A L Lester and the lure of historical romance

Let’s welcome AL Lester to the blog, whose latest novel, Taking Stock, is released today!

Thank you so much Catherine and Eleanor, for having me here today to talk a bit about my latest novel, Taking Stock!

It’s 1972 and Laurie is a farmer with a problem. He’s had a stroke and he can’t work his farm alone any more. Phil is running away from London and the professional suspicion that surrounds him at his City job. They’re both alone and unsure what the future holds. Can they forge a new life together with their makeshift found family in Laurie’s little village?

Eleanor has given me a topic, to my absolutely relief! So I’m here to talk about why I enjoy writing historicals, and what was different between writing my earlier historicals and setting my new novel in the 1970s.

Firstly, the main different between this and my backlist is that there’s no paranormal shenanigans going on. Up til now I’ve written in the 1920s and the 1780s, with a twist of magic. My magical world lies underneath the real one and I try to be as accurate as possible with that. But by education I’m a mediaevalist focusing on Britain, so the historical details was all new to me when I began.

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The Captain and the Baker – out now!

Out now from Pride Publishing! Order from Amazon and all other ebook retailers. Available in ebook, paperback and KU.

When a hot-tempered TV chef and a mild-mannered baker meet on the rugged Cornish coast, they’ve got the perfect ingredients for a red-hot snack.

Sweary and stressed celebrity chef Jake Brantham is the captain of several floating restaurants. When he’s sent to the idyllic village of Porthavel to turn a pirate ship into the next gastronomic sensation, it’s the last place on earth he wants to be.

Locryn Trevorrow is the bakery king of Cornwall. From the humble pasty to a wedding cake fit for a mermaid queen, there’s nothing he doesn’t know about the art of baking. He lives in a cosy world of gingham and ganache, but at night he goes home to his smugglers’ cottage alone.

When he’s adopted by a lost kitten, Jake soon discovers that there’s more to Portavel than cream teas, lobster pots, and the annoyingly fastidious Locryn. As the village prepares for the wedding of its favourite young couple, Jake and Locryn find themselves as unlikely matchmakers for two locals who’d given up on love.

Torn between the call of Hollywood and the kisses of Locryn, will Jake choose a mansion in Beverly Hills or a cottage on the Cornish coast?

Excerpt

Jake, immaculate in his chef whites but his hair just ruffled enough to look careless, tried to smile into the television camera.

There wasn’t much to smile about because, although the set of Saturday Breakfast was more than familiar to him, he hadn’t had to share it with Locryn Trevorrow before.

Locryn, as sugary sweet as the cakes and delicacies he baked, was as far as it was possible to be from Jake, a chef who’d made a name for himself swearing on the telly while cooking. As he had watched Locryn across the studio that morning, all smiles and sunshine and please and thank you and how marvelous, he couldn’t imagine the man had ever sworn in his life. He’d probably draw the line at fiddlesticks.

“And now it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for!” Katya, the host of the show, beamed, showing dazzling white teeth. “Our search for a bride and groom ends today with our very last couple, so get on the phones and get voting! You all know the rules by now. We’ve scoured the country and, out of thousands of applicants, we’ve found three couples who are competing for the chance to hold their wedding at Jake Brantham’s brand-new restaurant. The twist is, even Jake doesn’t know where that will be! All he knows is that it’ll be in the hometown of our winning couple and we’ll watch it all happen in his new series, From Wreck to Restaurant!

The camera cut away to Jake, who pulled his best theatrical glower. The one all his fans went crazy for.

“Each week we’ve invited a couple onto Saturday Breakfast and paired them with a chef from their town, who’s been challenged by Jake to cook one of his signature dishes. Our last couple are Zoe and David, from the gorgeous little village of Porthavel, and they’re joined by Britain’s favorite and loveliest baker, Locryn Trevorrow!” Across the studio crew, a loud smattering of applause sounded, which Locryn dismissed with a bashful wave of his hand. “We sent our intrepid crew off to meet Zoe and David at home in Cornwall, so let’s take a look at life in one of Britain’s cutest fishing villages.”

The floor manager called, “And we’re off.”

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Ellie Curzon and Under A Spitfire Sky

We’re really excited to announce that we’ve signed a two-book deal with Orion Dash! We can’t wait to introduce you to Florence and Siegfried.

Under A Spitfire Sky, our first novel writing as Ellie Curzon, will be published by Orion Dash on 7th January 2021. You can preorder it now!

Can they find love in the darkest days of war?

It’s 1944, and Florence is a talented engineer in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, patching up planes to make sure that the brave Spitfire pilots of Cottisbourne airbase return safely day after day.

When she befriends the new squadron leader – shy, handsome Siegfried – it seems that romance might blossom under the war-torn skies. But Florence is nursing a broken heart and a terrible secret, which might destroy her one chance of happiness…

Meanwhile, a new plane is being developed that could turn the tide of the war, but Florence fears there is traitor is in their midst, putting Siegfried – and the whole country – in terrible danger. Can Florence save her Spitfire boys, and her own heart?