Friday, March 31, 2023

Blog Tour: Murder on Oak Street by I. M. Foster

Join The Coffee Pot Book Club on tour with…

Murder on Oak Street

A South Shore Mystery

by I. M. Foster

May 23rd – July 25th, 2023

Publication Date: November 4th, 2022
Publisher: independently published
Pages: 503
Genre: Historical Mystery

New York, 1904. After two years as a coroner’s physician for the city of New York, Daniel O’Halleran is more frustrated than ever. What’s the point when the authorities consistently brush aside his findings for the sake of expediency? So when his fiancée leaves him standing at the altar on their wedding day, he takes it as a sign that it's time to move on and eagerly accepts an offer to assist the local coroner in the small Long Island village of Patchogue.

Though the coroner advises him that life on Long Island is far more subdued than that of the city, Daniel hasn’t been there a month when the pretty librarian, Kathleen Brissedon, asks him to look into a two-year-old murder case that took place in the city. Oddly enough, the case she’s referring to was the first one he ever worked on, and the verdict never sat right with him.

Eager for the chance to investigate it anew, Daniel agrees to look into it in his spare time, but when a fresh murder occurs in his own backyard, he can’t shake his gut feeling that the two cases are connected. Can he discover the link before another life is taken, or will murder shake the peaceful South Shore village once again?

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This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

I. M. Foster

I. M. Foster is the pen name author Inez Foster uses to write her South Shore Mystery series, set on Edwardian Long Island. Inez also writes historical romances under the pseudonym Andrea Matthews, and has so far published two series in that genre: the Thunder on the Moor series, a time-travel romance set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Borders, and the Cross of Ciaran series, which follows the adventures of a fifth century Celt who finds himself in love with a twentieth century archaeologist. 

Inez is a historian and librarian, who love to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogically speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. Inez is a member of the Long Island Romance Writers, the Historical Novel Society, and Sisters in Crime.

Exciting Blog Tours and Book Spotlights in April 2023 #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #BookSpotlight #TheCoffeePotBookClub @cathiedunn

 Hello, lovers of historical fiction in all its shapes and forms! 🗡

April is knocking on the door, with its annual gift of storms, showers, and sunny spells. It’s the perfect time of year for us to unwind with a good book after a day’s work in the garden, or yet another dog walk in the rain and gales! ☔🌬

That’s why here, at The Coffee Pot Book Club, you’ll find wonderful novels by award-winning and bestselling authors! 📚

Just click on the banners to discover our exciting Blog Tours and Book Spotlights for April 2023.

In addition to the Blog Tours listed below, I’ll be adding those fascinating Book Spotlights & Guest Posts we have scheduled during the month. So keep checking back in!

Happy reading, friends of the Coffee Pot Book Club! 💖

Thank you from the Coffee Pot Book Club team! 💟

Fancy becoming a Blog Tour Host 
and taking part in our exciting historical fiction tours?

We are currently looking for active book bloggers who read, host & review historical fiction, historical mystery & historical romance.

Click on the banner and get in touch!

Check out Marcia Clayton's fabulous books – The Hartford Manor Series #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub @MarciaC89111861 @cathiedunn

The Hartford Manor Series

The Mazzard Tree
The Angel Maker
The Rabbit’s Foot

by Marcia Clayton

Publication Date: 2016
Publisher: Sunhillow Publishing
Pages: 384
Genre: Historical Fiction / Family Saga / Romance

1880 North Devon, England

Annie Carter is a farm labourer’s daughter, and life is a continual struggle for survival. When her father dies of consumption, her mother, Sabina, is left with seven hungry mouths to feed and another child on the way. To save them from the workhouse or starvation, Annie steals vegetables from the Manor House garden, risking jail or transportation.  Unknown to her, she is watched by Robert, the wealthy heir to the Hartford Estate, but far from turning her in, he befriends her.

Despite their different social backgrounds, Annie and Robert develop feelings they know can have no future.  Harry Rudd, the village blacksmith, has long admired Annie, and when he proposes, her mother urges her to accept.  She reminds Annie, that as a kitchen maid, she will never be allowed to marry Robert.  Harry is a good man, and Annie is fond of him.  Her head knows what she should do, but will her heart listen?

Set against the harsh background of the rough, class-divided society of Victorian England, this heart-warming and captivating novel portrays a young woman who uses her determination and willpower to defy the circumstances of her birth in her search for happiness.

Sabina dried her hands and signalled Annie to do the same, and then they followed Hannah into her house. Chickens ran in and out, leaving a mess all over the floor. Tommy, the youngest child, was crawling around in all the filth, for although he was two, he had rickets and could not walk. His face was covered in sores, and his nose was running. Rachael, at four, was sitting by her sick sister's bed, tugging her hand.

"Come an' play with me, Mary."

Annie picked up Rachael and settled her on her knee. Rachael loved the attention and Tommy crawled up to sit on the other knee. Annie wiped his nose, brushed his brown curly hair out of his eyes, and gave them both a cuddle. She wondered if her own hair would be crawling with lice by the time she went home.

Sabina put her hand on Mary's forehead, which was hot, and the child was pale and listless. "What's the matter, Mary?  Where does it hurt?"

Mary pointed to her throat and whispered hoarsely, "It hurts in there, and my head, and everywhere."

"Never mind, we'll soon have you better, don't worry. Could you eat some stew?"

Mary shook her head miserably. She was six years old, but small for her age, and Sabina could see many clusters of nits stuck to her wispy brown hair.

"Sabina, I could eat some stew if you've any to spare, and I'll bet Rachael and Tommy could manage some too."

Hannah, and her husband, John, were both fat and lazy, but the children were thin, dirty, and ill-kempt. Sabina’s eyes flashed with anger.

"I've plenty of food in my kitchen, Hannah because I work hard. I'll take Rachael and Tommy home with me to have some, and I'll bathe them too because they're filthy. I know you're poor but look at the state of this place. When did you last clean up, or do any cooking? Or does all your money go on that bloody scrumpy?  I'm sorry, but it’s time someone told you a few home truths; you should be ashamed of yourself. Now, I could leave Annie here with you, if she'll stay, to help you clean up. I'll come back at teatime, and if the place is clean, I'll bring rabbit stew for all of you. Just this once though, for you have a man to provide for you, which is more than I have."

“How dare you!  It’s none of your business how I keep my house. Things have got on top of me a bit, that’s all."

"Please yourself then; it’s no odds to me. Mary certainly isn't well, but it might just be a nasty cold. Now, do you want Annie’s help, or not?  It’s up to you."

"Aye, I suppose the place could do with a bit of a clean, and you'll bring enough supper for all of us?"

"Yes, I'll bring some later, and see how Mary is. Annie, would you mind helping Hannah?"

Annie, facing away from Hannah, pulled a face and screwed up her nose, but she nodded. Sabina grinned as she left with the two children. As she entered her own cottage, Sabina called to Liza.

"Liza, could you put a couple of pans of water on the fire, please? I want to bathe these two. I don't suppose they've ever had a bath, so they may not think a lot to it, but they certainly need one."

Sabina explained about Mary, and how Annie was helping Hannah to clean up.

"She's a lazy slut, that woman, and it will soon be like it again, you know. She's too lazy to lift a finger to care for that family properly, and her mother was just the same. They don't deserve to have children, and they don't deserve your help either, Sabina. Goodness, you've enough to do to feed and look after your own."

"Aye, you're right, of course, but I felt so sorry for the children. It isn't their fault, and Mary, poor little thing, she was so poorly."

Liza pulled the old tin bath in front of the fire and filled it with warm water. Rachael and Tommy sat wide-eyed, anxiously watching the activity around them. Sabina decided to start with Rachael and sat her on her knee.

"Now, Rachael, I'm going to take off these dirty clothes and bathe you. You'll like it in that lovely warm water, and afterwards, you'll feel much better. Then we’ll see if we can find you something clean to wear, while I wash your clothes."

Sabina gently undressed the little girl, chatting all the time as she lowered her into the bath. Rachael went stiff with fright and kept her legs rigid. She started to thrash about and scream.
"No, no, don't. I don't wanna get wet. No, don't. Let me go! Mummy, I want my mummy. Don’t."

Sabina held her gently, but firmly. "Come on, Rachael, I want you to show Tommy what a big, brave girl you are. You'll like it in the water when you sit down, and if you let me wash you, I'll find you a bowl of rabbit stew, with a big slice of bread. Are you hungry?"

At the mention of food, Rachael immediately became more cooperative and sat down gingerly. She still seemed frightened, but as Sabina began to splash the warm water gently over her tiny body, she began to relax. It saddened Sabina to see that she was covered in flea bites, and her hair was crawling with lice. There were also a few suspicious bruises. Gently, Sabina soaped the grime from the child’s body, cut her hair short, and then washed what was left to get rid of the lice. Rachael began to enjoy herself and suddenly grinned at Sabina.

"This is nice like you said. I like it in here. Can I stay a bit longer?"

Sabina let her stay a few minutes longer, then lifted her out and dried her. She reached for an old blue dress and popped it over Rachael's head.

"There, you look beautiful now. Liza will give you some stew for being so brave. Right then, Tommy, it’s your turn now, but I think we’ll need some clean water first."

The series is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

The Hartford Manor Series Links:

The books can also be ordered in bookstores.

Marcia Clayton

Marcia Clayton was born in North Devon, a rural and picturesque area in the far South West of England. She is a farmer's daughter and often helped to milk the cows and clean out the shippens in her younger days.

When Marcia left school she worked in a bank for several years until she married her husband, Bryan, and then stayed at home for a few years to care for her three sons, Stuart, Paul and David. As the children grew older, Marcia worked as a Marie Curie nurse caring for the terminally ill, and later for the local authority managing school transport.

Now a grandmother, Marcia enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She’s a keen researcher of family history, and it was this hobby that inspired some of the characters in her books. A keen gardener, Marcia grows many of her own vegetables. She is also an avid reader and mainly enjoys historical fiction, romance and crime books.

Connect with Marcia:

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Instagram

Thursday, March 30, 2023

#HistoricalFiction author Judith Arnopp shares her thoughts about King Henry VIII #TudorFiction #BookSpotlight #CoffeePotBookClub @JudithArnopp @cathiedunn


A Matter of Faith

Henry VIII: The Days of the Phoenix

The Henrician Chronicle, Book #2

by Judith Arnopp

Publication Date: March 20th, 2023
Publisher: Independently published
Pages: 209
Genre: Historical Fiction

Finally free of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII, is now married to Anne Boleyn and eagerly awaiting the birth of his son. In a court still reeling from the royal divorce and growing public resentment against church reform, Henry must negotiate widespread resentment toward Anne. He places all his hopes in a son to cement his Tudor blood line, but his dreams are shattered when Anne is delivered of a daughter.

Burying his disappointment, Henry focuses on getting her with child again, but their marriage is volatile and as Henry faces personal bereavement, and discord at court, Anne’s enemies are gathering. When the queen miscarries of a son, and Henry suffers a life-threatening accident, his need for an heir becomes critical. Waiting in the wings is Jane Seymour, a lady-in-waiting who offers the king comfort and respite from Anne’s fiery passions.

But, when Anne falls foul of her former ally, Thomas Cromwell, and the king is persuaded he has been made a cuckold, Henry strikes out and the queen falls beneath the executioner’s sword, taking key players in Henry’s household with her. 

Jane Seymour, stepping up to replace the fallen queen, quickly becomes pregnant. Delighted with his dull but fertile wife, Henry’s spirits rise even further when the prince is born safely. At last, Henry has all he desires but even as he celebrates, fate is preparing to deliver one more staggering blow. 

Henry, the once perfect Renaissance prince, is now a damaged middle-aged man, disappointed in those around him but most of all in himself. As the king’s optimism diminishes, his intractability increases, and the wounded lion begins to roar.

Becoming Henry

A Matter of Faith: the Days of the Phoenix continues a few years after the narrative ends in A Matter of Conscience: the Aragon Years.

Henry has just managed to wriggle free from Catherine and is preparing to marry Anne Boleyn. The story, written from Henry’s perspective provides, as far as I am aware, a unique view of their relationship. Henry quickly becomes disillusioned when Anne fails to give him his son, and their mutual unhappiness is expressed through increasingly violent marital arguments. It is the original love/hate relationship and in the wings, of course, is Jane Seymour.

Jane has always been an enigma. Was she really the sweet, meek girl of popular history or something more? Perhaps her ambition was as great as her brothers,’ and her gentle manner masked a soul of steel. Just as in life, when she never really had time to make that clear, she remains somewhat unknowable in the novel. She leaves the reader guessing and you will have to make up your own minds. Whereas Anne is a clear mix of good and bad, as most people are, Jane is opaque, but she hasn’t emerged as squeaky clean in this book. Whenever I tried to make her appear sweet, she’d stick out her stubborn looking chin and say or do something surprising.

Henry’s feelings for Jane are likewise impossible to determine. I like to dig beneath the surface and despite him claiming she was the love of his life, I have my doubts. We know they married with almost obscene haste after Anne’s beheading but there is no hint what the attraction may have been; they seem to have had little in common. The fact that we know so little about her probably accounts for the mild nature she has acquired in the popular mindset. Most of the women in Henry’s life were either vitally intelligent or stunningly beautiful, I’d imagine he would prefer a mix of both. I can’t imagine Henry being attracted to a dull woman. I apologise to Jane if she was in any way vibrant because I have not made her so. She is ‘nice’. Although this book is fiction, to invent a wildly innovative Jane Seymour would have meant straying too far from the facts we do have.

We also know that after her death, the king mourned for some time and did not remarry for several years, but it was characteristic of the Henry, or at least the Henry I have written here, to desire that which he could not have. Had Jane survived and given him sufficient time to tire of her, or had she not produced the heir he longed for, I think the outcome of the relationship may have been very different. Perhaps his request to be buried with Jane had more to do with her status as King Edward’ mother than love.

All the characters in this novel are based on historical figures but they are fictionalised characters, nonetheless. Henry may be among the most documented kings in history, but we only have his recorded actions and some wonderful letters. We know from those that he was passionate, romantic and idealistic but his innermost thoughts and motivations are hidden, and always will be. I had fun writing from his own perspective but the real motivation for even his most unforgiveable crimes will never really be known. I do not believe he was an out and out monster. I stopped believing in monsters a long time ago but I do believe that he would have found a way to excuse even his worst offences. He was an expert in self-forgiveness and has provided me with an irresistible opportunity to create a fabulously unreliable narrator of the events that took place during his reign.

Henry had an idealised image of himself that he consistently failed to live up to. He was a weak man in a strong body, a baby in a suit of armour, a cuddly teddy bear in a grizzly bear’s suit. Initially, his intentions were good. He strove to become that ‘perfect renaissance prince’ but was prevented by events beyond his control.

I don’t think we can fully understand his need for a son; it had been instilled in him since childhood. Failure to produce a male heir was to fail both as a man and a king, and we shouldn’t judge him from our 21st century perspective.

I think he craved love, not just that of a woman but of the people and like a child, when he didn’t receive it, he turned rogue. Craving the affection of a fertile woman but incapable of giving any real love in return, he rushed from one relationship to another in search of the unachievable. This time, he told himself, this time it will happen.

But it never did.

I think there is a possibility that Henry believed the charges against Anne were true. For all their differences, Anne was his beloved wife; he’d fought long and hard to marry her, turned the country upside down and destroyed some of his best statesman to do so.

The men accused of adultery with Anne were his friends; he drank with them, danced with them, hunted with them. They had formed a large part of Henry’s life; both social and political. To someone as deeply insecure as Henry, the idea of being cuckolded by his closest friends would have been personally devastating. In such a situation a man like Henry would have acted swiftly, without due consideration and no doubt regretted it, just as he regretted beheading Cromwell a few years later.

After the event, had Henry ever suspected that Anne had been executed erroneously, he would have characteristically ignored the matter and defied anyone to mention it or her again. Which, of course, is exactly what he did.

Ask most people to describe Henry and they will throw up words like ‘obese’ ‘tyrant’ ‘monster’ but these descriptions are not wholly fair. In his youth Henry was athletic, loving nothing more than to hunt, play tennis, wrestle and joust. His enthusiasm for these things was matched only by his appetite which of course had no effect while he was active. After his accident, forced to give up or at least drastically reduce the sports he so enjoyed, he did not cut back on his customary diet. This doesn’t make him greedy, it merely means he ate like a king, as he was expected to. Had he continued to burn off the calories, obesity may have been avoided. It shouldn’t be a sin to be obese and as for greed, well that can apply to skinny people too.

I often wonder if he would be so strongly condemned if he’d maintained the physique of his youth.

We also tend to overlook the degree of pain he lived with, day in, day out. There were no effective painkillers, he just had to grit his teeth and bear it. I know what I am like if I have a toothache, or my bad back is playing up. Living with severe, unmedicated pain would make anyone bad tempered and this, added to the other pressures he faced would be enough to make anyone monstrous.

It may sound as if I am apologising for Henry, but I am not, I am fully aware of his actions but it is interesting to set aside preconceptions and reconsider his character. Of course, these ideas of mine may well be inaccurate, but it is the mindset I adopted while writing as Henry, in Henry’s voice.

When I am working, I shut myself off from the world, and he comes limping in, sits at my shoulder, and whispers his excuses into my ear. Sometimes it is a very uncomfortable confession to listen to; sometimes I pity him, often I hate him, but he never, ever fails to be fascinating.

I am not trying to turn him into a saint but I hope, in some small way, I manage to provide an opposite point of view, an approximation of the complexity of Henry’s mind.

Universal Buy Link

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Judith Arnopp

Ten years ago, when Judith Arnopp began to write professionally, there was no question as to which genre to choose. A lifelong history enthusiast and avid reader, Judith holds a degree in English and Creative writing, and a Masters in Medieval Studies, both from the University of Wales, Lampeter. 

Judith writes both fiction and non-fiction, working full-time from her home overlooking Cardigan Bay in Wales where she crafts novels based in the Medieval and Tudor period. Her main focus is on the perspective of historical women from all roles of life, prostitutes to queens, but she has recently turned her attention to Henry VIII himself.

Her novels include:
A Matter of Conscience: Henry VIII, the Aragon Years. (Book one of The Henrician Chronicle)
A Matter of Faith: Henry VIII, the years of the Phoenix (Book Two of The Henrician Chronicle)

The Beaufort Bride: (Book one of The Beaufort Chronicle)
The Beaufort Woman: (Book two of The Beaufort Chronicle)
The Kings Mother: (Book three of The Beaufort Chronicle)
The Heretic Wind: the life of Mary Tudor, Queen of England
A Song of Sixpence: The story of Elizabeth of York
Intractable Heart: The story of Katheryn Parr
The Kiss of the Concubine: A story of Anne Boleyn
Sisters of Arden: on the pilgrimage of Grace
The Winchester Goose: at the court of Henry VIII
The Song of Heledd: 
The Forest Dwellers

Her non-fiction articles feature in various historical anthologies and magazines, and an illustrated non-fiction book, How to Dress like a Tudor will be published by Pen & Sword in 2023

Social Media Links:

Website • Blog • Twitter • Facebook • Instagram 

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Blog Tour: Death in Sensible Circumstances: A Sense and Sensibility Mystery by Riana Everly

Join The Coffee Pot Book Club on tour with…

Death in Sensible Circumstances:
A Sense and Sensibility Mystery

Miss Mary Investigates, Book #4

by Riana Everly

May 15th - 19th, 2023

Publication Date: March 1st, 2023
Publisher: Bay Crest Press
Pages: 310
Genre: Historical Mystery

A Jane Austen-inspired mystery, set in the world of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, being the fourth novel in the Miss Mary Investigates series.

When Mary Bennet befriends Elinor Dashwood, she expects to become part of the young lady’s circle and be introduced to her friends and relations. She does not expect that one of this circle should die, far too young, and in most unfortunate circumstances. Worse, Elinor is secretly in love with one of the suspects, Edward Ferrars, and he is inconveniently engaged to somebody else. When an investigator is called in to assist, Mary is more surprised still.

Alexander Lyons expects to find death and deceit in his line of work, but he does not expect to come face to face with Mary, who hasn’t replied to his letters of late. What is she doing in London? And how is she involved with this sorry business of murder? Still, despite the tension between the two, they make a good team as they seek to unravel the mystery surrounding them. 

From the elegant drawing rooms of Mayfair to the reeking slums of St. Giles, the two must use every bit of wit and logic they possess to uncover a killer, all the while, trying to puzzle out the workings of their own hearts.

Join Mary Bennet, Lizzy’s often overlooked sister from Pride and Prejudice, and her intriguing and handsome friend Alexander Lyons, as they are pulled into the world of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in this, their latest adventure.

Buy Links

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Riana Everly

Riana Everly is an award-winning author of romance, both contemporary and historical, and historical mysteries. 

Born in South Africa, she moved to Canada as a child, bringing with her two parents, two younger sisters, and too many books. Yes, they were mysteries. From those early days of The Secret Seven and The Famous Five, she graduated to Nancy Drew, and then to the Grande Dames of classical English whodunnits, including Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh. Others followed, and many sleepless nights ensued.

When not matching wits with Miss Marple and Adam Dalgliesh, Riana keeps busy researching those little, but so-important, details for her next fabulous novel.

Trained as a classical musician, Riana has degrees in Music History and Medieval Studies, and enjoys photography, hiking, travelling, learning obscure languages, and experimenting with new recipes. If they include chocolate, all the better.

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