Category: Britian

Author Guest Post | “What is Death?” by Ann Farnsworth (author of: ‘The Throne of David’) answering Jorie’s enquiry about an ethereal scene in her novel.

Posted Tuesday, 13 October, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

There was a moment whilst I was reading ‘The Throne of David’ where I settled inside this beautiful passage of a man finding himself between living and dying – he was cast between the worlds and equally so, caught between letting himself go and fighting to come back to the surface of where he fell below the ocean’s currents. It was a passage that was written with such a clarity of knowing what would happen inside those moments of where the soul takes over the conscience thinking of the man and a will to survive is not the only motivation behind what is happening.

Farnsworth delve into a deeper part of what happens when we are taken out of our ‘life’ and placed in this in-between place between where we are, where we could be going, and where we might honestly end up. It’s a fusion of spirituality and an awareness of what can be felt and seen between the veils of where time and life intersect. I was caught so tightly into her vision of what David Lord was experiencing that I wanted to know more about how this section was written, hence this guest post!

What I hadn’t expected is that the inspiration behind this passage was heart-centered on a personal tragedy and was written after a period of healing on behalf of a Mum who had lost her child. I hadn’t realised I would broach a subject that was so dearly personal to Ms Farnsworth, but it’s how she responded to my enquiry that touched my own heart. Despite the circumstances of her son’s death, it’s how his passing has influenced and inspired his mother that truly stays with you as you read their story.

This new insight into ‘The Throne of David’ provides a beautiful back-story to David Lord’s out of body experience and re-grounds part of his character’s journey in the author’s search for understanding about what happens when this chapter of our lives ends. It’s a beautiful testimony about life and the heart of how each hour we are given with each other is a treasured gift not to be forsaken but cherished and celebrated. I found her response quite uplifting and a lovely open letter from a Mum to her child.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Throne of David by Ann Farnsworth

The book begins when a mysterious letter is delivered to the Prince of Wales 32 years after it was posted. Hinting of a secret royal marriage, the letter raises the specter of an unknown heir to the British throne and sets in motion a desperate race for the truth.

The search sets David Lord, an American accountant, against the unlimited resources of the Royal Protection Service (the SO14) who do whatever it takes to protect the King of England.

Critical to settling the issues spawned by the letter is locating the coronation stone, one of the holiest artifacts of the Hebrew nation and a companion to the Ark of the Covenant, of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ fame. The coronation stone legend originates in ancient Israel and travels, over time, to Ireland, Scotland and London. The revered stone is currently on display in Edinburgh castle.

Or is it?

Mounting evidence indicates that the genuine coronation stone disappeared before it ever reached Westminster Abbey. The sacred stone Mr. Lord uncovers could prove the downfall of the House of Windsor or validate their divine right to rule through the ancient Throne of David.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Proposed Topic:

There is a sequence within The Throne of David where David Lord takes an ethereal journey outside of his body where the journey of his soul is revealled for a brief expanse of the story. The way in which you portrayed this journey was quite beautiful – my question truly is how did you come up with the vacuum of space you’ve explored and painted such a clear picture of what he was thinking and feeling during this moment of being between life, death, and heaven?

You can write any length you’d like on this as it was truly such a curious part of the story — I loved it personally. I was wondering if you did research about near death experiences or it this sequence just came to you as your wrote it?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Before you read this Guest Post, kindly note the author invites you to read the passage from her novel which inspired me to pitch this topic of enquiry on her website.
You can find the excerpt here.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The story of my novel ‘The Throne of David’ is really a tale of a 50 year old mother who finally saved up enough life experience to write a book. There is a scene in the book that has captured my readers attention in a way I never anticipated. It is a sequence of scenes where David Lord is out of his body, some would say he was dead. But, for me, death is really nothing at all. Read More

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Posted Tuesday, 13 October, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Britian, British Literature, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Espionage, Good vs. Evil, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Thriller Suspense, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Inspired by Stories, Modern Day, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Treasure Hunt

Blog Book Tour | “The Throne of David” by Ann Farnsworth

Posted Saturday, 26 September, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “The Throne of David” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Biblical Historical Artifacts and Thrillers:

I’m not generally the type who follows the curious swirl of excitement around historical conspiracies or stories that center around Biblical history which precept into a thriller in modern times – except to say, there are a few exceptions. Such as when I came across this new tv series in 2013 called Zero Hour starring Anthony Edwards, my hesitation to become attached to one of these types of stories melted away as I was caught up in the emotional and psychological suspense of what was happening to Edwards character! I knew of his acting via ER for which I remained faithful as a watcher until S5 when for me, the heart of the series exited.

I am unsure why my area’s feed of Zero Hour ended after three or four episodes when there are a total of 13 in the first season; it’s one of those quirks of being a watcher of awesome series which either get axed before they gain an audience or they disappear into the ether completely without explanation. I’m hopeful one day, this will go on seasonal dvd (as it’s currently on subscription via HuLu) but until then, I do keep my eyes perked for stories that might resonate the same style of story-telling and take me further outside my comfort zone of considering plots that walk through history whilst attempting to bring hidden truths to light which have been forsaken in one way or another.

When the author approached me about her blog tour for The Throne of David, I felt this one might stand out a bit differently from the pack, as although it’s target audience is for the traditional stories of this kind to jump inside it’s pages with keen interest, what held my attention was the necessity of what needed to be found.

Here let me share my initial thoughts on joining the blog tour:

I was a bit on the fence, to be honest, as I have avoided The Da Vinci Code for a variety of reasons, the least of which being it felt a bit extreme and intense. However, after I received your note, despite the references to the former, I started listening to your own words about The Throne of David! I was going between your shout-out note and your website, and thought about it for a short spell.

The truth is I love Royal History and I love anything to do with histories of court or dynasties (depending if your reading about the UK/Europe or the Far East); I am a bit more limited in reading Biblical Historical Fiction but I have started to read about Ancient Civilisations — if you dig through my Story Vault between those titles listed under ‘Historical Fiction’, ‘Military Historical’ or ‘Biographical Fiction’, I think you will see where my historical wanderings have gone thus far as a 2nd Year Book Blogger.

I also *love!* either Traditional Historical Mysteries, Suspense, or Thrillers whilst having a healthy appreciation for Cosy Historical Mysteries. I love when characters have to unearth something out of the annals of time and then put the pieces together in time to save something most dear. (to them or to the world)

Thus began my readings of The Throne of David and I was more than a bit curious about what I might find whilst I became introduced to Farnsworth’s characters.

Blog Book Tour | “The Throne of David” by Ann FarnsworthThe Throne of David
by Ann Farnsworth
Source: Direct from Publisher

A pair of black boots appeared on the curb and a man in a uniform stepped out of the car. Meeting David's eyes, the man raised his arms above the door, a pistol held in two hands. He took aim. All sound was stilled, all movement slowed, and David didn't even hear the blast that sent a bullet tearing through the crowd to his chest.

When a series of secret letters is found years after they were written, the ascendancy line to the British throne is suddenly thrown into disarray. Could there be a new heir?

Locating a stone that's been lost for centuries is the only way to find out.

This high-stakes thriller leads you on a deadly chase around the world, following clues from Kind David. It's a mind-blowing mystery with an ending you'll have to read to believe!

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462117147

Also by this author:

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 11th August 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 288

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

About Ann Farnsworth

Ann Farnsworth

Ann Farnsworth: author of 10 kids and one novel!

If you take Ann Farnsworth’s love of history, her admiration for truly great story tellers and a devotion to precise, descriptive vocabulary. If you add to those interests a true devotion to memorable characters it seems a story like ‘The Throne of David’, is almost an inevitable conclusion.

I have always been a voracious reader and sometime writer even while raising a large family of 10 children. In fact, reading allowed me to escape for a few minutes (or longer) during the day while staying connected to the needs of our family.

Our youngest is now ten and the stories that have been stewing inside my head as I washed dishes, cooked dinner and helped with homework these last 25 years are bubbling up and out of my fingertips. My favorite books to read are Da Vinci Code, Pride and Prejudice, the scriptures, any of the Harry Potter books and of course, Good Night Moon.

It is said that about 80% of us feel we have a book we’d like to write. If I can do it, anyone can. That is the truth!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Saturday, 26 September, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Britian, British Literature, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Espionage, Good vs. Evil, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Thriller Suspense, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Inspired by Stories, Modern Day, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Treasure Hunt

Blog Book Tour | “An Unwilling Accomplice” by Charles Todd The sixth novel of the Bess Crawford mysteries!

Posted Monday, 27 July, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “An Unlikely Accomplice” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow (an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

I borrowed the first book in this series from my local library for my own edification and was not obligated to post my reflections and/or review on the story’s behalf. I wanted to understand a bit of the back-story on the principle character of Bess Crawford prior to reading the 6th book in the series. I originally perceived the idea to read the first five novels in the series prior to my tour stop, however, the hours disappeared before I could. The lightning storms did not give me any favours towards this goal, either! I was thankful I could meet Ms Crawford and find an anchour to who she is prior to soaking inside the sixth novel; yet I fully intend to go back through the series starting with the second novel and reading through til the fifth, skipping over the short story (non-digital reader) and this sixth one in strong pursuit of the seventh! I find myself wanton absorbed into the series!

Upon immediate notice of this blog tour I was wholly enthused to participate:

The reason I was quick as lightning to confirm my participation on behalf of this blog tour is based on the absolute joy I had in reading my first Todd novel Hunting Shadows! I was quite impressed with the duality of historical novelling from this lovely mother-son writing duo to such an extent: I knew quite instinctively I would become quite partial to Bess Crawford before I ever knew too much about her! Call it reader intuition if you will, but I knew quite in that instant of being broached if I wanted to become a part of this dual-blog tour for both the sixth and seventh novels of a series in progress that I would become Crawford’s newest champion!

There are moments where you are so captured by the breadth and the heart of a novel’s core, you simply want to continue to read as much as you can by the author whose penned a story you can sink your mind inside whilst feeling as though you can equally find comfort in stepping outside this world of intense realism without the worse for wear. Reading a historical suspense novel of the Todds is a delicious respite as you can time travel back inside a particular moment in history, lively at war and match step with dedicated professionals who guide you through their living hours.

Between now and my next stop on this beautiful tour celebrating the series, I will be reading the next books in line to be consumed, as I could only read the very first Bess Crawford mystery, of which I shall relate to you how it tucked inside my soul.

Reflections on “A Duty to the Dead”, the first Bess Crawford mystery:

We enter Ms Crawford’s life in 1916 during WWI, wherein she’s a sisterly nurse on board the Britannic an ill-fated hospital ship struck down by a hidden mine. Bess Crawford is attempting to convey a snippet of her life aboard ship whilst at a proper loss how to express the dullness of an ordinary day at sea without the benefit of the wounded. She is honest about the dangers being on a ship in U-boat territory but with a sly nod to the familiars of ordinary life spent in service. Even her coy banterment with an officer proved she found a balm of normalcy in the midst of war.

A blessing whilst reading a Todd novel, is the assurance of the story-teller(s) to eclipse you so very surely into the novel’s depth that by the time you reach a quell in the horror of war or the emotional hardship of an injury; you have already taken up residence alongside the character Todd has endeared your heart to champion.

I applaud the realism and the choke-hold of gasping shock when the sinking of the Britannic was shown. I felt heart-clenched to Bess, willing myself to see, feel, and taste what she was experiencing whilst longing for her rescue. Todd has a character-centric voice of giving you such a close-personal heady experience, you feel you’ve lived half a lifetime with each novel you read.

Dr. Phillips is a curious fellow – by the time the story shifts from war to the homefront, we become entranced with the eccentric and yet reserved creatures of a small towne of Owlhurst, thus named after a patch of woods known for housing owls! This is where the drama of alarm rings itself out for Ms Crawford, as she has gone henceforth in haste (after managing to put it off for a bit longer than necessary!) to seek out a family a dying man she nursed requested of her to take his deathbed message back to his brother. Dr. Phillips is the towne’s doctor, and along with the rector of the village itself, Ms Crawford finds herself entangled into the thorny past of her beloved soldier; a person of whom her opinions shifts the longer she spends caught up in his affairs. His family is not without their skeletons, but it is how their omissions and their repressions of their past beguiles Ms Crawford that paints the scene all more intriguing to the reader.

Knickers quickened to knots over the competence and tenacious approach of Ms Crawford to take up the heed of medical assistance, not once, but twice whilst she is a guest at the soldier’s family estate. The Grahams are a curious (and aptly suspicious) lot, wherein she could never quite finger what was odd about them until nearly the golden hour in which her own life might have become hung in the counterbalance! One would have felt her aperture to serve whilst not in official capacity would have appeased the family for giving a sign of both courage and strength, yet her efforts had quite the opposite effect! This is the underpinning reasons why Ms Crawford started to nettle inside her mind what was truly lying in wait for her to discover; the more they attempted to hide the truth from her suppositions, the more her mind ferreted out a reason to question their authority on where the truth truly lay.

What hidden secrets in their past reflected out in their cold disdainment for a brother and son? War is known as a cruel mistress, yet those who return with the aftershocks of service had little sympathies from their families and even less compassion from medical and spiritual adviseries. Save the nurses who understood far more than everyone else combined.

Knitted into this first novel of the Bess Crawford mysteries is a trifold of suspense surrounding three young blokes of whom warrant the most attention to be focused upon: Arthur Graham (the wounded gent entrusting Ms Crawford with his message); Ted Booker (a soldier afflicted by PTSD; previously called ‘shell shock’), and Peregrine Graham the eldest of the four brothers, of whom Arthur was related. I could not pull my eyes off the dialogue and text of this novel, because the Todds have become so intrinsically tethered into this WWI era as to alight into our minds an imaginary time where a young and capable woman such as Bess Crawford can not only reside but take up arms against the unjust in such a convincing way as an elder Miss Marple!

I kept turning it over in my mind what drew me the most into her world – it was at first the historical backdrop of the timescape but then, as the layers were fleshed out and stitched together, it was the classic Todd narrative of giving a story an underlit joy of a strong lead character whose self-assurance and capacity for sleuthing was a paramount wealth of excitement on behalf of the reader! Seeing everything through Bess Crawford’s eyes and the underscore of her emotions, knitted together a suspenseful plot writ out of such an ordinary request from a fallen soldier, that it took a skilled story-teller in this duo of writers to give us such a hearty novel to devour!

I read the first 58 pages in my first sitting and consumed the full of the novel in my second; lightning crackling more times than naught, and without the benefit of tweeting out my happy delight in seeing where Ms Crawford’s museful thoughts led me to decipher the mystery; I simply awaited my words to become laid to rest on my blog. By reading this first mystery out of a series of 7 novels, I was able to ascertain the countenance of Bess Crawford but also, the beauty of her life being lived off the pages of her stories — the Todds have such a confluence of creativity between them, it hadn’t felt like a ‘first novel’ of Bess Crawford but one of many already penned. The continuity and attention to even minor details was quite excellent and this novel not only justified being read ahead of another in the series but provided the background necessary to understand who Bess Crawford is as a character. Including her close ties to India and her beloved respect for her father, of whom influences her even when his presence is absent.

Blog Book Tour | “An Unwilling Accomplice” by Charles Todd The sixth novel of the Bess Crawford mysteries!An Unwilling Accomplice
by Charles Todd
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor

In this absorbing and atmospheric historical mystery from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd, World War I battlefield nurse Bess Crawford's career and life are in jeopardy when a murder is committed on her watch.

Bess Crawford has been summoned by the War Office to accompany a wounded soldier from Shropshire to Buckingham Palace, where he's to be decorated for gallantry by King George himself.

Heavily bandaged and confined to a wheelchair, Sergeant Jason Wilkins will be in her care for barely a day. But on the morning after the ceremony when Bess goes to collect her charge for his return journey, she finds the room empty. How could such a severely wounded man vanish without a trace?

Both the Army and the Nursing Service hold Bess to blame for losing the war hero. The Army now considers Wilkins a deserter, and Scotland Yard questions Bess when Wilkins is suspected of killing a man in cold blood. If Bess is to clear her name and return to duty in France, she must prove that she was never his accomplice. But the sergeant has disappeared again and neither the Army nor the police can find him.

Following a trail of clues across England, Bess is drawn into a mystery that seems to grow darker with every discovery. But will uncovering the truth put more innocent people in jeopardy?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Also by this author: Hunting Shadows

Series: Bess Crawford mysteries


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, War Drama


Published by William Morrow

on 5th May, 2015

Format: P.S. Edition Paperback

Pages: 368

Length: 11 hours, 3 minutes

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

About Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the author of the Bess Crawford mysteries, the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina, respectively.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Monday, 27 July, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Audiobook, Audiobook Excerpt, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Britian, British Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, During WWI, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Foyle's War, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Lady Detective Fiction, Library Love, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Military Fiction, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Mother-Son Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Psychiatric Facilities, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Siblings, Soundcloud, the Nineteen Hundreds, The World Wars, TLC Book Tours, War Drama, Widows & Widowers, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | “The Spoils of Avalon” by Mary F. Burns a #cosy historical mystery which enraptures your head within a cleverly crafted suspense full-on of action & dialogue of centuries past!

Posted Monday, 17 November, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

 Parajunkee Designs

The Spoils of Avalon by Mary F. Burns

{ Book 1: A John Singer Sargent | Violet Paget Mystery }

Published By: Sand Hill Review Press (@SandHillRP)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, & Ebook

Converse via: #TheSpoilsOfAvalon, #JohnSingerSargent & #SpoilsOfAvalonBlogTour

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Spoils of Avalon” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the publisher Sand Hill Review Press, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

A most auspiciously clever beginning:

I was most delightfully blissful to see where the reference to Holmes and Watson might have sparked a nodding glance by Ms. Spann, but before I could even dig deeper into the context of the novel itself, I was first greeted by such a curious note out of the pen of Ms. Paget herself — who auspiciously cast the most alluring footbridge into her introductory mystery! I always fancy writers who find a way to insert their lead character into the early bits of a novel’s opening sequence, wherein one of my favourite choices is the note ‘left for future readers’ and writ especially for the curious as to why this particular tale might be told and the merits behind it’s reading; alas, the reason I appreciate this most?! It allows a bit of an anchor between the writer, the chosen narrator of the story, and the reader who wants to take up the journey and see where everything of which is yet to unfold shall lead them to travel; as if vagabond to the action themselves!

The poem by William Blake highlighting a moment out of the life of Jesus was a special touch, as I had not had the pleasure of reading this poem previously and it knits together the setting of placing the story around Avalon most directly. I also appreciated the biographies of the two lead detectives: Sargent & Paget, as what originally appealed to me to read this particular cosy historical mystery is the fact the two lead characters are rooted within the historical past! Two individuals I am earnestly curious about learning more about and yet, never once in my pursuits of the fine arts did I see Sargent’s name mentioned; such a pity as I am drawn to watercolour painting techniques, as it works around my allergies to the more stringent oils.

A new foray of choice within the coattails of cosies are the ‘historicals’ which draw out such a breath of interest inside me heart that I am not even sure I will be able to read and appreciate all the lovelies I am seeking to read next! There is such a hearty breadth of choice these days for the historical reader who likes dig their chops into the art and skill behind sleuthing and murder mysteries! It has become a most delightful part of my blogging life to unearth such lovelies on blog tours therein having the honour of drawing a happy glow around the Indie Writers and the Indie Pubs who are producing such a wicked quality to the craft! It is my long-term goal to re-visit the authors I have previously reviewed, to see if their second or next novel in sequence have become released and thereby, potentially able to become acquired! I appreciate each cosy historical writer I am discovering for being uniquely different from each other and for capturing my passionate love of time travelling through the historical past!

Blog Book Tour | “The Spoils of Avalon” by Mary F. Burns a #cosy historical mystery which enraptures your head within a cleverly crafted suspense full-on of action & dialogue of centuries past!The Spoils of Avalon
by Mary F. Burns
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

The death of a humble clergyman in 1877 leads amateur sleuths Violet Paget and John Singer Sargent into a medieval world of saints and kings—including the legendary Arthur—as they follow a trail of relics and antiquities lost since the destruction of Glastonbury Abbey in 1539. Written in alternating chapters between the two time periods, The Spoils of Avalon creates a sparkling, magical mystery that bridges the gap between two worlds that could hardly be more different—the industrialized, Darwinian, materialistic Victorian Age and the agricultural, faith-infused life of a medieval abbey on the brink of violent change at the hands of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell.

First in a new series of historical mysteries, The Spoils of Avalon introduces two unlikely detectives and life-long friends—beginning as young people on the verge of making their names famous for the next several decades throughout Europe and America: the brilliant and brittle Violet Paget, known as the writer Vernon Lee, and the talented, genial portrait painter John Singer Sargent.

Friends from the age of ten, Paget and Sargent frequently met in the popular European watering places and capitals, frequenting the same salons and drawing rooms in London, Rome, Paris, Florence, Venice, Vienna and Madrid. Both were possessed of keen minds and bohemian tendencies, unorthodox educations and outsized egos (especially Paget). Their instant, natural bonding led them to address each other as “Twin”, and they corresponded frequently when they were apart.

Henry James once described Violet Paget as having “the most formidable mind” of their times, and he was an active fan and patron of John Sargent, introducing him to London society and his own inner circles of literary and artistic genius.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: Mary F. Burns (Spoils of Avalon Interview)

Series: John Singer Sargent | Violet Paget mysteries,


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery


Published by Sand Hill Review Press

on 1st November, 2014

Pages: 300

About Mary F. Burns

Mary F. Burns

Mary F. Burns is the author of PORTRAITS OF AN ARTIST (Sand Hill Review Press, February 2013), a member of and book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society and a former member of the HNS Conference board of directors. A novella-length book, ISAAC AND ISHMAEL, is also being published by Sand Hill Review Press in 2014. Ms. Burns’ debut historical novel J-THE WOMAN WHO WROTE THE BIBLE was published in July 2010 by O-Books (John Hunt Publishers, UK). She has also written two cozy-village mysteries in a series titled The West Portal Mysteries (The Lucky Dog Lottery and The Tarot Card Murders).

Ms. Burns was born in Chicago, Illinois and attended Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where she earned both Bachelors and Masters degrees in English, along with a high school teaching certificate. She relocated to San Francisco in 1976 where she now lives with her husband Stuart in the West Portal neighborhood. Ms. Burns has a law degree from Golden Gate University, has been president of her neighborhood association and is active in citywide issues. During most of her working career she was employed as a director of employee communications, public relations and issues management at various San Francisco Bay Area corporations, was an editor and manager of the Books on Tape department for Ignatius Press, and has managed her own communications/PR consulting business, producing written communications, websites and video productions for numerous corporate and non-profit clients.

A timeslip between the 19th & 16th Centuries: 

Each new journal entry gives you a further perspective of the events unfolding per each timescape we are entering; therefore where one chapter relates to us where Sargent & Paget are finding themselves a bit bemused by unexpected developments at the start of their journey towards understanding a riddle within the note which carried them to Uncle Chaffee’s village, we are also returning back to the Abbey in due course. It is a good pace to set the timeslip, because just before you gain too much information in one particular time dimension, you’re embarking backwards or forwards as the case might be to the other one! The unknown suspense needling out around the edges of both interludes is pleasantly suspended as if a spider is still knitting their web. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 17 November, 2014 by jorielov in 16th Century, 19th Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Art, Arthurian Legend, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Britian, British Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Cosy Historical Mystery, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, John Singer Sargent, Story in Diary-Style Format, the Victorian era, Violet Paget, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice