“These Are a Few of my Favorite Things: 5 of my favorite novels I’d recommend in a heartbeat. 

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Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue.

This novel is my all time favorite for many reasons. It’s got everything I look for in a novel! Sex, murder, intrigue… it’s not a happy story,  then again I love to read and write unhappy things.

Our main character, Mary is not likable and that’s what I love about her. She’s constantly messing up even when she has a light at the end of the tunnel and a chance to redeem herself. Mary is so young when the events of the novel take place and one could attribute her troubles to her age but in truth, she is an arrogant, greedy girl.

The novel is set in London and on the outskirts of the city. It discusses prostitution and the struggles of the lower class.

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The Wideacre Trilogy by Philippa Gregory.

Move over The Other Boleyn Girl, Gregory’s debut novel is one to pick up and not miss!

As with Slammerkin, the wiseacre trilogy discusses sensitive subjects such as incest, murder, and the occult. It’s a fabulously told tale which keeps you on the edge of your seat. The main character is Beatrice Lacey and once again we have an unlovable protagonist. She’s greedy and vain yet you can’t stop reading. Beatrice, like Mary from slammerkin, had a chance to redeem herself but she does not and only continues her behavior.

This leads to a series of events crashing down around herself and others. It’s a great read and if you can stomach raunchy incest sex scenes then it’s definitely worth your time.

 

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Leonardo’s Swans by Karen Essex

This novel was one I picked up on a whim and ended up loving. The two women featured, Isabella and Beatrice are as different as two sisters can be. Their rivalry is marked by marriage and although the sisters both make great marriages there is more to be had. Jealousy, adultery, love and more fill the pages of this historical fiction novel.

 

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Cleopatra’s Daughter Series by  Stephanie Dray

This series surprised me a lot. At first, I thought it a young adult book but by the time I got to the third novel I was definitely convinced it was not.

Octavian’s obsession with Selene is the center I would say of the novel. There is so much sexual tension between them and to some, this could be a trigger as she is so young.

I believe it is a great series and for those who love Cleopatra, this insight into her daughter is worth the read!

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The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis

If you know anything about the Borgias you know that a novel about them will be raunchy as hell and fun to read. In this novel, our main character is Sancha of Aragon. Most books I have read are from Lucrezia’s perspective so this was a breath of fresh air. I enjoyed her loveless marriage to Joffre and affair with Cesare. Sancha has relations with all three brothers. In real life, this was said to be true.

This novel has a lot of sex. Rape and underage included. It contains boatloads of adultery and murder so definitely not for the faint of heart. I think I finished it in a day. It’s a pretty quick read which keeps you interested the whole time cause you feel like you need to continue to the end of this fascinating woman’s life.

 

 

Honorable Mentions

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The Wise Woman By Philippa Gregory

A riveting tale of witchcraft and lust…

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Duchess of Milan By Michael Ennis

Cousin rivalry, sexual intrigue and more…

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Empress of Rome Series By Kate Quinn

Ancient Rome at its finest with corrupt Emperors…

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Diaries of the Family Dracula By Jeanne Kalogridis

The story behind the Dracula family descendants.

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The Lost Queen By Norah Lofts

George III’s sister Caroline and her disastrous marriage to Christain of Denmark.

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The Prince and the Quakeress By Jean Plaidy

George III and Hannah Lightfoot. A person favorite and basis for what I wrote my novel on.

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The Russian Concubine series By Kate Furnivall

A Russian woman and Chinese man fall hopelessly in love despite the events going on around them.

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Empress Orchid and The Last Empress by Anchee Min

Cixi from minor concubine to Empress…

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Four Sisters All Queens by Sherry Jones

The four sisters of Provance have their voices heard in this gripping novel…

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The Dark Queen Series by Susan Carroll

Catherine de Medici and her flying squad of witchcraft and poison center around this long series of sisters.

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Roma by Steven Saylor

Short story collection of Roman families from the start to the fall…

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Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

The beautiful Egyptian queen comes to life…

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Katherine by Anya Seton

Mistress and wife?

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The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

An exciting biblical refering novel about Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah.

“The Deep and Timeless Sea” A lifelong obsession with the ocean and all things to do with it. 

*Spoilers*

Obviously 

Read here —–> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XYVL6T5

 

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While writing The King’s Secret Daughter I debated heavily on the role of the ocean and Jack Smith. At first, I thought to do the two as two separate stories but then Part Two was born. I wanted my readers to understand that the American Revolution was fought on both land and sea and that the battles on the water were just as important and strategically rough as those on land. The role that Jack Smith and the Century plays is one similar to John Paul Jones. A famous revolutionary war captain.

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To understand why I chose the sea as part two I suppose we have to go back to the beginning and where my obsession for the ocean first stemmed from: I was raised the daughter of a man who was in the Navy and so the sea was already within my blood. All my life I was positioned close to the water and within proximity of nautical history. Both the Navy base and the mystic seaport provided me with valuable information which would stick with me for a lifetime. My young brain absorbed the information about vessels in and on the ocean, eventually graduating to an obsession with sharks and other creatures of the deep.

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My shark obsession was short but sweet. I got made fun of a lot as I poured over books of different type of sharks. My favorite was learning about shark attacks and then finding sharks in sunken ships. It was at this point my interest took a turn elsewhere…

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When Titanic came out I wanted to see it badly. When I did, my obsession for ocean liners grew to an all-time high. I became obsessed with the study of these magnificent floating palaces, devoting every Robert Ballard book in my school’s library. I was fascinated by how they were made down to many of their intimate endings on the ocean floor and how their mass capacity caused great loss of life.

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From ocean liners came the world of tall ships. Around this time I recall the local seaport doing a special on the Amistad. While visiting, I re-entered the world of whaling upon the Charles W Morgan and from there came curiosity on tall ships. I began to dig into whaling ships to war ships and finally… pirate ships.

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I cannot give all credit to Pirates of the Caribbean but my mind  waundered to new and mysterious ways while watching and researching the film. I fell in love with life at sea and, possibly Jack Sparrow, but that the girl in me always loving those bad boys. This led right into my adult career when I began working for Real Pirates.

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I suppose my enthusiasm and love for the subject is that got me the manager position, but this job was honestly my favorite and it brought me from Connecticut to Texas. I so loved being around the cannons and artifacts. It was a dream come true and to this day I wished it had been permanent.

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After the pirate exhibition ended I did a number of other jobs including the librarian. It was then that the idea for The King’s Secret Daughter came to light. I began the novel back in 2008 but dropped it entirely, leaving notes and scrambled papers. I began some more notes in 2014 but dropped the project again when my daughter was born. She’s Only Seventeen took the main road and was published in 2016.

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In January of 2017, I sat down and reviewed the notes to The King’s Secret Daughter. It was then a lightbulb went off in my head and I began writing only to stop six weeks later after 340 pages and 70,000 words were born. A cover was created and my novel was finished.

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The characters on board The Century are based on a number of historical and fictional sea characters. I studied relentlessly the parts of a war ship from the 1780s down to names and features. I researched roles and finally found my footing on who and what part two would consist of. The contrast which part two brings to the novel is striking. We have land and sea.  Anna comments on the beauty of the sea but misses land. Jack lives and breathes the sea which is strongly evident in his excitement during battle and needs to get off the island as soon as possible.

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Anna’s life upon the ship is marked by tragedy. The loss of life within battles and storms was common. The scene where Jack does a burial service for the fallen is taken straight from real life. The prayer he serves was a common one. I changed a few words to make it more understandable for readers. The way the dead were buried is taken straight from an eye wilt was account. The last stitch through the nose was actually a common procedure and can be found in both our history books and movies.

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I’ve begun a sequel to this novel but sadly no more sea scenes. That’s not to say we won’t see anyone from the Century again but that’s for me to know only. When I am done with this, the prequel to she’s only seventeen will be released and then possibly I will work on my time travel romance.

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I have debated a pirate story since my love of the ocean has reached their but so much has been done on the subject already. I have ways of placing my own marking and twists in the story but it’s so overdone.

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If anyone of my readers actually read this I’d love some input. A pirate story, yea or nay? Would y’all like more ocean themed books?

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I guess we will see what the future holds but one matter will forever remain unchanging. My love for the sea and all things to do with it.

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