Tag Archives: romance

Mark of the Leopard by Kathy Stewart, Authors’ Ally, 2015

Mark of the Leopard by Kathy Stewart, Authors’ Ally, 2015

Author’s Blurb

From the author of Chameleon comes this historical fiction novel, Mark of the Leopard, the second in the African history series, a story of romance, mystery, danger and betrayal set against a backdrop of wild lands and raging seas.

In 1703 Sabrina Barrington and her children are shipwrecked and presumed drowned off the Cape of Good Hope, the site of the present-day city of Cape Town. Fourteen years later, an investigator tells Sabrina’s brother, Lucien Castle, that one of his sister’s children has been seen on the island of Madagascar, off Africa’s east coast. It is imperative to return the youngster to England before his twenty-fifth birthday, otherwise his grandfather, the corrupt and detested Robert Barrington, will usurp his rightful inheritance. Castle is the only one who can confirm the young man is not an impostor. In order to do this he must leave the comfort of Amsterdam in Holland and embark on a journey into the unknown.

Will Castle be able to overcome his demons and find his nephew in time? Or will he succumb to the perils that beset his epic expedition every step of the way?

In a voyage that takes them from the untamed island of Madagascar to the storm-tossed Dutch outpost at the Cape of Good Hope, Castle and his companion must face innumerable dangers and battle not only rival investigators but also each other.

Review by Hazel Barker

Mark of the Leopard by Kathy Stewart is a fast-moving story that is difficult to put down. It is a novel rich in history and laden with suspense. The author has clearly done extensive research and woven it seamlessly into the novel. She uses her skills as an historian to write a gripping yarn.

The characters, and in particular, Lucien Castle, who goes in search of his nephew, Tom Barrington, spring from the page. A sense of guilt regarding his wife and children, stirs Lucien to help his sister’s son. He fears the sea and faces his fear time and time again, in order to save the boy.

Kathy Stewart is a versatile writer and is the author of children’s books as well as several books of non-fiction.

Mark of the Leopard is her second novel. Her debut novel, Chameleon was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award in 2010.

 

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Review of Cicadas In Summer by Sara Delaval

Cicadas In Summer by Sara Delaval FeedARead.com Publishing, 2014

Author’s Blurb
In Brisbane, single parent Kate Anderson, 34, drops her two youngsters at school before a routine visit to Lisa, an emergency housing client. A Queenslander, social worker Kate has rebuilt her life after divorce and enjoys her work supporting disadvantaged people. After being first to witness the gory scene following the brutal murder of Lisa and her children, Kate turns to her close-knit family for support. She meets Jack, her brother’s solicitor friend and gratefully accepts his help, as the horrors multiply to engulf her. Suddenly and inexplicably, as she tries to piece the mystery together, Kate becomes the target of a prowler and telephone threats. Determined to find out why this is happening and feeling that the police are missing something, she ignores all warnings of risk to herself. Jack’s assistance becomes increasingly important and although romantic entanglements are out of the question, Kate finds herself strongly attracted to him. Events escalate with another killing and when Kate’s own precious children are kidnapped the stakes reach a new level. With the help of the police the children are rescued. Then when Prue, a work colleague disappears, Kate becomes bait to catch the killer.

Review by Hazel Barker
Cicadas in Summer is an excellent debut crime fiction set in the Redlands, Queensland. The author tells of a shocking tragedy in an otherwise idyllic suburb. Cicadas in Summer is a dark story with likeable investigators and a bumbling though well-meaning protagonist. It is deftly plotted and fast paced with a blend of mystery and romance, and possesses all the elements of a good crime novel, not forgetting the foreshadowing.
The dénouement packs a punch with a satisfactory ending.
I read Cicadas in Summer as I was intrigued by its title. I haven’t indulged in this genre since my childhood, and often wonder why women love them—not only its cosy, sanitised version, but explicit accounts of murder, rape and torture. This story is more of the former type of mystery. It may not result in nightmares for the reader, but could cause one to keep on reading late into the night.

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Chameleon by Kathy Stewart

Chameleon by Kathy Stewart

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Publisher’s Summary

It’s 1914. Troops mass for war in Europe, and even at a remote trading store in Transkei, South Africa, the Moss family and their sometimes-guest Richard feel the impact on their lives. Then Richard enlists, taking fifteen-year-old Fred with him. Albert and Martha are furious and afraid for Fred, but fourteen-year-old Eve is shattered, her hopes of eloping with Richard dashed. All she has to remember him by is a strange wooden mannikin … Chameleon was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award in the UK in 2010.

Review by Hazel Barker

Chameleon is a debut novel. Set in South Africa during the two World Wars, the author deftly weaves a story from intensive research, and gives an authentic feel to the characters and situations. Written in the style of Wilbur Smith, the author explains historical events crucial to the story with clarity and verve.

The book grabs the reader from the start, and the pace quickens as the story enfolds. The stories of two families—one black and the other white—run parallel to each other, giving a sense of deep loyalties and hostilities held by each character.

Chameleon has many twists and turns, which leave the reader guessing until the final chapters. I recommend the book to all those who love mystery, history and romance.

Link to: http://www.goldcoastwritersworkshops.com

 

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