#Bookreview The Apothecary’s Daughter by Charlotte Betts #historical #romance

A brief review of The Apothecary’s Daughter by Charlotte Betts – Historical Romance

Blurb

1665. Susannah Leyton has grown up behind the counter of her father’s apothecary shop in bustling Fleet Street. A skilled student – the resinous scents of lavender, rosemary, liquorice and turpentine run in her blood – her father has granted her the freedom to pursue her considerable talents. But Susannah is dealt a shocking blow when her widowed father marries again, and her new step-mother seems determined to remove her from the apothecary shop for good.

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My review

I bought this book on a whim because I like everything to do with herbs, plants and apothecary. I also have a character in a future book who will be opening her own Apothecary shop, so I was intrigued to find out about The Apothecary’s Daughter and how herb lore was dealt with in 1665 London.

The story is centred around plague ridden London and makes good use of events like the Great Fire of London. There are slavery issues, the great divide between men and women at that time, childbirth complications and so many wonderful little details that helped bring the past to life.

The book was well researched and interesting to read; the historical details were integral to the story and never felt like info dumps. The story flowed along beautifully and I was fully immersed in Susannah’s life. Although I would have enjoyed more focus on apothecary, the details that were included were fascinating.

I will definitely be reading more of Charlotte Betts work and highly recommend this to fans of historical fiction. The romance element is also important, so if you like romance this could also be a story for you.

4.5 stars

#Weekendwanderings Portsmouth Historic Dockyard #ships #history #photos

During the summer we paid a visit to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. It proved to be a fun way to spend a few hours, though it did feel a little strange seeing armed police patrolling what is in effect a museum. I suppose that is just the way things are now.

Anyway, not to dwell on the state of society, the first attraction is HMS Warrior. It’s a beast of a ship and I had no chance of fitting it into one photo.

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Continue reading

#Bookreview IREX by Carl Rackman #RBRT #Historical #mystery

I am reviewing IREX by Carl Rackman for Rosie’s book review team. I received a copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

 

Blurb

In the harsh winter of December 1889, the sailing vessel Irex leaves Scotland bound for Rio de Janeiro. She carries three thousand tons of pig iron and just three passengers for what should be a routine voyage. But Captain Will Hutton discovers that one of his passengers hides a horrifying secret. As his conflicting feelings toward his passengers threaten both his authority and even his sanity, he realises he must fight to save his ship.

When the Irex is wrecked off the Isle of Wight six weeks later, it falls to the county coroner, Frederick Blake, to begin to unravel the events that overtook the doomed ship — but he soon finds that powerful forces within the British Establishment are working to thwart him. Locked in a race against time and the sinister agents sent to impede him, he gradually discovers that nothing aboard the Irex is what it first seemed…

Irex is an atmospheric mystery, set in a rich Victorian world, packed with intrigue, twists and colourful characters — the spellbinding first novel by Carl Rackman.

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My Review

What a book!

I liked the writing instantly and was intrigued by the whole premise of the story. It did start a little slow and there was a lot of description throughout the book, but it was fascinating being transported back in time to the Victorian era on the Isle of Wight and aboard the Irex as it attempted to sail to Rio.

There were twists I wasn’t expecting that dragged me deeper into the story and the book was written in a way that compelled you to read on. It switched in time to before the shipwreck with Captain Hutton on the Irex, and afterwards at the inquest to find out what happened to the ship and its occupants.

I love a mystery and this book sets the reader up with plenty of intrigue. It’s very cleverly written, with lots of atmospheric description and great characters. It’s hard to pick a favourite, but the two main contenders are Captain Hutton, and the coroner Mr Blake. All the characters are well drawn and believable and I am sad to have finished reading about them.

I highly recommend IREX to those who enjoy historical fiction with plenty of murder and mystery thrown in. And if, like me, you don’t normally read this kind of book, I think you will come to realise what you’ve been missing out on!

My rating 4.5 stars – happily rounding up to 5 stars for Amazon / Goodreads.

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On a personal note – This will be my last review for Rosie’s Book Review Team. I’ve enjoyed the experience immensely and have discovered some wonderful new authors, as well as connecting with many friendly and helpful bloggers along the way. For the next few months I’m dedicating myself to my own writing, but I’ll still try to share reviews of exceptional books I come across.

Now I urge you to go out and buy a copy of IREX, it really is a great read!