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The Lost Queen by Carol McGrath #Review

  We travel back to the 12th Century for this gorgeous historical novel, The Lost Queen by Carol McGrath . It was published by Headline Accent on 18th July. 1191 and the Third Crusade is underway . .  It is 1191 and King Richard the Lionheart is on crusade to pitch battle against Saladin and liberate the city of Jerusalem and her lands. His mother, the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine and his promised bride, Princess Berengaria of Navarre, make a perilous journey over the Alps in midwinter. They are to rendezvous with Richard in the Sicilian port of Messina. There are hazards along the way - vicious assassins, marauding pirates, violent storms and a shipwreck. Berengaria is as feisty as her foes and, surviving it all, she and Richard marry in Cyprus. England needs an heir. But first, Richard and his Queen must return home . . . The Lost Queen is a thrilling medieval story of high adventure, survival, friendship and the enduring love of a Queen for her King.   My Thoughts

The Peacock Room by Anna Sayburn Lane #Review #Giveaway


I am delighted to feature a literary mystery on the blog today. The Peacock Room was published on 17th September and is the second in Anna Sayburn Lane's series featuring Helen Oddfellow. I also have the opportunity for you to win a paperback  copy. Details on how to enter are at the foot of this post.

A literary obsession.

An angry young man with a gun.

And one woman trying to foil his deadly plan.

When Helen Oddfellow starts work as a lecturer in English literature, she’s hoping for a quiet life. But trouble knows where to find her.

There’s something wrong with her new students. Their unhappiness seems to be linked to their flamboyant former tutor, Professor Petrarch Greenwood, who holds decadent parties in his beautiful Bloomsbury apartment.

When Helen is asked to take over his course on the Romantic poet William Blake, life and art start to show uncomfortable parallels. Disturbing poison pen letters lead down dark paths, until Helen is the only person standing between a lone gunman and a massacre.

THE PEACOCK ROOM is the intriguing follow-up to the acclaimed thriller UNLAWFUL THINGS, which introduced the literary sleuth Helen Oddfellow.

My Thoughts

I do love a literary mystery and one which involves William Blake and Christina Rossetti adds the icing to the cake as far as I am concerned. The Peacock Room seems to tick all my boxes, with the added interest of female academics and University politics thrown in. This is a novel with several layers. Helen has her own insecurities in her work at the University but has a feeling of responsibility towards her students. The students seem naive and vulnerable, such a contrast to the flamboyant Professor Greenwood. Helen has to decipher a complicated mystery and as we watch her, it is difficult not to be engrossed with the background details about Blake, as well as other writers. Lurking in the dark web, you see malign interpretations of his work and a huge degree of misogyny.

     London is very much part of the story and a great background to the suspense which mounts as the story develops. It feels like a race against time at the end and certainly the ending does not disappoint with several twists and turns to surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery and look forward to, hopefully, meeting Helen Oddfellow again.

In short:  a tense mystery with a range of characters. 


About the Author

Anna Sayburn Lane is a novelist, short story writer and storyteller, inspired by the history and contemporary life of London. Unlawful Things is her first novel.

She has published award-winning short stories in a number of magazines, including Mslexia, Scribble and One Eye Grey.

Her Mslexia award-winning story Conservation was described by judge and Booker-longlisted author Alison MacLeod as “a powerful and profound contemporary piece in which one man’s story stands for an entire nation’s… it’s a punch to the heart, a story that will haunt and touch its readers deeply”.

She has told stories at London club The Story Party and One Eye Grey’s Halloween event, Moon Over the Lido.

You can follow Anna here:  Twitter  |  Website  |   Facebook

Book link: Amazon UK 

Thanks to Anna Sayburn Lane and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours  for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.


Giveaway (UK only)

To win a paperback copy of The Peacock Room, just Follow and Retweet the pinned Tweet at @bookslifethings.

Closing Date 14th October 2020 and there is one winner.

*Terms and Conditions – UK  entries only.  The winner will be selected at random via Tweetdraw from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.




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