10 Reasons To Love Katy Moran’s Regency Romances

Katy MoranI’m delighted to be joining other book bloggers in celebrating the gorgeous new paperback editions of Katy Moran’s historical romance series – Game of Hearts, Wicked by Design and Scandalous Alchemy – published by Head of Zeus on 3rd February 2022. My thanks to Amy at Head of Zeus for inviting me to take part.

I’ve read all three books and can heartily recommend their combination of exciting adventure and delicious romance. In case you need further encouragement, here are ten reasons I loved the books:

1) The imaginative premise that the Duke of Wellington was defeated, not victorious, at the Battle of Waterloo and that this defeat resulted in the removal of the English Royal Family and the occupation of England by the French.

2) Hester Harewood, the spirited, resourceful and fearless heroine of the first book (originally published as False Lights) who finds herself alone and defenceless following the dramatic events of the book’s opening scenes.

3) The Earl of Lamorna (or Crow to his friends), the troubled, brooding and sultry hero – ‘sailor, soldier, spy, tattooed ployglot, expert liar’ – haunted by traumatic memories of the sights he witnessed and his own actions on the battlefield.

4) The crackling sexual tension between Hester and Crow, not surprising considering the references to the latter’s precise knowledge of how to leave a woman ‘in his power and wanting more’.

5) Kit Helford, Crow’s younger brother, who has a habit of getting himself into scrapes but also a way with the ladies that definitely runs in the family.

6) The settings which include the Scilly Isles, the rugged coast of Cornwall (ideal for those pining the absence of Ross and Demelza Poldark from their lives), the French city of Fontainbleau and the salons of St. Petersburg.

7) The storylines encompassing personal and political intrigue, betrayal and revenge plus a generous helping of spice. Georgette Heyer meets John le Carré, if you will.

8) The luscious period detail of food, clothing and interior decor such as this description of the preparations for a post-hunt picnic at Fontainebleau. ‘Hot-house peaches and necatarines were piled in shining pewter, and preserved Seville oranges arranged in honeyed slices on platters of chinaware. There were great heaps of glistening pastries too, sugar-dusted and dotted with caramelised nuts, covered for now with muslin cloths. Not far away, a quartet of violins and a harpist practised unfashionable Beethoven with bored competence.’ 

9) The vividly depicted action scenes – hand-to-hand combat, unexpected ambushes and hair-raising escapes under cover of darkness that make the books race along like a golden Turkoman mare galloping across the steppes.

10) A bonus for Crow fans‘He’d crouched at the water’s edge to shave himself with a cut-throat razor, stripped to the waist, revealing the extraordinary collection of tattoos on his back, writhing blue-black patterns that ran from shoulder to shoulder, from neck to lower spine.’ Sold to the reader over there having a hot flush…

Katy MoranAny one of the books would make the perfect Valentine’s Day read so, go on, treat yourself.

Purchase from your favourite bookseller via the following links

Game of Hearts
Wicked by Design
Scandalous Alchemy


About the Author

Katy MoranKaty Moran is the author of Game of HeartsWicked by Design and Scandalous Alchemy. After a career in publishing, Katy now lives with her husband and three children in a ramshackle Georgian house in the Welsh borders. She is passionate about history, and is involved with multiple projects including Waterloo Uncovered and The Women of Waterloo.

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#BookReview The Cornish Captive by Nicola Pryce @ReadersFirst1 @CorvusBooks

The Cornish CaptiveAbout the Book

Cornwall, 1800. Imprisoned on false pretences, Madeleine Pelligrew, former mistress of Pendenning Hall, has spent the last 14 years shuttled between increasingly destitute and decrepit mad houses. When a strange man appears out of the blue to release her, she can’t quite believe that her freedom comes without a price. Hiding her identity, Madeleine determines to discover the truth about what happened all those years ago.

Unsure who to trust and alone in the world, Madeleine strikes a tentative friendship with a French prisoner on parole, Captain Pierre de la Croix. But as she learns more about the reasons behind her imprisonment, and about those who schemed to hide her away for so long, she starts to wonder if Pierre is in fact the man he says he is. As Madeleine’s past collides with her present, can she find the strength to follow her heart, no matter the personal cost?

Format: Paperback (464 pages)       Publisher: Corvus
Publication date: 6th January 2022 Genre: Historical Fiction

Find The Cornish Captive on Goodreads

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My Review

The Cornish Captive is the sixth novel in the author’s Cornish Saga series. I have only read one previous book in the series – The Cornish Lady – but although some characters feature in more than one book it’s not essential to have read all the earlier books in order to enjoy this one. Don’t be put off by the list of characters at the beginning of the book either as some appear only briefly or are not key to the plot. However the family trees are very useful, especially as a few of the surnames are similar.

The book’s focus is Madeleine’s attempts to bring to justice the person she believes to be responsible for her false imprisonment. However the backdrop is the French Revolution. (Cleverly, the book is divided into three parts – Liberté, Équalité and Fraternité.) As a member of an aristocratic French family, Madeleine’s sympathies are Royalist but Pierre de la Croix, the French captain she meets is a Republican, a prisoner of the British and someone who should be a sworn enemy. However, who can blame Madeleine for being drawn to the handsome Pierre, especially when he has the knack of being conveniently on hand whenever Madeleine’s safety is threatened. But given her previous experience of men and her conviction that ‘All men lied’, can she learn to trust again?

The author captures with insight Madeleine’s feelings following her release from imprisonment. Yes, she is relieved to be free but she finds herself overwhelmed by the physical sensations of open skies and fresh air after so long in darkness and confinement. ‘To be free… The air was so fresh it almost hurt to breathe, yet I gulped lungfuls of the salty air, laughing, crying, blinded by the brilliance of the sun’s reflection.’ She also bears the physical and emotional scars of her ill treatment.

With Britain at war with France, Madeleine finds herself drawn into the world of spies and secret agents. I’ll be honest I got a bit confused about who was spying for which side and their various aliases. However, it all gets wrapped up neatly at the end of the book.

A heart-warming side story is that of Rowan, the young girl who was the only person to show Madeleine any kindness during her time in the mad house and who accompanies Madeleine to Fosse after she makes her escape. A nice touch later in the book is how the community of Fosse come together to support a character who, because of their nationality and political allegiance, should provoke hostility. Instead kind acts and generosity of spirit overcome the prejudice that might have been expected. A lesson there for us all.

Having visited Cornwall on many occasions, I’m always drawn to books set in that lovely county. The author skilfully conveys the rugged beauty of the Cornish landscape with descriptions of coastal meadows covered in wildflowers. I enjoyed the scenes of the bustling quayside of Fosse which reminded me of Fowey, with Polruan only a ferry ride away.

Combine a beautiful location with a romantic storyline, add spies, subterfuge, a secret diary, some close escapes, the reunion of long lost family members and an engaging, feisty heroine and you have all the ingredients you need for an enjoyable historical novel.

In three words: Romantic, well-crafted, absorbing

Try something similarScandalous Alchemy by Katy Moran

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Nicola PryceAbout the Author

Nicola Pryce trained as a nurse at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. She has always loved literature and completed an Open University degree in Humanities. She is a qualified adult literacy support volunteer and lives with her husband in the Blackdown Hills in Somerset. Together they sail the south coast of Cornwall in search of adventure. (Photo credit: Goodreads author page)

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