Over the course of the summer months I will be sharing the recommended authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf along with their books and a selected review.
The first book today is the historical novel Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair.
About the book
Elizabeth craves adventure… excitement… love…
For now though, she has to settle for a trip from her family’s castle, to the port in Aberdeen, where her father has promised she’ll be permitted to buy a horse… all of her own.
Little does she suspect this simple journey will change her life, forever. And as she dreams of riding her new mount through the forests and glens of the Manteith estate, she can have no idea that she might never see them again.
For what lies ahead is danger, unimagined… and the fearful realities of kidnap and slavery.
But even when everything seems lost, most especially the chance of ever getting home again, Elizabeth finds friendship, comfort… and that much prized love, just where she least expected it.
Set in the mid eighteenth century, Fireflies and Chocolate is a story of strength, courage and tolerance, in a time filled with far too many prejudices.
One of the five star reviews for the book and I can add my own recommendation
Fireflies and Chocolate is a wonderful book that tells the story of Elizabeth Manteith, a titled sixteen-year-old, who is abducted off the streets of Aberdeen in 1743 and taken off to Pennsylvania to work there. These abductions really happened, facilitated by the merchants of the city who were paid for their help.
Elizabeth is gutsy, vulnerable, rash and caring, and her quick wittedness and bravery had me cheering her on from the sidelines. Like her, we are confronted by the harsh realities of life as a slave or indentured labourer and she experiences danger and brutality as she wades in to protect her new-found friends.
There’s also fun and humour in the mix and a romance that grows and develops with the tale. I loved the author’s depiction of the confusion Elizabeth faced regarding her true feelings for Peter, who helped her during the voyage, and for Michael who gave her a job as his cook. I’ll leave you to find out for yourself how that pans out!
Also by Ailish Sinclair
Read the other reviews and buy the books:Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Other reviews :Goodreads – Website:Ailish Sinclair – Twitter: @AilishSinclair – Facebook: Ailish Sinclair Author – LinkedIn: Ailish Sinclair
About Ailish Sinclair
Ailish Sinclair trained as a dancer and taught dance for many years, before working in schools to help children with special needs. A short stint as a housekeeper in a castle fired her already keen interest in untold stories of the past and she sat down to research and write.
She now lives beside a loch with her husband and two children where she still dances and writes and eats rather a lot of chocolate.
The next author today is Jane Risdon with her short story collection Undercover Crime Shorts that makes for an interesting read.
About the collection
Under one cover for the first time a collection of Crime Shorts from Jane Risdon featuring previously unpublished stories which will have you on the edge of your seat. There is an extract from Jane’s forthcoming novel (series) Ms Birdsong Investigates Murder at Ampney Parva: Operation Matryoshka – with the title of Undercover – for those who’ve been awaiting this series about a former MI5 Intelligence Office, Lavinia Birdsong. There’s something for everyone who enjoys a good yarn and more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction.
One of the reviews for Undercover Crime Shorts
The common theme of these short stories is murder, where the victims apparently deserving their fate as the perpetrators justify their actions.
All the main characters in each of the stories have psychopathic tendencies, but the short narration of the events does not allow their characteristics and backgrounds to be developed. An example is the paranoid diplomat who believes he is the victim of a ‘honey trap.’ I, as the reader, felt he was more of a misogynist and opportunist who covered up serial murders.
I liked the premise of the stories, and found them imaginative and entertaining, all with a bite of incredible plotting.
Murder by Christmas was my favourite. The idea of deciding to murder before you can collect an inheritance is a dilemma. What gives the story intrigue is that the deceased, in her will, had decided she wants rid people in her life whom she disliked. Equally interesting is how easily the perpetrators have no remorse and meticulously kill their victims before they start a new life with their new wealth. The ending left me wondering if I could do the same. (Probably not).
I enjoyed this collection of short fiction. Although on the surface a grim subject, each tale has a mischievous tone, with the narration like cosy crime providing a sense of justice in most cases.
Also by Jane Risdon
Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US– Blog:Jane Risdon WordPress – Goodreads:Jane Risdon Goodread – Twitter: @Jane_Risdon – Facebook: Jane Risdon – Bookbub: Jane Risdon – WNB Network: Channel 6
About Jane Risdon
Jane Risdon is the co-author of ‘Only One Woman,’ with Christina Jones (Headline Accent) and ‘Undercover: Crime Shorts,’ (Plaisted Publishing), as well as having many short stories published in numerous anthologies. She writes for several online and print magazines such as Writing Magazine, Electric Press, and The Writers’ and Readers’ Magazine.
Undercover: Crime Shorts was the February Free Book of the Month on the virtual library and festival site, MYVLF.com, and her live video interview features in their theatre. She is a regular guest on international internet podcasts including UK Crime Book Club (UKCBC), Donnas Interviews Reviews and Giveaways, and on radio shows such as theauthorsshow.com, chatandspinradio.com, and The Brian Hammer Jackson Radio Show.
Undercover: Crime Shorts is being used by Western Kentucky University, Kt. USA, in an Introduction to Literature Class, for second year students from Autumn 2021 for the foreseeable future.
She is the Lead Panellist, March (2022), for an online discussion of The Intersection of Literary Fiction and Women’s Literature at LitCon, an author’s conference out of New York USA.
Jane’s latest 100-word piece of Flash Fiction entitled Payback, was read by her for Showboat TV Equinox Online Festival on 25th September as part of the event’s Spoken word segment.
Before turning her hand to writing Jane worked in the International Music Business alongside her musician husband, working with musicians, singer/songwriters, and record producers. They also facilitated the placement of music in movies and television series. They were based mostly in Los Angeles and Singapore.
Earlier in her career she also worked for the British Ministry of Defence in Germany, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London, and the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell.
Jane is represented by Linda Langton of Langton’s International Literary Agency in New York City, New York USA.
Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share Jane’s post… Sally