Today at My Written Romance, I am most excited to be the next stop on the review tour for Claiming the Rebel’s Heart by fabulous Australian author, Alison Stuart. I had the great pleasure of meeting Alison at last year’s Romance Writers of Australia conference in Fremantle, and when I got the opportunity to read this, I grabbed it with both hands. I do love historical romance, so it is great when I find ones set in periods of history that don’t often get a look in – and those set outside of London as well.
If you want to check out the rest of the stops on the tour, simply click on the tour banner! As part of this tour, there is a very generous giveaway – thanks to Alison – and there’s a sneak peek into the book as well. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get reading!
So, what is Claiming the Rebel’s Heart about?
Herefordshire, England 1643
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?
Here’s what I thought of Claiming the Rebel’s Heart:
When I finished reading Claiming the Rebel’s Heart, I had to give myself a great big rap across the knuckles. Why have I not picked up a book by Alison Stuart before? I do own a few of them.
Gosh, this was such a fantastic read. As much as I do love Regency and Victorian England, I also love being able to take a voyage to a time in British history that I don’t often come across in historical romance. Claiming the Rebel’s Heart is full to the brim with a perfect sense of adventure and action, fascinating characters, drama and a wonderful love story.
Deliverance Felton, how cool are you? I love her forthright nature and strong will, her desire to defend her home and those she loves. She’s no foolishly headstrong girl – Deliverance simply does not wish to see her beloved Kinton Lacey reduced to rubble at the hands of the Royalists, and she’s willing to do all that she can to ensure that. Those Puritans sure did have some fabulous names, and I love how wonderfully appropriate our heroine’s name is.
Luke Collyer is most definitely not expecting someone like Deliverance. The development of their relationship from her almost shooting him in the head, through to a grudging friendship and attraction, to falling for one another was so well done. Their connection was undeniable.
Reading this, I could close my eyes and just about see the landscape of this tale laid out before me. The glimpses of life in this troubled time in England’s past have a vibrant, almost visual feel to them – from the weaponry to the buildings, from the clothes to the food. The attention to detail is magnificent.
The mystery surrounding the castle’s saboteur and the action of the siege and battles were wonderfully exciting. The supporting and secondary characters lend their own magic to the story: Luke’s friend Ned (often his voice of reason), Deliverance’s gorgeous sister Penitence and the ruthless Charles Farrington among them.
I am so glad I got the chance to read Claiming the Rebel’s Heart. If this is what I can expect from your other work, Alison Stuart (and I have a feeling it is), my Kindle account is in for a workout.
I give it 5 out of 5.
Now for the excerpt:
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.
Let’s find out about Alison Stuart.
Alison Stuart is an award winning and Amazon best selling Australian writer of cross genre historicals with heart. Whether duelling with dashing cavaliers or wayward 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.
You can find out more about Alison at www.alisonstuart.com, and at her blog, www.alisonstuart.blogspot.com. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter (@AlisonStuart14), as well as Goodreads and Amazon.
Now we know what the book is about and what my thoughts are, I think you should get hold of Claiming the Rebel’s Heart and find time to read it.
Tour Wide Giveaway
As part of the tour for Claiming the Rebel’s Heart, we have a fantastic giveaway for you, the readers, courtesy of Alison Stuart. She will be giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter.
Sounds like something you want to win? Just be sure to leave a comment at the end of this post.
Good luck and happy reading!