Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it. For fans of The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman, A Secret of Witches by Louisa Morgan and The Haunting of Maddie Clare by Simone St. James comes an addictive historical debut about strange power, fierce love, family secrets, and how the past haunts us in ways that demand to be seen.
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Harlequin’s Graydon House Books is offering one lucky Grand Prize winner a fun witch themed prize pack containing a paperback copy of The Witch of Willow Hall, a pumpkin spice scented candle, a Witch’s Brew coffee cup, a witch’s hat, a witch’s wand, and a bottle of black nail polish! Four (4) Runners-up will receive an eCopy of The Witch of Willow Hall. To enter for your chance to win one these great prizes, please fill out the Rafflecopter link below:
About The Witch of Willow Hall:
Title: The Witch of Willow Hall
Author: Hester Fox
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin’s Graydon House Books
Format: Digital eBook / Print
Digital ISBN: B077MKGQLR
Print ISBN: 9781525833014
Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.
Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences, but those around you, as well.
New Oldbury, 1821
In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.
The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.
All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…
Add to your TBR list: Goodreads
Copyright© 2018 The Witch of Willow Hall
Hello readers, I’m so excited to share an excerpt with you from my debut novel, THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL (on-sale October 2, 2018). My name is Hester Fox, and hailing from Boston, I’ve always been fascinated with the rich and oftentimes dark history of this period. My novel takes place in a small New England town over 130 years after the infamous Salem Witch trials, and features a Gothic, melancholy atmosphere, restless spirits, and of course, resilient women. I hope you enjoy this excerpt I’ve pulled for you.
Gingerly, I get up, my legs full of pins and needles from sitting on the floor so long. Just like the night of the woman in the garden, I can’t stay in the library knowing that someone might be there. I must go and look for myself.
Even with the sun coming through the windows, illuminating the wood floors and catching the light of the crystal lamps, I feel as if I’m making my way through a dark, murky passage. My feet are heavy, as if they know something that my mind does not.
The door to the dining room is closed. It beckons me, yet repels me, exuding a sense of silent occupation. My ears buzz. A singsong chorus of whispers grows as I approach.
Are you ready?
I am here.
You attract them.
Are you ready?
Prepare for what lies ahead.
They mount and mount into a dizzying jumble of sound and I run the rest of the way to the door, my heart in my chest, my eyes squeezed shut. Grasping the knob, I fling open the door. The voices die away.
I knew it would be there. But it doesn’t stop me from gasping as every part of me curls back in on itself in horror. My blood turns to ice.
Seated at the table is a woman, or what used to be a woman. She sits as if she has every right to be there, as if she has always been there. A veil covers her face, but it is gauzy and threadbare, and I can see the contours of the features beneath. Her dress is old, black as night yet opalescent as the moon through a cobweb. Paralyzed with fear, I watch as it moves about her of its own accord, a soft undulation as if she were underwater. And though I can see her as clear as day, the veiled woman in our dining room, there’s a translucence to her, and the panoramic wallpaper is just visible behind her. She is like nothing and no one I have ever seen before, and yet she is familiar, as if I have always known her.
“Come, child.” Her voice comes from everywhere and nowhere, and when her words are finished, I have the unnerving feeling that they weren’t spoken aloud at all, but came from within my head.
She beckons me with a knobby finger, more bone than flesh.
I can’t drag my gaze away from her face, the sunken holes where there ought to be eyes, the lipless mouth, all teeth and blackness. The cold pie that I just enjoyed churns in my stomach and threatens to come up. She beckons me again, and I imagine those long, terrible fingers closing around my neck and choking the life out of me. I imagine them raking me across the face until ribbons of skin flutter from my skull. I stand my ground, unwilling to deliver myself up to her. She is the stuff of my novels, a grotesque horror that titillates on the page, but sends terror into my heart when in the same room as me.
She gives something like a grunt, and as if able to read my thoughts, says, “One hundred and thirty years of death is not gentle on a body. Come, do not gawk.” I dare not disobey her, so I force my leaden feet to move a few steps closer.
The smell of decay and death fills the room, sickly sweet and putrid at the same time. My stomach clenches at the memories the odor brings back of Emeline in her coffin. My throat is tight, my mouth cotton, but somehow I’m able to gasp out, “W-who are you?”
She makes a noise, something between a snort and a laugh, a scraping, rattling sound, though it’s devoid of humor. “Do you not know your own forebear?”
The blackness of her dress curls around her like a snake, but she sits as motionless as if she were carved of stone. Her stillness is suffocating, it dares the house to be silent, and punishes the sunlight for filtering in through the window.
Warily, I come to a halt at the edge of the dining room table. I don’t know what she’s talking about. “Forebear?”
“Have you not looked upon me since you were a babe? Do you not recognize in me what flows through you?”
“I…” But then it comes to me. The lace collar, though tattered and black as her dress, is unmistakable around her neck. “You’re the woman in the painting. Mother’s ancestor.”
The inclination of her head is small, barely perceptible.
Praise for The Witch of Willow Hall:
“Fox’s spins a satisfying debut yarn that includes witchcraft, tragedy, and love, set in 1821 New England… The inclusion of gothic elements adds a visceral feel that fans of historical fiction with a dash of the supernatural will enjoy.” –Publishers Weekly
“Beautifully written, skillfully plotted, and filled with quiet terror, readers will devour this absorbing, Gothic tale of romance and suspense. Perfect for fans of Simone St James and Kate Morton.” — Anna Lee Huber, the national bestselling author of the historical Lady Darby Mysteries
“Beautifully written, with an intriguing plot full of suspense and mystery, The Witch of Willow Hall will cast a spell over every reader.” — Lisa Hall, author of Tell Me No Lies and Between You and Me
“I was entranced by this intriguing and spellbinding novel with its messages of love and loyalty and being true to who you really are. I hope Hester Fox goes on to write many more such novels–I for one will be buying them.” — Kathleen McGurl, author of The Girl from Ballymor
“With its sense of creeping menace and chilling undertones, this compelling story had me gripped from the first page. The vividly drawn characters cast their spell so convincingly, I couldn’t stop reading until I discovered what happened to them. A wonderful debut novel.”–Linda Finlay, author of The Flower Seller
About Hester Fox:
Hester Fox has a background in the museum field as a collections maintenance technician. This job has taken her from historic houses to fine art museums, where she has cleaned and cared for collections that range from paintings by old masters to ancient artifacts to early American furniture. She is a keen painter and has a Master’s in historical archaeology, as well as a background in medieval studies and art history. Hester lives outside of Boston with her husband and their two cats.
- The Emperor’s SealTouching Time Book 1by Amanda RobertsGenre: Paranormal Fantasy MysteryPeking, 1902The Emperor’s Seal – the divine symbol of the Emperor on earth –is missing. The Empress will do whatever it takes to get it back.Jiayi has a gift – she can travel through time just by touching
historical artifacts. More than anything, she wants to escape the
clutches of the Empress and run away to a foreign land. Finding the
Emperor’s Seal could be her only chance at freedom, but is she
willing to risk the wrath of the Empress?Historian and wannabe archaeologist Zhihao has no love for the Empress orthe Qing Dynasty, but when the Empress orders him to find the Emperor’s
Seal in exchange for funding China’s first history museum, he
cannot refuse. It is only after he accepts the assignment that he
realizes the key to finding the seal lies in the hands of a palace slave.Civil unrest and encroaching foreign powers threaten Jiayi and Zhihao’s
mission and lives as they hunt for The Emperor’s Seal.**Only .99 cents!**Amanda Roberts is a writer and editor who has been living in China since
2010. Amanda has an MA in English from the University of Central
Missouri. She has been published in magazines, newspapers, and
anthologies around the world and she regularly contributes to
numerous blogs. Amanda can be found all over the Internet, but her
home is TwoAmericansinChina.com.
- Of Bells and ThornsThe Rose Master Book 2by Valentina CanoGenre: Fantasy, Magic Realism294 pagesRosewood Manor has been ashes for weeks.
Left with no post and no home, Anne Tinning never expected to find herself
in a luxurious carriage, dressed in the finest of clothes, pretending
to be the wife of Lord August Grey. The search for Miss Bellingham,
however, will require them to blend into the very height of London
society, a class Anne has only ever served, and which August
despises. But August insists that the ruse is the only way. For
although they’ve vanquished the wraith that called for August’s
life, they will never be safe unless they find a way to stop the
woman he scorned.There are traces of Lily Bellingham the length and breadth of London, but
when Anne and August investigate the gruesome disappearances in a
factory she has just purchased, they realize that Lily is more
powerful than either of them. And she has devised a new way to take
her revenge.With another curse placed upon August’s head, Anne must find a way to
defeat Lily, and this time, she will have no help from the young man
she has grown to love. This time, the curse is more insidious,
twisting him into someone unrecognizable.This time, August Grey is the one she must fear.Lush, lyrical, and layered in horror-filled suspense, Of Bells and Thorns
evokes the feel of classic Gothic literature, blending the magic of a
beautiful fairy tale against the rich backdrop of history.The Rose MasterThe Rose Master Book 1194 pagesThe day Anne Tinning turns seventeen, birds fall from the sky. But that’s
hardly the most upsetting news. She’s being dismissed from the home
she’s served at since she was a child, and shipped off to become the
newly hired parlor maid for a place she’s never heard of. And when
she sees the run-down, isolated house, she instantly knows why:There’s something wrong with Rosewood Manor.Staffed with only three other servants, all gripped by icy silence and
inexplicable bruises, and inhabited by a young master who is as cold
as the place itself, the house is shrouded in neglect and thick with
fear. Her questions are met with hushed whispers, and she soon finds
herself alone in the empty halls, left to tidy and clean rooms no one
visits.As the feeling of being watched grows, she begins to realize there is
something else in the house with them–some creature that stalks the
frozen halls and claws at her door. A creature that seems intent on
harming her.When a fire leaves Anne trapped in the manor with its Master, she finally
demands to know why. But as she forces the truth about what haunts
the grounds from Lord Grey, she learns secrets she isn’t prepared
for. The creature is very real, and she’s the only one who can help
him stop it.Now, Anne must either risk her life for the young man she’s grown to
admire, or abandon her post while she still can.Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time
she has either reading or writing. She also watches over a veritable
army of pets, including her five, very spoiled, snakes. Her works
have appeared in numerous publications and her poetry has been
nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web. She lives in
books contain graphic violence and language not suitable for younger
audiences or sensitive readers!**Brutal Valour: The Tragedy of IsandlwanaThe Anglo-Zulu War Book 1by James MaceGenre: Historical Fiction505 pagesIt is December 1878, and war looms on the horizon in South Africa.
British High Commissioner Sir Henry Bartle-Frere seeks to dismantle
the powerful neighbouring kingdom of the Zulus and uses an incursion
along the disputed border as his justification for war. He issues an
impossible ultimatum to the Zulu king, Cetshwayo, demanding he
disband his armies and pay massive reparations. With a heavy heart,
the king prepares his nation for war against their former allies.Leading the invasion is Lieutenant General Sir Frederic Thesiger, Baron
Chelmsford, a highly experienced officer fresh off a decisive triumph
over the neighbouring Xhosa tribes. He and Frere are convinced that a
quick victory over the Zulus will negate any repercussions from the
home government for launching what is, in essence, an illegal war.Recently arrived to South Africa are newly-recruited Privates Arthur Wilkinson
and Richard Lowe; members of C Company, 1/24th Regiment of Foot under
the venerable Captain Reginald Younghusband. Eager for adventure,
they are prepared to do their duty both for the Empire and for their
friends. As Frere’s ultimatum expires, the army of British redcoats
and allied African auxiliaries crosses the uMzinyathi River at
Rorke’s Drift into Zululand. Ten days later, the British and Zulus
will meet their destiny at the base of a mountain called Isandlwana.Crucible of Honour: The Battle of Rorke’s DriftThe Anglo-Zulu War Book 2420 pagesIt is January of 1879. While three columns of British soldiers and their
African allies cross the uMzinyathi River to commence the invasion of
the Zulu Kingdom, a handful of redcoats from B Company, 2/24th
Regiment are left to guard the centre column’s supply depot at
Rorke’s Drift.On the morning of 22 January, the main camp at Isandlwana, just ten
miles to the east, comes under attack from the entire Zulu army and
is utterly destroyed. Four thousand warriors from King Cetshwayo’s
elite Undi Corps remained in reserve and were denied any chance to
take part in the fighting. Led by Prince Dabulamanzi, they disobey
the king’s orders and cross into British Natal, seeking their share
in triumph and spoils. They soon converge on Rorke’s Drift; an easy
prize, with its paltry force of 150 redcoats to be readily swept aside.Upon hearing of the disaster at Isandlwana, and with retreat impossible,
the tiny British garrison readies to receive the coming onslaught.
Leading them is Lieutenant John Chard, a newly-arrived engineer
officer with no actual combat experience. Aiding him is B Company’s
previously undistinguished officer commanding, Lieutenant Gonville
Bromhead, along with 24-year old Colour Sergeant Frank Bourne, and a
retired soldier-turned civilian volunteer named James Dalton.Unbeknownst to either the British or the Zulus, half of the centre column,under Lord Chelmsford’s direct command, was not even at Isandlwana, but
fifteen miles further east, at Mangeni Falls. However, with a huge
Zulu force of over twenty-thousand warriors between them and the
drift, their ammunition and ration stores taken or destroyed, and an
impossible distance to cover, Chelmsford’s battered column cannot
possibly come to the depot’s aid, and must look to their own
survival. The defenders of Rorke’s Drift stand alone.James Mace is a life-long historian and the author of twenty books,
including seven Ancient History best-sellers, and two South African
History best-sellers. He penned the initial draft of his first novel,
“Soldier of Rome: The Legionary”, as a cathartic means of
escapism while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq from 2004 to 2005.
His works span numerous eras, from Ancient Rome to the British Empire.
- Hypatia of AlexandriaThe Legendary Women of World History #8by Laurel A. RockefellerGenre: YA Historical FictionTeacher. Philosopher. Astronomer.Born in 355 CE. In the aftermath of Constantine’s reign Hypatia of
Alexandria lived in a collapsing Rome Empire, a world where obedience
to religious authorities trumped science, where reason and logic
threatened the new world order. It was a world on the edge of the
Dark Ages. As libraries burned, she dared defend the light of
knowledge.**Only .99 cents!!**Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA Laurel A. Rockefeller
is author of over twenty books published and self-published since
August, 2012 and in languages ranging from Welsh to Spanish to
Chinese and everything in between. A dedicated scholar and
biographical historian, Ms. Rockefeller is passionate about education
and improving history literacy worldwide.With her lyrical writing style, Laurel’s books are as beautiful to read as
they are informative.In her spare time, Laurel enjoys spending time with her cockatiels,
attending living history activities, travelling to historic places in
both the United States and United Kingdom, and watching classic
motion pictures and classic television series.Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
Title: The Scot’s Bride
Author: Paula Quinn / Series: The MacGregors: Highland Heirs #6)
Print Length: 385 pages / Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1455535338
Publisher: Forever / Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Sold by: Hachette Book Group
AN IRRESISTIBLE SCOUNDREL
Highlander Patrick MacGregor likes his life just the way it is. Fighting for his coin, enjoying a woman’s charms, and bearing no responsibility at all? Aye, that’s the life for him. That is, until Patrick sees her-a raven-haired beauty with eyes as dark as midnight. Patrick swore never to fall in love. Not even with a lass as wild as he…especially when she’s from a rival clan.
AN UNDENIABLE DESIRE
Charlotte Cunningham knows Patrick is trouble the moment she sets eyes on him. Her only goal is to escape the possibility of marriage. Any marriage. But as the summer days turn into sultry nights, enticing her beyond reason, Charlie is forced to choose between the freedom she craves and the reckless rogue she can’t forget.
An intriguing Scottish romance with similarities to the historical past.
This is book #6 in The MacGregors: Highland Heirs series penned by Paula Quinn. If you ever watch the movie “Hatfield & McCoy” and enjoyed. Then you’re in for a real treat. Because The Scot’s Bride to me seems slightly similar to the drama that went on with the family.
But instead of the Hatfield & McCoy, we get the Cunningham & Fergusons/Macgregor, and this story has a happier ending than those two feuding families.
Charlotte MacGregor couldn’t wait to break free of her family which consists of her father, two brothers and a younger sister. Or I should say break free of her male relatives. When Charlotte and Patrick meet it wasn’t pleasant, whereby, Charlotte took him out with her slingshot. Now Patrick was being held, if he keeps how he is related to the Fergusons to himself, he may get out of captivity with everything intact. Well, almost everything. Because the longer he’s stays around Charlotte the more likely he will lose his heart.
The Scot’s Bride was a fast past and kept your interest throughout the telling of the story. The hero was extremely strong and bursting with charisma that you as a reader couldn’t help but love his character.
I don’t much about Ms. Quinn for this would be my second title written by her. But I can say her writing of historical romance rates right up there with Hannah Howell and Julie Garwood.
Fans of Historical romances will most certainly enjoy this story.
Title: A Gentleman Never Surrenders
Author: Lauren Smith
Series: Sins and Scandals
Print Length: 147Pages
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Love is worth a little scandal.
Owen Hadley needs a wife. Preferably a wealthy one. Alas, there aren’t a great number of heiresses willing to marry a rogue of no particular fortune—luckily, if there is ever a gentleman capable of melting a lady’s chilly heart, it’s Owen.
Milly has had enough of the marriage mart. If matrimony means giving up her freedom for a foppish husband, then society can take their idea of marital bliss and toss it. But when the ton’s most notorious rogue mistakenly makes his way into her bedchambers, Milly finds herself unexpectedly and unwillingly at the altar . . .
Yet the more time she spends with her new husband, the more Milly starts to wonder if the marriage she never wanted may be the best thing that’s ever happened to her. Now it’s up to Owen to convince Milly that what started as a mistake is anything but—and that every night with him will be more wonderfully scandalous than the last
If you’re looking for a nice book to unwind from your grueling day. Then you need to check out A Gentleman Never Surrenders by Lauren Smith. This is book #2 in her Sins and Scandals series.
In the story, Owen Hadley needs a wife. But not just any wife. He is in desperate need of a wife with rather a ton of money. In steps heiresses, Milly. She is getting tired husband hunting. Because she knows that once she gets married, her freedom goes out the door as soon as she says I Do.
When Owen enters Milly bedchamber they are forced to the altar. And come to realize that maybe getting caught wasn’t so bad.
Lauren Smith totally surprise me with this book. I was expecting something to the tune of her steamer offering but was taking a back on how different her writing style when it came to her writing historical fiction. She totally grabs you right from the start, but instead of the plot when it came to this story it was Owen and Milly who kept me reading.
A Gentleman Never Surrenders was my first ever Historical Romance that I read by Lauren Smith and certainly won’t be my last. I enjoyed this book so much that I will have to check out An Earl by Any Other Name.
I will certainly recommend this title to any reader who is into historical romance or just looking for a fun entertaining way to unwind for a few hours or however long it takes for you to read 147 pages