Book Review: An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy by June Kearns

Well, they don’t seem to show re-runs of Bonanza on the TV anymore, and to be honest I never watched it. I’m not comparing this book to it, but the setting reminded me, also reminders of any period drama of the late 1800s in America. I remember my mum telling me that my Nana used to stay awake all night reading ‘Westerns’ , and here I was last night reading this beautiful book, getting little sleep because I could not put it down! Goodness knows which books my Nana was reading, but you hardly ever hear the term ‘Western’ as a genre anymore. I would say, if anything this was an excellent adventure romance written of the time and setting. Good for Annie, escaping her matronly Aunt Bea, cousin Charlotte, and unwanted suitor, whilst collecting the affections of the moody and mysterious Colt. She managed to rescue a puppy and solve a mystery about her father too. Go Annie! I was so pleased for the character, that’s how well this book was written17202249

5/5 page turner rating

Three word review: Lost genre adventure.

Five Days of Favourite Things to Read (Not Necessarily consecutive). Historical Fiction.

Well! Blow me didn’t I fall down the stairs this time last month, stained my back muscles and ended up in A&E. I can’t help wondering if this is because I made my character Edith fall down the stairs in the first few chapters of Curmudgeon Avenue… At least I got the time to publish, however starting this five days blog, well my timing could not have been worse! I’m catching up now.

Today, in my favourite things to read, let’s talk about historical fiction. Now, I have a confession to make, when I was working full time and my daughter was at school, I was a much slower reader than I am now. However, a series of events happened (such as those birthday things that happen every year) and now I read loads, all different genres. Anyway, during my late thirties back in the day, I think it may have been historical fiction that turned me into a voracious reader once again. The first and favourite one by this author is Phillipa Gregory’s The Boleyn Inheritance.

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What a great book this is, I’ll be honest, it is six or seven years ago that I read this, and my copy is on an e-reader now gathering dust in my Husband’s drawer at work, however I do remember how much I loved this book. Obviously, Tudor history was included in my school days – but not the ‘gossipy’ bits! When I read this book, I remember thinking ‘oh that couldn’t have happened’ but it did! This book sparked my interest in history, and history IS so interesting! Every chapter is written in the first person of whoever the chapter is about , Anne of Cleves, Jane Boleyn (Parker) and Katherine Howard. It is so good, Philippa Gregory has a real skill of getting inside the mind of each character, I imagine her sitting at her desk and thinking ‘oh, would Anne of Cleves really say that?’ What admiration I have for her.

Secondly, another Historical Fiction book I enjoyed were the Wolf Hall books by Hilary Mantel. Very famous, dare I review such a prize winning and superb work? I read both Bring Up The Bodies and Wolf Hall. I remember reading the latter particularly because I was reading this when I got married just over three years ago, I had planned to finish reading it the night , but one of my friends Sara had other ideas, enjoyable pre-wedding drinks! Ahh fond memories, what I remember liking about Hilary Mantel’s books are the slightly satirical descriptions of the characters. One scene I remember in particular about Anne Boleyn making out that she is unable to pronounce the surname ‘Cromwell’ because she has been living in France for so long that her accent has changed.

‘Now she speaks her native tongue with a slight unplaceable accent, strewing her sentences with French words when she pretends she can’t think of the English’  

Brilliant, I love it, depicting Anne Boleyn as presuming her power, and Thomas Cromwell having a private smirk about her.

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Now, as the track-pad on this lap top is dying a frustrating death, and I don’t want to keep you too long, I would like to mention two other historical fiction books, written of the time without mentioning any ‘events’ . The Color Purple by Alice Walker and The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Protagonists in similar situations, the latter set only just before my living history. And speaking of the early 1960s , what a coincidence, my book ‘1962’ is my take on historical fiction, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and lesser so, but still important is the history of cycling in Lancashire UK. Someone told me they were upset because the year ‘1962’ does not seem that long ago to them, but it is definitely historical fiction.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=1962

Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll write another historical fiction? Happy Friday everyone, Samantha.

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1962 Kindle Countdown deal

Marigold Bradshaw was always going to do well for herself in life. This was obvious on the Bradshaw family photograph, captured in sepia when Marigold was fourteen and Rose was age nine. Marigold, imposing and impressive on the back row, shoulders straight, hair behaving itself, brand new dress. The centre of the photograph, the centre of attention, her proudly positioned head articulated ‘I plan to marry well’. Marigold stood above her little sister Rose, perched upon a three-legged stool underneath Marigold. Head bowed, small and shy with her hair in her eyes, and a hand me down dress. Rose had no plan, but in life, received a surprise. Marigold pitied her little sister, but it was not her job to pass judgement; not on a Sunday.

Above is a snippet from chapter one about Ernest’s mother and Auntie Marigold. 1962 is Ernest’s story, he has ambition to become the next cycling champion to hail from 1960s Lancashire… Trouble is, it’s 1962- nuclear war is in the news and his mother is petrified. I hope you will join Ernest in this journey story, especially whilst it is on special offer!https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B074P5TNTJ

 

 

Chapter 7 of ‘1962’: The Queen’s Speech

pexels-photo-221166.jpegOn this day in 1962, Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth II was preparing to read written words out loud in front of a moving camera. These words formed a speech, drafted by civil servants employed in the utmost, highest positions of the British central government war defence headquarters. Words of an imagined text, envisaging the possibility of war.

Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth II executes a busy schedule. Each morning, afternoon and evening are filled by the Lord Great Chamberlain with official engagements. Officiously organised by five departments of the royal household, and safely delivered by the Earl Marshal. State ceremonies and so on, the 1962 calendar never emptied.
Recording a speech is an unusual request from the ministry of defence. Nevertheless, it had been pencilled in by the royal private secretary’s office. Decisions had been made; what would Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth II wear? Decisions had been made regarding the location of the filming. Decisions had been made about the safe keeping of the speech; would it be sent to 10 Downing Street? Or straight to The National Archive?
This was an unusual state of affairs because the request for Her Majesty’s time had been processed, but the final decision about whether to record the speech or not was undecided. This was most unusual. The decision lay with two men, the Prime Minister and the Secretary Of State For Defence.
What was more unusual, this secret speech, not intended for immediate public broadcast was to be the subject of a secret decision. Even though there had been multiple quandaries about the speech and it’s filming, the final decision was :
‘the speech is to be axed!’
The request cancelled, and the Queen’s time about to be wasted. There ensued a catastrophe of excitement at Buckingham Palace. No living person at the palace could recall any such disruption to the Queen’s official diary. Another decision followed. Who was going to tell Her Majesty that her morning was about to be ruined? That the speech was redundant? That Her Majesty’s time was about to be wasted?
Straws were drawn over bated breath… there was not a member of the royal household that did not idolise Her Majesty The Queen. They would rather kill themselves than spoil her day. To each and every person in the royal household, Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II was their Queen.
Gazing through the window with mournful reminiscence, Queen Elizabeth II thought she could see two cyclists in the distance. Remembrances of her father, King George VI brightened by wonderings about the Olympics. Will they ever be hosted in London again? She sighed a secret sigh to herself, whilst turned away from the court.
Arnold Smyth age twenty, footman and trainee butler of Buckingham Palace had drawn the short straw. A decision had been made that he was the one to deliver the news, thus spoiling Her Majesty’s day.
The note from the Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan had been placed by gloved fingers upon a silver tray. Arnold approached the Queen, and, still in training knelt before her. Bemused at Arnold’s formality, Queen Elizabeth II took the letter and her spectacles (only worn for reading) and skimmed the Prime Minister’s words. Arnold Smyth the trainee footman anticipated the royal look of disdain; instead, he saw beautiful red lipstick lips impulse a small smile. Placing the note back onto the silver tray, Queen Elizabeth II turned to Arnold the trainee footman :
“Thank you, young man, you have just made my day”

 

A chapter from my book ‘1962’, Happy reading! Samantha

Piccalilly Free For 5 Days

I felt so much emotion writing this one, the first I published. Set in WWI, Lillian is missing her older brother Joe. When their parents receive a telegram informing them of the worst, Lillian discovers Joe’s spirit is living on in a series of comforting events. Originally written as a children’s book, adults seem to enjoy it more, Piccalilly is very loosely based on a family story- there’s my own Nana on the cover! Free for 5 days.

You Know Nothing About Wrestling

You Know Nothing About Wrestling

It were a week last Sat’dee – that’s when I first spotted him. What me father would say was ‘One of those rough and ready types’. Dark hair and dark eyes, the opposite to me – you can see through me on a sunny day, like a wafer biscuit. Maybe that’s why I noticed him, dare I say it? Someone so deliciously disgusting. I’d only gone to fetch me little brother, when I caught this first glimpse of my wrestler – sweating and sturdy in the ring, a fine specimen tempting me into the following week when I was a fully paid-up member of the wrestling audience. Talk about feeling unwanted though, the place was full of menfolk and smoke. Inhaling their fill of manliness, exhaling the steam of everyday downturn and depression. Except for those who noticed me taking exception ‘No cursing in front of the fairer sex’.
Carlos the Crusher. I wonder if that’s his real name?
Me Mam would only let me go if I went with our Wally, even though I’m seventeen and old enough to marry and pack int’ mill. I say me Mam, she says ‘Go ask your Father’ – but it’s her who has the final say so. Me Dad’s not been the same since the war. At least he came back though.
Soon enough, our Walter gets fed up of me ‘tagging along’ as he puts it. and as for Carlos Crusher, what’s he gonna see in me? Wally asks me: ‘Wouldn’t you like to sling your hook?, Do your brother a favour?’
I know his game, he wants rid of me so he can ask Molly McCarthy out. I had to make summat up. I could kick meself for blurting it out though.
‘ Happen I’m going to start wrestling. Start a wimin’s wrestling team’
Walter burst out laughing right then and there in the ticket queue.
‘You’d have to get some flesh on your bones first!’
Well, I gave him such a look, didn’t I?
‘You’ll end up like Two Tonne Tessie if you’re not careful, then no one’ll want to court you!’
‘What do you know about it, any road Walter Braithwaite?’
He smirked at me, and folk had started to look over at our to-do.
‘I know this, our Nellie, you know nothin’ about wrestling’
I just folded my arms and buttoned up. Aye, I thought, and you know nothing about women.

 

Samantha Henthorn (copyright 2018)black-and-white-people-bar-men.jpg

Officially a Holiday Read

cropped-20180401_120047.jpgEleven books read during my holiday, reviews to follow…  1962, my book worked it’s way around the pool too! No internet during my holiday, which I got used to after about half a day (or was it half an hour!). Normal service of liking and commenting should return this week.

Happy reading! Samantha

I Don’t Know How They do it, Their Eyes Must be all Over Their Heads!

20180322_183857I’ve recently ran a five day free promotion on one of my e-books ‘Quirky Tales to Make Your Day’. This created a self inflicted wild goose chase of networking with social media pages and potential reviewers – one said yes, RESULT! The last time I tried to get people to review me, I gave free books to actual people I know. I have decided to keep plodding on, but before I do try and look at things from the reviewer’s point of view. After all this week’s social networking I have sold about one book to the ten I have promised myself to read! I don’t know how these book reviewers do it! Their eyes must be all over the place! Not to mention, can you imagine not being able to just read an old classic?! I bet they get loads of e-mithers! Nevertheless, I’ve decided to start reviewing – although my priority is writing my next novel, if I read something I like, I’ll share it and if I don’t have anything nice to say, I won’t say anything at all. You won’t catch me posting a two stars with no comment on Goodreads! And you never know, I might get ‘reviewed back’!

That picture above is not representative of the several million (not really it’s about 11 or twelve) indie published books I have downloaded or ordered the paperback of this month waiting to be read. But notice how my father-in-law’s book has sneaked itself on the photo, oh! And one of mine, Piccalilly up there in the top right corner!

Reviewers, I salute you!

Happy Saturday, Samantha.

Free Book

Scan_20170731Piccalilly is free on Kindle for five days!

Everything changed that day. Even in elementary school, Lilly’s heart was in her mouth. Her stomach felt funny, but not the good kind of funny like at birthdays or family photograph day. She nearly got sent to the front to have her hand slapped when she got caught looking out of the window. It was too much for Lilly. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see a green figure on the other side of the window. Not the green of the trees, but the green of Joe’s uniform. He disappeared as soon as she sneaked a glance at him.

A short story set in WW1 originally written for children (but adults have enjoyed it).

Dedicated to my family.

Copyright Samantha Henthorn 2018.