A Rose for Major Flint – Louise Allen


The incomparable Louise Allen brings the Brides of Waterloo trilogy to a stunning conclusion with A Rose for Major Flint, a compelling, passionate and enjoyable historical romance that will leave readers breathless!

The last thing Adam needs is to be saddled with a beautiful young woman unable to remember her own name! With death and destruction wherever he turns, Adam does not want or need the added responsibility of a ward on his already overburdened shoulders, but the honourable rake cannot help but be intrigued by his mysterious new charge! Despite her inability to recall anything about her life prior to her arrival on the battlefield of Waterloo, Adam is very much aware that the woman who is causing him no end of upheaval is no ordinary girl, but a lady of quality. But what on earth is she doing away from the sophisticated salons and sumptuous ballrooms that are so obviously her usual milieus?

Christened Rose by her dashing rescuer, she is taken to safety and given refuge in Adam’s boarding house. With her kindly landlady’s gentle ministrations and Adam’s own brand of tender loving care, Rose’s health slowly begins to improve. However, the more time she spends with Adam, the more she begins to realise that she’s got more to worry about than memory loss! Adam has awoken feelings deep within her that she’s never experienced before and when temptation proves absolutely impossible to resist, Rose begins to find the thought of spending the rest of her life without him absolutely unbearable!

As the illegitimate son of a nobleman, Adam has never had anything but scorn and disdain for polite society. A man who has spent most of his life flouting the rules of the Ton and eschewing commitment, he has always given affairs of the heart a wide berth in favour of seducing bored society wives and merry widows. However, Rose’s appearance in his life has changed all that. For the first time in his life, Adam has begun to question his resolve to stay stubbornly single, but with so many obstacles standing between him and the woman he loves with all his heart, will he manage to find a way to be with her? Or is a future out of the question for the two of them?

Louise Allen’s name on a book jacket is a surefire guarantee of historical romance brilliance and A Rose for Major Flint is an outstanding addition to this talented author’s extraordinary back catalogue. Written with all the flair, panache and historical veracity which have become this multi award-winning writer’s trademarks, A Rose for Major Flint is a dazzling tale of sin, scandal and seduction that has got it all: spellbinding characters, mesmerizing historical details, powerful emotion, red-hot passion and poignant romance.

Readers looking for the very best in historical romance writing today, need look no further than Louise Allen and her superb Regency tales!

This review was originally published on Cataromance.


An Interview with Mary Nichols


I am delighted to welcome to Bookish Jottings best-selling historical fiction author Mary Nichols who chats to me about the Second World War, her wonderful stories and what’s coming next!


Welcome to Bookish Jottings, Mary! It’s lovely to have you here! Could you please start by introducing yourself and by telling us something about your books?

As a child I was always reading, anything and everything I could lay my hands on whether it was suitable or not. My father encouraged me by joining a book club that published classics like Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Lorna Doone, The Woman in White, Gulliver’s Travels, The Mill on the Floss, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Tom Jones, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations and so on. I devoured them all, even before I could understand them, but it was reading books like these that made me decide I wanted to be a writer. I produced my first novel when I was sixteen, writing it in longhand in exercise books when I was supposed to be swotting for my School Certificate. I packed it up just as it was and sent it to the editor of a magazine. (A strange choice but I must have thought it would make a serial!) It says a great deal for that editor that she took the trouble to read it and sent me a very encouraging letter, which fuelled my ambition. Although other things took over my life, the ambition was not abandoned, simply set on one side. I rekindled it when my youngest child started school. From articles and short stories I moved on to novels, my real love. I had the first one published in 1985 and I’ve been writing them ever since, over 60 to date.

You are a popular and much-loved writer of wartime sagas and historical romantic fiction. What originally attracted you to writing books set in the past?

Funnily enough the first ten books I had published (in the 1980s) were contemporary for their time, but old hat now, but I suppose I always leaned towards the historical, perhaps because of my early reading. I also owe some of it to my beloved grandmother who was born in 1884 and was a fund of stories about her childhood and growing up. My first long saga, The Stubble Field, was set in Victorian times. But I also love Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen so when I started to write for Mills and Boon it was mainly Regency and Georgian eras that I used. More recently I have been writing of World War 2, a time I am old enough to remember and which is always throwing up anniversaries of events that claim the attention of the media. Because it was such a life-changing period with danger, heroism and cowardice, shortages and the black market, people being moved all over the place and separated from loved ones, it is a treasure house of plots for the novelist.

What are the challenges of being a writer of historical fiction?

The main challenge is getting the background right and integrating the fiction with the real facts of the time, so they blend together. Fashions, furnishings, means of transport and communication must be right for the period. If you are dealing with stage coaches, you need to know how long they take to get from A to B and the route. You wouldn’t get on a train before the middle of the 19th C or make a telephone call much before WW1 and then they were only for the well-to-do. In WW2, besides knowing a little of what battles were taking place and where, you need to know what was and what wasn’t rationed and how people coped with the blitz, things like that. Dialogue should reflect the times without becoming stilted. You need to give a taste of the era in the way people speak but not overdo it. Taboos and morals, too, change over the years. What is right for one period would be frowned on in another. Sex and having babies out of wedlock, for instance.

What kind of research do you do for your books?

I read as much as I can about the period and my chosen subject.  My house is full of shelves crammed with books.  If I need specialist knowledge I ask the people who might know. I find they are invariably very helpful.  For instance, when I wrote The Kirilov Star, I wanted someone to vet my Russian facts and spellings and Sir Roderick Braithwaite, one-time Ambassador to Moscow and a noted author on all things Russian, kindly agree to read my MS.  The same applied to A Different World, some of which takes place in wartime Poland, and Adam Zamoyski, an awarding-winning historian and author of several books on Europe and, Poland in particular, read through my MS and said it was a charming story that needed telling. Both made minor corrections for which I was very grateful.  Occasionally I visit a place, but I do not always find that very helpful because places change so much, they would hardly be recognisable to a person who lived there a hundred years before. I prefer contemporary maps and descriptions by people who lived or visited there in the time I’m writing about. However I did go to Bletchley Park for We’ll Meet Again and found it fascinating.

Your latest saga, We’ll Meet Again has just been released in paperback. What sparked off the original idea for this book?

As usual with me, it was something I read about Bletchley Park and the people who worked  there, thousands of them, all sworn to secrecy. It could never happen nowadays.

What is We’ll Meet Again about?

It is about the secrets people were required to keep in wartime, even from their nearest and dearest, and the effect that had on their relationships Sheila and Pru work at Bletchley Park and become firm friends though their backgrounds could not be more different. Sheila is from a large family born and brought up in the East End of London, Prue is the daughter of an earl.  Like nearly all the other characters, they have to keep their work secret.

Historical fiction is more popular than ever. In your opinion what accounts for the genres enduring appeal?

There is a lot in the media about the anniversary of this and that nowadays, especially the two World Wars. Costume drama is always popular; productions like Pride and Prejudice, Wolf Hall and Poldark fuel people’s interest.  On the documentary side we have programmes like Time Watch and Who do you think you are? Apart from all that people who like to read, like a good story and if it is set in the past, all the better.

What is your all-time favourite historical novel?

This is a hard one to answer, I change my mind a lot, but I think A Tale of Two Cities has got to be one of them and so has Dr Zhivago. But I mustn’t forget Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. I like Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe novels too.  So, you see, my taste in books is very eclectic.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Read, read and read some more. Study the successful authors in the genre you have chosen, but don’t try and copy them. Find your own voice and be true to yourself. Above all, don’t give in. I could paper the wall of the smallest room with the rejections slips of my early days. That is, if I hadn’t scrapped them as too depressing to keep!

What’s next for Mary Nichols?

It’s been a bad year for me health-wise and it’s slowed me down a bit, but I’m coming towards the end of my next book for Allison and Busby, set in the English countryside in WW2. I’ve done seven of these book now and am thinking of a change, but what that will be, I don’t know. A lost depends on my publishers, and my readers, of course.

Thank you so much for chatting to me, Mary! If you want to find out more about Mary and her books, visit her website at http://www.marynichols.co.uk. Mary’s latest novel, We’ll Meet Again is available now from all good bookshops and online retailers.

We’ll Meet Again – Mary Nichols


A stunning World War 2 saga from a master storyteller, We’ll Meet Again is a mesmerizing tale of courage, second chances and redemption from Mary Nichols’ exquisitely talented pen.

The bottom falls out of Sheila Phipps’ world when a bomb attack wipes out her entire family. Having lost everyone and everything she held dear to her heart in one fell swoop, Sheila is frightened, vulnerable and alone. Sent to live with her Aunt Constance in rural Bletchley, Sheila’s future looks bleak. Her social-climbing aunt loses no time in chipping away at Sheila’s self confidence with her snide remarks and barbed comments. Still mourning the loss of her entire family, Sheila wonders whether she will ever be happy again. She misses her parents and her siblings dreadfully and her Aunt Constance seems to take particular delight in making her life a complete and utter hell. Sheila wonders whether she would be better off going back to London, but a chance encounter with her aunt’s lodger, Lady Prudence Le Strange, soon changes her mind…

Prudence had been chafing at the diktats imposed upon her by her family, who had forbidden her from having anything to do with the war effort. Prudence is desperate to do her bit for king and country and when her prowess for languages gets her a job at Bletchley Park, she bids farewell to her old life as an earl’s daughter and heads off to do her duty as a codebreaker. When she overhears her landlady being particularly vicious to her orphaned niece, Prudence decides to take heartbroken Sheila under her wing and despite the vast social chasm that divides them, the two become fast friends.

Prudence uses her influence at Bletchley Park to get Sheila a job and she is delighted when she sees her new friend coming out of her shell. Sheila soon discovers a talent for the stage and her ever growing confidence under the spotlight makes her determined to make the theatre her future after the war. Sheila has never quite managed to shake off the feeling that her brother Charlie had not perished in the bomb blast that had killed the rest of their family, and when she spots his face in a film, she vows to find him. But with the world in turmoil, will Sheila ever be reunited with Charlie?

As the conflict escalates, anguish, sadness and heartbreak soon become a regular part of Sheila and Prudence’s lives. Will they ever manage to find the happiness that they’ve been searching for? Or will the enemy quell their spirits and destroy their remaining hopes and dreams?

In We’ll Meet Again, Mary Nichols has penned an engrossing, fascinating and highly involving historical saga that I struggled to put down. Written with confidence, flair and sensitivity, this outstanding saga brings to vivid life the struggles and hardships which people went through during the Second World War and readers are kept eagerly turning the pages as they find themselves enthralled by the trials and tribulations which Mary Nichols’ wonderfully drawn characters go through.

From the codebreakers in Bletchley Park to resistance workers in France and the awe-inspiring work of the pilots in the Second World War, Mary Nichols takes her readers on an emotional and captivating journey they will not easily forget. Wonderfully written, stirring and impossible to resist, We’ll Meet Again is historical fiction at its absolute best!

Letting You Go – Anouska Knight


Anouska Knight’s third novel, Letting You Go, should come with a warning: make sure you’ve got plenty of tissues handy because this emotional, stirring and mesmerizing tale of forgiveness, courage and healing from the past will pluck at your heartstrings and make you weep buckets!

Alexandra Foster’s life had changed forever on the day her beloved brother, Dill, died in a tragic accident. Alexandra was supposed to be looking after her younger sibling, but when she averted her eyes for just a second, a cruel twist of fate had shattered her idyllic teenage existence and turned her whole world upside down. With her father putting the blame entirely on her shoulders, Alexandra had soon found herself living in an impossible situation. Weary of being made to feel like a pariah in her own home, Alexandra fled the nest as soon as she possibly could to make a fresh start elsewhere. But despite the distance which she had put between herself and her family, she has never quite managed to put the past – and all the pain, anguish and heartbreak – behind her or forget the devastating events of that tragic day.

For the past eight years, Alex’s life has been quiet and uneventful. She has never gone back to her old home and has instead tried her hardest to make a new life for herself. Alex knows that there is no chance of ever fixing her relationship with her family – particularly her father- however, when she receives a telephone call from her sister, Jamie, telling her that their mother is sick and that she must come immediately, Alex find herself having to return back to a dark place she never hoped to return to where she will come face to face with her father – who holds her entirely responsible for her brother’s death – and Finn, her ex boyfriend whom her dad absolutely detests but whom she still loves…

From the moment Alex sets foot in her old hometown, she is assailed by devastating memories, but will this unexpected turn of events heal the rift that has torn her family apart? Will she manage to vanquish old demons? Or will she continue to punish herself for Dill’s death?

If you liked Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, you are going to love Anouska Knight’s Letting You Go. Sensitively written, wonderfully nuanced and heart-breakingly poignant, this spellbinding tale of love and loss will capture your attention from the very first page and hold you in thrall until the very last word.

Anouska Knight skilfully explores the complexities of family life and effortlessly plumbs the depths of the human heart in this enthralling contemporary tale that propels this rising star of women’s fiction to new heights. Her characters are real, believable and they leap off the page. You will feel every every single emotion they go through and by the end of the book, they will become as real to you as your own family and friends.

A stellar read that is as impossible to put down as it is to forget, Letting You Go is the must-read book of the autumn!

An Interview with Josephine Moon


I’m delighted to welcome to Bookish Jottings one of my favourite women’s fiction authors, Josephine Moon, who chats to me about chocolate, writing and her wonderful books!


Thank you for joining me here at Bookish Jottings, Josephine! It’s lovely to have you here! Could you please start by telling me something about yourself and your books?

Thank you so much for inviting me. It’s a great pleasure to be able to connect with readers on the other side of the world :)

I am based in Queensland, Australia. I live on acreage with horses, goats, dogs and cats and am also fortunate to be only twenty minutes drive away from Noosa with its beaches and national park and cafe. I am very fortunate to have found my home here with my husband and son (and furry children) after following my lifelong dream of being able to move here from Brisbane (where I was born). And, I now have the career of my dreams. Life is very good indeed!

I write what I like to call ‘foodie fiction’: stories about strong and creative women that are interwoven with their connection to food in some way, whether as a grower/producer or at the artisan level of working with food to make beautiful and healing products to sell. I am besotted with lavender, so you’ll see some of that in every book :)

The Tea Chest was my first novel (published in 2014) and my latest is The Chocolate Apothecary.

Your book, The Chocolate Apothecary, has just been published. What sparked off the original idea for this book?

Writing The Chocolate Apothecary came about in a messy, unconscious way at first. I fell in love with Tasmania around 2008 on my first trip down there, and especially with the town of Evandale and all its Georgian buildings. I declared that one day I would write a book set in that town, and repeated that statement on many subsequent trips down there. After writing The Tea Chest, and it being picked up by my publisher quite quickly, I realised that I was drawn to writing foodie fiction, and I love chocolate, of course, so it seemed a natural union for the premise of the next book to be around a theme of chocolate and set it in a little apothecary in Evandale.

The story itself began when, one day while on holiday (again, in Tasmania), I said that I wanted to make it my life’s mission to do all my business from the day spa! So I began to play with this idea of a character who loved life’s luxuries and had a benevolent business as a commercially paid ‘fairy godmother’. The final story morphed considerably from there, but that’s where it began.

 What is The Chocolate Apothecary about? 

Christmas Livingstone has 10 rules for happiness, the most important of which is ‘absolutely no romantic relationships’.

In The Chocolate Apothecary, her enchanting artisan store in Tasmania, she tempers chocolate and creates handmade delicacies. Surrounded by gifts for the senses, in this shop chocolate isn’t just good for you, it’s medicine.

Until one day, a stranger arrives at her front door – a dishevelled botanist seeking her help. She really doesn’t need Lincoln van Luc to walk into her life, even if he does have the nicest blue eyes, the loveliest meddling grandmother and a gorgeous newly rescued dog. She really doesn’t need any of it.

Or does she?

Set across Tasmania, Paris and Provence, this is a glorious novel of a creative woman about to find out how far in life a list of rules will take her, with an enticing tangle of freshly picked herbs, pots of flowers and lashings of chocolate scenting the air.

How would you sum up The Chocolate Apothecary in a single sentence?

A chocolatey love story set across Tasmania (Australia), Paris and Provence.

What is your all-time favourite kind of chocolate?

I have a few specific brands and I keep finding more all the time but, essentially, I like pure chocolate, around 70% cacao. Sometimes I enjoy roasted almonds in dark chocolate. But I’m not a fan of flavoured chocolate, with the exception of rose chocolate, with real rose water and/or essential oils or flowers in it (not the artificially flavoured and coloured stuff). As far as flavoured chocolate goes, authentic rose chocolate is as close to heaven as it gets. (Rococo makes a sensational rose chocolate.)

What attracted you to writing contemporary women’s fiction?

I wrote 10 manuscripts in 12 years, with The Tea Chest being the 10th and the one that was finally (!) picked up for publication. Those manuscripts covered many different genres, from memoir to academic, to young adult fiction, general adult fiction and more. Just before I began work on The Tea Chest I remember having this lightbulb moment of realising that what I was reading and loving was women’s fiction, so it seemed like that should be my guide to tell me what I should probably be writing. Very obvious in hindsight but took me a long while to work it out!

What is your all-time favourite women’s fiction novel?

There are so many! :)

If I have to choose one, I’ll say The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.

 Any advice for aspiring writers?

So much! :) But I think mostly I would say that while common advice is to ‘write what you know’, I’d say ‘write what you want to know’. That will give you so much more curiosity, drive, passion and willingness to explore.

What’s next for Josephine Moon?

Right now, it’s winter here and I’m a total sook when it comes to cold weather so I am spending indulgent amounts of time researching hot chocolate recipes online and testing them out in my kitchen :)

But when my feet are warm, I am working on my third novel, due out in Australia in April 2016.

I’m also building up a quarterly newsletter service, in which I include prizes, behind-the-scenes info, photos and recipes so if anyone would like to join me in the VIP lounge, you can sign up here http://josephinemoon.com/become-a-vip/ and I’ll immediately send you my notes on how to hold a tea tasting and a chocolate tasting to welcome you onboard.

Thank you so much for having me along. It’s been fun :)

Thank you so much for chatting to me, Josephine! The Chocolate Apothecary is on sale now and available from all good bookshops and online retailers. Find out more about Josephine by visiting her website at https://www.josephinemoon.com.


The Chocolate Apothecary – Josephine Moon


Last year, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Josephine Moon’s fabulous debut novel, The Tea Chest. Having loved her first book, my expectations for her second novel, The Chocolate Apothecary, were pretty high, but this talented Australian author has not only managed to exceed them, but has raised the bar once again and written an exceptional contemporary tale of family, friendship and affairs of the heart that I found absolutely impossible to put down!

Christmas Livingstone has got ten rules for happiness she absolutely swears by; with the most important one being number ten: romance is strictly off the agenda! After having had heart shattered into a million tiny pieces when her last relationship had collapsed, Christmas had fled her life as a high profile executive in Sydney for her hometown of Evandale in Tasmania and invested all of her time and energy into her shop, The Chocolate Apothecary. With a thriving business, her fractious family and her ambitions to juggle, Christmas has got neither the time nor the inclination for romance. And besides, after her last disastrous relationship, Christmas had vowed to steer clear of men and to make her dreams of becoming a successful businesswoman a reality. All seems to be going to plan – until handsome botanist Lincoln comes to Evandale and he slowly begins to break down the walls which she had built around herself.

Lincoln has grown used to living out of a suitcase. As an up and coming botanist, he tends to spend most of his time roughing it in the jungle rather than in suburbia, but with his beloved gran becoming increasingly frailer and a rift in the family threatening to jeopardise everything he holds dear to his heart, Lincoln decides to take advantage of his resting period and head back home to Australia for a little while – but what he hadn’t counted on was on falling head over heels in love with a beautiful chocolatier called Christmas! With his erratic working schedule and demanding career, settling down is the last thing on Lincoln’s mind. Whilst he is fully aware that there is nothing his gran would love more than to have great grand-children, he is fully aware that that is not likely to happen in the foreseeable future. But the more time he spends with Christmas, the more he finds himself unable to contemplate a future without her…

Christmas has got enough challenges in her life – she certainly does not need to have the added complication of an inconvenient attraction to contend with as well! When unbeknownst to her, her best friend Emily enters her in a competition that sees her travelling all the way to France for a chocolate masterclass with a world renowned expert, Christmas cannot help but wonder if she will finally manage to track down her father and whether the stranger who fathered her will be able to answer the burning questions about her life that have been confounding her for as long as she can remember.

Will Christmas manage to find the happiness she has been searching for all her life? Does she have a future with Lincoln? Or is she better off staying single?

Josephine Moon writes with all the warmth and charm of Cathy Kelly, the subtlety and perceptiveness of Marian Keyes and the whimsical magic of Jenny Colgan. She effortlessly juggles light-hearted humour with heart-wrenching pathos and intense emotional drama and leaves the readers gleefully turning the pages of this first-class tale as they find themselves absorbed by the trials and tribulations of her richly drawn characters.

Christmas is a fantastically drawn heroine readers will warm and relate to. She is strong, kind-hearted and astute, but she is also a woman who has been hurt and let down and her journey to finding happiness and living her life by her own rules is inspiring and uplifting. I also couldn’t help but love the other wonderful characters in this fabulous tale – from gorgeous Lincoln to his adorable gran and her eccentric partners in crime as well as Christmas’ friends and her unconventional family.

A spellbinding, addictive and compulsive read that is the next best thing to a box of expensive Belgian chocolates, The Chocolate Apothecary is another triumph for Josephine Moon!

Five Go Glamping – Liz Tipping blog tour review


Hilariously funny, deliciously feel-good and absolutely irresistible, Five Go Glamping is the fantastic debut novel from a terrific new writer of romantic comedy – Liz Tipping!

Sensible, responsible and practical are three adjectives that fit Fiona Delaney like a glove. She’s been in the same job for 15 years, saves every penny she earns and has got a five year plan that she sticks to like glue. Fiona has always reckoned that the path to happiness lies in sticking to her goals and in not letting herself get sidetracked by distractions. However, for the last couple of weeks, she cannot help but wonder whether she’d be far happier if she discarded her five year plan and been a bit more spontaneous like her workmate Ayesha. Spending every weekend working her fingers to the bone with only her cat-mad colleague for company before cooking a lavish dinner for her boyfriend – who always cancels at the very last minute! – has made her realise that the time has come for Fiona to put herself first for the first time in ages – and as luck would have it, her two best friends, Steph and Sinead, have got the perfect solution for her: a four day break in the countryside where they will be relaxing in a luxurious yurt whilst listening to all the hottest bands playing at a local festival.

A luxury break away from her humdrum life is just what the doctor ordered and Fiona cannot wait to leave her boring job and absent boyfriend behind and have some fun for a change. However, on her arrival at the festival, Fiona soon realises that her indulgent holiday is going to be anything but idyllic! The accommodation is dismal, the wi-fi reception hopeless and the festival is less Glastonbury and more New-Age. Fiona is in desperate need for a chilled glass of wine – and that’s where the fun begins…

When she finally finds the local pub, little does Fiona realise that her whole life is going to be turned upside down. Will she finally realise that the only way she can ever be happy is to stop planning every single minute detail and just go with the flow?

Five Go Glamping is a zesty-paced, compulsively readable and highly entertaining page-turner that will go down a treat with fans of Jill Mansell and Jenny Oliver. Witty, warm-hearted and very hard to put down, you are sure to fall in love with Liz Tipping’s cast of lovable characters and remain on the edge of your seat as you find yourself swept up by their antics on their glamping holiday.

Romantic, compelling and fabulous from start to finish, Five Go Glamping is a sensational debut novel from a writer who is destined to be a star: Liz Tipping!