The Earl’s Lady Geologist by Alissa Baxter Publication Date: February 28, 2021 Vinspire Publishing Series: Linfield Ladies Series, Book One Genre: Regency Romance
Cassandra Linfield is a lady fossil collector who declares she will never marry as no man will ever take her studies seriously. When circumstances force her to travel to Town for the Season, Cassy infiltrates the hallowed portals of the Geological Society from which she has been banned. She is horrified when she comes face to face with her nemesis, the infuriating Earl of Rothbury.
Lord Rothbury is a gentleman-geologist with a turbulent romantic past. After a youthful disappointment he vows never to fall in love again, and makes the decision, instead, to seek out a convenient wife when he returns to England from his geological travels abroad.
Brought together by their close family ties, Cassy and Rothbury collaborate on a geological paper and discover a powerful attraction. Marriage, however, is the one subject they cannot agree upon. But when Cassyís life is threatened, the two realise that love matters more than their objections.
ìA gentle Regency romance, full of sweetness and intelligence. Alissa Baxterís writing is period perfect.î -Mimi Matthews, USA Today bestselling author of The Matrimonial Advertisement
ìThe Earlís Lady Geologist by Alissa Baxter deftly weaves together the charm of a traditional Regency romance, fascinating information on scientific society of the time, with a quiet subtext about the challenges faced by women interested in pursuing science. This first book in a new series is wonderfully satisfying on many levels!î -Mary Jo Putney, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author
ìWhile immersing the reader in the mores and life of the Regency era, Alissa Baxter manages to write strong, independent heroines whom modern-day women will cheer and root for. Plus the addition of little details that wrap around the plot and the characters make reading her books all the more special because you never know when you might land on a little Easter egg morsel in the beautiful and engaging prose. Historicals with heart and engaging characters that read realóthatís what you get in Ms. Baxter’s books.î -Zee Monodee, USA Today bestselling author
ìA truly traditional Regency romance, with lots of witty banter, very reminiscent of Georgette Heyer. Recommended for anyone who likes a completely clean traditional Regency, with strongly authentic writing, historical accuracy and a satisfying romance. Baxterís writing is excellent, and her dialogue, manners and settings are true to the era. A spirited heroine, a brooding hero, lots of sparkling banter and an authentic Regency settingówith added fossils! Great fun. From Lyme Regis to the drawing rooms of London, Alissa Baxter takes the reader back to the time of Jane Austen.î Mary Kingswood, author of traditional Regency romances
There were so many things about this book that made me go: Yes, this is a me book. And I have to say that it lived up to my own internal hype! I really loved this book and it was honestly the best thing for me with how stressed I have been lately. You know, it’s just one of those books you can curl up with and enjoy all of the regency drama and romance.
You know, I’m already a sucker for a good regency romance but I’m even more of a sucker for a regency romance with a stubborn and willful woman and a stiff and curt man. And boy oh boy did I hit the jackpot with these two MCs. And phew, when the sparks started going off they flew. Plus it was just such a fun journey to take with these two and see as their characters grew and progressed.
So yeah, this was a really amazing read and one that I really hope a lot of people pick up. it has so much to offer, has those endearing regency qualities, and is overall an amazing read. Plus it’s not terribly long so it’s a pretty quick read!
About the Author
Alissa Baxter was born in a small town in South Africa, and grew up with her nose in a book on a poultry and cattle farm. At the age of eleven she discovered her motherís collection of Georgette Heyer novels. The first Heyer novel she ever read was Sylvester and she was hooked on Georgette Heyer after that. She read and reread her novels, and fell totally in love with the Regency period and Heyerís grey-eyed heroes! After school and university, where she majored in Political Science and French, she published her first Regency novel, The Dashing Debutante.
Alissa travelled overseas and worked as a flight attendant in Dubai before she moved to England, where she did an odd assortment of jobs while researching her second novel, Lord Fenmoreís Wager, which she wrote when she moved back to South Africa. Alissaís third Regency novel, A Marchioness Below Stairs, is the sequel to Lord Fenmoreís Wager.
Alissa has lived in Durban and Cape Town but she eventually settled in Johannesburg where she lives with her husband and two sons. Alissa is also the author of two chick-lit novels, Send and Receive and The Blog Affair, which have been re-released as The Truth About Series: The Truth about Clicking Send and Receive and The Truth About Cats and Bees.
In 1897, a fiery British aristocrat and an inept US spy search for a stolen invisibility serum that could spark a global war.
Miss Constance Haltwhistle is the last in a line of blue-blooded rogue inventors. Selling exotic firearms under her alias, the ‘Brass Queen,’ has kept her baronial estate’s coffers full. But when US spy, Trusdale, saves her from assassins, she’s pulled into a search for a scientist with an invisibility serum. As royal foes create an invisible army to start a global war, Constance and Trusdale must learn to trust each other. If they don’t, the world they know will literally disappear before their eyes.
What’s more fun than a period piece? A gaslight fantasy is! I just have always had a soft spot for books like these that bend multiple genres into one. And it’s even better when the book has me giggling throughout reading it, like The Brass Queen did.
I mean, there’s just so many elements to this plot that point to an amazing story. And with excellent writing/storytelling on top of that I easily saw why so many people fell in love with this one. Because I did too. I loved the characters, the setting, and the twisty plot. And I mean, you just gotta read it and fall in love with it just as much as I did.
I left this review a little open ended because I think the story is just so much… fresher without knowing too much about the plot. The synopsis gives you just enough to know what you’re getting into and then the book itself gives you just so much more and so much development. So crack this one open and fall into this world!
About the Author
Elizabeth Chatsworth is a British author and actor based in Connecticut. She loves to write of rogues, rebels, and renegades across time and space.
Elizabeth is a Writers Of The Future winner, a Golden Heart® finalist, a Pitch Wars alumna, and a member of the SFWA. She is the author of THE BRASS QUEEN (January 2021), an award-winning fantasy set in an alternate Victorian age.
When she’s not writing, Elizabeth works at the Westport Library and is also a voiceover actor. There’s a rumor she possesses the world’s best scone recipe.
His Castilian Hawk by Anna Belfrage Publication Date: September 28, 2020 Troubador Publishing Genre: Historical Fiction
For bastard-born Robert Fitz Stephan, being given Eleanor dí Outremer in marriage is an honour. For Eleanor, this forced wedding is anything but a fairy tale.
Robert FitzStephan has served Edward Longshanks loyally since the age of twelve. Now he is riding with his king to once and for all bring Wales under English control.
Eleanor díOutremeróNoor to familyólost her Castilian mother as a child and is left entirely alone when her father and brother are killed. When ordered to wed the unknown Robert FitzStephan, she has no choice but to comply.
Two strangers in a marriage bed is not easy. Things are further complicated by Noorís blood-ties to the Welsh princes and by covetous Edith who has warmed Robertís bed for years.
Robertís new wife may be young and innocent, but he is soon to discover that not only is she spirited and proud, she is also brave. Because when Wales lies gasping and Edward I exacts terrible justice on the last prince and his children, Noor is determined to save at least one member of the House of Aberffraw from the English king.
Will years of ingrained service have Robert standing with his king or will he follow his heart and protect his wife, his beautiful and fierce Castilian hawk?
This is my second Belfrage book, and just like the first this one did not disappoint! Belfrage just has a way with words and weaving beautiful stories. Plus I’m a sucker for historical romances, they’re just so much more complex than modern day based ones! Or maybe so much more dramatic? Probably the latter since I’m a self proclaimed drama queen.
What makes this story are the characters. The main characters just pull you in and make you want to know their entire story. And even the side characters have so much development that the story truly feels like you’re a part of it. And because these characters are all so engaging and interesting in their own ways you are going to want to stay up late with this book (or maybe that’s just me with every book because I’m a night owl? I don’t know but I feel like this review is making me realize some things), so make yourself some coffee and get comfy!
I really have come to love Belfrage’s writing and works and I look forward to continuing to read more and more of her books! She’s now become an author where I know I’ll love the book as soon as it comes to my door. And His Castilian Hawk just really solidified this belief and may be my new favorite book by her.
About the Author
Had Anna been allowed to choose, sheíd have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The Kingís Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.
More recently, Anna has published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients. While she loved stepping out of her comfort zone (and will likely do so again ) she is delighted to be back in medieval times in her September 2020 release, His Castilian Hawk. Set against the complications of Edward Iís invasion of Wales, His Castilian Hawk is a story of loyalty, integrityóand love.
The Light at Wyndcliff by Sarah E. Ladd Publication Date: October 13, 2020 Thomas Nelson Paperback & eBook; 352 Pages Series: The Cornwall Novels, Book 3 Genre: Historical Romance/Regency/Christian
Set in 1820s Cornwall, this Regency romance evokes the captivating worlds and delicious dramas of Jane Austen, Daphne DuMaurier, and Winston Graham.
Raised on the sprawling and rugged Wyndcliff Estate near the dangerous coast of South Cornwall, Evelyn Bray lives with her grandfather, a once-wealthy man reduced to the post of steward. Evelyn is still grieving her fatherís death and her motherís abandonment when a passing ship is dashed against the rocks. The only survivors, a little girl and her injured mother, are rescued and brought to Wyndcliff Hall.
Liam Twethewey is just twenty-two when he inherits Wyndcliff Estate from his great uncle. His optimistic plans to open a china clay pit to employ the estateís tenants meets unexpected resistance, and the rumors of smuggling and illegal activity challenge his new-found authority. Though wise beyond his years, young Liam quickly finds himself out of his depth in this land where long-held secrets and high-stakes agendas make no room for newcomers.
Brought together by troubling questions surrounding the shipwreck, Evelyn and Liam uncover even darker mysteries shrouding the estate. But as they untangle truths from deceptions, their loyalties separate themóand their budding love might not be strong enough to overcome the distance.
This book hit the mark of being an atmospheric regency work and you know I just loved that! It is ephemeral and haunting and just so vividly described. And this isn’t a boring historical fiction at all, there’s danger around every corner and the characters wull immediately daw you in.
Some of my favorite regency pieces are ones that have an underlying current of horror. It’s probably my obsession with gothic horror that pulls me into any story that even remotely resembles it. But also the setting of this story really helped with adding that foreboding theme throughout the book.
I also want to point out that while this is the third book in the series, I was able to read it as a standalone just fine! I know I’ve been doing this a lot this year, so I’m unceremoniously naming 2020 the year in which I read series out of order. But so far it has been a great idea because I’ve found so many authors that I can go back and binge the series, like I plan on doing with Ladd.
About the Author
Sarah E. Ladd has always loved the Regency period ó the clothes, the music, the literature and the art. A college trip to England and Scotland confirmed her interest in the time period and gave her idea of what life wouldíve looked like in era. It wasnít until 2010 that Ladd began writing seriously. Shortly after, Ladd released the first book in the Whispers on the Moors series. Book one of the series, The Heiress of Winterwood, was the recipient of the 2011 ACFW Genesis Award for historical romance. Ladd also has more than ten years of marketing experience. She holds degrees in public relations and marketing and lives in Indiana with her family and spunky Golden Retriever.
The River Jewel: A Letter Series Novella by Kathleen Shoop Publication Date: December 3, 2019 eBook & Paperback; 172 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
For everyone who hopes to find the perfect matchÖ
1875 Des Moines, Iowa
The novella, The River Jewel, takes readers of the bestselling Letter Series novels back in time, before there was a last letter, before the Arthurs lost everything, before they knew a girl named Pearl.
Meet Tilly Rabel, a proud oyster-woman, and Landon Lockwood, the troubled son of one of the wealthiest men in America. The two could not be less suited for love. But when an old legend draws Landon to a hidden river cove, Tilly and he find each other, are lured by growing attraction, and repelled by competing desires to control Tillyís waters. The hidden pool is replete with valuable mussel beds and the source of everything that makes Tilly who she is. Landon sees the illustrious treasure as the path to proving to his parents he is worth their love and worthy of the Lockwood name. Can Tilly trust Landon with her heart, with her beloved mussel beds? Can Landon trust that he has truly changed and doesnít need his parents approval to live the life he wants?
Heartbreak, triumph, and a very special baby weave a tale sure to please readers whoíve read the entire Letter Series and those who are just starting the journey.
This is my second read from The Letter Series by Kathleen Shoop and I am yet again blown away by how gorgeous it is. This novella takes place as a sort of prequel to the series and contains a lovely romance within. And, as I expected, the writing is just lush and gorgeous!
The River Jewel follows Tilly and Landon on an emotional rollercoaster of a love story. The two are very different, yet even with all of these differences might they make the perfect combination? Each of the characters have their moments of being likeable… and then not so much. Which is perfect, because it makes them human. No person is ever perfect 24/7 and it is through brilliantly imperfect characters that we get a glimpse into the true reality of humanity.
Outside of our main characters, the setting of this book is really quite special. We get a in depth experience of what it was like to live in Des Moines at the time. And the community within is really highlighted in a special way. All in all this book is a splendid romance and a wonderful novella on the day to day lives of two people who happen to meet one another.
About the Author
Bestselling author, Kathleen Shoop, holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. She writes historical fiction, womenís fiction and romance. Shoopís novels have garnered various awards in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Indie Excellence Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the San Francisco Book Festival. Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writerís Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.
Origins by Nicole Sallak Anderson Publication Date: October 1, 2019 Literary Wanderlust Paperback & eBook; 229 Pages Series: Song of the King’s Heart, Book 1 Genre: Historical Fiction
This is the lost story of Lord Ankhwenefer, known to the Greeks as Chaonnophris the Rebel, the last native Egyptian Pharaoh. The brilliance and heartache of his rebellion weave a tale that history has forgotten.
In the year 205 B.C., after centuries of Persian and Macedonian occupation, a rebel king rises from the south to take ancient Egypt back unto native hands. He will battle the Ptolemy line for twenty years, and rule almost eighty percent of Egypt, yet in the end, history will never mention his name.
Born Prince Ankhmakis, the last in a line of native Egyptian kings, he is raised with one purpose to help his father reclaim Egypt from the Macedonian occupiers and return their country to dynastic greatness. Fate, however, has its own plans. For lies and deceit live in the hearts of all involved, from his family to the priesthood, and the Greeks arenít the only ones who seek to destroy him.
Natasa is in training to become the High Priestess of the temple of Isis. Her task is to strengthen the royal family with the magic of the goddess through love and pleasure. She never thought the connection between her and Ankhmakis could be so strong, or carry a power coveted by those lurking in the shadows. Nor did she know that the child they would create would have her own great destiny to fulfill.
Together, Ankhmakis and Natasa must defend the potential of their love from those who would seek to use it for their own gain. Theirs is a world of magic, power, riches, and lust, and there are those within the court who would do anything to keep Ankhmakis and Natasa apart. Between mystical forces, murder, and illicit schemes–only the gods know if theyíll survive.
“ORIGINS is an enthralling, cinematic tale set in Ancient Egypt, seeping with magic, intrigue, treachery, and romance. I was hooked from the beginning and holding my breath until the very last page.” ó Stephanie Diaz, author of the Extraction Series
“Nicole Sallak Anderson’s detailed research of costumes, history, and rituals illuminate a long-vanished culture and makes it interesting and she has skillfully breathed life into mere hieroglyphs turning them into vibrant people whose lives are filled with love, jealousy, intrigue, and ambition. A must-read for anyone fascinated by Egyptology or who just wants to read a great story.” – Nancy Lynn Jarvis, author of the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series and the PIP Inc. series.
Gah, it’s been so long since I’ve read such a solid historical fiction piece on Ancient Egypt. There’s just obviously so much history and research that went into this story, but there’s also still that mysticism and magic that comes with anything related to Ancient Egypt. And the best part is that it’s superbly written and not a dry historical fiction. There is a wonderful story within these pages that will pull on your interest.
But yeah, there’s some romance, of course some drama, lots of action and political intrigue, and so much more in between. This story definitely does not disappoint and you will never find yourself bored. If anything it’ll just make you want to read faster and faster so that you can find out what happens next. But yeah, the romance in this one is good! And that’s all I’m going to say on that because I don’t want to spoil anything.
Also, I think it’s fair to note that this is the first installment in the series. So you know I’m going to be eagerly awaiting book two. But that also means that there will be plenty more to enjoy from this story and world!
About the Author
Nicole Sallak Anderson is a Computer Science graduate from Purdue University, and former CTO for a small Silicon Valley startup, turned novelist and blogger, focusing on the intersection of technology and consciousness. She currently lives in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains in California with her husband, where she raises goats and bees. She enjoys spinning, knitting, playing the bass, and dancing, particularly the tango.
A Flame Through Eternity by Anna Belfrage Publication Date: December 2, 2019 Timelight Press
Series: The Wanderer, Book Three Genre: Historical Fiction
It started 3,000 years ago. It ends now. Who survives the final confrontation?
According to Helle Madsen, being the protagonist of a time-spanning epic love story has some things going for it, primarily Jason Morris. Because seriously, meeting up with your fated lover after 3 000 years apart is not bad at all. Unfortunately, where Jason goes, there goes Sam Woolf, yet another very, very ancient acquaintance with the fundamental difference that Sam is not into Happily Ever After. He’s into destruction, more specifically of Jason and Helle.
Helle may believe in second-chance love, but she sure doesn’t believe in reincarnation. Okay, she didn’t believe in stuff like that until she met Jason Morris a year or so ago. By now, she has accepted that sometimes impossible things are quite, quite possible like an ancient princess being reborn as an ambitious financial analyst.
Finding Jason was like finding the part of her that had always been missing a perfect match. But handling Sam Woolf, the reborn version of their ancient nemesis is something of a trial. No sooner do you have him well and surely beat, but up he bounces again. Sheesh, will it take an oak stake to permanently rid their lives of him?
Sam Woolf is a powerful adversary. Too powerful, even. Jason and Helle will need help from unexpected quarters to finally bring this tangled, ancient love-and-hate triangle to some sort of conclusion. Question is, will they survive the experience?
This series is perfect for all you fans of time travel and soulmates. I feel like the whole soulmate trend in books died a while ago, so I am happy to start seeing it again. I miss those stories on star crossed lovers destined to meet over and over and over again but never really seem to get that happy ending. Plus combining the fantasy elements with some intense romance is always a key factor in a great read.
I definitely recommend you read the other books in the series first. I walked into this book not having read them, and while I was able to follow the story and enjoy it I know that I would have had a completely different experience if I had read the others first. There were some parts of the story where it seemed to lull, but I am excited to see how this differs when I read all of the books in order.
Overall this story was wonderfully unique and it had a lot of elements that I’ve been missing from stories. This was definitely a wonderful ending and I look forward to reading more from Belfrage.
About the Author
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with three absorbing interests: history and writing.
Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th†century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th†century England. (Medieval knight was also high on Anna’s list of potential professions. Yet another disappointment.)
With Jason and Helle, Anna has stepped out of her historical comfort zone and has loved doing so.
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Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers Release Date: June 2nd 2020 Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Retellings
‘What it’s like to be tormented by having a writer of books in your family. What it’s like to be tortured by having a scamp in your tutelage.’
‘Well, that surely took hours.’
Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz
Bestselling authors Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz bring us a romantic retelling of Little Women starring Jo March and her best friend, the boy next door, Theodore “Laurie” Laurence.
Remember who you are. She would not let herself be pampered
Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz
1869, Concord, Massachusetts: After the publication of her first novel, Jo March is shocked to discover her book of scribbles has become a bestseller, and her publisher and fans demand a sequel. While pressured into coming up with a story, she goes to New York with her dear friend Laurie for a week of inspiration—museums, operas, and even a once-in-a-lifetime reading by Charles Dickens himself!
But Laurie has romance on his mind, and despite her growing feelings, Jo’s desire to remain independent leads her to turn down his heartfelt marriage proposal and sends the poor boy off to college heartbroken. When Laurie returns to Concord with a sophisticated new girlfriend, will Jo finally communicate her true heart’s desire or lose the love of her life forever?
Everything past was prologue, including the fact that both of them had loved, and been rejected by, other people. Only the future mattered now.
Perhaps one of the most known (and argued about) “romances” is the one between Jo March and Theodore Laurence. Growing up I was obsessed with Little Women and because of the chemistry between Christian Bale and Winona Ryder I thought that Jo and Laurie had to be endgame and refused to believe anything else, even if the book said so. HOWEVER, when I went to see the new Little Women film, and promptly reread the novel afterwards, I found myself rethinking my resolute belief that Jo and Laurie should be together. However, regardless of my currently wavering beliefs in this timeless love triangle, you best believe I was beyond excited when I found out about this book. For Jo & Laurie poses the question of: what would happen if these two star-crossed lovers actually did end up together?
What was happening was alternately dull and frightening.
Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz
Ok, so I realize that this book is going to be VERY dividing. I can understand why some people would be upset about this retelling, since Jo was meant to be an independent woman, but I was still overly excited for this book and am just taking it as an exciting “what if” instead of a slight on an epic work of literature. But I most definitely thought of the Winona and Christian Jo and Laurie while reading this book.
Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz
This book was like a walk down memory lane (even though I just reread Little Women this year). It was such an endearing take on beloved characters and I truly enjoyed reading the reimagined version of such a well known and discussed story. And that’s what this story was, it was about the characters and their relationships. But it is important to remember that while these are the characters we know and love, they’re also the authors’ take on these beloved characters. So they are both the same and different and new. So go into this book expecting a new story that reminisces the original.
About the Authors
She is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.
Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.
She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.
Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).
She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.
She is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling
Margaret Stohl is a #1 New York Times bestselling nerd, world-builder, video game creator, comic book writer and festival founder.
As an award-winning young adult author, she has been published in fifty countries and thirty-two languages and has sold more than ten million books worldwide. Beautiful Creatures debuted as the Amazon #1 Teen book of the year; seven of Margaret’s books have reached bestseller lists around the world.
She has published fifteen novels and graphic novels, as well as contributed to several games and countless comics since her debut. Her last book, Cats Vs Robots: This is War, was a family affair, illustrated by her child, the artist Kay Peterson, and co-written with her husband, Lewis Peterson. It also starred three of her family’s five cats.
After Beautiful Creatures was released as a feature film from Warner Brothers and Alcon Entertainment, Margaret began working with Marvel on her bestselling Black Widow: Forever Red duology; in 2017 she began writing the ongoing Mighty Captain Marvel comic, followed by the acclaimed Life of Captain Marvel miniseries, where she established a new origin story for Carol Danvers in preparation for the theatrical debut of Brie Larson as “Captain Marvel” for the MCU.
When not roaming the halls of Seattle game developer Bungie – where she oversees the creation of new global IPs – Margaret can often be seen at a Comicon or at one of the teen and youth book festivals she co-founded, YALLFEST (Charleston, SC) and YALLWEST (Santa Monica, CA), the largest in the country. Wherever she goes, you can find out more about her (and invariably her cats) at @mstohl on twitter or margaret_stohl on instagram or margaret_stohl on snapchat or at mstohl.com.
The story that we now think of as Little Women was originally published as two separate volumes written by Louisa May Alcott in 1868 and 1869.
In those pages, Jo March—one of young adult literature’s most beloved writers and sisters—writes and publishes the story of her life with her family at Orchard House.
Our own reimagined story takes place between the two volumes, after the success of the first, as Jo struggles to write the second.
Just as we expect “Lu” did.
—MS & MdlC
The Offices of Roberts Brothers, Publishers and Bookbinders
Washington Street, Boston, Massachusetts
“Little Women? That’s the title?” The author looked concerned. Above her light brown eyes and beneath her threadbare linen cap, the chestnut curls that framed her face were shaking. Miss Josephine March was all of seventeen years old, and though her girlish curves were slight, her spirit was immense.
There was nothing little about her, or her characters.
Or so she had thought.
The book in question—a volume of domestic stories, loosely inspired by her own family—was one she hadn’t wanted to write, had in fact steadfastly refused to write, until her editor had offered a notably unrefusable royalty, instead of the usual piffling advance. Only then had she dashed off a dozen chapters in a fit of pique. To her dismay, he’d loved them, and she’d had no choice but to finish the final chapters, which she’d come to deliver now.
And lo—insult beyond injury—it would be called Little Women.
“Isn’t it perfect?” Mr. Thomas Niles beamed at her over his spectacles. Her editor at Boston’s (moderately) respected and (moderately) solvent Roberts Brothers Press, Niles felt he had developed some (moderate) expertise in the publishing industry. His authors, at times, disagreed.
This was one of those times.
“Far from it!” Jo drew a worn cambric handkerchief square from her pinafore pocket and dabbed dramatically at the corner of her left eye, although both author and editor knew there was no actual tear to be wiped away.
Only fury, and there’s not a cambric square big enough in the world for that—
“It’s dismissive!” Jo seethed. “It’s pap!”
“Oh?” Niles pushed his spectacles back up the bridge of his bulbous red nose. “How so?”
“It’s . . . trite!” Jo dropped the handkerchief upon the bundled pages in front of her. They were tied with string, the requested final chapters, as painstakingly inked as the others before them. Her hands hovered, as always, just above the parcel; it was never easy, letting go of the fruit of so many stolen hours in her damp writing garret under the attic eaves, where she’d burnt her last saved stumps of candle-wax—as well as her fingers—and ruined her eyes in the service of one of these so-called little stories. The nerve!
“Trivial!” Jo huffed.
“When you say trivial,” Niles began, “do you mean—?”
“For starters, that’s not a title, it’s a literal restatement of the very essence of the plot,” Jo interrupted.
He eyed the parcel hungrily. “Yes, and I’m told it’s charming.
Jo’s head-shake was very nearly violent. “It’s not charming. I’m not charming.” After making a living writing her customary blood-and-thunder tales—or so she thought of them—this business of feminine tradition and treacle was all very unfamiliar. To be fair, with the exception of her sisters, Jo knew and liked hardly any girls at all.
“You’re very charming, Miss March. Nearly as charming as your book,” Niles said, looking amused. “And a tribute to little women everywhere.” He pulled a tin from his outer vest pocket. “Peppermint?”
Buying time with sweets, again. Niles offered them up only when he found himself in a tough conversational crossroads, Jo knew.
So that’s it, then.
There really is no changing the title.
“Thank you, no.” Jo looked out the window as a horse and carriage clattered up Washington Street, spraying mud in every direction, including onto the glass of the (moderately) well-kept Roberts Brothers offices. She tried not to wring her hands in despair and failed. “I suppose it is what it is. Perhaps it doesn’t matter what you call it. I dashed the thing off in weeks, and for what?”
“Money,” Niles said. “The almighty dollar. Which you happen to need, not unlike the rest of us. Speaking of earning your wage, are those the chapters you owe me?” He reached for the bundled pages between them.
“It’s not about earning my wages,” Jo said, tightening her grip on the manuscript. “Not just about that.” She’d written it on assignment, because Niles was experimenting beyond the standard Continental Gothic that came flowing from Jo’s pen so easily.
And, yes, because of the money.
The result was a collection of domestic moments, sure, but it had surprised even her; it wasn’t just feminine drivel, even if the title might perhaps now doom it to be. She hadn’t expected it to come as quickly as it had, or as pleasantly. Not that she would admit that to her editor. “Money’s not a reason. Not a proper one, anyway.” Even if we are poor as rats.
“Many people—most—seem to think otherwise,” Niles said, yanking his handkerchief from his pocket and mopping his brow, which was beginning to perspire as they argued. He was never without a handkerchief; decades of sobbing authors, Jo suspected, had trained him thus.
“Not all people,” she sniffed.
“Certainly my investors do. You aren’t the only family with war debts, you know.”
Jo had no answer for that, for he was right. She supposed she would never be considered a real writer now, never be taken seriously by the public. Never invited to lecture at the Athenaeum with Ralph and Henry and . . . Who was that other chap? Perhaps this was what happened to feminine scribblers who aspired above their little place in the Concord world.
Strike another blow to the weaker sex—and all that rot.
“Charming,” she sighed.
“Ideally, you’ve written equally charming last chapters as well.” Niles eyed the stack hopefully. “Seeing as my typesetters have very nearly caught up with you.”
Jo snorted, which was a good indication of her feelings concerning the process that put her words on the page. Lottie Roberts, who manned the letterpress, had once changed “Christopher Columbus!”—Jo’s most oft-uttered oath—to “My Heavens!” and Jo had never forgiven her. This was, truthfully, not an isolated event; “Blazes!” had been mysteriously printed as “How sad!”—“Hell” as “The Down Below”—“Blow me down!” as “No!”—and “A French pox upon you, Adventuress!” had been eliminated altogether.
“Your typesetters go too far.” She glared, repeating the warning not to change a word of her text for the twentieth time.
“Yes, well.” He snapped shut his peppermint tin. “When women of polite society are allowed to speak like common sailors, you are welcome to terminate their employment yourself, Miss March.”
“And I look forward to the day, sir.” Jo pursed her lips.
“I am confident you shall meet it.” Niles smiled. For despite all indications to the contrary, the two were fond friends. Niles reminded Jo of her father, who had left Concord years earlier to join the Union army as a chaplain. Mr. March had come home only once in all that time—when the Union prevailed and the war was won, three years ago. Shortly thereafter, he’d left once more to volunteer in the Reconstruction efforts in the South, helping to build schools and churches for previously enslaved people. And though his letters usually came frequently, the March women felt his absence keenly.
But Jo still had Niles, and if they fought, they fought well, each considering the other the more harmless version of their species. (The dollar a story Niles paid to run Jo’s wild romantic adventures didn’t hurt, either. Neither did the fact that subscriptions to his circular, The Tall Taler, had gone up by forty-three since engaging her. Forty-three!)
“Call it what you will. No one will read it, anyway.” Jo tapped her fingers along the brown-paper-wrapped parcel. “I don’t know why you believed you could sell it.”
“Perhaps.” Niles nodded.
“I should have used a different name instead of my own,” she sighed. “Eustacia. Thomasina.”
“Possibly.” He nodded again. “Eustacia Emerson is lovely. I’m quite partial to Thomasina Thoreau, but Hildegarde Hawthorne could also do just fine.” He winked.
Hawthorne. That was his name, the other Athenaeum chap!
“Fine.” She picked at the string about the parcel. “Take my daft little book of scribbles and do with it as you will.”
“I’ve seen dafter. Trust me.”
“Trust you? You have no sense of anything, least of all publishing! Why, you couldn’t sell Romeo and Juliet if I wrote it for you.”
“Admittedly a bit somber for my taste—I do prefer a happy ending to my sensation stories. So do our Tall Taler readers. Why couldn’t Romeo have married Juliet and settled down in a nice Tuscan villa? A sequel by any other name . . .”
The author bit her lip; it kept her from responding in a discourteous manner.
“Now give it here,” the editor said, sliding his fingers impatiently across the blotter atop his desk and taking the manuscript from her hands.
“Take it.” She scowled.
Manuscript obtained, Niles traded his peppermints for the bottle of peppermint schnapps he kept in the bottom of his drawer for special occasions.
“A toast!” he offered, pouring two thimblefuls into two cups.
Jo grudgingly accepted.
“To our Little Women!” her publisher cried. “And to the bright future of Jo March, Thomas Niles, and Roberts Brothers! May 1868 prove to be a banner year for us all!”
Jo clinked her glass against his. It seemed rude otherwise. With a final sigh and a shake of her curls, the author drank to her defeat. The editor drank to her success.
The Highlander’s English Bride by Vanessa Kelly Publication Date: May 26, 2020 Zebra Books Series: Clan Kendrick, Book #3 Genre: Historical Romance/Scottish
In this dazzling new novel from bestselling author Vanessa Kelly, the wildest member of Clan Kendrick has found his purpose as a government agent. Now he must also meet his match…
Lady Sabrina Bell has never been so embarrassed in her life. Not only did her new suitor fail to appear for their morning rendezvous in Hyde Park, but a thief pushed her into the Serpentine. Being rescued by a burly Highlander just adds to her humiliation. Nor is he content with rescuing her just once. Even when Sabrina travels to Edinburgh as part of King Georgeís entourage, Graeme Kendrick is there, interfering, exasperating, and so very tempting…
Once notorious for being the most unruly Kendrick brother, Graeme now runs dangerous missions for the Kingís spymaster. Yet nothing has prepared him for Sabrina. The only child of a wealthy earl, and the pampered goddaughter of the king himself, she is stubborn, impetuous, and far too good for him. He doesnít deserve her, but he can protect her and then send her safely back home. But the bonny Sassenach has her own ideasóand a plan for seduction that no red-blooded Highlander could resist…
You ever have one of those days where you have SO MUCH you need to get done, you have it all planned out, and you’re ready to conquer, but then the day comes and it just needs to end? Yeah, that’s been my day. NOTHING has gone right today (asides from finding a really cool bowl) and I’m just ready to move on with my life. BUT, nothing can stop my excitement for finally being able to share this book with you! Because, I mean, you know me and my obsession with all things Scottish! And just, this book, muah, perfection!
There’s something so perfect about a brutish wild Scottish man in books. I dunno, they’re just so swoon worthy. But this book was a wild ride from start to finish. It was truly just such an engaging read and I am not ashamed to say I most definitely binged it. It was a typical brutish Scottish highlander story, which even through the dark parts are always so intriguing.
This book is really just such an enjoyable read. It’s one of those books that you can easily sit down and curl up with to read in one sitting. It’s also going to really appeal to all of my Outlander fans out there. It’s got the brutish men and the stubborn women that make these stories.
About the Author
Vanessa Kelly is a USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the ìNew Stars of Historical Romance.î Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated in a number of contests, and she has won multiple awards, including the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her books have been published in nine languages.
Vanessaís first Clan Kendrick book, The Highlander Who Protected Me, was a USA Today, Barnes & Noble, and BookScan bestseller. The Highlanderís Christmas Bride, her latest book, hit the top 50 on both the Barnes & Noble mass-market bestseller list and on BookScan. The Renegade Royals Series was a national bestseller, as was The Improper Princesses Series. My Fair Princess was named a Goodreads Romance of the Month and is a USA Today and BookScan bestseller.
When sheís not dreaming of plots for her next Regency novel, Vanessa is writing USA Today Bestselling books with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.
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