Category: Elizabethan Era

A #cloakanddaggerchristmas Book Spotlight | “A Murder by Any Name” (Book One: An Elizabethan Spy Mystery series) by Suzanne M. Wolfe

Posted Thursday, 27 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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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! I received a complimentary copy of “A Murder by Any Name” direct from the author Suzanne M. Wolfe in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On finding a new publisher of Mysteries & Suspense:

Earlier in [2018] I crossed paths with Vivian Conroy on Twitter – this led me to the weekly #HistFic chat known as #HistFicChat, wherein I had the delightful joy of being able to engage in conversation with like-minded bookish spirits who loved devouring Historical stories across genres of interest whilst having the happiness of interacting with today’s writers of Historical Fiction. I attempted to join each of the convos as I could as they run on Thursdays at 3pm (EST)(NYC) – bearing weather or connectivity issues or illness, I can honestly say they became a fixture of bookish loveliness for me! I continue to look forward to each new chat as they arrive, which will be resuming on the 3rd of January, 2019!

Due to this connection, I was noting a new publisher I hadn’t come across previously or if I had, I hadn’t had the opportunity to read their titles – as I felt I had known of them (in name only) prior to conversing with Ms Conroy. This new publisher is Crooked Lane Books – if you visit their website you’ll find they have a delightful array of Mysteries, Suspense & Thrillers! So much so, I have a feeling I’ll be reading through more of their catalogue of authors throughout the coming New Year!

I have been reading Ms Conroy’s series this Christmas Week – specifically the first of her Book & Tea Mysteries and the first of her Historical Mysteries: A Merriweather and Royston Mystery. How lovely is it then, during the same week I had the chance to read a second author by this lovely publisher?

You’ll find that I have a soft spot for Mysteries – especially of the Cosier side of the ledger, as most of my #cloakanddaggerchristmas showcases are of that particular variety, however, I also love to sink my teeth into something more daring within the realms of Suspense & Thrillers, yielding to my affinity for Historical narratives within that scope as there is nothing more enjoyable than traversing through History whilst caught up in a suspenseful plot!

Thereby, I am happy to say, I think I have found a lovely new publisher and I continue to look forward to expanding my readerly life with their stories and serials! Even if some of their releases are not my cuppa tea there is such a wide variety of stories to chose from it will be a joy to figure out which authors and their stories will become my favourites as I explore the publisher’s offerings.

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A #cloakanddaggerchristmas Book Spotlight | “A Murder by Any Name” (Book One: An Elizabethan Spy Mystery series) by Suzanne M. WolfeA Murder by Any Name
Subtitle: An Elizabethan Spy Mystery
by Suzanne M. Wolfe
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

When a brutal murder threatens the sanctity of the Elizabethan court, it’s up to a hot-tempered spy to save the day.

The court of Elizabeth I is no stranger to plotting and intrigue, but the royal retinue is thrown into chaos when the Queen’s youngest and sweetest lady-in-waiting is murdered, her body left on the high altar of the Chapel Royal in Whitehall Palace. Solving the murder will require the cunning and savvy possessed by only one man. Enter Nicholas Holt, younger brother of the Earl of Blackwell—spy, rake, and owner of the infamous Black Sheep tavern in the seedy district of Bankside. Nick quickly learns that working for the Queen is a mixed blessing. Elizabeth—salty-tongued, vain, and fiercely intelligent—can, with a glance, either reward Nick with a purse of gold or have his head forcibly removed.

When a second lady-in-waiting is slain at Whitehall, the court once again reels with shock and dismay. On the trail of a diabolical killer, Nick and his faithful sidekick—an enormous Irish Wolfhound named Hector—are treading on treacherous ground, and only the killer’s head on a platter can keep them in the Queen’s good graces.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781683317142

Genres: Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Crooked Lane Books

on 9th October, 2018

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 336

Published by: Published By: Crooked Lane Books (@crookedlanebks)

Converse via: #HistoricalMystery, #HistMys #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Suzanne M. Wolfe

Suzanne M. Wolfe

Suzanne M. Wolfe grew up in Manchester, England and read English Literature at Oxford University, where she co-founded the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society. She served as Writer in Residence at Seattle Pacific University and taught literature and creative writing there for nearly two decades. Wolfe is the author of three novels: A Murder by Any Name, The Confessions of X, and Unveiling.

Thirty years ago, she and her husband, Gregory Wolfe, co-founded Image, a journal of the arts and faith. They have also co-authored many books on literature and prayer including Books That Build Character: How to Teach Your Child Moral Values Through Stories, and Bless This House: Prayers For Children and Families. Her essays and blog posts have appeared in Image and other publications. She and her husband are the parents of four grown children. They live in Richmond Beach, Washington.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 27 December, 2018 by jorielov in 15th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Crime Fiction, Elizabeth I, Elizabethan Era, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Indie Author, Queen Elizabeth I

Book Review | “I, Walter” by Mike Hartner The first book in a #YALit series for #HistFic

Posted Friday, 30 January, 2015 by jorielov , , 3 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I joined Kate Tilton’s Book Bloggers as a way to seek out stories written by emerging Self Published and/or Indie Published writers who might not otherwise get highlighted by book bloggers. This was the first novel that interested me to request for review, as I enjoyed reading the premise inasmuch as the request was to read outside of a firm deadline. This is not an organised blog tour, thereby those of us who request to read the books and/or host the authors Ms. Tilton organises is scheduled around our own time frames. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Mike Hartner, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Book Review | “I, Walter” by Mike Hartner The first book in a #YALit series for #HistFicI, Walter
by Mike Hartner
Source: Author via Kate Tilton's Book Bloggers

I, Walter is the first in a series of books in a saga which will span continents and time to arrive in present day North America.

Each in the series will be connected, though that connection may not be obvious for several more books.

It's almost like looking at a menorah. Many lines, seemingly individual, connect to center at different points.

Walter Crofter was born into Elizabethan England.

In a country and a time where favor and politics were both deadly, can an honest boy stay true to himself?

Especially given his family background?

Places to find the book:

Series: The Eternity Series,


Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, Nautical Fiction, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Eternity4Popsicle Publishing

on 10th May, 2013

Format: Paperback

Pages: 225

Published by: Eternity4Popsicle Publishing (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #MikeHartner, #IWalter, #YALit

About Mike Hartner

Mike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He’s traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • CanLit Reading Bingo Card 2015
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Posted Friday, 30 January, 2015 by jorielov in 15th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Canadian Literature, Cliffhanger Ending, Coming-Of Age, Elizabethan Era, England, Father-Daughter Relationships, High Seas Epic, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Kate Tilton's Book Bloggers, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Nautical Fiction, Pirates and Swashbucklers, Spain, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Vulgarity in Literature, Young Adult Fiction

+Blog Book Tour+ Murder by Misrule (a Francis Bacon mystery) by Anna Castle #histnov

Posted Tuesday, 24 June, 2014 by jorielov , , 5 Comments

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Murder by Misrule by Anna Castle

Murder by Misrule Virtual Book Tour with HFVBT

Published By: Capitol Crime Writers, 8 June, 2014
Official Author Websites: Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Available Formats: Softcover Page Count: 350

Converse on Twitter: #MurderbyMisRule & #MurderbyMisruleBlogTour

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Murder by Misrule” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the author Anna Castle, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Curiosity of Francis Bacon:

I must admit, that although I know of Bacon in name only, I have always wanted to learn a bit more about him and the time in which he led. There are some many wonderful facets of living history that I have not yet had the pleasure of broaching in literature, and one of them, is the Elizabethan era! I had not realised at first that this is the same era as the Tudors, as to be honest, sometimes I find the designations of eras a bit confusing! I only knew that I would appreciate this particular timescape due to how close it hugs the Renaissance and the time of Shakespeare! Finding a mystery set during this age was a true delight, but further to say, what I am appreciating is the discovery of historical based cosies which tempt us to engage with historically known persons who are doing quite extraordinary things such as solving murders and the crimes therein! I like the perspective that this eludes too and the way in which each character is then handled by its writer is quite lovely too!

Previously, for historical mysteries based on living persons I have started to enjoy reading the Jane Austen mysteries by Stephanie Barron! I will be re-picking up the series during this year’s Austen in August, which is being hosted by Lost Generation Reader! I believe I am discovering a new breadth of historical fiction to soak inside as prior to Barron, I was wrapped up inside The Study of Murder & Inscription! I clearly appreciate the full scope of what a historical cosy mystery can provide! I’d be curious to find out in anyone else has been equally tempted!?

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Book Synopsis:

Murder by Misrule by Anna CastleFrancis Bacon is charged with investigating the murder of a fellow barrister at Gray’s Inn. He recruits his unwanted protégé Thomas Clarady to do the tiresome legwork. The son of a privateer, Clarady will do anything to climb the Elizabethan social ladder. Bacon’s powerful uncle Lord Burghley suspects Catholic conspirators of the crime, but other motives quickly emerge. Rival barristers contend for the murdered man’s legal honors and wealthy clients. Highly-placed courtiers are implicated as the investigation reaches from Whitehall to the London streets. Bacon does the thinking; Clarady does the fencing. Everyone has something up his pinked and padded sleeve. Even the brilliant Francis Bacon is at a loss — and in danger — until he sees through the disguises of the season of Misrule.

Series Synopsis:

This series of historical mysteries features the philosopher-statesman Francis Bacon as a sleuth and spymaster. Since Francis prefers the comfort of his own chambers, like his spiritual descendent Nero Wolfe, he sends his pupil, the handsome young Thomas Clarady, out to gather information. Tom loves the work, not least because he meets so many interesting people, like Lord Burghley, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Christopher Marlowe. Murder by Misrule is the first book in the series.

Author Biography:Anna Castle

Anna Castle has been a waitress, software engineer, documentary linguist, college professor, and digital archivist. Historical fiction combines her lifelong love of stories and learning. She physically resides in Austin, Texas, and mentally counts herself a queen of infinite space.

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My Review of Murder by Misrule:

I had not expected such an auspicious beginning to the story, as to have Mr. Bacon quite literally ‘stumble across’ his very first murder! I thought it was befitting of his character traits of attempting to avoid the mass public during the frivolities of state, and by taking such a winding turnabout during his walk, he in full effect changes his course of action! What I appreciated in the very opening bits to the story, is the layer of depth given to purport the setting and time into a reader’s mind. Castle takes the moment to curate a full scope narrative of the elemental nods you’d expect for a period specific piece, but does so in such a way to alight your mind full of recognition for what could have been seen whilst you were actually alive in the 16th Century! This mindfulness of detail is one that I always appreciate once I am able to find it, as it allows a deeper connection to your reading than a writer who might not have given as much to fully encase your heart inside the shoes of the character.

In the background of the story, there is talk of Mary Queen of Scots having a particular strain of interest to the duration of the conspiracies which are unsettling the order of the status que. What I found relevant there is that each book I am picking up that takes place during this time, has a direct connection to her plight and to her accusations of what placed her on death’s row. I am noticing that next I truly ought to seek out literature that encompasses more about her life and about how she was such a cardinal threat to the Crown. I have only heard hearsay and rumours about what might have triggered her discourse from being removed as a threat, but as to know precisely I must yield to those who have researched her ahead of my own curious wanderings!

How Bacon articulates the data and the evidence is of particular interest, because he is not your traditional detective in the sense that he is writ with an affluence of understanding that most greenhorn detectives would not have picked up upon. I can see now, why Castle was inspired to write him as a detective as he does have such a unique quality of deduction and reason inside him! His mysteries are reminding me of the intellectual appeal of Holmes, whereupon the mystery to the reader is nearly as paramount to uncover as to the actual case at hand! His ruminations and his lengthy ways about riddling out the true nature behind the crime could have been warranted by reflecting on my viewings of “Inspector Morse” as well. I like the fact that Bacon is portrayed as a rather classic fellow who approaches his sleuthing from a different perspective than what is readily found in cosies. He stands out because his uniqueness is refreshing and the homage giving to his process is lushly written with illuminating narration!

The intricacies of his station and of his livelihood were a surprise to me, because I had this preconceived notion about barristers and lawyers that for whichever reason was not even a fathering of the truth! There is far more political nuances and discourse than one would readily suspect to find encroaching on their everyday expenditures. I felt that for the most part there would have been a common core of strength and interplay between the colleagues but apparently even in the 16th Century the eyes were fond of scuttlebutt and supposition; rather than facts and truth. Bacon is such an honourable bloke attempting to go about his own affairs, that their rebuttal at his life and of his options afforded him take him quite off-guard, as they well should! The pettiness is such a true observation of how other people’s lack of self-esteem can curate a well of indifference and prejudicial remarks.

The manner in which Francis Bacon employs his colleague’s student, Tom to help with the investigation allows us to see a greater scope of the inner life of barristers and how their status at Court can be affected by their choices. I liked seeing into this world, as it denoted a new way of thinking about life at court and life outside of court. Everything is connected and the ways in which men could strengthen their status was nearly co-dependent on who they knew in a position that could help heighten their progress. In this, my original noddings of seeing Inspector Morse came back to mind, as he too, had taken on a partner who grew into Inspector Lewis! I like the felicity of mysteries being investigated in a mentor-student relationship, and this series is surely going to grow a wide readership once the mystery realm finds it’s release!

On the style of writing Castle inks onto the page:

Wordsmiths and appreciators of the dialect of Old English will appreciate the mentions of phrases and words that were spoken during Francis Bacon’s time. I personally loved riddling out a few of the meanings for the words I had not yet come across, as much as I appreciated the attention given to give historical accuracy within a historical fiction novel! I even loved the inclusions of Latin phrases, as it would be perfectly logical that during that time everyone would be sharing their thoughts by interspersing Latin into their everyday vernacular!

The surprise for me in receiving this book for review was the curious photograph of the finished copy cover art, which was autographed by Ms. Castle! I was struck by its simplicity of design and how with its glossy finish it was a startling piece of art to be sent! I will enjoy finding a frame to place it inside, as the cover art held my eye from the first moment I stole a glance at it! What a delightful treat to be tucked into the opening bits of the ARC! And, I must say, it was the very first photography copy of a book’s cover design I have thus far received!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis Book Review is courtesy of:

Murder by Misrule Virtual Book Tour with HFVBT

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comas I am happily honoured to be a blog tour hostess for:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTPlease visit my Bookish Events page to stay in the know for upcoming events!

Previously I had the honour of interviewing Ms. Castle about ‘Murder by Misrule‘!

{SOURCES: Book cover for “Murder by Misrule”, Author Biography and Book Synopsis were provided by HFVBT – Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Blog tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
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Posted Tuesday, 24 June, 2014 by jorielov in 16th Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Detective Fiction, Elizabethan Era, England, Francis Bacon, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Mary Queen of Scots, Self-Published Author, Sir Walter Raleigh, Tudor Era