The Last Dragon in London by Widdershins ~ #Historical Fantasy ~ Review

In the second decade of the Twentieth Century, Mildred Norman, Mildy to her friends, not many of whom are left alive, is broken in body and spirit after a long hard war.
An old friend suggests that she might like, as a bit of a distraction, to spend some time doing a bit of a ‘grand tour’ of all the places named ‘London’ throughout the world.
What begins as a whim, ends with a discovery that challenges everything she believes is possible.
Arriving in the last ‘London’, on her list, a tiny village tucked away in a remote valley, she meets up with a few of the locals and shenanigans ensue.
With the help of a child hunting mythical beasts, the child’s grandmother, and a cast of quirky villagers, Mildy shows how dangerous a stout woman with a lethal arsenal in her pockets can be.
She uncovers a plot to alter the course of history, begun so long ago that no records of the conspirators remain, except for one place, the place she now calls home.
To protect those she has come to love from certain destruction at the hands of a cruel and loathsome cabal, she must battle threats both near and far, and confront the mysterious force guiding it all.
And then, of course, there’s the question of dragons …

About the Author

Widdershins

I was born in England on a crisp autumn eve in 1958, emigrated to Australia at the tender age of two, and moved to Canada in 2004 where I married the love of my life. I left school when I was fourteen, and thereafter continued my education via libraries, books, and whatever Life decided to throw my way.

I was born in England, grew up in Australia, moved to Canada in 2004 and married the love of my life the same year. I’m a lesbian, a writer of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Fiction.

I’ve tried many things in my time on this little planet we call Earth, and I’m sure that before I leave this mortal coil I shall joust with many others.

I’ve ridden a bicycle down a hill so steep all I could do was hold on and scream with sheer exhilaration. (and terror) I’ve sweated under a burning sun to plant seedlings in dusty fields. I have a long-standing relationship with sewing machines, starting with an old Singer treadle machine when I was barely tall enough to reach the pedal. Once upon a time I went to university and studied Architecture … it didn’t take. I had a dream of athletic superstardom, but a motorcycle accident stopped that rather abruptly.

Above all, writing is my passion and my profession, novels specifically, short stories occasionally, and always with lesbian characters.

I adopted ‘Widdershins’ as a pseudonym in the early days of the interwebz, and it stuck … because I am, if nothing else, contrariwise.

Our Review

The minute I started reading The Last Dragon and realised I was travelling on a train with someone called Mildred Norman, or Mildy as she preferred to be called, I felt at home. I love trains almost as much as I love dragons, so had the feeling I was in good company.

For several precious hours, the world outside my door went away and for the first time in a very long time, I remembered dragons again. All in the company of some lovely and very real people.

This story gives a totally new and interesting way of thinking about dragons, but personally, I have always believed they exist, somehow, somewhere.

Romantic, exciting, magical and intriguing, this story will delight you, as you suspend any doubts you may have had about magic and dragons.

5* Review of Honest Hearts by Frank Parker #Romance @fparkerswords

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This book follows the lives of two people of Irish descent. Paul arrives in Brooklyn in 1895 aged 19. He meets and is captivated by Maeve whose parents arrived two decades earlier but met tragic ends. She develops a fondness for the innocent Irishman but is forced to deceive him. On discovering the deception he leaves Brooklyn, eventually joining the gold rush to the Klondike and, later, Alaska. Throughout the years thoughts of Maeve are never far away.

She escapes the clutches of the man who has controlled her since her parents’ deaths and travels to Chicago where she gives up a child for adoption before becoming involved with the family of an artist. Before her parents died she had enjoyed painting and now, encouraged by the artist, studies and becomes a successful painter. The traumatic separation from her child influences her paintings and she harbours an unfulfilled need to find her daughter.

On a painting assignment in Dawson City, she discovers that Paul was there years earlier and considers trying to find him. At the last minute, she decides that revisiting the past would be unwise, bringing back unpleasant memories of the terrible thing that happened to her after Paul disappeared.

Years later she is commissioned to paint the portrait of a nurse newly returned from the battlefields of France and Germany. Simultaneously Paul is persuaded by a friend that he has misunderstood Maeve’s actions and should seek her out in Chicago. The book reaches its climax as all three meet against the backdrop of the Red Riots of July/August 1919 and the horrific circumstances of the daughter’s conception are finally revealed.

Readers with an interest in history, genealogy and/or the Irish Diaspora will enjoy reading this short (60,000 words) debut novel.

 

Our Review

Paul Horan, an ambitious, honest and determined Irish man, travels to America looking to make his fortune.

He meets Maeve, a beautiful and enchanting woman in Brooklyn, but their happiness is short-lived.

“The rain was like a thousand sharp pointed needles battering her cheeks and mingling with her tears. It ran from her hair over her collar bone and inside the high collar of her dress. It squelched within her shoes as she blundered through the storm battered streets and back alleys. None of it mattered. Nothing mattered any more…”

Two very different and fascinating people, but we wonder if they will ever meet again after circumstances drive them apart. Maeve is forced to deceive Paul, causing their relationship to explode and they part company. Life for the two of them continues in very different ways, making the likelihood of them ever meeting again very remote. Especially since Maeve has a secret, one which must surely prevent any happiness for either of them.

At this point, I was very impressed by the attention to detail in this book. The author leads you into both threads of the story, leaving no stone unturned as you watch both the stories unfold. I particularly liked the descriptive way the author lets you enter the world of an artist, I could almost smell the paint!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this romantic and historical drama; it is brilliantly written and presented.  I can definitely recommend this book to readers of believable dramatic and romantic fiction…

Biography

Frank is a retired Engineer. He spent most of his working life in England where he was employed by UK based multi-national companies. He always wanted to write but has only found the freedom to do so since retiring to Ireland in October 2006. He lives with Freda, his wife since 1963, in Stradbally, County Laois.

He has four novels published on Amazon:
Honest Hearts is about the lives of Irish migrants to North America around the turn of the 19th/20th centuries. With settings that range from the Irish countryside to the Alaskan gold rush, via Brooklyn and Dawson City, Canada, this romantic tale reaches its climax in Chicago during the “Red Riots” of the summer of 1919.
Summer Day offers a contrast, with the action set during a single day and within the confines of a small rural community during the long hot summer of 1947. Feel the tension rise with the temperature and humidity as storm clouds gather. Suffer with young Henry and his dog as he tries desperately to evade his pursuers. The events of this Summer Day will change him forever. Reading about them will change you.
Strongbow’s Wife seeks to answer the question: “what was it like to be a teenager forced to marry a medieval warrior?”. Along the way, a crucial period in Anglo-Irish history is brought to life.
Transgression is an exploration of changing attitudes to sex and sexuality in Britain over the past 70 years. Four people conspire to conceal a pregnancy, an action that has consequences for three of them forty years later.