The Woman in the Shadows by Carol McGrath @AccentPress #blogtour

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Author : Carol McGrath
Title : The Woman in the Shadows
Pages : 387
Publisher : Accent Press
Publication date : August 4, 2017

aboutthebook

When beautiful cloth merchant’s daughter Elizabeth Williams is widowed at the age of twenty-two, she is determined to make herself a success in the business she has learned from her father. But there are those who oppose a woman making her own way in the world, and soon Elizabeth realises she may have some powerful enemies – enemies who also know the truth about her late husband…

Security – and happiness – comes when Elizabeth is introduced to kindly, ambitious merchant turned lawyer, Thomas Cromwell. Their marriage is one based on mutual love and respect…but it isn’t always easy being the wife of an influential, headstrong man in Henry VIII’s London. The city is filled with ruthless people and strange delights – and Elizabeth realises she must adjust to the life she has chose or risk losing everything.

mythoughts

As a huge fan of the Tudor era, I jumped at the chance to join the blog tour for The Woman in the Shadows. There’s no denying that Thomas Cromwell played a crucial part in history but very little is known about his wife Elizabeth. This story is told through her eyes and so while the story was obviously thoroughly researched and adheres to facts, a lot of it is fiction which I must say I didn’t object to at all as the story flows seamlessly.

Elizabeth is a young widow when she meets Thomas. She’s determined to make a success of herself but the streets of London are full of danger and no safe place for a woman. Through the years, as we follow the rise of Thomas Cromwell, Elizabeth’s life goes through many changes. From being a widow struggling to survive to being a gentlewoman with a big household, she must also accept that maybe there are things she’s better off not knowing as her husband becomes more ambitious and works his way up from being a merchant and a lawyer to being in the employ of Cardinal Wolsey.

Now, let me just say that I was a little disappointed that I didn’t learn anything about life at court. However, that’s my own fault as I didn’t know Elizabeth had passed away before Thomas “made it big”, so to speak. I must clearly brush up on my history. Despite that, I still thoroughly enjoyed learning about daily life in the early Tudor days, especially as a woman. Women who were more often than not left in the dark from whatever shenanigans their husbands got up to.

From the rituals that were followed when a child was born to those that were in place when someone died and even marriage betrothals, these things were truly fascinating to read about. Thankfully some have gone out of fashion! The novel also gives a glimpse into life as cloth merchant which I knew nothing about and all the intricacies of running a household. Overall, I take quite a lot away from this novel and it’s a very fine addition to my Tudor collection.

Many thanks to the publisher for the opportunity to join the blog tour and for my advanced copy!

The Woman in the Shadows is available now!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

My first degree is in History and English from Queens University Belfast. I have a postgraduate MA in writing from Queens University and an Mphil in writing from The Royal Holloway ,University of London. My debut novel The Handfasted Wife is the first in a Trilogy The Daughters of Hastings. The first is the story of 1066 and its aftermath from the perspective of the noble women. The Swan-Daughter and The Betrothed Sister have followed. All have been best sellers. My new novel The Woman in the Shadows tells the tale of Thomas and Elizabeth Cromwell and is the story of an early Tudor marriage. I am now working on a medieval trilogy about ‘she wolf’ queens. [Goodreads]

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Safe With Me by Grace Lowrie @AccentPress #blogtour

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Author : Grace Lowrie
Pages : 356
Publisher : Accent Press
Publication date : June 22, 2017

aboutthebook

Abandoned as children, Kat and Jamie were inseparable growing up in foster care. But their bond couldn’t protect them forever.

From a troubled upbringing to working in a London greasy spoon, Kat’s life has never been easy. On the surface Jamie’s living the high-life, but appearances can be deceiving.

When they unexpectedly reunite, their feelings become too intense to ignore. But as secrets come back to haunt them, are they destined to be separated once more?

mythoughts

Kat and Jamie grew up together in foster care until Jamie was adopted and they were separated. Decades later, their lives couldn’t be more different. Kat went from foster care, to living on the streets, to being caught up in an abusive marriage. Jamie works in insurance and has a gorgeous actress girlfriend but cracks are starting to show in the relationship. Then Kat and Jamie meet again unexpectedly.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the book, where I think its strength lies. Kat’s life especially had me engrossed. I really felt for her as it becomes increasingly clear she’s a prisoner in her marriage, working her fingers to the bone and never knowing what mood her husband will be in.

Chapters alternate between Kat and Jamie. I liked the concept where the reader knows what’s going on but the characters don’t. That being said though, I think the big plot reveal happened a bit too early in the book, even though it was really well done. But it did make me wonder how the rest of the story would unfold.

The second half of the book didn’t hold my attention as much but I’m admittedly not much of a romance reader. There is conflict and tension as the focus of the story shifts to the relationship between Kat and Jamie but the pace slowed down a bit too much for me.  I also felt a little disappointed in how quickly the husband situation was resolved.

That said Safe With Me is well written, very atmospheric and realistic. This isn’t a fast paced read with buckets of drama but it is full of emotion and romance so if that’s your thing, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

Many thanks to Karen at Accent Press for the advanced copy and for inviting me on the tour!

Safe With Me is published today! Happy publication day, Grace Lowrie!

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreads

abouttheauthor

Having worked as a collage artist, sculptor, prop maker and garden designer, Grace has always been creative, but she is a romantic introvert at heart and writing was, and is, her first love.

Safe With Me, the first women’s fiction novel in The Wildham Series, is published by Accent Press, who also released her debut contemporary romance novel, Kindred Hearts, in 2015.

A lover of rock music, art nouveau design, blue cheese and grumpy ginger tomcats, Grace is also an avid reader of fiction – preferring coffee and a sinister undercurrent, over tea and chick lit. When not making prop costumes or hanging out with her favourite nephews, she continues to write stories from her Hertfordshire home.

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