Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Have a sneak peek between the covers of Anna Belfrage's intriguing novel — Times of Turmoil #HistoricalRomance #Timeslip #BlogTour @abelfrageauthor @cathiedunn

Times of Turmoil

by Anna Belfrage

It is 1718 and Duncan Melville and his time traveller wife, Erin, are concentrating on building a peaceful existence for themselves and their twin daughters. Difficult to do, when they are beleaguered by enemies.

Erin Melville is not about to stand to the side and watch as a child is abused—which is how she makes deadly enemies of Hyland Nelson and his family.

Then there’s that ghost from their past, Armand Joseph Chardon, a person they were certain was dead. Apparently not. Monsieur Chardon wants revenge and his sons are tasked with making Duncan—and his wife—pay.

Things aren’t helped by the arrival of Duncan’s cousin, fleeing her abusive husband. Or the reappearance of Nicholas Farrell in their lives, as much of a warped bully now as he was when he almost beat Duncan to death years ago. Plus, their safety is constantly threatened as Erin is a woman of colour in a time and place where that could mean ostracism, enslavement or even death.

Will Duncan and Erin ever achieve their simple wish – to live and love free from fear of those who wish to destroy them?

She should probably have kept her mouth shut. But Erin Melville wasn’t the type of woman who turned the other way when a big, hulking brute of a man chose to punish a scrawny boy in the middle of the street. Especially not when the asshole was using a whip on the child. So she waded in.


“This is no matter for you to meddle in,” the man snarled, bringing the crop down in yet another vicious strike across the boy’s narrow shoulders. 

Erin shoved him. “He’s bleeding!” 

“As he should! A worthless, useless servant is what he is!”

Servant? The boy was at most twelve—or so she guessed, given his size. Too thin, the linen of his worn shirt clinging to a knobbly spine and bony shoulder blades. 

The man raised the crop. Erin placed herself between him and the boy.

“Move!” He was sweating, the broken veins on his nose and chin looking almost purple against the red of his skin. 


“Fine,” he sneered. “I dare say you’ve tasted a crop once or twice, hey? Once a slave—” He broke off on a yelp.

“Best not finish that,” Duncan said, blue eyes flashing. Erin smiled at her husband, received a frown in return. She sighed inwardly. Inconspicuous, she reminded herself, you should always strive to be inconspicuous. Well, so Duncan thought at any rate, hemming and hawing when he verbalised that she did not need to bring attention to the fact that she was a woman of colour. Not something to be flouted in a day and age where anyone with less than lily-white skin was suspected of being a slave, at least here in the American colonies. 

In Erin’s opinion, just being a woman was something of a trial in the year 1718. There were definitely days when she longed for her other life in the twenty-first century. Until she remembered that had she not fallen through time in 2016, she’d likely have been burned to a crisp in the fire engulfing her home. Discreetly, she took a couple of deep breaths, attempting to calm her thundering pulse: a time traveller, an impossibility, that’s who she was, and should anyone find out . . . well, being a woman of colour would be a walk in the park in comparison! She swallowed, took yet another breath and redirected her attention to her husband and the man with the crop. 

“There’s no hiding it, is there?” the unknown brute sneered. “Look at her: where did you find her? In one of the French colonies? After all, everyone knows those Frenchies are happy to fornicate with their slaves.”

“As are the English colonists,” Duncan retorted. “But my wife is not—has never been—a slave.”

“No? Her skin says otherwise.” The brute laughed. “Should I find her alone, I’d claim her as mine and—” Whatever he had intended to say became a loud gurgle. 

“Careful,” Duncan said, releasing the man to double over and gasp for breath. “Anyone touches my wife best be prepared to meet me at dawn—to die.”

Erin tuned out the continued argument and sank down on her haunches beside the boy instead. A hand to his back reassured her he was breathing, but he was shivering violently. From the way his fists were knotted, his eyes squished shut, she guessed he was very much conscious, probably just waiting for the next blow. And the next. She frowned, encircling one bony wrist. He jerked. Sunken cheeks, deep purple shadows under his eyes, old bruises mottling what she could see of his skin—this boy was living through hell.

“He needs help,” she said, standing up. “The boy,” she continued. “We must help him.”

“We?” The big man shoved forward. “You won’t be touching my property.”

“Your property?”

“He’s indentured,” Duncan explained.

“And that allows him to mistreat him? Murder him?”

“Nay, that it does not,” a deep voice said from behind them. 

Erin recognised the Welsh lilt to the voice and offered the speaker a deep curtsy. “Mr Lloyd,” she said, noting out of the corner of her eye that the big bastard scowled at the substantially smaller David Lloyd. 

“I’ll not have you meddle in this,” the man growled.

“No?” Lloyd prodded the prone boy with the tip of his shoe. An elegant shoe, as black as the stockings that disappeared into black breeches that matched the black coat, the skirts falling almost to Lloyd’s knees. “I fear I must, Hyland Nelson.” He pulled himself up to his full height, which effectively had him reaching this unknown Hyland’s shoulder. “I’ve told thee before, have I not? Thou cannot mistreat an indenture like that.”

“He’s mine to do as I please with,” Hyland objected.

“Ah, but that is where thou art wrong, dear Hyland. Even an indenture has some protection under the law, and thou knowest me: I am a great believer in the law.” Lloyd rose on his toes. “And the law says that if thou were to, let us say, maim this poor lad, permanently cripple him or, God spare us, kill him, then thou would pay the ultimate price.”

“You’d hang, Nelson,” Duncan clarified. 

“He needs discipline!” Nelson roared. “He’s an ungrateful little bastard who shirks work.”

“Maybe if you fed him, he’d have the strength to work,” Erin said, receiving a warning blue look from Duncan. What? She crossed her arms over her chest. “That boy is starving.”

Duncan studied the child, a deep wrinkle forming between his brows. 

“What is it to you?” Nelson demanded. “I’ll make sure he gets enough to survive, but more than that makes him hard to handle.” 

“Ah. So thou art starving him into obedience.” Lloyd gave Nelson a disgusted look. “Most ungodly, Hyland Nelson. No, we cannot have that.”

“We can take care of him,” Erin said, leaning down to brush at the boy’s hair. He shrank from her touch, and her heart twisted. 

“You?” Nelson spat. “He’s my indenture. He goes home with me.”

The boy’s tremors increased. Duncan looked first at the boy, then at Mr Lloyd. “We’ll take him home. He needs good care and food, and we can supply both.”

“I say no!” Nelson moved with the speed of a striking cobra, shoving Erin so hard she landed on her butt. His big hand closed on the boy’s arm, and he hoisted him upright. The boy yelped. Nelson whacked him across the face.

“Enough!” Lloyd roared. “So help me God, unhand the lad now, or I’ll have thee thrown in gaol for undue violence.” 

Nelson sneered, but when Duncan drew his sword, he paled.

“You heard the chief justice,” Duncan said, making Mr Lloyd swell. Clearly, he was very enamoured of his new title, even if he’d never use it. Quakers did not believe in titles.

“This is wrong,” Nelson said, releasing the boy. “A man is entitled to do as it pleases him with his property.”

“Hmph! Compassion and charity, that’s what defines a good Christian man,” Lloyd said. Nelson opened his mouth, but Lloyd waved him silent. “The lad goes with Melville.” 

This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

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Anna Belfrage

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.

Anna has also published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients.

More recently, Anna has been hard at work with her Castilian series. The first book, His Castilian Hawk, published in 2020, is set against the complications of Edward I’s invasion of Wales. His Castilian Hawk is a story of loyalty, integrity—and love. In the second instalment, The Castilian Pomegranate, we travel with the protagonists to the complex political world of medieval Spain, while the third, Her Castilian Heart, finds our protagonists back in England—not necessarily any safer than the wilds of Spain! The fourth book, Their Castilian Orphan, is scheduled for early 2024.

Anna has recently released Times of Turmoil, the sequel to her 2021 release, The Whirlpools of Time. Here she returns to the world of time travel. Where The Whirlpools of Time had Duncan and the somewhat reluctant time-traveller Erin navigating the complexities of the first Jacobite rebellion in Scotland, in Times of Turmoil our protagonists are in Colonial Pennsylvania, hoping for a peaceful existence. Not about to happen—not in one of Anna’s books!

All of Anna’s books have been awarded the IndieBRAG Medallion, she has several Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choices, and one of her books won the HNS Indie Award in 2015. She is also the proud recipient of various Readers’ Favorite medals as well as having won various Gold, Silver and Bronze Coffee Pot Book Club awards.

Find out more about Anna, her books and enjoy her eclectic historical blog on her website, www.annabelfrage.com.

Connect with Anna:

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