A Heart Divided by Mary Brock Jones

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I approached Mary Brock Jones’ ‘A Heart Divided’ with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.

Excitement – because I believe the incredible history offered by the Central Otago Goldfields in the South Island of New Zealand makes it deserving of a romance sub-sub genre all of  its own, and any release of a new book set in that era only serves to advance the cause.

Trepidation – because I am intimately familiar with all of the places in Brock Jones’ novel. The beautifully stark landscape studded with sculptural rock formations is a hero to get lost in and fall in love with in itself. To have lived in Central Otago is to yearn for it. So it was important to me as a reader that the writer did the landscape justice. Fortunately, I needn’t have worried. Brock Jones depicted the environment wonderfully well and any reader who has not visited will almost certainly come away with a true sense of the remarkable setting. Continue reading

The Chieftain’s Curse by Frances Housden

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Diving back into The Chieftain’s Curse in order to refresh my memory for this review, I’d barely read a few sentences before I found myself ensnared deep within Cragenlaw Castle’s walls and in serious danger of curling up on the sofa to read the book a second time instead of getting down to work.

When I finally tore myself away, achieved only by switching off the E-reader completely, the residue of Cragenlaw and its inhabitants, were still suspended in my consciousness like a spell cast by the witch responsible for the curse itself. Continue reading