Renee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, “It’s Book Talk” to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! My TT posts will not come from current ARCs or new releases. Means I’ll be going back over some of my oldies but goodies, my favorite authors, and some of my favorite stories from authors you might not have previously experienced. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out.
This week I am highlighting another terrific, prolific author, Amanda Hughes. Ms. Hughes writes about bold women of the 18th, 19th, and (now the) 20th centuries, but they are all stand alone books and do not carry the protagonist from one to the next of the same series. She just released The Looking Glass Goddess (Bold Women of the 20th Century Series, Book 1) on April 26, 2017. I’ve read the three highlighted below from her Bold Women of the 18th Century Series and I loved them all. First one we’ll look at is…
Originally posted February, 2014
The Sword of the Banshee
Book Blurb: “…Once again Amanda Hughes splashes the pages with gritty adventure and love stories about audacious women in the 18th and 19th Century. Her page turning tales will keep you on the edge of your seat as you take wild rides through dramatic and dazzling periods of history.”
I’ve read three books by Amanda Hughes and each book features a strong female protagonist. “The Sword of the Banshee” introduces us to India Allen of Ireland who is married to Colm Fitzpatrick at a young and tender age. It’s apparent almost immediately her new husband is not as represented, as he is involved in a secret society working to overthrow the British rule against the Irish. Before long, he is using her to write his speeches and through her well-read intellect plots his forces in the Irish Rebellion using successful historical accounts of battle. Gathering forces and financial support, she successfully reaches out across the sea to benefactors, one of whom is exceedingly generous, Quinn Calleigh.
Following the death of her husband, “Lady Fitzpatrick” travels to America to seek Quinn and finds herself embroiled in another conflict with the British; this time with the patriots. She meets a young child, Phineas, who acts as her street-wise guide to the new world.
Hughes does an excellent job of painting the role of women at that time; much like children, to be seen and not heard, chattel. But Lady Fitzpatrick, who assumes the name of “Lady Allen,” is no shrinking violet having been a brute force in the Irish Rebellion. Quinn is initially put off by the “Ice Queen” and Lady Allen is put off by the black Irishman, gypsy, but as they work together gradually begin a strong connection to each other neither can deny.
From descriptions of barbaric treatment of the colonists to women’s apparel, it is not difficult to imagine yourself back in Colonial America struggling to survive along with your comrades on a daily basis.
Ms. Hughes has done an admirable job of research, connecting the dots as the Irish join the battle as American patriots. She is a superb storyteller and keeps you glued to the pages as she pushes through the battle for freedom. She has another winner here–highly recommended for fans of historical fiction, women’s fiction, and literary fiction.
Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry
It’s never easy to be Irish. And in 1755 Ireland, times were extremely hard forcing the fine citizens of Kerry to secretly create a trading system with the French, a serious no-no at the time. The system would bring them food that would keep those who survived “The Hunger” from likewise perishing. Darcy McBride did her part to participate in that extremely dangerous activity as did her brother, Liam. Darcy is smart and ambitious and eagerly accepts the tutoring of a Jesuit priest when he is smuggled into the village. She loves the ability to read and write and finds it to her advantage when events turn decidedly more ugly.
Darcy escapes death with the help of a friend and but is sold into seven years of servitude and sent to the colonies of young America for Nathan Lawrence to use at his convenience. While at the fort, however, she eventually meets Jean Michel Lupe’, a strapping surveyor and a strong, independent colonist with extensive knowledge of the primitive northeast, populated by the Abenaki, and sparks begin to fly.
The characters in Ms. Hughes books are well developed. Your heart sinks when they are in peril. The scenes can be clearly visualized and there is a good progression of the plot that never lets down. Research has sparked a full imagination and she uses that gift with gusto. The story is rich in description, narration, believable dialogue.
The Grand Masquerade
From 1831 at the Natchez Trace of Mississippi through New Orleans and ten years of growth, this book follows Sydnee Sauveterre as she graduates from being a dirt poor 14 year old lent out by her father to the respected hostess of well-to-do New Orleans society. Fortunately, Sydnee is raised by Margarite, the slave at her father’s tavern, “Devil’s Backbone” and she is well versed in “Hoodoo”, a blend of Roman Catholicism and Voodoo. The practice serves Sydnee well after both Margarite and her father die and leave her to travel south on her own toward a new life with her two dogs and the crow, Vivian.
Sydnee is taken underwing after a mentor discovers her intelligence and potential. Becoming a sponge, Syndee learns to read and write, becoming an accomplished and learned lady. Through the contacts she develops, she is set up in a rather stylish and sophisticated home developed for entertaining.
The strong bond of friendship, acceptance, and support weaves throughout; the characters are believable and empathetic. I love that Ms. Hughes’ protagonists have not just human but animal assistance along the way and many times these become very sympathetic and loveable support characters. Sydnee does find love, but the story doesn’t revolve around the development, and romance doesn’t sidetrack the main plot of the stories. The description of the life and hard times ring true; disease is a part of life, and any natural event devastates and overwhelms the population. Life was hard. The story paints a grim but determined and triumphant picture.
About the Author: “Bestselling and award-winning author, Amanda Hughes is a “Walter Mitty,” spending more time in heroic daydreams than the real world. At last, she found an outlet writing adventures about bold women in the 18th, 19th and now the 20th Centuries for her genre-busting books. She is the winner of the Gems National Medal for Writing, featured in USA Today and is short listed for numerous book awards. Amanda is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, and when she isn’t off tilting windmills, she lives and writes in Minnesota. Don’t miss these page-turning novels for readers who like historical fiction with a just bit of a love story. All of her books are stand-alone and can be read in any order.” Interested in her new books or a free novelette? Go to www.amandahughesauthor.com
More Throwback Thursday Blogs
Renee at Its Book Talk
Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe
Rebeccca at The Book Whisperer
Lynn at Fictionophile
Sam at Clues and Reviews
Holly B at Dressedtoread
©2017 Virginia Williams