Category: Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction

Book Review | “Queen’s Gambit” (Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle series, Book Two) by Bradley Harper In this sequel to “A Knife in the Fog” Doyle is not the centre of focus, Margaret Harkness takes the lead!

Posted Wednesday, 18 September, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. However, their imprints Seventh Street Books & Pyr were merged into Start Publishing in [2019] – wherein I had the pleasure of being approached by their new publicity team via Kaye Publicity in Spring 2019 wherein I was first introduced to the Spice Shop Mysteries as I was told about a forthcoming release [for June] was “Chai Another Day”. From there, I started to work with Kaye Publicity to continue reviewing Seventh Street Book titles and author releases I am both familiar with and/or are considered “new authors” to my readerly life.

As an aside, despite the fact Seventh Street Books has been bought out by Smart Publishing – all links to their website and social accounts have remained active and use the same urls. The new publisher has maintained all their sites and thereby, the transition was seamless for readers who wanted to keep in touch with the authors and the series they come to love by Seventh Street Books & Pyr!

I received a complimentary copy of “Queen’s Gambit” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Start Science Fiction) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On what I enjoyed in the pages of “A Knife in the Fog”:

This novel begins the series introducing us to all the key characters – from Professor Bell, to Arthur Conan Doyle and Margaret Harkness. As the series progresses forward – the characters shift in focus & share the lead.

A reflectively pensive voice gives us the impression the following account of an investigation into the Ripper murders of East London was in effect not only of profound impact on the narrator of this story (of whom I presumed immediately was Conan Doyle) but was in reality, an important marker of time for this person. It envelopes itself into a pertinent relationship of mind and arms; of a person who not only of equal mirth of enquiry and investigative instincts but of common interests and conveyances which were equally dynamic in their own rights. It is here – within the fragmented touchstones of what is yet to come where you start to distinguish the ‘voice’ of the novel A Knife in the Fog to being very decisively Holmesian.

Doyle, similar to Holmes does not suffer fools gently nor does he wish his personal or professional time to be waylaid but people who are less than honest with him on first meeting. It is here where you can infer how much Harper was researching his protagonist not just as the subject study to influence his own series but how Doyle himself could embody a lot of the characteristics we’ve all come to love in our beloved Holmes; than thus even more readily, it would be Harper who gives us a fuller advantage of seeing the inspiration behind Watson. The interesting bit here is of whom was the inspiring force behind both characters as your own mind might have readily adapted itself to thinking it was Doyle to Holmes and Dr Bell to Watson when the reality of the truth is a bit more intriguing to say the least! For my own capacity of interest – I did vacillate at first to make the distinction myself – as there are aspects of both men within both characters, however, there are firm clues towards whom is whom so to speak throughout the narrative Harper has delivered leading to the truer truth behind the designation of which current characters elude to the infamous ones!

Finding little details of historical influence and relevancy like this uncomfortable reaction in Doyle made it a joy to read A Knife in the Fog – as there are other small touches of where the past feels ever-present and where the narrative has a lovely tone and style of being decidedly British and Historical in scope. I believe it is this kind of detailed fine tuning in the story which help alight you into the era we’re being presented – it is lovely when you can find writers who are going the extra mile to give us a presentation of an era which we can find plausible and believable like what Mr Harper has done within his series. Although some of his words and phrasing is wickedly British, he does revert back to writing this in an American voice – I would have preferred it to be more British in the choices of words but blessedly it felt British by how he conveyed the backdrop of the setting and how he approached our immersion into Doyle’s life.

I, on the other hand, took an immediate liking to Margaret – she was her own person, owning her truths and her way of life with the confidence you’d expect from a woman of her nature. She did not apologise for her choices in life (nor should she) and she had an upper edge against Doyle as his presumptive assumptions about her were loudly present even if they were left unsaid aloud. Harkness is the kind of no-nonsense woman who was game for anything and had this zest for believing she could accomplish whatever she needed to simply due to the courage she had to believe in herself. Ironically, her dedication and her fortitude seemed lost on Doyle – at least at this first crossing of their paths.

You truly appreciate how Harper has sharpened our impression of Harkness, as my favourite passage which involves her and Doyle at this junction of the story is when she saves him from a would-be robber. The event itself isn’t a spoiler for the story but it is a clear representation of how foiled Doyle was in thinking he would have held an upper hand in this situation. I love how Harkness not only re-proves the point about how women can be independently secure in their beings but also be resourceful enough to intervene whenever danger arises. It was a classy look at how misconceptions in gender and how unnecessary misunderstandings within the classes of gender can put undo judgement against people. I personally felt it was a rather fitting sequence as it set a tone for how Doyle would view Harkness and how Harkness would become endeared to the reader.

I had a feeling I knew where A Knife in the Fog was directing me in regards to whom would become unmasked as the Ripper. Harper did something quite classic in how he developed the story-line, the characters and the persons of whom they encountered along the route of the story as it shifted forward – he kept you close to the dialogue, the discoveries and the case as it evolved through the investigation. All of which is brilliantly within the guise of the genre this story is set but he also did a hat trick from a magician’s bag of tricks – he re-directed your attention away from something you might have clued in on more readily if you weren’t equally distracted from addressing what it was you thought you had picked up on earlier in the story! Laughs. I actually was quite impressed how long the suspense lasted as it takes you straight (almost!) to the concluding chapters to where Harper knits together the conclusion (some) readers might not expect to be the solution to the mysterious identity of the Ripper. I, for one, felt it was a right proper choice – it staid within the scope of the journey we took walking beside Conan Doyle, Harkness and Bell whilst it also eluded to a reality you could find believable about this infamous case of crime.

It is in the final chapter wherein I felt reconnected to Conan Doyle – as for me, he held within his character (within the scope of the series) a bit more Holmesian attributes than I think Harper even realised he had etched into his nature. He might have meant for us to view Doyle differently but in the final chapter, there was a brilliant moment of recognition and also quiet acceptance of how this characterisation of Conan Doyle was a classic representation of why I have loved Sherlock Holmes. It is fitting truly, Harper has found his voice in fiction to be fulfilling a missing gap in stories which I believe the real Conan Doyle would have appreciated had he lived to see their publication.

-quoted from my review of A Knife in the Fog

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Book Review | “Queen’s Gambit” (Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle series, Book Two) by Bradley Harper In this sequel to “A Knife in the Fog” Doyle is not the centre of focus, Margaret Harkness takes the lead!Queen's Gambit
Subtitle: A Mystery Featuring Margaret Harkness
by Bradley Harper
Source: Direct from Publisher

Spring, 1897. London. Margaret Harkness, now in her early forties, must leave England for her health but lacks the funds. A letter arrives from her old friend Professor Bell, her old comrade in the hunt for Jack the Ripper and the real-life inspiration for Sherlock Holmes.

Bell invites her to join him in Germany on a mysterious mission for the German government involving the loss of state secrets to Anarchists. The resolution of this commission leads to her being stalked through the streets of London by a vengeful man armed with a powerful and nearly silent air rifle who has both Margaret and Queen Victoria in his sights. Margaret finds allies in Inspector James Ethington of Scotland Yard and his fifteen-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, who aspires to follow in Margaret's cross-dressing footsteps.

The hunt is on, but who is the hunter, and who the hunted as the day approaches for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee when the aged empress will sit in her open carriage at the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral? The entire British Empire holds its breath as the assassin, Margaret, and the Queen herself play for the highest of stakes with the Queen’s Gambit.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781645060017

Also by this author: A Knife in the Fog, A Knife in the Fog (Interview)

Also in this series: A Knife in the Fog, A Knife in the Fog (Interview)


Genres: Amateur Detective, Classic Detective, Crime Fiction, Feminist Historical Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 17th September, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

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The Margaret Harkness & Arthur Conan Doyle Mysteries:

per each installment either both are featured or only Harkness takes the lead

A Knife in the Fog by Bradley HarperQueen's Gambit by Bradley Harper

A Knife in the Fog (book one) – (see also review)

Queen’s Gambit (book two)

  • more installments are forthcoming!

This Summer I also featured an Interview with Mr Harper

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)
an imprint of Start Science Fiction, part of Start Publishing

Converse via: #QueensGambit, #HistNov and #HistFic OR #HistoricalThriller
Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

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About Bradley Harper

Bradley Harper

Bradley Harper is a retired US Army Pathologist with over thirty-seven years of worldwide military/medical experience, ultimately serving as a Colonel/Physician in the Pentagon. During his Army career, Harper performed some two hundred autopsies, twenty of which were forensic.

Upon retiring from the Army, Harper earned an Associate's Degree in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. He has been published in The Strand Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine and a short story he wrote involving Professor Moriarty in the Holmes tale of The Red Headed League (entitled The Red Herring League) won Honorable Mention in an international short fiction contest. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, Authors Guild, and Sisters in Crime, Harper is a regular contributor to the Sisters in Crime bi-monthly newsletter.

Harper’s first novel, A Knife in the Fog, involves a young Arthur Conan Doyle joining in the hunt for Jack the Ripper, and has been nominated for an 2019 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel by an American Author.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 18 September, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, After the Canon, Amateur Detective, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Margaret Harkness, Paste Creative, Realistic Fiction, the Victorian era

#HistoricalMondays Book Review | “Mount Vernon Love Story: A Novel of George and Martha Washington” by Mary Higgins Clark As a new reader of MHC’s stories, I was wicked excited when I learnt this lovely #HistRom about the Washington’s was her *debut novel!*

Posted Monday, 19 August, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I’ve launched a new weekly featured concentration of book reviews on Jorie Loves A Story which celebrates my love and passion for the historical past! For those of whom are regular readers and visitors to my blog, you’ll denote a dedicated passion for reading Historical Fiction (and all the lovely segues of thematic therein) – I am a time traveller of the historical past every chance I get to disappear into a new era and/or century of exploration. There isn’t a time period I haven’t enjoyed ruminating over since [2013] and there are a heap of lovely timescapes I’ve yet to encounter.

This feature was inspired by the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve yet to experience and the beauty of feeling interconnected to History through the representation of the past through the narratives being writ by today’s Historical Fiction authors. It is to those authors I owe a debt of gratitude for enlightening my bookish mind and my readerly heart with realistic characters, illuminating portals of living history and a purposeful intent on giving each of us a strong representation of ‘life’ which should never become dismissed, forgotten or erased.

I am began this feature with the sequel to a beloved historical novel I first read in [2013] – it was one of the first ARCs I received and it was the first year I was a book blogger though it was through a connection outside my life as a blogger. I celebrated K.B. Laugheed’s literature to kick-off this feature and hopefully will inspire my followers to take this new weekly journey with me into the stories which are beckoning to read their narrative depths and find the words in which to express the thoughts I experienced as I read.

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Borrowed Book By: I am a reviewer for Simon & Schuster – however, this book review is not affiliated with the reviews I am considering on behalf of the publisher. This is a novel a family friend lent my Mum and after she finished reading it, knowing how much I share her passion for the Revolutionary War era and early Colonial Americana History – she felt this might be a good fit for me to read after she did as a way to discuss the story together. This is something new we’ve been doing for the past few years now – ever since Mum first started getting back into reading with the Love Inspired Suspense novels. As we both share a healthy interest in Historical Fiction, this felt like a fitting ‘step outside’ the stories of Suspense we could both pursue together.

As the copy of “Mount Vernon Love Story” I borrowed via a family friend was read for my own edification and for future discussion with my Mum, I was not obligated to post a review; even though I elected to do so as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: The Press Materials featured on this review were provided by the publisher and are used with permission after I made an enquiry with publicists I work with on blog tours. The Press Materials were found via this page and the attribution for the author’s photo has been maintained.

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On why I thought I’d enjoy reading about Martha & George Washington:

It is hard to recollect when my fascination with the Washington’s began – though if you were to hear me say their names aloud, it would sound closer to Wershington per a telling sign of my parentage and grandparents roots being hinged in the North. I do know my fourth grade year was a keen one for Presidential History exploration – which I’ll recant a bit lateron on this post – however, I also remember being given two figurines – one of George, one of Martha. I am unsure why I don’t have a similar set for John and Abigail Adams, but I believe it might be because I was more keenly invested in Washington as a young girl rather than having the admiration I now have for the Adam’s which came lateron in my twenties and thirties.

He was quite the man of mystery for most of my life – though like most inquisitive souls, I did chase down some facts about him and some stories as well. I have aspired to visit Mount Vernon as I am quite interested in visiting the places which were of importance to the Presidents; I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a few of their hometowns and other places of interest in the past though I do long to visit a few more estates as much as I’d love to begin visiting their Presidential Libraries.

In regards to Washington directly, before I started seeking out Historical Fiction narratives featuring either him directly and/or the Revolutionary War or early Colonial Americana stories – there was the film The Crossing (1999) which left quite the strong impression on me. From there, I started moving into fictional accounts of History whilst in my mid-thirties whilst binging on Classical Films via Turner Classic Movies (a channel I can never tire of watching) – I watched 1776 (1969) which is a musical film about the founding of our country but more strictly about the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

You could say my jaunts into this era of history are quite eclectically tethered to different parts of my life and you’d be correct in that observation. The beauty of course is not being in any particular haste to ferret out new stories but to take a bit of time to seek out the stories which keep me invested in the subject of interest as I navigate new stories and new authors who are re-telling History in such of way as to re-paint it alive for those us far, far removed from the 18th Century to consider it ‘living history’.

Towards that end – I don’t oft get the pleasure of reading stories anchoured to both spouses – mostly I find stories through the portal of one of the husbands (ie. former Presidents) rather than in full scope of whom they were in their personal and/or their professional capacities. I felt this particular novel would be intriguing as it puts us behind closed doors and gets to see Washington as “George” the man who was in love with Patsy (‘Martha’) who just happened to be our first President of the United States.

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#HistoricalMondays Book Review | “Mount Vernon Love Story: A Novel of George and Martha Washington” by Mary Higgins Clark As a new reader of MHC’s stories, I was wicked excited when I learnt this lovely #HistRom about the Washington’s was her *debut novel!*Mount Vernon Love Story
Subtitle: A Novel of George and Martha Washington
by Mary Higgins Clark
Source: Borrowed Book (Family/Friend)

In Mount Vernon Love Story -- famed suspense writer Mary Higgins Clark's long-out-of-print first novel -- the bestselling author reveals the flesh-and-blood man who became the "father of our country" in a story that is charming, insightful, and immensely entertaining.

Always a lover of history, Mary Higgins Clark wrote this extensively researched biographical novel and titled it Aspire to the Heavens, after the motto of George Washington's mother. Published in 1969, the book was more recently discovered by a Washington family descendant and reissued as Mount Vernon Love Story. Dispelling the widespread belief that although George Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis, he reserved his true love for Sally Carey Fairfax, his best friend's wife, Mary Higgins Clark describes the Washington marriage as one full of tenderness and passion, as a bond between two people who shared their lives -- even the bitter hardship of a winter in Valley Forge -- in every way. In this author's skilled hands, the history, the love, and the man come fully and dramatically alive.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780743448949

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Presidential Life & History, Time Slip and/or Time Shift


Published by Simon & Schuster

on 1st June,, 2003

Format: Hardcover Edition, Large Print Edition

Pages: 223

Published by: Simon & Schuster (

This particular novel was the author’s first published story.

Interestingly enough it is also my *first!* story of Ms Clark’s I’ve read!

A bit of trivia: this novel was originally entitled: “Aspire to the Heavens” (1969).

The version of the book I have is the hardcover edition published in *2002!* – however, I’ve included the details if you want to seek out this 2003 edition by Simon & Schuster. It should also be noted I read the *Large Print!* edition of the hardcover release – wherein it was quite easy on the eyes to read and a blessing for a girl recovering from five migraines in May, 2019.

I am delighted to say this hardcover edition features lovely interior illustrations!

Converse via: #MaryHigginsClark, #GeorgeWashington + #MarthaWashington

as well as #HistRom or #HistoricalRomance; #HistNov + #ColonialAmerica

About Mary Higgins Clark

Mary Higgins Clark Photo Credit (c) Bernard Vidal

The #1 New York Times bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark has written thirty-seven suspense novels, four collections of short stories, a historical novel, a memoir, and two children’s books.

With her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, she has coauthored five more suspense novels, and also wrote The Cinderella Murder, All Dressed in White, The Sleeping Beauty Killer, and Every Breath You Take with bestselling author Alafair Burke.

More than one hundred million copies of her books are in print in the United States alone. Her books are international bestsellers.

Photo Credit: © Bernard Vidal

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 19 August, 2019 by jorielov in 18th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Colonial America, George and Martha Washington, George Washington, Historical Romance, Martha Washington, Romance Fiction

Author Interview | Discussing MacBeth and the way this tale was re-spun through the vision DK Marley had for “A Fire in Winter”

Posted Friday, 16 August, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I have an exciting interview to share with you today, as the author and I myself are both passionately dedicated to reading Shakespeare! I have appreciated the Bard since I was quite young though it wasn’t until a freshman in high school where I started taking more of an earnest interest in discerning what I was interpreting out of his stories; thus taking on a new role in my life as a Shakespearean reader. From that year til this one, I’ve been dancing through the plays in different formats of exploration – from the plays themselves, of course, but also through adaptations in film, after canon novels and the re-tellings which are re-shaping how we think, feel and understand the original canon of Shakespeare.

What truly implored me towards reading “The Fire of Winter” is wanting to re-step through a lens of insight into both MacBeth and the origin story surrounding Lady MacBeth. It was a play that has been a curiosity for me since I was sixteen and I felt Marley just might be the author who would give me a version of this story which would resolve some of my own questions and curiosities therein whilst giving me a heap of fodder to chew over as a book blogger. I was not wrong on all counts.

This interview is a follow-up to the review I’ve previously disclosed – wherein, you’ll notice through my observations and my readerly takeaways why the writings Marley is giving us are not just wicked good fiction but they are accountable and authentic towards a better understanding of why Shakespeare wrote his stories. She pulls you back into the context of his vision but also, re-represents that vision in a way that you can re-visit the themes, the characters and the settings in a wholly original examinations of those founding stories. For me, it was a way of re-stepping into a door of literature I have loved and finding a refreshing new spin on what I remembered having read.

If you want to settle your reader into the heart of the scene rather immediately after she opens your novel, I think when it comes to opening paragraphs DK Marley takes the ultimate star award for dramatic entrances! Not only do you gather the emotional rooting of this scene – partially built against the purity of rage and anger; as clearly the woman whose allowing men to die by flame and fire isn’t concerned with their dangerous demise but rather, the freedom (or so it appears) their death shall yield to her as a result of their premature deaths. This doesn’t outright surprise me because raids, unexpected coups and power re-alignments were quite common during this particular century as those who wished for power didn’t go about it diplomatically; rather, they plundered it off the lands of others, stole it outright or found ways to circumvent the ethical divides between the ruling class and pirating your destiny out of a world rife with war.

Gruah is a woman caught in a circumstance not of her own choosing – if you follow that thread you’d find she was ready to embrace a life with a man she desired to be with rather than one she was forced to remain enchained. The interesting bit here though is how Marley handles the scene as she doesn’t let us see the remorse of her character (not that I felt she had any to yield) nor does she give her time to apologise for her impulsive actions (again, I didn’t feel that was plausible!) – no, instead, she presents her just as she were – her faults surfacing with malice whilst carrying a gleaming glow of self-satisfaction. This was a woman who knew what she wanted, how she would achieve it and dare anyone to tell her differently. She leaves her mark and her mark is by fire and sword.

As Gruah grows in her hatred towards her newly wed husband forced on her by her father – an exchange of alliance and power; nothing more – she begins to emerge as Lady MacBeth. The woman who would turn her heart to stone if it meant finding her own internal power to eradicate the ills done against her – as you find her plotting her revenges even as she takes her first steps into her new marriage. Of course, she is already “MacBeth” in both honour and declared love; married to Lord MacBeth in secret and yet, secreted from that truth due to the alignment of strife to overtake her father’s and the King’s wishes on her behalf. I was curious about what changed the woman’s right to choose her own spouse – as it was mentioned briefly that they used to be able to make those choices outside the purview of the men; where their own destiny was once their own and not owned by others who did as they willed whether or not it was consented or accepted. In that regard, there are a lot of contemporary issues for women’s rights penetrating through MacBeth’s struggle to find the right action to fuse with her words; as her wrath was always spoken but its the actions she needs to take which take longer to formulate.

Marley has written an historical novel rife with conflict and the secrets which never stay in the past but which re-rise in the future when they are meant to be known. Her Lady MacBeth is a woman who is attempting to right the wrongs against her by taking action as an adult when she couldn’t act as a child. It is a story of redemption but also, of self-sacrifice as in this version of MacBeth you understand better what anchoured her to the darker roots of her faith and how the Earthen Spirituality she shared with her Mum was the only grounding foundation she had to battle against the horrors of her youth.

Marley also broaches the current topics of women’s rights, domestic violence against women and the suffering hours of being victims of sexual violence as children. She moves instinctively through the actions of the present and counters it with the recollected memories of the past to where you can overlay the past with the present and understand how everyone is on this collision course to where fate, life and death are interchanging their roles. It is a story that is fuelled by revenge but it is also a story of injustice and the purity of true love which seeks to rise through the ashes and lay claim to the purity of how love when it is freely given is a freedom of its own.

It is a hard novel to read in many regards because of how it descends and rises through the pacing of the play – including the fall of madness in Lord MacBeth. There is violence yes, as these are not people who opt for diplomacy to solve their problems, they’d rather take to the sword and see who is the better of combatants than to use talk to diffuse their differences. There are scenes which are hard to read just due to what they involve but at the heart of the novel is the life of MacBeth; both the husband and the wife. You get to re-examine what motivated them, what sparked the love between them and what ultimately drove them apart – you see those moments they shared together and how they perceived of their future by secret plotting.

The most powerful part of the story is the conclusion – where Lady MacBeth has a final say about what is meant to be remembered about herself. In that confession, you peer close to her soul and her heart; you see into her the truthfulness of her actions and the ways in which she felt she had to act in order to secure her own destiny. The difficulties of those choices however had consequences that do not wait to rest on a mind hardened by the actions of a woman who was aflame with murderous intentions to accomplish the deeds she first felt would define her and secure her future. You had to contemplate if she had the option to re-live it, what would she choose and what would she change; if anything? Or was it all pre-destined and her life lived out just as it was meant?

-quoted from my review of The Fire of Winter

As you embark on reading this conversation, be sure to have brewed your favourite cuppa and get ready to get your Shakespeare on as we discuss the components of this re-telling of MacBeth whilst also discussing why Marley has a firm passion for re-visiting other plays and how she is re-envisioning the canon of Shakespeare as a whole! I hope you enjoy where our convo led us and perhaps, you’ll find a renewal of interest in these stories as much as I have myself!

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Author Interview | Discussing MacBeth and the way this tale was re-spun through the vision DK Marley had for “A Fire in Winter”The Fire of Winter (Interview)
by D.K. Marley
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

She is known as Lady Macbeth.
What leads her down the path of murder?
What secrets fire her destiny?

Gruah, granddaughter of King Cìnéad III of the Royal Clan Alpin, marries two men in less than six months, one she loves and one she hates; one in secret, the other arranged by the High King of Scotland. At the age of eighteen, she lays her palm upon the ancient stone of Scone and sees her destiny as Queen of Scotland, and she vows to do whatever necessary to see her true love, Macbeth macFindlaech, beside her on the throne.

Amid the fiery times and heated onslaughts from Denmark and England, as the rule of Scotland hangs in the balance, Gruah seeks to win the throne and bring revenge upon the monsters of her childhood, no matter the cost or amount of blood tainting her own hands; yet, an unexpected meeting with the King called the Confessor causes her to question her bloody path and doubt her once blazing pagan faith. Will she find redemption or has the blood of her past fire-branded her soul?

The story weaves the play by William Shakespeare with the actual history of Macbeth and his Queen in 11th-century Scotland.

“…a woman’s story at a winter’s fire…”
(Macbeth, Act III, Scene IV)

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1724914965

Also by this author: The Fire of Winter

Genres: After Canons, Classical Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical-Fantasy, Re-telling &/or Sequel


Published by White Rabbit Publishing

on 1st June, 2019

Pages: 355

Published by: White Rabbit Publishing

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
as well as #Shakespearean and #MacBeth

Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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As “The Fire of Winter” goes into the heart of who Lord and Lady MacBeth were as their lives were being lived – what was your inspiration towards wanting to use the play and their story as a catalyst to explore the fuller background of this century through the drama of what their lives became?

Marley responds: I am a true Shakespeare-lover! Since the time I was eleven and my grandmother gave me her college textbook “The Complete Works of Shakespeare”, I was hooked. I am currently attempting to adapt all the plays into historical fiction novels, so Macbeth was the second on my list. My first adaptation is “Prince of Sorrows” which is Hamlet set in 9th-century Denmark. Read More

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Posted Friday, 16 August, 2019 by jorielov in 11th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, After the Canon, Anglo-Saxon History, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book for University Study, Bookish Discussions, Britian, Cosy Horror, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, England, Good vs. Evil, Heroic Bloodshed, Heroic Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Literature for Boys, Men's Fiction, Military Fiction, Re-Told Tales, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Spin-Off Authors, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Sword & Scorcery, Vulgarity in Literature, Warfare & Power Realignment

Author Interview | Notes from when Jorie spoke with Mr Harper IRL about “A Knife in the Fog”!

Posted Wednesday, 14 August, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I personally feel as if Crime Fiction has a soft spot in my heart and mind; for as long as I can remember I’ve been claiming Mysteries, Suspense and Thrillers as being my most keenly interested section of television teleplays and dramas of interest. Counter to that pursuit, are the novels – spilt between the Cosies I personally adore and have a deep affection for devouring and the more intriguingly brilliant and layered Cosy Historical Mysteries which have passionately become a favourite pursuit of my readerly life since I became a book blogger.

Adjacent to those inclinations, I am also most intrigued with the Historical Suspense and/or Thriller – there are a few of my interests in these kinds of stories which are on the ‘outer edge’ of my tolerance levels for visuals and/or inclusive scenes which are relevant to the story/series itself. Those I happily refer and reference as “Hard Boiled” entries for a point of reference here on my blog as well as a marker of interest in my own pursuit of the stories themselves.

When it comes to chasing down television dramas in Crime Fiction as much as Fictional series of the same nature, I have a profound affection for those writers who give keen insight into Forensic Science, Forensic Pathology and Forensic Investigative Techniques or the Psychology of the Crime through Forensic applications on the psyche.  What is interesting about studying Forensics through Fiction is how crafty writers have to become to keep us not only invested in their stories but for giving us a truism of realism within the boundaries of their stories. When they go to infer a step into their worlds – a world they are illuminating to become the mainstay of interest for a series in development for the new reader whose found their words – they are giving us a prime example of what is become expected of their collective works in future volumes.

This is why if a writer of Crime Fiction can capture me straight out of the gate – by their voice, their style or their world – over and beyond their lead character(s), supporting cast and the delivery of the suspenseful bits interwoven into the back-stories – they will have found a loyal reader in me for the life of their series*. (*) co-dependent on the fact they do not disappoint my palette of interest in future installments.

When it comes to Sherlock Holmes and the after canons of his stories – I have a very, short list of interest – at which you will find the Mary Russell stories at the very top as Laurie R. King was the first author I had discovered in 2009 who was writing a level of intuitive intention regarding Holmes which felt naturally intrinsic of the character I had remembered. Enola Holmes by Nancy Springer arrived a bit lateron but was a bit of a harder sell for me being that Enola’s story-lines were slightly a hit/miss for me but the character of Enola was intriguing enough to where I wanted to read more of her adventures. With Mary Russell – I was immediately smitten by her and Holmes at this junction in his life and thereby, wooed immediately into the world King had set out for us to discover.

I am quite critical about after canons, stories inspired by classical novelists and sequel authors – notwithstanding my interests in Conan Doyle, there are my inquisitive pursuits of chasing down stories of this nature within the embodiment of Jane Austen and the re-tellings of Jane Eyre.

What I am constantly seeking out is a certain layer of conveyance of presence, of loyalty to the authentic voice of the inspirational character in question and a purposeful dedication of not just honouring the past but of elevating the tone of the new incantation against the old. I love finding authors who have their own unique approach to re-writing a familiar character and giving us a newfound way of appreciating them through their new variant of interest in the here and now. Thus, what captured my attention with the Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle Mysteries was simply this – how a pathologist was motivated to write these stories based on his own interest in Holmes and the writer behind Holmes (Conan Doyle) led him into a portal which granted us an immersive look at how Doyle himself might have approached investigative interests which re-lead us to appreciate how he created Holmes and Watson.

Overall, what I love most about Holmes and Watson in the traditional sense is the camaraderie of their relationship – their zest for intellectual dissection of the facts and their pursuit of uncovering the sociological implications of what is fuelling the crimes in which they investigate. They are uniquely timeless in how they inter-relate to one another but also how they approached their techniques – leaning on the intellect and the divisiveness of their research talents, they uncovered the criminology of their cases because of how they approached their ability to sleuth.

My love and appreciation for Holmes and Watson inspired me to take a chance on this new entry into a Holmesian niche of after canon story-lines. Not that this is a traditional after canon in the sense that there is an influence of Holmesian styling but it is not effectively a re-telling or a reincarnation of that canon per se but as you read or listen to A Knife in the Fog you’ll find Holmes and Watson have materalised anew in a different vehicle of interest altogether.

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Author Interview | Notes from when Jorie spoke with Mr Harper IRL about “A Knife in the Fog”!A Knife in the Fog (Interview)
Subtitle: A Mystery Featuring Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle
by Bradley Harper
Narrator: Matthew Lloyd Davies

September 1888. A twenty-nine-year-old Arthur Conan Doyle practices medicine by day and writes at night. His first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, although gaining critical and popular success, has only netted him twenty-five pounds. Embittered by the experience, he vows never to write another "crime story." Then a messenger arrives with a mysterious summons from former Prime Minister William Gladstone, asking him to come to London immediately.

Once there, he is offered one month's employment to assist the Metropolitan Police as a "consultant" in their hunt for the serial killer soon to be known as Jack the Ripper. Doyle agrees on the stipulation his old professor of surgery, Professor Joseph Bell--Doyle's inspiration for Sherlock Holmes--agrees to work with him. Bell agrees, and soon the two are joined by Miss Margaret Harkness, an author residing in the East End who knows how to use a Derringer and serves as their guide and companion.

Pursuing leads through the dank alleys and courtyards of Whitechapel, they come upon the body of a savagely murdered fifth victim. Soon it becomes clear that the hunters have become the hunted when a knife-wielding figure approaches.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633884861

ASIN: B07HKJ71X5

Also by this author: A Knife in the Fog, Queen's Gambit

Also in this series: A Knife in the Fog, Queen's Gambit


Genres: After Canons, Amateur Detective, Classic Detective, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Suspense


Setting: London, England, UK


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 2nd October, 2018

Format: Audiobook | mp3, Trade Paperback

A Knife in the Fog by Bradley HarperA Knife in the Fog (audiobook) by Bradley Harper

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

As an aside, despite the fact Seventh Street Books has been bought out by Smart Publishing – all links to their website and social accounts have remained active and use the same urls. The new publisher has maintained all their sites and thereby, the transition was seamless for readers who wanted to keep in touch with the authors and the series they come to love by Seventh Street Books & Pyr!

Converse via: #AKnifeInTheFog, #HistNov and #HistFic OR #HistoricalMystery
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook & Ebook

A Knife in the Fog was nominated for
an Edgar Award in 2019 for “Best First Novel”

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Posted Wednesday, 14 August, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, After the Canon, Amateur Detective, Arthur Conan Doyle, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Margaret Harkness, Paste Creative, Realistic Fiction, the Victorian era