Punya Reviews...

An avid reader of Romance novels and her reviews...


Miss Whitter Makes A List

Miss Whittier Makes a List - Carla Kelly

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

The latest Carla Kelly that I read, Miss Whittier Makes A List, was one of those I was finishing up from her “Miss” series. Well, there’s no series titled like that but she’s got quite a few older Regency romances having titles with a “Miss this or that does this or that” (if this even makes any sense to anyone ;P). *facepalm* Sooo, I liked how it was, the storyline, the characters too. However, not as mind-blowing as I had hoped it would be after reading the first few chapters. As a result, it took me a while to finish it because I wasn’t sure what to write in my review or how to structure it; my feelings were that ambivalent. I don’t want anyone to dislike the story, but there are things that need to be mentioned.

Miss Whittier Makes A List isn’t a badly written novel. Not at all! I mean I keep saying this, and it’s true. I love Ms. Kelly’s writing and I loved most of her backlist thus far. This one begins with a h with a little different background. Hannah is a Quaker, a background not often explored in the arena of HR that I generally read. But even though she’s meant to be lived under strict rules of the ‘type’ of Christianity they followed, Hannah was anything but meek and biddable. Oh she gives that impression quite well, but inside Hannah something... different. Something preferably more exciting. Things that she won’t even acknowledge to herself, let alone to anyone else among her Quaker Friends. I mean, they don’t even call each-other anything but ‘thee’ and ‘thy’. :/

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Resilient Love

Resilient Love: Banished Saga, Book 7 (Volume 7) - Ramona Flightner

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Resilient Love, book 7 of Ramona Flightner’s epic Banished Saga, is quite aptly titled as we find our favorite characters going through ups and downs like any normal couple will, weathering incidents bound to test their love for each-other. This is one of the more unique attributes of this Saga, that the story of a couple isn’t finished with the HEA. As we find new things to appreciate in this series, the Saga continues as it should showcasing their lives with all its glory, as well as its difficulties.

The Banished Saga, when it began, was onset of suffragist movement of Boston 1901. Along the way we met many characters, including our favorite, the first couple of the series Clarissa and Gabriel in Banished Love. Their story was ongoing in books 2 and 3, Reclaimed Love and Undaunted Love. They still make appearances in the latest installments. We also met Clarissa and Gabriel’s family. Clarissa’s own brothers Colin, and Patrick who wasn’t introduced until much later. Her cousin Savannah and best friend Florence, both avid suffragettes and worked with Clarissa throughout. Gabriel’s younger brothers Richard and Jeremy were also introduced, as was their long lost uncle Aidan.

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The Spinster and the Rake

The Spinster and the Rake - Anne Stuart

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

I’ve read and heard many good things about Anne Stuart’s books over the years, which definitely made me wanna read her books. But hers is such a daunting backlist that I wasn’t sure where to freakin’ start! Until recently, I, kind of on a whim, bought one of her latest reissue of an oldie called The Spinster and the Rake. The straight-forward title intrigued me and I liked the blurb cause spinsters and wallflowers are my favorites (by now, I’d be called both if I was living in that era :P). Rakes aren’t my favorite by any stretch of the word BUT an author can make me fall unquestionably in love with one. It has happened so I still take chances on them.

I read Anne Stuart’s rakes are moody and broody… sometimes seriously bad. Something told me she knows what she’s doing, so I went with that instinct and wanted to find out what havoc this latest rake in is wrecking. ;) Our hero, Ronan Blakely, the newly minted Marquess of Herrington, used to be what you’d call the proverbial ‘blacksheep’ of his family. His womanizing was so bad, at one point, when he tried to be off with a married woman someone had to step in. He was made to leave the country at the age of 22. Since then he’s had his share of fun in various European countries including France and Italy (latter is my assumption but no doubt he’s visited many other places too). He was not in the line of any succession but fate worked his way, and he’s back to the bosom of le bon Ton with a new title, and more money than he could possibly know what to do with. After 20 yrs., even with more than a few gray hairs peeking, Ronan Blakely is still as dashing and as devastating as he used to be at 22. And he knows just what to do with all he’s got; open a gambling club with the money and use his suave charm to operate it. Oooh, did anyone say Derek Craven? *imagine heart-eyes here*

But I digress... Let’s talk about our h.

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Unmasking Lady Helen

Unmasking Lady Helen: The Kinsey Family (The Kinsey Family Series Book 1) - Maggi Andersen

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Maggi Andersen’s latest release, Unmasking Lady Helen, is a heart-warming regency romance. I had previously read two of the author’s earlier works and been quite impressed so kind of binge reading her backlist right now. I found Unmasking Lady Helen a bit different in tone than the other two. But it’s a very lovely story that you’ll definitely end up loving.

Unmasking Lady Helen is the first book of The Kinsey Family. Lady Helen, the eldest daughter of Lord Kinsey, a researcher and an explorer, is what you’d call a ‘mother hen’. Well, our hero definitely thought she was! A loving eldest daughter who loves to take care of her family, Helen is an all around sweetheart. Her siblings range from 22 yrs. old heir Harry to 18yrs. old Diana the debutante, 14yrs. old Toby to the youngest, 4/5 yrs. old Alexander whom everybody affectionately calls Zander. Helen herself is 24. She was never married and hopes to become the spinster aunt as time passes. She likes helping around the house, take care of her siblings, especially Zander who is completely crazy for her. She also likes to help her mother with her charity and everything else that may need her attention in frequent absence of their traveler father.

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The Folly at Falconbridge Hall

The Folly At Falconbridge Hall - Maggi Andersen

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

The Folly At Falconbridge Hall was yet another intriguing Maggi Andersen read that I had on my TBR for a long time. I’m so glad I finally read it because I really enjoyed the story.

Previously I read The Baron’s Wife, which is a standalone novel set in the very late 19th or early 20th century. The Folly At Falconbridge Hall is also a standalone (at least I think so), set around the same time, if a bit early in 1894. The storyline follows the same pattern, yet it’s not exactly the same. Whereas in the previous book, the h Laura arrives at the H’s mysterious castle that has been in the family for centuries after marrying him, here the h, Vanessa arrives at Falconbridge Hall as a governess.

The daughter of a good family, Vanessa had fallen on hard times when her parents passed away leaving her nearly destitute. Her father, the second son of a peer, had lost all contact with his own family after his marriage to Vanessa’s mother he fell out of favor with them. Vanessa’s mother was an active suffragist and influenced her daughter’s education and free thinking. Vanessa would’ve loved to be a part of it too, had her parents not passed away pretty close to one another, forcing her to seek an employment. To her surprise, Vanessa’s uncle, her father’s elder brother, came to visit her after her parents’ passing. Though that didn’t do much to make them any closer than before, he did help her getting this new job. Vanessa didn’t want to become a governess but with her credentials, that’s as close an honorable job she could’ve gotten. After all, she needs the financial stability. Her employer has a 10yrs. girl who needs a governess ASAP and Vanessa couldn’t wait to find out what’s in store for her in her new workplace.

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The Baron's Wife

The Baron's Wife - Maggi Andersen

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

The Baron’s Wife (formerly titled Night Garden) was on my TBR list for quite a few years, since before it was republished this year. Funnily enough, when I started, I didn’t know this was the same book as Night Garden, but I’m so glad that finally I gave it a try cause I really enjoyed the story. This is my first Maggi Andersen book and definitely won’t be my last!

The Baron’s Wife is set at the turn of the century England. Our h, Laura is an educated woman who had attended university, and a staunch supporter and activist of women’s suffrage. After her twin sister Eliza’s death, Laura is now the only child of her peer of the realm parents. Though Lord Parr supports his daughter’s cause, her mother is old-fashioned and finds it all rather too bold and pointless as women, in her mind, will never have the same freedom as men. Lady Parr despairs of Laura, who refuses to marry and be bound to a man who may put an end to all her life’s dream, her hard work.

One rainy day though, that changed when Laura met Nathaniel, Baron Lanyon and fell for him on spot. Even though Laura refused to think that she may be so attracted to a man that her good senses are leaving her, it was what it was. Laura was hopelessly attracted to this man she’d just me that day! Nathaniel escorts her home as she was alone on her way there out of concern and meets her mother. Lady Parr is more than interested in tall, dark and handsome Nathaniel. He had an old title and a good standing in the parliament. Plus he was young and rich, so she expected Laura to encourage his suit. Though Laura wasn’t sure at first, soon to her surprise, it was apparent enough that Nathaniel was indeed interested in her! One thing led to another, and after a short, whirlwind courtship, Laura finds herself as Lady Lanyon, forever bound to a man she knows little about.

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Courting Miss Hattie

Courting Miss Hattie - Pamela Morsi

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

I have waited to pick up another Pamela Morsi book for at least 4 yrs. There is a reason behind it but I am not here to discuss that. Recently I decided I need to give her older romance a try once again. Last week I finished “Sealed with a Kiss”, which didn’t really live up to my expectations. But I had already bought a few books by her so I picked up Courting Miss Hattie instead. The blurb intrigued me, so did the ratings. And I have to say that it was better than I thought it would be. I’m also quite fond of older woman-younger man theme, so that was a boon in this story. Surprised me really, because I didn’t know it prior to starting the book.

Courting Miss Hattie is set at the turn of the century. Hattie Colfax was but a child when her father passed away leaving her with her frail, difficult-to-be-with mother. But that didn’t mean Hattie didn’t love them both. Being an only child, she took care of her until she also passed on. After that, Hattie has been pretty much alone, taking care of their farmland all by herself. But she also had a helper. Reed Tyler came to them when he was but barely a boy, recruited by her father. 5 yrs younger than Hattie, Reed took to the training soon. While Hattie only had 2 other members in her family, Reed’s family was very big with 8/9 brothers and sisters. He was somewhere in the middle so the training at an early age did him good. Every bit of financial contribution mattered. Besides Reed’s father liked Hattie’s and was happy to have him work for the old Mr. Colfax.

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Her Vengeful Scot

Her Vengeful Scot (The Highland Warrior Chronicles Book 2) - Christina Phillips

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

I just finished book 2 of Christina Phillips’s fabulous The Highland Warrior Chronicles, Her Vengeful Scot. Have to admit I’m loving this series a LOT. This book also had its share of drama and intrigue, much like book 1. The stories are well-written and, as far as I could tell, well-researched too.

The Highland Warrior Chronicles is set during the time of Kenneth MacAlpin, arguably the first king of the Scots, around 843. He makes his appearance in both books, though less in book 2 than book 1. He wasn’t really someone I cared much about. You’ll find out the reasons in my review. He was also the king of now extinct Pictland. The author’s website has a short intro about the Picts and Pictland which I found fascinating.

Book 1, Her Savage Scot, takes place a few months prior to book 2. Connor and his men travelled to the Kingdom of Ce, a segment of the Pictland, with a proposal for the King of Ce from his own King Kenneth MacAlpin. Recently, MacAlpin , the King of Dal Riada has had this notion that he should be the reigning king of Pictland seeing his mother was a Princess. The Royal Lineage, in the case of the Picts, comes via the mother and not the father, so MacAlpin was determined to grab what he deemed was his. The kingdom of Ce, Circinn and the others were being ravaged by the Vikings. MacAlpin asks that the eldest Princess of Ce be married to one of his warriors with Royal blood, in this case Connor’s elder half-brother, Fergus. In return, he’s willing to be allied with the Picts and help them fight the Vikings. Quite a lucrative offer no doubt. Connor was tasked to make sure the elusive Princess and the King, with other nobles be brought back to Dal Riada to discuss everything. If all agrees, the marriage will take place posthaste.

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Sealed with a Kiss

Sealed with a Kiss - Pamela Morsi

It's been long 4 yrs. since I read a Pamela Morsi book. The last one (Runabout) was SO BAD that I had to stop for a while to scrape if off my memory. Unfortunately, Sealed with a Kiss was a bummer too. Wish I could say I loved it but I can't. I liked the story in parts, all the small-town shenanigans, but I cared neither for the hero, nor for the heroine. Both were equally stubborn, and in parts, silly. I was more interested in the ill-fated romance between the hero's father and the heroine's spinster aunt. Since that didn't end well there will be no full review. *sigh*

If you know a fellow blogger you'd like to nominate, please do. :) I had such a fun time!

[Extra] Follow Friday with book bloggers: nominate bloggers!

Reblogged from BookLikes:


Do you know what Follow Friday with Book Bloggers is? It's a weekly Friday interview with a book blogger picked from the BookLikes community but we also wish to open it up for all the book bloggers out there. We appreciate all the hard work the book bloggers are doing for the book industry and we wish to spread the word and give the book bloggers the proper recognition and appreciation! And it's so much fun to know a little bit more about the fellow bloggers friends too!


If you know a book blogger/reviewer who would love to be featured among book bloggers community in our Follow Friday session (and we mean not only pick me, pick me! personalities but also the shy but intriguing ones), nominate them for the Follow Friday With Book Bloggers interview in the comment section below. You can nominate from the BookLikes community as well as from all around the web (we will, though, focus on the BookLikes community first). We'll be also more than happy to feature newbies and newcomers, and raising up bloggers (e.g. mentioned in the BL group Shout-out for Newbies and "Underfollowed" (but Active) Blogs).


Each blogger can nominate up to 3 book blogger friends, please insert the blog's URL address and one sentence praise per blog (optional). Please check if the blogger haven't already been mentioned in the comments before nominating, we do want to keep the comments lucid, clear and without unnecessary repetitions.


Looking forward to your picks!


Have you missed the previous Follow Friday interviews? Here are the catch up links and sneak peeks into the four blog talks we've already published on BookLikes Blog.


Happy reading and nominating!



#1 Follow Friday with book bloggers:

Jennifer's Books

Follow Jennifer's Books: http://stellarraven.booklikes.com/


On your BookLikes blog you’re regularly sharing weekly art post, can you tell the story behind the concept?


I love classic art, and I love reading, and I thought that a Weekly Art Post would be a great way to combine the two. I try to choose paintings (and a few vintage photographs) that feature the subject of the piece reading or ones that at least feature a book in some way. I'm in my second year doing this, and it's been great fun choosing which pictures to feature.

Continue reading ->



#2 Follow Friday with book bloggers:

Punya Reviews…

Follow Punya Reviews… : http://punya.booklikes.com


Did blogging have an impact on your reading life?


Yes, it had. When I started doing blog tours, it did take up quite a bit of my time. Alongside my work hours, I was juggling regularly. My reviews are generally long, and writing those reviews took time too. I had to figure out how to balance it all. How many tours I can do a month so I can read and review the books I want to. Yet, through book blogging, I have discovered new authors and their books. So yes, blogging has had quite an impact on my reading life.


Continue reading ->



#3 Follow Friday with book bloggers:


Follow Tigus on BookLikes: http://tigus.booklikes.com/


Three title for a dessert island?


I'm not going to stew over this painful question for very long, because it can become very frustrating to make choices. I'll pick The Count of Monte Christo, amongst books that I have not read yet, because it's long, and I have faith that I will enjoy it. Then, I'll change gears, and pick two books I have already read: I'll take my favorite book of all time (so far): The Anubis Gates, by Tim Powers. And I'll bring my favorite Wodehouse's Quick Service.

Continue reading ->



#4 Follow Friday with book bloggers:

Nicole Reads

Follow Nicole Reads: http://lapetite.booklikes.com


A paper book or an e-book?


This is a tough question because there is nothing that can compare to the thrill of holding a paper book in your hands and feeling that comforting weight on your hands, but I am going to say that I prefer e-books. As someone who travels a lot, there is nothing like the comfort of having a wide variety of books readily available in one place. Plus, I don’t have to pay extra for overweight luggage!


Continue reading ->


See you next Friday!


Her Savage Scot

Her Savage Scot (The Highland Warrior Chronicles Book 1) - Christina Phillips

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Her Savage Scot, book 1 of The Highland Warrior Chronicles, had been in my TBR for a while now. Recently, when I felt the urge to check out some medieval Scottish-Highlander romance, I thought why not?. This was my first novel by Christina Phillips and it definitely won’t be my last because I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would.

Her Savage Scot is set during the time of Kenneth MacAlpin, arguably the first king of the Scots, around 843. He makes his appearance here too, but not really as someone I cared much about. You’ll find out the reasons in my review. He was also the king of now extinct Pictland. The author’s website has a short intro about the Picts and Pictland which I found fascinating.

Princess Aila, the eldest daughter of the current King of one Pictish segment called Ce, is introduced almost at the beginning of the story. A widow since 17, Aila’s life had not been the same when her young husband Onuist died saving her life from the marauding Vikings. At least that’s how the story is told all around Ce, where Onuist is revered as a hero. Just as her maternal grandmother and maternal cousin Elise, Aila has the same power of seeing visions and sensitive towards a coming incident through their Goddess Bride’s blessings. However, on that fateful day, Bride didn’t come to her rescue or Onuist’s for that matter. Since then, Aila had decided to abandon Bride and embrace the ‘new’ religion AKA Christianity. She’s also become a recluse, so much so that people outside of her closest kin aren’t allowed to see her. She doesn’t go out much unless the very close circuit of the castle and she has no interest in being introduced to the strangers who come to visit Ce. Hence no one sees her in attendance of any feast or celebration. She’s become some sort of a myth. It’s been 9yrs. but she’s not going to forgive Bride for her betrayal.

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Dark Temptation

Dark Temptation (Blackheath Moor #2) - Allison Chase

3.5 stars but I really thought this one's gonna make at least 4 stars. The story was rather interesting with the usual paranormal activities that were creepy and intriguing at the same time. And I really liked the H, who was a secondary character in book 1; a friend of the H there. I didn't like him in book 1 much but in his own book, I got to know him better so all in all, I thought this one's gonna be better.

However, the h of the story completely ruined it for me. She was an idiot, extremely stubborn and super irresponsible. If someone said 'don't do this, it's dangerous', she'd simply ignore that warning and do exactly that; all because she fancied herself a 'journalist', a detective too, by the looks of it. *eyeroll* I lost count of just how many times she had put herself in danger throughout the book and in the process, put the H in danger too cause he was always rescuing her. -_- Even though she'd later acknowledge some of her blunders, I don't think she learned much from any of it. Either way, by 70% I began losing interest and didn't care how it ended. I wished I could replace the h with someone smarter, more responsible. No idea what the H saw in her anyway! Meh.

I had high hopes for this series. Too bad. *sigh*


Safe Passage

Safe Passage - Carla Kelly

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

A full review of Carla Kelly’s Safe Passage would be kinda difficult to do for me, not because it’s a badly written book (I finished it in 2 days, a record for me TBH!) but because the historical facts integrated in this story. It’s very difficult to comment on war or revolution or whatever and the loss of the absurd amount of human lives in the process, to justify the horrifying affects it has on humanity. I’ll do neither in my review.

Carla Kelly has done amazing books where she included tales of war and its aftermath. But she’s always careful to be as subtle as possible while incorporating it with the storyline. Safe Passage is no different, yet there were moments where I felt like putting down the book and take a deep breath. This has a little different setting and background—Mexican Revolution of 1910 (setting here is 1912). The prologue introduces our h, Addie, who has been reminiscing about her past, and her marriage, which seems to be a done thing at this point. Addie lives in Mexico and was married to Ammon for 2 yrs. One sad incident, which led Addie to say some horrible things, had led to their break up. Ammon returned home from his freighting business where injured himself, only to find his wife enraged. He already had a broken leg to deal with, a broken heart now added to the mix. Addie, though, had a reason behind it, and I could try to understand her mental state, still the whole incident was really heartbreaking. Ammon left, heartbroken and in tears, not knowing what he’d done wrong. He had tried to communicate with Addie the first year but she was determined to keep her silence. I have no idea why she treated him so badly, but in the year since then she’d come to regret her action. So much so that she often thinks of Ammon but she doesn’t know how she can do anything to change their circumstances.

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Miss Billings Treads the Boards

Miss Billings Treads the Boards - Carla Kelly

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Miss Billings Treads the Boards, a clean regency romance, is another one of Carla Kelly’s single novels where I went in blindly. I liked it for the most part because there were some really witty dialogues throughout. However, it won’t be my favorite. Somewhere along the way, the story fell short of being amazing, which I thought it could’ve been.

In the beginning, we’re introduced to a Marquess, who is also a war veteran. Henry Tweksbury-Hampton, the Marquess of Grayson is filthy rich and lives the life of a laze about peer. Over the 7yrs since he’d been off the army and took his “role” of a peer seriously, Henry’s gone mellow. Even with a tall physique, these days his paunch shows. A thinning head of hair does his looks no good either. So, all in all, even though he’s one of the most sought after bachelors because of his title and wealth, Henry knows his shortcomings. He had a vague feeling that no one wanted him for himself but for what he can offer to them. The feeling though, has grown tenfold since he’s been taking care of his sister’s family too, and made his only nephew Algernon his heir. Algernon, who goes by as Algie, is really something of the sort. He’s a super-dandy, spendthrift and completely empty in the brain-box. To say that Henry worried over the future of his title is a gross understatement. But when, to allay that niggling suspicion, Henry ends up asking Algernon if he likes his uncle, things began going downhill. How exactly? Let’s see if I can elaborate in the following...

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Miss Grimsley's Oxford Career

Miss Grimsley's Oxford Career - Carla Kelly

3 stars but barely made it. This one definitely won't go down as one of my favorites. TBH, I was bored for the most part but it was mainly because I didn't care for our "beautiful and brilliant" heroine. To me, she was every bit silly and clueless as her dumb family. I don't even know what James saw in her, apart from her affinity towards the Bard's work (and her beauty?). She may have wrote some good papers on the Bard but I was bored through and through with her real self.

On the contrary, I LOVED our hero, who I thought deserved a better, and dare I say, more matured woman in his life. Even as I slogged through where Ellen shows her dumb self over and over again, by being a pushover for the half of the story, I lost my patience when she turned down James's marriage proposal for the umpteenth time, reason unknown. I mean for no valid reason at all! After all that he'd done for her, she still couldn't bring herself to come to a decision about his utmost devotion to her. :o I mean, was that part even up for debate? A young, handsome, brilliant, RICH Marquess wants to marry me, who also encourages my interest in Shakespeare, Geography and other things society won't let any gentle lady take part in. Who comes running if he thinks I'm in danger and would do anything to help me and my family so he's also extremely kind. Who already said he loves me... I like him too, but not enough to decide whether I should marry him. Oh geez! From her monologue, all I can say is that she was unquestionably dumb.

It took James's decision to not pursue her any longer (he at least had some reasons, not to retaliate in any way) for Ellen's brain to start working, and finally realizing what an idiot she'd been and how unfairly she'd treated him. Too late Ellen, you've already ruined my fun. -_- *yawn*


Ever Crave the Rose

Ever Crave the Rose (The Elizabethan Time Travel Series Book 3) - Morgan O'Neill

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

Ever Crave the Rose, the final installment of Morgan O’Neill’s The Elizabethan Time Travel, has been one of my most anticipated releases over the past 2.5 yrs. ever since I read book 1. I was very excited when I found out this sequel to The Thornless Rose is finally getting published; couldn’t wait to find out how Anne and Jonathan’s journey ends! The biggest query, on my mind, was to see whether they stayed in the Elizabethan-era, or returned to the present time. If so, how will that work out when we consider Jonathan’s own past with Anne’s grandmother and 2014 not being his original time-frame of living. Did I get my answers? I’ll try to elaborate in my review...

It’s true that I’ve never been overtly interested in the history of Tudor England but The Elizabethan Time-Travel series changed that for me. Apart from the chapters set in present time, much like book 1, book 2 also connects and heavily relies on Tudor England without being made to feel like taking a History lesson. The fusion of the historical facts with the fiction was done so well that you won’t think Dr. Jonathan Brandon once wasn’t one of Queen Elizabeth I’s royal physicians! Some major historical figures such as Robert Dudley, Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk, Queen’s chief adviser Robert Cecil, not to mention the venerable Queen Elizabeth I played their roles as needed throughout, which is why I had to research online to find out who was who and how they were related to the story. The authors’ knowledge of Tudor history was admirable.

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