good. But all that’s about to change when a new neighbour moves in next door.

Cassandra Henley-Pinkerton represents everything Abi thought she’d escaped when she left London. Obnoxious and stuck-up, Cassandra hates living in Cornwall. Worst of all, it looks like she has her sights set on Max.

But Cassandra has problems of her own. Not only is her wealthy married lawyer putting off joining her in their Cornish love nest, but now someone seems intent on sabotaging her business.

Will Cassandra mellow enough to turn to Abi for help – or are they destined never to get along?

Complete with sun, sea and a gorgeous Cornwall setting, A Cornish Wedding is the PERFECT summer escape.

***

Buy Links-

A Cornish Escape is available as an ebook or paperback from all good retailers, including Waterstones and Amazon 

A Cornish Wedding is available as an ebook or paperback from all good retailers, including Waterstones and Amazon.

 

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

 

Opening Lines with Ashley Lister: Conversations with Dead Serial Killers

I’m delighted to be welcoming Ashley Lister back to my blog today, to share the Opening Lines from his latest novel, Conversations with Dead Serial Killers

Over to you Ash…

Thank you to the awesome Jenny Kane for inviting me here today.  She genuinely remains one of my favourite writers and I feel honoured to call her a friend.  I hope she still feels the same about me after reading this blog post.

The idea for Conversations with Dead Serial Killers came to me as I was watching a TV show about psychics.  I’m neither a believer nor a disbeliever in the spirit world. I’m simply an idiot who gets drunk and is too lazy to shift away from the TV, regardless of what it’s playing.

So, there I was, watching this show with a person purporting to be a psychic, telling the viewers that they were being helped by a spirit guide and I thought, “What if that spirit guide was a dick? What if that spirit guide’s sole purpose in life (or should that be ‘in death’?) was to make things uncomfortable for the psychic they worked with?”

Whilst that’s ended up as one of the predominant themes in the story, I think it’s fair to say that Conversations with Dead Serial Killers has become something a little more than that.  I’ve tried to blend the tropes of true crime stories with a narrative about mediumship, some of the grisly and distasteful things you’d expect to find in horror stories, and a soupcon of my dark and twisted humour.

Blurb

“A clown can get away with murder.”
John Wayne Gacy, the killer clown.

Derek Turner makes his living as a psychic. But, when he makes his first genuine contact with the spirit world, it is an encounter that starts him on a pathway to holding conversations with dead serial killers.

FIRST 500 WORDS

The thing that few people appreciated about Ed Gein was his skill as a seamstress. Clive had sat through every episode of the Great British Sewing Bee and, whilst the finalists on that show invariably produced some nice-looking creations in the last episode of each series, and sometimes that was when they were working with awkward fabrics such as organza, pleated lace or chiffon, none of them had (yet) been challenged with creating something original from human skin. To Clive’s mind it was an injustice that everyone looked at Ed Gein’s work (the belt made from nipples, the lampshade made from Mary Hogan’s face, and the chairs, fully upholstered, in human skin) and all they saw was the Grand Guignol horror that came from murder, the desecration of graves, and the violation of corpses. No one appreciated the man for his craftsmanship and finesse with a needle and thread.

Clive sat back at his desk, surveying the screen that held his notes on Gein and wondering how close his latest book was to being ready for publication. There were hundreds of biographies covering Gein, describing him as the Plainfield Butcher, the Plainfield Ghoul and the Grandfather of Gore, and explaining how he had been the role model for fictional monsters such as Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Norman Bates in Robert Bloch’s Psycho, and even Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs.

Clive’s approach to the biography had been different. Rather than go on about the lawlessness and illegality of Gein’s actions with the usual ghoulish voyeurism concerning murder, grave-robbing and skin-removal, Clive wanted to celebrate the Ed Gein that the history books had overlooked. Gein was a hard-working labourer. Gein was a loving son who aspired to be just like his mother. And Gein was a diligent researcher who had studied subjects as diverse as the Nazis, cannibalism and, if his well-thumbed copy of Grey’s Anatomy was any indicator, human biology.

Not that Gein was the only subject of the biographies he had written. Clive had published one volume on the comforting bedside manner of Dr Harold Shipman foregrounding the under-reported benevolent side of the world’s most prolific serial killer.  He had also written about the forbidden romance between Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, and wanted to write about the passion that kept Fred and Rose West together.  Importantly, and it was a consistent theme throughout all of the books he was writing, Clive wanted to talk about the fact that some of these ‘notorious killers’ had managed to grow up to appear like unassuming and normal adults despite the trauma of abusive childhoods. He knew they’d grown up to appear unassuming and normal because neighbours, witnesses and others involved in testifying against these people, always described them as being ‘unassuming and normal.’

He supposed the project struck a personal chord for him because, if not for fate and circumstances, he figured he too could have been another name on the long list of serial killers who had…

***

Conversations with Dead Serial Killers is currently available for Pre-Order and will be released on Valentine’s Day, 2022.

Pre-Order link: http://mybook.to/cwdsk

To find out more about Ashley Lister you can check out his website: www.ashleylister.com, his FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/ashley.lister, and Twitter: https://twitter.com/ashleylister.

Huge thanks Ashley, for sharing your Opening lines today – I’m still talking to you after reading that- although I have hidden my sewing kit… just to be on the safe side. (Remembers pin cushion is on the table and dashes off)

Happy reading everyone, 

Jenny xx

Welcome to The Potting Shed

About an hour after I’d put my pen down after finishing the edits on Winter Fires at Mill Grange, the final novel in the #MillGrange #series, I picked it up again and began to plan out the structure of the first novel in a brand new series, all based around a small gardening nursery – The Potting Shed.

Book 1, Frost Falls at The Potting Shed, will be out this coming autumn. 

I hope you love the cover as much as I do. The cover designer has worked incredibly hard to get everything about the appearance of The Potting Shed perfect.

Set in Devon – my home county for the last 16 years – The Potting Shed introduces us to the horticultural world of Maddie Willand and her family nursery. (I’m learning  A LOT about flowers and gardening as I write).

As frost begins to fall over The Potting Shed, will Maddie find the strength to both save her father’s legacy & open herself up to new beginnings?

I can say no more for know, but keep posted for preorder news!

Happy reading,

Jenny x

 

 

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