The King’s Sisters (The Cross and the Crown, #3) – Sarah Kennedy

This is described as a standalone book although there are two previous novels in the series and reading these in advance may help the reader get to grips more quickly with the characters as it can be difficult to gauge who is who at the start.

Many of the characters share the same name and this too adds to the confusion at the start of the book. Conversations between characters were not always clear and it became something of a chore to read the first third of the story as a result.

As a fan of Tudor history, this book piqued my interest and the author has clearly done her research to ensure an historically accurate portrayal of those times. The threat posed by Henry VIII to anyone who fell foul of his ideas to reform Tudor Britain and the treachery among those charged with serving him are perfectly captured, although it is not until the second half of the book that anything really happens in terms of the plot.

Luckily, this part of the book picks up in both pace and action and it actually took me only a couple of days to read in contrast to the several weeks spent painstakingly trawling through the earlier section.

This had the potential to be an enthralling historical novel but sadly falls short.

The Jewel of St Petersburg- Kate Furnivall

It took a while to get into this book, but by the end, I couldn’t put it down! An interesting narrative which manages to successfully weave a tale of forbidden love and treachery with Russian history. The characters are portrayed vividly so you can’t help but be drawn to the plight of some, whilst loathing others. Given that the book is almost 500 pages long, I found the ending quite abrupt, but maybe that’s just because I wanted to know more about what happened next to the characters!