Book Review: The Brigadier’s Runaway Bride by Erica Ridley

Brigaders runaway bride by Erica RidleyMiss Sarah Fairfax is having a wretched year. Her intended perished at war. His child is in her belly. To secure her future, she resigns herself to a loveless marriage. Just as she’s about to say “I do,” her fiancée returns from the grave to crash the wedding… but he’s no longer the charming, carefree man she remembers.

After being left for dead on the battlefield, Brigadier Edmund Blackpool is scarred inside and out. He fights his way home only to discover his intended before the altar with his best friend. He’ll be the one to marry her, no matter what she wants! But when his new bride disappears with his child, he must reopen his wounds to win the most important battle of his life.

From Netgalley in exchange for a review and is Number 5 in the Dukes of War series.

Edmund is the twin brother of Tolly, who was the centre of The Major’s Faux Fiancée, the previous book in the series, with everyone believing Edmund had been left dead on the battlefield. The remaining friends have all known that Sarah has been left pregnant whilst Edmund was off fighting, and Ravenwood (one of the remaining bachelors) stepped in at the last minute to make sure the child at least had a name.  However, a bearded, unkempt, unwashed Edmund gatecrashes the wedding in dramatic style, without realising that Sarah was now 8 months pregnant and in need of support.

Quickly the marriage between Edmund and Sarah is arranged, so the offspring can be legitimate, and then it becomes a matter of the two adults getting to now each other whilst coming to terms with being parents, and the after effects of recovering from being left for dead. Edmund also has to come to terms with the effects of the war on his friends and family – Tolly has lost a leg but gained a wife, Xavier is slowly coming out of his shellshock (The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress) and Oliver York has had his own problems (The Earl’s Defiant Wallflower).

Due to Tolly’s good thinking, Edmund and Sarah have a home and a small income, but not enough to hire the servants required to childmind, so much of the book is their adventures in learning how to look after newborn children, whilst still finding their way with each other.  Finally they both realise what each other need (including getting out of the loud, lethal and expensive London to somewhere quieter) and all is well with the world.

Both of the main characters have flawed ideas of what it takes to be a spouse. He feels inadequate because  he’s been missing for so long. This makes him attempt to be the perfect husband, despite (or because of) what he experienced on the battlefield, including being left for dead by his closest friends. Meanwhile, her worries about how tired she feels, worries about how her body has changed during and after pregnancy, which makes her feel unsightly and wary of any intimacy, together with coping with being a new mother all add turmoil, misunderstandings and dilemma to the story.  Both desire and need each other, but dont know how to show it.

This is quite a short book, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as much of the back story has already been told. There are moments of comic relief – insert necessary baby fart and bottom jokes as required – that aren’t usually found in Regency novels and the sexual content, when it happens, is spicy enough for modern standards.



Sunday Salon: Book Blogger Purist?

The Sunday Salon

Are you a book blogger purist? Do you only have book related posts or do you review/post on anything/everything that catches your eye?

On this blog I write primarily on books of what ever genre takes my fancy.  I occasionally write on other topics that take my fancy, but are usually book related – e.g. if I see a newspaper article that interests me and I think I have something to say, then I’ll write about that.

In late 2014, I decided to close one of my other blogs down as I had not been paying it any (enough) attention once I set my book blog up. So regular readers will have noticed that some of the sewing/crafting posts have made it over onto this blog as I closed the other one down. It was a bit of a wrench, as it was my first blog, but at the end of the day, I simply wasn’t paying it enough attention and I wanted to recognise another part of myself as a blogger.

The craft related posts have been of mixed success but it’s still early days yet, and I’ll like to see where it goes from here – I dont want to lose the work I did in the other site, but I’ve been struggling with keeping the two going.

For something that’s short, but which I dont have enough to write a full post (usually a link to a webpage I found interesting), I tend to put out a tweet or two for anyone who has been paying attention.

So what about you, dear reader? Books only or do you have anything else?

Friday Salon: Is every craft dominated by the Americans?

I’ve been to exhibition shows such as “Festival Of Quilts” and “Knitting and Stitching” enough times to know just how many people in the UK and Western Europe who have interest in crafts, from books, to sewing, quilting, knitting etc.

However, I’ve recently set up a few Alerts on Google, to see if there are any topics, items of interest etc. that I can post about here. And every single one of the items that come up are from the Americans. Blog posts, craft shows, you name it, the Americans do it (on the internet at least) more than the Europeans.

What’s the reasoning for this? Am I doing the alert wrong (it’s possible, but….). Of the thousands of people who go to the shows, support the fabric and yarn shops etc in Europe, does not a single one of them publish anything anywhere? A good percentage of the people who go to these shows are over 60, granted, but there are plenty of people under 60 who also go – do NONE of them write about what they do?

So in order to prove me wrong and show that the UK crafters are at least as good and as productive as the Americans – who should we be paying attention to? What websites, blogs, tweeters etc should we be following?  Who or What should I be on the lookout for?



Friday Salon: Personal or Gifts?

What proportion of your stitching is for your own personal use versus gifts?

In terms of volume, much of my stitching starts out as stuff for myself. I have quite a few pictures on my wall, and lavender sachets in my drawers.

However, when I do make gifts for people, they may be low on volume, but are often high on size and effort. Presents include a 40th birthday present for my cousin which took about 6 months to complete, a wedding present for my brother (which took over 4 months to complete), a picture for my sister’s birthday of a hot air balloon on which she took a ride the previous year (which only took me 4 weeks to complete), a wedding gift for a cousin etc.

Smaller gifts include the lavender sachets, which I like making up, often keep for myself, but are great little items to have as stand by for unexpected guests/situations


Autumn (Fall) Bloggiesta To Do List


It’s time for the signups for the Fall Bloggiesta that’s scheduled for September 17th – 20th. I havent been around here much recently, and I’m relatively happy with how the blog is at the minute, so part of me is wondering whether I have anything outstanding to do.

I do however have a couple of things that could be looked at, namely:

  • Write up some outstanding reviews (as of today, yes there are some!)
  • There is a blogger event happening this weekend in a local bookstore – if there’s enough to talk about then write it up, including any stash photos
  • Review some scheduled posts, see if they can be improved before publication (there’s not that many left)
  • Start thinking about some more posts and see what I can start writing

Sunday Salon: Writing Reviews





TSSbadge1Before I started blogging, I wrote some appalling reviews, something along the lines of “nice easy read, enjoyable”. Some were a little better, but still not great. When setting up this blog I trawled through the book reviews I had elsewhere, and was embarrassed by what I’d written. I’d look at the book and then  wonder what it was about, when I’d read it etc. Enjoyable? probably. Unmemorable? Clearly!

Since I’ve started blogging, long before I started getting books from publishers, I decided I Must Do Better when writing reviews. I now write reviews for the majority of books I read, but not all. I also know parts of my audience, and there are somethings I wont share with them, so a tiny percentage of the books I read dont get a review written.

These reviews are primarily for me – so I can remember what went on in the story, and roughly what I thought about the book. It’s enjoyable to see a review pop up several months after I’ve read the book, and quite often I’ll go “ooh, that sounds a good book, would like to read that” only to realise I already have!

The reviews are for the authors and publishers, especially for the lesser well known authors, in order for the word to get out there and a little bit of chatter for them.

The reviews are finally for the people who follow this blog – they might just find the one book that can set them down another route and find another author or genre for them to follow

Do you write a review for every book you read or only review copies from publishers?

Friday Salon: Project neatness

When it goes right, I do enjoy the look and feel of a tidy back to a project.  It took me years to work out that it was due to how and where you started and then continued stitching. Generally starting on the left without a knot and then doing a running line to the right and then back across your work (and then working downwards) usually gives a tidy couched piece of work.

However, that’s  not always practical.  As a European, I was always taught to start in the middle of  a piece, to ensure that you place the item correctly on the fabric. Books and charts all give you this direction. It often means that there are whole swathes where you a”start at the left end” and do a running line to the right.  Or you have to go up rather than down.

Since I’ve been looking around on the web, and buying projects from elsewhere, I’ve found that not all people work this way!  Many of the Americans for instance start from the top left hand corner and work down.  I have several charts that are printed in booklet form that direct you to start on page 1 (naturally) and work down and right for each following page.  In a way this does make sense, especially if you want to keep the back of your pattern looking good.  I need to try it out a couple of times however to see if I can work this way – after so many years of doing it the European way, it’s going to be challenging to do it any other way!

So do you aim for the back to be as neat as the front? or does this bit not interest you so much?