I decided to do a series called Author Spotlight, to highlight, well, obviously, my favourite authors—new and old—and to share my excitement for their work with you.
First up today is Australian-born author, Karen Brooks. I highly suggest you read her About Page by way of introduction to her, and her writing.
Brooks’ first forays into the writing world began squarely in the realms of fantasy, with her YA series The Cassandra Klein Quartet, which was followed up by a succession of YA fantasy titles that I would love to read, at some point.
Karen is now writing historical fiction. Not just any kind of historical fiction, she’s reinserting women back into history, placing them squarely at the forefront of periods of upheaval and change where fortunes could be lost and made, in an exciting way.
To date, she has written three richly detailed historical novels set in different locales and time periods:
THE BREWER’S TALE (2014)
“It had been Mother’s secret and mine, one passed down through the de Winter women for generations. I would ensure it was kept that way, until I was ready to pass it on.”
When Anneke Sheldrake is forced to find a way to support her family after her father is lost at sea, she turns to the business by which her mother’s family once prospered: brewing ale.
Armed with her Dutch mother’s recipes and a belief that anything would be better than the life her vindictive cousin has offered her, she makes a deal with her father’s aristocratic employer: Anneke has six months to succeed or not only will she lose the house but her family as well.
Through her enterprise and determination, she inadvertently earns herself a deadly enemy. Threatened and held in contempt by those she once called friends, Anneke nonetheless thrives. But on the tail of success, tragedy follows and those closest to her pay the greatest price for her daring.
Ashamed, grieving, and bearing a terrible secret, Anneke flees to London, determined to forge her own destiny. Will she be able to escape her past, and those whose only desire is to see her fail?
THE LOCKSMITH’S DAUGHTER (2016)
In a world where no one can be trusted and secrets are currency, one woman stands without fear.
Mallory Bright is the only daughter of London’s master locksmith. For her there is no lock too elaborate, no secret too well kept. Sir Francis Walsingham, spymaster and protector of Queen Elizabeth – the last of the Tudor monarchs – and her realm, is quick to realise Mallory’s talent and draws her into his world of intrigue, danger and deception. With her by his side, no scheme in England or abroad is safe from discovery; no plot secure.
But Mallory’s loyalty wavers when she witnesses the execution of three Jesuit priests, a punishment that doesn’t fit their crime. When Mallory discovers the identity of a Catholic spy and a conspiracy that threatens the kingdom, she has to make a choice—between her country and her heart.
Mallory, however, carries her own dark secrets and is about to learn those being kept from her—secrets that could destroy those she loves.
You can read my review HERE.
THE CHOCOLATE MAKER’S WIFE (2019)
Damnation has never been so sweet…
When Rosamund Tomkins enters the world she is so different, with her darkling eyes and strange laughter, that the midwives are afraid, believing her a changeling. But Rosamund’s life is set to be anything but enchanted…
Born into poverty, brutalised and ignored by her family, it is only when she is married off to a nobleman that her life undergoes a wondrous transformation, as he recognises that Rosamund infuses magic she does not know she possesses into everything she touches.
Clever, quick and irrepressible, Rosamund soon becomes the darling of the haute ton, and presides over her luxurious chocolate house where the rich go to be seen and indulge in their favourite pastime, drinking the sweet and heady drink to which they’ve become oddly addicted.
But Rosamund stands on the brink of losing all she has worked so hard to achieve and will be forced to make a choice: walk away from all she knows and has grown to love with her soul intact, or make a deal with the devil?
I’m eagerly awaiting the release of this one because, come on, who can resist chocolate? No, no one that I know. And, if The Locksmith’s Daughter is anything to go by, then this too is going to be an outstanding read.
Stop by her website to find out more about Karen and her writing.