Monday, 4 October 2021

Read an excerpt from Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash by Tammy Pasterick #HistoricalFiction #PennsylvaniaHistory #BlogTour @TammyPasterick @maryanneyarde


Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash 

By Tammy Pasterick

Publication Date: 21st September 2021. Publisher: She Writes Press. Page Length: 371 Pages. Genre: Historical Fiction.

It’s Pittsburgh, 1910—the golden age of steel in the land of opportunity. Eastern European im-migrants Janos and Karina Kovac should be prospering, but their American dream is fading faster than the colors on the sun-drenched flag of their adopted country. Janos is exhausted from a decade of twelve-hour shifts, seven days per week, at the local mill. Karina, meanwhile, thinks she has found an escape from their run-down ethnic neighborhood in the modern home of a mill manager—until she discovers she is expected to perform the duties of both house-keeper and mistress. Though she resents her employer’s advances, they are more tolerable than being groped by drunks at the town’s boarding house.

When Janos witnesses a gruesome accident at his furnace on the same day Karina learns she will lose her job, the Kovac family begins to unravel. Janos learns there are people at the mill who pose a greater risk to his life than the work itself, while Karina—panicked by the thought of returning to work at the boarding house—becomes unhinged and wreaks a path of destruc-tion so wide that her children are swept up in the storm. In the aftermath, Janos must rebuild his shattered family—with the help of an unlikely ally.

Impeccably researched and deeply human, Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash delivers a time-less message about mental illness while paying tribute to the sacrifices America's immigrant ancestors made.


A gust of wind suddenly hit Karina from behind and interrupted her brooding. She patted the mound of curls at the back of her head to make sure her garnet hair comb was still in place. She froze when her fingertips failed to locate it. Her heart pounding, she scanned the unpaved street and then shook her dress, hoping the comb would fall out of one of its folds. Where could it be? Her mind began to race. 

Karina turned and rushed back down the street toward the shabby rows of homes erected by the steel company. Her eyes darted in every direction, hoping to find the only valuable piece of jewelry she owned. When she arrived home breathless, she burst through the front door and began searching the sitting room. 

“Karina? I thought you’d left for work,” Janos said, peeking through the kitchen doorway. 

“My hair comb is missing. I got the whole way to the mill before I realized it was gone. I retraced my steps, but can’t find it anywhere.” Karina inspected the floor and every nearby surface, her eyes welling with tears. “It’s the only thing I own of value.” 

“Was it the comb with the tiny garnets?” Janos touched her on the shoulder, his face full of concern. 

“Do I have another worth fretting over?” Karina glared at her husband as she brushed his hand away and hurried toward the staircase. “Maybe it’s in the bedroom,” she murmured. 

“Mama!” Sofie shouted. “Did you bother to look in your brown pocketbook? That’s the one you came home with yesterday.” 

Startled, Karina paused at the foot of the stairs as her ten-year-old daughter stomped out of the kitchen. “Shouldn’t you be in bed, Sofie? The sun’s barely up.” 

“Where’s the pocketbook?” Janos asked his wife. 

“It’s on the bookcase,” Karina said, dabbing her wet eyes with the sleeve of her dress. “But I’m sure I put the comb in my hair this morning. I know I did.” 

“You need to calm down,” Janos said coolly as he picked up the worn pocketbook and peered inside. It took him just seconds to pull out the tortoise shell comb adorned with garnets. 

Karina grabbed the hair comb and dashed toward the front door. “How could I forget?” she groaned, turning the doorknob. 

“Wait,” Janos said. “Don’t you have something to say to Sofie?” 

Karina sighed as she looked at her daughter for the first time that morning. “Thank you, honey. You were very helpful.” 

Sofie ran to her mother and hugged her. “Good luck today, Mama. I know those important men from Pittsburgh will be impressed with your cooking.” 

“Let’s hope so.” 

“Is that why you’re so agitated this morning?” Janos asked. 

“I guess,” Karina said, smoothing Sofie’s unruly hair. “I want to make a good impression today. Meeting these executives could lead to something . . . maybe a better position.” 

Janos raised an eyebrow. 

“I need to go. I’m running late. And, Sofie, please do something with your hair before you leave for school. You can’t go out in public with that mess on your head.” Her poor daughter’s thick blonde hair often looked like a bird’s nest when she woke in the morning. 

Sofie nodded politely, despite the wounded look on her face. 

“Maybe we could all go to the Radovics’ tonight to listen to Mihal play the accordion,” Janos said as Karina stepped onto the front porch. “An evening with friends will help you relax after such a big day at work.” 

“The new Sears Roebuck catalog is out. Maybe another time,” Karina said, trying to disguise her guilt. She knew her family was tired of her excuses, but she did not enjoy socializing with the neighbors. Besides, she really did want to see the latest spring fashions. 

As Karina hurried down the street toward the mill, she tucked her hair comb into her pocketbook, figuring there was no way to place it perfectly on her head without a mirror. And she dared not risk losing it on the street. Poverty had made her desperate. Her neighbors, too. They all clung fiercely to the few valuable items they owned, because they couldn’t afford to replace them. 

When Karina finally reached Riverton Heights, she inhaled the cool morning air. The neighborhood sat high on the hill above town and escaped much of the smoke in the valley below. Fresh air was her reward for her twenty-minute climb uphill. The streets were lined with new Craftsman and Foursquare homes as well as some older Victorians. Graceful oak trees shaded the streets, and the sweet scent of pansies permeated the air. 

Karina’s stomach quivered as she stepped onto Henry Archer’s front porch and unlocked the mahogany door. If one of the Pittsburgh executives failed to take notice of her, she planned to ask Henry for a raise. She had been working very long hours since she’d accepted the position with him six months earlier and had only received a slight increase in pay when her duties were expanded in March. Karina was certain she had proven her worth many times over in recent weeks, especially since her new responsibilities had little to do with keeping a house. 

She closed the front door behind her and made her way to the kitchen at the back of the house. The sun was now up, but there were no sounds from upstairs to indicate Henry had risen. Not wanting to wake him, she quietly gathered ingredients for a pot roast from the refrigerator and pantry. As Karina washed vegetables in the farmhouse sink, she heard footsteps in the hall. She turned around to find Henry standing in the doorway of the kitchen with a smirk on his face. 

“There’s no need to make lunch today,” he announced. “I got a call from Pittsburgh last night. The meeting has been cancelled.” 

Karina gasped. “But I thought those men were coming to discuss your promotion.”

She tried to her hide her disappointment as she studied the face of her employer. She had never found him attractive. The college-educated bachelor was several inches shorter than her husband and lacked the brawn she was accustomed to seeing in the men around her neighborhood. He wore a permanent frown on his face, and his thin, charcoal-colored hair was receding. But today, he looked surprisingly pleasant, grinning like a school boy. How could he not be disappointed by their change in fortune? 

“They were, but I’m no longer being considered for the position here in Riverton. I’m being transferred to headquarters in New York City.” Henry clapped his hands with excitement. “I’m going home.” 

Paralyzed by the news, Karina stood motionless, trying to control the panic welling inside her. She leaned back against the porcelain sink for support, suddenly unable to breathe, her chest tightening. 

Still grinning, Henry crossed the kitchen in three long strides. He grabbed Karina’s left breast and shoved his tongue into her mouth. His free hand moved greedily down the front of her dress. Even after three months of enduring his touch, Karina still had to remind herself not to recoil. But this morning, she was completely unaffected by Henry’s groping. Her singular focus was her uncertain future. 

She gently pulled away from his eager kisses and took a deep breath. “When do you leave?” 

“Not until the end of June. I need to train my replacement and tie up some loose ends at the mill. But I need you to start packing right away.” 

Suddenly, memories of a run-down boarding house full of drunks flooded Karina’s mind. She flinched as a filthy immigrant squeezed her buttocks, the stench of his sweaty, unwashed body burning her nose. Shouts for more moonshine drowned out an old man’s complaint that the tripe was too chewy. A newcomer griped that someone had taken prostitutes into his room and soiled his mattress. He demanded that Karina clean the mess immediately. She groaned as she tried to shake the chaos from her head. I can’t go back. 

A slight pinch transported Karina back to Henry’s kitchen. His teeth were on her earlobe. 

“Shall we go into the bedroom to celebrate?” he whispered.

You can pick up your copy at the following online bookstores: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA, Amazon AUBarnes and Noble, iBooks, 

A native of Western Pennsylvania, Tammy Pasterick grew up in a family of steelworkers, coal miners, and Eastern European immigrants. She began her career as an investigator with the National Labor Relations Board and later worked as a paralegal and German teacher. She holds degrees in labor and industrial relations from Penn State University and German language and literature from the University of Delaware. She currently lives on Maryland's Eastern Shore with her husband, two children, and chocolate Labrador retriever.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Book Excerpt - Bloody Dominions (The Conquest Trilogy, Book 1) By Nick Macklin @NMacklinAuthor @maryanneyarde


Bloody Dominions
(The Conquest Trilogy, Book 1)
By Nick Macklin

Publication Date: 28th June 2021. Publisher: Troubador Publishing. Page Length: 368 Pages. Genre: Historical Fiction.

Journey with those at the heart of the conflict as Caesar embarks on the tumul-tuous conquest of Gaul 58-51 BC. Book One 58-56 BC.

As Caesar’s campaign begins, tests of courage and belief will confront the three protagonists, shaping them as individuals and challenging their views of the world and each other:

Atticus – an impetuous but naturally gifted soldier, whose grandfather served with distinction in the legions;

Allerix – a Chieftain of the Aduatuci, who finds himself fighting both for and against Caesar; and

Epona – a fierce warrior and Allerixs’ adopted sister.

Experiencing the brutalities of conflict and the repercussions of both victory and defeat, Atticus, Allerix and Epona will cross paths repeatedly, their destinies bound together across time, the vast and hostile territories of Gaul and the barriers of fate that have defined them as enemies. In a twist of fate, Atticus and Allerix discover that they share a bond, a secret that nobody could ever foresee…

Trigger Warnings:
Violence and attempted rape.


Allerix pulled his cloak a little tighter about his shoulders. It was just after dawn and the slowly rising sun brought the promise of another fine day. It was not yet accompanied by any warmth, however, and a chill mist blanketed the plain. It lent an eerie feel to proceedings as a steady stream of soldiers emerged from the gloom and marched purposefully towards Ariovistus’ camp. It was an impressive sight. He had come to admire the results of Roman discipline and training. They were tough and resilient. Few forces could have withstood the attacks of yesterday. Fewer still would retain the confidence, arrogance perhaps, to launch their own assault today. It made them good allies but dangerous enemies, as the Germans had discovered. But other than the small group of soldiers he had come to know, he hadn’t warmed to them as a people. He didn’t trust their leaders to do what was right or honourable and he was concerned that their plans might yet bring them into conflict with his own people. It was not a thought to warm a man on a morning such as this, and he took a deep breath to clear his head. 

Best get this over with. 

Shaking Isarno’s reins to nudge him forward, he trotted towards the small group of horsemen who would be leading the cavalry. Silhouetted against the sun, he had to shield his eyes as he tried to pick out those present. He recognised Aquila, who looked slightly more martial in the saddle than he did on foot… though that was not difficult. The other officer was presumably Crassus, who by contrast looked every inch the young warrior. They were supported by several decurions, from what little cavalry forces the Romans possessed. Roucillus and Egus were there and the group was completed by a couple of nobles that he recognised as Aedui but whom he didn’t know. He slowly eased Isarno into the gathering and exchanged greetings. There was a palpable air of tension that presumably owed its origins to a distinct frostiness in the relationship between the two Roman officers. Although courteous, they did little to hide their antipathy for each other. Aquila’s face was a picture as Crassus gestured to the troops forming up on the plain and began the briefing. 

“Gentlemen, as you can see, our forces are to be drawn up before the enemy camp. It is Caesar’s intention that we advance until the Germans are forced to respond and battle is joined. The bulk of our cavalry, together with that of the Allobroges, will support the infantry attack. I have been asked to lead this force. The remaining cavalry, which is to be led by Lucius, will remain here in reserve.”

Aquila was clearly unhappy playing a subordinate role and Allerix watched him struggling to control his discomfort as Crassus continued. 

“Caesar hopes that we will have no need to call on the support of Lucius’ forces. Should we need to do so, the presence of you and your men is welcome, Allerix. I have heard only good things about the bravery and skill of the Aduatuci. You at least have nothing to prove.” 

Allerix was sure Crassus hadn’t missed the barely disguised look of hostility on Aquila’s face, but the young Roman carried on regardless. 

“If all goes according to plan and the enemy forces are broken, Lucius is to ensure that no warriors are allowed to escape the field.” Crassus paused to take stock of the preparations below. “Now, the hour of our attack draws near. If you will excuse me, I will take up my position before the opportunity to do so is lost.”

Roucillus, Egus and one of the two decurions peeled away and headed back across the plain, taking their lead from Crassus, Aquila was clearly not sorry to see them go.

“Now that my young and naΓ―ve associate has left, let me be clear about our orders, for Crassus has applied a somewhat… noble veneer to Caesar’s expectations. If the enemy breaks, and they will, we are to pursue and kill all those who flee, not just the warriors. I trust that I can rely upon you to ensure that these orders are appropriately relayed to your men.”
Blinded by their hatred for Ariovistus, there was barely a moment’s hesitation before the Aedui were enthusiastically confirming their understanding. Their positivity made Allerix blanche. He felt Aquila’s gaze upon him.   

“And you, Gaul? You are clear what is expected?”

“You leave little room for doubt, Roman,” Allerix replied, irritated by Aquila’s pompous manner. 

“Good. Then we have an understanding. Let us hope that we are not denied our opportunity for sport.”

With a smile, Aquila gestured for the two Aeduean nobles to rejoin their men. 

Allerix watched them leave. 

“I said that I was clear what you required, not that I would comply. Caesar cannot intend for innocent women and children to be killed.”

“There is no such thing as an innocent German, Gaul. Any that we allow to live today will simply return to fight in the future or breed those who will. Caesar intends to rid our lands of this scourge once and for all.”

“Your lands?”

“The lands of our allies. It is the same thing.”

“As long as those allies serve the interests of Rome…”

“What?” sneered Aquila.

“It did not serve Rome to offer assistance to the Aedui when Ariovistus first arrived but now it does. It did not suit Rome to challenge Ariovistus. In fact, he was made a friend of Rome, only for he and his kin to be hunted now like dogs. I wonder whether it is more dangerous to be an enemy or a friend of Rome.”

“You would do well to follow orders, Gaul, and have no cause to find out!”

“I do not take orders from you,” snapped Allerix, his hands balling tightly around Isarno’s reins.

Clearly unused to having to explain himself, Aquila’s flushed face and raised voice betrayed his own rising anger.

“I speak on behalf of Caesar and you will do as your general instructs.”

“Unlike you, Roman, I do not blindly serve Caesar. I came at the request of my father, to ride in support of your general. To help him defeat Ariovistus and his warriors. I will honour that commitment, but my men will take no part in the killing of women or children.”

Aquila pulled angrily on the reins of his horse as he began to wheel away.

“Then you had best stay out of the way of those with the stomach to do what is required!” 

Allerix turned Isarno and headed back towards his men. Staying out of Aquila’s way was one order with which he would be very happy to comply.

You can pick up your copy of this novel at the following locations: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Waterstones, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, WHSmith

A history graduate, Nick enjoyed developing the skills that would stand him in good stead during the extensive research he conducted prior to writing his nov-el. Whilst the ancient world unfortunately didn’t feature to any extent in his history degree, (the result of failing miserably to secure the A level grades that would have permitted greater choice) he maintained a lifelong and profound interest in ancient history and especially the Roman Empire, continuing to read avidly as he embarked on a career in HR. Over the next 30 years or so Nick occupied a variety of Senior/Director roles, most recently in the NHS. Unsur-prisingly, writing in these roles was largely confined to the prosaic demands of Board papers but Nick never lost the long-harboured belief, motivated by the works of writers such as Robert Fabbri, Robyn Young, Anthony Riches, Simon Scarrow, Matthew Harffy and Giles Kristian, that he too had a story to tell. When he was presented with a window of opportunity c3 years ago he took the decision to place his career on hold and see if he could convert that belief into reality. 

Nick always knew that he wanted to set the novel against the backdrop of a significant event/period in Roman history. Looking to narrow that down to something offering the potential for meaningful character and plot develop-ment, but that hadn’t already received exhaustive coverage, he settled on Cae-sars tumultuous occupation of Gaul. Spanning 8 years, the prolonged clash of cultures offered ample opportunity for the kind of dual perspective from which he was hoping to tell the story, whilst the violent conflict provided a wealth of exciting material to explore the changing fortunes of war and its impact at a personal level. The switching of allegiances, nations fighting for and against Rome also provided the potential for some intriguing plot lines. As his research unfolded, he was also struck by just how heavily the Roman psyche during this period was influenced by the scare they had received 50 years earlier when Germanic tribes invaded their territories and defeated their legions. Seeing ref-erences to the veterans of that war watching their sons and grandsons enlist for a similar campaign, he started to think about developing that link on both sides of the conflict. And so, the idea for the Conquest Trilogy was born.
In Bloody Dominions Nick has sought to produce a novel in which unfolding events are experienced and described from the perspective of protagonists on both sides of Caesar’s incursion into Gaul.  Conscious that the role of women in Roman fiction, Boudica aside, is largely confined to spouse, prostitute or slave, Nick wanted to ensure that one of his lead characters was female and a prominent member of the warrior clan of her tribe. The novel is driven by these characters but the framework against which their stories unfold is histori-cally accurate, featuring actual participants in Caesar’s campaign and drawing on real events as they occurred. As such Nick is genuinely excited about his characters and the story they have to tell.

Nick lives in Exeter with his two daughters and is currently juggling work as an Independent HR Consultant with writing the second novel in the Conquest Trilogy, Battle Scars. 

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Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Read an excerpt from Redemption (The Hacker Chronicles, Book 2) by Philip Yorke HistoricalFiction #EnglishCivilWar #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub @yorkeauthor @maryanneyarde


(The Hacker Chronicles, Book 2)
By Philip Yorke

Publication Date: 2nd July 2021. Publisher: Mashiach Publishing. Page Length: 480 Pages. Genre: Historical Fiction.

Saturday, the second day of July, in the year of our Lord, 1644, will be a day long remembered by the men and women committed to ending the reign of a tyrannical King. For on this day, the forces of Charles the First were crushed on the bloody fields of Marston Moor.

The calamitous defeat forces the increasingly desperate Royalists to intensify their attempts to bring about the immediate demise of their Parliamentarian enemies. This includes devising an audacious plan to assassinate the man they believe is key to the war’s outcome.

With the plotters ready to strike, Francis Hacker, one of Parliament’s most loyal soldiers, becomes aware of the conspiracy. With little time to act, he does everything in his power to frustrate their plans. But, alas, things start to unravel when brave Hacker finds himself pitted against a ruthless and cunning mercenary, a man who will resort to anything to achieve a ‘kill’.  


Oliver Cromwell breezes into Stathern at four o'clock in the afternoon, galloping into the Hall's courtyard with the sun at his back and looking every inch the mighty warrior he has become.

Black Jack, his trusted and much-admired horse, is sweating heavily. So, too, are the Master and the twelve dragoons that make up the Lieutenant-General’s very own Praetorian Guard. They have been riding for several hours, travelling cross-country from Lincoln, where Cromwell has been overseeing the continued strengthening of the city’s defences.

Lincoln was seized a little over three months ago by the Eastern Association with minimal loss of life on both sides. 

Looking at the vibrant figure sitting astride his jet-black steed, it is hard to comprehend the pressure the man is under to continue out-thinking and out-fighting the King’s men. But if he is feeling the pinch, he doesn’t show it. 

“You are a sight for sore eyes, young Francis Hacker,” he roars as he leaps out of the saddle. “I hope you have some food and ale waiting for us, my friend, for my comrades and I are thirsty and famished.”

And then he is upon me, crushing my hand in his vice-like grip and patting me on the shoulder, as an uncle would greet one of his favourite nephews.

"There is much to talk to you about, Francis, and there is not a lot of time to do it," he says with a note of unmistakable urgency in his voice. "Much has happened in the weeks since I saw you last. And a great deal is likely to occur in the days ahead that will occupy my wits and those of the men closest to me. And you, my friend, are one of the confidantes I will be forced to call upon most. So let us find somewhere quiet to retire to, so I can unburden my soul and tell you of everything that has passed.

"But before we discuss these things, I would be obliged if you escorted me to your good lady. I wish to pay my respects to her and also take a look at those children of yours. I have been looking forward to reacquainting myself with your family, and, my friend, you will not deny me that pleasure.”

It is not until six o'clock that we can break free from the children and Isabel, such is their contagious delight at being reacquainted with Oliver.

The village has turned out in force to enjoy the feast and entertainment laid on for them by my wife, and there is no privacy to be found at the Hall. So Cromwell and I decide to take a brisk walk to the ruins of Rose Cottage, the former home of Peter and Marjorie Harrington.

As we stroll up Mill Hill, taking in the vast and panoramic views of the Vale of Belvoir and easing past the temporarily stilled Red Lion Inn, the zest that was so evident in Oliver’s face upon his arrival has been replaced with a hard and serious palour. When he speaks, I understand why.

“We are facing the most critical phase of the war,” he declares when he is sure an eavesdropper cannot overhear our conversation. “The fight for the soul of our country has started, and our greatest enemy may no longer be the King.”

I stop and look at him. His face is flushed; his eyes are dark, emotionless brooding pools. His jaw is set as if he has just received a harsh blow from an invisible assailant.

“Whatever are you saying, Oliver?” I ask, my surprise all too evident. “We may be in the ascendency after recent events, but Charles and his supporters surely represent the greatest threat to unity. What else can possibly be an obstacle?”

Oliver doesn't say anything immediately. Instead, he turns away and scans the landscape, following the flight of an ornately decorated Jay as it flies from branch to branch amidst a thicket of young Hazelwood trees. Eventually, after losing sight of the shy bird, he faces me again, and I feel his eyes penetrating my inner recesses. He straightens his hat before speaking.

“I am confident as I can be that the war against the King is close to being won,” he announces. “The momentum is now with us. So, too, are greater pockets of the country. Although it may yet take some time, I believe the outcome is already secure as far as the King is concerned. But, my dear friend, the fight is far from over.

“The war, if that is indeed the correct choice of word, will now be fought among the victors, and it may be more brutal than what came before.

"The nobility and men of rank and status are likely to become our new adversaries. That, as much, has become abundantly clear to me in recent weeks. These men despise us and what we stand for. Unlike us, they have no piety and little regard for our nation's well-being; they are merely fighting for political and financial reward. If the wind had been blowing in a different direction two years ago, they would most certainly be our foe today, not our so-called brothers. Be of no doubt, they will do almost anything to ensure men like you and I do not prevail.”

Oliver lets his words sink in. He has always had a sound grasping of the English language, and this evening his oratory skills are as compelling as ever.

"You are aware Manchester and your own commander, Lord Grey, fear the likes of you and me?" he continues, confident I will not seek to question his words. "Even though they are fighting the King, they do not truly oppose what he stands for. On the contrary, they seek his swift return to the throne, albeit they will tell you they are seeking to have his wings clipped so he can no longer wield the kind of power he enjoyed before the war started. But, alas, to the likes of you and me, there will be no noticeable difference. Charles will be the same tyrant he always has been; only the support of the nobility will, in time, enable him to emerge even stronger.”

I know what Cromwell says to be true, and I am about to reply when the iron gates of the Harrington’s ruined cottage appear in the corner of my vision.

It is almost six months since my dear friends were slain. Their once happy home is now a tangled mess of debris, collapsed walls and charred wooden beams left where they fell in an overgrown and weed-ridden garden. 

Amid the ruins, I notice a large quantity of white and red roses have been laid at the doorway to the house. They are fresh and vibrant, most likely cut from the garden of their son, Stephen, who lives in the nearby village of Harby, and who regularly visits this hallowed place. He is another who continues to grieve for the innocent victims of this senseless and bitter feud.

I prod a darkened ember with my boot. It snaps in two, unable to resist the mild pressure I have applied.

"I know what you say to be true," I say, my voice almost a whimper. "I have sensed the unease that exists among the officers and the factions that are growing within our army. I have perceived as much with his Lordship and some of the officers who are closest to him. Of course, we fight alongside each other, but trust and respect are in short supply when we are not engaging with the enemy. 

“I had hoped my fears would prove to be groundless, but your words today convince me there is more foundation to them than I had appreciated. So tell me, what is to be done, Oliver? How do we keep the peace and ensure the painful sacrifices we have all endured will count for something?”

Cromwell moves towards the gate, which like everything else in this graveyard, has been damaged beyond repair. As he reaches the entrance to the garden and the rust-encrusted structure that still bears the scorch marks of the flames that consumed the cottage, he beckons me to follow. 

“Let us return to the Hall. There is nothing more to be achieved by remaining in this sad place,” he says as I join him on the dirt track outside once again. “All I require you to do, my dear friend, is listen to what I have to say. I will tell you all that needs to be done, and when I have finished, I want you to accept the important role I have earmarked for you.”

You can pick up your copy of this book on Amazon or Philip Yorke's website. This novel is also available with #KindleUnlimited subscription.

Philip Yorke is an award-winning former Fleet Street journalist who has a special interest in history. His Hacker Chronicles series, to be told in five fast-paced historical fiction novels, tells the story of Parliamentarian soldier, Francis Hacker.

Redemption, the second book in the series, is set during the period 1644-46 (during the first English Civil War), when events take a significant turn in favour of Parliament.

Philip is married, and he and his wife have five children. He enjoys relaxing to classical music, reading the works of Nigel Tranter, Bernard Cornwell, Robyn Young and CJ Sansom, and supporting Hull City FC and Leicester Tigers RFC. 

He lives in Leicestershire, England.

Social Media Links:

Website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, BookBub, Amazon Author Page, Goodreads

Tour Schedule

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Read an excerpt from Down Salem Way, The Loving Husband Series, by Meredith Allard #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde


Down Salem Way
The Loving Husband Series
By Meredith Allard

How would you deal with the madness of the Salem witch hunts?

In 1690, James Wentworth arrives in Salem in the Massachusetts Bay Colony with his father, John, hoping to continue the success of John’s mercantile business. While in Salem, James falls in love with Elizabeth Jones, a farmer’s daughter. Though they are virtually strangers when they marry, the love between James and Elizabeth grows quickly into a passion that will transcend time.

But something evil lurks down Salem way. Soon many in Salem, town and village, are accused of practicing witchcraft and sending their shapes to harm others. Despite the madness surrounding them, James and Elizabeth are determined to continue the peaceful, loving life they have created together. Will their love for one another carry them through the most difficult challenge of all?


“Are you a Witch?” he asked. 

I laughed. I was ready for the joke. Dear God, please, I begged in the silence of my mind, this has to be a joke. But I knew. No matter no matter. This was no joke. The man had come to take Lizzie away. 

“Did you sign a pact with the Devil in your own blood? How long have you been a Witch?” The constable’s eyes blazed with haughty fire. 

“I am no Witch, sir,” Lizzie said. I was proud of her. Her voice was strong, her back was straight, and she held the man’s eyes. 

“I can assure you,” I said, “my wife is no Witch. What proof have you for such groundless accusations against my wife?” 

“We know she’s a Witch because witnesses have spoken against her.” He turned to Lizzie. “Why don’t you confess?” 

“I am no Witch, sir,” Lizzie said again. She backed into me, hoping, I’m certain, that I could protect her. Dear God, why could I not get her away sooner? Just one day sooner? I have been wanting to take Lizzie to England for as long as we have been married, but we are here and not there and now my wife is in Hell. I am in a different kind of Hell but tis Hell all the same. 

Whatever turmoil I felt, as though my innards quivered and I would heave everything I had ever eaten, I had to hold myself together. When the pock-faced man showed us the arrest warrant where Lizzie was named, she sobbed. I put my arm round her waist. I would be her rock. I would keep her strong. 

“I have a warrant for your arrest, Goody Wentworth, and you must come with me.” 

“Mistress Wentworth,” I said in my most haughty tone, but what did such distinctions matter then? I tried to stop him from taking Lizzie but the man knew what he was about. He had done this many times before. When Father arrived I ran to him, shaking him, needing his help as I hadn’t since I was a boy. And then I remembered. Father is an affluent member of Society, a Selectman of the Church. Surely, he could do something. 

“Father, please,” I begged, “we have to help Lizzie.” 

Father watched the constable bind Lizzie in chains. Lizzie looked fluid, as though she melted away. She tried to pat the bump where our babe waits, but the irons were too heavy. I ran to her, and as she reached for me she tripped and I caught her in my arms. The constable jerked her away. My life, he took her away. 

Father did what he could. “What business have you with Mistress Wentworth?” he yelled. 

“I have a warrant for her,” the pock-faced man said. 

Father grabbed the paper and read it. He shook his head. There was nothing he could do. I raged at the pock-faced man. I promised Lizzie I would never leave her ever and twas up to me to put an end to this. 

“You dare take an innocent woman away on false charges?” I yelled. “Ask her to recite the Lord’s Prayer! Ask her to recite the Ten Commandments! You think Witches cannot speak them because the Devil won’t allow it. Test her! If you knew the Commandments yourself you would know the ninth—thou shalt not bear false witness!” 

The constable grinned. “If you know the Bible so well then you also know 1 Peter 5:8.” He waited for my response, but my mind was blank. Father knew. 

“Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 

“And from Exodus?” asked the constable. Father slumped forward. “Thou shalt not suffer a Witch to live.” “My wife is no Witch,” I said. “She is an innocent woman. Please. Let her go and we shall leave here and never return.” 

You can find the books in the series at the following links:

Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling paranormal historical Loving Husband Trilogy. Her sweet Victorian romance, When It Rained at Hembry Castle, was named a best historical novel by IndieReader. Her nonfiction book, Painting the Past: A Guide for Writing Historical Fiction, was named a #1 New Release in Authorship and Creativity Self-Help by Amazon. When she isn’t writing she’s teaching writing, and she has taught writing to students ages five to 75. She loves books, cats, and coffee, though not always in that order. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit Meredith online at

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Sunday, 5 September 2021

Book Review - The Wisdom of the Flock: Franklin and Mesmer in Paris By Steve M. Gnatz. @maryanneyarde


The Wisdom of the Flock: Franklin and Mesmer in Paris

By Steve M. Gnatz


1776: Benjamin Franklin sails to Paris, carrying a copy of the Declaration of Independence, freshly signed. His charge: gain the support of France for the unfolding American Revolution. Yet Paris is a city of distractions. Ben’s lover, Marianne Davies, will soon arrive, and he yearns to rekindle his affair with the beautiful musician. 

Dr. Franz Mesmer has plans for Marianne too. He has taken Parisian nobility by storm with his discovery of magnΓ©tisme animale, a mysterious force claimed to heal the sick. Marianne’s ability to channel Mesmer’s phenomena is key to his success.

A skeptical King Louis XVI appoints Ben to head a commission investigating the astonishing magnΓ©tisme animale. By nature, Ben requires proof. Can he scientifically prove that it does not exist? Mesmer will stop at nothing to protect his profitable claim. 

The Wisdom of The Flock explores the conflict between science and mysticism in a time rife with revolution, love, spies, and passion.

Book Rating:

πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š⭐ = A book in a million

πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š = I could not put this book down. I Highly Recommend it.

πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š = A really great read.

πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š = It was enjoyable.

πŸ“šπŸ“š = It was okay.

πŸ“š = Um...! πŸ˜•

My Review

The Wisdom of the Flock: Franklin and Mesmer in Paris

πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š = I could not put this book down. I Highly Recommend it.

Benjamin Franklin "The First American," lived an extraordinary life and although I do not know all the ins and outs of his life, I was really looking forward to reading this novel with the hope that I would have a small glimpse into this man's life. This story is set in Paris in the latter part of his life. The history books tell us that Benjamin was a lecherous womanizer and this has been depicted with careful attention to the historical sources of Benjamin's life. At times this made for some cringe induced reading, after all, he is in his seventies and his lust knows no bounds, but I thought it was also an honest interpretation of his life.

His time in Paris is shrouded in mystery - what was he doing there? And having been branded a traitor by the English one can only assume the reason was of vast importance. Steve M. Gnatz has certainly penned a plausible reason.

I thought the depiction of Franz Mesmer was well-drawn and it certainly shone a light on his beliefs and his discovery of magnΓ©tisme animale. Doctor Mesmer claims to be able to cure the sick, although he doesn’t reveal how. Mesmer asks people to have faith, to simply believe, while Franklin is desperate to know how Mesmer heals people, to understand the science behind it. I, for one, agree with Franklin, and over the course of this novel I grew incredibly interested in the practice, and ended up researching it after I had finished reading!

Like many books, there is relationship drama. Franklin had an affair with Marianne Davies several years previous, and when they rekindle their relationship. Marianne becomes very involved with magnΓ©tisme animale, and her involvement with both Franklin and Mesmer made for a very riveting story as I tried to guess the outcome of both relationships.

This is an incredibly interesting book, and I greatly enjoyed learning about the world that Franklin and Mesmer lived in. I found this book very educational, as well as intriguing, and I loved reading it!

You can pick up your copy of this book on Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA, Amazon AU, Barnes and Noble, and Waterstones. This novel is also available on #KindleUnlimited.

Book Trailer

Steve Gnatz is a writer, physician, bicyclist, photographer, traveler, and aspiring ukulele player. The son of a history professor and a nurse, it seems that both medicine and history are in his blood. Writing historical fiction came naturally. An undergraduate degree in biology was complemented by a minor in classics. After completing medical school, he embarked on an academic medical career specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. There was little time for writing during those years, other than research papers and a technical primer on electromyography. Now retired from the practice of medicine, he devotes himself to the craft of fiction. The history of science is of particular interest, but also the dynamics of human relationships. People want to be good scientists, but sometimes human nature gets in the way. That makes for interesting stories. When not writing or traveling, he enjoys restoring Italian racing bicycles at home in Chicago with his wife and daughters.

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Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Book Review - Clement: The Green Ship (Clement, Book 2) by Craig R. Hipkins @CraigHipkins @maryanneyarde


Clement: The Green Ship 
(Clement, Book 2)
By Craig R. Hipkins

Publication Date: June 02, 2021. Publisher: Hipkins Twins. Page Length: 313. Genre: Historical Fiction/ Young Adult 12+.

Normandy. The year 1161. King Henry ll sends the 14-year-old Clement, Count of la Haye on a secret mission. The young count and his friends travel in the wake of the mysterious mariner known as Sir Humphrey Rochford. Their destination? The legendary land of Vinland, known only from the Norse sagas. The journey is full of adventure and intrigue. Clement battles with a tyrannical Irish king and then finds his vessel attacked by a massive monster from the deep. The Green Ship sails to the sparse and barren land of Greenland where more trouble awaits.

Book Rating:

πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š⭐ = A book in a million

πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š = I could not put this book down. I Highly Recommend it.

πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š = A really great read.

πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š = It was enjoyable.

πŸ“šπŸ“š = It was okay.

πŸ“š = Um...! πŸ˜•

My Review

Clement: The Green Ship 

πŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“šπŸ“š = I could not put this book down. I Highly Recommend it.

I have a deep respect for authors who write young adult fiction because it is these books that encourage a love of reading later in life. Writing quality historical fiction for this audience sets its own challenges but Mr Hipkins has risen to the challenge and created a wonderful story that touches on the subject of friendship, love, and loyalty.

Clement was a wonderfully drawn character who is very brave, honest and kind. A complete contrast to his terrible uncle. Clement was a character that I really enjoyed reading about, and I thought he was a great role model, especially when it comes to his treatment of Adam. Adam has special needs, and he would have been shunned by almost everyone in the era the book is set in, but Clement takes him under his wing and they became friends. I thought this relationship was beautifully depicted.

This book will certainly appeal to a younger audience. It is well written and immensely readable.

You can pick up your copy of this book on Amazon. If you subscribe to #KindleUnlimited you can read this novel for free.

Craig R. Hipkins grew up in Hubbardston Massachusetts. He is the author of medieval and gothic fiction. His novel, Adalbert is the sequel to Astrolabe written by his late twin brother Jay S. Hipkins (1968-2018)

He is an avid long-distance runner and enjoys astronomy in his spare time.

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Read an excerpt from Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash by Tammy Pasterick #HistoricalFiction #PennsylvaniaHistory #BlogTour @TammyPasterick @maryanneyarde

  Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash  By Tammy Pasterick Publication Date: 21st September 2021. Publisher: She Writes Press. Page Length: 371...