Christmas Awards 2011

Monday 30 August 2010


Dangerous by Amanda Quick

Bantam Books

April 1993

ISBN: 978-0-553-29317-3

Pages: 338

Regency period London

Prudence Merryweather knows that the only way to save her brother is to go to the den of the Fallen Angel also known as the Earl of Angelstone. She knows she is taking a risk to seeing him in the dead of night but she also knows that she doesn’t have any other choice. Prue is full of curiosity and this comes out in her investigations into spectral phenomena, which tends to make her an oddity and an Original in Society. It is starting to look like that she has finally met the one man that can appreciate her little hobby and that is even willing to help her with it.

Sebastian Fleetwood, Earl of Angelstone will take his amusements where he can get them. What he never expected was to be drawn to Prue’s mix of boldness and innocence that makes him want to get to know her much better. Sebastian has dwelled more in the darkness than in the light so that when Prudence comes along with all her sunlight and warmth his only wish is to get closer. Sebastian has his own hobby that is similar to Prue’s and that makes them the perfect match for each other.

Sebastian has just gotten another chance to practice his hobby and this time Prue is determined to help him with it. What neither realizes at first is that this time more is going on then they first realize and if they are not careful they may end up paying a much higher price than they would like. Only time will tell if they are going to make it through this latest case alive. One wrong step and things will get dangerous very quickly. Now it is going to be a race against time to make sure that they come out alive and that they have the future together that is starting to look so very bright.

This is another amazing story by this author that will have the reader turning the pages as quickly as possible just to see what will happen next. This has both humor and adventure that makes it a wonderful story to read. The characters bring the story to live and the secondary character make it that much more engrossing. The reader never knows what will happen next and will not be disappointed with what does come next.

I give this one 4-1/2 red roses

Ane Impetuous Miss

An Impetuous Miss by Anne Ireland

Publisher: Red Rose Publishing

February 2010

ISBN: 978-1-60435-657-1

Pages: 294

England & Brussels 1815

Megan Hardy is one of four daughters. Being the second oldest is not easy especially since the girls lost their mother five years ago. What makes things even more difficult is the fact that since their mother died their grandfather, their mother’s father, stopped the allowance he provided while his daughter was alive. Megan knows that the only way they are going to be able to find good husbands is if at least one of them gets a chance to have a season in London. She has a plan to make sure that happens. What she doesn’t plan on is meeting a man that makes her heart race. Especially when it seems that he is a smuggler.

Matthew Devereaux has a plan to avenge the death of his best friend. First he has to make sure he has the money he needs to get in the right circle of people so that he can find the man he is sure is responsible for his friend’s death. The best and quickest way to do that is to be a smuggler at least for a short while. Just when he is about to finish his last job he meets a girl that makes him start to forget all about vengeance and more about what his life might be like without chasing after vengeance. The last thing he needs is to get involved with Megan but he just can’t seem to stay away from her.

Now that Matthew has caught the attention of the man he is after he is going to have to be very careful or else Megan just might get dragged into his plans for vengeance and she might get hurt in the process. Now Matthew is going to have to try to convince Megan and himself that he doesn’t feel anything for her and he is finding out that is not as easy as he would like. Only time will tell if he will be able to get the vengeance he is after and just maybe be able to have the life he is suddenly wishing that he could have with Megan. Megan is finding out that there is a lot more to Matthew than she first thought and no matter how much she tries to convince herself that he is not the man for her the more she wishes that he was.

This is one story that is so rich in detail that the history opens up to the reader so they can see what it was like to live in that time period. This is also an emotional read that will have the reader hoping that everything will work out between the characters. The secondary characters also create and add to the overall story so that the reader will hate to have to put this one down for any reason until the very end of the story.

I give this one 4-1/2 red roses

Thursday 26 August 2010

My Wicked Marquess

My Wicked Marquess by Gaelen Foley

Publisher: Avon

July 2009

ISBN: 978-0-06-173395-6

Pages: 374

London 1815

Daphne Starling is known throughout Society as a kind hearted woman that helps all those new to Society. She also is known for her special projects that help those outside of Society that have had a difficult life. Now she is finding out who truly are her friends when someone takes exception to her when she doesn’t return their feelings. When she first meets the Marquess of Rotherstone she doesn’t know who he is only that he has rescued her from a very difficult situation and that she owes him a debt of gratitude. Now she just has to find out exactly who this intriguing man is.

Max St. Albans, Marquess of Rotherstone, is a member of the infamous Inferno Club. Though all of Society knows that the members of the club are a scandalous bunch of men that pursue all types of debauchery and no proper young lady would have anything to do with any of the members. What Society doesn’t know is that the men of the Inferno Club are really warriors that will go to any lengths to protect king and country. Max has decided it is time to restore the family name and the one sure way to do that is marry a woman that has the breeding and a reputation that is above reproach. What he doesn’t count on is his attraction to Daphne or the fact that has her reputation has been tarnished by a jilted suitor.

Now Max has decided to make Daphne his own and show Society that she isn’t anything at all like what they are saying about her. Max is going to have to walk a fine line to get the woman he loves and still keep his secrets about the Inferno Club. Max just isn’t sure he will be able to keep the two parts of his life separate but if he wants Daphne he is going to have to find a way to do just that. There is trouble coming and only time will tell if he is going to be able to keep Daphne safe and himself a live long enough to have the life he finds he desperately wants now that it is within his grasp.

This story has action and intrigue that will keep the reader riveted to the story until the very last page and eagerly wanting to read the next book in the series just to see what will happen next. This one will draw the reader into it as Max and Daphne work through their misunderstanding with each other to get the love and happiness they both want and know that they will only have with each other. The reader will feel all the things that Max and Daphne go through while they work through all of their problems and deal with the world outside their own little intimate world.

I give this one 4 red roses

Monday 23 August 2010

The Ghosts Of Nedingfield Hall




ISBN 978-0-7090-8690-1.

This book combines a Regency romance with a mystery story in and around Neddingfield Hall, it is in 1814, a very cold and severe winter.

Miss Hester Frobisher is travelling with her friend and companion, Miss Mary Bird whom she affectionately calls Birdie, to stay with her Great Aunt Miss Agatha Culley, at her invitation, at Neddingfield Hall. Unfortunately when they arrive at the Hall after a long and cold journey, they find the gates locked and the Hall looks deserted. Greatly puzzled by this unexpected turn of events the two travellers have no choice but to turn back and seek rooms in the village Inn. Hester is very suprised by this event as she was specifically asked by her Aunt to visit now.

Strangely another carriage had also pulled up at the gates of the Hall, in front of them and Hester wondered who it could be, but she was more interested at that time in getting warm and finding a room for the night.

When they arrived back at the Jug and Bottle their coachman hired bedrooms and a sitting room for the two ladies, and as the owner of the inn Mrs Jarvis, who had at one time been employed at the Hall, set an excellent table, they were content to stay there for the night.

The other coach which had made turning in the lane by Neddingfield Hall so difficult then pulled into the Inn but they could only obtain much poorer rooms and the coachman Tom thought this highly amusing, as he listened to the owner of the coach complaining loudly in the lobby of the Inn later.

Hester determined to go back to the Hall the next day and discover what was wrong there.

Hester set off early in the morning, riding Thunder her splendid horse with Jet her faithful hound running beside her and Tom and James riding with her. They skirted fields and byways following the river until they were on land belonging to the Hall, where they went around the back of the Hall, to the stables. The place looked deserted, the cobbles were unswept , the stables were empty, Hester called for the yard lad to take the horses but all was silent, the mystery deepened. Tom did not like the silence and thought that they should return to the Inn and try and find out what had taken place at the Hall, but Hester was determined to investigate the situation right then, not wait any longer.

Having gained entrance by the kitchen door Hester now cold and wet from the ride, made her way to the room which she used when staying with her aunt, there she would find dry clothes to change into. On her way to her room Hester was surprised to see furniture under Holland covers, obviously her Aunt was away from home, why then had she been invited to the Hall?

From this moment Hester’s life was to change dramatically, she was to meet The new Earl of Waverly in strange and uncomfortable circumstances, discover the Hall was haunted and face many dangers to herself and to others she was to become fond, of before this fascinating story is told.

Where had Her Aunt disappeared to with almost her entire staff from the Hall and who was behind the dangerous accidents which seemed to be aimed at getting rid of the new Earl and herself? Was it indeed the Ghosts of Neddingfield Hall or some more earthly beings, read the story to find the answers, it is a fun book. I award this book 5 Red Roses. AS

Sunday 22 August 2010

The Secret Diaries of Miss miranda Cheever

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

Publisher: Avon

July 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-123083-7

Pages: 373

England 1810, 1819

Miranda Cheever knew even at the age of ten that she was no great beauty. What she didn’t realize that she would grow into her looks. Miranda has always observed those around her so she has a better understanding of what is going on a lot of times when others do not. She also tends to see what others would prefer to keep hidden. The one person she has always watched from the time she was ten is Turner. She also fell in love with him when she was ten.

Nigel Bevelstoke, Viscount Turner was known to everyone as Turner as he had never liked his given name. Turner told ten year old Miranda that one day she would grow into herself and would be as beautiful as she was smart. Turner has always seen Miranda as a little sister as Turner’s younger sister, Olivia has always been best friends with Miranda. What Turner never expected was the day when he suddenly sees Miranda for the remarkable woman she has turned into.

Turner’s life hasn’t always been kind to him over the years. Miranda’s got better as she grew older. Now Miranda is determined to see if she just might have a chance to have the one thing that has always meant the most to her, Turner. First she is going to have to convince him to let go of the past and to see what is possible in the future. She is also going to have get Turner to see her more as a woman than the little sister he has always seen her as. That just might not be as hard as she first thought it would be. Miranda knows that if she has the chance she can help Turner heal from the tragedies in his past. And in healing Turner she just might have her own dreams come true.

This story will be tugging on the readers heartstrings from the very first chapter. This is a wonderfully written story that the reader will not want to put down. The humor in it keeps the story from getting too intense. Miranda is a character most people can identify with and is a lot of fun to read about and get to know as the story moves along. This is one story that the reader will not regret reading.

I give this one 4-1/2 red roses

Wednesday 18 August 2010

A Lady Never Tells

A Lady Never Tells by Candace Camp

Publisher: Pocket Star Books

May 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4391-1797-2

Pages: 451

London 1824

Mary Bascombe is determined to save herself and her three sisters from their stepfather. The only way to do that is to go to their grandfather, the Earl of Stewkesbury, despite their mother’s estrangement from the family. Mary thinks this is the best way to protect all of them from being sold by their stepfather. Hopefully Mary will be able to get the Earl to accept them despite the past and Mary and her sisters’ trouble will be behind them. Traveling from the United States to England was bad enough but the last thing the sisters need is anymore problems after what they had to deal with when it came to their stepfather.

Sir Royce Winslow is not sure he believes the siblings story. He is sure there is more than just the fact that they had recently lost their mother. He thinks that there is more than just that the girls want to know their family and have nowhere else to go. The only thing Royce is sure of is his attraction to Mary. When the girls are sent to Willowmere the Earl’s country estate to get some polish so that they will be able to go out into Society, Royce makes sure he is able to accompany them.

As the sisters and Royce start to settle in the country, someone attempts a kidnapping. Now they are going to have to find out who is behind the plot to kidnap them and what they hope to accomplish. If they don’t find out who is out to get them and quickly the villain just might succeed and who knows where the sisters will end up to then. Royce and Mary are forced to work together to get to the bottom of the plot so that everyone will be safe. Royce is finding out that while he has always lived and moved about in Society that Mary without any polish is the one woman that seems to be able to capture his complete attention. Now he is going to have to work very hard to make sure that they have a chance at a future together and that means taking care of the person out to get the sisters.

This story is a lot fun as you see the sisters trying to acquire the polish they will need to be able to get around in Society. Anywhere the sisters are trouble is sure to follow which makes for many humorous moments throughout the story. This one is sure to have the reader giggling at the antics of all the characters. It also has some very poignant moments that will be sure to draw the reader into the story even more.

I give this one 4 red roses

Friday 13 August 2010

A Change Of Fortune





ISBN 978-0-7090-8999-5.

This Regency romance takes place in London, in the year 1813, it is December and is cold and icy. Two young ladies are walking beside the frozen Serpentine, watching the laughing skaters enjoying themselves; unbeknown to them they were being watched by a young man. The watcher was not interested in the maid but the obviously wealthy and beautiful young woman was of interest to him and he determined to find out who she was.

When they walked back to the seminary, where the young lady was still living, although she was twenty years old, he followed them and smiled as he saw them enter the seminary.

She was in fact Miss Leonie Conyngham, a very rich young lady and she was awaiting the return of her father, after several years, from abroad before embarking on her first season in London.

Leonie was a very popular pupil at the exclusive Mayfair Seminary, both with the pupils and with the teachers. She has so much to look forward to and is very excited about seeing her father again.

The young man who was watching in the frost was a notorious rake named The Duke of Thornbury. He formed plans to pursue the young heiress and had also talked about his intentions to meet her ,to his friend Edward Longhurst, another undesirable young rake.

Unfortunately a disaster is to overtake Leonie’s father which is threatening to ruin the rest of her life. She is to become penniless and homeless and is forced to depend on being taken on as a very lowly place as junior teacher in the seminary. It seems that all of her plans have now to be forgotten, because Leonie has no relations to take her in, she is completely alone in the world and she cannot hope for any help from anyone.

There must be a hero somewhere who can rescue Leonie, but where is he?
This is a lovely story and great reading finding out what will happen to the beautiful Miss Leonie Conyngham, and enjoy the excellent writing from this author. I award this book 5 Red Roses.AS

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Twice Tempted By a Rogue

Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare

Publisher: Ballantine Books

July 2010

ISBN: 978-0-345-51887-3

Pages: 363

Rhys St. Maur is a war hero that had a death wish that went unanswered. He seems to be indestructible, unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case for his friend, who was murdered. Now with no place to go he goes home to his ancestral home on the moors of Devonshire. The one thing he never expects is to find a chance at a life that he never thought he would have. With the widow Meredith Maddox he is finding the chance at love that he never would have thought was possible for a man like him. Now he just has to take on the demons of his past so that he can have a future that is suddenly looking much brighter than it did before.

Meredith Maddox is a widow that has worked hard all her life. She doesn’t believe in fate and doesn’t have time for romance in her life. She has plans for her life that doesn’t include any man in it. Now everything is changing when Rhys comes back into her life. He is a dangerously attractive man that is getting her to start wishing for things that she has no time or business wishing for. Now she is going to have to decide just what is most important to her, the life she planned out or a chance at a love of a lifetime. Only time will tell if she is going to go with her heart and grab a chance at happiness or stick with her original plan.

With a mystery on their hands that needs to be solved before someone gets seriously hurt and way too many people deciding they should have a say in their lives, Rhys and Meredith are going to have their hands full trying to take care of all the problems that have seemingly suddenly cropped up. Rhys is going to have to get the people of the village to trust him and give them some honest work so that the smugglers in the area do not have a chance to use the people of the village but that is a lot easier said than done. Rhys has never been afraid to do the work that he asks of others so by showing them that he is sincere he just might have a chance to get the people on his side and believe in his word.

This is a story of redemption that will be pulling on the readers’ heart as they watch Rhys come to terms with his past and start believing in a future that just might have the happiness that he so richly deserves. This is a wonderfully worded story that will keep the reader engrossed in the book until the very last sentence. This one will have the reader hating to have to put the book down for any reason. It is also the second book in a trilogy that took the promising start in the first book and delivered with an exceptional second story.

I give this one 4-1/2 red roses

Last Night's Scandal

Last Night’s Scandal by Loretta Chase

Publisher: Avon

August 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-163267-9

Pages: 361

London 1831

Peregrine Dalmay, Earl of Lisle, has survived the perils of Egypt, but that seems easy compared to his irrational family and Olivia Wingate-Carsington. Olivia seems to have the unique ability to drag him into her schemes. Lisle never knows how she has managed to get him into whatever scandal she has going at any given time. Now Lisle’s family is sending him on a mission for the family and all he wants to do is go back to Egypt where he can have calm. Unfortunately that doesn’t look like it will be happening any time soon and now that Olivia has decided to help him and have one last adventure Lisle isn’t going to get any calm anytime soon either.

Olivia Wingate-Carsington is Society’s darling but she is also notorious for her scandals too. Olivia is aware that all too soon she is going to have to start leading a respectable life. She is also determined to have one last adventure before that happens. Now she just has to convince Lisle to let her help him out. Not to worry she has an idea or two on how to get that to happen. Lisle may be the only man she can’t wrap around her finger but he is also the only one who truly understands her.

Now Olivia and Lisle are going to have to join forces and figure out what is going on and take care of some trouble that is plaguing one of the family estates. Lisle just wants to take care of the problem he was sent to take care of not the added problem that Olivia has managed to find. Somehow while they are trying to solve the troubles they find themselves falling in love with each other, which only adds to all the other problems. Now they will have to decide what is most important to them, each other or the way they had always planned their lives to go. Only time will tell if they are going to allow the lives they envisioned for themselves to stand in the way of a love and happiness that neither one imagined happening to them.

This story has a lot of humor in it that keeps the book moving at a quick pace. The characters are a lot of fun to get to know and will have the reader enthralled with the story that will make this one very difficult to put down until the very last page. The secondary characters also add a great deal to the story and a lot of the humor themselves. This has a little mystery in it that is fun to try to figure out what exactly is going on. Anyone picking up this book to read is not going to be disappointed.

I give this one 4-1/2 red roses

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Wendy Perriam's work

“One of the most interesting unsung novelists of her generation. Intelligent and accessible … she writes beautifully about relationships and hilariously about sex.” (Sunday Telegraph)

You may love Eric – or want to shake him! Passionately idealistic about his work as a librarian, and his mission to extend literacy and literature into the wider community, he’s also ruefully aware that he’s not exactly Superman. Forced to hide his mysterious background and his mortifying fears, he’s a man with secrets - withheld even from close friends. His once homely wife, now a fashionista, has abandoned him, to live in Seattle with a high-powered corporate kingpin; taking their only child, a moody minx-in-waiting, about to turn thirteen.

Yet, against the odds, Eric sets out to prove himself - indeed, even to find a soul-mate. Whether braving “Choco-Love” Speed-Dating (chocolates provided, but is he a hard nut or a melting cream?); running Wandsworth Prison readers’ groups; attending an American Church that champions the Gospel of Prosperity, or rescuing his daughter from near-rape - he finally comes to epitomize the truth of Hemingway’s words: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”

Perriam’s 22nd publication - and first novel in eight years – combines laugh-out-loud comedy with a probing investigation of fear; recognized by doctors and philosophers, as far back as Hippocrates, as one of the most fundamental of human emotions, yet frequently kept hidden, as a source of deepest shame. The novel also explores the often shocking world of children growing up in care. On account of their bad start in life, the future for many is prison, prostitution, the doss-house or drug-addiction. Yet, while Perriam questions the whole basis of our justice system, she also provides a highly entertaining read.

Interview with Wendy Perriam

Questions for Red Roses For Authors/Reviews /Interview

Tell us a little about yourself

I suspect I’m two different people – the wild, fearless extrovert I was probably born to be, and the anxious, cautious introvert who often tends to take over. However, such a split is valuable because it allows me, as a writer, to depict characters of contrasting type and temperament.

My Roman Catholic upbringing had a huge influence on both my character and my work. Although it inculcated lifelong guilt and a deeply ingrained sense of sin, it also made me familiar with extraordinary things like miracles and angels, and startling concepts like resurrection from the dead. I think all that drama, along with Catholic ritual, helped nourish my imagination. I’m no longer able to believe, alas, but I’m still emotionally a Catholic– and still terrified of Hell.

And that’s not my only fear. I’m too ashamed to admit them all, but I wrote my new novel, “Broken Places”, about a man with many similar fears - and I wrote it as a comedy. Fortunately, I can always see the funny side of life!

What do you write?

I’ve published 15 novels and 6 short-story collections. I used to write poetry and articles for newspapers and magazines, and I also keep a diary. Looking back at what my 12-year-old self said about boarding-school, or life, or love, is frequently hilarious, though sometimes plain embarrassing.

All my fiction tends to feature characters who are living on a knife-edge, or struggling with inner conflicts. I’m fascinated by the secrets in most people’s lives, the private fears or longings we often hide even from our nearest and dearest. Love and relationships are important in my books, but I’d never describe them as romances, because for me love is a dangerous force.

Why do you write?

I find writing wonderfully therapeutic. Constructing a novel is a process of bringing order out of chaos. By drawing on experiences that might have been dark and difficult in reality, the writer can transform such things into satisfying plot-lines, or use them for character development. And the actual process of writing is so thoroughly absorbing, it distracts one from day-to-day problems and is the perfect cure for loneliness or grief.

This was especially true of “Broken Places” When I began it, my daughter had recently died of tongue-cancer, leaving two small sons, whose father had already died. To cope with my devastating sense of loss, I plunged myself into work, feeling I was writing the book for my daughter. Sometimes I had the uncanny sense that she was helping me from beyond the grave. Who knows?

What are you writing now?

I’m halfway through my seventh short-story collection. One of the joys of the short story is that it can be prompted by the smallest thing – an odd item in the newspaper, a snatch of dialogue overheard in a supermarket, a dusty old book in a junk-shop. Something of that nature will jump out at me spontaneously and I’ll suddenly feel a narrative building up around it, taking me way beyond those particular circumstances.

For example, one of my new stories is set on the number 24 bus, which stops near my flat and goes all the way from Pimlico to Hampstead Heath. Once, when I was on it, I got talking to a couple of American tourists, and that provided the trigger for the story. It’s not actually about them - or me – it’s about a girl of 17 who longs to escape her pedantic father, fretful mother and the restrictions of her home-life. However, once she’s fled the nest, she sees things in a rather different light.

I have a sense of almost playing when I write short stories, compared with the more serious business of plotting and constructing a full-length novel. However, I do have a new novel germinating in my head and, although my main task at present is the stories, I’m continually mulling over its characters and plot, and trying to give it some sort of preliminary shape.
What kind of clothes do you like to wear?

I’ve never been very interested in clothes. As a child, I hated hair-ribbons and frilly dresses and wished I was a boy. Even now, I get irritated by fashion magazines telling me I have to follow such-and-such a trend, or wear such-and-such a colour. I especially hate uncomfortable clothes like tight skirts and push-up bras, and I once wrote a novel about a bunion operation, so I worry about high heels. If I see a woman tottering along on 4-inch stilettos, I’m tempted to stop her in the street and warn her that she’s damaging her feet!

I prefer to go barefoot, or wear old, comfy trainers. And my favourite clothes are tracksuits and pyjamas, so, when it comes to fashion, I’m afraid I’m a dead loss. I’d rather read Enid Blyton than Vogue.

Are you in love? Have you ever been?

My past is littered with tragic romances! I always chose the wrong guy, fell head-over-heels in love, then suffered for it, hugely. But the great thing about being a writer is that no experience, however bad, is wasted. At least I had ample material for the sort of difficult, dominant men who tend to work well in novels. Who wants to read about saintly men or pussycats?

I always feel a strong bond with my own male characters, however annoying they may be for other people. For example, Christopher in my novel, “Bird Inside”, is a moody, selfish, overbearing stained-glass artist, but he does have redeeming features – he’s cultured and charismatic, as well as being a wonderful lover. In order to create characters, the author must feel a basic sympathy for them. I go further than that and sometimes find myself actually fantasising about those maddening males I’ve conjured into life!

As for being in love now, well, there’s no one on the horizon. But, despite all the tempestuous perils of romance, if someone came along, I’d probably let myself be swept up in the excitement – and then regret it later.

Do you have a dream lover – and what does he look like?

My dream lover is an ex-priest – someone who has suffered and struggled and fought his inner demons. He’s not young – indeed he looks rather ravaged, but in a lean and handsome sort of way. He’s controlled, contained, scholarly and deep, but capable of sudden romantic tendernesses, such as kissing the inside of my elbow or the spaces between my fingers. Aaaaaah!

What kind of comfort food do you like best?

Nursery food – rice pudding, custard, Marmite ‘soldiers’, squidgy peanut-butter sandwiches. I always enjoy children’s parties, where they serve jelly and iced fairy cakes. I also love those buffet-restaurants where you can help yourself to anything and everything. When I was researching my novel, “Sin City”, set in Las Vegas, I’d sometimes end the day by dining in one of the amazing Vegas buffets, where there might be over 200 different items on display. Some of the Vegas residents, who came on a daily basis, could hardly fit on the chairs!

What makes you laugh?

Woody Allen’s films; my brother’s awful jokes; an American friend’s parrot, which knows 150 words but whose favourite phrase is “Birds can’t talk!” And I always giggle at foreign menus that get their English wrong. I once saw “fried god” and “cow pie”. I had to laugh the other day when I saw a flock of greedy pigeons scrambling over each other to grab their share of crumbs. They were literally trampling each other’s bodies, like a gang of manic shoppers on the first day of Harrods’ sale.

And however immodest it may sound, I sometimes laughed out loud while writing my new novel. Although it deals with serious themes, I tried to make it funny. Eric is petrified of flying and his terror drives him to farcical lengths, when, for the first time in his 44 years, he’s forced to board a plane. He’s convinced that the woman sitting next to him – a devout Muslim in a niquab – is actually a terrorist in disguise. And he refuses to budge from his cramped, confining seat, for fear that if he walks around the plane, it might overbalance and cause a fatal crash.

What makes you cry?

Young men returning in coffins from Iraq and Afghanistan. Every coffin reminds me of my daughter’s, and I feel a bond with every grieving mother, because losing a child is one of the sharpest losses in the world. At least I had my daughter for 42 years, whereas some of those dead soldiers are barely out of their teens.

Another thing that makes me cry is cruelty in any shape or form, whether to animals or children or the helpless elderly.

And I want to cry with sheer frustration at those official forms that ask endless, pointless questions, phrased in gobbledegook.

What do you do to amuse yourself when not working?

I love going to the movies. Because I rarely watch television, the big screen is a genuine treat, and cinemas, which I adored as a child, are still magical places for me. I love the sense of occasion; the companionable darkness; the way my petty problems fade into insignificance as the opening credits come up on-screen and I’m transported to a different world. Films provide the perfect escape.

I also love meeting friends, especially old friends from school and college days who know the real me. I haven’t much patience with cocktail-party chit-chat, but a real heart-to-heart with a mate from way back is wonderfully therapeutic.

And I enjoy going to the gym, although less on account of the exercise than because I meet such a wide variety of people there – every size, shape, type and profession. My third short-story collection was called “Virgin in the Gym”!

What is it in a man or woman that turns you on? The clean version please!

Despite my own dislike of smart clothes, I’m attracted by men who are elegantly dressed, preferably in a suit and a crisp white shirt, worn over their bare skin. Vests are a real turn-off, as are anoraks, and yes, pyjamas. (How inconsistent I am!) Voices are very important. The perfect male voice is a mixture of Cognac and black velvet. And I like short hair, superbly cut. Ponytails on men are anathema to me. I’m intrigued by enigmatic men who possess depth and subtlety, and are full of internal contradictions

What do you hate about life?

Its injustice – the way some people have to endure extremes of pain and suffering, while others romp through life with barely a graze. It’s all the more upsetting when it applies to children – those, for example, who’ve had no security or proper parenting. This is one of the themes in “Broken Places”. Eric is a foundling who’s spent his whole childhood in care, with frequent unsettling moves from so-called home to home. Although he’s saved from a dead-end future by an altruistic librarian (who encourages him to become a librarian himself), most kids-in-care are far less fortunate. Often, their lives have already been blighted since birth, yet they go on to suffer every sort of adversity, through no fault of their own. The future for many is bleak. They frequently land up unemployed and homeless, and their numbers are scandalously high among all disadvantaged group such as drug-addicts and prisoners.

On the more trivial side, my pet hates include tapioca; long waits at bus-stops; doing my tax-returns, and – worst of all - those round-robin emails that insist you send them on to at least 2-dozen other people, or something dire will happen. If I don’t send them on, I feel ridiculously worried all week!

What do you hope to achieve in life and when will you know that you have been a success?

I’d like to continue writing till I’m 99 and also still be doing something useful like teaching or volunteering – so long as I haven’t lost my marbles. In some ways, writing is a selfish pursuit – tuning in to one’s own passions and obsessions - so it’s important for writers to interact with the wider world. I suffered quite a lot of trauma, especially in my early life, so I hope I can be some help to other people, and react with understanding and compassion to their particular problems.

As for knowing one’s “a success”, I doubt I’ll ever feel that. Most writers always think they could do better. Perhaps that’s why we struggle on, continually hoping that the next book – or the next – will be the one that makes it.

What are you going to write next?

Well, I hope it will be that new novel I’ve started planning in my head, but I don’t want to say too much about it yet. When things are in the embryo stage, they’re often frail and vulnerable, and need nurturing in private before being paraded in public. Also, a plot or idea can suddenly change and take a totally different direction. But that’s another advantage of being a writer – one is continually surprised.

Featured Author Wendy Perriam/Press release

a novel by
Wendy Perriam

Publication date: 31 August, 2010 Price: £18.99

‘What’s your mother’s name?’
‘What does your father do?’
‘Where do you come from?’
‘Where and when were you born?’

Eric Parkhill has no answers to such questions - or a single known blood-relation. A modern-day foundling, in a long tradition stretching back to Romulus and Remus, and including famous fictional foundlings like Tom Jones, Heathcliff and Oliver Twist, he was abandoned as an infant in a Croydon recreation-ground and given the name of the park-keeper who found him.

Growing up in care, with frequent moves from so-called home to home, his one refuge is the public library, where an altruistic librarian saves him from a dead-end future and eventually encourages him to enter her own profession.

“Writing Broken Places involved a steep learning curve,” Perriam says, of this, her first novel in 8 years. “I knew little about libraries and nothing about children’s homes. Many of those in care have already led blighted lives since birth, and go on to suffer every disadvantage, through no fault of their own. Although shocked by the injustice, I wrote the book as a comedy – light treatment for dark subjects.”

Fear is one such subject. Eric is prey to many terrors – as is Perriam herself. Fear is something of a paradox, in that it’s a basic human drive compelling us to action, yet can result in total paralysis. 2.5 million people in the UK alone suffer from phobias, and the average Briton spends 2½ hours a day worrying – a total of 6½ years over the course of the average lifetime. “More like twenty years in my own case!” Perriam admits.

Yet her aim is to make the reader laugh - and the novel also helped her personally. “My daughter had recently died of tongue-cancer, leaving two small sons, whose father had already died. To cope with my grief, I plunged myself into work, feeling I was writing the book for her. Sometimes I had the uncanny sense that she was helping me from beyond the grave. Who knows?”

About the Author

Wendy Perriam has been writing since the age of 5, completing her first ‘novel’, A Pony At Last, on her 12th birthday. Expelled from boarding school for heresy - told she was in Satan’s power and in danger of eternal damnation - she escaped to Oxford, where she read History and also trod the boards. After a variety of offbeat jobs, ranging from artist’s model to carnation-disbudder to researcher on medieval cookery, she now divides her time between teaching and writing. Having begun by writing poetry, she went on to publish 15 novels and 6 short-story collections. She has also written extensively for newspapers and magazines.

Wendy feels that her many conflicting life experiences – strict convent-school discipline and swinging-sixties wildness, marriage and divorce, infertility and motherhood, 9-to-5 conformity and periodic Bedlam – have helped shape her as a writer. ‘Writing allows for shadow-selves. I’m both the staid conformist matron and the slag; the well-organised author toiling at her desk and the madwoman shrieking in a straitjacket.’

Notes to Editors
Wendy Perriam’s latest novel, Broken Places, will be published in hardback by Robert Hale on 31 August, 2010.
Wendy is available for interview. Her previous novels include Absinthe for Elevenses, After Purple, Born of Woman, Sin City, Second Skin and Tread Softly.

Visit her website at

For more information, review copies and photographs,
please contact Paola Motka at Robert Hale Publishers
Tel: 020 7251 2661 Email:


Perriam is a writer of authority and skill, with a wicked ear for conversational quirks. Sunday Times

One of the finest and funniest writers to emerge in England since Kingsley Amis. She is gifted with devastating powers of observation and can call up characters who are both compact and complex. Herald Tribune

Wendy Perriam is one of the funniest writers around. Daily Telegraph

Perriam is a real find - she has that magical combination of a brisk, lively style and a literate intelligence. Sunday Express

She has a considerable command of her craft and a shrewd sense of those aspects of contemporary life which are worth recording. Times Literary Supplement

Each book is a magnificently orchestrated orgy in which her potent blend of sex, religion and humour takes the reader on a spiritual odyssey from the solid rocks of safety to the wilder shores of fantasy. Time Out

One of the most interesting unsung novelists of her generation, Perriam is a skilled and sympathetic observer of contemporary life. Intelligent and accessible … she writes beautifully about relationships and hilariously about sex. Sunday Telegraph

Perriam is rare among contemporary writers in the breadth of her canvas and the boldness of her colours: a sort of literary blend of Benjamin Haydon and Stanley Spencer. Books and Bookmen

Perriam’s shrewd, sharp prose style is complemented by a marvellous talent for satirical observation. The Scotsman

Perriam must be a strong contender for Britain’s most underrated novelist. Daily Telegraph

Perriam makes waves with her novels because each of them is an unusually honest projection of her personality and each of them is sustained by a fine command of her craft. Glasgow Herald

Never predictable, never sentimental, she is a terrific champion of the powers of the imagination to transform individual lives. The Tablet

Wendy Perriam is sometimes very funny, sometimes very sexual, sometimes very painful, and always difficult to pin down. Standard


Perriam remains a writer of great charm and considerable technical skill. Sunday Telegraph

Perriam is the novelist who makes purple prose a term of approval. Nobody does deep feelings better. Sunday Times

Perriam's strength is emotional accuracy. She draws convincing characters and poignant situations, and the reader can't help but be emotionally involved. The Spectator

It is Wendy Perriam’s gift to set out a chessboard of conventional characters with whom the reader can identify, and move them, perfectly plausibly, into the most extraordinary situations. You settle down for a nice, undemanding read, then you are hooked and finally you cannot put the book down. Daily Telegraph

Perriam is both clever and funny, as well as being a skilled artist with something to say about life. This is an author who has learned how to face the world and tame the horrors of life: we should be grateful for her optimism – it is infectious. The Tablet

Wendy Perriam was born to write. She looks at the world with a different eye from the rest of us. Her work refreshes and exhilarates. She gets to the heart of the matter, and there, lurking beneath the seriously mundane, we discover the spiritual underpinnings of the universe. I am her greatest fan. Fay Weldon

It is impossible to categorise this prolific novelist, whose work is a bizarre mixture of intellectual gravitas and sex scenes more steamy than any you’d find in a bonkbuster. Perriam has a pacy Polaroid pen. Daily Mail.

Wendy Perriam must be one of the most underrated writers in the country. But in an oeuvre of nearly 20 books, she has proved a consistently sharp chronicler of modern Britain. She is also an extremely entertaining storyteller. As so often with Perriam – and this is a large part of her appeal – you do not know whether to laugh or cry. Sunday Telegraph

Perriam’s novels are full of learned allusions. In a lesser writer, such moments would appear pretentious, or at least incongruous. But for Perriam they are part of the broad fabric she so skilfully and entertainingly stitches together. With her eye for lush detail and ear for acute urban wit, she exerts an unsettling and compelling grip. She has such great imaginative prurience it makes her difficult to put down. Time Out

Literary, funny, moving. In a word, wonderful. Daily Mail

Her books will surely live on as great literature long after she and the rest of us have gone. June Sampson. Surrey Comet

Monday 9 August 2010

Echoes of a Promise





This Regency Romance story begins in London 1875.

Miss Victoria Shelford, walking home from the Bloomsbury Foundling Hospital in London, where she was a volunteer helper, was preoccupied with her thoughts about the difference between the privileged families, of which she was one and the poor and homeless. She had just witnessed a young girl giving birth on a filthy floor and she had died. Victoria was angry about the unfairness in England between the classes and wished that she could change society.

As she neared her home her Mother’s carriage drew up and her young sister Emily rushed from the carriage crying. Emily was very shy and tongue tied when she was out in company, it was driving their Mother to desperation and she despaired of ever finding a husband for Emily. But soon Emily was to become the favoured daughter and Victoria was to fall from grace.

Mr. George Sheldford their father, was an MP and was soon to be re-elected; Victoria had always been his favourite daughter, as he considered her the most intelligent female of his family.

Unfortunately life was to take a disastrous turn for Victoria, when she was sent to stay with her Great Aunt Honoria in Devon. While she was staying with her Aunt she met a young sea Captain Peter Latham, whom she later married, much to the disgust of her parents. When shortly after her marriage her young husband died she tried to return to the family home but she was not welcomed and unless she admitted that she had never really been married her parents would not receive her. Victoria could not believe their attitude and would not lie about her marriage and so she was disowned by her family.

When her sister Emily made, surprisingly, a very advantageous marriage, Victoria was welcomed by her sister and new brother-in-law but still not by her parents.

Eventually Victoria decided to make a new life, she was comfortably placed by her husband’s legacy, much to her surprise, and so she decided to travel.

Victoria was to find a new life and meet someone in Kashmir whom she learned to love and admire, would fate be kind to her at last, Andrew Wyndham was not an easy man to get to know?

Read this unusual book and travel with Victoria through her many adventures, I am sure you will enjoy the journey. I award this book 4.5 Red Roses.

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Favourite books

Scandal by Amanda Quick

Publisher: Bantam Books

March 1991

ISBN: 0-553-28932-2

Pages: 329

Emily Faringdon has resigned herself to being a spinster after an indiscretion in her youth. Emily meets the man of her dreams when she embarks on a correspondence with a new pen pal. She soon finds herself falling in love with her pen pal. Emily knows that she will never have a chance to meet him but in her dreams she will have everything she has convinced herself that she will never be able to have in life. In his letters she finds a sensitive and intelligent man.

Simon Augustus Traherne, Earl of Blade, has a secret in his past that has made him the man he is now. With all of London cowering at his feet he is getting what he has set out to get many years before. He also has the chance to avenge the past. The only person who sees Simon for who and what he truly is and will never cower before him is Emily. She is fast taking his plans that he has had in place for years and turning them upside down. Simon is going to have to decide just what is more important to him, his plans or Emily.

Emily knows that the only way to make Simon truly happy is to find the heart of her golden eyed dragon and make sure that Simon looks to the future and finally lets go of the past or they will never have the chance at happiness that is within their reach. Only time will tell if Emily will be able to tame the dragon or if Simon will let everything come crashing down around him.

This is a story that will have the reader rooting for the character as they try to find their way to happiness. This book has humor in that makes sure that it doesn’t get to dark or heavy. The story will have the reader hoping that the characters find their way to forgiving the past so that they can have the happy future that the hero and heroine so richly deserve. This is hard book to put down once you start to read it. You want to find out how it all ends and the ending does not disappoint at all.

I give this one 5 red roses


Deception by Amanda Quick

Publisher: Bantam Books

November 2009 (reissue)

ISBN: 978-0-553-59282-5

Pages: 402

Olympia Wingfield loved to study ancient legends and about long lost treasures. That has been difficult to do since her three nephews have come to live with her. Now Olympia is trying to raise the three hellions and doesn’t have the time to do her research anymore. Everything changes when a stranger steps into her library unannounced and starts straightening out her world. The man looks like he has stepped out of one of Olympia’s legends. A handsome man that takes Olympia’s breath away from the very first sight.

Jared Chillhurst looks like a daring pirate but he tells Olympia that he is a tutor for her nephews. Jared plies Olympia with tales of travel and customs that until now Olympia has only been able to read about in books, Jared soon captures Olympia’s heart. Unfortunately Jared is getting caught in a trap of his own making. All too quickly Olympia learns that Jared is not the lowly tutor she thought he was but actually a future earl.

Now that the truth is coming out things quickly get more complicated while they search clues for a treasure that has been lost for several generations. Jared is going to have to convince Olympia that the only treasure he is truly interested in is her. Thinking that the only way to be able to have Jared is to convince him to keep searching for the treasure Olympia does just that. Little does Olympia realize that Jared is looking for more than just a few weeks or months with Olympia, he is looking for a lifetime with her. With others looking for the treasure too they are going to have to be careful that they don’t end up paying with their lives.

This story is set in the period after England’s war with France. The story is quick paced and has some wonderful characters. The different characters bring a great deal of humor to the story and bring the story to life which keeps the reader interested in the book. The story is a fun one to read and will keep you hooked until the very last sentence. You never know what will happen to the characters next and will hate to put the book down until you find out what is happening.

I give this one 4-1/2 red roses