26 November 2021

The Accidental Suffragist by Galia Gichon Book Review!





“The Accidental Suffragist”

Galia Gichon | June 1, 2021 | Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing | Historical Fiction 

Paperback | 978-1948018968 | $15.95 


Empowering novel reveals how the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory


Over a century after women were granted the right to vote, a new voice in historical fiction, Galia Gichon, explores this pivotal moment in time through a unique and distinctive lens. 

It's 1911, and protagonist Helen Fox is a factory worker living in New York's tenements. When tragedy strikes in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Helen is seduced by the cause for women’s suffrage and is soon immersed, working alongside famous activists.

As Helen's involvement with the cause deepens, she encounters myriad sources of tension that test her perseverance: estrangement from her husband, who is blindsided by his wife's sudden activism; ostracization by neighbors; unease at working side by side with wealthier suffragettes; and worry about her children as she leaves them to picket the White House in Washington.

“The Accidental Suffragist” (Wyatt-MacKenzie, June 2021) spans World War One and concludes with the triumph of 1919. In a time when the obstacles for women seemed insurmountable, Helen discovers her voice as an independent woman and dreams of equality in a male-dominated society. 

“engaging... Helen is an appealing heroine and her personal journey will resonate with readers.” –BookList

“The Accidental Suffragist”

Galia Gichon | June 1, 2021 | Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing | Historical Fiction 

Paperback | 978-1948018968 | $15.95 

GALIA GICHON: Widely quoted in The New York Times and more, Galia Gichon spent nearly ten years writing financial research for top investment banks before launching Down-to-Earth Finance, a top personal financial advising firm in New York.

Galia is the author of My Money Matters, a personal finance book which received notable press from the New York Times, TODAY Show, CNN, Newsweek, Real Simple and more. Galia Gichon frequently leads seminars for Barnard College where she has taught for 13 years. She is an avid angel investor focusing on women-led and impact startups and actively counsels startups through accelerators. 

Follow Galia on social media: 

Twitter: @pagesandmore | Instagram: @pagesandmore


An Interview with

Galia Gichon


How has your career in finance influenced your fiction writing? 


My goal has always been female empowerment specifically through independent financial education. By being financially independent, women are able to make independent choices in their lives. As a result, I was fascinated by how women have been fighting to make those choices - starting with the right to vote! 


What was the research process like for this novel? Did you learn anything particularly surprising? 

I learned so much! I had to really research articles, books, cartoons and individual women’s stories which I devoured. Two pivotal events in the book were shocking to me: the parade in 1913 right before President Wilson’s inauguration and the Occoquan prison scene. I had never heard of them before! 


Why did you choose to center this story around a struggling factory worker rather than one of the charismatic–often wealthy–leaders of the movement?


I felt the class struggle was more interesting from a narrative perspective. I also felt it was easier to be a Suffragist if you had means and wealth, whereas the obstacles were much harder for the working class woman.


Has the suffrage movement impacted activism today? Are there certain parallels that stuck out to you?


Absolutely! The voting lines we saw during this last election seemed similar in that groups of people were denied basic privilege. It showed that we can’t take our rights today for granted and need to continue to fight for equality.


Can readers expect to see more books from you in the future?

Absolutely! I’m already working on a feminist contemporary novel and starting an outline for another historical fiction feminist novel.


My Thoughts


The Accidental Suffragist by Galia Gichon is a novel of women's rights especially the right to vote. In 1911 Helen Fox, wife and mother, is a factory worker in New York city tenements. She and her husband trying to make ends meet, actually experience a tragedy in the family from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire . As a result of this, Helen gets involved in the cause for women’s suffrage, working alongside famous activist for the right to vote and change the work laws for children.


She experiences tension as an activist, with her husband, who reluctantly lets her do this. I felt that her husband was a lot like other men of the era, 1912, who felt that women belonged in the home and not out marching for women's rights. She is shunned by her neighbors and feeling guilt for leaving her husband and children to go marching. She also feels out of place with her wealthier suffragists.


On March 3, 1913. more than 5,000 suffragists from around the country paraded down Pennsylvania Avenue from the U.S. Capitol to the Treasury Building with Helen Fox with them.  The Night of Terror - where Suffragists were tortured by male guards at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia was a pivotal point in the movement, fictional Helen Fox experienced this along with her friends.


I was moved by this book, I knew of the movement by what I was taught in high school and had read other historical fiction books about Susan B Anthony and her quest for the right to vote. I had not known about some of women involved. Very eye opening. I could not believe that it took 50ish years for the 19th amendment to become law and that certain rights still continue to this day. I think that if you enjoy reading about the Women's Movement and how it affected people, rich and poor, give this book a read. The author should be commended for the amount of research that she did. I enjoyed the book immensely! 


I received this book for review purposes only!


Danger at Dunhaven Castle: A Cate Kensie Mystery by Nellie H. Steele Book Tour and Giveaway!

Danger at Dunhaven Castle: A Cate Kensie Mystery by Nellie H. Steele

About Danger at Dunhaven Castle

 

 

Cozy Mystery 4th in Series 

Publisher: A Novel Idea Publishing, LLC 

Number of Pages: ~400

Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09GYKD84F 

Frightening nightmares. Aberrations in time. Who is haunting Cate’s nightmares?

Months after solving two mysteries involving her ancestors, time-traveling, castle-dwelling Countess, Lady Catherine Kensie, still suffers from haunting nightmares. Chased by a mysterious man, Cate ponders who could be haunting her dreams and disturbing her sleep. She’s also smack dab in the middle of a brand-new research project, having found journals belonging to the Scottish castle’s original owner.

As Cate digs into the castle’s history, not only do her nightmares become more frequent and more frightening, but Cate also begins to experience strange phenomena with the time portals enclosed in the castle walls. Controlled by the mysterious heirloom timepiece she received as part of her inheritance, Cate is shocked when she begins to slip in and out of other time periods despite not activating the mechanism that controls them!

Can Cate learn the secret to control the time portals and discover who haunts her dreams before she finds herself lost in time?

About Nellie H. Steele

   

An Indies Today finalist for Best Book of the Year 2020 with Cleopatra’s Tomb, Nellie H. Steele made the leap from science to art with her first book, The Secret of Dunhaven Castle.

An animal enthusiast, Nellie often features a version of one of her fourteen rescue animals in her stories, though the fictional pets are usually better behaved than her own fur-babies! A literary split personality, Nellie’s work ranges from cozy mystery to supernatural suspense to riveting adventure.

She lives in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. When she isn’t writing or engaging in animal care, she enjoys teaching Statistics and Data Science at a local university.

Check out all Nellie offers at www.anovelideapublishing.com/novels or at her blog, Nellie’s Book Nook, available at www.nelliesbooknook.com

  Author Links Publisher 
  Goodreads:  

  Purchase Link:  
  Amazon (ebook preorder is currently live. Book will be offered in eBook, paperback, hardcover, and audio). 

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25 November 2021

Cliff Diver by Carmen Amato Book Tour and Giveaway!

Cliff Diver by Carmen Amato Banner

Cliff Diver

by Carmen Amato

November 1-30, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Cliff Diver by Carmen Amato

Acapulco’s first female police detective dives into an ocean of secrets, lies, and murder when she investigates her own lieutenant’s death.

In this explosive start to the award-winning Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco, Emilia beat the odds to become the resort city's first female police detective. But she's living in a pressure cooker. Other detectives are scheming to push her out and the police department is riddled with corruption and drug cartel influence.

When the lieutenant is murdered, Emilia is assigned to lead the investigation. Soon the man’s sordid sex life, money laundering, and involvement in a kidnapping double-cross combine to create an ugly mess no one wants exposed. The high profile murder case could wreck Emilia’s career. When another detective--Emilia's worst enemy in the squadroom--emerges as the prime suspect, keeping her job might be the least of her worries.

Readers who love international mystery series crime fighters including Armand Gamache, Harry Hole, Guido Brunetti, and the Department Q series will also love Detective Emilia Cruz’s complex plots, pulse-pounding suspense, and exotic location. Perfect for lovers of detective fiction by Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbo, and Peter May, as well as Don Winslow’s Mexican cartel and border thrillers.

“Consistently exciting”
-- Kirkus Reviews

"A wonderful crime mystery"
-- MysterySequels.com

Poison Cup award, Outstanding Series 2019 and 2020
-- CrimeMasters of America

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural
Published by: Laurel & Croton
Publication Date: September 2021 (first published January 27, 2013)
Number of Pages: 302
ISBN: 1482308045 (ISBN13: 9781482308044)
Series: Emilia Cruz Mysteries #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

The two newcomers surveyed the squadroom. One of them looked vaguely familiar, as if he’d been in the newspaper lately. He was in his late thirties, with longish dark hair slicked back from a high forehead and the sort of angular cheekbones that spoke of a strong indio heritage. He wore a black leather blazer over a black tee shirt and cuffed pants. There was a slight bulge under the left arm.

Emilia stopped typing. The man exuded power.

The other man was bigger and blockier, with a square chin and a nose that had been broken too many times. He was also well dressed in expensive casual clothing.

“I’m looking for a Detective Cruz,” the black-clad man announced.

Emilia felt all eyes shift to her. But before she could say anything Silvio crossed the room. “Detective Franco Silvio,” he said to the man in black.

“I know who you are,” the man replied. “I’m here to talk to Cruz.”

Emilia slowly stood up.

“In the office.” The man jerked his chin at Emilia and then he and his cohort pushed past Silvio and headed into el teniente’s office.

Silvio swung over to Emilia. “What the fuck’s this?” he hissed.

“I don’t know,” she flashed back. Rico came to stand next to her and Silvio gave him a what-the-fuck-do-you-think-you’re-doing look but Rico stood his ground.

The three of them went into the office. The man in black sat in el teniente’s chair and jiggled the locked desk drawers. “Shut the door,” he said without looking up.

Silvio complied and the man came out from behind the desk.

“Do you know who I am?” he asked Emilia.

Emilia gave her head a tight shake. With five people in the room it felt crowded and Emilia felt that cold spurt of wariness she always did when she was the only woman in a crowd of unfriendly men. “I’m sorry, señor.”

“I’m Victor Obregon Sosa, the head of the police union for the state of Guerrero,” he announced. “This is my deputy, Miguel Villahermosa.” The other man didn’t acknowledge the introduction but it was clear Obregon had not expected him to do so. “We’re here to make sure that the investigation into Fausto Inocente’s death is handled properly.”

Rico bristled, as if he was offended that the union would butt in. Emilia waited for him to say something stupid but Silvio shot him a murderous glare and Rico kept his mouth shut.

“We’re barely two hours into the investigation,” Silvio said, obviously making an effort to keep his temper. It had been less than 40 minutes since the call to the chief of police. “It came in as a routine dispatch call. Cruz and Portillo were given the assignment, made the discovery, locked down the scene, and notified the next of kin.”

“So let’s hear it,” Obregon said and flapped a hand.

Silvio nodded at Rico.

“We got a report of a drifting boat,” Rico began. “It was off the beach at the Palacio Réal hotel--.”

“No,” Obregon interrupted. He folded his arms. “Cruz.”

Emilia stole a look at Rico. His face was like thunder. She swallowed hard. “As my partner said, the call was to investigate a drifting boat off the beach at the Palacio Réal. The hotel chef and manager saw it from the beach early this morning, thought there were bloodstains on the side. We met Water Patrol at the hotel and they towed in the boat.” She took another breath and tried to sound as professional as possible. “Lt. Inocente was in the bottom of the boat, with his head encased in a plastic bag. It was pulled tight and knotted around his neck. When the crime scene technician opened the bag it appeared that the back of his head was caved in. We’ll know more when the coroner examines the body.”

Obregon nodded. “Any other injuries?” he asked her.

She shook her head. “No bullet holes in the hull of the boat, no evidence of a struggle. Blood on the deck under the body, likely from the head wound. Blood had also soaked through his shirt and there was some on the upper edge of the boat hull. Technicians took samples but they’ll probably all come back as his.”

“Anything else?”

“The boat is his. His wife gave us the registration papers.” Emilia paused, discomfited by Obregon’s stare. The tension in the room was palpable. She glanced at Rico and plowed on. “They live in the same area as the hotel. The wife wasn’t much help regarding his whereabouts last night. The last person who could pinpoint his whereabouts last night was their maid. Said he got a phone call late in the evening and went out. Took the boat keys but nothing else.”

“Wife didn’t see him?”

“She had gone out to a charity event,” Emilia said. “Of course, we’ll be checking to verify her story.”

Obregon tipped the chair back. A thin silver chain showed inside the loose neck of the tee. His skin was smooth and his jaw was tightly defined. He looked like someone who worked out a lot. And liked showing off the results.

“So, Cruz, tell me how you’re going to proceed,” he said, as if Rico and Silvio weren’t even in the crowded office.

“We’ll set up a hotline and get detectives out talking to everyone at his apartment building and the hotel to see if we can piece together his last hour. He was apparently close to his brother. We’ll talk to him as well. Look at his phone records to see if we can find out who the late night caller was. Coroner’s report. Forensics on his laptop. See if we get any prints off the boat.”

Obregon nodded and straightened the chair. Even that simple movement belied grace and power and focused intent. “This is how the investigation is going to go.” He pointed at Emilia. “You’re appointed acting lieutenant. Do whatever you want with these clowns”--he snapped his fingers at Silvio and Rico--“and the other cases you’ve got but I want you to personally head the Inocente investigation.”

Both Silvio and Rico froze as if they couldn’t believe what they’d just heard.

“Chief Salazar has already been notified. You’ll report directly to my office every few days until this thing is over.” Obregon indicated Villahermosa who’d remained by the door during the entire conversation, like a large, menacing statue. Obregon’s deputy was even bigger than Silvio, with legs the size of tree trunks. Another former boxer, no doubt. “Villahermosa will be on call to assist as well.”

The tension in the room was now tinged with menace. Emilia struggled to keep breathing normally.

“Cruz is a junior detective.” Silvio’s voice was tight. “She doesn’t have the experience or the seniority to be acting lieutenant.”

“Cruz has my full support,” Obregon said.

“With respect,” Silvio said. “We understand that. But she’s not the senior detective here.”

“Nobody’s asking for your fucking opinion,” Obregon blazed. His eyes drilled into Silvio. “Cruz is in charge as of now. Thanks for coming.”

Villahermosa pulled open the door and jerked his chin at Silvio and Rico. They both walked out.

Emilia stood rooted to the spot as her mind jumped around. Why had he chosen her? Did the union have the authority to put her in this position?

Obregon motioned to Villahermosa and the man left the office, too. And then it was just Obregon and Emilia. He walked round the desk again and rifled through a few of the papers on the desktop.

“The mayor has a press conference tomorrow and she’ll want to say something about the Inocente investigation,” Obregon said as he looked through the papers. “Be nice if you could have this all wrapped up by then.”

Emilia felt as if she’d been gutted. She forced a single word out around the tightness in her throat and the dryness in her mouth. “Sure.”

She must have sounded sassier than she felt because he looked up and laughed. “At any rate, we’ll meet beforehand to review what you’re going to tell her. Let’s say tomorrow 4:00 pm.”

He glanced at his watch, an expensive-looking silver job with three knobs on the side. “That gives you more than 24 hours to come up with something significant.”

Emilia licked her lips. “I won’t even have the phone records by then.”

“You’ll have something for the press conference,” Obregon said nastily. “Some nice sound bite about the diligence of the Acapulco police and how they’re sad but determined.”

“You want me to say this to the mayor?”

“Inocente was as dirty as they come.” Obregon turned his attention back to the overflowing inbox. “You’re going to turn up a lot of bad things. When you do, you tell me or Villahermosa. Not the other detectives and not the chief of police. You don’t arrest anybody, you don’t get yourself shot, you don’t do anything. I’ll take care of that part.”

Emilia’s heart hammered like a warning bell in her chest. “I think Silvio should be in charge of this investigation. He’s the senior detective.”

“If you find that the wife popped him,” Obregon went on. “And you know it beyond a shadow of a doubt, go ahead and arrest her. Otherwise come to me first. Nobody else.”

“Did you hear what I said?” Emilia said.

“I’m trying to clean up the police in this state,” Obregon said as he plucked a folder out of the box. As he flipped it open his hands knotted with veins, as if he had a lot of practice clenching and unclenching his fists. “I’m sick of the corruption and men like Inocente making deals with the cartels. People like him protect their empires, feed it with drugs and private armies. When you find out who killed Inocente we can probably roll up whatever cartel he was in bed with.”

“Why me?” Emilia asked. She was talking to his bent head as if he couldn’t be bothered to look her in the eye. The warning bell was deafening and Emilia knew she had to get herself out of this situation. Silvio should have this job. Or Loyola. They’d know how to deal with Obregon as well as how to conduct a major murder investigation. “You heard what Silvio said. Almost all the detectives out there are senior to me. There will be a lot of resistance. From all the other detectives. Enough to keep the investigation from going forward.”

“You’ll handle it.” Obregon read something else out of the inbox.

“You don’t understand.” Emilia slammed her hand down on the desktop to get his attention.

“Good,” he said, finally looking up from whatever he’d been reading. “You’ve got a fire in the belly. You get those detectives talking to everybody in that fucking hotel. Everybody who lived near him. Whoever even heard of Fausto Inocente. And if the boys don’t do what you say, shoot one of them. The rest will fall in line.”

He was serious.

“I don’t know who you think I am, señor,” Emilia gulped. “But I’ve only been a detective for two years. Mostly I’ve handled the crap cases. You need a seasoned investigator on this one. Get one of the other detectives to be acting lieutenant.”

“You’ve made quite a mark in two years, whether you know it or not,” Obregon said. “Recovering the Morelos de Gama child was a big deal.”

“The media made it out to be more than it was,” Emilia parried. “The case was handled in Ixtapa, not here.”

“We’ve been watching you.” He tossed the file onto the desk and regarded her. “Our girl detective. You’re a hungry one. You want to get someplace.”

“I’m sorry,” Emilia said. “Not this.”

“You’re the only woman here.” Obregon’s glance was searing.

“This is because I’m a woman?”

“Yes. Everybody knows women are less corrupt.” Obregon came around the side of the desk and Emilia resisted the urge to shrink away from him. “You do this or you won’t even be able to be hired on as the lowliest transito cop in any police force in this state.”

He leaned down and put his face close to hers. “You know he was corrupt. Up to his neck in shit. Well, I’m the person putting an end to it in the state of Guerrero, and you don’t get to choose sides.”

Emilia didn’t move. It was hard to breathe. He smelled like leather and cigarettes and an unexpected whiff of spicy cologne.

“I’ll be calling you on this office phone so you’d better move in today.” Obregon stepped back and ran an appraising eye down Emilia’s body. “And look good tomorrow. You want the mayor to take you seriously.”

“I’m junior around here,” Emilia said stubbornly. “You want a fast result, you get Silvio.”

“Maybe I wasn’t clear enough for you, Cruz.” Obregon’s voice was flat. “If the union puts you and your mother out on the street you won’t work as a whore in this town much less as a transito. So you show up and be nice to the mayor and tell her something clever for her little television press conference. How you’re working night and day to solve this terrible crime and keep Acapulco safe for the tourists.”

They stared at each other for a long moment.

You and your mother struck home for Emilia, as no doubt it was intended to.

“I want doors on the stalls in the detectives’ bathroom,” Emilia heard herself say. “And a copier that works. And paper for it. And ink.”

The corner of Obregon’s mouth twitched. “Anything else?”

“I’ll let you know,” she said tightly.

Obregon handed Emilia a card. There were two cell phone numbers printed on it. “You only use these numbers to get in touch with me,” he said.

Before she could respond he pulled open the door and shouted “Attention.”

Emilia followed Obregon as far as the doorway. The detectives were all there, as was Villahermosa. Obregon strode to the center of the squadroom, commanding everyone’s attention.

“Most of you know me. I am Victor Obregon Sosa, the head of the police union for the state of Guerrero.” He revolved slowly and most of the detectives stood a little straighter as his eye rested on them for a moment, creating the same malice-tinged tension he’d first brought into the squadroom. “As you know, Lt. Inocente was found dead this morning. His death will be investigated as a homicide by this unit until his murderer is found and dealt with.”

There was a low sound of shuffling feet. Somebody coughed.

Obregon jerked his chin in the direction of Lt. Inocente’s office where Emilia leaned awkwardly against the doorjamb. “Detective Emilia Cruz will be acting lieutenant for the duration and in charge of the investigation into Lt. Inocente’s death.”

Eyes swiveled to Emilia. Rico was openly shocked as he sat on the end of his desk. Silvio’s face was like granite. He was the only one who kept his gaze on Obregon.

Emilia didn’t acknowledge the stares. She kept her eyes on the ancient copier.

Several of the detectives shifted uncomfortably in the silence. “One of our own has died,” Obregon said. “And we will conduct a thorough investigation, find whoever did this, and punish them according to the full measure of Mexican law.”

He nodded at Emilia. “See you tomorrow, Cruz. Four o’clock.” His eyes revealed nothing. “Good luck.”

Obregon and Villahermosa walked out. As soon as the door shut behind them the squadroom erupted into a bedlam of shouting.

***

Excerpt from Cliff Diver by Carmen Amato. Copyright 2021 by Carmen Amato. Reproduced with permission from Carmen Amato. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Carmen Amato

Carmen Amato turns lessons from a 30-year career with the Central Intelligence Agency into crime fiction loaded with intrigue and deception."

Her award-winning Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series pits the first female police detective in Acapulco against Mexico's drug cartels, government corruption, and social inequality.

Described as "A thrilling series" by National Public Radio, the Detective Emilia Cruz series was awarded the Poison Cup for Outstanding Series from CrimeMasters of America in both 2019 and 2020 and has been optioned for television.

Originally from upstate New York, Carmen was educated there as well as in Virginia and Paris, France, while experiences in Mexico and Central America ignited her writing career.

Her family tree includes a mayor, a Mensa genius, and the first homicide in the state of Connecticut with an automatic weapon. The perpetrator, her great-grandfather, eluded a state-wide manhunt after killing two people--one of whom was his wife. He was never brought to justice. Carmen is a recipient of both the National Intelligence Award and the Career Intelligence Medal.

Grab a free copy of the Detective Emilia Cruz Starter Library at CarmenAmato.net.

You'll see why Amazon Hall of Fame reviewer Grady Harp wrote: "For pure entertainment and a gripping story likely resulting in nail biting, read Carmen Amato's addictive prose. She knows this territory like a jaguar!"

Catch Up With Carmen:
CarmenAmato.net
Goodreads
BookBub - @CarmenAmato
Instagram - @authorcarmenamato
Facebook - @authorcarmenamato

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

 Enter to Win:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Carmen Amato. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Gift box of 5 best-selling mystery/thriller books by various authors hand-selected by Carmen Amato, plus a signed copy of the latest book in the Detective Emilia Cruz series AND a $20 Amazon.com gift card (U.S. ONLY). The giveaway runs November 1 through December 3, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Behind the Scenes: Redemption from a Dark Past (A Gothic Historical Romance) By Kelli A. Wilkins

 


Behind the Scenes: Redemption from a Dark Past (A Gothic Historical Romance)

By Kelli A. Wilkins

www.KelliWilkins.com

This “Behind the Scenes” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each blog, I’ll talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. Warning: Blogs may contain spoilers.

Hi everyone,


When I sit down to write an historical romance, I never know where (or when) my story will take me. I’ve written romances set in the Old West, the Minnesota wilderness, Colonial Pennsylvania, and Celtic Scotland. Redemption from a Dark Past takes place in another unique locale—the Kingdom of Hungary.

For me, the setting conjures up images of brooding castles perched on treacherous mountaintops, tiny villages, medieval stone cities, vampires, and Prince Vlad. Although the book does not take place in Transylvania specifically, this atypical location appealed to me. It seemed like the perfect place for a Gothic novel filled with secrets, danger, deception, and superstition. 

I enjoyed creating the cast of unusual characters and setting the stage for the drama that’s about to unfold. Right from the start, we meet Lord Sebestyen Adrik and learn that he’s a troubled hero who has hidden himself away in his isolated castle. He’s depressed, guilt-ridden, has an unsavory reputation, and is the subject of nasty rumors spread by superstitious villagers. 

The heroine, Katarina, is feisty, clever, and anything but superstitious. She dismisses tales of evil spirits and ghosts, and doesn’t have time for old wives’ tales. She’s ambitious and wants to leave her pathetic existence on a goat farm for better things. 

When she learns that she’s about to be forced into marriage to a much older man, she jumps at the chance to be Lord Adrik’s companion—despite all the terrifying stories she has been told. Katarina’s boldness and intelligence make her the perfect person to free Sebestyen from his dark past.

I wanted to make the mysterious Lord Adrik a flawed and sympathetic hero. He has two physical ailments (one most romance heroes never have) as well as several psychological scars. And as if they weren’t enough problems, he also has a reputation as a murderer (among other things). At the start of the book, he has just about given up on life and any hope of being happy. By giving Sebestyen all this “baggage” I made him vulnerable and provided him with lofty goals to reach. 

As I wrote, I added layers of secrets, built suspense, and created numerous plot twists and turns. Readers follow Katarina’s adventures and are not sure what—or who—to believe. Can Magda the surly, gossiping cook be trusted? How did Lady Adrik die? Is the castle really haunted? What happened to Lord Adrik’s previous companions? Are the rumors about him true? Katarina is left alone with Sebestyen every night, should she fear for her safety? Everyone says she should…

In time, Katarina draws Sebestyen out of his shell, and just when she thought she knew him, she uncovers a disturbing secret he’s been hiding from her. Katarina tries to make sense of it all, while following her heart.

Not everyone in this story is exactly what (or who) they seem to be, and this adds another level of mystery and intrigue to the book. Combining all these elements into a sensual, Gothic romance was a lot of fun, and I hope readers will enjoy this trip into “the Dark Lord’s lair.”

Here’s the book summary and links.

Redemption from a Dark Past

Lord Sebestyen Adrik has an unsavory reputation as a madman, murderer… and worse. Lonely and searching for love, he seeks the companionship of local young women, hoping one of them will ease his torment and bring him the happiness he longs for. Katarina is his last chance—but will she fear him like all the others? Or is she the one who can lift his curse?

Desperate to avoid a forced marriage, Katarina agrees to become Lord Adrik’s latest companion, despite the rumors she has heard about him. She discovers the “Dark Lord’s” secret past and realizes he’s not the monster everyone thinks he is.

As their love blossoms, she renews his passion for life—yet they cannot escape the ghosts of the past.

When a meeting of the nobility goes horribly wrong, Sebestyen’s world unravels, and his enemies plot to destroy him. As all seems lost, a mysterious stranger arrives at the castle. Sebestyen must decide if he is a friend or a foe…and if he can find redemption in his love for Katarina, or lose her and everything else that he holds dear.

* * *

Order Redemption from a Dark Past here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DL1FXYW/

All other platforms: https://www.books2read.com/u/3R1aYD

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/redemption-from-a-dark-past

I made a Facebook page for my historical romances. Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/

I hope you enjoyed this look at the making of Redemption from a Dark Past. I welcome comments and questions from readers. Be sure to follow my blog for the latest updates and visit me on social media!

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20 romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 3 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories. 

She released Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing in early 2021. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions. 

In 2020 Kelli published Love, Lies & Redemption, a western romance set in 1877 Nebraska. This novel blends a sensual love story with mystery and danger.


Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.



24 November 2021

Secret Never Told (A Lady Dunbridge Mystery) by Shelley Noble Book Tour and Giveaway!

A Secret Never Told (A Lady Dunbridge Mystery) by Shelley Noble

About A Secret Never Told

 

A Secret Never Told (A Lady Dunbridge Mystery)  

Historical Cozy Mystery 4th in Series 

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Forge Books; 1st edition (November 23, 2021) 

Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages 

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250750458 

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250750457 

Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08PSNGTZF

Miss Fisher meets Downton Abbey in A Secret Never Told, the fourth installment in the critically acclaimed mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Shelley Noble.

 

Philomena Amesbury, expatriate Countess of Dunbridge, is bored. Coney Island in the sweltering summer of 1908 offers no shortage of diversions for a young woman of means, but sea bathing, horse racing, and even amusement parks can’t hold a candle to uncovering dastardly plots and chasing villains. Lady Dunbridge hadn’t had a big challenge in months.

 

Fate obliges when Phil is called upon to host a dinner party in honor of a visiting Austrian psychologist whose revolutionary theories may be of interest to the War Department, not to mention various foreign powers, and who may have already survived one attempt on his life. The guest list includes a wealthy industrialist, various rival scientists and academics, a party hypnotist, a flamboyant party-crasher, and a damaged beauty whose cloudy psyche is lost in a world of its own. Before the night is out, one of the guests is dead with a bullet between the eyes and Phil finds herself with another mystery on her hands, even if it’s unclear who exactly the intended victim was meant to be.

 

Worse yet, the police’s prime suspect is a mystery man who Phil happens to be rather intimately acquainted with. Now it’s up to Lady Dunbridge, with the invaluable assistance of her intrepid butler and lady’s maid, to find the real culprit before the police nab the wrong one . . .

A SECRET NEVER TOLD

Chapter 1 


Philomena Amesbury, Countess of Dunbridge, sat on the veranda of the Manhattan Beach Hotel sipping a glass of champagne and looking out at the dark ocean. To her right the rowdy display of lights from Coney Island beckoned the masses. 

But on the veranda of this jewel of beach hotels, the diners were enjoying a quiet decorum—some more quiet than others, depending on their losses and wins at the Brighton Beach track that afternoon.

Phil and her friend Bev Reynolds had been here for nearly a week. Bev, who had had two horses running this week, spent her mornings at the stable, then joined Phil for a day of sunbathing and dipping their feet in the ocean. They’d spent one day discovering the wonders of nearby Coney Island amusement parks. They’d drunk lemonade, hiked up their skirts to ride the Steeplechase Races, mechanical wooden race horse ride. Neither of them won. They’d bought tickets to see the Wild Men of Borneo. Even grabbed places on the Human Roulette Wheel.

They attended the races. At night they rubbed elbows with members of the Jockey Club, danced with dashing men in the moonlight to the hotel orchestra.

And yet Phil felt an overwhelming, innervating sense of ….boredom. 

There, she’d said it. The fact of the matter was, the Countess of Dunbridge was bored. 

Sea bathing, horse racing, even amusement parks didn’t hold a candle to uncovering dastardly plots and chasing villains. And there had been very little of that lately. She hadn’t had a big challenge in months.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a boisterous crowd carrying one of their members on their shoulders bursting through the doors of the veranda restaurant.

They gained more than a few disapproving looks. This was not the behavior considered de rigeur by the exclusive Manhattan Beach Hotel. But it was also the hotel of choice of the Brooklyn Jockey Club whose largesse was important to the hotel’s success and so a little leeway was accorded. 

Bev Reynolds led the way, looking resplendent in a teal blue gown, trimmed with silver spangles and sporting a train of black tulle. The ocean air had wound her blond hair into tight curls, barely restrained by a sequined bandeau.

Since they’d both given their maids a holiday, Phil had opted for a fitted silver sheath made from one of the new stretch fabrics and an organza mid length jacket, both designed for easy dressing. She didn’t mind “living rough” as Bev delightedly called anything that didn’t include “a retinue of people telling you what to do and when to do it.” 

Bev saw Phil, held out both hands in greeting and made a beeline for the table. “A celebration and a wake,” she proclaimed.

“A celebration of Devil’s Delight winning me an obscenely large purse this afternoon. And black,” she added, twirling to show off her train. “Since the anti-betting law has just passed and this will likely be the last week for gambling. Legal gambling anyway. How will anyone make a living?” 

She sighed, snatched up an empty glass and poured herself champagne from the bottle chilling in the ice bucket. “I’ll be forced to take the horses to Texas and Arizona and those other places out there.” Places she dismissed with a flick of her fingers and a shudder. 

She turned to her motley entourage, most of whom stood barely over five feet tall—being jockeys and not exotic entertainers from the Coney Island amusements a few blocks away. They crowded round the table; waiters appeared immediately with trays of champagne.

Bobby Mullins, Bev’s stable manager—formerly her deceased husband’s right hand man, now Bev’s—stepped forward.

Stocky and medium height, Bobby was a former boxing champion, reformed denizen of the city’s underworld, and unapologetic lover of chorus girls. He dragged his derby from his head, unleashing a mass of untamable orange-red hair which, Phil noticed, was now laced with silver. 

“To Miz Reynolds!” he exclaimed and lifted his glass.

“To Miz Reynolds,” they all agreed and drank her health.

“To Holly Farm Stables,” Bev returned. “And to all of you.”

They drank again. Glasses were hurriedly refilled.

“To Devil’s Delight,” yelled one of the crowd.

“Devil’s Delight!

“And Johnny D!”

The little man who still sat astride of a set of brawnier shoulders than his, bowed to his fellow revelers and waved to the other astonished diners. 

“And to Madame Zhora!” Johnny added.

“Madame Zhora!” they chanted.

“Okay, you lot,” Bobby said. “Off you go. They’ve got a fine dinner waiting over at the Pabst for you. Curfew is extended until midnight, but don’t forget there’s another big race tomorrow.”

With a final cheer, they emptied their glasses and took themselves off, noisier if possible than when they entered.

The restaurant sighed into quiet conversation. 

“Sit down, Bobby and have some more champagne,” Bev said.

Bobby chewed the inside of his cheek, looking like he wished he could join his men in a boisterous dinner and evening on the town, but he sat.

“Congratulations,” Phil said, rousing some enthusiasm. “Devil’s Delight was certainly a delight today. And Juan rode him perfectly. Kudos to you all. But who on earth is Madame Zhora?”

Bobby scratched his head, unleashing even more unruly wires of hair. “She has a place over at Steeplechase Park. The boys go to her to have their fortunes told. You know, predict how they’ll do in the coming races. If they’re gonna be rich or find themselves a wife.” 

“Really?” Phil asked. “What happens if she predicts a loss?”

“Gawd, Your—ness.” 

After a year of knowing her, Bobby still had never figured out exactly how to address her. And she was too entertained by his attempts to correct him. 

“She don’t never give them a bad fortune. She tells ‘em they’re gonna win, make lots of money and marry a beautiful wife. In return, I drop her the occasional betting tip. Everybody’s happy.”

Phil laughed. “Well, in that case….”

A bell boy paused at their table. “Telephone call for Lady Dunbridge.”

A ripple of excitement coursed through her that had nothing to do with winning horses. At last …. 

“I’m Lady Dunbridge.” Dowager if Phil was truthful, but she saw no reason to announce it—ever. It wasn’t her fault that the earl dropped dead shortly after her twenty-sixth birthday.

Bev frowned. “I hope it isn’t bad news.”

“Oh.” Phil hadn’t thought of that. Preswick and Lily? She’d left them both in the city to have a few days off. What if something had happened to one of them. They might be servants but she didn’t know what she would do without them. And here she’d been selfishly hoping for a murder. 

“Surely not. Excuse me.” She hurried after the bell boy.

She returned a few minutes later. Not grieving, thank heaven. And not excited, but perplexed. She sat down and reached for her champagne.

“Who was it?” demanded Bev.

Bobby’s eyebrows made question marks over his eyes.

“It was Godfrey Bennington.”

“Godfrey Bennington—the aeroplane enthusiast?”

Phil nodded. 

“The richer-than-J. P. Morgan, Godfrey Bennington? The Godfrey Bennington who has the ear of every major politician and industrialist in the country? That—?”

Phil nodded. “That one.”

“What did he want?”

“He needs me in the city—immediately.”

Bobby groaned. “Oh your Lady-ness, what are you up to this time?”

“Absolutely nothing.” At least not yet. She couldn’t wait.

About Shelley Noble

Shelley Noble is the author of the Lady Dunbridge Gilded Age mysteries beginning with ASK ME NO QUESTIONS, and The Newport Gilded Age mysteries. As Shelley Freydont she has written several amateur sleuth series.

She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nine novels of women’s fiction. WHISPER BEACH and BEACH COLORS, were Amazon and Nook bestsellers. The latest, LUCKY’S BEACH, was published in June 2020.

A former professional dancer and choreographer, Shelley lives at the Jersey shore where she indulges her passion for lighthouses and vintage carousels.

Author Links 

Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Kobo - Google Play - Indie Bound

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
November 18 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
November 18 – Reading Reality – REVIEW
November 19 – Christy's Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 19 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
November 20 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
November 20 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
November 21 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW
November 22 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author – SPOTLIGHT
November 22 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT
November 23 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
November 23 – Author Elena Taylor's Blog – REVIEW
November 24 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  
November 24 – Celticlady's Reviews - SPOTLIGHT


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