War divides families…love unites hearts…
As the English Civil War divides England and tears families apart, Kinton Lacey castle is one of the brave few loyal to the roundhead cause.
With her father away, Deliverance Felton will do whatever it takes to defend her family home against the royalist forces ranged against it. She can shoot and wield a sword as well as any man and anything she needs to know about siege warfare she has learned from a book…but no book can prepare her for what is to come.
Captain Luke Collyer, soldier of fortune and a man with his own reasons for loyalty to the parliamentary cause, is sent to relieve the castle. Everything he knows about siege warfare in general and women in particular he has learned from experience, but when it comes to Deliverance Felton has he met his match?
Deliverance will not give up her command lightly and Luke will have to face a challenge to his authority as fierce as the cavalier foe outside the walls. He will do whatever it takes to win Deliverance’s trust but will he run the risk of losing his own, well-guarded, heart?
Deliverance waved a hand in the direction of the west wall. “Oh, he’s over there, supervising the men on the earthworks. I suppose I should go and find him.”
The two women walked the length of the curtain wall, emerging from the Hawk Tower. As Deliverance looked along the battlements, she realised that quite an audience had gathered. In fact every maid in the castle seemed to be leaning over the stonework, laughing and jesting with the men below.
Penitence leaned over the ramparts. “Oh,” she said. “Oh my! I really do think he should put some clothes on.”
“What on earth do you mean?” Deliverance joined her. “Oh…I see.”
Last time she had seen him, Luke Collyer had been fully clothed, albeit with his jacket unbuttoned and his shirt unlaced at the neck. Now he swung a mattock like one of his men, naked to the waist. His back glowed with the healthy tan of a man used to working outdoors…without a shirt.
Her eyes widened. She had never thought of men as being particularly attractive creatures. There had been no opportunity in her life to spend her time thinking about men much at all. While young, handsome men had queued at the gate for Penitence’s favours, the only offers Deliverance had received were from three old, bald and foolish men of her father’s acquaintance. Mercifully her father had not sought to force her into accepting any of the offers.
Now, as she watched the smooth muscles across Luke Collyer’s back moving rhythmically to the swing of the mattock, she revised her opinion of men in general. She shifted her gaze to Ned Barrett, working a shovel not far away and similarly unclothed. Ned’s tan ended at his neck and his body was pale and freckly. Further along the line of straining men, Sergeant Hale, wielded a mallet, his great hairy, bear-like chest heaving under the effort of each stroke of the mallet.
She turned back to Luke Collyer. Compared to Hale, he seemed almost slender and graceful. Almost — she bit her lip ashamed even of the thought — beautiful.
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Publisher and Release Date: Oportet Publishing, January 2014
Time and Setting: Herefordshire, England 1643
Genre: Historical Romance.
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars
Review by Persephone
It’s 1643 and Civil War is raging across England.
Whilst officers and men from both sides of the divide are dispatched to defend or besiege rival strongholds, Luke Collier has the unenviable task of defending the Parliamentarian household at Kinton Lacey Castle. Little does Luke know, Deliverance Felton, eldest daughter in residence, is a force to be reckoned with. That is, until she proves her marksmanship is as good as any soldier. Albeit she mistook Luke for the enemy, she’s reluctant to apologise or relinquish command in the first instance, and less so with ongoing vie for superiority.
Nonetheless, Luke’s greater experience of warfare and a little cunning soon has Deliverance keening a risk-laden adventure she may live to regret. To spy on enemy forces from a safe distance is one thing, to venture behind enemy lines is tempting fate and Deliverance will never admit she may indeed be the weaker sex.
Worse is to come, when a neighbouring fortified house falls foul to the wrath of a Royalist campaign to purge the area of supporters to the Parliamentarian cause. With full scale slaughter left in their wake, of the few who survive, Deliverance affords the beleaguered escapees shelter and sustenance. But, while the opposing forces are massed at the gates of Kinton Lacey, betrayal surfaces and threatens all that Deliverance holds dear to her heart.
Love it seems has betrayed them all, and how are they to uncover the spy and deadly force within their midst before it’s too late? Claiming the Rebel’s Heart is a fine novel depicting the era portrayed, and draws on the awful truth that families were oft torn apart with brother pitted against brother in the name of Parliament or King.
This is not only a well-written account of the hardships facing women throughout the period specified, the author brings to life the trials and tribulations of hardened soldiers forced to defend civilians when they would much rather be waging war in good old warrior tradition.
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About the Author
Alison Stuart is an award winning and Amazon best selling Australian writer of cross genre historicals with heart. Whether duelling with dashing cavaliers or waywards ghosts, her books provide a reader with a meaty plot and characters who have to strive against adversity, always with the promise of happiness together. Alison is a lapsed lawyer who has worked in the military and fire service, which may explain a predisposition to soldier heroes. She lives with her own personal hero and two needy cats and likes nothing more than a stiff gin and tonic and a walk along the sea front of her home town.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Alison-Stuart/e/B004CB59LI/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1372485971&sr=1-2-ent