Review: The Alchemist of Lost Souls (Bianca Goddard Mysteries #4) by Mary Lawrence

As many of you know, I have a weakness for historical mysteries. I adore them and can’t get enough. However, so many of them are written during Victorian or Edwardian era England that often the books blend together, no matter how well written they are.

That’s why this book set itself apart for me….it’s set in Tudor England. When I think of historical mysteries, I don’t think of Tudor England as an optimal setting, but rather a period full of obstacles to detecting/investigating, so I was eager to see how the author used this to her advantage.

I haven’t read any of the other books in the series, so I was a little wary of reading this book with already 4 books into the series. However, the author assured me that it could read as a standalone book. Continue reading “Review: The Alchemist of Lost Souls (Bianca Goddard Mysteries #4) by Mary Lawrence”

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Special Feature: The Alchemist of Lost Souls (Bianca Goddard Mysteries #4) by Mary Lawrence

The first thing that caught my eye about this book was the title. I love the mystical and scientific world of alchemy and I thing it makes for an interesting backdrop for a murder mystery. Also the time period. So so so many historical mysteries are set from the Victorian era thru WWII and while I love all those periods, there are times when it feels a little stale. This time period is ripe with superstition and I think it will do nicely for a series such as this.

When I saw this book, I didn’t even care that it was 4th in a series, the time period alone sounded refreshing (it’s set in 1544!) and I’ve also been assured that each book reads as a standalone. I will have it up for official review in June, but I’ve gotta say, I’ve already peaked the first chapter and already loving it!

I also have a copy up for giveaway this week over on my Instagram page so be sure to check that out as well! The book is available today so I wanted to make sure it was on all of your radar! I am eager to discover this new and exciting heroine who does all her sleuthing in a very unique period!

Summary

A dangerous element discovered by Bianca Goddard’s father falls into the wrong hands . . . leading to a chain of murders.

Spring 1544 Now that she is with child, Bianca is more determined than ever to distance herself from her unstable father. Desperate to win back the favor of King Henry VIII, disgraced alchemist Albern Goddard plans to reveal a powerful new element he’s discovered–one with deadly potential. But when the substance is stolen, he implores his daughter to help.

Soon after, a woman’s body is found behind the Dim Dragon Inn, an eerie green vapor rising from her mouth. Bianca has reason to suspect her own mother may be involved in the theft and the murder. When her husband John is conscripted into King Henry’s army to subdue Scottish resistance, finding the stone becomes a matter of life and death. Bianca must unravel the interests of alchemists, apothecaries, chandlers, and scoundrels–to find out who among them is willing to kill to possess the element known as lapis mortem, the stone of death (summary from Goodreads).

About the Author

The Bianca Goddard Mysteries are set in Tudor London during the final years of King Henry VIII’s reign. Bianca is the daughter of an infamous alchemist who uses her ‘wits’ and sometimes alchemy to solve murders. The series consists of (in order) THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER, DEATH OF AN ALCHEMIST, and DEATH AT ST. VEDAST. THE ALCHEMIST OF LOST SOULS will release in May 2019, with one more book to follow from Kensington.

I grew up in Indiana but I’ve spent most of my life living in Maine. I’ve also spent most of my life working in hospitals and labs. On the side, I began writing mostly to escape boredom. It’s taken me years to learn how to craft a decent novel. (Or what I term decent). I supplemented my income by writing indexes for publishers. Occasionally I will pen an article and I have been published by the national news blog, The Daily Beast.

I love Tudor England and I focus on the lower classes. My Bianca Goddard mysteries are meant to entertain and I hope they will engage readers who might not pick up period historicals as a first choice. It is an intriguing period, full of superstition, and the makings for interesting characters.

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Excerpt: THE PHANTOM TREE by Nicola Cornick

Attention all Tudor era historical fiction fans…..here is a new release that you might be interested in! See reading to see a sneak peak excerpt below! It sounds like such an exciting book, in fact it might make me come out of my self imposed Tudor era hiding, just to read it!

Book: THE PANTOM TREE by Nicola Cornick

Paperback: 384 pages

Publisher: Graydon House; Original edition (September 1, 2018)

Browsing an antiques shop in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across a delicate old portrait—identified as the doomed Tudor queen, Anne Boleyn. Except Alison knows better. The subject is Mary Seymour, the daughter of Katherine Parr, who was taken to Wolf Hall in 1557 and presumed dead after going missing as a child. And Alison knows this because she, too, lived at Wolf Hall and knew Mary…more than four hundred years ago.

The painting of Mary is more than just a beautiful object for Alison—it holds the key to her past life, the unlocking of the mystery surrounding Mary’s disappearance and how Alison can get back to her own time. To when she and Mary were childhood enemies yet shared a pact that now, finally, must be fulfilled, no matter the cost.

Bestselling author of House of Shadows Nicola Cornick offers a provocative alternate history of rivals, secrets and danger, set in a time when a woman’s destiny was determined by the politics of men and luck of birth. A spellbinding tale for fans of Kate Morton, Philippa Gregory and Barbara Erskine.

EXCERPT

Continue reading “Excerpt: THE PHANTOM TREE by Nicola Cornick”

Cover Reveal: The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

Publication: Fall 2018
Endeavour Quill

Genre: Historical Fiction

What would you do to possess the most coveted color in the world? The year is 1758, and a headstrong woman artist, 24-year-old Genevieve Planche, is caught up in a high-stakes race to discover the ultimate color, one that threatens to become as deadly as it is lucrative. When Genevieve’s mission is complicated by her falling in love with the chemist behind the formula, she discovers the world of blue is filled with ruthless men and women and how high the stakes really are. The story sweeps readers from the worlds of the silk-weaving refugees of London’s Spitalfields and the luxury-obsessed drawing rooms of Grosvenor Square to the porcelain factory of Derby and, finally, magnificent Sevres Porcelain in the shadow of Versailles. And running through it all: the dangerous allure of the color blue.

“Bilyeau’s sumptuous tale of mystery and intrigue transports the reader into the heart of the 18th century porcelain trade—where the price of beauty was death”’ E.M. Powell, author of the Stanton & Barling medieval mystery series.

Add to your Goodreads here! 

Continue reading “Cover Reveal: The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau”

Review: A Column of Fire (Kingsbridge #3) by Ken Follett

I was first introduced to Ken Follett back in 2009 when I took my first trip to London. I needed something long enough that I would not read it all by the time the flight was over and long enough that I wouldn’t have to buy another book while I was there.

One of my friends recommended The Pillars of the Earth. I wasn’t going to read it but she brought it for me and I felt bad saying no.

Ironically, all I remember of that trip was how much I loved that book! That book was fantastic. I loved everything about it. I remember staying up way too late reading it. Taking it with us on every single tour bus and reading every chance I got. I loved that book so much.

I didn’t read the second book in the series World Without End, because I honestly felt like there was no need to make this into a series. It was so good as a stand alone and when the first book ended–it ended. I didn’t think a follow up was warranted. Continue reading “Review: A Column of Fire (Kingsbridge #3) by Ken Follett”