Monday, May 15, 2017

BLOG TOUR: Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage

Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: April 28, 2017
Matador eBook & Paperback; 424 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction


Adam de Guirande has cause to believe the turbulent times are behind him: Hugh Despenser is dead and Edward II is forced to abdicate in favour of his young son. It is time to look forward, to a bright new world in which the young king, guided by his council, heals his kingdom and restores its greatness. But the turmoil is far from over. After years of strife, England in the early months of 1327 is a country in need of stability, and many turn with hope towards the new young king, Edward III. But Edward is too young to rule, so instead it is his mother, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who do the actual governing, much to the dislike of barons such as Henry of Lancaster. In the north, the Scots take advantage of the weakened state of the realm and raid with impunity. Closer to court, it is Mortimer’s increasing powers that cause concerns – both among his enemies, but also for men like Adam, who loves Mortimer dearly, but loves the young king just as much. When it is announced that Edward II has died in September of 1327, what has so far been a grumble grows into voluble protests against Mortimer. Yet again, the spectre of rebellion haunts the land, and things are further complicated by the reappearance of one of Adam’s personal enemies. Soon enough, he and his beloved wife Kit are fighting for their survival – even more so when Adam is given a task that puts them both in the gravest of dangers.

My Review

Anna Belfrage does an amazing job at completing the third book in The King's Greatest Enemy series. Under the Approaching Dark is the third book in the series, and it really brings all of the action and drama together for the reader. 

While reading this series, I definitely became connected to the main characters, Kit and Adam. The ability to connect with, and to like the main character(s) (or at least admire), is always my number one requirement for a great book. I also love when historical fiction authors are able to stay relatively close to being true to history, yet use a bit of creative license in order to make things interesting, and to add elements of adventure and suspense throughout the book. Anna Belfrage does a great job of creating adventure upon adventure for her main characters, yet also keeping true to the history of England at that time. The events happening at this time in England did not really need an author to make them interesting, as the real people of that time were doing a good job of creating drama all on their own! During this time period, King Edward II has been captured and put in prison, his crown taken from him due to his poor leadership, and his son, King Edward III is newly crowned. However, due to his young age, he is being led by his mother, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer. Things are definitely strained in the country, and sides are being chosen. Many of the nobles are angry at the closeness of Mortimer to the crown, and his influence on the new King; not to mention his position in the Queen's bed. Also, King Edward III is beginning to grow weary of his mother and her lover micromanaging his every move, and undermining his power. As he grows more resentful of their relationship and gains more confidence in himself, it is clear that something is going to give. 

Ms. Belfrage weaves the lives of her main characters, Kit and Adam, in among those historical figures who are well known throughout history.  They are forced to find their way in a court full of intrigue and danger, and to be successful in doing so. Definitely a great book to read, especially if you love historical fiction. Although this novel CAN be read as a stand-alone, I would highly recommend beginning with book one of the series, In the Shadow of the Storm. There is so much that happens in the first two novels, both historically and with Kit and Adam, that there would definitely be some confusion if you began with this novel. Plus, the books are great, so why wouldn't you start with the first one? A solid FIVE out of FIVE stars from me!

"The writing is impeccable. The story has everything. Under the Approaching Dark is just perfect in every sense" - Sharon Bennett Connolly, History The Interesting Bits

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About the Author

Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she's multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer - or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive… For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she's still there. Other than on her website,, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel.

You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 1
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Tuesday, May 2
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, May 3
Review at A Book Drunkard
Thursday, May 4
Review at A Holland Reads
Friday, May 5
Spotlight at The Reading Queen
Monday, May 8
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, May 9
Review at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, May 10
Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Thursday, May 11
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Friday, May 12
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Monday, May 15
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Tuesday, May 16
Review at Back Porchervations
Guest Post at Ms. Stuart Requests the Pleasure of Your Company
Wednesday, May 17
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, May 18
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Friday, May 19
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog
Monday, May 22
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Tuesday, May 23
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at The Muse in the Fog Book Reviews
Wednesday, May 24
Excerpt at Jo's Book Blog
Spotlight at The Paperback Princess
Thursday, May 25
Review at Broken Teepee
Friday, May 26
Spotlight at Laura's Interests
Sunday, May 28
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Books and Benches
Monday, May 29
Guest Post at Yelena Casale's Blog
Tuesday, May 30
Interview at Dianne Ascroft's Blog


To win a copy of Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage, please enter via the Gleam form below. 


 – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
 – Giveaway is open internationally.
 – Only one entry per household.
 – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

  Under the Appraoching Dark

Thursday, March 16, 2017

BLOG TOUR: The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie


The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie

Publication Date: March 21, 2017
 Atria Books eBook & Paperback; 416 Pages 
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Series: The Mistresses of Versailles, Book Three

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   In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress. “That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute is quite another kettle of fish.”  After decades of suffering the King's endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns. Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches irrevocable change.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Kobo

My Review

Having read the first two novels in this series, I couldn’t wait for Enemies of Versailles to come out! While it did start a little slower than the first two, it definitely picked up and I enjoyed it as much as the others in the series. Her portrayal of characters, both major and minor, is amazing. I always feel like I’m reading an actual historical novel, and that the dialogue and actions of these historical figures is how everything really played out in the past. The author, Sally Christie, obviously does her research when writing her novels, because everything she writes about feels like it could have actually happened the way it is written.

Madame Adelaide, the king’s daughter, is a bit difficult to take at times. She is so full of herself and believes that if SHE thinks one way about something, than everyone around her also thinks that way. In the end, I do believe she always means the best for those she loves, but she is a demanding figure that was very off putting for many in her time, and a big for myself as well! Comtesse du Berry was fun to read about. I had heard of her in a few books that I have read about Marie Antoinette, and she always came across as a horrible person. It was nice to see a different perspective of her. One that shows her as charming and sweet, yet not particularly intelligent, at least as far as book smarts go. However, she was raised the position she ended up in through more than just her good lucks. She knew what the king needed, and she became that person. The king was older, and he didn’t want a woman to match wits with, he wanted a woman to love him and in a way, to “mother” him. He definitely got that with Comtesse du Berry.

Overall, this book is a great read. I would definitely recommend the entire series to readers who are interested in historical fictions, especially in what was going on in Versailles that helped to lead up to the French Revolution. You get an idea of just how frivolous the people of wealth were during this time, and how little room they had in their minds to care about what was going on outside of Versailles. They were all in their own little world full of intrigue, far from the downtrodden people of France who had nothing. It’s easy to see how these people might become bitter after seeing the amount of money the court went through for unnecessary items. Definitely a great book worth purchasing!

Praise for The Sisters of Versailles

“Such an extraordinary tale makes for compelling reading and, as the lead book in a planned trilogy, will draw in readers who are interested in royal lives before the French Revolution….historical fiction fans, unfamiliar with the history of the Nesle sisters, will be intrigued.” (Library Journal)

 "Sally Christie's The Sisters of Versailles is an intriguing romp through Louis XV's France. Filled with lush backdrops, rich detail, and colorful characters, fans of historical fiction will enjoy this glimpse into the lost golden era of the French monarchy." (Allison Pataki, author of THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS )

 “A stunning breadth of period detail, offered in a fresh, contemporary voice.” (Juliet Grey, author of the acclaimed Marie Antoinette trilogy ) “Tantalizing descriptions and cliff-hangers will leave the reader rapidly turning the pages in anticipation… A wickedly delightful read.” (New York Daily News)

About the Author

03_sally-christie_authorSally Christie is the author of The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals of Versailles. She was born in England and grew up around the world, attending eight schools in three different languages. She spent most of her career working in international development and currently lives in Toronto.

 Visit to find out more about Sally and the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy. You can also find her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, March 15
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Interview at T's Stuff
Thursday, March 16
Review at
Review at The Lit Bitch
Friday, March 17
Review at To Read, Or Not to Read
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Saturday, March 18
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Spotlight at Books, Dreams, Life
Sunday, March 19
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Monday, March 20
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, March 21
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Wednesday, March 22
Review at First Impressions Reviews
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Thursday, March 23
Review at Broken Teepee
Friday, March 24
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Sunday, March 26
Review at The Gadoury Dreamer
Review & Interview at Clarissa Reads It All
Monday, March 27
Review at The Reading Queen
Tuesday, March 28
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Luxury Reading
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Wednesday, March 29
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Thursday, March 30
Review at Curling up by the Fire
Friday, March 31
Review at Bookramblings
Review at CelticLady's Reviews


Five copies of The Enemies of Versailles are up for grabs during the blog tour! To enter, please see the Gleam form below.

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

  Enemies of Versailles