Blog Book Tour | “A Twisted Vengeance” (Book No.2 of the Kate Clifford Mysteries) by Candace Robb

Posted Friday, 21 July, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! The interesting bit to note is I am happily reading the first two Kate Clifford Mysteries for this particular blog tour; thereby this is the first post in a series of two reviews.  I received a complimentary copy of “A Twisted Vengeance” direct from the publisher Pegasus Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I loved reading the Kate Clifford Mysteries:

Robb has created a thinking man’s mystery – you have to peel back the layers (as you would an onion) to sort through how she’s drafted an intellectually intriguing tale. Having learnt her prior series #OwenArcher is interlinked into the #KateCliffordMysteries I must admit, the idea of back-tracing through the prior series to re-enter into the latter is going to be wicked sweet fun! (as foresaid on Twitter; the tweet is below this review) One reason I love reading Mysteries (and Suspense or Thrillers) and watching them is because of the exercise they give your mind! I find them as challenging to undertake as a stellar crossword! The intricacies abound and it is by moving in the directions the writer wishes you to traverse you not only gather the evidence along with the sleuths on the page but you draw closer to understanding how the mind of the writer first conceived their idea which is keeping you up late and musefully happy for the experience of reading their story.

For me, Robb not only entertained me from the stand-point of a new chapter of understanding of the Middle Ages  (as she threads the everyday politico very well into the backbone of her series foundation) but she grants you licence to step with a certain bias of interest to see Ms Clifford succeed even if her methods are not entirely on the level of what you’d expect a woman of her status to choose.

(*) quoted from my review of The Service of the Dead

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Blog Book Tour | “A Twisted Vengeance” (Book No.2 of the Kate Clifford Mysteries) by Candace RobbThe Service of the Dead

As the fourteenth century comes to a close, York seethes on the brink of civil war―and young widow Kate Clifford, struggling to keep her businesses afloat, realizes that her mother is harboring a dangerous secret…

1399. York is preparing for civil war, teeming with knights and their armed retainers summoned for the city’s defense. Henry of Lancaster is rumored to have landed on the northeast coast of England, not so far from York, intent on reclaiming his inheritance―an inheritance which his cousin, King Richard, has declared forfeit.

With the city unsettled and rife with rumors, Eleanor Clifford’s abrupt return to York upon the mysterious death of her husband in Strasbourg is met with suspicion in the city. Her daughter Kate is determined to keep her distance, but it will not be easy―Eleanor has settled next door with the intention of establishing a house of beguines, or poor sisters. When one of the beguines is set upon in the night by an intruder, Kate knows that for the sake of her own reputation and the safety of her young wards she must investigate.

From the first, Eleanor is clearly frightened yet maintains a stubborn silence. The brutal murder of one of Eleanor’s servants leads Kate to suspect that her mother’s troubles have followed her from Strasbourg. Is she secretly involved in the political upheaval? When one of her wards is frightened by a too-curious stranger, Kate is desperate to draw her mother out of her silence before tragedy strikes her own household.

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ISBN: 9781681774527

on 9th May, 2017

Pages: 297

Published By: Pegasus Books (@pegasus_books)
Available Formats: Hardback & E-Book

The Kate Clifford Mysteries:
I personally love the cover art design on this series! There is something about it which lends well to the era in which they are set but also the appeal for those of us who crave a heroine out of a wicked good Cosy Historical Mystery!

The Service of the Dead by Candace RobbA Twisted Vengeance by Candace Robb

The Service of the Dead | Book One | (see also Review)

A Twisted Vengeance | Book Two | Synopsis |

Read this lovely Guest Post about the Kate Clifford series | via Patricia Bracewell

Converse via: #Cosy + #HistoricalMystery | #HistoricalMystery | #KateCliffordMysteries | #CandaceRobb

About Candace Robb

Candace Robb

Candace Robb did her graduate work in medieval literature and history, and has continued to study the period while working first as an editor of scientific publications and now for some years as a freelance writer. Candace has published 13 crime novels set in 14th century England, Wales, and Scotland. The Owen Archer series is based in York and currently extends over 10 novels beginning with THE APOTHECARY ROSE; the most recent is A VIGIL OF SPIES. The Margaret Kerr trilogy explores the early days of Scotland’s struggle again England’s King Edward I, and includes A TRUST BETRAYED, THE FIRE IN THE FLINT, and A CRUEL COURTSHIP.

Writing as Emma Campion, Candace has published historical novels about two fascinating women she encountered while researching the Owen Archer mysteries, Alice Perrers (THE KING’S MISTRESS) and Joan of Kent (A TRIPLE KNOT).

Candace was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has lived most of her adult life in Seattle, Washington, which she and her husband love for its combination of natural beauty and culture. Candace enjoys walking, hiking, and gardening, and practices yoga and vipassana meditation. She travels frequently to Great Britain.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comwhere we left ms clifford:

The closer Ms Clifford moved towards understanding the current strife and sordid affairs befalling round her feet – so, too, did she grow in knowledge of how some of what she felt was safely secreted from public interest was honestly known to a limited few who for whichever reason, were going to remain silent about what they knew of her business. This surprised Kate on one hand and left her with a mark of concern on the other; for what price then would silence cost?

At the height of understanding the bloodshed she had witnessed, the truth she uncovered was not the information she was ready to process; much less receive! It was a gutting realisation of how vengeance can bred the worst out of man and how some men are beyond villainous to such a decree to step across the threshold into madness. Ms Clifford was front and centre of having to listen to the reasons why everything had happened but it’s the cause of it all which chilled you most to read. Of how one man’s intentions to disrupt one singular life by causing such overt devastation was hard to read.

She had secured a third ward – her niece, of whom was a victim of circumstance. It is incredible how Ms Clifford finds a way to find compassion for her niece whilst distancing the situations by which granted her guardianship. It isn’t the kind of situation you would want for your niece or yourself but sometimes (as true to life) bad things can happen, but you still most find a way to move forward. In this, I felt Kate did an incredible kindness to take-in the young girl knowing how much time she needed to heal and recover; although, on that note, so did Kate! My goodness! The things she had to swallow and still find a way to feel assured she could find traction towards the future when her present felt so very upturnt!

It was how her mother Eleanor walked back into her life which caused the most duress, I think! It was not a planned visit and the manner in which her mother approached rekindling their relationship not just rankled Kate’s brow but my own! She was only concerned with appearances (in regards to Petra, Kate’s niece) and of course, of well-timed alliances with those in power to influence or be influenced. She was a calculating Mum, that’s for sure and her interests in York I felt were only just starting to surface; you truly felt bad for Kate, to have her Mum intrude on her path towards secured freedom.

My review of a twisted vengeance:

There is a haste to the beginning of this tale – you are caught in the shock of the moment – of how one girl’s fate not just hangs in the balance but so too, does that of the person attempting to rescue her from death. It’s a jolting beginning – only pieces of what caused the gravity of the situation to unfold before we resume where we left Ms Clifford! Your mind tries to draw out more details though – of why what was happening was causing such pain to the girl; as she had mistook one person  for another, as the mind has a way of playing tricks on the conscience.

When it comes to Eleanor, the woman has no ounce of maternal instincts – she simply does not fully understand her daughter – both in the needs Kate has in needing a mother to turn too in moments of adversity and in acceptance of how Kate chooses to live her life. Eleanor seems removed from the guilt of how the choices she made whilst raising Kate were impacting her life now as an adult; as now that she’s returnt to Kate’s life, she seems as self-motivated as well to do her will and not take into account anyone else. Eleanor comes off as the kind of mother you are thankful you do not have yourself – she’s narrow-minded and unwilling to admit fault (especially when she’s in the wrong) whilst her greatest issue is the prejudices she has against everyone she feels is living their lives outside of what she feels is an honourable living. Ironic or no, this applies to Kate and to Kate’s wards; one of whom is more readily accepted by Eleanor (Petra, the niece) than the other two; which of course, irritates Kate to no end as all three of the children were bourne out of wedlock!

Irony then, when the suspicions of death are airing at the door of Eleanor’s residence! You have to give credit to Kate not to give her mother added grief by not ribbing her mother’s nerves with the curious situation of having Kate sleuth what has caused the upset in her household! Kate, for her part is a true champion of causes; not giving in to the ills she and her mother have yet to put to bed but rather, takes up the search for a missing Beguine whilst noting her mother isn’t as ready to be presented with the facts of what is truly going on under her watchful eye!

I never can decide how far I’d trust Sir Elric – as on one hand, it would appear he has good intentions but on the other; I fear, he is simply toying with Kate to get more information. Not always, mind, as he seems to have a fondness for Kate (of which is not entirely disclosed) but what motivates him, that’s the true question! He is a very straight-forward kind of bloke – he shares how he sees things and whether or not you agree with him – wells, that would then dictate how well you’d get along with him or find him on the opposite side, as one to give a wide birth.

Interestingly, Eleanor is finding she needs Kate’s assistance more than she would like to let on. Eleanor is trusting of others, sometimes to a determent – as her ignorance blinds her to the truth or rather, the truth which is being kept hidden from her ears! In this way, Eleanor is trying to find atonement for some of her cardinal mistakes whilst grieving the situations which have placed her household in extreme danger. It was fun watching Kate nettle out Eleanor’s fears whilst giving her a small chance to find solace in thinking Kate had given her a draw on their mother-daughter feud. From my observation, that would never be the case – they are both equally stubborn and independent; but perhaps, a truce is in their future?

One part of the evolving plot I was liking is how the Beguine sisters had a checkered past – at first presumed – due to the nature of what is happening since they arrived in York, but also, of how easily it would be for someone with a past to hide to take on the orders of the Beguines! They could simply hid amongst the sisters who truly had a selfless act to give their service to others whereas those without a mind of remorse could simply side-step certain things by adapting to the lifestyle. Imagine what secrets could be kept if you were able to not just conceal who you were but if you could effectively move forward into an identity which granted you a small measure of protection from something you were most afraid of catching up to you?

Geoff’s calming presence in Kate’s life is a necessity as he oft-times chimes in sage advice when Kate would rather react with stronger emotions or the fiery fierceness of a woman who is not shy of weapons! Geoff has a way of inserting his opinions right when Kate needs to hear them (or even if she doesn’t) whilst giving her more to think about than an impulsive decision she might regret lateron. I found his inclusions into the story-line were quite organically included; as he did not distract from the pacing of the story; if anything he added to the depth of what grounds Kate with both humility and mercy.

The hardest part about this twisting tale of vengeance is how illogical it is to think one deception can end through death if there is a greater arc of deceptive malice at play. It is here we see how the threads of Kate’s familial past are being torn, shredded and birthed back into the light – to see where the horrors of what befelled her family were rooted in a seering act of seeking revenge for acts not of her doing but of those in her family. I think the greatest hardship of the truth (once it was out) is how to move forward when you realise how much you lost simply due to certain people who schemed against your family’s well-being. It is a hard pill to swallow to see how the past and the future not only cross-sect but they in effect, influence each other in both cause and effect of past transgressions.

on the cosy historical mystery style of candace robb:

Ooh! What sweet delight! A family ancestral chart for Ms Clifford! I personally love the little additions I find inside novels, however, finding this chart was quite lovely as I was trying to recollect how everyone interconnects with Ms Clifford! This is a timely inclusion and one I had a bit of joy reading over! I love ancestral data charts! And, of course – who doesn’t love city maps to understand the orientation of your favourite character’s environs? This was a good way to begin the sequel as it helps re-align everything you remembered before moving forward into this installment! Quite wicked!

Robb has such a gracious continuity about her series – you cannot help but easily re-alight inside Kate Clifford’s world – from how she appreciates the time she has out-of-doors to her fond love of her hounds to how she seeks to find balance out of her duties and obligations. One thing I find most incredible is how much the 14th Century still feels alive somehow; almost as if we could never mistake Robb’s 14th Century for our own or vice versa; as everything is as it were back then rather than a glimpse of what it could have been like without the details Robb stitched into her series. She gives you such a companionable entrance to find your footing quite quickly and to assert a working presence of what York looked like whilst we’re entering into their turbulent past.

It isn’t just how Robb chooses to highlight the routines of Kate’s life but how living during this particular era of History had such largely looming threats – from both a political upheaval and the twistings of pending conflict (of war). The level of unrest and distrust run high apparently but evenso, there are ways to circumvent the deceit and to find people to align yourself with who will see to your safety. It is here where I noticed how strong Kate Clifford was to have the foresight to draw together people who might seem a bit motley round the edges but of whom, can be depended upon to give life or limb to protect those of whom Kate cherishes most.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

This blog tour is courtesy of: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Kate Clifford series blog tour via HFVBTs

Previously, I shared a wonderfully lively convo speaking with Ms Robb about how she approaches writing her Mysteries whilst finding myself wonderfully engaged by the conversation! This review was meant to post earlier on Friday morning – however, I’ve been dealing with intense lightning storms all week – thus, my blog’s schedule has been slightly off-schedule to compensate for the lost hours in which I was unable to blog whilst the lightning raged outside and my electronics had to be unplugged; as who wants to lose their computer twice in the expanse of a year? Not, I! My apologies to the author for the delay!

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Service of the Dead” and “A Twisted Vengeance”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of Candace Robb and the tour badge were all provided by HFVBTs (Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours) and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2017.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 21 July, 2017 by jorielov in 14th Century, Amateur Detective, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Beguine, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, British Literature, Brothers and Sisters, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Death of a Sibling, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Late Middle Ages (1300-1500), Religious Orders, Siblings, Twin Siblings

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