The Scottish Bride

Susan here, with a look at my upcoming book, The Scottish Bride, now available on preorder for a June 4 release (just a couple of weeks away!). I’d love to share something about the story and historical background with you. This is a totally NEW novel, never before published! (My previous backlist books, related to these new stories but all independent reads, are recently available as the Celtic Hearts series.)

The Scottish Bride is Book One in my “Highland Secrets” trilogy. Book Two, The Forest Bride, is in editorial production (whew!), and Book Three, The Guardian’s Bride, is in the messy-but-promising writing stage. Scroll down for a sneak peek at their gorgeous covers too. I’ll post more info about those over the summer!

Secrets and heartfelt romance in medieval Scotland . . .
Three sisters of Clan Keith inherit gifts from their kinsman, the soothsayer Thomas the Rhymer, and must protect his legend and legacy—but each sister encounters a Scottish warrior intent on taking the treasure and thwarting the game.

When Lady Tamsin Keith escapes a castle tower to avoid marriage, she literally falls into the arms of a mysterious Scottish knight—Sir William Seton, sent by King Edward I to demand Thomas the Rhymer’s book of prophecies, said to be in the girl’s possession. Discovering that beautiful Tamsin is a gifted seer, Liam soon learns she is a tad too truthful, exceedingly stubborn, and has lost the Rhymer’s book. . .

But Liam’s forfeited lands and title, his wolfhounds, and his very life depend on bringing those prophecies to the king. Yet Tamsin refuses to trust the knight even as he thrills her lonely heart, even as they travel together to find the missing tome. Liam has a secret plan for that bothersome book—but never counted on falling for the lady’s headstrong allure. They must find the missing prophecies or answer to the king—but when a powerful foe threatens to tear down all they cherish, the only thing worth finding is love . . .

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More than England…

Cruise map

by Mary Jo

In casual conversation, the words “Britain” and “England are often used interchangeably, but in fact the two things are very different.  We’re just back from a Viking cruise called “The British Isles Explorer,” which really highlighted the difference.  The British Isles are a sprawling archipelago of islands sized anywhere from uninhabited rocks to full sized nations. The largest island is Great Britain, which includes England, Scotland, and Wales.

V&A courtyard

The second largest island is Ireland, which includes the Republic of Ireland and Northern Island. The latter joins with England, Scotland, and Wales to become the United Kingdom. As the route map shows, the cruise also included two island groups with strong Nordic ancestry, Orkney and Shetland.  So the British Islands Explorer cruise includes a lot more than England!

Nonetheless, we started with 3 days in London because why cross the Atlantic to the UK and not spend time in London?  So we did.  The Mayhem Consultant chose the lovely Rembrandt Hotel, which is literally across the street from the famous Victoria & Albert museum, which holds the world’s largest collection of applied arts and designs.  It’s so vast that all one can do is nibble at it. We visited

Regency furniture

the 18th century area which included Regency style furniture.  We also admired the pool in the central garden, in which kids splash in warmer weather. (We had sunshine through the trip, but it was not particularly warm.)

On our previous visit to London, the  Mayhem Consultant had spotted big red double-decker buses that offered Tea on the Bus.  I had some doubts as I envisioned buses slamming on the brakes in heavy traffic and sending tea and cakes flying.

Tea on the Buss

But Bridget’s Bakery was much smarter than that. The very solid tables were built into the bus and there were wells to cradle the insulated tea beverage holders.  The racks that held the food were also heavy enough to be stable, and as you can see, each one held a LOT of foods, both savory and sweet.  Most guests ate about half and little carry-away boxes were supplied for leftovers.  The food items were also designed for eye appeal (or possibly eye shock. <G>)  For example, the green globe with a pink icing cap was actually a very tasty cream puff.  Savory items included sandwiches and a small quiche, among other things.

Us on the bus

So if you’re in London and in the mood to be well fed and totally touristy, try Tea on the Bus!  They have several routes with different pick up points. Since we are indeed tourists, we chose the route that started just off Trafalgar Square.  The tour took about an hour and a half and drove by a number of London’s most famous sites, like Westminster Cathedral and Buckingham Palace.

After seeing the sites and visiting some friends, we went off to Tilbury to board the Viking Venus. 

Tilbury port at sunset

Tilbury is due east of London along the Thames River and is a major deep water port on the North Sea. I took this picture of container cranes silhouetted against a dramatic sunset.

I’m running out of time so I’ll stop here, but I’ll talk more about the actual cruise on future  blogs.  For now, let’s share a cup of virtual tea!

Model royal coach in the V&A

Mary Jo

 

What We Are Reading-April

Christina: Their Castilian Orphan by Anna Belfrage is the epic conclusion to this amazing historical series and I was eager to see how things would play out in the end. It sees the return of the hero’s truly vile stepbrother, whose presence hangs like a threatening cloud of doom over the story, keeping you on the edge of your seat. And as always, there is a lot at stake for Robert and Noor d’Outremer and their family in every way. Ms Belfrage immerses the reader in the era (late 13th century Britain), bringing it to life effortlessly. It is clear that she’s done a huge amount of research, although this is never rammed down your throat, but subtly woven into the narrative. You really feel you’re there, in the drafty castles, in a damp tent on military campaign, or riding through the mist towards a Welsh manor – it’s all beautifully depicted. And the characters are wonderful, making you root for them and wish them to have a happy ending. There were some heart-rending moments which actually made me cry – that doesn’t happen often when I read – but overall it’s a very satisfying read. If you haven’t started this series yet, go and buy His Castilian Hawk and begin the journey – I can thoroughly recommend this to all lovers of history and romance!

I also just want to do a quick shout-out for the latest installment in Patricia Rice’s Gravesyde Priory Mysteries (No 3) – The Bones In The Orchard. I won’t give a summary as that might ruin the mystery and suspense, but I just want to say if you haven’t started this series yet, hurry up and do so! I’m loving the mix of Regency romance and sleuthing, and the unusual setting (out in the countryside rather than the ballrooms of London) is a very refreshing change. Already looking forward to the next one!

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For Readers in the UK

Anne Gracie here. I just wanted to remind readers in the UK that my novella, THE LAIRD’S Bride is on special at 99p for another two days — but only on amazon.co.uk
The special promotion finishes on 16th April.

This is a Scottish story, but it’s not a medieval. It’s set in the Regency-era and is a fun little marriage of convenience story.
A hot-headed vow to marry the first woman he sees, a meeting in a muddy bog, a hasty marriage between strangers, and a bride who demands to be courted — after the wedding.