Book Review: #Blogtour – The Merest Loss by Steven Neil

Blogtour – Wednesday 28th November

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Hi All

I have been mega busy behind the scenes reading book after book, enjoying myself and disappearing into different worlds; falling in love and finding happy ever afters. The posts on my blog may sometimes be weeks apart but always know that I am working hard to bring you reviews of the books I come across.

Here we have a spectacular, captivating story; set in the beautiful historical England between the 1800’s with a sprinkling off enchanting, post-revolutionary Paris. This book had me gripped from the very first page; the characters were likeable with every word I read.

Big thanks must as always go to the wonderful Blog Tour Host, Rachel (www.rachelsrandomresources.com) who organised this tour with fantastic enthusiasm….and also to the man who wrote this charming novel, Steven Neil (https://twitter.com/stevenneil12)

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Before I jump in and excitedly tell you about this book, lets see a little bit about the author who brought this story to life.


The Author

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Steven Neil has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. In his working life he has been a bookmaker’s clerk, management tutor, management consultant, bloodstock agent and racehorse breeder. He is married and lives in rural Northamptonshire.

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100016617465298 https://twitter.com/stevenneil12


About the Book
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A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English
hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris.

When Harriet Howard becomes Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer and appears at his side in Paris in 1848, it is as if she has emerged from nowhere. How did the English daughter of a Norfolk boot-maker meet the future Emperor? Who is the mysterious Nicholas Sly and what is his hold over Harriet?

Can Harriet meet her obligations and return to her former life and the man she left behind? What is her involvement with British Government secret services? Can Harriet’s friend, jockey Tom Olliver, help her son Martin solve his own mystery: the identity of his father?

The central character is Harriet Howard and the action takes place between 1836 and 1873. The plot centres on Harriet’s relationships with Louis Napoleon and famous Grand National winning jockey, Jem Mason. The backdrop to the action includes significant characters from the age, including Lord Palmerston, Queen Victoria and the Duke of Grafton, as well as Emperor Napoleon III. The worlds of horse racing, hunting and government provide the scope for rural settings to contrast with the city scenes of London and Paris and for racing skulduggery to vie with political chicanery.

The Merest Loss is historical fiction with a twist. It’s pacy and exciting with captivating characters and a distinctive narrative voice.


My Review

I confess that the world of Horse Racing, especially in a novel isn’t generally a topic that I would think about reading. But the topic blended in brilliantly with the story; I loved the character of Harriet. Yes, she comes across as trapped in her life and love, but there is something very likeable about her and found myself warming to her more and more as I read through the pages; the mystery surrounding her son and who his father was had me gripped from the start and I turned each page greedily.

The pace moved along at a reasonable rate, giving us plenty of description and information but not over-doing so. I found myself getting more and more submerged into this world and I couldn’t wait to see how the story panned out. I walked around my home with the book glued to one hand as I cooked my children’s tea and as I waited for my son to come out of school. The imagery that Neil’s words created was spectacular; helping to create a world that I wanted to be a part of.  I got pretty emotional towards the end of this story as I became quite invested in it; I was not disappointed with how the story concluded. Beautifully written from Page 1!

Steven has a wonderful writing style and I look forward to seeing more of his work in the future.


Conclusion

This story was very likeable – I loved the characters and the interaction that they had. Steven Neil is a wonderful author and I enjoyed reading his work. I look forward to seeing what he has coming up next. 

Rating – 4 out of 5

If you liked my review and would like to see more about this book, why not check out the other bloggers who are included on this tour?

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Book Review: That Deplorable Boy by Jasper Barry @rachelsrandomresources

#Blogtour – Sunday 11th November

The Deplorable Boy.pngHi all, 

Hope all of you beautiful people are well today; thankyou so much for taking the time to read this post, it really does mean a lot. 🙂 – I have been super spoiled with the book that I am about to introduce you to. A follow on from Jasper Barry’s first novel in this series, The Second Footman (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17167018-the-second-footman), this 2nd book was just as enthralling and very ‘difficult-to-put-down’.

The wonderful blog host, Rachel (https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/) asked me to take part as she knew that I had enjoyed the first book so much. Some might say that the size of the book is off-putting, but I find this even more of an attraction and I couldn’t wait to dive right in. I loved the character interaction between Max and Marquis de Miremont in the first novel, so I was eager to see how there story progressed. 

I know you are all on tender hooks as you wait to read my review, but first let me give you a little bit about the author.


About the Author

Jasper Barry graduated from Cambridge with a degree in English and has worked in
advertising, then in journalism. Jasper lives in London with too many books and three
obstreperous cats.

Social Media Links –

http://jasperbarry.co.uk

https://twitter.com/jasperbarry2?lang=en

https://www.facebook.com/jasper.barry.1


About the Book

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Is Max Fabien the loyal secretary and faithful lover of the marquis de Miremont? Or a handsome trickster who regards lying as an accomplishment and any sexual quarry as fair game?

Miremont’s heart tells him one thing, his jealousy another. But his obsessive passion for Max must remain a dark secret. And, when his estranged wife brings their eighteen- year-old daughter to Paris to make her debut, the strain begins to tell.

The once-calm atmosphere of the Hôtel de Miremont swirls with gossip, mistrust and danger and Miremont is faced with an impossible choice.

Meanwhile the secrets of Max’ past continue to haunt him. Has the time has come for him to claim his not-so-rightful destiny?

That Deplorable Boy is the second part the Miremont series, charting the course of a gay love affair between an aristocrat and a former servant in Belle Époque France. Rich in period detail and set in the grand châteaux of Paris and Burgundy, the novels explore the suffocating social codes of the time and the conflicts and perils they bring for those who must live outside them.

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/That-Deplorable-Boy-Jasper-Barry-ebook/dp/B07BMZ1VPB

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/That-Deplorable-Boy-Jasper-Barry-ebook/dp/B07BMZ1VPB


My Review
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Its hard to not like this book; the chemistry as always between the two lovers is easy to envision as you read through the pages. Sure, there are a lot of pages to get through, but this helps to create such a beautiful picture and allowed me as a reader to really understand each character and what they were feeling. There were times when I felt that some parts were a little too lengthy, but its not something that I would underrate for; I enjoyed the interaction between Max and Marquis de Miremont as I did with the first book. The difficulties they faced in the first book to be together are still there and I read with interest as the couple inevitably still wound back to one another, despite trying to ‘limit’ there time together, so as not to rouse suspicion from those around them, especially Miremont’s family who unexpectedly come to stay at the Hotel de Miremont.

We find in this novel that Max is still struggling with his own demons, but he realises the strong pull that the Miremont has on him. Whereas Miremont himself has to deal with the ‘green-eyed-monster’ in him, which I read with interest.

This book is charming, both in the way it looks and in the way it is written. I found myself reading hours of my days away, as I read each page greedily, not wanting to put it down and wanting to see how the story concluded. I was not disappointed.


Conclusion

Over 400 pages were read over a week and I enjoyed it just as much as the first book in this series. The writing flowed well and the author did amazing work. I love Max’s character. Sure, he is a little damaged, but he has a good heart….he just needed someone to help open him up…and unwittingly, he found that with Miremont.

Very good story! Well worth a read! I hope this isn’t the last I hear from this engaging couple. 

Rating – 4 out of 5

S x

If you liked my review, please check out these others.

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