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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