The Captivating Lady Charlotte – Carolyn Miller

51qQOP3X6qLFrom the Back Cover:

Responsibility, romanticism, and true love…

As the daughter of the Marquess of Exeter, Lady Charlotte Featherington always knew she was destined for great things on the marriage mart. Little did she imagine falling in love with a man on the eve of her parents announcing her betrothal – to someone else.

William Hartwell might be a Duke, but he suspects neither his title nor wealth will prove enough to hold the heart of the young lady who has captured his. The scandal surrounding his first wife’s death makes trusting again difficult, while the mysterious happenings at his ancestral home, Hartwell Abbey, seek to separate before they are wed.

How can a young Lady negotiate her future when her heart demands the opposite of duty?  Can they both learn to truly love from the legacy of Grace?

Amanda’s Review:

I never got around to reviewing Carolyn Miller’s first novel, The Ellusive Miss Ellison, which I loved, so I was determined to set that right after reading the next and equally delightful book in her Regency Brides: Legacy of Grace series. In fact, I would even go so far as to say I liked it even more.

The characters–both Charlotte and William–are drawn with depth and colour; Charlotte, the social beauty who loves flattery and attention, and William, the introverted and intense man of integrity. The challenges those two character types bring out when faced against each other, makes much room for growth and development. Both have to change enough to make a marriage work.

But along with the characters and their journey, there is a bit of mystery afoot with some strange and menacing occurences at William’s home. And I do love a good dash of mystery and intrigue.

So, now I am looking forward to reading the third book in this wonderful series, and then onto Carolyn’s next series, Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope.

About the Author:

B1nA+VJ2B-SI’m an Inspirational Regency romance author who lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia with my husband and four children. I love reading (especially Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer), music, films, gardens, art, travel and food. I really enjoy creating worlds where flawed people can grow in faith, hope and love.

For more information about Carolyn Miller and her awesome books, check out her website.

Published in: on 26th February, 2018 at 8:14 pm  Comments (2)  
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The Boy in the Hoodie – Catriona McKeown

From the Back Cover:

The-Boy-in-the-Hoodie_Small72Good-girl Kat knew drinking alcohol at school would have serious consequences. But to protect her friend from being expelled, Kat lands herself a term’s worth of detentions.

Inside the detention room, she meets a strange boy who obsessively draws dark pictures and covers his head with a grey hoodie. Little does she know, the hoodie hides a dark past …

An unlikely friendship forms between Kat and the boy in the hoodie. When she discovers a sinister truth he’s been hiding, she somehow feels compelled to help him—but at what cost? And how much is she willing to risk in order to keep him safe?

The Boy in the Hoodie is a real, unforgettable story about past scars and how the ones we love can sometimes heal them.

Amanda’s Review:

The Boy in the Hoodie surprised me–in a good way. I am an adult, and yet I identified with these high-school aged characters. The pressure of peers from those days came back to me all too easily and it was just like being there all over again. I had trouble putting this novel down and kept turning the pages well into the night.

This story brought to life how teenagers can see things far differently from the grownups, I guess because they don’t necessarily see the big picture. Then misunderstandings can happen, and they can put themselves at risk because of their youthful inexperience. And sometimes they have experienced more heartache then they were ever meant to.

The Boy in the Hoodie made me think about these things as I watched the relationships between Kat and her parents, her school friends and the hoodie boy change and grow. My takeaway is that I want to be someone that my kids can be open with, someone they can trust to listen and really hear their struggles.

A fantastic debut novel from Catriona McKeown.

About the Author:

CatrionaMcKeownCatriona spends her days hanging out with teenagers in a middle school in Southern Queensland, where she works to support and advocate for young people with special needs.

Her love of writing character-driven stories reflects her passion to see all young people reach their full God-given potential, and to see the world they live in become a better place.

Catriona has published online a number of short stories, and her first YA novel, The Boy in the Hoodie won the CALEB award for unpublished fiction in 2016. Catriona was also runner-up for the overall CALBEB prize that year.

Go here for more information about Catriona McKeown.

Published in: on 2nd January, 2018 at 7:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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D.J. Blackmore – Folly

Folly coverFrom the Back Cover

It is 1822. The colony bells of Newcastle chime for a wedding but Emma Colchester is uneasy. Her cousin is nowhere to be found. A red satin ribon unearths the truth, and the family face their worst fears. Fingers of blame are pointed too close to home and Emma’s future with Tobias threatens to unravel. The walls of The Folly standing by The Hunter River hold the clue, and Emma risks everything in finding out the truth.


Amanda’s Review

Since reading D.J. Blackmore’s debut novel, Charter to Redemption, three years ago, I have been looking forward to this second instalment, which continues the story of Tobias and Emma and their search for the truth. Who is really buried out at The Folly? Is it truly Gideon Quinn? Tobias and Emma can’t rest until these questions and more are answered.

As a lover of Australian historical novels, I enjoyed this book thoroughly. It kept me turning the pages until I also had the answers the characters were looking for. Blackmore draws characters that range from good and kind, to selfish and downright evil, but also shows why they behave the way they do. She depicts life in colonial times very well and I could imagine being there in Wallis Plains and Newcastle in the early 1800s.

If you enjoy a good Aussie colonial novel, then I can recommend Folly.

Thanks to the author for a free copy for review.

About the Author

cc126-deirdreD. J. Blackmore was born and raised in the coal mining and wine growing Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia. She has milked cows and made cheese. She has reared babies, border collies and kept bees. A short stint with horses saw her break her best arm. Now she steers clear of animals of the equine persuasion. You might see her with a laptop and a head full of ideas. Being a mother to five is her highest achievement, but writing comes a close second. Her and her writing are inseparable as old friends.


Published in: on 13th November, 2017 at 7:23 pm  Comments (3)  
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Choosing the Setting

Now that I have  a rough story idea in my head, and have chosen a name for my Rapunzel (I think I’m going with Olive or Olivia by the way), I’m looking into the where. The setting.

Where am I going to place this story?tower

Considering I’m looking at a convict scenario, I need to choose from the penal colonies in Australia. Obviously there were convict settlements in Sydney, and others in New South Wales, and there were several places in Tasmania, plus a couple in Queensland and one in Western Australia.

Since I’ve set novels in Sydney before, I am leaning towards Tasmania. I love the idea of Port Arthur, but more likely need to use the sites where the female convicts were sent. That’s where the research comes in.

The other thing I’ve begun looking at is, because it is a Rapunzel story and Rapunzel was kept in a tower, what kind of historical towers there are in Tasmania.

The first one I found was the Guard Tower at Port Arthur. A possibility that I might be able to work with.

Then a friend suggested the Shot Tower near Hobart. When I looked into this, I discovered that it wasn’t built until 1870, too late really for the convict idea.

With some more research I found some more towers across the Tasmania:

  • New Town – The Towers – a residential property built in 1845
  • Evandale – the Water Tower – built in 1896 and full of water so unsuitable
  • Oatlands – Callington Mill – built in 1837 and rather fascinating
  • Hobart – Post Office Clock Tower – built in 1906, so too late (there is also one of these in Launceston but was also built too late for my story)
  • Richmond – St Luke’s Church – built in 1836 (one of many churches throughout the state)

And then I discovered the lighthouses, and I must admit, these draw me more than all the others, particularly the Iron Pot Lighthouse (1832) and the Cape Bruny Lighthouse (1838). These seem to have been mostly run by convicts, so might work well for my story.

What kind of tower would you like to see a Rapunzel character in?

Published in: on 4th June, 2017 at 8:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What’s in a Name – Rapunzel

Did you know that Rapunzel was named after a plant?

rampion_at_degensRapunzel is the German name for a leafy plant called Rampion, whose leaves can be eaten like spinach and whose roots can be eaten like radish.

The character Rapunzel, was named after this herb that her mother craved and ultimately stole from Gothel’s garden. I’m thinking that her mum must have REALLY loved this veg if she named her only daughter in honour of it!

So, now I’m thinking, what will I name my Rapunzel? Is there another vegetable that sounds nice enough to be a name? I mean, let’s face it, Potato is not going to work, even though I LOVE potatoes — especially cut into little sticks and deep fried in oil, oh, or mashed with lashings of butter and cream. Yum! Now my stomach is rumbling.

But, I digress. The point is I would never name my child Potato. Imagine the nicknames — Mr Potato Head, etc. So, what is a more appropriate name for a pretty girl with fabulous long locks? Mizuna? Rocquette? Pumpkin? ;p

What do you think? And remember, it has to be something that would have been available in London in the early 1800s.

Published in: on 23rd April, 2017 at 6:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Author Life – What’s next?

So, now that I’m finished writing Unhinged, an Aussie retelling of Beauty and the Beast, what’s next?

Well, other than heaps of editing on the Unhinged manuscript, it’s time to start thinking about and planning the next one.

rapunzelRight now, I’m forming ideas for another fairy tale retelling — Rapunzel, working title, Unravelled.

As I have with the other two, my first step is to go back to the original tale. I prefer to draw from the original rather than to just refer to the Disney versions or other versions out there. And as far as fairy tales go, Rapunzel is quite a bleak story, until the happy ending. If you like, you can read it here, but the main points are as follows:

  • Rapunzel’s parents coveted and stole some rampion from an enchantress.
  • Rapunzel was locked in a tower at the age of 12 for her parents’ crime.
  • Rapunzel had impossibly long golden hair – about 23m.
  • Rapunzel had a sweet singing voice.
  • The prince was drawn to her because of her song, and they fell in love and married.
  • When the enchantress discovered their love, she cut Rapunzel’s hair and sent her into the desert.
  • The prince, after discovering his love was gone, fells into thorn bushes which pierced his eyes, making him blind.
  • Twins were born to Rapunzel in the desert, but their life is wretched.
  • The prince managed to wander into the desert where he heard her singing and knew immediately it was his Rapunzel.
  • Her happy tears miraculously healed his eyes and they lived happily ever after.

Most of this I think I can construct something with, however I’m not sure whether I can use the very, very long braid in a realistic historical romance (especially not the climbing the tower using hair part). Well, perhaps it could be long, but not THAT long.

What would you dowith this kind of fantastical detail?

Published in: on 2nd April, 2017 at 6:30 pm  Comments (5)  

At last – a new novel!

I must make a confession. I love fairy tales. I love happy-ever-afters, and all the magic that goes with them. I love princes and princesses and true love. Nothing appeals to my romance-loving heart more. Something within me says “this is how it’s meant to be” even if the reality of our world looks a lot different. Eternal optimist? Maybe.

Anyway, my favourite fairy tales on the screen are Beauty and the Beast (Disney), Cinderella (the Ever After version), and now Rapunzel (the Tangled version).

Several years ago I began to grow some ideas to write some of these fairy tales, twisting them a little to fit with my usual genre – historical romance. And so, Unnoticed came into being.

Set in Australia in 1878 on the Murrumbidgee River in Hay, New South Wales, Plain Jane O’Reilly is my Cinderella and Price Moreland is my handsome prince.


Plain Jane O’Reilly is good at being unnoticed. Detested by her stepmother and teased by her stepsisters, Jane has learned the art of avoiding attention. That is until Price Moreland, an American with big dreams, arrives in her small town.

Does she dare to hope someone might notice her?

However, Price Moreland may not be the prince that the whole town thinks him to be. Was his desire to be a missionary a God-given call, or just a good excuse to run from his past?

Complete with an evil stepmother, a missing shoe and a grand ball, Unnoticed takes the time-old Cinderella fairy tale and gives it an Australian twist.

Unnoticed is due for release on 1st March, just under two weeks away. Three years in the making, and it’s finally here. I’m very excited to introduce it to you. You can order it here, and it will be available on Amazon soon, too.

And, another fairy tale is planned for later in the year – Unhinged. This one will be my version of Beauty and the Beast. But the beast will not be a monster per se, or even a physical deformity. I guess you will have to wait and see!

Speaking of Beauty and the Beast though, I cannot wait for the new Disney version about to be released! CAN’T WAIT! How about you? Or do you have another fairy tale favourite?

Published in: on 16th February, 2017 at 6:54 pm  Comments (4)  

D.J. Blackmore – Charter to Redemption

2nd – 6th May 2014

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance

is introducing
Charter to Redemption

(Even Before Publishing 1 May 2014)By

D.J. Blackmore

About the Book

At the close of 1821, the penal colony of Newcastle looks to be every bit as black as it’s painted. Emma Colchester charters a ride to Australia with a promise of marriage to a man she has never met. But appearances aren’t always as they seem. And with a commitment unavoidable Emma learns that shackles are not always forged from iron. Tobias Freeman longs for redemption and hope. After a rough journey to New South Wales, Tobias learns the rations, the regulations, and the reprisal. But neither Emma nor Tobias expect the repercussions.

About the Author

D.J. Blackmore grew up in the wine growing region of the Hunter Valley, New South Wales and is currently based in Central Queensland.

She draws inpiration for her historical fiction novels from her love of age-old crafts such as spinning and cheese making. She considers being the mother of five, her greatest achievement.

Amanda’s Review

Being a fan of historical romance, especially Australian, I have been looking forward to this novel for months. And I wasn’t disappointed. D.J. Blackmore has presented a wonderful debut novel in Charter to Redemption, and it had all the elements I like in my fiction: Aussie history, romance, a little suspense and an edifying message.

Blackmore really showed how looks can be deceiving. Someone of consequence, who says and does the right things (apparently) might be harbouring dark thoughts and plans. On the other hand, someone who appears to be the dregs of society might just have a heart of gold. It is a great reminder that God looks on the heart, not on the outward presentation of a person.

If you, like me, enjoy a historical romance, then you will also love Charter to Redemption. I will be looking forward to future novels from this author. Recommended.


Paula Vince – Imogen’s Chance

5th – 9th May 2014

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance

is introducing

Imogen’s Chance

(Even Before Publishing April 2014)By

Paula Vince

About the Book

She has given herself a chance to fix her personal history. But will old mistakes bring up new emotions?

Imogen Browne longs to make up for past mistakes before she can move on. She quietly resolves to help the Dorazio family, whose lives she accidentally upset. Her biggest challenge is Asher, the one person who may never forgive her. And he is facing a crisis of his own. Imogen must tread very carefully, as trying to fix things may well make them shatter.

A sensitive story about misplaced loyalty, celebrating life and falling in love. Can family secrets concealed with the best intentions bear the light of day?

About the Author

Paula Vince’s youth was brightened by great fiction and she’s on a mission to pay it forward. A wife and homeschooling mother, she loves to highlight the beauty of her own country in her stories. Most of them are set in the lovely Adelaide Hills, where she lives. Paula’s books are a skillful blend of drama and romance. Together with elements of mystery and suspense, you will keep turning pages.

Amanda’s Review:

I’m a fan of Paula Vince’s books and Imogen’s Chance didn’t disappoint. I love that Paula delves into interesting topics while keeping me turning the pages with a bit of intrigue and romance as well. It was great to watch the growing relationship between Imogen and Asher even as they dealt with difficult issues in their lives — issues that threatened that very relationship.

I took away a great idea from this book. That sometimes the journey of faith might not work out the way we were believing, but that doesn’t make us a failure — just like an athlete who doesn’t achieve the number one ranking is not a failure either. We still applaud them for their efforts and hard work. Faith is a journey and it is what we learn in the process that is important, not necessarily the final result.

I heartily recommend this novel to anyone who loves contemporary romance with a bit more substance than most.


Narelle Atkins – Falling for the Farmer

3 – 7 March 2014

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance

is introducing

Falling for the Farmer

Heartsong Presents



Narelle Atkins

About the Book


And she’s incredibly grateful when Jack Bradley offers her a job on his apple farm. Working side by side in the orchards with her best friend’s brother seems like the perfect way to get over her disastrous engagement. Until Kate finds herself falling hard for the handsome farmer.

Jack Bradley knows city-girl Kate isn’t here to stay. Yet suddenly he’s imagining a life with her in the country. When Kate considers going back to the city, can Jack find a way to show her that her real home is here on the farm, by his side?

About the Author

NARELLE ATKINS writes contemporary inspirational romance and lives in Canberra, Australia. She sold her debut novel, set in Australia, to Harlequin’s Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line in a six-book contract. She is also a member of International Christian Fiction Writers group blog.

Narelle is a co-founder with Jenny Blake of the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA).

Her debut book, Falling for the Farmer, will be a February 2014 release, followed by The Nurse’s Perfect Match in May 2014 andThe Doctor’s Return in August 2014.

Twitter: @NarelleAtkins

Amanda’s Review

It is great to see an Australian author hit the shelves through the Heartson Presents range of romances, and I congratulate Narelle for that.

Falling for the Farmer is a light and easy read with a simple and satisfying plot. I enjoyed Narelle’s writing style and the way she wove Christian concepts through the storyline without sounding preachy.

If you enjoy a shorter read with a straightforward romance plot, then you will enjoy Falling for the Farmer.

Thanks to the author and publisher for a free review copy.