Blogtour – Wednesday 28th November
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)
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.
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 –
About the Book
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.
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.
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?