Enter the Con

From Duke Till Dawn Book Cover From Duke Till Dawn
(The London Underground, #1)
Eva Leigh
Regency romance, historical, humour
Mills & Boon
March 26, 2018
384

Eva Leigh launches a seductive new series that sizzles with the dark secrets of London's underworld... 'It's not my habit to seduce impoverished widows...' The Duke of Greyland lost his heart - and a princely sum - to a charming, beautiful and destitute widow who, after one passionate night, vanished without a trace. Cassandra Blair grew up on the city streets, picking pockets to survive. Greyland was a rich mark - to be fleeced and forgotten - only she'd never forgotten him. Years later, chance brings them together again, in a London gaming hell. Grayland is desperate to have her... never suspecting everything about his lover was a lie. But finding herself in dire financial straits, at risk of losing everything, Cassandra has no choice but to beg the man she betrayed for help. The proud Duke will assist her under one condition: she doesn't leave his sight until her debts are paid! But can the real Cassandra - the smart, streetwise survivor - steal his heart all over again? Book one in the Scandalous Ladies of London series

For me this was a generally enjoyable book, but there was one area that I felt let the book down – the sex scenes. They somehow didn’t flow well. It was as though the publisher or editor said ‘we must have some sex in the book’, and the author complied but wasn’t confident or didn’t really like this type of writing.
That said, I thought that the story contained some interesting reflections and reminders about the lot of girls born into the slums. The story told us not only about the hierarchy of the Underworld and criminals but that girls had little choice but to work in brothels and get the ‘pox’ from a very young age,; work in the cotton mills (or similar) and get a lung disease; or learn to be thieves. Remember that the phrase ‘mad as a hatter’ came from the lead poisoning that working in a hat factory brought with it and the subsequent brain deterioration.
So thieving was perhaps the best option for them.
‘Respectable’ trades required references, from scullery maid to shopgirl and unless you had a reference you couldn’t obtain legal work.
The sadness of being dirty, hungry, lice ridden and without belongings was brought out clearly – no belongings because a. you had probably stolen what you had from other, and b. they stole it back…
I felt very much for the female character in this novel and thought that she had made the very best of her sad life.

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Female Astronomers in the 19th Century

The Governess Game Book Cover The Governess Game
(Girl Meets Duke, #2)
Tessa Dare
Regency romance, historical, humour
HQ
August 20, 2018
384

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud. The ladies of London have tried―and failed―to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart . . . without risking her own.

The infamous rake

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling . . . and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

This is a really interesting book as not only is it well written it contains, for us in this year of celebrating Women’s Suffrage in the UK, a good reminder that women have been working in scientific fields long before the history books remind us.
Mary Somerville, for instance, born in 1780, was jointly the first of two female astronomers, the other being Caroline Herschel, who were invited to join the Royal Astronomical Society in 1835. Caroline Herschel was awarded their Gold Medal in 1828.
This story brings this science to life and demonstrates the difficulty women had to be taught such sciences and to have a career that matched their intellectual abilities.
We did have a typical love story alongside this of course.

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Enter the first Steam Pump! Ever….

The Steam Pump Jump Book Cover The Steam Pump Jump
The Chronicles of St Mary's Series SS
Jodi Taylor
Historians, action and adventure, sci-fi
Accent Press
(12 July 2018)
Kindle

Not one to let being banged up in Sick Bay stop her, Max has had a brilliant idea. But she needs Markham to execute it on her behalf. The subject of this cunning plan is Peterson, struggling with another bereavement and not doing very well. What’s needed to get him through it is sympathy, sensitivity, tact and understanding.
Step forward Mr Markham, for whom sympathy, sensitivity, etc., are things that happen to other people.
Combine a fanatic from R&D, a head of Security with his own problems, a steam-pump, two historians who can’t even be in the same room as each other, some fractious Protestants and a large body of very dirty water.
Told in Markham’s own words, this is the story of an intervention – St Mary’s style.

Or was it a steam cannon?

steam cannon is a cannon that launches a projectile using only heat and water, or using a ready supply of high-pressure steam from a boiler. The first steam cannon was designed by Archimedes during the Siege of SyracuseLeonardo Da Vinci was also known to have designed one (the Architonnerre). [see Wikipedia]
According to our St Mary’s Chronicles, they wanted to look for a steam pump but its actions was more like a steam cannon, in my mind.. either way, it was a fun thing to go and look at, or so Markham thought.
This is more unusual storyline form Jodi Taylor as it is written from Markham’s viewpoint and in his voice.
I really loved Lingoss’ explanation of why her hair was blue – as someone whose hair is purple and some people have failed to mention it, or apparently notice until it is pointed out to them! i do wonder who the teacher was she talks about. I’m sure that they will be mentioned in future stories as we have a lot of characters at St Mary’s we still know little about and how they came to be there.
After all, History has many years of exploration that can be taken.
So yes, the best laid plans of mice and men, especially when Markham is involved, don’t always work as intended.
A great addition to the series.

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When you get lost

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde Book Cover The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde
Eve Chase
gothic, historical romance
Michael Joseph
2018-04
400

In the heatwave of 1959, four sisters arrive at Applecote Manor to relive their memories of hazy Cotswolds summers. They find their uncle and aunt still reeling from the disappearance of their only daughter, five years before. An undercurrent of dread runs through the house. Why did Audrey vanish? Who is keeping her fate secret? As the sisters are lured into the mystery of their missing cousin, the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn. One which will leave blood on their hands, and put another girl in danger decades later . . .

A sad story of a family loss. and the on-going impact of just what happened five years before, and how the parents of Audrey coped.

I am not always a fan of literature set in the 1950s as it is some ways not far enough away to count as historical, but not near enough to be contemporary, yet this novel was so well written that it got over that reluctance. It described the Cotswolds well –  I have visited often and so am familiar with it, and even contemplated living in one of its villages, but far too expensive now!

I enjoyed the story and thought the style good. I am not sure though that I would read another novel set in this period.

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Just what is History’s Truth?

An Argumentation of Historians Book Cover An Argumentation of Historians
The Chronicles of St Mary's Series Book 9
Jodi Taylor
Historians, action and adventure, sci-fi
Accent Press Ltd
February 22, 2018
320

They say you shouldn't push your luck. Max, obviously, gives her own luck a massive shove every day - and it's only a matter of time until luck pushes back...

When I found out that some more books had continued – what I had thought was the end of – the Chronicles of St Mary’s, I immediately bought them.

This is one of my favourite series as I love history – and even took it for A levels. and here much of what you read in the story is historically very accurate, you just have a number of people involved in these events by accident through time travel. Or as St Mary’s prefers to call it – viewing history in contemporary time.

Stories about Alexander The Great are many – he did so much in such a very short time, and thus must have been an amazing person, and I can quite see why anyone would want to go and see him for themselves. And to see one of the fabled cities of the Old World before destruction and a fabled Library too…

But as always things don’t go according to plan for Max and her compatriots. And Jodi Taylor’s imagination is let loose on just what can go wrong when a city is burning, and there are lots of drunken people about, and soldiers celebrating a win, and…

Note to author: please explain more about Roman manages to keep his pod working and even gets more bought and people paid.

Great fun and good suspense. Well written stories.

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