The Butterfly Effect by guest author Heidi Catherine

I’m delighted that my friend and fellow author, Heidi Catherine from Australia is able to join me on my blog today. Heidi makes me laugh, not being able to decide if she prefers living in Melbourne or the Mornington Peninsula, she shares her time between both places. She is similarly pulled in opposing directions by her two sons and two dogs, and always says she is thankful that she only has one husband.Heidi-0990

Once upon a time, a mathematician named Edward Lorenz was studying the weather and noticed that even the tiniest changes in conditions resulted in large changes in outcomes. He used the example of a tornado and how it could be influenced by the flapping of a butterfly’s wings, hence coining the term The Butterfly Effect.

Had he grown tired of meteorology, I truly believe he could have had a successful career in advertising. I mean, what a fabulous brand name for a theory! How many scientific theories get books and movies named after them? I’m trying to imagine a Hollywood blockbuster called Heliocentrism or Plate Tectonics. It doesn’t have quite the same oomph.

Although the butterfly effect is an interesting theory, not just for its name. People have used it to inspire all kinds of positive change in their lives by making small choices that eventually lead to huge differences that they could never have predicted.Final Cover Soulweaver

In my novel, The Soulweaver, the main character Lin talks to Matthew about a baby who’s destined to be born to set the world on a better course. Matthew is skeptical about this and questions Lin about how one person can make such a huge change. Here’s an excerpt of their conversation…

You think one person can solve all the problems our planet is facing? That’s a tough job.’

One person can change the world. We’re all so much more powerful than we realise.’

Just how exactly is one person going to do this? What big, amazing thing is he destined to do that will save us all? You did say he, didn’t you?’

Yes, a boy. I don’t know how he’s going to do it. I just know that he is. And maybe it’s not one big, amazing thing he’s going to do that will make the difference. Maybe it’s lots of big, amazing things. Or maybe it will just be one tiny, innocent act that will have an effect that ripples across humankind.’

Like the butterfly effect. One small flap of the wings and bingo, there’s a hurricane.’

It sounded a lot more beautiful the first time I had it explained to me, but yes, that’s exactly what I mean.’

I’m interested to know if you think this is possible. Is Lin right? Can one person really change the world?

Heidi Catherine can be found on Facebook, Twitter or on her website. Her debut novel, published by Crooked Cat Books, The Soulweaver, is available for order now. She also has a free prequel novelette called The Moonchild, which introduces you to two of the main characters from The Soulweaver in the lifetime they lived before the book takes place.


Book Clubs in Cocktail Bars by guest author Isabella May

I am delighted to be joined by my friend and fellow author, Isabella May. She is going to talk about cocktail bar trends, book clubs and her new book, The Cocktail Bar.

Can Literary Musings and Mojitos really mix?

Thank you so much, Val for inviting me to appear on your blog today. It’s lovely to be here and I’m going to talk a little about a trend that I predict will take book clubs across the land (and across the globe) by storm: the bi-monthly meet-up in a cocktail bar!

At least this is one of the ‘novel’ ideas that mixologist, River Jackson (the fictional character from my own brand new novel, The Cocktail Bar) comes up with in a bid to increase footfall into his new business. It kind of goes hand in hand with his golden rule that only two cocktails per customer shall be served up of an evening… and surprisingly it works a treat… even despite the raised eyebrows of the locals poking their heads into the Glastonbury-based bar.

You see River has been more than a little naïve, flouncing back to his working-class/unconventional hometown in Somerset, UK, after a decade on the road with his band, Avalonia. Glastonbury is tribal like that. Nobody gets to sever ties, make their millions on stages spanning from LA to Tokyo… and then waltz back into the high street as if nothing ever happened.

Then again, River Jackson isn’t just anybody. He has a magical Mexican bottle of elixir tucked under his arm and nobody is going to deter him. Not even his school buddy turned nemesis, Blake. Not even the local media. Not even his band manager, Lennie.
So what if he went AWOL mid-contract to open his dream bar?isabella may book

On the other hand, you can’t be too fussy when you’re desperate for custom. Not every bookworm is a bartender’s dream. Here’s a little snippet to hopefully whet your appetite:

Well, I think it’s a truly fantabulous idea. Just what this town needs,” a willowy multiple-layered Jane Austen Bourdaloue-skirted bespectacled women of senior years fluttered her spidery, cartoon, violet eyelashes at River as she attempted in vain to perch herself on a bar stool.

It took me no time at all to round up my four ladies and I can assure you, darling, we’ll be a regular fixture every fortnight, come rain, shine or even snow; such a marvellous venue in which to discuss our bi-monthly literary pickings – with a tipple of the exotic or two and a view of one thoroughly dashing gentleman, of course.”

River didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, especially as Georgina had clocked on early for her shift, no doubt hoping to point score and prove his optimism wrong. He chewed on his smile as he imagined what he was going to do to her later – not that she’d revealed her choice of costume yet. She was too good to be true; no strings, adventurous sex on tap, a friend to have a laugh with. Just the tonic he needed to ease him back into local life, to almost take his mind off the impending mission, and the kitchen window ‘thing’, as well as the constant urge to look over his shoulder for hedge-hiding photographers. Miraculously, it appeared Blake was also completely unfazed by her new employment – none the wiser as to what she was getting up to in somebody else’s bed besides.

He let his smile have his way with him in a bid to select some appropriate preamble. “This is exactly the positive reaction I hoped my idea would have. I’m a passionate bibliophile myself. Just wish I had more time to indulge in the written word. A bar full of highly educated – and equally classy women,” he stopped to swallow his deceitful words away, “it not only sends my heart a flutter, but eases my own lack of reading time guilt.”

Darling, you’re too kind,” Jane Austen extended her hand and River’s stomach catapulted, wondering whether this was an invite to brush it with his lips – he did anyway, cursing himself for being so two-faced, careful to avoid her Twiglet fingers, should they snap in half.

Now then, what can I get you all to drink? These are paid for by the way.”

Oh, sweetheart, you really shouldn’t but we’ll gratefully oblige.”

She swivelled and put two fingers – whose apparent fragility belied their strength – to her over-painted coral lips producing an enviable whistle to attract the attention of the rest of her group.

Open your menus, girls. Mr Jackson is granting us our first drinks on the house.”

A hubble bubble of cheer brewed at the corner table as the realisation illuminated faces, thankfully not all as heavily made-up.

Jane Austen’s elongated fingers reached for one of the menus lying on the bar and she began to flick through its pages in reverse. River, who had taken to polishing glasses in a bid to divert her adoration, almost dropped the tumbler he was buffing.

For crying out loud, no; it’s not meant to be you, anybody but you. Start at the front, lady!

He gulped as she immediately ceased fingering the twenty-something blank pages and flipped the menu to its front cover. Heather was right. He did have a knack for telepathy. And thank god. He knew, as he flashed back again to Mercedes in her agave-studded field where she stood waving him off with the bottle, that none of this was up to him; he was simply The Messenger. Whoever chose the elixir chose it. But it didn’t stop River being judgmental. Surely there were better candidates to have their life, as they knew it, changed for ever?

So what is your favourite book, my good man, when you do get time to read?”

Back off lady, less of the my.

See that’s a question that always has me torn,” he smiled becomingly. “With so many worthy authors in the world, how can we possibly choo – ”

For me it’s quite simple, anything about cats, starring cats, cats walking past in the background, a hint of a feline title; an author with cat in their name, matters not a jot,” she said.

Okay… I see you’re fond of… err… cats then?”

Fond of them, she’s stark raving bonkers about them, twenty-six of the things in her house and the surrounding fields, at last count any rate,” said her friend, looping her arm in Jane Austen’s and pulling her back to the table. “Come along now, dear, we’re waiting for you to get proceedings started. Everybody’s champing at the bit to share their reviews on A Street Cat Named Bob.”

You do attract them,” said Georgina, propping herself most foxily across the bar, almost making him jump.

Yeah, well, let’s just hope this group grows significantly to dilute the madness,” said River, distracting himself from her provocative pose with the realisation that he’d not checked in on Alice for twenty-four hours.
Extract from The Cocktail Bar, by Isabella May

To find out who will be the lucky recipient of River’s magical mystical Mexican elixir… and more about the adventures of the book club, here’s the universal buying link for The Cocktail Bar:  – universal Amazon buying link.


Rock star, River Jackson, is back in his hometown of Glastonbury to open a cocktail bar… and the locals aren’t impressed.

Seductive Georgina is proving too hot to handle; band mate, Angelic Alice, is messing with his heart and his head; his mum is a hippie-dippy liability; his school friends have resorted to violence – oh, and his band manager, Lennie, AND the media are on his trail.

But River is armed with a magical Mexican elixir which will change the lives of the Three Chosen Ones. Once the Mexican wave of joy takes a hold of the town, he’s glad he didn’t lose his proverbial bottle.

Pity he hasn’t taken better care of the real one…

isabella may


Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing.

As a co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One).

She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’!

The Cocktail Bar is her second novel with Crooked Cat Books, following on from the hit sensation, Oh! What a Pavlova, published in 2017. Her third novel, Costa del Churros will be published in September 2018.

Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks

Facebook –

Instagram – @isabella_may_author

Val Penny on Hunter’s Chase by guest author Dave Rigby

This article was initially published on 07 January 2018 on Yorkshire Writers’ Lunch at

Posted: 07 Jan 2018 10:30 PM PST

To start things off Val, can I ask how you began writing fiction? Was there a specific trigger?
There was indeed a trigger, I began writing my first novel when I was being treated for breast cancer. I had taken early retirement and was beginning to wonder how I had ever had time to work when I received the unwelcome diagnosis of breast cancer. As my treatment proceeded, I started to blog about my experience. My writing here still receives considerable attention: I found my treatment very tiring and had little energy to do anything but read, so I started reviewing the books I read on have always enjoyed reading crime fiction and I began to think that, as I had the time, I would try my hand at writing a crime fiction novel. It was not an easy task, and it took a lot longer than I thought it would, but the result was Hunter’s Chase.
The novel features DI Hunter Wilson. How would you describe him?
Hunter Wilson, like all my characters in Hunter’s Chase, is a combination of several people that I have found interesting. I needed my main protagonist to have certain characteristics including patience, perseverance and a desire to achieve justice for those who could not attain that for themselves. Hunter is a compassionate man who fights for the underdog and is a fine team player. These are important qualities in my main character. But I also needed Hunter to have flaws. Everybody has faults and to make Hunter believable, he had to have them too. He is not a saint. He is divorced, he is untidy, he likes to win, he bears a grudge.
How did you first come up with the plot for the book and how did it develop from those initial ideas?
The original idea came from a former employee of mine. She had worked in a lawyer’s office, in the north of Edinburgh, where they specialised in criminal law and when she came to work for me in a rather different type of office in a rather elegant part of Edinburgh city centre. The comment my employee made was “It is lovely not to work in a place where you smell the clients before you see them!” It was this comment gave me a kernel of an idea that formed the basis of the Johnson family in Hunter’s Chase from that central family and their story, my novel evolved from there.
To what extent is a sense of place important in your books and how do you create this?
I chose Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland as the setting for Hunter’s Chase. Setting is most important to a novel and Edinburgh is a beautiful city of around half a million people. It is big enough so that anything that I want to happen in my novels can happen, but it is also a small enough city that many people in the city know each other. The main protagonist of ‘Hunter’s Chase’ is Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson. He lives in Leith, an area to the north of the City and drinks in his local pub, the Persevere Bar. His home is also close to the Hibernian (‘Hibs’) football ground. The other main character, Detective Constable Tim Myerscough lives across the city from Hunter, in the south-west of the city. He moves into a flat Gillespie Crescent between Tollcross and Bruntsfield. His local pub in the Golf Tavern, off the Bruntsfield Links. DC Tim Myerscough’s father, Sir Peter Myerscough, lives even further to the south in the Morningside district of Edinburgh. From his large house he has fine views across the Pentland Hills.
Plot, character, setting, theme, genre…which of these do you focus on initially when you are developing a new book?
My novels fall squarely within the genre of crime thrillers. I first draft out a rough idea of the plot of my novel. That tells me who I need to populate the story and make it come to life. InHunter’s Chase, DI Hunter Wilson struggles to ensure the crime in Edinburgh does not go unpunished. Hunter’s Chase introduces a new detective, DI Hunter Wilson into the ‘Tartan Noire’ genre. I am delighted to be compared to other proponents of Tartan Noire such as Ian Rankin, Alex Grey and Quintin Jardine. I think all crime novels explore the triumph of good over evil. The readers know the criminals will not succeed. Still, the thrill of the chase and the problems overcome to achieve justice for the victims must enthral and satisfy the readers.
How do you come up with names for your characters?
I have always been interested in names and this interest has stood me in good stead when populating my novel with characters. In many cases, the characters told me their own names. Hunter Wilson, for example: reflects the fine Scottish tradition of using surnames as first names. Wilson is a popular Scottish surname and I do like the conceit of having an investigating detective who goes by the name of Hunter. Meera Sharma is another character who told me her own name. I once knew a very pretty girl whose name was Meera. I partnered the first name with the name Sharma because I thought it had a good ring to it. As for Timothy Myerscough, I have been savouring the name Myerscough for over twenty-five years and the first name Timothy balanced it nicely. Names for the characters come easily to me and I enjoy finding names for my characters very much.
I see from your biographical details that you have a background in law – both in practice and in teaching. How has this influenced your writing?
I write crime fiction, but I was never involved in the practice of Criminal Law. Indeed, I only passed my Criminal Law exams at university by promising the Professor that I would never work in that field! However, I did meet many policemen and sat through many court cases. There is no doubt that my background fired my interest in crime novels.
Do you have a regular writing regime? What would a typical writing day look like and do you have things which help you along, such as a regular supply of coffee, music, or a stimulating view from the window?
I usually write in the afternoons. In the mornings I take care of the regular household and social matters that I need to deal with. In the evenings, I tutor local children for their English exams at school, so in the afternoons, when I have the house to myself, I write. I find Earl Grey Tea, quiet, familiar music and watching my cats all help in their own way if I have a block in my flow. However, most help is afforded to me by chocolate. That is my excuse and I am sticking to it!
And, can I ask, is there a new book in the pipeline?
Only this week, I heard from my publishers, Crooked Cat Books, that they have accepted the sequel to Hunter’s Chase: Hunter’s Revenge. It is very early days, but we are aiming to get the novel completed and edited with a view to publication during August or September 2018.
Click for more details
Thanks very much for answering our questions and good luck with ‘Hunter’s Chase’ and your future projects.
Thank you for allowing me to visit the blog today, Dave. I really appreciate it. I can be contacted on social media at:
Friends of Hunter’s Chase –
Val was interviewed by Yorkshire Writers’ Lunch member, Dave Rigby.

Forest Dancer by Sue Roebuck

Today, I am delighted that my friend and fellow author, Sue Roebuck is able to join me from Portugal to tell me about her most recent book, Forest Dancer.

Thank you for letting me come and visit you today, Val.

Forest Dancer

Forest Dancer, my new novel, takes place in Portugal as my previous book Rising Tide was. Instead of being on the coast, Forest Dancer is set in the mountains just outside Lisbon in a fictional village called Aurora. Forest Dancer is a story that fans of Polina will enjoy with characters that are genuinely flawed yet decided on bringing out the best in themselves. Flora Gatehouse has just recently lost her father, but she has also suffered a devastating blow in her career as a ballet dancer; her failed audition that sees her moving to a small cottage in Lisbon, Portugal, the only inheritance left to her by her father. Follow her story as she embraces the life of a small village with its dark secrets, and falls for the forest ranger. Marco. But can she totally become part of this hamlet and can she ever reconnect with her dream to become a principal ballerina?Sue Roebuck


Susan Roebuck was born and bred in the soft south of the UK but was exported to Portugal after meeting her husband in London. She now lives overlooking the mighty Tagus River which is such a source of inspiration.

She loves being in her adopted country and believes that this little country has a huge heart, which the world should know more about. Portugal also doesn’t appear in many English-language novels and Susan hopes that, now, that will change.

Forest Dancer, published by Crooked Cat Books, is her fourth novel but it is her second one set in Portugal (in the forests near Lisbon).

Rising Tide is also set in Portugal, but in a tiny fishing village on the Alentejo coast.

They are both contemporary romance/suspense stories.


Forest Dancer (paperback and ebook) on Amazon :




Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

Sharon-BoltonI have always enjoyed books by Sharon Bolton that I have read including Awakening that is reviewed on this site: and so, when I saw Daisy in Chains in my local library, I picked it up. I am glad I did! What a clever story.

Daisy in Chains is about a serial killer, Hamish Wolfe, who has been locked up for the rest of his life for the abduction and murder of three young women. Despite this, he has a fan club of women and he gets countless adoring letters every day. Hamish is handsome, charismatic and very persuasive. His admirers are convinced of his innocence, and that he is the man of their dreams.Daisy in Chains book

Hamish wants Maggie Rose to be his lawyer: he wants her to represent him at his appeal and secure his release. Maggie Rose is eclusive and enigmatic. She is a successful lawyer and also a bestselling true-crime writer and she only takes on cases that she can win..

Maggie Rose is different. She believes she is immune to the charms of Hamish and men like him. The novel Daisy in Chains tells their story.

I do not like spoilers in reviews, so I will not include one. Suffice to say, I read a lot of thrillers and did not spot the twist in this story until near the very end. Daisy in Chains is a highly accomplished novel and I recommend it.

Val Penny




Ninja School Mum By Lizzie Chantree

I am pleased to have my friend and fellow author, Lizzie Chantree on the blog today. Her novel, Ninja School Mum will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 30 January, 2018.Ninja School Mum book cover

I asked Lizzie to tell me about her new book, Ninja School Mum. She told me it is about an obsessive-compulsive school mum named Skye who is a lonely, elite spy whois running from her past whilst trying to protect the future of her child. She tries hard to fit in with the other parents at her son’s new school, but the only person who accepts her unconventional way of life is new mother, Thea.

Thea is feeling harassed by her sister and bored with her life, but she suspects that there is something strange about the new school mum, Skye. Thea has secrets of her own and, although the two become unlikely friends, she hesitates to tell Skye about the father of her own child.

There is also, Zack whose new business is growing faster than he could have dreamed, but suddenly, he finds himself the owner of a crumbling estate on the edge of a pretty village, and a single parent to a very demanding child. He hopes he can make a go of things and give his daughter the life she deserves.

When these three lives collide, it appears that only one of them is who they seem to be and you never know who the person next to you in the playground really is.

Ninja School Mum banner

The reviews I have seen have been excellent:

Made me laugh out loud. A great romance read with a gorgeous hero and a feisty, strong woman. I hope there will be a sequel.

Really good story. Couldn’t put it down!

This story really caught my imagination and I couldn’t put it down. A romance read with fire in its belly. Didn’t have a clue to the ending, kept me guessing till the end.

Lizzie Chantree

Lizzie Chantree is an award-winning inventor and author who started her own business at the age of eighteen and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now runs networking hours on social media, where creative businesses, writers, photographers and designers can offer advice and support to each other. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.

Thank you for sharing the news about Ninja School Mum with me today, Lizzie. Good luck with the book!

Another Woman’s Man by Carrie-Ann Schless

Another Woman's Man authorI don’t read a lot of romantic fiction, but Another Woman’s Man by Carrie-Ann Schless, published by Crooked Cat Books was recommended to me so I picked it up to read over the holidays. It is an excellent read with a depth and breadth of emotions and characters being explored in a most challenging way. I did not know what to expect as I had not read anything else by this author before, but I enjoyed the story.

Another Woman’s Man was a fairly short but it had a depth that I did not expect. The main character of Casey overcame personal problems that would have floored a lesser person. These issues were not swept under the carpet, but they were fully and sensitively explored.Another Woman's Man

Casey’s relationships form the core of the book, as one relationship ends and she seeks a new life partner. After she meets Danny her key dilemma is whether a future with Danny would work. Neither she, nor the reader is allowed to fully trust Danny.

Casey had good banter with her close friend, Kat and some of the scenes made me laugh out loud, where in others, I felt Casey’s pain.

I do not want to include any spoilers in this review, because Another Woman’s Man is a book well worth reading for yourself.

Val Penny

Bethel Manor by Beatrice Fishback

Bethel Manor BookI am particularly fond of novels with stories of mysteries and atmosphere. Bethel Manor, by Beatrice Fishback is a novel published by Crooked Cat Books. It is the story of an inspirational romance. The action takes place during the Victorian era the engaging characters, wealthy Fredrick Shaw and his feisty daughter, Clare are the owners of Bethel Manor.

Frederick rescues James Winthrop Blackwell as he travels across England. When James Winthrop comes of age he goes in search of answers after being abandoned as an infant at Alpheton House Orphanage. He must come to terms with the reasons for his abandonment and resolve how God can still use someone whose parents chose to cast them aside.

The reader revels in the excellent descriptions of the countryside and the setting, Bethel Manor, is a place of magnificence and style. I loved the settings, especially the magnificent manor and the sub-plot of life there where the servants know secrets and the owner is a man of propriety and integrity.

Victorian England is brought to life in Bethel Manor with a cast of characters and the Bethel Manor authorcontrast of light and darkness throughout the adventure. Beatrice Fishback back wove a beautiful mystery story of love and forgiveness.

Love conquers all in this romantic Victorian tale as James sets off on a literal and spiritual journey to find the reason he was abandoned at birth, overcoming a series of obstacles in the way. I enjoyed Bethel Manor very much. It would be an excellent book club read and I highly recommend it.

Val Penny

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

Transfer15837 0060The Time Keeper was written by Mitchell David Albom (Mitch Albom). He is an author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, radio and television broadcaster and musician. Collectively, his books have sold over 35 million copies worldwide; have been published in forty-one territories and in forty-two languages around the world; and have been made into Emmy Award-winning and critically-acclaimed television movies. Yet he has his detractors who belittle his work. I am not one of those people.

I have read and enjoyed various books by Mitch Albom including, Tuesdays with Morrie which is reviewed here: , also one of my all time favourite books, The Five People you Meet in Heaven: . So, when I noticed that his novel, The Time Keeper was in my local library, I borrowed it to read immediately.

The Time Keeper challenged my concept of time. On the face of it, Mitch Albom has The Time Keeperwritten a simple little book with a clear message, but it much more profound than that. It is a story in which the inventor of the world’s first clock is punished for trying to measure God’s greatest gift: time. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years, more time. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time, as he is now known, is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.

When he returns to the modern world, he commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, Father Time must save them both.

Albom writes so eloquently yet keeps the prose simple. In The Time Keeper the author explores the passage of hours, days, and years through Father Time who learns the the true meaning of time in the contemporary world. The Time Keeper is a provocative, hope-filled novel and I highly recommend it.

Val Penny

Heart of Stone by John Jackson

John JacksonWhen I bought the novel, Heart of Stone recently, I did so largely because it was written by my friend, John Jackson. I do not read much in the historical romance genre now, although I read little else for many years. However, I am delighted that I did buy the book as it is an excellent read.

Heart of Stone is set in Eire in the 1700s long before Ireland was a divided island. The story is based on real events and real people and that, for me, added to the interest and intrigue.

It tells the story of a young and beautiful heiress, Mary Molesworth, who is forced to marry Robert Rochford, the widowed heir to the earldom of Belfield. He is much older than her and, unfortunately, she finds that her idea of love is not returned by him. Robert is jealous, and cruel. He has a series of mistresses both before and during the marriage. Their first child is a daughter, in whom Robert shows no interest. However, after Mary has provided Robert with a male heir, he ignores her from then on. He spends his nights with his mistresses instead. Nevertheless, Robert builds up a fine reputation in the military and this allows him to reach for the highest positions in Ireland.

Mary is lonely and misses her husband. She gradually grows closer to Robert’s youngerHeart of Stone brother, Arthur. They risk everything to be together. But Robert’s revenge threatens their lives and tears them apart.

This novel is carefully crafted and the historical elements are accurate and interesting. The author does not shy away from issues that would be politically incorrect today but are true of the time. Particularly, the inferior position of women in eighteenth century society and the grim realities of debtors prison are well explored.

I enjoyed Heart of Stone far more than I expected to. I have no hesitation in recommending it most highly. I will certainly look out for future novels by John Jackson, not because he is my friend, but because he is a fine writer.

Heart of Stone is published by Crooked Cat Books and is available from Amazon now.

Val Penny