by the Duchess of Devonshire
Published by MACMILLAN
The Duchess of Devonshire shows how a country estate functions in all its aspects: forestry, farming, animal husbandry, shooting, mining, community work, schools, villages, pubs, sheltered-housing projects and garden centres.
A very comprehensive guide to the workings of Chatsworth as it was when I knew it best, also referring back to how things were done previously in the twentienth century and earlier. Spotting people I've either worked with or met was, of course, part of the fun. At some point I'll have to give this copy back to the library, but I'm hoping to track down my own.
Web of fear
by Julie Coffin
Previously published by Bridges & Knight 'Easy Reads'
A scuffle and a scream, and then he's upon her! But what if the resulting child becomes the target of an evil mind's warped reality, and there is no-one to take the threats seriously...
Another of the short-lived 'Easy reads' series of pocket novels. The suspense plot was well-executed in places, but it lacked a sense of grounding in any particular decade. I thought at first it was set in the sixties, but apparently it was supposed to be a contemporary. Sadly I don't think I'll be reading any more by this author.
Sold for a Farthing
by Clare Kipps
Published by TBS The Book Service Ltd
Reviewed on Vulpes Libris here. Extract from that in lieu of a blurb:
Clare Kipps was an Air Raid Warden in London. In July 1940 she returned home to find on her doorstep a day-old sparrow which, miraculously, responded to her nursing. It had, however, a deformed wing which meant it stayed the rest of its life in Clare’s home. The sparrow – Clarence – became tame. So tame, in fact, that Clare was able to take it on her rounds in London’s East End. Children (and adults) sitting huddled together in fear of Hitler’s bombing campaigns immediately burst into smiles when they realised their Air Raid Warden brought with her a pet sparrow – a sparrow happy to perform a programme of ‘tricks’.
An interesting premise for a book, but sadly I don't agree with the reviewers who seem to love the book so much. Some of the details of wartime life were noteworthy, but I really couildn't drum up much sympathy for the narrator. Others may feel otherwise.
Virgin Slave, Barbarian King
by Louise Allen
Published by Harlequin Historical Romance
Julia Livia Rufa is horrified when barbarians invade Rome and steal everything in sight. But she doesn't expect to be among the taken. As Wulfric's woman, she's ordered to keep house for the uncivilized marauders. Soon, though, Julia realizes that she's more free as a slave than she ever was as a sheltered Roman virgin.
It would be all too easy to succumb to Wulfric's quiet strength, and Julia wants him more than she's ever wanted anything. But Wulfric could one day be king, and Julia is a Roman slave. What future can there be for two people from such different worlds?
I bought this one direct from the author at the Festival of Romance, partly on the basis of her bad review from Julie Bindel (which she is understandably proud of, considering all the publicity that spun off from it). As is so often the case (excuse my snark), Julie Bindel got things all muddled up. This is a well researched story of life at the end of the Roman Empire for free Romans, their slaves, and their supposed allies who feel betrayed by the Emperor's unkept promises. It's also a romance, and a good one at that, but one does worry that Ms Bindel read only the title and the name of the publisher before writing her review.
Julia is a pampered Roman, daughter of one politician and betrothed to another. As Rome comes under attack by Visigoths, she is rescued from men (fine, upstanding Romans usually) who kill her slave and want to rape and rob her, by one of the invaders. He promptly takes her as his slave, but she finds the attitude of thr barbarians to their prisoners to be far more kindly than that of her own people. Thus follows a whole series of adventures across Europe before Julia figures out whether she wants to return to her old life or find a new one with these very different people.
Innocent Courtesan to Adventurer's Bride
by Louise Allen
Published by Mills & Boon
Out of the brothel...Wrongly accused of theft, innocent Celina Shelley is cast out of the brothel she calls home and flees to Quinn Ashley, Lord Dreycott, for safety. But the heat in the daredevil adventurer's eyes tells Lina that the danger is just beginning...and into the rake's bedroom! Lina dresses like a nun, looks like an angel, but flirts like a professional - and the last thing Quinn expects to discover is that she's a virgin! Now he knows the truth, will he wed her before he beds her? The Transformation of the Shelley Sisters Three sisters, three escapades, three very different destinies!
Third in the series about the Shelley Sisters, and this time we learn more about their background than any of them knew previously. It transpires that their mother and aunt had been ruined in their youth, and while their mother had later married, their aunt had gone on to run a reasonably successful and for the time ethical brothel. The aunt however falls on hard times due to illness, and Lina who is working as her clerk and housekeeper finds herself sent out to 'work' by one of her aunt's creditors. Geting into a tricky situation, she is forced to flee to stay with an old friend of her aunt, who promptly dies leaving her to face his heir: enter the hero. Quinn was a little too alpha for my taste.
Most of the loose ends were tied up nicely (there's an eBook dealing with the only one remaining as far as I can see) and this series is definitely a keeper.