The Monmouth Summer
1685. King Charles II dies unexpectedly, and is succeeded by his brother James II, the first Catholic monarch since Bloody Mary. English Protestants feel threatened, and King Charles’s illegitimate son, the handsome young duke of Monmouth, rises against his uncle in armed rebellion.
The rebellion turns young Ann Carter’s world upside down. Eighteen years old, she is betrothed to Tom Goodchild, a Protestant shoemaker; but secretly loves Robert Pole, an officer in King James’s army, who offers to take her to London as his mistress. Ann knows it is her duty to marry Tom, but does not love him; so when he marches away with the rebels, she imagines him being killed – which would set her free. But she knows such thoughts are wicked; her father is a rebel soldier too, like all the men of her village. So who should she pray for, when musket balls start to fly? What matters most – love or loyalty?
If God could see into my heart, she wonders, what would He tell me to do?
Her father, Adam, is a brave man tormented by fear. He has two fears: first, that he may be a coward, and run from the enemy; and second, that he is not one of God’s Elect, and will go to Hell when he dies. But like all the men of Colyton, ‘England’s most rebellious town’, he marches to war, risking his life for what he believes.
When England’s most notorious judge, Judge Jeffreys, is sent to punish the rebels, Ann and her father are faced with the hardest choices of all.
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The Blood Upon the Rose
Ireland in 1919 is seething with violence, tension and divided loyalties, as are the characters in this story.
Catherine O’Connell-Gort, young, beautiful and headstrong, is a glittering symbol of British rule and oppression, and yet by inclination she is a potential traitor to her class. A medical student in Dublin, she is sympathetic to Sinn Fein,and determined to use her inheritance – the family estate in Galway – to help Irish independence. Unknown to her father, a colonel in British military intelligence, she is in love with a young Irish volunteer, Sean Brennan, who is being hunted by the police for terrorism and murder.
But when the IRA narrowly fail to kill the Viceroy, Lord French, in his car outside Phoenix Park, the British government decides to meet terror with terror. Catherine’s father recruits Major Andrew Butler, a hero of Paschendaele and the Somme, as an agent to assassinate the IRA leader Michael Collins, and Catherine and Sean find themselves caught up in an intricate network of conflicting ideals, in which each must choose where their loyalties really lie.
Cat and Mouse
Set in Ireland and London in 1914, Cat and Mouse is the story of two sisters fighting for their ideals in the turbulent months before the outbreak of war.
When Sarah Becket, a militant suffragette and ally of Mrs Pankhurst, discovers that her own husband, a respected Liberal MP, is involved in a scandalous prostitution racket, she is devastated. Still weak from imprisonment herself, she takes a knife from her kitchen and goes out into London’s West End, determined to protest for women’s rights in the most dramatic way she can.
Across the Irish sea, her younger sister, Deborah Cavendish, is lonely and unloved. When her husband returns home to join the Ulster Volunteers, she faces an agonizing dilemma – the choice between James Rankin, the trade union leader who she thinks can give her the love her husband has denied her, and the respect of her beloved son. When she goes to her sister’s aid, the two women find themselves embroiled a struggle to expose male corruption and prevent civil war in Ireland.
This is a story of slaves and seadogs, pirates and prisoners.
An African boy kills his first leopard and hopes to become a warrior. But his life is transformed by the arrival of Queen Elizabeth’s slave-trader, John Hawkins. Tom Oakley, a young sailor, knows no more about Africa than Madu, the African boy, does about England. When the boys first meet they hate each other. But as the story develops their roles are reversed, and each comes to depend on the other more than either would have once thought possible.
This is a work of fiction but all the historical events are true. It’s a fast-moving story of African and English history as you never learned it in school!